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9 inspiring songs for the new year

Written by The Anand Market

Updated on:

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Zombies always know how to start a new year.Credit…Stanley Bielecki/ASP and Hulton Archive, via Getty Images

Good year! I’m going to keep things relatively brief today, because I’m starting 2024 with the head cold that every other person in New York seems to have right now. But isn’t that always how we set high expectations and high resolutions for the new year? Life quickly steps in to throw boring, timed obstacles at us.

That’s kind of the goal of the playlist I created for today: to welcome these next 12 months with optimism, grace and even a little humility.

But first, here’s a story about 2023.

Every year, most of the goals I set for myself – the word “resolution” makes me cry – concern cultural consumption. For the past few years, I’ve been intentional about reading my age in books (a number that keeps increasing!), and last year I also attempted to watch 200 movies. Although some social media sites were probably Distractionsby checking in my books on Goodreads and the movies I watched on Letter box helped me stay on track throughout the months.

But December was extremely busy, as it always seems to be, and I found myself obsessively planning my vacation downtime to hit these lofty but ultimately meaningless numbers: If I spend the entire 26th reading a short story and watching a movie every night between now and New Year’s Eve

However, during this last week of the year, something happened and I loosened my grip. I started the longest and most thought-provoking book I have actually research to read instead of the easier-to-finish novel that seemed like an obligation. One of the evenings I planned to watch a movie, I accepted a spontaneous invitation to meet up with old friends. My year was all the richer for these two little decisions.

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What I’m saying is this: set your goals high and also be kind to yourself. I’m strangely proud to report that I didn’t meet my goals for 2023: in the end, I recorded 198 films and read one fewer book than I had planned. So what? My decision not to move on at the end of the year doesn’t undo all the movies I discovered in 2023, or the 30-*ahem* books I finished. It just meant that I also added a little perspective to my annual acquisitions.

Plus, ironically, it looks like I’m about to spend a few days on the couch with enough opportunity to watch a few movies. Be careful what you wish for.

I hope that today’s playlist, which features songs from the zombies, Solange And Fiona Apple, among other things – inspires you to celebrate the new year with the appropriate dose of optimism, rumination and self-forgiveness. Who knows? Maybe it’ll even give you your own personal theme song for 2024.

Listen on Spotify while you read.

An eternal classic, for good reason. (Listen on YouTube)

Fiona Apple approaches self-improvement with enthusiasm – and a little wink – on this fiery, thrilling track from her 2005 album “Extraordinary Machine”: “I have a plan, a request, and it’s just begun/And if you’re right, you’ll agree/Here’s a better version of me. (Listen on YouTube)

“Ashes Grammar,” the ambitious dream-pop opus from Philadelphia band A Sunny Day in Glasgow, is an album I first fell in love with when it was released in 2009, and I’ve carried the wisdom with me ever since comforting chorus of this song: “Fall forward, feel the failure.” (Listen on YouTube)

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“Change this feeling under my foot,” sings an agitated Kathleen Edwards on this excerpt from the Canadian singer-songwriter’s great 2011 album, “Voyageur.” “Change the sheets and then change me.” Who among us hasn’t been there? (Listen on YouTube)

I recently revisited Solange’s 2016 triumph, “A Seat at the Table,” and this song — which speaks to the deep root of why we’re so hungry for superficial change — seems deeper than ever. Plus, if you ever need four and a half minutes of Zen, you know you can always watch the Musical clip. (Listen on YouTube)

The new year is often an opportunity to take a critical look at mortality, reevaluate bad habits, and perhaps address Paul Simon’s doctor’s voice as it appears in this 1972 song: ” How many nights do you think you can do what you’ve been doing? (Listen on YouTube)

“Will there be another time?” Another year, another desire to stay? Nico drones on this brooding dirge, as omniscient and constant as the march of the seasons. Although it first appeared on her 1981 solo album “Drama of Exile,” “Sixty Forty” was also used to memorable effect in Joanna Hogg’s 2021 film “The Souvenir, Part II.” (Listen on YouTube)

In this candid and free-form reflection from her 2015 album “Apocalypse, Girl,” Norwegian musician Jenny Hval considers the passage of time, the nebulous definition of “self-care,” and the pressures of self-improvement, ultimately arriving at his own ironic conclusions. (Listen on YouTube)

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While it’s easy to roll your eyes at all the “new year, new me” exhortations that surround us in early January, there’s also something to be said for sincerely embraced new beginnings – as John Lennon once said. is enthused on the dynamic intro track of “Double Fantasy”. .” (Listen on YouTube)

Here he is – a better version of me,


Listen on Spotify. We update this playlist with each new newsletter.

List of tracks “This Will Be Our Year”
Track 1: The Zombies, “This Will Be Our Year”
Track 2: Fiona Apple, “Best Version of Me”
Track 3: A Sunny Day in Glasgow, “Failure”
Track 4: Kathleen Edwards, “Changing the Sheets”
Track 5: Solange, “Cranes in the Sky”
Track 6: Paul Simon, “Run That Body Down”
Track 7: Nico, “Sixty-forty”
Track 8: Jenny Hval, “This Battle is Over”
Track 9: John Lennon, “(Just Like) Starting Over”