Anti-school songs
December 12, 2012 7:39 PM   Subscribe

Know any good anti-school songs?

As a teenager, I went to North Star, an alternative learning center for homeschoolers. There's an alumni party coming up, and I've been enlisted along with some other musician alums to play a couple songs of as part of the entertainment.

I'm thinking it would be fun to throw in one or two classic anti-school tunes. Getting Better is definitely going in there. School's Out for Summer was considered and rejected as a little much. Any suggestions, AskMe?
posted by abcde to Media & Arts (31 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Smokin' In The Boys Room too déclassé?
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:41 PM on December 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

There's a classic elementary-grade song to the tune to "Halls of Montezuma" that might fit the bill.

From the Halls of Montezuma (?)
to the doors of PTA
we will fight our teachers' [something]
with spitballs and with clay;

first to fight for lunch and recess
and to keep the school a mess!
We are proud to claim the title
of the teachers' little pests.

Is that at all what you had in mind?!?
posted by acm at 7:44 PM on December 12, 2012

Part II of Pink Floyd's 'Another Brick in the Wall' was the first song to pop into my head. Obligatory YouTube link here.
posted by Scottie_Bob at 7:44 PM on December 12, 2012 [9 favorites]

Pink Floyd?

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the class room
Teachers leave those kids alone
(yells) Hey, teachers! Leave those kids alone!

preview: heh, if I hadn't gotten distracted listening to it...
posted by infini at 7:45 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Todd Rundgren's "Bang the Drum All Day"?

When I get older they think I'm a fool
The teacher told me I should stay after school
She caught me pounding on the desk with my hands
But my licks was so hot I made the teacher wanna dance

And that's why I don't want to work
I want to bang on the drum all day

posted by sevenofspades at 7:54 PM on December 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

I came in here to mention "Another Brick in the Wall," but I'll stay long enough to point out the "Assimilation Academy" tropes page suggestions:
  • Supertramp had "School" and "The Logical Song"
  • Roger Waters has stated that Pink's feelings in "The Happiest Days of Our Lives" and "Another Brick Part 2" are semi-autobiographical from his days in the British grammar school system.
  • Harry Chapin's "Flowers Are Red"
  • Malvina Reynold's "Little Boxes"
The "Big Brother is Watching," "Boarding School of Horrors" "Sadist Teacher," and other school tropes (e.g., Dodgeball Is Hell and "Orphanage of Fear") all provide fodder for either actual specific songs, or themes/musical cues that can be used for varying degrees of bringing up those good old feelings of "I am so glad I never went to high school."

BTW, homeschool alumni, represent! ;)
posted by SMPA at 8:00 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

What, no Hot For Teacher?
posted by cmoj at 8:01 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've been listening to a lot of Andrew Bird lately, and Measuring Cups popped into my head right away when I read the question.

get out your measuring cups and we'll play a new game
come to the front of the class and we'll measure your brain
we'll give you a complex, and we'll give it a name

get out your measuring cups and we'll play a new game
can't have the cream when the crop and the cream are the same
liquid or gas no more than the glass will contain...

posted by aecorwin at 8:04 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Dead Kennedys, "Hyperactive Child"

I'm tired of kissin' ass
I can't sit still all day
You know I know your school's a lie
That's why you dragged me here

I'm sure there's more from Jello Biafra's non-DKs work but that's the first one that comes to mind.
posted by Angharad at 8:08 PM on December 12, 2012

Supertramp Logical Song

When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful, a miracle, it was beautiful, magical
And all the birds in the trees, well they'd be singing so happily, joyfully, playfully, watching me
But then they send me away to teach me how to be sensible, logical, responsible, practical
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable, clinical, intellectual, cynical

posted by ManInSuit at 8:10 PM on December 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

Alice Cooper

School's Out

Oh, is this the one that's a little much?

Sorry delete
posted by mattoxic at 8:12 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Barenaked Ladies' beautiful song "What a Good Boy" includes this verse:

I go to school, I write exams,
If I pass, if I fail, if I drop out,
Does anyone give a damn?
And if they do, they'll soon forget 'cause it won't take much for me
To show my life ain't over yet.

posted by dlugoczaj at 8:14 PM on December 12, 2012

School's For Fools
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:26 PM on December 12, 2012

I can't believe nobody said it already: Fuck School, by the Replacements. (It has obscenities in it. A few.)
posted by scratch at 8:28 PM on December 12, 2012

Dead Prez -- They Schools

But it's not exactly a "fun" anti-school song. The lyrics are pretty harsh.
posted by mcmile at 8:29 PM on December 12, 2012

To the tune of "One Man Went to Mow," traditionally sung on the last day of school in the UK (at least when I was a kid):

No more days in school
No more days in sorrow
No more days in this old dump
And we'll be home tomorrow!

God made the bees
The bees made the honey
We do all the dirty work
And teachers get the money!


Build a bonfire! Build a bonfire!
Put the teachers on the top!
Put the maths books in the middle
And burn the !@#$#@! lot!

Which led me to some variants here.
posted by carter at 8:36 PM on December 12, 2012

I can't believe I made this far into the thread without seeing Springsteen's No Surrender.

Well, we busted out of class
Had to get away from those fools
We learned more from a 3-minute record, baby
Than we ever learned in school
Tonight I hear the neighborhood drummer sound
I can feel my heart begin to pound
You say you're tired and you just want to close your eyes
And follow your dreams down

Well, we made a promise we swore we'd always remember
No retreat, baby, no surrender
Like soldiers in the winter's night
With a vow to defend
No retreat, baby, no surrender

Certainly it's partly that I'm from his part of NJ, but this was an anthem for those of us feeling disaffected in high school, and the "3-minute record" line was a senior yearbook quote for many of us.
posted by Miko at 8:36 PM on December 12, 2012

I Don't Like Mondays
posted by pompomtom at 9:54 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Steely Dan, My Old School
posted by at at 9:58 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Expectations - Belle and Sebastian

"And the head said that you always were a queer one from the start
For Careers you say you want to be remembered for your art
Your obsessions get you known throughout the school for being strange
Making life-size models of The Velvet Underground in clay

In the queue for lunch they take the piss, you’ve got no appetite
And the rumor is you never go with boys and you are tight
So they jab you with a fork, you drop the tray and go berserk
While you're cleaning up the mess the teacher is looking up your skirt"

posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:31 PM on December 12, 2012

Bishop's Robes - Radiohead
posted by wingless_angel at 12:59 AM on December 13, 2012

"Hurra, hurra, die Schule brennt!", is about burning down schools. The song was banned from West-German TV and radio in 1982 (or at least "rarely aired").

Lego animation version. English version from 2003.

The original lyrics, translated by Google:

And they sing:
This is new, it is new,
Hurrah, hurray, the school is burning.

posted by iviken at 1:24 AM on December 13, 2012

Paul Simon's "Kodachrome"
posted by rongorongo at 1:43 AM on December 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

Pete Seeger's What Did You Learn in School?
posted by to recite so charmingly at 5:46 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Extreme: Mutha (Don't want to go to School today)

Mother, don't want to go to school today
I think I'd rather go outside and play

The teacher's always looking down
With her disappointed frown
Asking me to go sleep somewhere else

Jethro Tull: Wind up

When I was young and they packed me off to school
and taught me how not to play the game,
I didn't mind if they groomed me for success,
or if they said that I was a fool.
So I left there in the morning
with their God tucked underneath my arm --
their half-assed smiles and the book of rules.

posted by Gungho at 6:12 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

On preview, Gungho beat me to Wind-Up, which in my mind is the definitive anti-school song.
posted by namewithoutwords at 6:18 AM on December 13, 2012

I think Wind-Up is actually about church, and religious education in specific.
posted by Miko at 6:28 AM on December 13, 2012

I always thought Twisted Sister's "Wer'e not gonna take it" was about school, but on reading the lyrics, I'm not sure.

Just you try and make us
We're not gonna take it
Come on
No, we ain't gonna take it
You're all worthless and weak
We're not gonna take it anymore
Now drop and give me twenty
We're not gonna take it
A Pledge pin
No, we ain't gonna take it
On your uniform
We're not gonna take it anymore
posted by Sukey Says at 10:50 AM on December 13, 2012

Not exaaactly anti-school, but:

Wonderful World - Sam Cooke and very similar in theme, Mayor of Simpleton - XTC
posted by naoko at 3:16 PM on December 13, 2012

Paul Simon's Kodachrome:

When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school
It's a wonder I can think at all
And my lack of education hasn't hurt me none
I can still read the writing on the wall.

... oops... I see rongorongo already got this one...
posted by colin_l at 6:36 AM on December 14, 2012

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