Song Saturday: “Sixteen”

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For this week’s edition of Song Saturday, we’re looking back at “Sixteen”, a catchy song detailing teen adolescence included on 1995’s Tragic Kingdom.

Written by Gwen and Tony, not much is known about the origins of this upbeat song that clocks in at 3:21 (with a lead-in to “Sunday Morning” on the album). Reviewer David Browne described “Sixteen” as a “song of solidarity with misunderstood teenage girls.” The song features a fun and sing-a-long chorus over soaring harmonies and rock guitars. “Sixteen” also features a spoken word monologue in the middle over strings (and its still being debated the origin of the broadcast).

No Doubt debuted the track on local favorite Ska Parade in April 1995 that featured a slightly rougher sound and space-sounding effects to the guitar.

“Sixteen” was integrated in the band’s live sets pretty frequently during the early part of the Tragic Kingdom tour. No Doubt seemed to phase out the song once they hit their European leg in early 1997.

No Doubt’s “Sixteen” was also included on a DLC pack for Rock Band — very cool!


You’ve been a juvenile
With a dolphin smile
With no elbow room
With your body in bloom
You’ve had your little backyard
Protected by big walls
You didn’t dare look over
‘Cause you’ve been too small

Now you’re finally sixteen
And you’re feelin’ old
But they, they won’t believe
That you got a soul no whoa no
‘Cause your only sixteen
And you’re feelin’ real
But you, you can’t seem to cop a feel no whoa no

Why do they have to force us
Through this metamorphose
Little butterfly
No matter how you try
You’ll be segregated
You’re gonna be closed off
You’re callow and you’re green
‘Cause you’re caught between

You’re only sixteen
Try to cross the line
But your little wings are intertwined no whoa no
Yeah you’re only sixteen
And you’re such a tease
And there’s nothing you do
That can really please no whoa no

“These children
They’re not really bad most of them
They’re just products
Of rotten neighborhoods
And bad family situations”

You know you can’t forsake it
So sit back and take it
You see you’re just not ripe
So don’t try to fight that

You’re only sixteen
You wanna catch a peek
But they, they look at you
Like you’re such a freak no whoa no
Well you’re only sixteen
With a lot to say
But they won’t give you
The time of day no whoa no

Well you’re only sixteen! (you’re only sixteen)
Hey you’re only sixteen!! (you’re only sixteen)
Hey you’re just sixteen!!! (you’re only sixteen)
You poor little thing

5 Replies to “Song Saturday: “Sixteen””

  1. I think we found out the origin of the broadcast/documentary… I can’t find any info about it now. But I remember we discussed about it and someone pointed out the origin. Not sure if it was Eric or Tom…

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