15 songs that should play at every graduation ceremony - Features - Alternative Press




15 songs that should play at every graduation ceremony

June 04 2015, 10:34 AM EDT By Ben Sailer

For most high school and college seniors, it’s graduation season. If that describes you, then two things are likely true: 1) You’re going to be subjected to terrible music at your graduation ceremony and 2) You need a playlist that doesn’t suck to commemorate this time in your life. Even if you’ve long passed your schooling days, everyone loves a healthy dose of nostalgia, and odds are you can still remember how it felt to finally make a dent in the world (mixed with oh-shit-what-the-hell-do-I-do-now anxiety). No matter the case, this playlist is here to provide you with the soundtrack you’re looking for, every step of the way.

Blink-182 - “Going Away to College”

This one doesn’t need an explanation. If you’re moving off to college and you’ve ever had any sense of appreciation or nostalgia for Blink-182, then there’s no way this isn’t going on your iPod.

Write These Lyrics In Your Notebook:

I’ll think about the times / She kissed me after class / And she put up with my friends / I acted like an ass


Third Eye Blind - “Graduate”

If you’re wondering how Third Eye Blind ended up here, keep in mind they’ve long enjoyed cult status in indie/punk circles, earning a level of respect rare for a 90’s alt-rock band. Like our selection from Blink 182 above, this one’s an obvious fit that, like many of these guys’ songs, is darker than its melodies would suggest.

Write These Lyrics In Your Notebook:

Can I graduate, can I graduate / Can I look in faces that I meet / Can I get my punk ass off the street


The Descendants - “When I Get Old”

No one plans on getting boring when they get older. However, there’s no time like graduation to start losing yourself thinking what your future is going to be like. While something off Milo Goes To College might have seemed like a clear choice from the Descendants, “When I Get Old” remains a classic cut from a band that has shown us all getting old doesn’t equal giving up or giving in.

Write These Lyrics In Your Notebook:

Will I do myself proud or only what’s allowed? / What will it be like / What will I be like / What will it be like when I get old?


Andrew WK - “Party Hard”

You’re partying.

Write These Lyrics In Your Notebook:

When it’s time to party / We will party hard


Brand New - “Soco Amaretto Lime”

Spoiler alert: No one stays 18 forever, and nothing drives that point home harder than finishing high school, blowing through your last summer before college and finally making the next step in your life. Here’s to holding onto those moments for as long as you can anyway.

Write These Lyrics In Your Notebook:

I’m gonna stay eighteen forever / So we can stay like this forever


Head Automatica - “Graduation Day”

Not only does this song show off Glassjaw frontman Daryl Palumbo’s alterna-dance pop sensibilities, it’s also a good reminder that, for better or worse, 100 percent of everything that happens in high school stops mattering the minute you’re done. There’s also nothing wrong with deciding that college isn’t your immediate future, or necessarily in any part of your future at all.

Write These Lyrics In Your Notebook:

Graduation day, graduation day / We take back everything we said about you / I’m not going to school


The Wonder Years - “My Last Semester”

One of the worst things about high school is the terrible people you have no choice but to put up with until you get to college. One of the worst things about college, however, is also the terrible people you have to put up with until … well, you can see where this is going. You expect to run into douchebags of every species your freshman year (dudes with acoustic guitars everywhere for no reason, troglodyte bro-dudes, etc.), but when you realize those people somehow never quite go away even when you’re two months away from the finish line, you’d be forgiven for giving up on humanity. Here’s to looking forward to better crowds. Eventually.

Write These Lyrics In Your Notebook:

I’m not sad anymore, I’m just waiting / It’s two more months ‘til I’m done with this


Iron Chic - “Every Town Has An Elm Street”

No matter where you are, it’s easy to feel like there’s something better waiting for you somewhere else. Whether you’re on your way to college or taking a new job in another city, or you’re being left behind in your hometown while your friends move on, wanting to support the decisions those around you make (when they’re not the ones you want them to make for yourself) isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Neither is getting this song out of your head.

Write These Lyrics In Your Notebook:

You took the first fucking chance to get out of town / I’m cool with that, but I still want you around / Wouldn’t say I’m stuck here / But that’s irrelevant, because you’re free and clear


Modern Baseball - “Your Graduation”

We don’t recommend dwelling on past regrets, but sometimes, it’s hard not to. That goes double when you’re about to leave high school or college and can’t help but get drawn back to mistakes you’ve made and, soon enough, might not ever have the chance to make right. But hey, chin up there, sad sack! You might not have gotten the one that got away, but at least you’ve got Modern Baseball to commiserate with.

Write These Lyrics In Your Notebook:

It’s been three whole years of me thinking about you every day / Sometimes for hours, sometimes in passing


Modern Life Is War - “D.E.A.D.R.A.M.O.N.E.S.”

If you play in a band, there’s no better anthem for ditching your books for the summer (or possibly for the rest of your life) and getting in the van for tour than this. Not in a band? Who cares. This fist-pumping anthem, which is probably the closest thing Modern Life Is War has to a single, is a perfect part of any soundtrack for leaving home and making your mark on the world, on your own terms.

Write These Lyrics In Your Notebook:

It’s our life / We do what we choose / Black jeans, black shirt, black shoes / Mom and dad still don’t approve


Frank Turner - “Photosynthesis”

One of the most terrifying things about leaving school and “growing up” is wondering whether you’ll someday find yourself giving up on your dreams and getting stuck in a dead end job you hate. If that doesn’t sound like your idea of an ideal future, Frank Turner is here to let you know there’s a way out. If you’re naive enough to chase after your dreams even when conventional wisdom says you shouldn’t, you just might end up carving your own path toward something better than ordinary for yourself, too.

Write These Lyrics In Your Notebook:

No one’s yet explained to me exactly what’s so great / About slaving 50 years away on something that you hate / About meekly shuffling down the path to mediocrity / Well if that’s your road then take it, but it’s not the road for me


The Weakerthans - “Aside”

Few songs nail the feelings that come with being uncertain about your future better than the second track off of the The Weakerthan’s Left And Leaving. If you’re broke, alone, and ready to take on whatever comes next, John K. Samson has your number.

Write These Lyrics In Your Notebook:

Measure me in metered lines / In one decisive stare / The time it takes to get from here to there


Real Friends - “Home For Fall”

What happens when you come back home from college after you’ve been gone? Odds are things will have changed, and the friends who made your hometown what it was to you have likely moved on too. It can be a disorienting experience, and it’s one Real Friends sum up succinctly enough on “Home For Fall.”

Write These Lyrics In Your Notebook:

It’s just not the same around here without you


The Get Up Kids - “Holiday”

Nothing throws a wrench in a relationship faster than one or both partners leaving town for college. Hopefully, that’s not something you’re going through right now (or anything you have or will experience). If you are in this particular bind, though, at least the best emo band to ever come out of Lawrence, Kansas wrote you the perfect jam to listen to before you inevitably find one of thousands of other, probably cooler, people on your new college campus.

Write These Lyrics In Your Notebook:

Say goodnight means goodbye / I know you thought my life would stop with you away / Maybe I can see you on the holidays / But you’re worlds away


Was there anything we missed here? Tell us your thoughts on how this playlist rules (or sucks) and what you’d add (or remove) yourself below. And, for those graduating, congratulations on your achievements and best of luck on whatever your next steps may be.