Peace Out, High School: A Graduation Playlist


Lukas Werner

With graduation around the corner, listening to nostalgic music adds spice to the celebration.

Avery Eldon, Staff Reporter

Over the course of the past four years, music has become a dominant part of my life. Through the highs and the lows, music has always helped me feel whatever emotions I needed to. It compliments a sad, rainy day when you feel like the world is crashing down on you, and it helps you to celebrate the sunny, hopeful days when you feel like you can conquer the world. 

I was a sophomore at La Salle when I first joined The Falconer staff, and since then I have struggled to find inspiration and motivation to publish consistently. However, writing playlist stories has always been something that felt really personal and special. 

As my time with The Falconer comes to an end, here is one final playlist — specifically for my fellow seniors. This playlist is for our big day, our graduation. Some songs encourage a bright smile, while others are nostalgic tearjerkers as we leave our childhoods to enter the real world, whatever that may mean to you. 

“First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes:

The song “First Day of My Life” is full of sentimental-sounding melodies. I remember hearing the soft guitar strums on the bulky speakers in my kindergarten classroom as parents lined up to take photos of all the six-year-olds about to graduate. The tone is light, innocent, and can cause a wave of waterworks. 

“How Far I’ll Go (Alessia Cara Version)” by Alessia Cara:

What is next after high school? Some of us know, others don’t. This song, from the beloved Disney movie “Moana,” is all about independence, strength, and finding your place in the world. The melody and lyrics create a hopeful sound that is perfect for a “ready-to-enter-the-world” anthem. 

“Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears:

This is a song full of so many meanings. There are so many possible interpretations with sleek guitar sounds mixed with insane drum beats and a synthesizer. The song could be about celebration or despair. It’s up to the listener. Yet, there is an ambitious tone to the song, making it perfect to listen to after you throw your cap into the air. 

“Live Forever (Remastered)” by Oasis:

Voted the best song ever by Q Magazine, Oasis’ “Live Forever” is a classic coming-of-age song which has floods of euphoric sounds and lyrics. This song is all about finding yourself, with lyrics: “Maybe I will never be/ All the things that I want to be/ Now is not the time to cry/ Now’s the time to find out why.”

“Forever Young” by Alphaville:

A cult classic from the 1980’s, “Forever Young” is a synth-pop song with textures and colossal beats complimenting the voices of Marian Gold. It’s a song about life and loss, inspiring deep reflection as one leaves one’s past and moves onto a new future. 

“Cleopatra” by The Lumineers:

The Lumineers are known for their perfectly composed hits. “Cleopatra” sits at number three on the “Cleopatra” album released in 2016. The album is perfectly stitched with mature songs laced with fresh folk-pop sounds perfect for when you feel ready to take on the world. 

“How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston:

In 1986, the late Whitney Houston released “How Will I Know,” which stayed #1 on Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. The hit was originally made for Janet Jackson, who declined, but luckily made it on Houston’s self-titled debut album. Houston’s voice mixed with the techno-pop tempo shapes a perfect throwback to the 1980’s hit. 

“The Night is Still Young” by Nicki Minaj:

“The night is still young, and so are we,” are the most perfect lyrics. The song feels alive, with the sounds of a pulse persuading you to dance. It’s an invitation to enjoy life, have fun, and conquer the world. 

“We’re All In This Together (Graduation Mix)” by The Cast of High School Musical:

It would not be a graduation playlist without at least one song from “High School Musical 3: Senior Year.” The class of 2022 was around five years old when this classic Disney Channel Original Movie hit the screens. I remember gathering around the couch with my cousins and quickly dancing on my feet during the entire movie. Obviously, I was crushing on Troy Bolton and Chad Danforth. The young actors have one of their last scenes of the movie series to this song, and it will always have a special place in my heart.