When we think of days for which emotions vary from joyous glee to utter depression and seemingly everywhere in between, we think of holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Among days like that, New Year’s Eve is sneaky underrated. These are times when folks look around, realize they have it all and take a little time to soak up the enjoyment. For others, whether it be for reasons financial, personal or something else altogether, these holidays are a necessary evil, something to suffer before getting on to the better days that they hope lie ahead.
New Year’s Eve, meanwhile, is kind of just regarded as a time to get hammered and wear a stupid hat. This is wrong. In actuality, it marks a very pivotal point in people’s calendar. It not only allows people to reflect on the year that was, it also turns their focus to the coming year and all the possibilities — or lack thereof — it will present. This can bring about an array of feelings, depending on one's current state of affairs.
In short, this New Year’s Eve is gonna be awesome for some, downright dreadful for others, while for others still, it’ll just kinda be there. Fortunately, there is a song to accompany every mood.
R.E.M., "Everybody Hurts"
For fans of the U.S. version of The Office (above), the depressive nature of this song is counteracted by its hilarious use by Dwight Schrute as a coping mechanism for his own sad state of affairs. For anyone not familiar with that particular episode, this song is as it was intended to be: one of the most depressing songs ever written. The lyrics are actually uplifting and encourage listeners who have fallen on hard times to pick themselves up and move on, that life gets better. That’s all well and good, but in the moment, and when times are hard, this is simply a reminder to some that life — for the moment, at least — kinda sucks sometimes.
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Green Day, "Whatshername"
American Idiot didn’t exactly lack for hit singles, but it’s kinda surprising this one was never released to radio. It’s tight and catchy and speaks to the fallout of a broken romance – all traits of radio hits. Nevertheless, “Whatshername” not only ranks among Green Day’s more underrated tracks, it’s ideal listening for someone who’s sitting around on New Year’s Eve, wondering whatever became of the one that got away.
Yes, we lost Prince this year, so this song might not have quite its usual pop this New Year’s Eve, but when people think of festive songs to help turn over a new year, this is the consensus favorite. It’s lively, up-tempo, tailor-made for singalongs and, most important, it was crafted by one of the finest musicians of all time, one who sadly left us too soon in 2016. But Prince always came off as someone who wanted his music to be enjoyed and celebrated, so crank “1999” up on New Year’s Eve and toast your good fortune.
Smashing Pumpkins, "Thirty Three"
So you’re not exactly depressed this New Year’s Eve, but rather just slightly down for no real reason whatsoever. It happens. This is the kinda track suited for those types. It’s not a depressing song so much as it is a reflective one. Billy Corgan always was a master of blending near-nonsensical lyrics with musical stylings that toe the line between sadness and hope. Plus, it was released on an album titled Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, which is certainly fitting.
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Rage Against the Machine, "Killing In the Name"
Rage Against the Machine was an angry band with an angry name that made a bunch of angry songs, and did so better than anyone else; seriously, that they've never officially reunited for a comeback record over the past 15 years is a damn tragedy. “Killing In the Name,” from the band’s 1992 self-titled debut, is their best song, and perhaps their angriest. This track is tailor-made for someone looking to blow off a little steam this New Year’s Eve.
Drake, "One Dance"
It was the biggest hit of 2016, and since you’re cool with where you’re at and don’t really give a damn that 2017 is upon us, may as well close out 2016 by jamming one of its best singles.