It's a tradition on New Year's Eve to clink your glasses and smooch your sweetie while listening to a version of "Auld Lang Syne" -- the song that everyone recognizes as the traditional tune to ring in the New Year, even though many don't have the slightest clue of the meaning or why they do it.
According to that font of semi-reliable knowledge Wikipedia, Auld Lang Syne is the title of a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. The words can be translated into English as "old long since," "long long ago," "days gone by" or "old times." So, it's simply that, as you usher in the good times to come, you also reminisce about the good times gone by.
The original Gaelic tune probably sounded a lot different from the version by Pink Martini, which is the one you should play if you are spending New Year's partying it up on a Caribbean island. It's fast, and bouncy. Yet it's one of the most popular versions on iTunes right now.
Some of the others people are downloading like crazy rinclude:
Street Corner Symphony
They'll be playing this one in the clubs tonight, as well as in the Jersey Shore beach house. It's got a fast-paced, synthesized house beat that allows for plenty of grinding and fist pumps. It's the #1 most popular version on iTunes.
Taking a 180 in style and approach from the first entry, English songbird Boyle takes a classic approach to the ballad, and seems the most authentic because, you know, she's English. That's almost Scottish. Hers is the second most often downloaded version of the song.
Straight No Chaser
Love this! It's doo-woop meets R&B acapella and just makes you feel happy. Isn't that what we shouldall be feeling for the New Year?
The Hotel Cafe Presents Winter Songs
A choral type arrangement featuring numerous indie and lesser known artists from different genres including one of my faves, Anya Marina, as well as Jesca Hoop, Butch Walker and Meiko. Soft, poetic, yet modern. Just lovely.
Harry Connick Jr.
This list would be remiss without this crooner and his old-time piano jiggling version of the classic ballad.
For the traditionalists, this has your weepy music, horns, triangles and all. For those who don't know him, just think of all those Christmas movies from the 1940s and 1950s. That's the type.
This makes me cry every time I hear it. But I could say that about every James Taylor song with his soulful voice, soft guitar, piano and strings.
Whichever song you pick to ring in the New Year, cheers and kisses from The Stir!
Image via ahisgett/Flickr