John's Track of the Week: "New Year's Eve"

Song: New Year's Eve
Artist: The Walkmen
Album: Bows + Arrows
Year: 2004

Before their 2008 hit album, You & Me, and 2006's A Hundred Miles Off, The Walkmen were just a little-known member of the New York City rock scene.  On 2004's Bows + Arrows, you notice the more gruff, and less polished, nature of the band. Lead vocalist Hamilton Leithauser seems to growl more than shout, as compared to his penchant for shouting on later records.  Perhaps a sign of more angst and vulnerability for the then-younger singer, but effective nonetheless, as it provided a retro sound, to go with the band's vintage instrumentation, to stand out in a crowded music scene.  Today, this vintage appeal is central to the group's success, and one of the reasons I enjoy their records.

"New Year's Eve", like most Walkmen songs, involves Leithauser collecting his thoughts about a female.  Here, she's of the one-night stand variety, as he briefly discusses what they're doing and the conversation they should probably be having.  Like many of their other songs, you're left wondering about the outcome- see "Canadian Girl" as another great example.  This simple melody, worked through on piano, is a short one, but something that a lot of listeners can probably relate to.  It also captures the mood of New Year's Eve very nicely, as its stripped down nature and quiet and timid vocals can lend to a variety of feelings normally associated with that night.  Check it out below.

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