Memorable Songs Played on New Year’s Eve

by The Hairpin

If we say “think of a song you heard on New Year’s, ever,” what comes to mind first?

I once threw a crazy-ass house party on NYE, and even though peeps were hanging in four different rooms, when “Walking On A Dream” by Empire of the Sun came on there was this moment of disco clarity where everyone joined together in the living room to bust out their best moves. It was magical. — Simcha Whitehill

Shakira, “She Wolf,” 2009. — Carlye Wisel

City High, “What Would You Do?” No better way to ring in the new year — 2002 — than with a song about prostituting yourself to feed the child you had with your boo in prison. — Naomi “The Blacktress” Ekperigin

House party, 1999. I don’t remember much, except for a vague, thrilling fear that we were all going to die, and dancing to Eiffel 65’s “Blue.” — Edith Zimmerman

Daft Punk, “One More Time.” For some reason at a NYE party in 2000/2001 a friend, her boyfriend, and I spent the night doing cocaine in the laundry room of some random apartment we stumbled into. This song seemed to be the soundtrack to that night. I was wearing these absurd false eyelashes that matched the sequined top I had on (what a heady time pre-9/11 New York was). — Anonymous

Katy Perry, “Hot N’ Cold,” 2009. — Willa Paskin

Prince, “1999” — at a party in 1999, of course (but also I think I’ve heard it at like every other NYE party I’ve been to). It was in Ann Arbor, MI, and I was irritated with my boyfriend at the time, who seemed to be paying way too much attention to this really pretty girl who just returned from studying abroad in Chile or something. — Dorothy McGivney

ABBA’s “S.O.S.” was playing during NYE 2005 (into 2006) and it was the first time I was getting romantic with this dude who ended up being a pretty big figure in my dating life, for lack of a better description. I’m pretty sure the record was his mom’s (his parents were out of town) and the song really stresses me out now! — Angela Serratore

Outkast, “Hey Ya,” 2004. — Lindsay Mound

The Electric Slide, 1998. I snuck out with a friend, did the electric slide. — Katie Walsh

“Still D.R.E.” for every New Year’s from 2000 until 2004 probably. — Sachar Mathias

The J. Geils Band, “Angel in the Centerfold,” 1998. — Carrie Hill Wilner

Scissor Sisters, “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin,’” 2006. — Emma Barrie

Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz, “Deja Vu.” It was the song of my New Year in like ’98 and I’ll always remember that. I also remember that I wore a pair of DKNY sparkly pants with a Guess? t-shirt. — Erin Scottberg

Pixies, “Where Is My Mind,” 2001. I promised friends a party with fireworks and costumes, then became despondent re: party’s host/guy I was seeing, so I forced my friends to lie in bed with me and watch Fight Club. I fell asleep and woke after midnight as the movie ended. — Bonnie Downing

Amerie, “1 Thing,” 2005. — Mary H.K. Choi

On Y2K eve my friend Cristina’s mom Karen offered her a deal: if she got some friends to help out at her party, we could leave at midnight and do whatever we wanted all night, no questions asked (we had nothing to do). It was a black-tie dinner party where each of the 35 guests picked four songs per decade, 1900–1999. Karen and their roommate, Steve, spent weeks preparing for the party. Cristina said that Steve spent two solid weeks in his room dubbing everyone’s songs onto mixtapes, only coming out to refill his wine glass and empty his ashtray. Karen also asked Cristina to check around school to see if anyone had cocaine or ecstasy (bear in mind, I went to math camp, took extra math classes in the morning before school, another extra class at night, and was on a special academic schedule that made me miss normal lunch so, no coke hook up).

The party was in their backyard, with tons of food and wine. The guests were all writers, gay, etc, which seemed really exotic at the time. Every time a new song came on whoever picked it would get to “make an entrance” by descending the stairs from their apartment to the yard. Needless to say, all these adults were getting wasted.

Anyway, there was a big oversight with this plan: 35 people, 40 songs each = hundreds of hours of music. And they were supposed to go chronologically. Around midnight all these baby-boomers got sick of whatever Madame Butterfly aria someone had chosen from the 1900s and they were like: “Put on one of the ’70s miiiiiixes!” We’d been getting into the wine while helping with the party, obviously, but neither of us were even 10% as drunk as the adults. Joni Mitchell’s “California” was the first ’70s song to play, and they all went nuts in a way that is very cute in retrospect, a room of shitfaced 50-year-olds dancing and singing, and over-thanking the teenagers who were “helping.”

And then we got to leave, even though we had nowhere to go, so we took a few of bottles of champagne and a joint to the park and went on the swings for a few hours. — Nellie Killian

Happy New Year! Remember to hold the champagne bottles away from your faces!!

(And all the party-appropriate songs from this list do exist on one long MP3, so drop a line if you’d like it. Oh, and for an actual good NYE mix, D.J. Trent has you covered, again, with three hours of expertly mixed party jams from today and yesterday. And tomorrow?!)