Indiana Daily Student

Nine bittersweet songs for the class of 2021

As the class of 2021 nears the end of their time at IU, now is a great time for grads to sit back, relax and take a few minutes to listen to this playlist filled with contemplative songs as they reflect on their college experience. 

“Beauty in the World” by Macy Gray

This song always reminds me of endings because of its use in the ABC dramedy “Ugly Betty.” I won’t give any spoilers about the show, but just know that this is a perfect anthem as you embark on the next step in your life. It reminds you just how beautiful life is and how much potential life has.

“Heroes” by David Bowie

“Heroes” is genuinely one of the greatest songs ever written; it’s hard to listen to it and not feel inspired. It’s sweetly optimistic and  a little dream-like at times, and its use in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” makes it feel even grander – if you don’t love “Heroes” already, then go watch it in context of that film.

“99” by Barns Courtney

Courtney’s song is a melancholy trip down memory lane. As the Class of 2021 prepares to graduate, I’m sure many will take some time to look back at the road that got them here. “99” is a lovely ode to the wonderfully carefree days of childhood and how complicated and uncomfortable life can become as we grow up.

“Outro” by M83

This is a song that has that larger-than-life feel. There aren’t even that many lyrics – it’s about five lines, to be exact. This song feels like it is marking the end of an era, which is exactly what’s happening for college seniors. This song makes me feel both heartbroken and triumphant at the same time. Regardless of where you’re at on the emotional spectrum about graduation, this song will force you to reflect.

“Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys

There aren’t many songs that are more uplifting than this one. When you listen to it, you genuinely feel like you can conquer anything in the world, which is exactly the feeling any college grad wants to experience. 

“I Have A Dream” by ABBA

One of the greatest joys in life is dreaming big and letting ourselves pursue those dreams. ABBA’s classic tune is a gentle, mesmerizing reminder that dreaming of bigger things can get you through your darkest moments and remind you of the good in the world that is all around you.

“Suddenly I See” by KT Tunstall

Tunstall’s inclusion of lines like “This is what I wanna be...Why the hell it means so much to me” in the chorus detail those wonderful moments in life when you realize you’re passionate and head-over-heels in love with something – like a career, for instance. Even if you haven’t had this moment, you will, and this song serves as a reminder of that.

“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from “La La Land”

Dreaming has certainly been a prominent theme throughout this playlist, but for good reason. Dreams are often not only a gateway for a better life for yourself, but a better life for others – even if it often feels foolish and childish. In Emma Stone’s bittersweet vocal performance, though, she reminds us that even if dreams are messy and not always well-planned, they’re worth it. Dreaming simply makes the world a better place to be. So, college graduates, dream on. 

“In My Life” by The Beatles

They really do have a song for everything, and it’s almost impossible for me to leave them off of a playlist. “In My Life” just happens to be the perfect song for looking back at everything you’ve been through and the people who have gone through it with you. You’ve come a long way. Graduating is a big deal. Take some time to look back at all the moments that made you who you are today. 

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