Friday on My Mind: The Best Modern Day Songs to Ring in the New Year

After a week off, the feature Friday on My Mind returns. This is a collaborative effort with King 5 News to bring you a different “Top 3″ list centered on various musical subjects and themes. This week, we’re talking about the New Year.

This week we’ve rung in the year 2012. Whether it’s the thought of rebirth, the idea of a second chance, or just the excuse to stay up late and toast with friends and family, the start of any New Year stirs up feelings of motivation within most of us. For many musicians, this particular holiday has been a great source of inspiration for songwriting. Here are a few New Year’s inspired tunes that I feel are especially motivating alternatives to “Auld Lang Syne”:

1. U2 “New Year’s Day”

For a lot of us, tuning in to MTV in 1983 and seeing the snow covered video for U2’s “New Year’s Day” was our first introduction to the soon to be super group. The visual of the band in the middle of nowhere, with white all around them, along with the sound of the passionate yelp of Bono amidst the wailing guitar lines and rousing chorus, left few people to doubt that this Irish band was just getting started. It did, however, raise a few other questions such as, How exactly was this band playing their instruments while wearing heavy winter gloves? And since there were no plugged in amplifiers in sight, Where on Earth was the sound coming from as they stood in the middle of God knows where?

2. The Mountain Goats “This Year”

The Mountain Goats “This Year” is easily one of the most popular songs requested on The Morning Show. Take a listen to the unwavering chorus, “I am going to make it through this year, if it kills me”- wise words of determination. It’s not hard to understand why this one has become a battle cry for so many. Overall it’s a song of hope, yet with a sharp understanding of how harsh life’s trials can be and the fact that we all just need to push through those difficult patches despite how trying it may be.

3. Death Cab For Cutie “The New Year”

Once you begin to dig into the lyrics of this one, it’s apparent that this song doesn’t exactly have the most positive outlook on a new year. It rejects the idea that you can solve your problems simply by making resolutions and states that you’re distracting yourself from life’s trials. Depending on how you look at it, Death Cab for Cutie may or may not be right, but this song probably isn’t the best choice of tracks to blast on New Years Eve night if you are looking to fill your party-goers with hope. But if you are looking to rock sentiments that are more skeptical about the impending future, here is your New Year’s anthem.

Honorable Mention:

4. The Zombies- “This Will Be Our Year”

Out of all the New Year song choices this week, this track is probably the most upbeat and encouraging. Off of the 1968 LP, Odessey and Oracle, The Zombies’ “This Will Be Our Year” is an uplifting and hopeful song for a New Year specifically during a time of turmoil. Throughout the song, the tone maintains a hopeful outlook for the year to come. Anyone looking to feel positive about the impending future need not look beyond this classic.

5. The Walkmen- “In the New Year”

Another one on the more positive tip, “In the New Year” from New York band The Walkmen is one to raise your glass to. It’s difficult to not feel a certain sense of optimism when you hear the conviction and yearning in lead singer Hamilton Leithauser’s scratchy yowls and screams. Accompanied by a church like organ that lifts this song to grandiose heights, the song leads one to trust that something more and better is ahead, even if it is uncertain.

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