Photo by Baim Hanif
Graduation is mere days away, and if you’re doing it right, you’re scrambling to fit in your last Flip Night at Faegan’s, your final midnight Calios, and a farewell tour around campus. It’s understandably bittersweet, saying goodbye to your home for the past four years as you move onto that shiny post-grad future. In the spirit of the season, it’s time to delve into the top songs to celebrate graduation, with a fair share of sappiness, angst, and celebratory zeal to commemorate the best days of our lives.
10. Graduate – Third Eye Blind
The rockers of our youth grace us with a fiery anthem for getting out into the real world as soon as possible. College is certainly not a walk in the park every day of the year, and this song reflects pre-final exam sentiments when we’re ready to give up studying and let the chips fall where they may. For those of you in a hurry to escape Central New York weather and stress-inducing deadlines, this one’s for you.
9. Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds
If you’re a Breakfast Club fan, Pitch Perfect enthusiast, or an 80’s rock aficionado, you’re probably well aware of this iconic track. The Scottish five-piece found international fame when Judd Nelson’s character triumphantly pumped his fist into the air while sauntering across a football field in The Breakfast Club. Underneath all the shoulder pads and teased hair, the song has sentimental value.
8. Forever Young – Alphaville
The 80’s were a good decade for nostalgic coming-of-age power ballads. The German rockers aptly remind us that although our youth may be fleeting, being young is a state of mind. If we’re going, at least we’re going out in a blaze of glory.
7. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – Green Day
A true classic for Generation Y, this song will have you reminiscing about the past long before the lyrics get to you. The rise and eventual fall of Green Day played a huge part in our formative years, and this song has the perfect amount of wistfulness and hope for the future when reflecting on the past. After all, college is supposed to be the time of your life, right?
6. Landslide – Fleetwood Mac
Graduation is an exciting time, but leaving the comfort and frivolity of college can be daunting. “Landslide” can bring emotions brimming to the surface every time, resonating with you deep down. The apprehension of change is a universal feeling among grads, but the song has a folksy twang that makes you feel at home, something we can all hold onto when saying goodbye to our home at Syracuse.
5. We Are Young – Fun. feat. Janelle Monáe
It’s important to remember that we’ve got a lot of life left to lead. This is the time to adventure with friends, stay up late, and get a little wild. Nate Reuss’ ascending vocals, triumphant percussion, and expansive synths remind us that this is a time for celebration, so why not go all out?
4. I Will Remember You – Sarah McLachlan
Another tearjerker, and not just because her voice is universally associated with those heartbreaking ASPCA commercials. College is full of friendships that make the memories so special. It’s certainly hard to let all of that go, but as Sarah rustically croons, “Weep not for the memories.” It’s time to go out there and make some new ones, while holding close those connections made here.
3. In My Life – The Beatles
A notorious track for its sentimentality, “In My Life” takes a step back to reflect on the past in its entirety, which can be a lot to handle. Short and to the point, this song hits you right where it hurts, but in the best way. Graduation is the end of a big chapter, but only the prequel to the rest of our lives. It's a not-so subtle reminder to remember the little people when you make it big.
2. Celebration – Kool & The Gang
Now that we’re all thoroughly disheartened, it’s time to bring the party back around. After all, making it through countless quizzes, exams, and lectures over the last four years is no small achievement. It’s nearly impossible to be sad while listening to this song, so rinse and repeat as needed.
1. Graduation (Friends Forever) – Vitamin C
The mother of all graduation soundtracks, if this isn't in your graduation playlist you are wrong, my friend. With motifs from Pachelbel’s Cannon and Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 3, this track harnesses that nostalgia factor while still being relentlessly catchy. The lyrics speak on what’s to come in the next stage of life, while still holding true to the past no matter what: “As our lives change / Come whatever / We will still be friends forever.”
Play these tracks and more of our favorites for graduation below: