11 Alternative Back To School Anthems

best back to school songs

Songs to ease the pain.

Boo, hiss! School is for lamewads and doofuses of course, but luckily not all songs about it are.

If you’ve got school-age kids, wind up the little whippersnappers with these highly educational classics. And if you’ve gone back to school yourself this week, here’s what could be blasting into your ears while you pretend to listen to your teacher drone on about ionic bonding or something.

11. Deftones – Back to School

Bit of an obvious one to start with, but it couldn’t be ignored. Any return to class would be infinitely better with Chino stomping about on the tables.

10. Madness – Baggy Trousers

This classic silly skank-along from Suggs and co. is the perfect soundtrack to the chaos of school and the weird mixture of nostalgia and embarrassment with which we look back on it. Embrace your ill-fitting uniform!

9. Big Deal – Homework

Since they called it a day last week, let’s have some love for the poppy, gazey duo turned four-piece. Alice Costelloe will have to resort to the old ‘the dog ate it’ excuse from now on.

8. Pearl Jam – Education

What’s education all worth anyway? Eddie Vedder mused this very point in this highlight of his band’s Lost Dogs album.

7. The Replacements – Fuck School

We all think we enjoyed school now that we’ve left it, but let’s be honest, it was rubbish. The Replacements nailed it in under a minute and a half.

6. The Smiths – Headmaster Ritual

At 57, Morrissey’s of an age to remember some of the cane-thrusting, chalk-throwing bullies in charge of classrooms of the past. It’s debatable whether this opener to Meat Is Murder is more about literal physical or metaphorical psychological abuse, but it’s a bleak portrait of the oppressive schooling of ’60s and ’70s Britain.

5. Nirvana – School

From their underrated debut Bleach, this is one of those songs where it’s just as well an American sang it and not a Brit. A chorus of ‘no playtime’ might not have had the same resonance.

4. Descendents – Mass Nerder

In the U.S. nerd v jock carry-on, few musicians nailed their colours to the mast like Milo Aukerman. He was the other side of 40 when this track off 2004’s Cool To Be You came out, but school had clearly scarred him.

3. The Aquabats – Pizza Day

At one time in my life, it was my ambition to get as many people as possible to hear this madcap ska ode to school dinners, and a contrived list of school-themed songs seems an unmissable opportunity to continue that quest.

2. Dead Milkmen – Violent School

Controversial ’80s punkers Dead Milkman were a persistent nightmare for outraged Daily Mail types unable to appreciate satire or irony. American gun culture infiltrating the classroom was among the subjects to face their scorn on their Big Lizard in my Back Yard debut.

1. Pixies – U-Mass

Well, if Black Francis tells us it’s educational, we’re not gonna argue with him.

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