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    16 Birthday Songs To Sing Instead Of “Happy Birthday To You”

    They say it's your birthday. Here's a sweet 16 songs to get you in the mood for your big day.

    50 Cent - "In da Club"

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    Dr. Dre and Mike Elizondo’s production on this #1 hit is so good, it probably woulda been a smash if 50 Cent were rapping about plate tectonics. But the minute he tossed off “Go shorty, it's your birthday,” a club (and birthday) classic was born.

    CHOICE LYRIC: “I'm that cat by the bar toasting to the good life / Moved out the hood now you trying to pull me back, right / When my joint get to pumping in the club, it's on / I wink my eye at your chick, if she smiles, she gone”

    Carly Simon - "Happy Birthday"

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    Sure, you can read mournfulness into this tale of former lovers, celebrating a birthday long after they’ve grown up and moved on. But there’s also acceptance, biblical allusions, social critique, even a microwave - everything we’ve come to expect from a writer as nuanced as Carly Simon.

    CHOICE LYRIC: “We've given up caffeine and sworn off desserts / I don't try to seduce you, we don't even flirt / We're too good to be happy, too straight to be sad / So just blow out the candles”

    Stevie Wonder - "Happy Birthday"

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    Stevie recorded this jubilant ditty in 1981 to promote the push for a national day honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. And it worked! Two years later, President Reagan signed the holiday into law. Play this one for the freedom fighter in your life on his or her birthday.

    CHOICE LYRIC: “Because it should never be / Just because some cannot see / The dream as clear as he / that they should make it become an illusion”

    the bird and the bee - "Birthday"

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    This one's sleek, classy and catchy, just like everything else that Inara George and Greg Kurstin do together as the bird and the bee.

    CHOICE LYRIC: “Who knows your birthday? / Who knows your number? / Who knows your color? / Who knows your hands? / Who knows the sum of all your parts?”

    Jeremih - "Birthday Sex"

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    Could a song called “Birthday Sex” have been anything but an R&B slow jam?

    CHOICE LYRIC: “We grinding with passion (‘cause it's your birthday) / Been at it for hours (I know you thirsty) / You kiss me so sweetly (taste just like Hershey's) / Just tell me how you want your gift girl…”

    Lesley Gore - "It's My Party"

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    There’s never been a better summation of the dark side of funtimes than “It’s My Party.” Fun fact: Quincy Jones produced it, and pretty much all of Lesley Gore’s huge hits in the mid-’60s.

    CHOICE LYRIC: “Judy and Johnny just walked through the door / Like a queen with her king / Oh what a birthday surprise / Judy's wearin' his ring”

    Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach - "Tears at the Birthday Party"

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    According to “It’s My Party,” the birthday girl is the only one allowed to cry at her own birthday bash. Not so, according to “Tears at the Birthday Party.” This elegant tearjerker features a party guest about to break down as he watches an old flame celebrate. Leave it to Elvis and Burt to dress up heartbreak in a suit and tie.

    CHOICE LYRIC: “But now I see / I see you share your cake with him / Unwrapping presents that I should have sent / What can I do?”

    Katy Perry - "Birthday"

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    The most recent addition to our list is an effortlessly fun disco romp with some bawdy double entendres about birthday celebration. Of course, Katy knows a thing or two about throwing an excellent party - remember “Last Friday Night (TGIF)?”

    CHOICE LYRIC: “But when you're with me / I'll give you a taste / Make it like your birthday everyday”

    Robby Armstrong - "Birthday Happy"

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    How many times did Robby Armstrong have to get cake smashed into his face and guitar while shooting this music video? That’s just one of many questions that come to mind while watching this clip of his song “Birthday Happy.” Another one: anyone else getting hungry?

    CHOICE LYRIC: “Happy birthday baby / My friends do rock and roll / Birthday happy, yeah that's me / Tonight I'm shining like gold”

    No Doubt - "Six Feet Under"

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    Well, this is a refreshing change! This peppy number counters the joy of celebrating your birthday with the crushing despair of knowing that you’re one year closer to death. Yep, we’re all gonna die. No doubt about that (see what we did there?)

    CHOICE LYRIC: “Today is my birthday / And I get one every year / And some day… / Hard to believe / But I'll be buried six feet underground”

    Rihanna - "Birthday Cake"

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    Rihanna straight-up admits in the first verse that “it’s not even my birthday.” So yes, this song is more about sexual come-ons than celebrating the anniversary of her birthing. But with all the references to icing, candles and especially cake, you gotta respect RiRi's commitment to the birthday conceit.

    CHOICE LYRIC: “Cake / Cake / Cake / Cake / Cake / Cake / Cake / Cake…”

    The Ting Tings - "Happy Birthday"

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    We can think of no acid trip more appropriate for children than this Yo Gabba Gabba! clip of the Ting Tings covering a birthday song by Scottish new wave band Altered Images.

    CHOICE LYRIC: “If they were me and I was you / Would you like a present too?”

    Matt Nathanson - "Birthday Girl"

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    The singer-songwriter behind “Come on Get Higher” offers up a metaphor about the way that love can lead to spiritual renewal - or rather, rebirth.

    CHOICE LYRIC: “C'mon and lift the fog, my birthday girl / The rains came, turned all the hills green / Turned the dirt to flowers, birthday girl”

    Destiny's Child - "Birthday"

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    This slow-grooving R&B jam finds Destiny’s Child suggesting “You don’t have to do nothin’” and “leave your problems up to me.” Birthday fantasy, or ode to slackers? You decide. We’re content just listening to Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland sing so sweet.

    CHOICE LYRIC: “Im sendin’ out invitations / To let all your friends know that (it's your birthday) / But all that I really wanna do / Is wrap you up and get in the groove”

    Fiona Apple - "Love Ridden"

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    While it’s not a birthday song proper, this haunting ballad opens with a birthday-oriented lyric too breathtaking not to include.

    CHOICE LYRIC: “Love ridden, I will look at you / With the focus I gave to my birthday candles / I've wished on the lidded blue flames under your brow / And baby, I wished for you”

    Sondre Lerche - "Happy Birthday Girl"

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    This song from our favorite Norwegian singer-songwriter was an appropriately epic final track for his 2006 album Phantom Punch. Now it’s an appropriately epic final track for this list.

    CHOICE LYRIC: “And while I'm barking at the moon / You sing your heart out to a tune / Hoping you'll never grow old”

    It's our birthday too, yeah. Join in ASCAP's 100th birthday celebration at www.ascap100.com.

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