Songs for the New Year

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil - The Philippine Star
Songs for the New Year

Another year is ready to come to an end. Tradition dictates that the song by which we say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new one is Auld Lang Syne. The title means “old long time.”

Auld Lang Syne is Scottish in origin and has lyrics by the great romantic poet Robert Burns. He was the same guy who did My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose and A Man is a Man for a That. But everybody now knows him as the writer who set these memorable words to the tune of an old Scottish air.

“Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Should old acquaintance be forgot and old lang syne?

“For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, we’ll take a cup of kindness yet for auld lang syne.

“And surely you’ll buy your pint cup, and surely I’ll buy mine, and we’ll take a cup o kindness yet for auld lang syne.

“We two have run about the slopes and picked the daisies fine, but we’ve wandered many a weary foot since auld lang syne.

“We two have paddled in the stream from morning sun till dine, but seas between us broad have roared since auld lang syne.

“And there’s a hand my trusty friend, and give me a hand o’ thine, and we’ll take a right good will draught for auld lang syne.”

Auld Lang Syne is a sad song about parting. This is why it is also often played during culminating events where goodbyes are said like graduations and funerals. I have never seen or I should say heard it done in the Philippines but in other countries, the singing of Auld Lang Syne is often accompanied by mournful bagpipes. The sound can be heart-wrenching.

Maybe I should also describe It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve as heart-wrenching.  The hit song that Barry Manilow composed with Marty Panzer back in 1978 was originally seen as a flippant dismissal of the New Year’s Eve celebration.

“Hey what is all the fuss about December 31? It is just another date in the calendar.”

It seems to say. But because of the difficult times we are in right now, not to forget, this is our second New Year’s Eve during the pandemic, the words of this song have become sadly meaningful.

“Don’t look so sad/ it’s not so bad you know/ it’s just another night/ that’s all it is/ It’s not the first/ It’s not the worst you know/ we’ve come through all the rest/ we’ll get through this.”

Barry Manilow

“We’ve made mistakes/ But we’ve made good friends too/ Remember all the nights we spent with them/ And all our plans/ who says they can’t come true/ Tonight’s another chance to start again.

“It’s just another New Year’s Eve/ Another night like all the rest/ it’s just another New Year’s Eve/ Let’s make it the best/ It’s just another New Year’s Eve/ It’s just another auld lang syne/ But when we’re through/ this New Year’s Eve will be just fine.”

I do not know why it is so, but the arrival of the New Year, while a celebratory time, has not inspired composers to write songs about it. Well, there are a few. So, if you want to make a New Year playlist of your own, here are some of the songs you might want to include:

New Year’s Day by U2; New Year’s Day by Taylor Swift; New Year’s Prayer by Jeff Buckley; What are You Doing New Year’s Eve by Ella Fitzgerald; and Happy New Year by ABBA. Check out what the latter says:

“Happy New Year/ happy new year/ may we all have a vision now and then of a world where every neighbor is a friend/ Happy New Year/ Happy New Year/ may we all have our hopes, our will to try/ if we don’t/ we might as well lay down and die.”

Another year has ended. We are now looking forward to an enjoyable, productive, exciting and most of all safe 2022. Just like what the songs Auld Lang Syne and It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve say, we are hopeful that we will have cups of kindness to share with our friends and loved ones and that everything will be just fine.

Happy New Year to everybody. May yours be a happy, blessed one.



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