It’s graduation season and time to celebrate with graduation parties and every party needs a soundtrack. Teens are proud of their accomplishments and parents are a mixed ball of emotions.
While the soundtrack of high school graduation songs might be Pomo and Circumstance, if you are looking for graduation songs for a playlist for that end of an era video or graduation party, think more in terms of Green Day, Rascal Flats or Taylor Swift.
These graduation songs are the tune and lyrics to that next step in life, an uplifting, if teary way to say goodbye and move on.
Here are the best graduation songs for 2023
You’re Gonna Miss This by Trace Adkins
If you love country music, and songs that give you the chills, include Adkins on any graduation song list.
Best line: You’re gonna miss this. You’re gonna want this back. You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast.
(Good Riddance) Time of Your Life by Green Day
This beautiful, haunting song never gets old and can bring anyone to tears.
Best line: But in the end it’s right. I hope you had the time of your life.
100 Years by Five for Fighting
If we ever needed a reminder of how fleeting it all is, this is the song.
Best line: Fifteen, there’s never a wish better than this. When you only got a hundred years to live.
My Wish by Rascal Flatts
Every parents dearest hopes put to music…
Best line: My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to. Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small.
See You Again by Wiz Khalifa
The song may have started as a tribute to someone gone too young, but it celebrates the enduring love of best friends. Graduation songs that speak to friendship, speak to us.
Best line: And what’s small turned to a friendship, a friendship turned to a bond. And that bond will never be broken, the love will never get lost.
I Was Here by Beyoncé
No list is complete without one of Beyonce’s most beautiful tunes. We all want to leave our mark on teachers, classmates and everyone we loved. She puts that longing to music.
Best lines: I was here, I lived, I loved, I was here
I did, I’ve done, everything that I wanted
And it was more than I thought it would be
I will leave my mark so everyone will know I was here
These Are Days by 10,000 Maniacs
High school or college graduation is a moment in life and this song captures that perfectly.
Best line: These are days you’ll remember. Never before and never since. I promise.
I Lived by OneRepublic
The group explains their song, “The whole idea, to quote the late great Robin Williams from Dead Poets Society, is very much ‘carpe diem‘.”
Best line: I, I did it all. I owned every second that this world could give.
Roar by Katy Perry
No song gets people to their feet faster than this Katy Perry ballad. Doesn’t get more feel good than this.
Best line: Now I’m floatin’ like a butterfly
Stinging like a bee, I earned my stripes
I went from zero, to my own hero
Slow Down by Nicole Nordeman
This gentle song speaks every parents heart in a reflective graduation song.
Best line: But slow down. Won’t you stay here a minute more. I know you wanna walk through the door. But it’s all too fast.
Never Grow Up by Taylor Swift
No graduation list would be complete without without Taylor Swift’s ode to childhood.
Best line: I just realized everything I have is someday gonna be gone.
Graduation (Friends Forever) by Vitamin C
This song was written for graduation ceremony, and anticipates how these moments of love and friendship will soon be nostalgia. Cue the tears.
Best line: ‘Cause we’re moving on, and we can’t slow down. These memories are playing like a film without sound.
Have it All by Jason Mraz
This upbeat song summarizes every parents wish in one phrase, I Want You To Have It All. We dare you not to dance when this one is playing.
Best line: And may the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows. And may the road less paved be the road that you follow.
Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson
We have tried, for 18 years, to give them the wings they need. Now, Kelly Clarkson gives words to that good-bye.
Best line: I’ll spread my wings and I’ll learn how to fly
I’ll do what it takes ’til I touch the sky
Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds
Because if Breakfast Club and good friends doesn’t sum up high school what does? And if we didn’t dip back into the ’80s looking for graduation song inspiration, who would we be anyway?
Best line: the unforgettable, “Don’t you forget about me.”
I’ll Let You Go (Live) by Jessica Allossery
If Grown and Flown had an anthem, this would be it. Allossery’s gorgeous haunting tribute to the fact that we are always there for our kids, even as they grow their wings and fly.
Best line: Some years down, the long long road
If you need help with your load
I’ll always be here for you, you know…My love stays when you go.
My Little Girl By Tim McGraw
Because if a graduation song has one message it is that we want them to take on the world, find new friends, have new adventures, but always knowing that home is here if they need it.
Best line: Chase your dreams, but always know the road. That’ll lead you home again.
Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield
As our teens head off, all potential and promise, they could do worse than to remember these Natasha Bedingfield words.
Best line: I am unwritten
Can’t read my mind
I’m just beginning
The pen’s in my hand
For more songs: 2023 Graduation Songs Guaranteed to Make You Cry
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