Playlist: Graduation Anthems

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Graphics by Simru Sonmez-Erbil

By Simru Sonmez-Erbil, WERS Staff Writer

Now would have been around the time for many seniors in high school and college to have their graduations. Ceremonies aren’t happening the way they were planned, but we can still attempt to capture the spirit of graduation through music! Whether you yourself are graduating, were supposed to be attending someone else’s graduation, or even simply feel like reminiscing about your time as a student, here are some songs all about school days to celebrate this crazy but fun stage of life.

"Cooler Than You" – Eric Hutchinson

This banger from Eric Hutchinson is enough to inspire anyone to leave behind the insecurities that high school holds. The song speaks a comforting truth – that bullies may seem on top of the world but wind up “taking a job at Foot Locker” post-graduation. “Cooler Than You” is a folksy ballad with a punk rock spirit off of Hutchinson’s upcoming album, Class of '98, an album centered around his high school experience! Fun fact: Hutchinson also happens to be an Emerson alum; we like to think his college experience was much better than his high school one!

"Campus" – Vampire Weekend

“Campus” paints an artful picture of college life; this song is a must-have on your cap-and-gown playlist! Vampire Weekend is a band big on reminiscing about their college days; this is one of their many songs supposedly inspired by the band’s days at Columbia University, where the members met. The punchy chorus really reflects that spunkiness and youthful soul. The lightness of the tune creates the feeling of walking across an idyllic college campus on a sunny day.

"My Old School" – Steely Dan

There wouldn’t be school songs without anti-school songs. “My Old School” is a journey through Steely Dan co-founders Donald Fagen and Walter Becker’s misadventures at Bard College. I’m not sure they appear in pamphlets as notable alumni, though, what with the line “I’m never going back to my old school!” Regardless, those admissions folks would have to be pretty heartless to not be amazed by the artful combo of horns, piano, and harmonies on this tune. My band at school loved the groove so much that we wanted to perform a cover of it. We decided it would probably (definitely) be taken the wrong way in front of a school audience…

"High School Nights" – Dave Edmunds

The thrill of being young is a part of what makes school days distinctive. Sitting in class during the day is one thing, but Dave Edmunds is right when he talks about those “High School Nights.” Some of the fondest times we remember upon graduating is spending time living it up with friends in the evenings. This song’s classic rock ‘n roll feel with an ’80s twist really encapsulates the sound of youth and good times! Here’s a groove that would send me straight onto the dancefloor at a school dance.

"Expectations" – Katie Pruitt

Graduations aren’t always one-hundred-percent celebrations; there also comes a feeling of uncertainty about the future that this great tune by Katie Pruitt sums right up. The end of school life means the beginning of real life, hence this hard-hitting line: “Once you walk out that classroom door, nobody tells you where you're going." Over the course of the song, an incredibly powerful melodic buildup forms and really bursts out at the end, mirroring that rollercoaster of emotions that happens at some graduations. Having this song on makes me feel just like the emotional aunt who keeps dabbing her eyes throughout the ceremony!

"We're Going To Be Friends" – The White Stripes

Take a trip way back to your early school days with this nostalgic tune from The White Stripes. Hearing this sweet song makes me smile at how simple life was as a youngster. Not only that, it really shows what made our educational experiences so memorable. The real special thing about time at school is the friends you make along the way, the people you find that make that experience so much better.

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