One of the most important considerations when planning a New Year’s Eve party is making sure that your playlist is on point. You’ll want a great, high-energy mix of danceable tunes that everyone can enjoy, while including a few classics for those who love the oldies and some slow jams for the lovers. So if you’re staying in this New Year’s Eve and are ready to bust a move with your friends, throw on our playlist to keep your guests’ toes a-tappin’.
“1999” by Prince
Even though the year has come and gone, “1999” is a timeless classic and one of the best New Year’s Eve themes because of its overarching “carpe diem” sentiment. Plus, it’s a funky, dance-worthy anthem that deserves a place on any party’s playlist.
“New Year’s Eve” by Snoop Dogg
This breezy, smooth hip-hop song begins appropriately with a New Year’s Eve countdown and is peppered with sound clips of popped champagne bottles. So when this song comes on, do as Snoop does, and grab a glass and make a toast to the good life.
“You Only Live Once” by The Strokes
What better time to consider your mortality than at the dawning of a New Year? This upbeat pop rock song reminds us that you do, in fact, only live once, so best to start living it up while you can.
“I Wanna Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles
Ramp up the nostalgia factor with this sugary, classic pop song, perfect for friends and lovers on the dance floor. Whether or not you were born in the Beatles era, most everyone can appreciate the sweet sentiment of this song.
“Jaan Pehechaan Ho” by Mohammed Rafi
Fans of indie cult classic “Ghost World” will recognize this song from the film’s opening sequence. Everyone else will probably recognize it from the recent Heineken commercial. In any case, “Jaan Pehechaan Ho” has to be one of the most energetic and happy songs around. You just can’t not dance when this song comes on.
“Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey
A classic party rock anthem, your New Year’s Eve gathering is almost guaranteed to transform into an impromptu sing-along when this song comes on. Whether you grew up listening to this song on the radio or are just fondly recalling your frattier years, you can’t go wrong with this feel-good power ballad.
“D.A.N.C.E.” by Justice
French electro house duo Justice is no stranger to making disco-fied club bangers that somehow manage to bring out the dancer in all of us, even your most wallflower-esque friend. This groovy bassline-driven track features a sing-songy kids’ chorus that practically begs you to sing along.
“Rock and Roll All Nite” by Kiss
There’s no pussyfooting around here – with “Rock and Roll All Nite,” Gene Simmons and his face-painted crew single-handedly championed the concept of the all-nighter. While we may not agree with the band’s choice of outfits, we can’t deny that this song will keep your party rocking.
“The New Year” by Death Cab for Cutie
Seattle, Wash.-based indie rockers Death Cab for Cutie turn up the self-indulgent emo despondency on this track that begins “So this is the New Year / And I don’t feel any different.” After several hard-hitting party anthems, your guests might enjoy taking advantage of this break to catch their breath.
“Next Year” by Foo Fighters
Another tender slow song, “Next Year” shows grunge rockers Foo Fighters getting in touch with their softer sides, making it a fabulous choice for your party’s slow dance interlude.
“All My Friends” by LCD Soundsystem
Aging hipster James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem reflects on life, love and the importance of friendships in this sentimental dance ballad. Grab all your closest friends for this one, which features lyrics like “And if the sun comes up / And I still don’t wanna stagger home / Then it’s the memory of our betters / That are keeping us on our feet.” Just make sure a box of tissues is close at hand.
“Good Life” by Kanye West
“Good Life” is all about the celebration of finally making it in life, being able to appreciate and afford the finer things while paying homage to where you came from. It’s the perfect popping bottles anthem. So this New Year’s Eve, take heed of Kanye’s advice: “let’s go on a living spree.”
“How Deep Is Your Love?” by The Rapture
New York dance-punk veterans The Rapture are guaranteed to bring out all your guests to the dance floor during this seven-plus-minute disco banger, which ends with an epic saxophone solo.
“It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” by R.E.M.
With all the Mayan doomsday predictions floating around this year, this song by Athens, Ga.-based alternative rockers R.E.M. particularly rings true for 2012, earning it a coveted spot on our playlist. So pour another drink, remind yourself that you’ve lived to see another year and tell yourself “I feel fine.”
“One More Time” by Daft Punk
Quintessential French electronic duo Daft Punk crafted the ultimate celebration song with this worldwide hit. Grab your friends and loved ones, hit the dance floor and party on into the wee hours of the night.
“Auld Lang Syne” by Die Toten Hosen
No New Year’s Eve playlist would be complete without including this traditional Scots-poem-turned-folk-song, sung around the world at New Year’s Eve gatherings. Turn your party on its ear by concluding the night with a fast-paced, fiery version performed by German punk band Die Toten Hosen, who even tosses in a few ad-libbed lyrics.
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