THE HYST LIST // The Best Ages to Be (According to Rock Stars)

I always thought seventeen was the best age to be.

Why? Because you can rip fence palings off dude’s houses, swing them up and down hot streets like mega-dicks and never get tried as an adult. Tried and FAILED, more like it. I remember me and my mates broke into a kindergarten (soft target, I know), nicked their scarecrow and laid it atop a brothel surplus mattress. In the middle of the local high school. Lit that fucker on fire. Fire trucks from three neighbourhoods rocked up to put that baby out. Made the paper. Don’t do that. I mean, don’t ever do that. Seriously. Don’t do it. Even though it’s fun as fuck. Except you have that one just-graduated-private-school mate whose legs go numb when you mention the word illegal. Haha, fuckin’ pussy. Only when you’re seventeen. Sleep hangovers off until 2pm! The world doesn’t care. Except your Dad. I hate you, Dad!

Anyway, here’s our list:

18: Alice Cooper—I’m Eighteen

The ideal of being eighteen is better than being eighteen proper. Growing up, we wait our entire life to turn eighteen. On our 19th birthday, we spend every year shuffling toward the grave pining for eighteen again. I’m Eighteen is an electric funeral march for a reason. Everyone has fucked eighteen up. I fucked eighteen up. You fucked eighteen up. If I only knew then what I knew now … NO. If you gained adult insight the magic of eighteen evaporates like Marlboro Reds in a dive bar. Alice’s plaintive cry is a lament to the best worst age you can be.—Tom Valcanis

Not 23: Blink-182—What’s My Age Again

See, the great thing about this song is that it’s prophetic. Mark Hoppus invents ‘Netflix and chill’ like 15 years before it’s a thing … and fucks it up. ‘We start making out / she took off my pants / and then I turn on the TV!’ I would’ve walked away from you too, Hopp Hoppy Dogg. It proves you should never be 23. Just skip 23 altogether. It’s a dipshit year for dipshit people. What did I do at 23? Fuckin’ nothing, that’s what.—Tom Valcanis

60 (Plus): Frenzal Rhomb—60, Beautiful and Mine

On this punk-rock gem off Sans Souci, arguably Frenzal’s best record, Jay delivers their second best, retro-active love song after Bucketbong. Most middle-aged women loathe any evidence of their aging, and try to hide it like a Nazi war crime. Jay says to fuck with that: old chicks are hot and he’s gunna slip her a General Specific ‘Well she’s a fast damn woman / She’s a lovin’ machine / And she’s been around the block if you know what I mean’. Yeah mate, we sure do.— Owen Morawitz

22: Millencolin—Twenty Two

This one’s pretty much an ode to giving procrastination the finger. Nikola & Co snuck this one in a few years before Mark & Tom were waxing lyrical about the dangers of 23, and struggle with some pretty standard shit, like being young and uninspired: ‘Wake up late, then rehearse a bit with the band, I guess it’s cool? / Later when I’m home again I boil a note or two / Then I go to bed that’s what I do’. Get out of bed, you damn kids.—Owen Morawitz

21: Black Flag—Retired at 21

When the best ever lineup of Black Flag (yes, I said it. Because the first four lols) wanted to decry the people around them giving up on their rebellious days and become braindead fucksticks, they actually created a perfect existentialist slacker mantra. Ya fucked right up Hank, but we love you for it. ‘You’re retired at 21 / Your mind is gone / Your race is run’. There’s no point to anything that’s going to happen to you after the age of 21, so settle into a groove. Pour a daiquiri, sit out on your beach chair, fuck with shuffleboard. It doesn’t matter.—Tom Hersey

19: Eagles of Death Metal—I Got A Feeling (Just Nineteen)

Jesse Hughes is Ned Flanders if he dropped the whole bible-bashing thing and picked up a guitar and a few tats. He’s a total womanising, slicker-than-your-average badass. Cast your eyes at the vid for I Got A Feelin (Just Nineteen) and bask in the glory of that ginger porno mo in action. I’d grow a moustache too but it makes me look like an obnoxious shithead. Can’t do it. Jesse, on the other hand, pulls it off while getting frisky with some hapless young thing. ‘I touch you there because I know the spot / You know I’m everything that he’s just not / And when I hear it, yeah, you feel a shot / I’m comin’ for ya, baby, ready or not’. Spread the love, like the STIs you pick up when you’re nineteen.—Jack Pilven

Also 19: Steely Dan—Hey Nineteen

Donald Fagen once stated in an interview that he hoped Hey Nineteen would be enjoyed by “soccer mums in dentist chairs, bopping their heads, unaware of the filthy lyrics”. That’s kind of what it’s like being nineteen. You think that just because you’re that little bit older and people in clubs give you a little more respect because you’re no longer that fresh faced eighteen year old dickhead who gets too drunk too quick, you know what’s what in the world. But really, you still have no fucking idea. Keep bopping your head, kid. You’ve still got a lot to learn.—Khiara Elliott

Not 23: Anberlin—Alexithymia

‘Are you where you thought you’d be? / So beautiful, and only 23.’ Alexithymia by Anberlin is about (one of several) existential crises in your twenties. All of a sudden being the beer-pong champ of your flat isn’t enough of a life achievement. 23 falls into a disappointing purgatory of life. You are considered too old to be completely reckless and irresponsible, yet still too young and inexperienced to be taken seriously by anyone who matters. Singer Stephen Christian is right when he says ‘Don’t try to wake me up / Even if the sun really does come out tomorrow.’ Firstly, because naps are awesome. Secondly, because that sun won’t be coming out until you are at least 27.—Janise Kumar

26: Nine Inch Nails—Wish

Someone fucked off Mr. Reznor really badly to write something as coarse and unflinching as Wish. The Grammy-award winning song incited a mass of punters to grit their teeth and rage-out to the lyrics ‘Gotta listen to your big time, hard line, bad luck, fist fuck.’ The infamous music video featured the band playing inside a cage, surrounded by an enraged mob pounding at the bars from the outside and eventually making their way in and assaulting the members. That is exactly what being 26 is like. By that age you have been fucked over and disappointed by so many people, so many times, that you no longer give a shit about playing nice. Fuck the consequences. ‘26 years on my way to Hell.’ I’m going down, and I will bring all you miserable jerks with me. Whether it is about your boss, a psycho ex or the fucking price of fuel, if you’re 26 there is always someone or something to be mad as hell about.—Janise Kumar

29: Devin Townsend—Tiny Tears

The rush of age—much like this song—starts off as a thunderclap in the distance. Before you know it, you’re carried away in a deluge. With soaked hair and boots filling, inevitability fills the air. The trip on this pale blue dot is a one-way ride and when our meat container expires, that’s pretty much it. I’m not 29 just yet nor am I ‘a million miles away.’ There will come a point in life when you ‘can’t believe [you’re] just an ordinary guy,’—weak, fallible, imperfect. You are the arbiter of your own destiny. The choices leading to now, good, bad and in between, are yours and yours alone. But hey, that’s okay. We fuck up all the time. In this song (and his canon to date) Devy is so hard on himself it’s a crying fucking shame. Guy doesn’t know he’s far from ordinary. (Which you’ll find out in an upcoming ‘dish of the mag.) 29 isn’t a bad age to be. Floating on his sponge-layers of voice up into the heavens, it’s a warm hug. He reminds us being human is a long night full of terrors. We’re all stumbling around in the dark, same as him. At least Devy is here for you, eh buddy?—Tom Valcanis

What’s your age (again?) Do you agree with the list? Hit us up on Facebook or Twitter and have your say!

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