This is the time of the year when graduates go through the ritual where they transition from one stage of life to another. It’s certainly an emotional time for all involved, and it does mark endings and beginnings. I don’t know about you, but when I graduated from high school, it was really strange to think that I was finished; that I wasn’t coming back in the fall. But I got over it, and quickly moved on. When I finished college, I was just excited to finally complete a degree that took far-too-long to get. I was ready to start my “adult life” and enter the world of careers, maybe marriage, kids, mortgages, and all that grown-up stuff. But what did I do? Um, I dove right back into school after a year of working at some crappy jobs. Ah, I guess I wasn’t quite ready to leave the womb. But enough about me. Here’s to you! The class of 2008. Go forth and kick some ass.
“I’m Coming Out,” Diana Ross
It seems this song has become a huge graduation song among “the kids.” I’m surprised it’s survived this long, but I suppose it’s a classic — even if it’s a classic performed by a really, really, really, really, bad person.
“Graduation Day (Friends Forever),” Vitamin C
Boy, if there was ever a list of “occasion” songs savvy producers put together to keep record sales strong once a year, this would top the list. I mean you can’t get a more blatant graduation song with a title like that!
“It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday,” Boyz II Men
It seems the Boyz have the market cornered on ballads that require you to dance with all of your friends at the end of dance. Okay, everybody get in middle of the dance floor for the big group hug dance. No? Okay, I’ll see you at IHOP, then.
Here’s one that initially stumped me on the whole graduation theme. But the closer I listen to the lyrics, the more it seems to fit quite nicely: Closing time/Time for you to go out, go out into the world Closing time/ Turn the lights up over every boy and every girl/Closing time/One last call for alcohol, so finish your whiskey or beer/Closing time/You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here. I believe that last line was uttered by my high school vice principal after our grad night party.
“Graduation Day,” Kanye West
Just the right amount of sass for a grad night, and it seems Kanye is a fan of Vitamin C. Or maybe he’s savvy enough to know money-maker title like “Graduation Day” when he scribbles it in his notebook. A word of advice: you probably don’t want to blast this one while your grandma is handing you a check for $250, kissing you on the cheek, and telling you how proud she is of you. Save it for the party with your friends.
“Today,” Smashing Pumpkins
Another song that I never thought was a graduation song. I mean, just read the first paragraph of the Wiki entry. I suppose people are just fixating on the opening lyric (i.e., Today is the greatest…day I’ve every known.“), and then completely ignore the rest of the song. Hmm…perhaps it can be argued that there’s a death metaphor in the rite of passage of a graduation. But you know what? I’m not going to bother making that argument.