Christmas/New Year’s Eve

As Tonight is one of the Twelve Days of Christmas, let’s pause to give New Year’s Eve its due.

NYE is often a poor excuse to fill in a Holiday Album–even with an original, a la Alabama, Cyndi Lauper, or ABBA. It’s noisy and desperate for you to like it, like all those single guys you don’t know at your party.

Oh yeah, and there’s U2. Hardly a novelty.

Sometimes the songs are stand outs, but all emo and desperate still. Like MØ ‘s “New Year’s Eve,”or Josh Pyke’s “New Year’s Song.” Even Van Morrison’s “Celtic New Year” is pretty whiny. Pretty sentiments, punk posings. A slightly more grown up heartbroken paean to pain, Bob Larro’s “Funny What a Year Can Do” fares little better. It’s over, dude. Get a new calendar.

If you really wanna rub me the wrong way, try the children’s versions: The Kiboomers’ “New Year Song for Children,” or Olivia Olson singing for the Phineas and Ferb cartoon show with “It’s a New Year.” The Disney rock is hard to wash off. (Also see Joyce Paultrie’s teen dance bingo “Happy New Year (na, na, na, na, na)” (And then, The Fantastikids sing “Happy Happy New Year” in several languages. Run.) (Slightly more tween is Diana Meyer with “New Year’s Eve.” It’s about finding and enjoying love (LGBQT)–a positive upbeat message for once!–but it’s marred with 7th grade cliched symbolism.)

Now, if you’re not sure what a novelty New Year’s Song is, here is a compilation of ALL standards (easier to keep track of than the Christmas counterparts): “Happy New Year 2016 Songs.” Tune it in and crank it up at 10 P.M. for your boring party background serenade–dude, it’s got ALL the stars–(brace for that ABBA song first).

So let’s start the search for a properly odd New Year’s Eve Anthem. First, consider Death Cab for Cutie’s “The New Year.” It pairs well with slumping and disaffectedness, stained with just a hint of hope.

Dreadful crap also finds its way to the wining and dining and sophistication of the party to end all parties. Donny Goldberg sings nose-first through his “New Year’s Song” but through his shoddy poetry and misspelled captioning he seems uncertain whether time is moving forward or just back and forth like the lovely dancers (what’s his ‘silver spoon’ for at this party?). And there’s sax-like music to swing by.

I didn’t expect metal! Shadow plays the “Theme to New Year’s Evil” like it’s a work for hire. The 1980 slasher did what Garry Marshall now does–cash in on the calendar. But… why?

Some faraway places–esp. the Subcontinent–enjoy this holiday perhaps more than we do, with their fireworks and endless dancing and songs… my heavens the songs these cat’s yowl. Exhibit A: Vennu Nallesh singing “Wish U Enjoy New Year.” It’s one of the few in English (heavily accented with closed captioning), so i thought you’d like that.

Even more off-beat are the entries from one of my loved holiday albums: The American Song-Poem Christmas Album. Sara Stewart with the Lee Hudson Orchestra sings a languid, drunkenly mournful lament “The New Year Song.”

Dick Kent with the Lancelots sing a more forward-thinking hippie-style folk rock scolding to that last song: “A New Year’s Dawning.”

Totally subjectively i loves me some blues for New Years Eve. Charlie Robinson has some smokin’ SW border blues with his “New Year’s Day.” It’s cautionary about bad wimmin and drinkin, Believe.

Here at the eleventh hour i’ll settle for rayull nawlins blues: Sam Lightnin’ Hopkins singing “Happy New Year.” His licks count down his troubles and his hard worn vocals ring in the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. Hear him testify. You’ll be reborn.