Here it is – as expected, a New Year’s countdown/list/recap. I’m not sure why, but people’s obsession with lists seem to grow more stronger during this time – this unique time where the end and beginning meet.
I was racking my brain on what to feature on this blog: The site’s milestones perhaps? Nah, too little to recap. A list of the best indie songs to come up within the year? Nope. If anyone’s ever noticed, I have never been current when posting to this blog. Case in point: I’ve featured songs that have been in existence for more than a decade. In any case, this is a music database – a vessel for the old and new, and a place for rediscovery. A list of season appropriate indie songs? I guess I can give that a try…
I would have loved to go on and give you guys a top ten – but after the realization that New Year’s day songs are scarce compared to Christmas themed ones, I’ve decided five is the magic number. How many popular New Year’s Day songs do you know of, not counting Auld Lang Syne and U2’s New Year’s Day?
Fifth on this very special list is a song that mentions the words New Year’s Day only once, despite being set on that very day. The Decemberists ‘Grace Cathedral Hill’ gives you a walking tour of San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, down to Hyde Park Pier, while eating hotdogs and pondering on the intricacies of life and love. The Decemberists do what they do best in this song, great imagery and making simple ordinary stuff, like a hotdog run, seem so wonderfully romantic. It’s a perfect theme song for anyone who’s down and out at the beginning of the year – depending on your mood, it might reduce you to a heaping emotional mess, or make you nice and happy inside like all beautiful songs do.
What list wouldn’t be complete if I don’t throw in a song from my favorite sub-genre? This one comes from a band that does it best, Glasgow’s twee-pop band, Camera Obscura. Happy New Year is a song about tying loose ends – closure for a relationship perhaps, or just setting things straight once and for all. At the end of the song, the singer sings one of the songs most memorable lines: ‘Happy New Year, you’re my only vice’ – something that sort of hits home for anyone who’s ever been stuck on someone. Something to add on to your New Year’s resolution list, maybe?
Time to liven things up a bit. This next song is an uppity beat of a tune from The Mountain Goats called This Year. I’m going to cheat a little bit here, since this actually isn’t about the New Year. Listening to it again I’m thinking, it might actually belong to the songs-you’d-like-to-listen-to-after-highschool-graduation list. But how could I not include a song with the chorus: “I am going to make it through this year, if it kills me”. To some of us, this new year won’t exactly be a fresh new start, more of an extension of last year’s problems…and more. Then again, what better way to ring in the New Year’s with a battle cry. Yes, 2009, I will face you head on, singing in a Proclaimers-i’m-gonna-walk-five-hundred-miles kind of way: I am going to make it through this year, if it kills me!
If you ask me, you can never have enough twee songs. The next one up my list is ‘My Year in Lists’ . How appropriate is that? 🙂 It’s an anti-love song about making New Years Resolutions. Frankly, I don’t believe in setting a up any New Year’s resolutions – so I don’t. But then, that sets me up as goal-less and with nothing to aim for – to which some might say, may be bad. Well I guess, I can give the Christmas excuse for it, it’s like we should make it Christmas everyday – I don’t need the New Year to have a resolution, it’ll be New Year’s everyday. I resolve everyday to wake up, eat breakfast, go to work… and probably make my goals higher than that.
This less than two minute song from Los Campesinos! is a real treat. Anything that starts with ‘Send me stationery, to make me horny’ is as good as gold.
New Years will always be bittersweet. Sometimes more bitter than sweet, as proven by the songs I just mentioned. This band has a great knack for bringing out the sweeter side of bittersweet, which is why I love them so much. Stars’ A New Year mixes bittersweet with irony: New Year’s gives us that weird happy/sad feeling of thinking back and pitying our wretched existence (alas! all the potential that we never lived up to) at same time being thankful that we’re still alive (we’ve survived all these years, this might count for something!). As always, we’re hopeful – we all are, that’s why we wish everybody else a Happy New Year. So while Stars‘ is thinking of something that rhymes with hopeful, I on the other hand, hope you guys have a happy and safe New Year’s eve. Enjoy!
Listen to A New Year | Download at eMusic