The Four Most Realistic Songs About Adulthood

On any given day I will tell you that being an adult is either the greatest thing ever or the absolute worst. Much like the moral of a South Park episode, however, the truth is somewhere in the middle. As many of you have no doubt discovered, being an adult is pretty boring. You wake up, go to work, browse Facebook, pay your e-bills, pretend to work, and go home. After that you fall asleep on the couch while watching Castle on TNT because you thought they still aired Law and Order at that hour and you're too tired to find something else.

Not exactly the stuff that songs are written about.

Occasionally, though, a brilliant artist will come along and attempt to encapsulate what it means to be an adult through the art of song. Few have done it successfully -- only four have done it perfectly.

"Fred Jones, Part 2" by Ben Folds

You could pick literally any Ben Folds song and it would be a depressingly accurate window into the world of adulthood, but there's just something so hopeless and tragic about the story of Fred Jones that nothing else compares.

If you've ever left a job with nothing to show for it, or been replaced by someone with half your experience, or seen the whole world change around you while you're faced with stagnation, the life of Fred Jones will resonate with you and probably make you want to curl up in bed and die. The sad truth of growing up is that at least once in your life, you will feel 'forgotten but not get gone'.

"Diaper Money" by The Lonely Island

If there's one thing I've learned from my friends who are parents, it's that diapers are expensive. I can't quite relate, as I am one of those freaks who has no children and lots of dogs, but I can imagine how costly it must be to replace a pair of polymer underpants every time a baby poops. I don't own a grave plot either -- yet -- but as an adult, I have thought a great deal about what will happen to my remains when I die, and whether or not my tombstone will have minimal typos.

The real meat of this song, however, is in the J. Orgus section about the status of marital intercourse with your wife. People say that Kanye and the Jigga man are real, but I don't think there's anything more real than singing about how your wife won't have sex with you because she hates your guts.

"Business Time" by Flight of the Conchords

How to sum up adulthood in one word? Routine. "Business Time" nails this perfectly. As a teenager, you think you will grow up and look awesome all the time and always have fresh breath, and you'll constantly be having spontaneous sex where you are wearing the perfect outfit for the occasion and there will be a bear rug under you and a roaring fire in the background.

What actually happens, however, is that you will realize that it's a Wednesday, you're not too tired from work, there's nothing good on TV, and you're ready to go to bed anyway. You'll also realize that you don't always have fresh breath, and brushing your teeth really is a very important part of foreplay. As for the sexy outfit you had planned? It's an old t-shirt from work. That's right, the one with the curry stains. You told yourself it would never happen to you, and it did, and Flight of the Conchords just told everyone about it.

"Once In a Lifetime" by Talking Heads

At some point in your adult life -- probably more than once -- you will look around and wonder just how the hell you got where you are. It makes no sense. You still remember kindergarten, how can you possibly have a gas bill? There was a point in time when you fought like mad to get $10 to get a toy at the mall, and now you've got a car in the garage that cost you more money than you've ever seen in your life -- come on, you know you didn't pay cash.

You might be married, you might have dogs, you might have kids; you might be a widower, you might be bankrupt, or you might even be a Republican. None of those things were conceivable when you a child, and they're still hard to get a grasp on now. In one song, Talking Heads sum it up perfectly -- it's like water holding you down.

Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.

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Liz Kelly
Contact: Liz Kelly