Nostalgia is a powerful emotion that can often make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. While there are many different things that can evoke feelings of nostalgia, music is often one of the most powerful triggers. Here are 20 of the best songs about nostalgia, each one capable of transporting you back in time to those happy memories from your past.
We’re Going To Be Friends – The White Stripes
The White Stripes’ “We’re Going to Be Friends” is a song about nostalgia, specifically the kind that’s felt during childhood. The opening lyrics, “Fall is here, hear the leaves crunching under our feet,” immediately set the tone of nostalgic longing. This is compounded by lines like “I am no longer a baby,” which point to the speaker’s awareness that time is passing and they’re growing up too quickly. The song goes on to detail all the wonderful things about childhood friendship, from exploring nature together to sharing secrets and inside jokes.
The King Of Carrot Flowers, Pt. One – Neutral Milk Hotel
The King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. One is a song by the American indie rock band Neutral Milk Hotel. The song is about nostalgia and is sung from the perspective of a young boy who is looking back on his childhood. The song starts with the boy’s father died and he is living with his mother. The boy remembers his father taking him to the circus and buying him ice cream. He also remembers his father teaching him how to grow carrots. The song then talks about the boy’s first love, a girl named Anne-Marie. The song ends with the boy reflecting on his life and how it has changed since his father died. The song is sad but also beautiful, and it captures the feeling of nostalgia perfectly.
Miner At The Dial-A-View – Grandaddy
“Miner at the Dial-A-View” is a song by the American rock band Grandaddy. It was released as the second single from their third studio album, The Sophtware Slump. The song is about nostalgia and the longing for a simpler time. Lead singer Jason Lytle has said that the song is about “wishing you could go back to a time when things were more innocent and less complicated.” The song’s title refers to a type of pay-per-view television service that was popular in the 1980s. The lyrics also reference other pop culture relics from the 1980s, including Pac-Man and Rubik’s Cube. Despite its nostalgic subject matter, “Miner at the Dial-A-View” is an upbeat and catchy tune that is sure to put a smile on your face.
Nostalgic – Kelly Clarkson
The song Nostalgic by Kelly Clarkson is about just that; a longing for the past and happy memories. The lyrics talk about wanting to go back to a time when things were simpler and life was carefree. It’s a sentimental song that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt nostalgia. The song is also nostalgic itself, as it samples the melody from the classic children’s song “You Are My Sunshine.” This adds to the overall theme of the song and makes it even more relatable. If you’re looking for a song to listen to when you’re feeling nostalgic, or just want a feel-good tune, look no further than Nostalgic by Kelly Clarkson.
Stare At The Sun – Eleanor Friedberger
Stare at the Sun is a song about nostalgia, specifically the idea of looking back on past memories with longing and regret. The lyrics describe a person who is struggling to move on from a failed relationship, and the chorus reflects on how different things might have been if they had made different choices. The song’s atmospheric production helps to capture the feeling of longing and regret, with Friedberger’s vocals sounding both fragile and hopeful. Overall, Stare at the Sun is a beautiful and heartbreaking song that perfectly captures the feeling of nostalgia.
Summer Of ’69 – Bryan Adams
Few songs are as evocative of the 1980s as Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69.” The single, which was released in 1985, is a nostalgic look back at the carefree days of adolescence. The lyrics tell the story of a young man who is recalling the summer he spent working as a dishwasher and dreaming of becoming a rock star. Though he’s now an adult, he still remembers the innocent fun he had with his friends. The song’s catchy melody and easy-going attitude make it the perfect anthem for anyone who longs for the simplicity of childhood.
Names – Cat Power
Nostalgia is a sentimental longing for a time in the past. In the song “Names” by Cat Power, the singer reflects on her childhood and how everything seemed so much simpler then. She remembers all of the people and places from her past with such detail and clarity that it’s as if she’s transported back in time. The lyrics are full of longing and nostalgia for a time when she was carefree and happy. The song is sad but also uplifting, and it ultimately reminds us that even though times change, we always have our memories to hold onto.
Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen
The song “Glory Days” by Bruce Springsteen is a nostalgic look back at the simpler days of youth. The song reflects on the carefree days of adolescence when friends were close and life was just beginning. The lyrics evoke a sense of longing for those lost days, and the tone is both wistful and upbeat. The song has resonated with listeners of all ages, who can relate to the feeling of nostalgia. “Glory Days” is a reminder that even though life may not be as simple as it once was, those memories will always be cherished.
Brass Buttons – Gram Parsons
Brass Buttons is a song written by Gram Parsons that reflects on the feeling of nostalgia. The song begins with the narrator looking back on a past relationship and longing for the moments they shared together. He reflects on how “brass buttons shone in the sun” and how he remembers her “hair floating in the breeze.” However, he also recognizes that those moments are now gone and that he can only “look back in time” to remember them.
Umbrella – Rihanna
“Umbrella” by Rihanna is a prime example of a song that evokes feelings of nostalgia. The opening notes are immediately recognizable, and the lyrics evoke images of simpler times. The song speaks to the desire to return to those carefree days, when the only worry was whether or not it was going to rain. “when Umbrella” is a reminder that, no matter how complicated life gets, there will always be a time we can just step out into the rain and dance.
Caroline, No – The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys’ Caroline, No is a song about nostalgia and the longing for a simpler time. The lyrics describe a young woman who is living in the present but longing for the past, when life was “carefree and new.” The song reflects on how quickly time passes and how we can never go back to those carefree days. Caroline, No is a sad but beautiful song that captures the feeling of longing for a time that has passed.
Beautiful – Christina Aguilera
The song Beautiful, by Christina Aguilera, is a nostalgia-inducing ballad with a message of self-acceptance. The song starts off with a soft piano melody, accompanied by Aguilera’s gentle voice. Slowly, the instrumentation builds up, adding in strings and drums as the chorus comes in. The lyrics are about looking back on memories of young love and innocence, and how those memories can help to get us through tough times. The song speaks to the idea that we are all beautiful in our own way, and that we should never give up on ourselves.
Hey Ya! – OutKast
Hey Ya! is a song by the hip hop group OutKast, released in 2003. The song is built around a sample of André 3000 singing “Hey ya!” in a high-pitched voice. The song’s duration is three minutes and fifty-nine seconds. It is outstanding for its fusion of musical styles; Hey Ya! has elements of rock, pop, and hip hop. Lyrically, the song is about the emotions surrounding a break-up. André 3000 has said that the song is not necessarily about him breaking up with someone, but more about the idea of change in general.
Crazy In Love – Beyoncé
Crazy in Love is a song by American singer Beyoncé, featuring her then-boyfriend, rapper Jay-Z. The song was released as the lead single from Beyoncé’s debut solo album, Dangerously in Love. It peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and brought Beyoncé mainstream success. The song won a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and was nominated for Song of the Year at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards. Crazy in Love is widely considered one of Beyoncé’s signature songs and has become one of her most successful singles.
I’m Just A Kid – Simple Plan
“I’m Just A Kid” by Simple Plan is a song about nostalgia. The lyrics talk about how the speaker is looking back on their childhood, and how they miss the simplicity of those days. The song is upbeat and cheerful, but there is also a sense of yearning in the lyrics. The speaker is longing for the days when they were carefree and didn’t have to worry about responsibilities. It’s a sweet and sentimental song that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt nostalgia for their own childhood.
Heroes – David Bowie
Heroes is a song by David Bowie, released in 1977. The song is about nostalgia, and how times change but memories remain the same. Bowie described the song as “a very positive statement about human nature.” The lyrics are written from the perspective of a soldier looking back on his life, and how the things he once thought were important no longer seem to matter. The song has been covered by many artists, and was used in the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Heroes is a timeless song that speaks to the human experience, and reminds us that we can all be heroes in our own lives.
I Wanna Go Back – Eddie Money
Eddie Money’s “I Wanna Go Back” is a song about nostalgia and the longing for simpler times. The lyrics recall fond memories of youthful innocence, when “everything was so brand new.” The narrator reflects on how much has changed since then, and how he “can’t go back to school,” but he still feels “like a kid again.” The song resonates with many people who long for the simpler days of their youth, when they didn’t have to worry about bills or responsibilities. It’s a reminder that we all have to grow up eventually, but we can always hold onto those precious memories.
Senior Year – Randy Houser
Looking back on our senior year, many of us can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia. Whether it’s for the carefree days of youth or the memories of our friends and classmates, senior year is a time that we often look back on fondly. In his song “Senior Year,” country singer Randy Houser captures this feeling perfectly. The song begins with the narrator reflecting on his senior year of high school, recalling all the things he loved about that time in his life.
Nostalgia – Emily Barker
Nostalgia is a bittersweet feeling of longing for something that is lost. It can be sparked by a scent, a sound, or a sight, and it can transport us back to a time and place in our past. In the song Nostalgia, Emily Barker captures this feeling with her wistful lyrics and nostalgic melodies. The song begins with the lines, “Nostalgia, why are you so bittersweet? / You take me back to places I don’t want to go.” These lyrics perfectly encapsulate the contradictory emotions of nostalgia.
Bring Me To Life – Evanescence
“Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence, lead singer Amy Lee explores the feeling of nostalgia for a lost love. The lyrics describe someone who is “sleeping” through life, unable to feel any joy or passion. However, when they meet their true love, they are suddenly awakened and filled with hope and happiness. The chorus of the song reflects this sense of hopefulness, with the words “wake me up inside” repeated several times. While the song is about romantic love, it can also speak to the ways that we can all feel nostalgia for different aspects of our lives.