If I asked you to name a Christmas carol, you could most likely create a lengthy list of favorites. So I present another challenge: name a New Year's Eve and/or Day song. "Auld Lang Syne" may immediately come to mind, but can you think of any others? For such an internationally celebrated holiday, few songs mark the occasion. Carols reflect the excitement, wonder, and warmth of the holidays; why do songwriters overlook the jubilance and hope for a new year?
While "Auld Lang Syne" may be recognized as the ultimate New Year's Eve tune, I become quite bored hearing it repeatedly on that special night. Therefore, I present a playlist of well-known and more obscure tracks, representing various musical genres. These songs are guaranteed to enliven any party, or accompany a small gathering at home.
"What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" (1947): This classic captures the romance of the holiday, as well as the ambivalence of asking someone out. The narrator clearly fears rejection, singing that he/she may be "crazy to suppose" that the person will accept the invitation. Written by noted composer Frank Loesser, the track has become a jazz standard, recorded by everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Nat King Cole to Harry Connick, Jr.
"It's Just Another New Year's Eve" (ca. 1977): On his album, Barry Manilow Live, Manilow discusses the backstory to the song. He and collaborator Marty Panzer decided to write a New Year's tune specifically for people who hate the holiday. "Don't look so sad/It's not so bad, you know," Manilow croons, expressing the dread some feel about having to celebrate excessively. "It's just another night/That's all it is." Predominately featuring Manilow's voice and piano, the song may reflect the melancholy aspects of New Year's Eve, but it emphasizes hope. He states that the new year will be "just fine" and that "tonight's another chance to start again." "It's Just Another New Year's Eve" may not inspire joy, but it nicely summarizes the mixed feelings surrounding the night.