15 Songs You’ll Probably be Forced to Hear at Your Graduation

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Graduation can be painfully, tragically cliche.

Just as you’ve pictured it, everybody puts on those those weird hats and long robes (or gowns?) that make you look more like you’re graduating from Hogwarts than your actual school. Your teachers talk about your future. Your valedictorian talks about the past. Your vice principal talks about… well, nobody knows because nobody pays attention to your vice principal, but it’s probably pretty boring.

Then they call everyone’s name, and you go up to claim a rolled up piece of paper. Your loved ones in the audience cry. And a song plays the entire time. That song is Pomp and Circumstance (which has some pretty weird origins as a graduation song). But right after that, they’ll play another song—something more modern and tragically cliche.

How cliche is this whole experience? We can pretty much guarantee the song they play will be at least one of these.

Green Day – “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”

You know, the song that was in every 90s movie, ever? Why they still play this, I have no idea.

Vitamin C – “Graduation (Friends Forever)”

Yeesh. Talk about being “on the nose.”

Nickelback – “Photograph”

Make. It. Stop. Please. The only thing worse than having to listen to Nickelback is having to listen to Nickelback while waiting to get the piece of paper that controls your future.

Nicki Minaj – “Moment For Life”

“Hey, young person! You like Nicki Minaj, right? Isn’t that what all the basic kids are listening to these days?”

LCD Soundsystem – “All my Friends”

If your school is super awesome, they’ll play LCD Soundsystem. Yeah it’s what your older, hipster-millennial sibling used to play at parties when they were in high school—but, come on. How does this not give you the feels?

Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth – “See You Again”

Okay, even though you probably can’t relate to leaning up against a brand new Dodge Viper on the Pacific Coast Highway, this one is actually kind of sad.

Black Eyed Peas – “I Gotta Feeling”

This song has never been cool. But it’s bland and safe and vaguely celebratory. Which is probably why we’re all still living with it 8 years on.

Fall Out Boy – “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs”

This is a break-up song. Please feel free to point that out to whoever chose to play it. They won’t ever learn to think critically if you don’t.

Sarah Mclachlan – “I Will Remember You”

I guess your grandparents will appreciate this one?

American Authors – “Best Day of my Life”

The graduation planning committee apparently watched the trailer for an indie movie, once. Even though this song has banjo in it, it’s still way better than Nickelback.

FUN – “We Are Young”

Big time points if they play this jam. Was it over-played on all the alternative radio stations in its heyday? Sure. But you’d have to have a heart of stone to not get at least mild feels.

Miley Cyrus – “The Climb”  

Oh, no thank you.

Matchbox Twenty – “How Far We’ve Come”

For all its horrible blandness, it’s hard to not like this song. Your brain will probably play a montage of some of your favourite (and not so favourite) school memories during the bridge section.

Nas – “I Can”

Granted, Nas is really cool. But there’s something about the obviousness of playing this during a graduation that makes the whole experience feel sort of embarrassing…

Bryan Adams – “Summer of 69”

Yes. So much win.

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*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.
Chris D’Alessandro

Chris D’Alessandro

Chris D’Alessandro is the Communications Manager at Student Life Network. He puts words together in fancy ways and has more cover-up tattoos than he'd care to admit.