Resist the urge.
Graduation is here and you’ve got Green Day, Eve 6 and Vitamin C cued up on your iPod. But much like your college education, the ‘90s are over. There are so many other songs to celebrate with, and really, the “it’s all ending” jams are kind of a downer.
So instead, here are the “look at me now” anthems and a few celebratory tracks, too. You kicked academia’s ass. Now walk it out.
Congrats, good luck, rock on.
Kanye West, Beyoncé, Charlie Wilson & Big Sean, “See Me Now”
This bonus track off Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is the album’s victory lap, featuring verse after verse of Ye and Co. reveling in their success. It’s half “we can’t believe how far we’ve come” and half “suck it, haters.” That attitude makes it a sort of perfect graduation song. Just imagine rubbing your degree in the faces of those high school teachers who said you’d never amount to anything, as Beyoncé practically snarls “Where you tryna go? / You better act like you can see me now.”
Danny Brown, “Grown Up”
I’ve mentioned this one before, and I’m mentioning it again because it’s just so fitting. Danny Brown, still an up-and-comer, takes a slightly more humble approach to the “look at me now” song, but still sneaks in plenty of pride. Add in the mellow beat, and you’ve got a track to sit back and reflect with.
Chiddy Bang feat. Icona Pop, “Mind Your Manners”
OK, back to bragging. This upbeat summer jam features a chorus of kids (guess that’s still a thing) singing “there is no one like me.” Listen to Chiddy, you special butterfly. This is one of those times in life where you get to throw around platitudes like that and no one can give you shit. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Look, ma! No hands! Yeah, this song got a little played out, but don’t you love that childlike confidence you get when your parents are proud of you? Denver natives Flobots rap about how they can do anything, progressing from riding a bike without using the handlebars to guiding a missile by satellite. Someday, right? Dream big.
Deer Tick, “Let’s All Go To The Bar”
Now that you’re done bragging and strutting (for now), get to the wild celebration phase. The title of this song says it all, and the lyrics are very straightforward: “I don’t care if you’re already drunk / Let’s all go to the bar.” Deer Tick is hammering this song out with infectious energy, completely with a full band sing-along moment. It’s impossible not to join in.
Bruce Springsteen, “Born To Run”
In the literal sense, this song is about escaping the oppressive working-class suburbs of New Jersey. But in the larger sense, it’s about the roaming spirit in everyone. You’re out of college, you’re free and you can go anywhere you want. Baby, you were born to run.
fun., feat. Janelle Monáe, “We Are Young”
Well, you’ll soon be off to adult life. The “real world,” as some say (pfft). But you’re still young, and more importantly tonight, you are young. So live up to those lyrics you’ve been relentlessly Facebooking and tweeting, and set the world on fire.
…Fine, you can all get weepy and sing “Good Riddance” now. How drunk are you? Jeez.