Under 30

I can't complain but sometimes I still do

Thursday, December 22, 2005

"To old friends that we forgot, blah blah blah, old lang syne"

Today is Christmas, which means we are at the furthest possible point on the calendar from the next time we have to be subjected to wall-to-wall Christmas music. Enjoy the silence.

I hate Christmas music. Not to sound like a Scrooge, but Christmas music is more chipper than Katie Couric on two quarts of Mountain Dew, and twice as annoying. If holiday songs weren’t tied to the holiday season, would people put up with so many “fa la las” and “ring ding ding-alings” without “pa pa punching” somebody in the “fa la la face”?

The next holiday on the calendar is New Year’s Day which, interestingly, only has one traditional song of celebration, “Auld Lang Syne.”

Everybody sings “Auld Lang Syne” to welcome the new year and yet nobody knows the words. Being drunk has a lot to do with it, but even a sober person would have trouble making heads or tails of this: “Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?/Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and days of auld lang syne?/And days of auld lang syne, my dear, and days of auld lang syne/ Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and days of auld lang syne?”

OK, so if I forget somebody, what should I do? Unfortunately, the lyrics offer little in the way of coherent guidance. Apparently intoxication played as big a role in the writing of “Auld Lang Syne” as it has in the performance.

You don’t have to understand “Auld Lang Syne” to know it’s a sad song about remembering old friends. If Christmas brings out the manic in us musically, New Year’s seems to bring out the depressive. U2’s “New Year’s Day,” for instance, is a joyful ditty about nuclear annihilation.

If the bomb drops in 2006, does that mean I can break my resolution about working out more? Sweet!

Looking for more New Year’s songs? There aren’t many of them. Death Cab for Cutie, the Breeders and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion each have a song called “New Year,” according to Allmusic.com. Donovan and Otis Redding have songs called “New Year’s Resolution.” Indie rock band the Walkmen did a song called “New Year’s Eve” on their 2004 album, “Bows + Arrows.”

Jeff Buckley practically is the Burl Ives of New Year’s with two songs: “New Year’s Prayer” and a cover of “Auld Lang Syne.”

Other songs can be interpreted as New Year’s songs. “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” by R.E.M. fits in with U2’s end of the year/end of the world theme. The Four Seasons could have been talking about New Year’s Eve on “December ’63 (Oh What a Night),” but it’s one of the worst songs ever, so don’t play it. (Just mentioning the song got it stuck in head. D’oh!) My

New Year’s songs are going to be “First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes and the impossibly lovely “This Will Be Our Year” by the impossibly lovely British Invasion band the Zombies. Both are upbeat tunes for what will hopefully be an upbeat ’06.

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