Best Songs 2008: 4 – In the New Year

The first hook is the bass. While the guitar and singer work to entertain at the outset of this song, the bass leads the way for the refrain to kick in. And you’re completely unprepared, so it punches you in the gut and holds you down so you can hear through the rest of the song. But it’s a great hit, and you’ll be left asking for it again throughout the song, lending a very interesting setting for the back and forth verse-chorus structure.

So now that they’ve got you, The Walkmen will keep you with the rest of this addictive song. Upon closer listen, you actually hear what those fine vocals are talking about. There is a sense of extreme optimism in this song, perhaps mirroring the American outlook. After a tough year for many, it would seem that there is nowhere to go but up. This sense of excitement can barely be contained, and the overwhelming memory of the song is very clear – the powerful near-yelp of “It’s gonna be a good year!”

But the optimism alone isn’t enough to carry this song so high on this list. Instead, it’s a powerful musical statement that pushes The Walkmen to this spot. The combination of striking guitars, solid drumming, powerful bass and a great vocal delivery is matched by very few. It’s almost enough to make you believe that it will be a good year in 2009.

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