On this last day of the year, the post calvin would like to suggest some tunes for your New Year’s Eve festivities. Check out the Spotify playlist here, or just listen to the choice from your favorite writer.
We wish you a happy and blessed new year! We’re looking forward to 365 more great days of post calvin writing.
“Live in the Moment” | Portugal. The Man.
It’s got a grooving and catchy melody, with a solid series of “La la la’s” that anyone can chime in on.
Jack Van Allsburg
“Steppin’ Out” | Joe Jackson
This song is the perfect balance between dated and timeless, the ideal vibe for a new years party.
“Ooh La La” | The Faces
It’s a good get-on-the-highway song, with bright guitar and a cheery riff—don’t pay attention to the verses, but the chorus makes you think about last year and the ones before that.
“Gates” | The Menzingers
If New Year’s Eve is good for anything, it’s wave after wave of crushing nostalgia and a heavy dose of existential crisis. “Gates” offers both of these things en masse, and plus it’s always smart to cry before you dance.
Mary Margaret (Healy) Niewenhuis
“Finding You” | Kesha
My favorite piece of New Year’s Eve lore is the inexplicable assumption that everyone needs a passionate, romantic kiss at midnight. It’s one of the sillier holiday traditions we have, and the fact that it is largely due to When Harry Met Sally makes it all the better. My playlist has to have a good song to kiss passionately to, and I can think of nothing better than something off of Kesha’s fantastic new album.
“Midnight Train to Georgia” | Gladys Knight and The Pips
Because it’s on theme (“midnight” is the theme of every NYE, obviously) and also it would allow me to determine who to continue being friends with in the new year based on the number of lyrics they know by heart and the enthusiasm of their “woo woo”s.
“We Will All Go Together When We Go” | Tom Lehrer
Everyone needs more Tom Lehrer in their lives, and this song, despite being written more for the Cold War zeitgeist, reminds me fondly of the 1999–2000 New Years’ freak-outs.
“Happy Holidays” | Words by Irving Berlin, sung by Bing Crosby
This quintessential old-timey holiday crooner-classic is literally sung as the bell strikes midnight in the Irving Berlin musical Holiday Inn. The lyrics are, shall we say, not quite Shakespeare, but this tune always gets a good laugh from my family and we all sing along to the random snippets we can remember each year. It also has bit of snappy part on the verse that you could shimmy to, if you the New Year’s spirits so led you.
“Ain’t that a Kick in the Head (RJD2 remix)” | Dean Martin, Nelson Riddle
It’s a punchy, jazzy, dance-y version of Dean Martin’s classic song, it goes well with champagne, and is a great blend of reminiscent-meets-fresh-and-new, which seems fitting for New Year’s. (I’m also a fan of both his and her mutual consent—a great example as we welcome 2018).
“Dress” | Sylvan Esso
If I were to host a NYE party, ninety percent of Sylvan Esso’s music would be on the playlist, but “Dress” stands out as particularly appropriate for the occasion. It’s fun, sexy, and danceable, and it’s versatile enough to suit any sort of New Year’s party atmosphere.
“Whatever Blows Your Hair Back” | Republican Hair
In a year when everything fell apart, maybe we just need to be accepted for who we are and listen to whatever the hell we want. Whether that’s “a little 80s Madonna” or “a little Winehouse if you wanna” is completely up to you. Built on a funky little beat that isn’t like anything else you’ll hear on the radio, this song is the perfect antidote to 2017.
“Safety Dance” | Men Without Hats
I think it’s impossible for anyone, even the person with no soul, to remain motionless listening to this song. The music video is the real gem. And no, the Glee version of this song is not better.
“Africa” | Toto
If I am having a NYE party, Toto’s “Africa” has to be in rotation. Despite not being an out-and-out club banger, “Africa” is the perfect party song—it is danceable, has retro appeal, and has one of the best sing-along choruses in the Western Canon.
“Countdown” | Beyoncé
I usually abstain from saying that I like Beyoncé because proving the lengths and depths of personal devotion to her always looks highly competitive. But today I’ll lean on her mass appeal and the relevance of this song to ringing in the new year.
“Cásate Conmigo” | Silvestre Dangond and Nicky Jam
Assuming this is the sort of party that ends in dancing (as the best parties do), I’d include “Cásate Conmigo” (“Marry Me”). Wholesome reggaetón songs are few and far between, but this is as close as it gets, with Silvestre Dangond and Nicky Jam singing hoarsely and jubilantly about how much they want to marry their girlfriends. Honorable mentions: “Me Rehúso” by Danny Ocean, “Chantaje” by Shakira Ft. Maluma, and “Una Lady Como Tu Remix” by Manuel Turizo Ft. Nicky Jam.
“FDT” | YG ft. Nipsey Hussle
Sometimes eloquence just gets in the way.
“Call Your Girlfriend” | Robyn
Timeless. Greatest party song to dance to, bar none.
“The Cure” | Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga released only one song this year. The choice was easy.
“Cry” | GAYNGS
Every New Year’s needs a slow dance. And every slow dance needs a sad single person crying on the side. This song provides for both.
“My Dear Acquaintance (A Happy New Year)” | Regina Spektor
I basically don’t listen to “party” or “dance” or even “uptempo” music, so here’s some Regina Spektor earnestness for you. Play this one at midnight with your best friends. (Or, if you’re alone, try her song “New Year” for a little more melancholy vibe.)
“Auld Lang Syne” | Sufjan Stevens
“Auld Lang Syne” is a New Year’s classic and I’m a big fan of this Sufjan Stevens rendition, which reminds me of what it sounds like when the Sunday School kids team up the church choir. Play it to close the party, then turn the lights on and send everyone home with a song in their hearts.
Andrew Knot’s Honorable mentions:
“1,2,3,4” | Wanda
I’ll concede that as a German-language song, 1,2,3,4 might not be the most audience-sensitive choice at an American party. But Wanda, the latest Austrian rock sensation, have packed all the elements of a New Year’s Eve hit into this track: nostalgia, full-on monogamous devotion to a partner, and a groovy, anthemic chorus.
“All We Got” | Chance the Rapper
Chance the Rapper’s “All We Got” is one of my party favorites no matter the occasion. It’s especially apt for New Year’s because of the way the existential (“So we might as well give it all we got”) and the transcendent (“I get my word from the sermon // I do not talk to the serpent // That’s the holistic discernment”) commingle over top of a driving beat.
Abby Zwart (’13) teaches high school English in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She spends her free time making lists of books she should read, cooking, and managing the post calvin.