27 alternative birthday songs

27 Alternative Birthday Songs: Birthday Playlist

27 Alternative Birthday Songs: Birthday Playlist

Hey music lovers and fellow DJs, it’s TBone here, the heart and soul behind Level Tunes. With 20 years of spinning decks and diving deep into the music industry, I’ve developed not just a passion but a lifestyle around sharing phenomenal tunes.

Today, I’m thrilled to share something a bit special – a curated list of 27 alternative birthday songs.

Why alternative, you ask? Well, after two decades in the music scene, I’ve realized that while the classic “Happy Birthday” tune holds its charm, there’s a whole world of tracks out there that can add a unique vibe to birthday celebrations.

I adore this genre because it breaks the mold, offering something fresh and exciting.

So, whether you’re a DJ looking to spice up your birthday setlists or a music lover seeking to make your or someone else’s birthday memorable, this list is for you. Let’s dive into the world of alternative birthday tunes and celebrate in style!

Here are the alternative birthday songs that you can check out:

List Of Alternative Birthday Songs

Alternative birthday songs in a list format:

“Birthday” by The Beatles

From their iconic 1968 album “The White Album,” The Beatles’ “Birthday” song was released under the Apple Records label. This track stands out with its upbeat tempo and classic rock vibes, making it a perfect alternative to the traditional birthday song. The song was largely written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon in the studio, capturing the spontaneous energy and creativity of the band. What I love about “Birthday” is its infectious energy and how it instantly brings a celebratory atmosphere to any party. The guitar riffs are electrifying, and Ringo Starr’s drumming provides a solid backbone that gets everyone tapping their feet. Choosing this song was a no-brainer because it embodies the joy and excitement of celebrating another year of life with a bit of rock ‘n’ roll flair.

“In Da Club” by 50 Cent

Released in 2003 on the album “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” “In Da Club” is a hip-hop classic that has become synonymous with celebrations, including birthdays. This track, under the Shady/Aftermath/Interscope label, showcases 50 Cent’s smooth delivery and Dr. Dre’s signature production style. The reason this song makes my list is its undeniable hook and beat that make it impossible not to groove to. The lyrics, “Go shorty, it’s your birthday,” have become a birthday anthem for a reason. It’s a song that doesn’t just celebrate the day but does so with a swagger and confidence that can make anyone feel like the star of the show. Plus, the blend of hip-hop beats with a catchy melody makes it a crowd-pleaser across different age groups.

“Happy Birthday” by Altered Images

This 1981 hit from the album of the same name, “Happy Birthday,” was released under the Epic Records label, bringing a post-punk and new wave vibe to birthday celebrations. Altered Images, a Scottish band known for their catchy tunes and Clare Grogan’s distinctive voice, created a track that’s both playful and nostalgic. What draws me to “Happy Birthday” is its unique blend of joyful innocence and a slightly edgy sound, making it stand out from more traditional birthday songs. The synthesizer melodies paired with punk-inspired guitar riffs create a lively atmosphere that’s perfect for any birthday bash. It’s a testament to the band’s ability to craft a song that’s remained a birthday staple for alternative music fans.

“Birthday Cake” by Rihanna

Featured on her 2011 album “Talk That Talk,” Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake” is a track that exudes the Barbadian singer’s characteristic blend of R&B and pop with a seductive edge. Released under Def Jam Recordings, this song stands out for its bold lyrics and Rihanna’s compelling vocal delivery. What makes “Birthday Cake” so intriguing is its metaphorical use of birthday imagery to create a song that’s both playful and daring. The production, spearheaded by The-Dream and Da Internz, features a pulsating beat and catchy rhythms that make it impossible not to dance. Rihanna’s ability to turn what could have been a simple interlude into a full-blown celebratory anthem showcases her artistry. It’s a song that brings a modern twist to birthday celebrations, making it a hit for parties that are anything but ordinary.

“Forever Young” by Alphaville

Released in 1984 on their debut album of the same name, “Forever Young” by Alphaville is a timeless synth-pop anthem that has transcended its era to become a classic. Under the Warner Music Group label, this song captures the universal desire to remain youthful and immortalize the moments we cherish. Its melancholic yet hopeful melody, combined with lead singer Marian Gold’s emotive delivery, makes “Forever Young” a poignant addition to any birthday playlist. The song’s introspective lyrics ponder the passage of time and the wish to freeze it, resonating with listeners celebrating another year of life. What I appreciate most about “Forever Young” is its ability to evoke a sense of nostalgia and reflection, making it a beautifully alternative way to commemorate one’s birthday, reminding us of the beauty and brevity of life.

“Happy Birthday” by Stevie Wonder

From his 1980 album “Hotter Than July,” Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday” is not just a song but a piece of musical history that played a significant role in the campaign to honor Martin Luther King Jr. with a national holiday. Released under Motown Records, this song showcases Wonder’s genius in blending infectious melodies with socially conscious lyrics. What sets this song apart is its joyful celebration of life and legacy, wrapped in Wonder’s signature soulful sound. The harmonica solos and uplifting chorus make it an unforgettable birthday anthem that carries a deeper message of love, unity, and respect. Choosing “Happy Birthday” by Stevie Wonder was an easy decision, as it brings together the spirit of celebration with a reminder of the impact one life can have on the world.

“It’s My Party” by Lesley Gore

Produced by Quincy Jones and released in 1963, “It’s My Party” is a classic pop song that tells the story of a teenage girl’s birthday party gone awry. Despite its seemingly light subject matter, the song, featured on Gore’s album “I’ll Cry If I Want To” under Mercury Records, resonated with young listeners thanks to its catchy melody and relatable lyrics. What draws me to “It’s My Party” is its blend of innocence and assertiveness, encapsulating the drama of teenage life with a memorable chorus that everyone can sing along to. Lesley Gore’s expressive vocals bring to life the emotions of the song, making it a timeless hit that adds a vintage charm to any birthday celebration. It’s a song that reminds us of the highs and lows of growing up, making it a perfect, nostalgic addition to the list.

“We Are Young” by Fun. featuring Janelle Monáe

Released in 2011 on their album “Some Nights,” “We Are Young” by Fun. featuring Janelle Monáe quickly became an anthem for the youth, capturing the spirit of living life to the fullest. This song, under the Fueled by Ramen label, combines indie pop with elements of alternative rock, creating a powerful and uplifting track. The song’s explosive chorus, “Tonight, we are young / So let’s set the world on fire / We can burn brighter than the sun,” speaks directly to the desire to seize the moment, making it a perfect birthday anthem for those looking to celebrate their youth and the endless possibilities that lie ahead. What I particularly love about “We Are Young” is its ability to bring people together, uniting them in a shared moment of joy and defiance. The collaboration with Janelle Monáe adds an extra layer of soul to the track, making it a memorable addition to any birthday playlist.

“Happy” by Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” from the 2013 “Despicable Me 2” soundtrack and later included on his 2014 album “G I R L,” is a global phenomenon that brings a simple message: happiness. Released through Columbia Records, this song stands out for its catchy beat, infectious clapping rhythm, and Pharrell’s smooth vocals. The reason “Happy” makes this list is its universal appeal and the way it captures the essence of joy in its purest form. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday or just in need of a mood booster, “Happy” delivers a feel-good vibe that’s hard to resist. The song’s music video, featuring people from various walks of life dancing and expressing their happiness, underscores the song’s message of finding joy in every moment. It’s a modern classic that encourages everyone to dance their way into another year of life with a smile.

“Age of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” by The 5th Dimension

This medley, combining “The Age of Aquarius” and “Let the Sunshine In,” was released in 1969 on the album “The Age of Aquarius” by The 5th Dimension, under the Soul City label. It captures the essence of the late 60s’ optimism and the counterculture movement. The song’s blend of pop, R&B, and psychedelic soul, along with its harmonious vocals, makes it a timeless piece that embodies the hope for a better world. Choosing this song for a birthday celebration brings a touch of peace, love, and harmony to the occasion. What’s compelling about “Age of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” is its message of universal love and the dawning of a new era of understanding, making it an uplifting and thought-provoking addition to any birthday playlist. It’s a song that celebrates not just the individual, but the collective journey towards light and love.

“22” by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s “22,” from her 2012 album “Red,” captures the carefree spirit and the mixed emotions of being in your early twenties. Released under Big Machine Records, this song is a pop anthem that celebrates the joys and challenges of growing up. Swift’s lyrics, “I don’t know about you, But I’m feeling 22,” resonate with anyone embracing their youth and the freedom that comes with it. What I love about “22” is its energetic beat, catchy melody, and relatable lyrics that make it impossible not to sing along to. It’s a song that encapsulates the feeling of standing on the precipice of adulthood, making it a fitting tribute to anyone celebrating their early twenties. Taylor Swift’s ability to connect with her audience through her storytelling makes “22” a song that not only marks a birthday but also the journey of self-discovery and embracing life’s uncertainties with a sense of excitement.

“All My Friends” by LCD Soundsystem

From their 2007 album “Sound of Silver,” “All My Friends” by LCD Soundsystem is a masterpiece that encapsulates the passage of time, friendships, and the reflection on life’s fleeting moments. Released under DFA Records, this track stands out for its repetitive piano motif that builds into an exhilarating crescendo, mirroring the emotional intensity of looking back on years gone by with friends. James Murphy’s introspective lyrics combined with the song’s progressive structure make “All My Friends” a poignant and celebratory anthem for those moments when you’re surrounded by the people who’ve shaped your journey. What I adore about this song is its ability to convey a sense of nostalgia and urgency, making it perfect for a reflective yet joyous birthday celebration. It’s a reminder of the bonds we share and the memories we create, making every year worth celebrating.

“Celebrate” by Kool & The Gang

“Celebrate,” the title track from Kool & The Gang’s 1980 album, is a funk and disco anthem that’s become synonymous with good times and celebrations. Released through De-Lite Records, this song’s infectious groove, brass section, and uplifting chorus, “Celebrate good times, come on!” have made it a staple at birthday parties and celebratory events worldwide. Choosing “Celebrate” for a birthday playlist was an easy decision due to its universal message of joy and togetherness. What makes this song stand out is its timeless appeal and the way it instantly brings people to the dance floor, sharing in a collective moment of happiness. Kool & The Gang’s ability to create a track that transcends generations ensures that “Celebrate” will continue to be a favorite for years to come.

“Birthday” by Kings of Leon

From their 2010 album “Come Around Sundown,” Kings of Leon’s “Birthday” is a rock anthem that combines the band’s signature sound with a celebratory theme. Released under RCA Records, this track showcases the Followill family’s cohesive musicianship and Caleb’s distinctive vocal style. The song’s driving beat, memorable guitar riffs, and reflective lyrics on the passage of time and celebration make it a unique addition to any birthday playlist. What draws me to “Birthday” is its blend of introspection and celebration, capturing the essence of marking another year with both reflection and anticipation for what’s to come. Kings of Leon have a knack for crafting songs that resonate on a personal level, and “Birthday” is no exception, making it an ideal choice for those looking for an alternative rock birthday anthem.

“Young Forever” by Jay-Z featuring Mr. Hudson

Released in 2009 on the album “The Blueprint 3,” Jay-Z’s “Young Forever,” featuring Mr. Hudson, is a hip-hop track that samples Alphaville’s “Forever Young,” giving it a new life as a reflective anthem on youth and legacy. Under Roc Nation, this song combines Jay-Z’s reflective verses with Mr. Hudson’s haunting rendition of the chorus, creating a powerful commentary on the desire to live a life that’s remembered. What I appreciate about “Young Forever” is its ability to bridge generations through its sample and themes, making it a poignant addition to a birthday celebration. It speaks to the universal wish to remain young at heart and to make an impact that lasts beyond our years. Jay-Z’s introspective lyrics and Mr. Hudson’s emotive delivery make “Young Forever” a song that celebrates life’s moments with depth and introspection.

“Firework” by Katy Perry

“Firework,” from Katy Perry’s 2010 album “Teenage Dream,” is an empowering pop anthem that encourages listeners to embrace their uniqueness and shine brightly. Released through Capitol Records, this song stands out for its motivational lyrics, soaring vocals, and memorable melody. Perry’s message, “Cause baby you’re a firework / Come on show ’em what you’re worth,” makes “Firework” an uplifting addition to any birthday celebration, encouraging the birthday person to recognize their own worth and potential. What I love about “Firework” is its infectious energy and the way it inspires confidence and joy. It’s a song that not only serves as a backdrop for a festive occasion but also leaves a lasting impact, reminding everyone that they have the light within them to illuminate the world.

“The Luckiest” by Ben Folds

From the 2001 album “Rockin’ the Suburbs,” Ben Folds’ “The Luckiest” is a beautiful ballad that speaks to the profound love and gratitude one can feel towards another person. Released under Epic Records, this song is not a traditional birthday tune, but its heartfelt lyrics and tender piano arrangement make it a perfect choice for celebrating someone special in your life. What makes “The Luckiest” stand out is its ability to capture the essence of feeling truly fortunate to have someone in your life, making it an ideal song for birthdays to express love and appreciation. Folds’ storytelling through music and the emotional depth of the song’s lyrics ensure that it resonates deeply, making any birthday celebration more meaningful.

“1999” by Prince

“1999,” the title track from Prince’s 1982 album, is a funky, vibrant anthem that celebrates life and the joy of living in the moment. Released through Warner Bros. Records, this song is an invitation to party like it’s 1999, encouraging listeners to let go of their worries and embrace the present. What draws me to “1999” is its infectious energy, Prince’s iconic sound, and the song’s ability to turn any gathering into a full-blown celebration. Its futuristic, party-like atmosphere, combined with Prince’s genius musicality, makes “1999” a timeless hit that’s perfect for ringing in another year of life with style and excitement.

“Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper

From her 1983 debut album “She’s So Unusual,” Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” is a classic pop ballad that has stood the test of time. Released under Epic Records, this song captures the enduring nature of love and support, making it a touching addition to any birthday playlist. What I love about “Time After Time” is its emotional depth, Lauper’s expressive vocals, and the song’s message that someone will always be there for you, no matter what. It’s a song that celebrates the bonds we share with those closest to us, offering comfort and reassurance on a day of reflection and celebration.

“Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey

Released in 1981 on their album “Escape,” “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey is an anthem of hope and perseverance. Under the Columbia Records label, this song has become a staple in popular culture, known for its uplifting message and memorable melody. The reason “Don’t Stop Believin'” makes an excellent birthday song is its ability to inspire and motivate. The lyrics, “Just a small-town girl, living in a lonely world,” speak to the journey of life and the importance of holding on to dreams. It’s a track that encourages everyone to keep pushing forward, making it a powerful addition to celebrate another year of life’s journey.

“Good as Hell” by Lizzo

From her 2016 EP “Coconut Oil,” Lizzo’s “Good as Hell” is an anthem of self-confidence and empowerment. Released through Atlantic Records, this song combines soulful vocals with an infectious beat, encouraging listeners to feel good about themselves no matter what. What makes “Good as Hell” such a fitting song for birthdays is its message of self-love and taking control of your own happiness. Lizzo’s energetic delivery and the catchy chorus, “I do my hair toss, check my nails, baby how you feelin’? Feeling good as hell,” make it impossible not to dance and embrace a positive mindset. It’s a celebratory track that reminds the birthday person to love themselves and to keep shining bright.

Fun Facts: Alternative Birthday Songs

“Birthday” by The Beatles

  • Recording Session Fun: The Beatles recorded “Birthday” during a spontaneous session on September 18, 1968, at Abbey Road Studios. Paul McCartney and John Lennon wrote the song on the spot, and the recording was completed in under 24 hours, showcasing the band’s ability to create hits in a flash.

“In Da Club” by 50 Cent

  • Chart-Topping Debut: “In Da Club” was a massive commercial success, debuting at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It became 50 Cent’s first number one single and played a significant role in establishing his career in the music industry.

“Happy Birthday” by Altered Images

  • TV Star’s Band: Clare Grogan, the lead singer of Altered Images, was also a well-known actress. She starred in the cult classic film “Gregory’s Girl” around the same time her band was achieving musical success, showcasing her versatility as an artist.

“Forever Young” by Alphaville

  • Multiple Versions: Alphaville released two versions of “Forever Young”: a fast-paced version that became a dance hit and a slower version that emphasized the song’s emotional depth. This duality helped the song appeal to a wide audience and ensured its longevity as a classic.

“Happy Birthday” by Stevie Wonder

  • A Song with a Cause: Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday” was part of his campaign to have Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday recognized as a national holiday in the United States. His efforts, along with the song’s popularity, helped raise awareness and contributed to the successful establishment of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“It’s My Party” by Lesley Gore

  • Produced by a Legend: “It’s My Party” was produced by Quincy Jones, who was relatively unknown at the time. The song’s success helped launch not only Lesley Gore’s career but also contributed to Jones becoming one of the most respected producers in the music industry.

“We Are Young” by Fun. featuring Janelle Monáe

  • Grammy Win: “We Are Young” won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 2013. The track’s success marked a significant achievement for Fun. and helped solidify their place in the music world.

“Happy” by Pharrell Williams

  • 24-Hour Music Video: “Happy” is known for its groundbreaking 24-hour music video, which features a variety of people dancing to the song in a continuous loop. This innovative approach to music video production created a viral sensation and contributed to the song’s global popularity.

“Age of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” by The 5th Dimension

  • Broadway Origins: The song “Age of Aquarius” originally comes from the musical “Hair”. The 5th Dimension’s medley of “Age of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” brought the song to mainstream audiences, earning them a Grammy Award and solidifying the track’s place in music history.

“22” by Taylor Swift

  • Personal Inspiration: Taylor Swift wrote “22” about her own experiences and the feelings of freedom and confusion that come with being in your early twenties. The song’s relatable lyrics helped it become an anthem for young adults navigating this tumultuous stage of life.

Diving into these alternative birthday songs reveals not just a playlist, but a journey through emotions, celebrations, and milestones. Each track brings its own flavor to the party, proving that every year we turn not just older, but hopefully, a little wiser and definitely more musically enriched. Let’s keep the tunes rolling and the candles glowing as we celebrate the soundtrack of our lives.

Thanks for reading.


Scroll to Top