High school musical

Graduation is a time to remember and many like to commemorate the occasion by choosing a class song. But is there some sort of quota to meet?

Every time I think about it, I feel puzzled. First of all why is it necessary? The only real responses I get are “for fun.” Nextly, how do you go about picking a song to represent how it feels to go through an experience such as high school. So, for research, I have gathered six popular graduation songs or just songs I feel fit in with the themes of the others.

“Good riddance (time of your life)” – Green Day

More known by the subtitle, this is what I first think of when someone mentions graduation. It was not a hit on first release and single handedly caused the returns of thousands of copies of the Nimrod album. It was written by singer Billie Joe Armstrong for his girlfriend who left him to move to Ecuador. In it he expresses not only his desire to move on but his anger at her leaving. I have to agree with the fans as I find this song grading. Everything about it seems so whiny. Also, should a graduation song be about a bitter breakup?

“Graduation (friends forever)” – Vitamin C

What better way to pick a song than have one that is specially made. The biggest hit for Vitamin C (Colleen Fitzpatrick) it speculates what will happen to the various people that you will never see again. Daring to wonder, “Will we still be, friends forever?” After this she went on to write music for teen stars like Hannah Montana. Surprisingly catchy and super corny it remains a favorite nostalgia pick of many seniors of the 2000s. When examined at the basic level it is just a lady with orange hair rapping over “Canon in D major.” But as far as the message and appeal go, it is a solid average.

“Don’t you (forget about me)” – Simple Minds

Ah, the 80’s. A lot of the movies were centered around high school so of course a song from one of them would be a popular choice. Originating in The Breakfast Club, it was the breakout hit in the U.S. for Simple Minds. Since then it has become a pop culture phenomenon showing up everywhere. Countless TV shows, movies, and not even to mention the shameless parodies of it’s movie of origin. Not to mention it has strong themes of remembering…and not forgetting…so that makes it a must for making an experience stick. Despite all that I am not the biggest fan of this song. Honestly I am sick of hearing it.

“I remember you” – Skid Row

A hair metal ballad of epic proportions with vocals to match. Not kidding about the vocals either. Sebastian Bach, (yes that is his real name), went to broadway for his amazing singing talent, playing Jekyll/Hyde in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The song itself is pretty cheesy with lines like, “When love went blind and you would make me see,” even featuring “Love letters in the sand,” as part of the refrain. Overall it was the band’s most successful song. Though not my favorite hit by Skid Row, I can definitely appreciate the feel of a ballad that knows what it is. It remains fun to this day.

“It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday” – Boyz II Men

This one goes to my mom and is her class song from 1993. She was not happy with it then and I doubt she ever will be. Boyz II Men became one of the top selling vocal groups of all time through the course of the 90s. Being their second single, this song is a big part of what put them on the map in the first place. That being said I have to side with my mother this time. Do wop has never been my style.

“Right now” – Van Halen

Hey guys, Sammy Hagar is back again! No aliens this time only pure motivation with a dash of Crystal Pepsi. A huge song in it’s own right with an award winning video and even a lawsuit surrounding the name. According to Hagar it was written to inspire people to not sit around and wait for something they believe in. And instead to go out and make a change in any way they can. This was released at the end of the cold war after all. I love this song. The piano intro is definitely the highlight making some real hype for the experience to follow.

“Imagine” – John Lennon

Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful songs ever written of course people choose it frequently for graduation. My question is, does anyone listen to the lyrics? At the very least it is a political protest saying we should get rid of possessions and religion. If you did deeper, Lennon himself admits it is, “virtually the Communist Manifesto.” Adding, “even though I not particularly a communist and I do not belong to any movement.” Lennon was actually a very politically charged individual. While I do not dislike the song I am annoyed by the people who never bother to learn what it means. To me that is like selective ignorance.

Take a look at these songs what are the common themes? Break ups, motivation, and misunderstandings are all that I see. I will never understand how people can take a title or a single line and form their own meaning around it. In my opinion there are very few songs that could ever be considered fitting. So why not pick anything? Why limit ourselves to just what makes sense on paper? A song should be memorable for what it means to you not how it was used.