Miley Cyrus' chart-topping single "We Can't Stop," is the latest addition to the carpe diem party songbook. After a deep, male voice (God, perhaps?) tells us that "it's our party, we can do what we want," Miley comes in over a sparse drum beat and a piano to set the scene: "Red cups and sweaty bodies everywhere, Hands in the air like we don't care." You know the rest—the song soars to a climactic chorus about the electrifying tingle of youth, spiked with whatever is in those cups, dissolving any sense of time and worry until the sun rises.
Songs about enjoying the present are nothing new -- "Right Here Right Now," "Forever Young," "Heat of the Moment." But songs that celebrate the moment by describing a moment of celebration are a recent phenomenon.
A Pew Research Center study that asked Millennials what they thought was most distinctive about their generation found "technology use" to be the most popular answer. Maybe we're all so hypnotized by touchscreens that we not only need to be reminded to live in the present, but we need the lucid minds of Miley and her contemporaries to tell us what it looks like and how to behave once we are in it.
Or maybe, having grown up in the age of terrorism and the 24-hour news cycle, we're afraid the world might end at any moment. Popular music encourages us to savor what could be our final days on earth, while Hollywood, with movies like "World War Z" and "This Is The End," prepares us for the apocalypse by showing us what it may look like.
Then again, like Lindsay Lohan and Heidi Montag, we might just be afraid of getting old--and Miley is our musical Botox. If she tells us we are young and we are loving it enough times, we just might feel that way a little longer, or at least appear to.
Oh, youth, heavenly treasure, were it not for the ancient wisdom proliferated by the popular music of today, you would slip through our fingers, unnoticed, like droplets of Coors Light during a heated beer pong match. Here are 10 songs (with lyric samples) that, with subtlety, originality, and sensitivity to the ephemeral nature of existence, remind us every day (and night!) of one universal truth: YOLO.
"I Gotta Feeling" -- Black Eyed Peas
I know that we'll have a ball if we get down and go out and just lose it all. I feel stressed out, I wanna let it go. Let's go way out, spaced out and losing all control.
Watch "I Gotta Feeling" video here
Let's go crazy, crazy, crazy till we see the sun. I know we only met but let's pretend it's love. And never, never, never stop for anyone. Tonight let's get some and live while we're young.
Watch "Live While We're Young" video ehre