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10 of the Top Coming-of-Age Soundtracks

As we got acne, pubes and boobs, films got great tunes

By Sophia Romanos

Have you ever found an onion ring in your hot chips? You didn’t ask for it, you didn’t even think you wanted it, but it’s there and you’re quite excited about it. This is how I feel about a bloody good movie soundtrack. I like to think that you’re enthusiastically nodding right now. Half the time we don’t notice what cinematic mumble is going on behind a film - but when it’s done right, it’s a fucking masterpiece. We’re toe-tapping, bopping our heads and yelling “Where’s the reMOTE, JOHN?! Turn it UP!” Growing up we were exposed to a lot of crap our parents liked to watch (sorry, Ma) but the coming-of-age films lining the 7-day-rental shelves at Video Ezy were hidden gems of the soundtrack world. Join me as we brush through 10 of the best coming-of-age soundtracks.

The Breakfast Club

Hey, hey, hey, heeey. If you’re not already whispering the sweet lyrics of Don’t You (Forget About Me) then feel free to turn the page, because we’re obviously not on the same one. The Breakfast Club I must say was never close to my heart, but you have to be deaf or Joe Exotic/in prison to not appreciate a classic when you hear one.

Shrek & Shrek 2

Yes. They are. They are coming of age films and I don’t want to hear you question me like that. Did you see Donkey’s progression in maturity? From prisoner to Dragon-spouse? If that’s not coming-of-age I don’t know what is. All Star by Smash Mouth is an obvious hip-thruster, but Counting Crows? David Bowie’s Changes? Who is responsible for such an impeccably curated smoothie blend of tunes? Frou Frou’s Holding out For a Hero can go die in a hole as far as I’m concerned - but I’m probably biased because we all know the fairy godmother is devil spawn.


Excellent, excellent, excellent. Please do me a favour and put this soundtrack on shuffle as you go for a little stroll around the block. Never speak of it to anyone, but nevertheless, it must be done. The scene where Matilda eats Cheerios and starts boogieing on the chair as Little Bitty Pretty One plays is enough to make me want to eat that horrible cereal.

Perks of Being a Wallflower

It is over-praised, alas, it must be included. 2012 meant suddenly everyone’s favourite song was Come on Eileen - a bop I knew from excessively playing SingStar '80s as a child. Regardless of my prejudice, Perks is a beef stew of some excellent '90s hits. Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide makes a feature, as well as Bowie’s classic, Heroes. The Smiths are a bit bleak for me, but in the year of black and white Instagrams and uniforms rolled three-times at the waist, it somehow spoke to our sweet, cynical teenage souls.

The OC

Caaaaaaliforniaaaaaaaaa here we cooooooo-oh-ome. An iconic TV show of the '90s. The OC with sexy, wife-beater-wearing Ryan Attwood was the beginning of great teen dramas and hormones. Notable mentions include Youth Group, The Killers, Ryan Adams, and Gorillaz’ Kids with Guns. I remember hearing Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah for the first time and shedding a little tear. Now it just reminds me of Shrek.

Home Alone

White Christmas performed by The Drifters, paired with Macaulay Culkin make this film what it is. Argue with me and I’ll send you a copy of the CD for Christmas. And some coal.

The Jungle Book

Please do not confuse this Jungle Book with that live-action remake that should never be spoken of. The animated Disney classic has only the best musical numbers of all time (Mama Mia, sweetie, block your ears). The Bare Necessities will make you want to dance around your house in your own bare necessities, and I Wan’na Be Like You is a serious tune. I can’t read music, but I can foot-tap really well and I’m always foot-tapping to this film.

Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging

Renting this CD from the city library was the start of the rest of my life. She’s So Lovely, Girls and Boys in Love and Toothpaste Kisses are songs each and every one of you should be adding to your Spotify - As long as you’re still wearing a training bra and enjoy the flavour of strawberry lip glosses that come free with magazines.

Dirty Dancing

Hearing I’ve Had the Time of My Life as Patrick Swayze lifts Baby in the more needs to be said.

Bend it Like Beckham

Basement Jaxx really makes this soundtrack what it is. Please feel free to add Red Alert and Do Your Thing to your running playlists because these create an excellent sense of ‘someone’s chasing you’ urgency. Blondie’s Atomic also makes an appearance which is a real confidence boost because she keeps telling you “your hair is beautiful.” Thanks, Blondie, I know.


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