What does that song mean?

Can We Get A New Song For New Year's Please?

Posted Dec 30th 2011, 15:20 by Penguin Pete

Should "auld" acquaintance be forgot? YES!

"Auld Lang Syne" is the canonical song that is warbled by toasted party animals across the English-speaking world every New Year's Eve. And for a holiday song, as well as the very first one you hear at the year's start, it's a depressing dirge. The tune itself may be a traditional folk tune or it may have been Robert Burns' friend who sang it that way, depending on which historical rumor you choose to believe, but either way it sounds like a catfight on morphine.

Then there's the words. Boy oh boy, the words! Yes, to be sure, Robert Burns was a respected poet, a master of literature, a deep thinker of great thoughts. But that doesn't make you more qualified to write the official party ballad to end all party ballads, any more than, say, AC/DC. The words are in Scots, which is not even spoken by every Scot, since there's also Scottish Gaelic. It may make perfect sense in the Lowlands (come to that, the Lowlands as they were in 1788), but it's gibberish by the time it gets to the modern day United States. So now we have what sounds like a record played backwards, set to the tune of a catfight on morphine.

Like the "Star Spangled Banner", most people can't remember more than the first verse and chorus, so they just sing that over again. But here's verse three, and what most people might understand of it:

  • "We twa hae run about the braes" - A fraternity ritual in which the boys invade the sorority house, raid the girl's underwear drawer, pull out the "braes", and run around the front yard waving them.
  • "and pu’d the gowans fine" - it's similar to when you "gyre and gimble in the wabe".
  • "But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit" - We've spent all of our "mony", and now we're staggering around the casino having spastic twitches.
  • "sin auld lang syne." - Time for the chorus again, thank heavens.

Here, let's nominate some new songs to become the official New Year's Eve midnight anthem:

"Takin' Care of Business" - Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Well, it's easier to sing at least, isn't it? Now, we want to reflect on all of our accomplishments and victories in the past year, and brag a little about how well we've met them. At the same time, New Year's is the official end of the holiday season - we don't get a really big holiday again until Easter or maybe Mardi Gras. So it's back to work... and again, this song is also a good motivator to spur us forward to another year's productivity.

"Born to Raise Hell" - Motorhead

For those who see New Year's Eve as nothing but an excuse to wallow in complete hedonism, this song is perfect. It's easy to listen to, easy to dance to, easy to do jello shots off the stripper's navel to...

"Let the Day Begin" - The Call

You've probably never heard of this one, but in 1989 this was The Call's highest-charting single. Al Gore picked it to be his campaign song for the 2000 presidential race. Sample lyrics: "Here's to the babies in a brand new world. Here's to the beauty of the stars. Here's to the travelers on the open road. Here's to the dreamers in the bars." and then each chorus ends with "let the day begin". There, isn't that positive, uplifting, and uniting? The whole song is one long toast, right when you have a drink in your hand.

"Imagine" - John Lennon

If we must have a sobering, sentimental song that sounds like we should be crying into our beer, can we at least make it this one? It's an inspirational plea to be motivated to create a happier world, urging us that heaven is within our grasp if only we'd all stop being such dunderheads. There's the misty-eyed sentimentalism, without the garbled language.

"It Was A Very Good Year" - Frank Sinatra

Well, you can't do better for a reminiscing song. As a bonus, it's almost as long and depressing as "Auld Lang Syne", and the hippies will all split off to sing "Imagine" while the suits can sing this.

"Rock and Roll All Nite" - KISS

Hey, it's simple, it's singable, it's already a party standard. It's practical. Boring as oatmeal, but practical.


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