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I love to think of the new year as that time when everyone, starting from the ardent down to the most impervious, indulge in music. Bless, or if you belong to the latter category, blame the festivities , but music is in the air, as tangible as the nipping chill. I, for one, believe in music being an inseparable part of any auspicious start. Now if you are the sorts who know what they want when it comes to music, I’m sure coming up with answers to “So what do I listen to right now?” doesn’t pose much of a problem. However, if you belong to the class who could sometimes do with a nudge and a shove towards the right direction when it comes to your choice of music, you might just find yourselves at a loss as to where to start from. Same goes if you are like most of my older cousins who have forever been listening to only classic rock and need to be kept updated with “What the kids are listening to these days”. Whatever be the case, there can never really be too much of good music. To drive my point home, let me walk you through what I feel are songs you shouldn’t have missed in the last year. And since it is better late than never, just in case you have missed them, here’s how you make amends and start afresh in the new year.

What follows is a set of fifteen songs I have put together, most of which made to the chartbusters. A few you might not have heard of; yet I have sneaked them into the list hoping you would trust my taste. I believe in setting the mood before you really get into the spirit, sort of like letting the wine breathe before the first sip, you know. So while the first few songs are meant to keep you glued to your seat, the ensuing ones are supposed to make you sway to them so that by the time you’re through with the set you are totally “in the groove”. Cheers to the new year, folks. Here’s hoping there’s something for everyone in this one…!!

Empire State Of Mind (Glee: The Music, Volume 4): Blame my movie-tainted fantasies, but New York and the Empire State Building during New Years’ Eve has forever been something I love to dream about. Hence this song. Chances are you have listened to the Jay-Z and Alicia Keys original, but somehow the Glee rendition seems to capture the pathos better. Imagine the bright lights, and imagine the bustling city. One word. Symbolic.

Christmas Lights (Coldplay: Single): This Coldplay single would bring you straight from the bright joyous New York city to a hopeless dark heart wishing Christmas lights would light up his world. Even then this one doesn’t leave you sad. Because deep inside you know it is finally about hope. Signature Coldplay.

Secrets (One Republic: Waking Up): I am sure I must not be the only one to feel the violin in this one resonate right inside me. Lyrically, Secrets is about retrospection, and very subtly, about atonement. Was there ever a more apt song? Although predominantly orchestral, the assuring, steady beats just complement the graver tone to make this one a perfectly harmonized song.

The House That Built Me (Miranda Lambert: Revolution): Sentiments. Nostalgia. Memories. This song is stuffed with all this and more. And I help you set the country mood with this one. While simplicity is one of its forte, lyrics that will melt your heart is actually what made me love it. This one is for all the people who have left their homes, and would love a walk down the proverbial memory lane.

Water (Brad Paisley: American Sunday Night): Continuing with the country mood, let the maestro with the honeyed voice take you through a happy ride of simple memories with, ah, yes, water. Of all things. Not really the thing you want to think of in the chilly winter, but sure is bound to make you look forward to summer. And I bet when you listen to this number, you will be nicely warmed up from all the foot-tapping this song demands.

Stuck Like Glue (Sugarland: The Incredible Machine): Isn’t there something about all good things coming in threes? Well, if not, I am making the rule now. The third country song in this set, this is out and out funny. Like laugh out loud funny. Or maybe it is the video that makes me feel like that. Either way, upping the sunshine factor by many notches, Stuck Like Glue is about the light side of love. And did I mention the creepy way the chorus will stick to you long after you have stopped listening to the song?

(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life (Glee: The Music, Volume 4): A cover again, rather the remake of the original Black Eyed Peas number, this one is just the right bridge when you want to cross over to the pop mood. While the original is pure hip-hop, and a little heavy on the ears, this one is a softer version. BEP worshipers would call it blasphemy; the song being stripped of its techno effects, but I call it making the song better seasoned to suit everyone’s taste.

Just The Way You Are (Bruno Mars: Doo-Wops and Hooligans): And so after seven easy-on-the-ears song, I’m going to “bring it on” with this amazing song. Chances are you have already heard this song (it is all over the place!) but I still believe you can always listen to it just one more time. Whether it be the beats that make you want to jig, or the subtle radio type crackling effect in the background (you would have to listen very closely to notice it though), this one sure deserves it chartbuster status.

Teenage Dream (Katy Perry: Teenage Dream): If you are the sorts who turn your nose up on female pop singers, well, this should be the first song you give a chance to. Don’t go by the lyrics much, but let yourself loose with the beats and the catchy tune. The best part is unlike most pop numbers these days, this will not remind you, even faintly, of any song you have heard before. And that, in my ears, sorry eyes, is reason enough to love a song!

Little Lion Man (Mumford And Sons: Sigh No More): Now this, should be feast for the ears. Guaranteed. Right from the very interesting guitar intro combined with the mandolin, to the really fast pace of this folk-rock song, Little Lion Man is the perfect pick-me-up from almost about anything. This is one of them songs which didn’t make it big in the Chartbuster scene (although The Cave by the same band did), but then again, how would you know until you have heard it, right?

Animal (Neon Trees: Habits): What compilation is complete without a pure rock number? I would call Animal the new-gen rock song, specially because of its techno flavors. Interestingly though, the techno-bit does not in any way overpower the song itself and infact the infusion of synthesized elements actually enhances the feel of it. Definitely worth a listen or two. Or many, many more.

Up, Up and Away (Kid Cudi: Man On The Moon: The End Of The Day): I swear by hip-hop as the ultimate when it comes to making you groove, and I pledge loyalty to Kid Cudi when it comes to hip-hop. Although I didn’t find this song in the Billboard hits of the year, I suggest you listen to it, because if there’s one song that will really make you want to fly up, up, and away, this one is it with beats that will make you wish you had wings for legs.

Love The Way You Lie (Eminem feat Rihanna): If there is one song that has been consistently on the charts, this one is it. I don’t know a single person in my vicinity who hasn’t heard this song. And for good reason too! It would be injustice to leave this song out of my set, given that it is revolutionary with the whole loving the lying bit. Who’d have thought, eh?

What’s My Name (Rihanna feat Drake): I am sincerely hoping by this time you are drowning in the beats too much to stop paying attention to the lyrics of the songs because believe me, this is not a song you want to read between the lines of. However, that does not mean you don’t pay attention to the interesting play with notes and the unusual beat in this song. Rihanna does justice to this song so very well you can’t imagine anyone else singing it!

Raise Your Glass (Pink): My show-stopper, folks, and I couldn’t find a more perfect song. If the new year isn’t about partying and celebrating the spirits (in more ways than one… wink, wink!) AND awesome music to go with it, what is? Put Pink’s bold and beautiful voice together with fast-paced acoustics, and voila! You have the quintessential party song. Cheers once again!

There you go, from the slow-mo and the heavy to the simple and easy to the downright upbeat and sassy. Flavors of the new year served in an acoustic platter as a veritable feast for those auditory senses. Almost forgot the perfunctory, though. Here’s wishing all a fun-filled year; as easy as a country song, as fun-filled as hip-hop and as classic as rock.

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