Top 10 Memorable Grad Songs

Script written by Francesca Savoy It’s that time of the year again! The time when you move on from something that you’ve spent so long in which is sad but at the same time it means that you’re moving into adulthood. These songs always play at graduation and evokes serious nostalgia. We’ve included songs like “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus, “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield and of course “Graduation” (Friends Forever) Vitamin C.

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Top 10 Memorable Grad Songs

Nothing lasts forever…unless of course it’s immortalized in song. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Memorable Grad Songs.
For this list, we're looking at tunes that best capture the emotions of graduation. We're only including officially released songs, which means there won’t be any covers.

#10: “The Climb” (2009)
Miley Cyrus

This song about overcoming obstacles and naysayers to accomplish your dreams definitely stirs up all those confusing post-high school feels. When you’re so close yet so far from exactly where you want to be in life, part of you just wants to skip all the hard parts and get there as quickly as possible. But, as Miley laments, something crucial is missed out on when you try to fast forward to the end. Life might knock you down but sometimes the hardest parts are the most memorable. Those are the moments that make you. The important thing is getting back up and continuing to climb the mountains of life, and most importantly taking your time and enjoying the journey.

#9: “Unwritten” (2004)
Natasha Bedingfield

It’s said that high school is the time when we find ourselves. But, truthfully, we’re always confined to the rules of our school, our teachers, and of course our parents. But graduation represents a turning point in our lives where our choices are now our own. It’s not an ending but rather the beginning of our own personal stories. This pop song emotes the hopefulness that comes from opening yourself up to possibilities and choosing to define yourself on your own terms. No one knows what your future holds, and thus it is still yours to write.

#8: “I Will Remember You” (1996)
Sarah McLachlan

As that last day of high school inches closer and closer, the tint on every senior’s graduation goggles grows more and more rosy. Every experience over the past couple of years suddenly feels that much more magical. Moving on is never easy and can be overwhelming, as few people want to leave the good old days, but you’ll always have the memories. This nostalgic song is a promise to not miss out on life by being stuck in the past, but, at the same time, to still remember the people and moments that touched you - and especially to never take them for granted.

#7: “See You Again” (2015)
Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth

This ballad that became a heart wrenching tribute to the late Paul Walker of the Fast and Furious franchise is an impassioned story about friends who become a family as they grow together during a shared journey. This is emblematic of the intense emotions that come with graduation and having to say goodbye to your friends. This song reminds us that the truest friendships can be stretched over miles, and still never be broken. Parting ways may mean the end of an era, but it is not the end. There will always be a road back home.

#6: “We Are Young” (2011)
Fun feat. Janelle Monáe
It’s right there in the chorus and title: tonight, we are young. And right now, nothing else matters. This celebration of youth relishes in making the most of the here and now. Unlike most of the songs on this list, which either look forward to a hopeful future, or back on fond memories, this song is at home right here in the present. Even though the night will eventually end and the bar will close, we should value these precious moments as well as those who will pick us up when we are at our lowest and carry us home – just as we should appreciate graduating to another era in our lives.

#5: “Closing Time” (1998)

In yet another song about a night spent at a bar, it’s last call, so everyone finish up that last drink and head for the door. When the metaphorical last call of high school approaches, it’s time to make the most of those final days and then step out into the world. Interestingly, this song doesn’t focus on all the wonderful memories made that night or the exciting adventures the new day promises, but just specifically on the end of the night. But don’t fret, because every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

#4: “Graduation (Friends Forever)” (2000)
Vitamin C

When you’re young, everything feels like it will never end. But just because high school couldn’t last, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be friends forever. This song is a bit of a contradiction. It’s all about accepting that people grow apart and things will forever be different, so you should say everything you want to say and do everything you want to do right now. But it’s also about holding on to those people and those moments that made a difference to you. It represents the confusing juxtaposition of nostalgia and foresight that plagues virtually all high school seniors and as such, it’s become a staple at many grads ever since.

#3: “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” (1985)
Simple Minds

Will we still be friends come Monday? That’s essentially the question asked by geek Brian in the iconic confession scene in the John Hughes film, “The Breakfast Club”. This is the same movie that made this song famous. As graduation looms closer, seniors must come to grips with the reality that their relationships might fall apart when they’ll be faced with not seeing each other everyday. And so, similar to the movie’s themes, the new wave track asks the daunting question all grads think about: when this shared experience is all over, will we still be friends? Although the question remains unanswered, hope still remains.

#2: “Forever Young” (1984)

Jay Z heavily reworks this song in his “Young Forever” track, which is all about savoring youth and making yourself immortal. Similarly, its source material emotes the intense all-or-nothing kinds of feelings that come with feeling young and invincible. However, the song also touches on the fear of growing up, which is a fear that’s very familiar to all seniors getting ready to graduate. Change can be scary and it might seem easier to preserve things the way they are forever, but is that really better in the long run? The best we can do is prepare ourselves for whatever challenges life has to offer and hope for the best.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are some honorable mentions.

“Photograph” (2005)

“100 Years” (2003)
Five for Fighting

“Goodbye to You” (2002)
Michelle Branch

#1: “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” (1997)
Green Day

This iconic Green Day song is a big step away from the punk rock band’s usual sound. The gentle simplicity of the acoustic guitar accompanied only by a violin, and the hopeful and melancholy lyrics, make this the perfect grad song. The track proposes that things that happen to us may not always be in our control, but we should welcome the uncertainty - and trust in life and the lessons that time will teach us. Life is never the thing we’d expect, but we should still believe that things will turn out for the best. Through all the “tattoos of memories” and the “forks stuck in the road,” the good and the bad were all worth it and will be – just like they are before and after graduation.

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