2011, like however many years before it, had no shortage of party rock anthems in pop music--big, wonderfully dumb champagne popping songs practically designed for the New Year's Eve party pictured to the right (or for the real NYE parties listed here). Songs so ubiquitous I don't even really need to list them here, although you can find a few of them in Maura Johnson's excellent Village Voice rundown of the 11 Most Infuriating Songs of 2011 . But there aren't really that many songs out there explicitly about New Year's Eve itself--certainly not as many as you might have seen unloaded on Facebook around Christmas last week. There's Death Cab For Cutie's wide-eyed yet deflated "The New Year," and the Walkmen's bleary but resolute "In the New Year"--and these are fine, even touching songs about unrealistic expectations dashed, about holding onto hope anyway.
But every year, no matter how many party songs come out, there's only one thing I really want to hear at midnight on NYE*:
The Dismemberment Plan - "The Ice of Boston"
It's got all the sad-sack pathos of those other indie rock NYE joints, but it's also got a fucking sense of humor, an animating streak of self-aware wit keeps it from being merely a wet confetti drag. And it's also got a groove, and enough good-natured momentum to actually, weirdly work as a party rock anthem in its own neurotic right (you could easily mix it into a set of mellow disco edits, say). Traditionally, in fact, it's been a celebratory set-closer for the Dismemberment Plan's live shows, with the audience always storming the stage to come party with the band (although such was sadly not the case at their reunion gig at Pitchfork Fest this year--too high a stage, too much crowd, etc).
Basically, I wish I could be doing this every year at midnight:
See y'all next year!
*I will also allow that M83's "Midnight City" could be a pretty appropriate song for the occasion from this year, but bah.