24 Songs That Define 24 Years

There is no discounting the fact that a song can elicit powerful thoughts and memories that can transport you back in time to a certain stage of your life. Back in July of 2015, I chronicled the songs that made imprints in my life from 1998-2014. Now 6.5 years later, I realize this list needs updating. Using the same format that I used in my initial blog post, here are the songs from 2015-2021 that have stood the test of time for me.

Long ago, a job I held allowed me to DJ for thousands of people. Some of those songs I played appear on this list.

Song: “Butter”
Artist: BTS
Memory: Sid and I in our Las Vegas hotel room eating huge pieces of cake watching The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. BTS performed this song on the show and whenever it comes on my wife and I always reminisce about that very hot July week we spent in the desert.

Song: “Savage Love”
Artist: Jason Derulo
Memory: I don’t think I am alone in associating this song with 2020. Fueled by TikTok, “Savage Love” by Jason Derulo was the soundtrack to the first year of the pandemic and I know my family not only watched the trend unfold but we participated in it too.

Song: “Never Really Over”
Artist: Katy Perry
Memory: A summer smash hit, we listened to this song a lot. It reminds me of Sid finding out she was pregnant with Beau and it also reminds me of our vacation to the Florida Keys. In fact, “Never Really Over” is the track I used for the highlight video I made of the trip.

Song: “In the Middle”
Artist: Zed and Maren Morris
Memory: I am pretty sure we spent double what we usually do at Target in 2018 just because the commercial that featured “In the Middle” was played so much. Oh well, at least this song was fun to listen to as it crossed over from just being associated with Target to being a major hit.

Song: “Castle on the Hill”
Artist: Ed Sheeran
Memory: Not only does this song bring me back to 2017 but I just really like it in general. Out of the 24 songs on this list, it is one of my favorites. This song reminds me of Sloan as an infant and I can vividly visualize Sidney dancing to the song while holding her.

Song: “Can’t Stop the Feeling”
Artist: Justin Timberlake
Memory: During the summer of 2016, this song was a smash hit. It also happened to be the summer I got married, went on our honeymoon, and hosted my family in Myrtle Beach. When one song can conjure up so many awesome memories, it is easy to see how it can be so defining.

Song: “Homegrown Honey”
Artist: Darius Rucker
Memory: After the music video for this song was recorded at Coastal Carolina University in late 2014, it became the unofficial defacto theme song of the institution in 2015. The fact that I appeared in the music video will forever bring me back to the mid-2010s whenever I hear “Homegrown Honey.”


Here is my original list from 1998-2014. I guess six years ago I wanted to count up instead of my current preference to count back. Since this is just a copy and paste job, I hope you can excuse the inconsistency.


Song: “Semi-Charmed Life”
Artist: Third Eye Blind
Memory: Driving around in my mom’s car hearing “doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo” all summer long.

Song: “Livin La Vida Loca”
Artist: Ricky Martin
Memory: Played all through basketball camp and it also turned into a cultural sensation.

Song: “Hanging By A Moment”
Artist: Lifehouse
Memory: This song accompanied our 8th grade end-of-year slideshow.

Song: “Beautiful Day”
Artist: U2
Memory: Heard this song quite a bit in the post-9/11 months and it is one of my personal all-time favorite tracks.

Song: “Hot in Herre”
Artist: Nelly
Memory: Extremely trashy song but heard it all summer long in our high school weight room during football workouts. Best memory is one day when the lyrics “Get up onto that dance floor” started to play our conditioning coach yelled in his best Nelly voice “Get up onto that football field” (it was time to transition from weights to sprints).

Song: “Ignition (Remix)”
Artist: Usher
Memory: Still a favorite for many today, this was one of our victory songs that we performed on the bus ride home after football wins.

Song: “Let’s Get It Started”
Artist: Black Eyed Peas
Memory: During the 2004 season, the NBA used this song as its theme music during the playoffs.

Song: “Scars”
Artist: Papa Roach
Memory: My friends and I had just turned 18 and we would drive out to a big casino about 30 minutes away. This song was on one of my badly burned CDs that we would listen to on our journey out to lose money.

Song: “How to Save a Life”
Artist: The Fray
Memory: Not having a car my first couple years of college, I relied on other people for rides. This one friend of mine always played this song in his truck when I drove around with him.

Song: “Glamorous”
Artist: Fergie
Memory: I was a resident assistant my sophomore year of college and it seemed like the whole residence hall believed they were glamorous as I remember hearing this song coming out of many doors.

Song: “Don’t Blink”
Artist: Kenny Chesney
Memory: Right when this song came out it spoke to me. I watched the music video over and over. Anyone surprised that this made the list?

Song: “I Gotta Feeling”
Artist: Black Eyed Peas
Memory: How can anyone not listen to this song and think immediately of the summer of 2009? My greatest memory though is playing this song immediately after the Montana-Appalachian State semi-final football game in December of that year (before the song was cliché). The win was so big and the party on the field so crazy that it was the only time we played music AFTER a game.

Song: “Dynamite”
Artist: Taio Cruz
Memory: Someone submitted a Monte mascot audition tape to me in April or May of 2010. It was set to this song and was the first time I had ever heard it. Liked it right from the start.

Song: “Super Bass”
Artist: Nicki Minaj
Memory: I have multiple memories associated with this song, making it just a little bit more meaningful than runner-up “Party Rock Anthem.”

Song: “Give Your Heart a Break”
Artist: Demi Lovato
Memory: The first time I heard this song, right when it gets to the part where Demi sings “The World is ours, if we want it…” I thought to myself, man, this girl is really belting it. I became a Demi fan that day and still enjoy overdramatizing the song when it comes on.

Song: “Can’t Hold Us”
Artist: Macklemore
Memory: Became the theme of both Montana basketball programs when the Griz and Lady Griz made it to their respective NCAA tournaments. I heard it and played it a lot.

Song: “Beachin’”
Artist: Jake Owen
Memory: First several months in Myrtle Beach I would constantly hear this song and know it was written exactly for me.


Hit me up in six more years when I update this list. In all seriousness, I think it is pretty cool to have all these musical memories documented. Don’t Blink.

Leave a Reply