10 Songs to Get You in the Mood for New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve can be celebrated in a myriad of ways. Maybe you’re the partying ’til midnight kind of person. Maybe you’re more the stay-at-home type, cuddled up and maintaining your status as a faithful viewer of New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. Regardless of your plans on Dec. 31, everything is better with the right soundtrack.

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As we all prepare to ring in 2023 in our own ways, we’ve compiled a list of songs that will help you get in the spirit. Some of the songs below are on-the-nose NYE fare while others lend themselves to particular moods. Whether you’re looking for crowd-pleasing anthems or lulling background music, we’ve got you covered. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2…

1. “Alien Superstar” (Beyoncé)

If anyone can get a party started it’s Beyoncé. Her latest album, Renaissance, was practically made for an occasion such as this. Before heading out for all the New Year’s festivities, it’s important to get in the right frame of mind. Of course, putting on sparkly outfits and downing a few glasses of champagne will set you on the right path, but if you really want to feel like the night is yours, take “Alien Superstar” for a couple of spins. Few self-empowering anthems hit quite as hard.

2. “Let’s Start The New Year Right” (Bing Crosby)

Every holiday gets its due in the film Holiday Inn. Bing Crosby brings out the big guns for New Year’s with this Irving Berlin composition. Lyrically, “Let’s Start The New Year Right” goes where you’d expect: Kissing the old year out / Kissing the new year in. But, that’s what is so great about Crosby— he’s familiar, comforting, and timeless. It’s hard to fret about any worries the new year might bring when you have this song guiding you through it.

3. “It Had To Be You” (Frank Sinatra)

When thinking of iconic New Year’s imagery, the penultimate scene of When Harry Met Sally can’t be far down on the list. After meandering in and out of each other’s lives for decades, the pair finally express their love amid a packed NYE party after a push from the jazz classic “It Had To Be You.” Many have tried their hand at this standard, but we’ve chosen Frank Sinatra for this list. Listen to this one if you’re dreaming of meeting a particular person just as the clock strikes midnight.

4. “New Year’s Day” (U2)

U2’s “New Year’s Day” sees the Irish rockers as powerful as they ever have been. The driving guitar is enough to fuel any party for hours on end. The impassioned cry for change found within the lyrics is surprisingly versatile. Bono belts out Maybe the time is right / Oh, maybe tonight. Though he had politics on his mind when he penned the song, the upbeat musicality allows it to function as both a call to action and an unrelenting floor filler.

5. “New Year’s Day” (Taylor Swift)

Same title. Very different vibe. Taylor Swift’s “New Year’s Day” is a twinkling ode to domesticity. Instead of focusing on the glitz and the glamour of a New Year’s Eve party, Swift is singing about the quiet of the day after. Glasses are on the floor. Glitter is everywhere. Remnants of a night well spent are all around. But as much as Swift enjoyed the party, she is more than happy to sink back into normalcy. She sings I want your midnights / But I’ll be cleaning up bottles with you on New Year’s Day. If going out is less so your thing on New Year’s, this Swift track will perfectly score a quiet night in with someone special.

6. “1999” (Prince)

Despite becoming increasingly outdated, Prince’s “1999” has remained a New Year’s classic. Prince makes light of the long-theorized Armageddon at the turn of the century: Say, say, 2000-00, party over / Oops, out of time / So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999. Though obviously, the doomsayers were wrong about the end of the world, the song still gives the listener license to party like there is no tomorrow.

7. As It Was” (Harry Styles)

It was one of the biggest songs of 2022. Harry Styles singing In this world, it’s just us
You know it’s not the same as it was
played on an almost unrelenting loop across pop radio. It made the former boy bander a record breaker in more than one respect and is delightfully catchy to boot. Before we launch into the new year, kiss 2022 goodbye with this unparalleled anthem.

8. “About Damn Time” (Lizzo)

Speaking of colossal hits of 2022, it was truly Lizzo’s year after she released “About Damn Time.” Much like Beyoncé’s inclusion on this list, this song is a self-love anthem that just so happens to double as a party banger. Everyone wants to feel their best on New Year’s. “About Damn Time” is just one of many lessons on that subject from Lizzo. Heed it well.

9. “New Year’s Resolution” (Otis Redding and Carla Thomas)

With all the fun that comes along with New Year’s, the holiday also marks a time when we all seek to better ourselves. Someone long ago decided that the ushering in of a new year also meant being given a new lease on life and thus the New Year’s resolution was born.

For Otis Redding and Carla Thomas, their resolution is to get back together and stay that way. Despite mistakes, fights, and changes, the pair pledge their devotion to one another singing let’s make promises that we can keep and call it a new year’s resolution. Let two of the most iconic voices in soul lull you into thinking you can keep your resolutions too.

10. “The Final Countdown” (Europe)

Swedish rock outfit Europe penned this superbly schmaltzy anthem in 1986. Though the band is singing about taking a one-way rocket ship to Venus, the iconic chorus has been adopted for any count-down warranting event, i.e. New Year’s. Okay, so it’s cheesy, but we all need a little kitsch in our lives from time to time.

Photo Courtesy: Parkwood Entertainment

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