It's time to ring in the new year, and you'll want the perfect New Year's Eve playlist for your party. This lineup takes a detour from Top 40 selections for more alternative tracks that will keep the festivities going all the way into 2016. As you gather with friends to sip champagne, toast to the past, and countdown to the future, you'll need a soundtrack that calls for celebration while also allowing for instances of cerebration as we bid adieu to the old and prepare for the new.
This indie mix starts off with upbeat tracks from The Walkmen and Beat Connection to inspire revelry as well as a little dancing and debauchery. Synthesizers and swooning lyrics about how good the future looks promise to get all your guests ready to ring in the new year. As the night is winding down, the sparklers have burnt out, and the firework smoke is fading from the night sky, the music slows down with acoustic sessions from Stars and Regina Spektor for a some much-needed reflection. Take some time with your best friends or cozy up with your midnight kiss to talk about memories, resolutions, and plans, or let your mind wander in silence, taking in the first few moments of the full year ahead of you.
1. "New Year" by FM Belfast
Get your party started with this electro-pop party anthem. The Icelandic band delivers an infectious beat as well as reassurance, with lyrics like "come it's safe out here" and "you let another year bring no fear."
2. "So Good" by Beat Connection
This groovy track from the Seattle electro-pop quartet will get your guests moving to the music.
3. "In the New Year" by The Walkmen
Set the stage for the best year ever with this optimistic ballad that declares, "It's gonna be a good year."
4. "New Years" by Asobi Seksu
The aptly titled dream pop track provides a fast-paced pick-me-up with heavy drums and soaring Japanese lyrics.
5. "Better Things" by The Kinks
As you move into the new year, head back to yesteryear with this optimistic track by the English rock band. "Forget what happened yesterday, I know that better things are on the way." Look forward, not back, with this helpful soundtrack that declares, "It's really good to see you rocking out and having fun / Living like you just begun."
6. "New Year's Resolution" by The Limousines
The Bay Area band paints a realistic picture of how the night might play out when it's "already New Year's Eve again." "Freezing on the rooftop of our building bathed in rich purple after midnight sky" is almost a requisite for a New Year's Eve house party while you're "thinking how much have we let just pass us by?"
7. "In The Beginning" by The Stills
The now disbanded post-punk revivalists ponder where we began and say, "It's nice to see you're moving on," making for a perfect reflective rock track for the new year.
8. "Happy New Year" by Camera Obscura
"Happy New Year / You are my only vice" is sung sweetly with a vintage feel on this track from the Scottish indie pop band.
9. "Resolution" by Matt Corby
Take it a bit slower with this ballad as the Australian indie rock singer-songwriter croons "you'll be my resolution."
10. "The New Year" by Death Cab for Cutie
This dramatic number begins with Ben Gibbard declaring, "So this is the new year," before continuing on to literal descriptions of the big night like, "The clanking of crystal / Explosions off in the distance," and "I have no resolutions."
11. "A New Year (Live)" by Stars
For some added intimacy to your soirée, this live recording is just the trick to up the coziness. The lyrics are spot on with, "I raise my glass just one more time, try to write another rhyme / A word that rhymes with hopeful for the new year" and the ballad ends with a whistled version of "Auld Lang Syne."
12. "New Year" by Beach House
Take solace in this warm dreamy track from the Baltimore band that has Victoria Legrand's airy voice singing, "Just enough to tell a story bout a portrait of a young girl waiting for a new year."
13. "My Dear Acquaintance [A Happy New Year]" by Regina Spektor
This acoustic cover of Peggy Lee's classic serves as the perfect introductory to a New Year's toast: "Raise your glass and we'll have a cheer / For us all who are gathered here."
14. "New Year's Eve" by The Walkmen
After the fireworks have come and gone and the night winds down, these lyrics from the east coast indie rock band hit close to home. "The music's loud, in your room, turn it down / There's a neighbor who can't take it any more."
15. "Fading Fast" by Best Coast
As your guests begin fading fast, pick up the party with this upbeat number from the LA rock duo.
16. "End Of The Party" by Oy Vey
In the early hours of the morning and first hours of the new year, signal to your guests that, "It's the end of the party and it's time to go home." The nostalgic melody underscores that memories have just been made, and there are no hard feelings when the hour has come to say, "We'll see you next year."