Graduation season brings lots of exciting and intense things: gifts, family reunions, hugs, tearful nostalgia sessions, parties, and music.
When I think "commencement," I'm immediately transported back to the assemblies my high school held for the seniors at the end of every school-year, with all the conglomerations including photo slideshows of the graduating class and Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)" playing in the background.
That's not the only song that comes to mind when graduation season rolls around. Here are some tunes that will put you in the right mindset as you say farewell to this chapter in your life and prepare to welcome the next.
1. Graduation by Vitamin C
I'm not totally sure why this song was ever made, but boy did it have an impact on my junior high school classmates.
Toward the end of the eighth grade graduation dance, Vitamin C's "Graduation" started to play, causing a flood of girls to run to the bathroom in tears.
My friend already wanted to go to the restroom because the guy she liked had been freak dancing (our first introduction to grinding, BTW) the prettiest girl in our graduating class all night, so we chased after her as she sobbed en route to the nearest stall. It was tough to find space for her though, as the restroom was completely full of crying 13-year-olds, all of which were apparently broken up about the transition from middle school to high school.
I looked at my buddy Crystal, the only other dry-eyed person in sight, and said, "Why is everyone crying? We're all going to the same high school, for God's sake!"
"It's still emotional!" someone tried to tell me, but I wasn't having any of it.
There was only one high school in town, but that wasn't the point. This song brings out the waterworks in tweens, so if you're 13 and in need of a good cry, play this on repeat. You probably consider it "old school" as well, so enjoy listening to retro hits!
2. Graduate by Third Eye Blind
Because Third Eye Blind is just amazing.
3. Closing Time by Semisonic
I know this is about being told to leave a bar, but it could also be applied to graduation.
"You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here."
4. Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There is A Season) by The Byrds
My fifth grade teacher played this right before we graduated elementary school. We all found it catchy, but paid little attention to the lyrics, which are all about transitions and different life experiences. Some of the lyrics are:
"A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep
To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven"
5. Mrs. Robinson by Simon & Garfunkel
Because The Graduate, hello!
6. Here's to the Night by Eve 6
This is a bittersweet song on reminiscing about good and not so good times with pals. It might be the only one on this list that can actually make me choke up.
"Here's a toast to all those who hear me all too well."
Yeah, it's really hard to say goodbye to those folks. I miss you, friends!