Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year?

My New Year's this year has been great, but every year, I'm struck by the bittersweet and forlorn elements of the holiday, as well as the hopeful and forward-looking. As much as New Year's is a time of self-renewal and reinvention, it's also a time of regret and second-guessing for some people.

Barry Manilow knows this.

Mr. Manilow sings at least two songs about New Year's Eve, and neither is particularly hopeful. One, I listen to every year. "It's Just Another New Year's Eve" is a mellow, almost mournful song of simple sadness. It balances the hope of the holiday with the half-hearted realization that all is not what it could be.

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, you'll see, will be
Just fine.

Is "just fine" the most we can hope for?

Let's dial back to just before the midnight hour, and Mr. Manilow's other New Year's song, "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" That song, with its place in time earlier this evening, week, month... should be more hopeful. Yet is it? Shades of Charlie Brown and the little red-headed girl, no.

Wonder whose arms will hold you good and tight
When it's exactly twelve o'clock that night?
Welcoming in the New Year... New Year's eve

Just now on the Dick Clark special, the Bangles performed Simon and Garfunkel's "Hazy Shade of Winter." Susanna Hoffs, like Jane Weidlin (crush!), is as beautiful as ever, and given Ryan Seacrest's muffing the ever-strong Dick Clark's name at one point during the TV broadcast, we can only hope that this is the springtime of our lives.

Happy new year, y'all.

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