Graduation is right around the corner. If you’re like me, and you’re a senior who plans to graduate on May 9, 10, or 11, there is a looming sense of doom hanging over your head. There are plenty of outlets for this sadness, like drinking until you think you’re Michelle Obama.
However, if you want to try an outlet that isn’t going to kill your liver, perhaps you can try listening to some über-depressing music. As Onward State’s resident sad music guy, I’ve got your back.
Kanye West — “Graduation Day”
Ok, so this isn’t really a song. It’s a skit (with some music at the end) from Kanye’s fist album, The College Dropout. Your dad will probably give you a tongue lashing reminiscent of the one at the very beginning of the track after you graduate. What fun!
Motion City Soundtrack — “The Future Freaks Me Out”
This song may not actually be about the challenges you face in the future, but at least it’s one of the 20 best songs ever to blast out of your car when it’s 80 degrees out and you wanna sing at the top of your lungs. And besides, we’re all paranoid about the future. There are horrifying things like “being responsible” and “unemployment” and “crippling debt” out there.
Brand New — “Play Crack the Sky”
Jesse Lacey, the lead singer of Brand New, once said during a show “this song is about death.” It’s beautiful, poetic, and tragic, like a lot of the stuff on Brand New’s sophomore album, Deja Entendu. Or most of Brand New’s stuff. This list can be nothing but songs by the guys from Long Island and it would be perfect. Aw hell, I’ll add another one…
Brand New — “Soco Amaretto Lime”
Even if you’ve never listened to the song before, it will immediately bring you back to the summer before you came to Penn State, when you and all of your friends from high school had one last hurrah before going your separate ways. Then, remind yourself that you’ve grown apart from all of them, and that you’ll probably grow apart from most of your friends now. Dammit, now I’m sad.
Oasis — “Don’t Look Back In Anger”
Don’t look back in anger, don’t cry because it’s over smile because it happened, blah blah blah, all that stuff. This song’s probably about a relationship that didn’t work, but really, it can be about looking back on anything.
The Wonder Years — “Passing Through a Screen Door”
As Josh Kurp of Uproxx said of The Wonder Years and their 2013 album The Greatest Generation, “I can scream and self-loathe with a bunch of pop-punk sad sacks from the Northeast who named their band after a TV show. The Wonder Years make small details sound life-changing, where every heart-on-sleeve song sounds could be the soundtrack to a climatic movie scene.” “Passing Through a Screen Door” is a song about never being able to find stability in your life, something that all of us will probably face at least once in the future.
Semisonic — “Closing Time”
The “2 a.m. and the bar is about to close but the band gets one more song” song is also good for reminding you that your life is over. But hey, there’s something cool around the corner…unless you don’t have a job and you’re gonna be unemployed for a while.
The Smiths — “Asleep”
Nobody does depressingly beautiful quite like Morrissey. There are plenty of songs by The Smiths that make you go, “Dammit, life is over, isn’t it?” “Asleep” is one of those songs. Also, this lets me make a Perks of Being a Wallflower reference, which is one of the 10 most teenage angst-y things ever.
Blink-182 — “Dammit”
Sure, “Dammit” is about a breakup that never actually happened. But it’s still one of Blink-182’s best songs, and a perfect song for when a 90s punk kid looks back on things as they’re (unwillingly) getting ready to face the future on their own. Well, I guess this is growing up…
Vampire Weekend — “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance”
I’ll let Vampire Weekend’s lead singer/resident Drake critic Ezra Koenig explain, from a discussion he did at his alma mater, Columbia University. He said the song came from him figuring out what he was going to do after graduating while his other friends were getting jobs in finance:
“Part of me wanted to look down on that, like ‘that’s total bullshit.’ But I had to be honest with myself that there was a part of me that was also jealous of the idea that somebody would be making real money out of college. I was questioning myself about ‘How do I judge these people?’ Ultimately what I came up with is that it was hard for me to judge them.”
Vitamin C — “Graduation (Friends Forever)”
I hate everything.