After growing up a bit, you develop a fondness for throwbacks to your childhood—and nothing does the trick like vintage pop culture! Take that old song you used to play every day in 8th grade, back when you thought nothing in the world described you better. Have you heard it recently? How did that feel?
Not only do artifacts from the past call up fond memories, but they also bring people together. After all, we all can connect over pop culture we’ve shared. Think about it: how many times have you bonded with people over any of the following?
“You’re killin’ me, smalls!”
“Are you ready kids?” “Aye-aye Captain!”
“I have died every day waiting for you. Darling, don’t be afraid. I have loved you for a thousand years.”
“You gotta, getcha head in the game! You gotta getcha getcha getcha getcha head in the game!”
“Those that break the rules are scum. But those who abandon their comrades are even worse than scum.”
Now, how many times have you revisited some piece of pop culture from your childhood and realized you missed some not-so-hidden jokes or messages? Chances are, you’re probably finding new ones all the time. Well, I’ll help you find some more—in a particularly unlikely place.
How many once-beloved TV shows do you remember from your childhood? You probably haven’t thought about these programs in ages, but some of their theme songs have really great, inspiring lessons in their lyrics. All your life, you’ve been singing great life advice without knowing it. As a child, you may not have realized how important the words are, but now you can. Look at these verses!
1. Arthur: “Believe in Yourself”
This is a popular childhood show starring a glasses-wearing aardvark named Arthur. The reggae theme song has a catchy, easygoing feel:
It’s hard to miss the life advice in that theme song: it pretty much directly encourages open-mindedness and mindfulness. There is also a lot of importance placed on self-trust and the value of following your intuition.
2. Lizzie McGuire: “We’ll Figure It Out”
Who could forget this early-2000s favorite focusing on a girl, her two best friends, and her animated conscience as she faces new adventures at school? This theme has a day-at-the-park, guitar-strumming feel:
The tone is witty. The song brings humor to the idea that no one knows what they are doing. There is an emphasis on people doing things that best suit themselves. The theme seems to say, “As long as you try, you’ll be able to learn and grow. Not everything will go right, but things will fall into place.”
3. All Grown Up: “All Grown Up with You”
This is the sequel series to Rugrats in which the characters are now preteens. The theme has a rock star aura that will make you want to go all out:
The life advice is not direct. The message focuses on evolving as a young adult. The lyrics speak to the growing pains of your preteen years: you know more than you did just a few years ago, but you’ve still got a long way to go.
4. Wizards of Waverly Place: “Everything Is Not What It Seems”
This late 2000s sitcom is about Alex Russo and her siblings, who are training to be wizards in accordance with family tradition. The theme song, like the show, gives off a mischievous vibe.
The wording in this theme is direct. Here we have a specific warning about thinking before jumping to a conclusion. The theme suggests that viewers be careful and keep in mind the potential consequences of their actions.
5. Pokémon: “Pokémon Theme”
Ah, there’s nothing like an original! These days, Poké-fever is everywhere, but back in the 1990s it all began with this worldwide-favorite anime, which features Ash and Pikachu on their countless adventures. The theme has a rock n’ soul feel that brings back memories of that era.
The words suggest togetherness. The theme brings attention to mutual understanding and exchange. The lyrics speak of courage, adventure, and not being afraid of what you don’t know.
6. Friends: “I'll Be There for You”
This sitcom from the 90s might not be part of your childhood, but is very well-known in American pop culture. The theme perfectly captures the feeling of a fun afternoon spent hanging with your friends:
Even though some 20 years have passed, this theme is just as relatable as ever: if you are struggling to organize your life, you’re not alone—and it’s all a little easier to bear when you know your friends have your back.
7. Degrassi: The Next Generation: “Whatever It Takes”
This Canadian high-school show was very popular in the U.S. The fun, hopeful theme brings a light-hearted mood to the angst-filled drama.
This song is great for motivation! Themes in these lyrics include self-trust, believing in yourself, and persistence. The remainder of the song is also surprisingly encouraging. If you have time, listen to the full song!
Did you know that these bits of life advice were in these theme songs? Does this make you want to look up other old theme songs?
Tell us what other theme-song life advice you can find in the comments!