There are a handful of experiences that are nearly universal for young adults. Music, surely, is one of them.

From lyrics that sum up the adolescent experience to rhythms that just make you want to dance, a collection of good songs can get any 18-year-old excited – including me, an American student in Israel for the year.

I don’t often hear Israeli tunes on the radio back home, so I’ve been recently immersed into the techno beats and expressive voices of Israeli artists. I find Israeli music youthful and joyous in its rhythm and energy.

In putting together a playlist of Israeli songs any 18-year-old will love, I opened my ears to the music played in shops, in the shuk (outdoor market), and by the locals I meet.

My friend Adi Bloom, an 18-year-old born and raised just outside of Tel Aviv, suggested a list of songs with upbeat, poppy melodies and fast-paced lyrics.

Adi’s pop music suggestions immediately reminded me of the boisterous and adventure-seeking attitude that I’ve recognized in so many people my age here. For Adi, youthful music reflects what it feels like to grow into adulthood in Israel.

Tess Levy, center, and friends Sydney Rothschild and Sophie Caplin on the Aardvark Israel gap-year program listening to Israeli tunes. Photo by Phoebe Hoffman

I came upon the other songs on this playlist in other, indirect ways.

It was in Shuk HaCarmel in Tel Aviv that I heard Static & Ben-El’s “Habib Albi” blasting from a stand serving Thai food. I watched as Israelis my age passed by the stand, humming quietly along to the familiar pop beat and gaining an extra bounce in their step.

I first listened to Noa Kirel’s “Ambulance” in the back of a taxi driving down Ibn Gvirol Street in Tel Aviv. The driver told me that the song was his 18-year-old daughter’s favorite.

As a young nation bustling with young people, Israel is unique in its ability to create music that speaks to the lives and emotions of the up-and-coming generation.

These songs that I have gotten to know and love serve as intersections between the energy, arts scene, and technological prowess of Israel.