Updated: Jan 23
This year needs no introduction. Everyone seems to be able to agree, 2020 was hard. So hard, in fact, that New Year’s Eve feels less like a celebration and more like a long awaited life raft. New Year's Eve will be different for many other reasons as well, considering the fact that any parties hosted will be within households or over Zoom calls. It is for that reason that the playlist should include just as many songs about new beginnings and renewal as popular party hits. Here are some songs that set just the right mood, falling somewhere between hopeful and exultant.
1. Dog Days are Over by Florence and the Machine With haunting vocals and dramatic instrumentals, this one is probably best suited for more of an unconventional occasion. Still, it’s upbeat and empowering, and the title is also a very good description of what we hope is true. It’s also a great one to dance to, perhaps as the clock strikes midnight on New Years Eve. Besides, what better way to bring some good magic to 2021 than listening to a witchy woman?
2. You Get What You Give by The New Radicals A classic from the late 90’s, this one feels a bit like something you’d hear at Delia’s in the best way possible. It’s fast paced without feeling too hyper, and has just the right amount of cheesiness. With lyrics like “you’ve got the music in you”, and “you’ll be okay, follow your heart”, it's a great pump up song and will get you mentally and emotionally ready for whatever 2021 has to offer.
3. It’s My Life by Talk Talk While No Doubt also did a great cover of this song, there is something undeniably wonderful about the original. It’s perfect for a party of one, when you’re deciding that 2021 will be your year and no one can stand in your way. In other words, it sounds like it’s straight out of a coming of age movie, so get in your car, put on this song while driving to nowhere in particular, and feel like the main character, because you are.
4. Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen When in doubt, anything by Freddie Mercury is a great option. An anthem to feeling confident, this is another great one for deciding that New Year’s resolutions aren’t dumb because you will follow through with them this time. It’s also perfect for karaoke, and if you really feel like impressing your cat (or your family, whoever you’re celebrating with), you know you can never go wrong with Queen.
5. Lovely Day by Bill Withers Another classic, this one is just the right amount of optimistic. IT's slower paced and almost soothing, a sort of comfort song. Whereas it might not be the best one for the New Year’s Eve celebration itself, it’s a great way to start the first day of 2021. Maybe play it while taking a walk, or making breakfast. Maybe play it whenever you feel doubt and uncertainty about the future. Either way, it’s a great reminder that everything is gonna turn out alright in the end.
6. Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles Like “Lovely Day”, “Here Comes the Sun” is hopeful and uplifting. This one, however, is not just for feeling of hope but feelings of joy as well. It’s a celebration that we got through everything that we did, and that things are starting to turn around. Overall, this one can be played at any given moment whether it be during the evening or as the sun comes up, considering there is never a situation unfit for music by The Beatles.
7. 1999 by Prince Catchy, carefree, and vaguely apocalyptic, this one is absolutely perfect after the dumpster fire that was 2020. It's great to dance to and chill to but also hints at the ominous world events. With lyrics like "war is all around us" contrasting lyrics such as "if you didn't come to party, don't bother knocking on my door", it feels suitable for any celebrations. Still, even without the way situational appropriateness , it's a New Year's Eve classic and so listening to it feels almost comforting.
8. Homemade Dynamite [remix] by Lorde ft. SZA, Post Malone, and Khalid This is the only song on this list that doesn't have anything to do with the current situation. In fact, it's a distraction from everything that happened, and a reminder of simpler times. With a great beat and well done melodies, it's an instant good time and can make dancing by yourself a bit more fun.
9. Landslide by Fleetwood Mac While the other songs on this list are fun and cheerful, “Landslide” is more subdued. While it may not be one for a celebration, or even the first day of a new year, it’s a great song to listen to while acknowledging the pain that came with 2020. Perfect for reflection, Stevie Nicks’ beautiful vocals are great for simply processing everything that has happened and the fact that we can all finally exhale.