One of the most poetic things about Auld Lang Syne is its delicate blend of hope and melancholy. For all the song’s hope for the year ahead, is a very real sense of mourning for the one about to fade to memory.
And, not to go all numbers geek here, but I’d say the song is something like 60% hope and 40% melancholy.
But as we stand on the precipice of 2017, for many Americans their annual sense of hope has been replaced by a gnawing sense of uncertainty. None of us really knows what to expect or what we’ve gotten ourselves into. After all, in our pursuit of change, we’ve just elected the most non-traditional president in history, and a man who’s never held even a single elected office.
Things may work out fine. In fact, things may actually turn out to be better than they are now.
After all (those face down in the Kool Aid notwithstanding), every right-minded person in this country can’t help but look at the president elect’s record in steaks, casinos, home mortgages, airlines, adult education, and even marriage, and find themselves feeling at least a pang or two of doubt and uncertainty.
That’s why, of all the New Year’s songs I could have chosen, I’ve picked this one to usher in 2017. Because this year, perhaps for the first time in history, people all across America seem to be approaching the New Year not with their usual sense of unabashed and boundless hope, but with a measured (yet still-hopeful) sense of uncertainty.
So with that, please enjoy a different kind of New Year’s song for a different kind of New Year – a song that, for all its heart, humanity and indomitable spirit, is ultimately defined by its eerie, rolling and slightly foreboding piano that opens the song and repeats throughout; a musical theme that captures perfectly the mood of so many on this final day of 2016: Eric Carmen’s Brand New Year.
Happy New Year, my friends. And God bless and keep us all.
(And special thanks to my friend, Bob Allen. BA, a fellow traveler and musical soul mate who grew up a block or so from me, first turned me onto this melodic and gently haunting tribute to this most special day of the year.)