Top 10 Songs About School
It's back-to-school season, and what better way to start the academic year than with songs about school? This month, millions of eager American children will pile into classrooms for the first time in 12 weeks. Teachers will stand before them, brimming with confidence and optimism. Marching bands will iron away wrinkles in their on-field fight song routines. And in the back of the room, some young poet will be scratching song lyrics into the paper covering his or her algebra textbook.
Some say country music is life with a melody, and few life moments are as iconic as the first day of school. To celebrate this tradition, Taste of Country has come up with 10 songs that either bring back teenage memories, or describe some of the extracurricular fun happening away from the classroom. Familiar names like Brad Paisley and Taylor Swift can be found on this list, as can Kenny Chesney … twice! A couple of classic country songs couldn't be overlooked, nor could one of Toby Keith's angrier tunes. But which artist tops our list of the Top 10 Songs About School?
Kenny Chesney, ‘I Go Back’
“I go back to a two-ton short-bed Chevy / Drivin’ my first love out to the levy / Livin’ life with no sense of time”
Chesney's 2004 hit kicks off our list of the Top 10 Songs About School by exemplifying how a certain song can transport us to a year's or decade's old time or feeling. No doubt the often reminiscent songwriter has written a few that will serve a similar purpose to school-aged kids of the last decade.
Chuck Wicks, ‘Old School’
“Oh I pulled a string on her bikini thinkin’ all my friends would see me / But I found out that I wasn’t so cool / Oh ohooo, old school“
This recent Chuck Wicks hit was written about the singer's spring break in Florida with his high school baseball team. It's a better song for the last day of school than the first, but the reminiscent nature of the lyric qualifies it for our list of school songs.
Jennie C. Riley, ‘Harper Valley P.T.A.’
“Well her daughter came home one afternoon and didn’t even stop to play / She said, ‘Mom, I got a note here from the Harper Valley P.T.A'”
Jennie C. Riley's 1968 hit that makes our list of school songs turned into a movie by the same name one decade later. Squabbles with administration usually aren't the proudest moments in a parent's life, but this one became a rallying call for everyone who'd ever grown tired of stuffy bureaucracy.
Blaine Larsen, ‘In My High School’
“We’ve got outcasts and we’ve got rebels / Mostly saints, sometimes devils /
You see them walkin’ up an’ down the hall / And they struggle with their boyfriends / Their girlfriends and their math / And they long for the bell that gets them out of class / In my high school”
Blaine Larsen was writing and recording songs about teenage struggles before Taylor Swift, but his song's were never quite as catchy. Nonetheless, the singer's 2004 debut describes the reality of every high school in America, as well as the realities facing its students.
Chris Cagle, ‘Walmart Parking Lot’
“Kids fallin’ in and out of love / On the hood of Chevys, in the beds of trucks / We were stumblin’ our way through life ‘til our senior year / But man we sure did learn a lot / In that Wal-Mart parking lot”
This favorite amongst Chris Cagle fans was pulled from radio rather abruptly in 2006, likely because Walmart didn't appreciate him encouraging teenagers to make trouble behind their stores. It's another one that's better suited for summer break, but anyone who's ever made a little trouble in a place they shouldn't be will appreciate this coming of age song.
George Strait, ‘Check Yes or No’
“It started way back in third grade / I used to sit beside Emmy Lou Hayes / A pink dress, a matching bow in her ponytail / She kissed me on the school bus, but told me not to tell”
Is there a better school love song than 'Check Yes or No'? George Strait captures the innocence of an elementary school crush in this classic song and fan favorite. Somehow it gets more complicated later in life, but Strait's song reminds that it doesn't have to.
Brad Paisley, ‘Letter to Me’
“Tonight’s the bonfire rally / But you’re staying home instead / Because if you fail algebra / Mom and dad will kill you dead.”
Brad Paisley's song makes our list of the Top 10 Songs About School, and it shows that aside from a few details, just about everyone's high school experience is the same. There's no one who wouldn't have benefited from a note from our future selves. It's the lessons learned that make the moment and days spent in school so valuable.
Toby Keith, ‘How Do You Like Me Now’
“I couldn’t make you love me / But I always dreamed about / Living in your radio / How do you like me now?”
Everyone has one person, a bully, who makes them feel like dirt through high school. Toby Keith gets the ultimate revenge on that girl in this song. Few amongst us can't put a face from our personal past under the brunette hair of that cheerleader in the video. Success is the ultimate comeback.
Taylor Swift, ‘Fifteen’
“It’s your freshman year and you’re gonna be here / For the next four years in this town / Hoping one of those senior boys will wink at you and say / ‘You know I haven’t seen you around, before'”
A few different Taylor Swift songs could have been chosen for this list, especially those written during the superstar's teenaged years. Few songs describe the vulnerability a freshman feels as he/she enters high school better than 'Fifteen.' This is the essential back-to-school song.
Kenny Chesney, ‘The Boys of Fall’
“When I feel that chill, smell that fresh cut grass / I’m back in my helmet, cleats and shoulder pads / Standing in the huddle, listening to the call / Fans going crazy for the boys of fall.”
High school football is the great unifier. Towns come together to cheer on their hometown team. There's something oddly poetic about helmets and shoulder pads crashing in to each other again, and again, and again. Chesney captures that emotion in this, the ultimate track on any back-to-school soundtrack.