New Year’s Eve will soon be upon us, and as you bid farewell to 2013 and say hello to 2014, you’ll need some good music to smooth the transition and fuel the revelry. Whether you’re going out partying on Dec. 31 or spending the night with a few friends, quietly celebrating at home, our 10 Best New Year’s Eve Songs playlist will provide you with the perfect soundtrack. Don’t go rocking into 2013 without them!
‘The New Year,’ Death Cab for Cutie
From ‘Transatlanticism’ (2003)
Sorry if this one seems a little obvious, but what’s wrong with kicking things off on the right note? Absolutely nothing is wrong with it, that’s what’s wrong with it! ‘The New Year’ is the lead track on ‘Transatlanticism’ — and it’s a great song to lead you into the New Year, too.
‘Brand New Love,’ Sebadoh
From ‘The Freed Weed’ (1990)
Listen closely to this song, and you’ll realize that Sebadoh frontman Lou Barlow is really singing more about new beginnings than new romances — perfect NYE fodder. Still, the arrival of 2013 is as good a time as any to “find a brand new love.”
’11:59 (It’s January),’ Scrawl
From ‘Nature Film’ (1998)
“Last year went down the drain / They all do, really, why complain,” Scrawl’s Marcy Mays sings on ‘January (It’s 11:59),’ the next entry on our Best New Year’s Eve Songs list. They’re not the most uplifting lyrics about reflecting on one’s year, but at least they’re honest.
‘Beggars Bowl,’ Polvo
From ‘In Prism’ (2009)
It sounds weird to admit this, but for some reason, this song always makes us think of all the college football bowl games that go down on Jan. 1, and how ’Beggars Bowl’ would be a really odd name for one of them. It’s the kind of bowl our school would might play in were it to qualify for a bowl game — which, of course, it probably wouldn’t.
‘Y2K,’ The Apples In Stereo
From ‘Her Wallpaper Reverie’ (1999)
Sure, it was 13 years ago, but do you remember how big a deal the millennium was? The Y2K computer bug, the Y2K apocalypse, the inevitable over-hyping of a certain Prince song? None of these things are specifically mentioned in the lyrics to this Apples In Stereo song, but it does perfectly capture the general paranoid mood.
‘Year of the Snake,’ Sufjan Stevens
From ‘Enjoy Your Rabbit’ (2001)
In 2001, Sufjan Stevens recorded an album based around the animals of the Chinese Zodiac, and coming in at No. 5 on our Best New Year’s Eve Songs list, we have the cut ‘Year of the Snake.’ Not coincidentally, 2013 happens to be the Year of the Snake — see how that works out? To many people, the slithering reptile is associated with venom and danger, but in China, it’s definitely a symbol of luck.
‘The End of a Dark, Tired Year,’ Piano Magic
‘The Troubled Sleep of Piano Magic’ (2003)
We admit this one is a bit too gloomy and depressing for a New Year’s Eve party — unless, of course, it’s being hosted by Robert Smith — but who said these all have to be party jams? Perhaps you’re glad to see a dark, tired year finally come to a close and are content to sit at home in total blackness listening to really depressing music. This one certainly lives up to its name, if that’s what you are going for.
‘Flowers in December,’ Mazzy Star
From ‘Among My Swan’ (1996)
Not to go all “global warming” on you, but we couldn’t help but notice the other day when walking through the park that there were still rose bushes blooming in the middle of December. Which, of course, was pleasing to the eye, but it also got us thinking about how mild this winter has been so far (again, not a horrible thing on its own), and how pretty soon, seeing flowers on New Year’s Day may be a common occurrence. Next thing you know, this Mazzy Star song was on our New Year’s Eve mix.
‘It’s Time to Party,’ Andrew W.K.
From ‘I Get Wet’ (2001)
Just when you thought this list was getting too dreary, we agreed and decided ‘It’s Time to Party.’ It’s pretty much always time to party for Andrew W.K., the guy who was recently named by the U.S. Department of State as a party ambassador to the Middle East (until he wasn’t). Anyway, this one is one of his many, many party jams. Rock on!
‘New Year’s Day,’ U2
From ‘War’ (1983)
Another obvious pick, right? Maybe so, but No. 1 on our list of the Best New Year’s Eve Songs is the first tune about this particular holiday that we remember hearing, and back in the day, it actually seemed novel. Nowadays, we know it’s anything but, but it’s still a great song.
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