All over the country right now, seniors are graduating from high school and college. They’ll walk across stages and receive their diplomas, stepping in time to the customary “Pomp and Circumstance,” and many students will have chosen a school song as well. For years, a few songs have become graduation standards: Boyz II Men’s “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye” and Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life),” to name a couple. These songs help students look back on fond memories and celebrate their accomplishments. These songs are also getting old. To help commemorate the landmark occasion in their lives, here are seven better graduation songs.
7. Nicki Minaj ft. Drake: “Moment 4 Life”
I wish that I could have this moment for life, for life, for life
‘Cause in this moment I just feel so alive, alive, alive
While it might need a little editing to make it family-friendly, its essence is perfect. There’s nothing better than graduation day: You’ve achieved what you set out to do, and there’s a whole new set of opportunities ahead. It’s definitely a moment you want to hold onto for life.
6. Dawes: “How Far We’ve Come”
Why we all are here tonight
Is to see how far we’ve come.
The only point of clocks and maps
The only point of looking back
Is to see how far we’ve come
Off of their upcoming album, Nothing Is Wrong, this song is perfect for looking back before moving on. It reminds graduates that the only point in turning back is to see the distance they’ve traveled and what they’ve accomplished—advice that will not only help them celebrate, but will always be important to remember.
5. The Hours: “Ali and the Jungle”
It’s, not, where you are
It’s where you’re going
Where are you going?
And it’s, not, about the things you’ve done
It’s what you’re doing, now
What are you doing, now?
School may be over, but there are always new challenges ahead. “Ali and the Jungle” is a song for keeping these celebrating students on their toes.
4. Iron & Wine: “Your Fake Name Is Good Enough For Me”
Become the love we made
We will become, become.
Become the endless chain
We will become, become
At the 3:00 mark the song turns into a beautiful chant of possibilities, both good and the bad. Commencement means “the beginning,” and this song explores the beginning of all that lies in front of fresh grads.
3. Lupe Fiasco ft. John Legend: “Never Forget You”
And let the evidence show, the future’s so bright
It’s never been more, not like tonight
We walk into the glow, right into the light
The past all around us, the time of our life
A song that focuses on the days gone past, the struggles faced and the records set. A memorial for a deceased friend, this song also works for commencement day. Somber and sweet, Fiasco created a joyful song out of painful memories.
2. Seryn: “We Will All Be Changed”
We can write with ink and pen
But we will sow with seeds instead
Starting with words we said
And we will all be changed.
This song is perfect for a high school choir to sing; proclaiming hopes, dreams and most of all, the inevitably of what’s to come next. There’s a terrifying but invigorating freedom in this song, one that exists only on the brink of a new venture, an emotion all graduates can identify with.
1. The Bravery: Ours
This time is ours
If I could hold this moment in my hands
I’d stop the world from moving
I’d stop the clock from turning.
Another song that focuses on holding onto the moment. Graduation is a time to celebrate and honor yourself and this song is all about freezing everything for one last chance with everyone you’ve known before diving into the unknown.