Week 360: “Seventeen” by Cody Crump

Have you ever wondered how many songs there are that reference a specific age? Or which age is the most popular one to sing about?

Well, a few years ago, The Quantitative Peace did a fascinating and pretty thorough examination of songs that mention age. Unsurprisingly, younger ages seem to inspire more song lyrics than older ones:

From quantitativepeace.com

The skewing towards youth makes sense. The powerful emotions and intellectual epiphanies of our younger years make for great material, and after all, most popular music is written by (or at least performed by and produced for) young people.

What is surprising is that the most commonly sung-about age, according to the study, is not 16 or 18 or 21, but…17.

Somehow, 17 manages to get more mentions than those other landmark ages of driver’s licenses, voting, drinking, and general passage into adulthood.

But maybe that’s the appeal. Maybe the strongest feeling associated with youth is a feeling of being caught between your past and future selves; inhabiting a grey nowhere in which you are expected to be mature, but denied the privileges of legal maturity.

And maybe 17, conspicuously devoid of any real milestones, stuck between more iconic ages, is the perfect choice to represent that feeling.

LA-based Cody Crump certainly has an appreciation for the theme of aging; along with this track, he’s got another one called “I Hope I Die Before I Get Too Old” and an EP called “Death.” As dark as that might sound, Crump’s music manages to capture the playfulness of youth as much as its nostalgic wistfulness.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. The sparkling guitar conveys the same first-day-of-school happiness as this song.

2. There’s a female vocalist subtly hidden in the backing vocals. I don’t know who she is, but if she’s 17, Crump is a genius.

3. At 2:30, just when it feels like the song is about to take off, it gets cold feet and settles back into the quiet comfort of the guitar.

Recommended listening activity:

Looking through that box of old birthday cards that you can never quite bring yourself to get rid of.

Buy it here.