Musical Space: New Year's Day

Jan 1, 2019

Today, 2019, is a tabula rasa, a blank slate, and getting on with the business of the new year means letting go of 2018. There are beautiful traditions all over the world for dispensing with the accumulated dreck of past, like throwing furniture out of the window, lighting huge communal bonfires, and even burning the pictures of politicians.

Your musical space could probably use a ritual cleansing, too. Maybe your life has some unwanted sonic clutter, like on your phone, for instance. You could set it on “vibrate” and delete those free mp3s that got on there somehow. And this would be a good time for office managers to re-evaluate the music they play when they put you on hold.

The hardest things to get rid of, though, are habits. If you always turn to the same CDs, playlists and stations, your music might be so familiar that you don’t hear it anymore. Try finding music in new places - on the street, in your co-worker’s cubicle, or an obscure podcast. Live performances are always more relevant than recordings. Or instead of changing your music, you could change how you interact with it. You can move to it, sing along, play along, write better words and sing those, rap over it; anything other than just passively listening.

(Music: Otis Redding and Carla Thomas, “New Year’s Resolution,” King and Queen (Stax 1967)

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But it might be best to seek out times of silence. 2018 was a pretty noisy year; it’ll be nice when those echoes die down. 2019 could be the best musical year ever. My resolution is to listen with new ears.

For KMUW, I’m Mark Foley

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Listening list: songs that aren’t “New Year’s Day” by U2

Arvo Pärt, “Tabula Rasa, II. Silentium - Senza moto,” (1977)


Estonian composer using the technique he calls “tintinnabuli”

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, “New Year,” Xtra_Acme USA (1999)


From a collection of B-sides

Death Cab For Cutie, “The New Year,”  Transatlanticism (2003)

Pat Metheny Unity Band, “New Year,” Unity Band (2012)


Pat shows he doesn’t just play electric guitar.
Acoustic Bass: Ben Williams Acoustic Guitar: Pat Metheny Drums: Antonio Sanchez Tenor Saxophone: Chris Potter Writer: Pat Metheny

Vanessa Paradis, “New Year,” Love Songs (2013)


Co-writer credit goes to Johnny and Lily-Rose Depp

Regina Spektor, “The New Year,” Remember Us To Life,“ (2016)


A sad song about letting go.

Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, “New Year,” Souvenir (2017),


Americana band I’d never heard of before.

Joshua Redman, “New Year,” Still Dreaming (2018)


Drums: Brian Blade Tenor Saxophone: Joshua Redman Cornet: Ron Miles Bass: Scott Colley Writer: Scott Colley

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