The occasion of New Year’s Eve has lost its luster for me over the past few years to the point where the whole event has lost its meaning. It reminds me of that conversation between Frank Pembleton and J.H. Brodie on “Homicide – Life On The Street:”
“I hate New Year’s Eve.”
“Yeah. Another year older and deeper in debt.”
But now that we are about to witness a day we have been waiting for endlessly, George W. Bush’s last day in the White House, there seems to be something to be happy about. That’s saying a hell of a lot considering how deeply screwed the United States is right now in terms of the economy. With Barrack Obama on the verge of being inaugurated as our new President of the United States, change definitely feels like it is really coming for once. Everything is not going to get better right away, but the feeling that things are changing for the better is inescapable.
As a result, I am looking forward to this upcoming New Year’s Eve with an excitement I haven’t felt about this time of the year in a long time. I actually want to go to a party and party the night away, get drunk, and get that great big kiss when the clock strikes midnight. It’s a new year, and 2009 is going to mark the start of progress and the end of the endlessly corrupt Bush administration. I may need to curb my expectations in regards to how Obama does as President, but I refuse to be any less excited about December 31st.
So in anticipation of a party worth going to, I feel compelled to create a playlist for the night of all nights to keep everyone’s spirits and enthusiasms up. Most are energetic tunes, and there are a couple of slow tunes as well because this evening calls for a really intimate slow dance. These choices are presented in no particular order, as I just don’t have the patience to decide which songs are better than the others. Besides I have the top ten list of the best movies of 2008 coming soon, so I am saving whatever patience I have for that. Now, as the Joker said in “The Dark Knight:”
“Here we go!”
1) “1999” by Prince
By God, it is now 10 years since Prince performed this song for the last time and then retired it. But if you had the choice between this or partying like it’s 1955, which one would you really go with? 1999 itself was a great year for movies and a groundbreaking one for them as well. That’s what I remember most of that year. This has always been a big favorite of mine when I first heard the tune back in the 1980’s (it felt like it would be forever before that year came), and it is still a must play in my opinion. At the heart of this song is a need to party like it’s the last night on earth. It’s a pain in the ass, but we have to stop taking life for granted. Plus, it is such a groovy song to listen to. How can you not include it?
2) “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)” by REM
I always thought that this one of the most gleeful songs about the apocalypse, but that was back in the day when I took things a little too literally. It’s not really about the end of the world at all. What it is really about is the end of the ways of the world that we have gotten so used to. That’s what is happening right now with Bush going out and Obama coming in, so there is not a better time to play this song than right now. When we finally elected our new President, I felt more than fine. Out with the corrupt garbage, and in with the new!
3) “Revolution” by The Beatles
This is another great song to capture the theme of Obama’s campaign – change. John Lennon sang about how we all want to change the world, and I’m sure that many of us felt like we did when we went to the polls on Election Day. There certainly is a revolution going on right now which exhilarated the citizens in a way that seemed impossible for a bit. The world may still remain a cynical place, but while it might take a while, you know that it is indeed gonna be alright. This song has been covered by numerous bands throughout the years, but accept no substitute when it comes to The Beatles’ original version.
4) “Where’s The Party” by Madonna
An exuberant pop song to shake out those damn inhibitions to, and it’s from one of Madonna’s best albums, “True Blue.” It’s a party night, right? So let’s have a party song to heat up the night! This remains one of my favorite songs by Madonna, and I find it hard to get sick of it. When I first heard it back in the 80’s, I thought the song was called “Wet The Body.” I remember thinking, does taking a shower or going for a swim in the pool really a way to free my soul? I want to lose control, but I didn’t like taking showers that much back then (better hygiene did catch up with me though). Of course, this was all before I actually looked at the song titles on album covers. Still, it sounds like she is saying wet the body whenever I listen to it.
5) “It’s Gonna Get Better” by Genesis
One of my all time favorite songs from the Phil Collins era of Genesis, this one is off of their self-titled album which includes hits like “Mama” and “That’s All.” Our hopes for things getting better feels more realistic than ever before, so this is a good song to slow down the evening for a bit so you can be close to your significant other (assuming you have one). The imagery of the song is fairly dark as it deals with the dehumanizing aspects of living in a big city, but hope wins out for Genesis in the end. Phil Collins sums it up best with the last line of the song:
“Because you know and I know, it’s time for a change.”
6) “Don’t Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)” by Fleetwood Mac
Ok, this one is an obvious choice, and I am confident that you will see it on many other lists for New Year’s. But still, it’s a great song to bring everyone together with. It brought Fleetwood Mac back together when Bill Clinton was inaugurated as President, and at that time, no one ever expected that to happen. It’s a song that is all about looking forward and in never getting caught up in the past. When George W. Bush FINALLY leaves office, we will truly believe that yesterday’s gone. It’s a rockin’ good song from “Rumors,” one of my all time favorite albums.
7) “Joy To The World” by Three Dog Night
Here’s something from the past worth playing. “Joy To The World” is a celebration of life and of everything around us. For the last few years, playing this would have had everyone’s eyes rolling as there was anything but joy in the world. Once again, we come back to the shifting of Presidential administrations, and there is more to feel good. Maybe we are stuck in a bubble of euphoria over Obama being elected, and maybe it is not entirely realistic or smart to hold to too high a pedestal. But supposing that is the case, let us wade around in the bubble for a little while longer. Right now, the world is feeling some sense of relief, so you got to admit that this Obama fever is pretty contagious. That makes playing “Joy To The World” perfect for this upcoming New Year’s Eve celebration.
8) “Join Together” by The Who
New Year’s Eve as well as New Year’s Day itself should be a day of togetherness. It is a day where we can all indeed join together. This song by The Who is one of my all time favorite songs by them, and the title of the song spells out why it is appropriate to play on December 31st.
9) “Find Your Way Back” by Jefferson Starship
This is one of my all time favorite songs, and I just had to put it on here. Written and performed during the Mickey Thomas era of this band, the song is about a man on a long journey back to where he started, trying to get his girl back. It starts off slowly and builds up to an enthralling crescendo which I can never get tired of rocking to. I remember when my dad got the vinyl record of Jefferson Starship’s “Modern Times” which had this song on it. He even let me take the record to my kindergarten class to play. So you can see that this song played a rather big part in my childhood. On New Year’s Eve, you can bet I’ll be trying to get back to the heart and make things better. We will all be doing that.
10) “I Shall Believe” by Sheryl Crow
The closing track from Crow’s debut album “Tuesday Night Music Club” is a perfect slow dancing track to end the evening with. Long after midnight has passed and the evening has died down, this is a simple and special song to play before everyone goes home and pass out. Life is tough and it gets you down more often than not, but the belief that powers Sheryl’s lyrics here is sweet and leaves you with hope for the future. Right now we are going through the worst of times, so it is nice to have a voice quietly fighting against the tide of negativity.
I hope everyone has a very Happy New Year, and may it be a better one than last year. Happy holidays!