We’ve spent the past couple days talking about resolutions, suggesting them to fans and artists and sharing a few from your favorite musicians. We know sometimes it’s hard to keep a promise to yourself and the new year can give false hope and enthusiasm. To kickstart 2013, here is a collection of New Year songs that will get you stoked, motivate you or help you reflect on the previous year and hope that the next one is better.
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE – "The New Year"
At first glance, this is sort of a depressing song for this type of playlist. "So this is the new year/And I don't feel any different," Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard laments. But where some might see it as sadness, I see it as pragmatism. Resolutions are for suckers. Live your the life the way you want to live it, and damn anyone who tells you otherwise. And if you're in a long- distance relationship (like I was for a few years), pull yourself together and marry that woman already (like I did last October). Thanks for the unintentional pep talk, Ben! [SH]
JACK'S MANNEQUIN - "I'm Ready"
Sometimes a melancholy, self-reflective song is just the thing to motivate you to improve your life. Upbeat seize-the-day pop songs are a dime a dozen, which means by Valentine's Day their message will have faded from your memory. When you need a boost to get your life (and resolutions) back on track, take a cue from Andrew McMahon and look inward. For three minutes and 55 seconds, McMahon sings (and talks) about the problems in his life, whether it be relationship issues ("Just think of all the thoughts wasted on you") or daily monotony ("My life has become a boring pop song and everyone's singing along"). Fortunately, it ends on a high note when McMahon sings, "Don't stop me, I'm ready." Pull yourself up. Fight off your demons. Make 2013 your bitch. And if all that fails, at least you've got Jack's Mannequin to keep you company. [BM]
THE LAWRENCE ARMS – "100 Resolutions"
I've never had a fall-down-drunk new year's celebration, mainly because I didn't start drinking until a few years ago and avoided the embarrassing half-memories that come with being an early-twentysomething around the holidays. So try as I might, I have a hard time relating to Lawrence Arms guitarist/vocalist Chris McCaughan's melancholy lyrics in "100 Resolutions" ("As midnight clocks are singing/Good chance I'll be slobbering somewhere/Probably passed out, wasted, and sleeping until the smoke clears.") But it's hard to deny the passion in his voice when he pleads, "This year I'll try not to think too much/This year I'll stand up for myself/This year I'll live like I never lived before/This is my year for sure." It's part-sarcastic, part-sincere--and totally moving. [SH]
MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE - “The Kids From Yesterday"
Time was already flying before the internet and now in today's perpetually plugged-in world, we've been able to whizz through the calendar years like they were nothing, stopping only on New Year's Eve to watch those national-news montages of headline stories and farewells to people who have died. Because, like, dude, we forgot. When Gerard Way sings, "You only hear the music when your heart begins to break," the memories of every lost opportunity to maintain that one friendship, tell someone how I felt about them or find an escape route out of a situation I knew was bad but still stayed in, are cauterized in my brain. This year, less "shudda, cudda, wudda," and more "Hell, yeah!" [JP]
PENCEY PREP – “Fat And Alone”
My sole 2013 resolution is to become more healthy and to lose a significant amount of weight to feel better about myself. Though it may not be nice, this humorous Pencey Prep song can definitely serve as a great motivator. I will keep at my goal until I can no longer relate to its lyrics: “Things aren’t getting any better (You’re fat and alone)/And you’ve stretched out all your sweaters (So fat and alone)/Things aren’t getting any brighter (You’re fat and alone)/And you’re not getting any lighter (Fat and alooone).” [CW]
TEGAN AND SARA – "Someday"
Call them whatever you want: resolutions, goals, promises. Throughout the next 12 months, humans across the world will do everything except the rules they so valiantly made for themselves at midnight on New Year's Day. (People tend to make big promises while in the haze of a champagne stupor.) So when you wake up December 31, 2013 and realize you accomplished none of the goals you set out to tackle, fear not. Take a page out of Tegan And Sara's book: If not this year, there's always someday. Instead of New Year's resolutions, why not make life resolutions? There's a reason the song's chorus goes "Might do something I'd be proud of someday/Mark my words, I might be something someday." When it comes to filing your taxes, paying your bills and training for a marathon, deadlines can be good. But when it comes to something as monumental as becoming a better person, sometimes 12 months just isn't enough. It can take a lifetime. As Tegan And Sara so eloquently sing, sometimes not having a deadline is okay. [BM]
THURSDAY – “Jet Black New Year”
I’m not much of an optimist, so I went absolutely literal on this playlist and chose my favorite Thursday song, which is both New Year's-themed and somewhat terrifying. To attend the New Year’s Eve party that ends in tragedy described in this song would be a nightmare, but the scariest part of this song is how its intensity places you in a setting and makes you feel the anxiety and misery of being surrounded by cheers and celebration when the world outside turns bleak and grim, and everyone seems to forget that—except you. Perhaps the positive takeaway from this could be to become more aware of your surroundings and to notice when a friend needs you. Or, forget everything and party like a zombie in a brain-field. Whichever. [CW]
FRANK TURNER – "Live Fast, Die Old"
AP's favorite U.K. troubadour doesn't push emotional buttons as much as he stomps on them like they were onstage effect pedals. On this exuberant track from Poetry Of The Deed, Frank Turner is addressing both bored teens and terrified middle-agers to shake off the fear and live your fecking life, already. When Turner sings, "It won't last, so be bold," he's filling me with more hope, confidence and insanity than Kurt Cobain or Paul Westerberg ever did, combined. It's a new year, let's make that calendar worth following, shall we? [JP]
We always like a challenge. So, submit your ideas for future playlists in the comments. Bring it!