A Soundtrack for the End

Hello all. I graduate high school three weeks from tomorrow, and hopefully by this point you all know that I’m a bundled mess of nostalgia, tears, and sappy music. So, I’ve combined all of those lovely feelings into a Soundtrack for the End. Here’s ten songs that I’ll have on repeat for the next 22 days: 

Walking in the Wind- One Direction
For anyone that has a friend going off to a college that’s far from you- this song is for you. It’s a nice reminder that even though you’ll have to say goodbye, it’s not really the end of anything. If the friendship is strong enough you’ll be reminded of each other inside little moments, like the feeling of the wind on your face. You’re somehow with each other always- even when you’re not.
Important lyrics:
“I know we’ll be alright, child, just close your eyes and see. And I’ll be by your side any time you’re needing me.”
“We had some good times, didn’t we? We wore our hearts out on our sleeve. Goodbyes are bittersweet, but it’s not the end, I’ll see your face again.”

Long Live- Taylor Swift
This song has been the soundtrack to a multitude of bittersweet endings in my life, but it resonates with me the most when I picture myself throwing my cap on graduation night. It’s everything in one: celebrating a huge accomplishment, remembering all of the feelings that led up to it, and how it will feel when it’s all over. It’s also a really great song to sing and cry to with your best friend in the car. Just sayin’.
Important lyrics:
“I said, ‘Remember this moment,’ in the back of my mind.”
“I said, ‘Remember this feeling,’ I passed the pictures around of all the years that we stood there on the sidelines wishing for right now.”

“Long live that look on your face.”

Smile- Mikky Ekko
I first heard this song in the trailer for Paper Towns, and ever since I’ve associated it with the carefree life that you possess in high school. It’s reminded me in the past year to be present in moments as they’re happening. It’s reminded me to smile because I know that my life won’t be the same in any sense in just a few months, so I need to remember the end fondly. We don’t know what the future holds, but we can make right now as perfect as possible.
Important lyrics:
“The future is forgiven, so smile.”
“Got nowhere to turn, and we’ve got nothing but time. The future is forever, so smile.”

Obvious Bicycle- Vampire Weekend
I’ve just recently added this song to my end of the year playlists, mostly because of the message the chorus conveys: “Listen, don’t wait.” Every time I hear this song I think of all the teachers that have touched my life. There’s so many. It’s made me realize that I need to thank them for making such a large impact on my life and how I’ve grown up. Don’t wait to tell the people you’re thankful for that you are. Friends, teachers, parents, anyone.  You never know when it might be too late.
Important lyrics: 
“And if you find some love for these clowns, turn around, turn around.”
“So keep that list of who to thank in mind, and don’t forget the rich ones who were kind.”

Home- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros 
Besides this being the soundtrack of my life, it’s another one of those songs that makes me thankful for everyone I love. It’s reminded me that no matter where I end up in my life, home will never be a place. It will always be a feeling, and it’s a feeling you get when you’re with the people you love most in the world.
Important lyrics:
“Home is wherever I’m with you.”
“Laughing ’til we think we’ll die, barefoot on a summer night.” 

I Go Back- Kenny Chesney
My brother actually reminded me that this song exists about two weeks ago, and now I can’t listen to it without crying (Suprise, right? Not.) I love this song because it points out how music can take you back to a certain point in your life. That’s kind of what I’m doing right now with this playlist, so it’s relatable to say the least. I have a feeling that in twenty years I’m going to be flooded with nostalgia and taken back to this time in my life whenever I listen to any of these songs, but especially this one. Thanks for the reminder, Justin. 🙂
Important lyrics:
“We all have a song that somehow stamped our lives, takes us to another place and time.”
“I go to back to watching summer fade to fall, growing up too fast, and I do recall wishing time would stop right in its tracks.”
“Every time I hear that song, I go back.”

Photograph- Ed Sheeran
Yet another song that’s really good at making me cry. No matter what happens in the future, the friends and family that you have forged love with will always make everything okay. They are always with you, even when you think you have no one. Hold on to the memories you’ve made- take lots of pictures and keep every single one. There will be days that you’ll need a reminder that you have people rooting for you, and those photos will be it.
Important lyrics:
“We keep this love in a photograph, we made these memories for ourselves, where our eyes are never closing, hearts are never broken, and time’s forever frozen still.”
“Loving can heal, loving can mend your soul, and it’s the only thing that I know.”
“I swear it will get easier, remember that with every piece of you.”
“So you can fit me inside the necklace you got when you were sixteen, next to your heartbeat where I should be, keep it deep within your soul.”

Never Grow Up- Taylor Swift
A sure-fire, 100% certain way to make me sob uncontrollably. Sometimes I hit that denial stage, and I realize that life isn’t fair and we all have to grow up. We all have to be adults, and we all have to move on from times in our lives that we don’t want to let go of. Sometimes you just don’t want to grow up. Sometimes you want to stay an innocent little kid forever; a kid without worry, fear, or sadness. Sometimes moving on is just plain sad, and Taylor somehow captured that perfectly in this song. It’s good for a night when you just need to have a good cry and hug your mom.
Important lyrics:
“You’re in the car on the way to the movies and you’re mortified, your mom’s dropping you off. At fourteen there’s just so much you can’t do, and you can’t wait to move out someday and call your own shots. But don’t make her drop you off around the block, remember that she’s getting older too, and don’t lose the way that you dance around in your PJ’s getting ready for school.”
“Even though you want to, just try to never grow up.”

“Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room. Memorize what it sounded like when your dad gets home. Remember the footsteps, remember the words said, and all your little brother’s favorite songs.” (P.S. The line about dad getting home always hits me the hardest because my dad travels all over the country for his job, and the moments he gets home after weeks of being gone are ones that I will always, always remember.)

I Lived- One Republic
This is a song that fits in the “ending credits of a movie” category. It’s a song about looking back on every moment of your life so far, whether they were trials or triumphs, and noticing that every single one was important. Each and every person has memories that have helped shape them, and realizing the tough times we face help us in the long run, and that we should live our lives to the fullest despite the rough patches, is exponentially important. You can’t have the rainbow without the rain. (That was so cheesy I’m sorry).
Important lyrics:
“Hope when the moment comes you’ll say, ‘I did it all.'”
“With every broken bone, I swear I lived.”

We’re On Our Way- Radical Face
My final song is one for after graduation. It’s for the summer before your first year of college, or for the ride home after you tell your different-college best friend goodbye. It’s a song about going. It’s a song about letting go, but holding on to the place that helped shape you. It’s about not losing touch with your high school best friends, but also going out into the world to discover your own life. It’s happy and sad, which describes this time in my life pretty accurately.
Important lyrics:
“And this might turn and wind up just the way we’d dreamed. And I might become the things I swore I’d always be.”
“We’re always on our way.”


Class of 2016, promise me that you’ll pick a song for yourself. Pick one that makes you dance in your car or one that makes you cry while lying on your bedroom floor. One day in the future you’ll hear it, and you’ll be transported back to the halls of your high school. You’ll be transported back to this time when everything is ending, but so many new adventures are beginning. You’ll be transported back to driving around with your friends, staying up too late on school nights, and that time you cranked up your music in the parking lot and screamed the lyrics. You won’t ever regret it.


Three weeks.

By laurenstockam

Lauren is a graduate student at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s