Music Monday: Songs for the New Year

Boy bands, icons, and resolutions.

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Happy New Year, Lennys! 2017 is finally here and we're celebrating by listening to our favorite cuts by Five, Sheryl Crow, George Michael, and Rilo Kiley.

What Lena Dunham is listening to:

I am currently going down memory lane with a playlist of the top hits of the summer of 1998, the year I first went to sleepaway camp and had my sense of self radically rocked and rolled by the experience of dancing to "When The Lights Go Out" by Five in an abandoned cafeteria with some FIFTEEN year old boys. "I swear you will succumb to me, so baby come to me when the lights go out." (If you're wondering if music was way rape-ier in 1998 the answer is that it's pretty much always been rape-y but in 1998 it was GANG rape-y.)

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But 1998 also yielded Sheryl Crow's gently perfect "My Favorite Mistake," a song I would not come to understand for another twelve years: "did you see me walking by? And did it ever make you cry?" Yes, Sheryl, it did. I'm crying for 1998.

What our deputy editor Laia Garcia is listening to:

I grew up loving George Michael (I know, who didn't?) but in the past few years I had rediscovered "Freedom" as a song of my own, separate from the feelings I may have had for it growing up as something that my mom and I both loved. It wasn't only that I so plainly understood what he was talking about, and how the lyrics were so obviously about his life and career, but of course, by now there were things that I needed to find my freedom from as well. Shortly after the election, I was invited to a cathartic karaoke night, and as I sang this song, it became something different again, and it was a completely different experience to belt this song at the top of my lungs among a group newly-made friends all brought together by, like, life man. I sang it again at karaoke with my family on New Year's Eve, and again, it became something else. Everyone loves and feels this song, and I want to keep that feeling, that spirit with me, as long as I can this year – and forever.

What our assistant Dianca London is listening to:

The promise of the New Year fills me with two feelings: hope and fear. The start of each calendar year coincides with the onset of my seasonal depression, so I always have to force myself to get excited about the opportunities that the New Year offers. Listening to Rilo Kiley's "A Better Son/Daughter" (after returning home from brunch with a friend) really helped me shake off the gloom of 2016. It reminded me that despite our emotional lows or shortcomings, all that we are and will become is worth celebrating, that the temporality of joy and sorrow allows for growth, and that every bit of happiness we can find in this world is worth fighting tooth and nail for. This year my resolution is this song. My resolution is to be better at unapologetically being myself.

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