New Year's music is far better than Christmas music
The future is (possibly) bright, so let's write a song about it
Easily the most fulfilling batch among the New Year's creations are these. The Breeders welcome in "New Year" in one of the simplest of fashions -- an accelerating riff and a reference to what this thing might be all about at its root. "We have come for light," Ms. Deal sings. The days are starting to get brighter in a literal sense because they're getting longer.
Our local addition to this category is Semisonic's "This Will Be My Year," which preaches a certain level of self-deception for upward climb in the coming year. ABBA's "Happy New Year" argues that if we can't at least try to be hopeful, "we might as well lay down and die." The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle is angstier in his "This Year" assertion that "I am going to make it through this year if it kills me." And First Aid Kit's "New Year's Eve" offers "And I know I am naive, but if anything/ That's what's going to save me." We get it.
Arguably one of the best of this ilk is the Walkmen's "In the New Year." Ever in short story mode, singer Hamilton Leithauser's character admits that his heart's in the strangest place amid a tale of renewal after a time of darkness. Colored by cups of good cheer, the proclamations get grander as the song goes along and the audience surrounding the protagonist waits patiently. They even ask "How long will you ramble?" at one point. If this hasn't happened in some form to you at least once, maybe this will be your year.
Finally, Akron/Family strips away all of the extra trimmings of the season. The fire is dwindling, empty bottles linger on the table, the air is smoky and clear at the same time, and anyone who isn't out necking on the balcony or already in a taxi is harmonizing around the piano.
"Last year was a hard year for such a long time/ This year's gonna be ours." With these carefully chosen words, nearly any scenario can fit within -- except at that exact stroke of Midnight whe it is neither 2012 or 2013. The challenges of a previous year are the fuel for growth, even if the exact same reflections will likely come to pass in another year's time. Perhaps that means that everything accomplished was done just a little bit better. You can keep your reindeer.
Our resolution was to make a list of songs. What's yours?