Several years ago I went to an excellent New Years bash. One of the primary reasons it was so excellent was that our host (I shall call her Auntie, as everyone did) gave herself RSI by putting together a 12-hour long playlist, and it was intricate as hell: Auntie knew our party styles so well, she expertly matched the arc of the list with our expected moods at each stage of the night. It was a triumph of psychology and celebration.
Although I don’t recommend being quite as committed as Auntie (I'm serious about the RSI; she was wearing a wrist brace the whole night), if you want to hit ‘play’ once and then not think about it for the rest of the eve, you can put the work in now to get the rewards later.
Take is easy, brother – you can’t go smashing the big guns early. It’s Dolewave/Indie O’clock: Courtney Barnett, Dick Diver, Bill Ryder Jones, DMA’s, Kurt Vile, The Prettiots.
7.30pm – 9.30pm
Take it up a notch to the good rock: The Drones, The Living End, Violent Soho, The Murlocs, The Peep Tempel.
9.30pm – 11.30pm
Edge that vibe a little further with King Gizzard, Frank Iero and the Patience, Jeff Rosenstock, Dropkick Murphys.
11.30pm – midnight
It’s time to subtly amp the anticipation with some quality hip hop: Dre, Wu-Tang, A.B. Original, Snoop.
midnight – 1am
This is that weird slice where people are either saying goodbye or gearing up. Start off with your classic celebratory feel-goods (Lionel Richie, Sharon Jones [RIP]) and then bulk it with some alt-pop so the people who are staying know you’re on their side (The Flaming Lips, D.D Dumbo, Beck).
1am – 3am
OK, all the lame-ohs have gone. This is your peak! Keep that pop vibe up and chuck in some bangers from all over the place: Client Liaison, Savage Garden, The Pretty Littles, Dinosaur Jr, Tkay Maidza, Ladyhawke, MGMT, Biffy Clyro, Everything Everything, No Doubt, Paul Simon, Kaytranada, Primal Scream, Animal Collective… you get the idea.
3am – 5am
Now you know who’s in it for the long haul, you can put on your guilty pleasures because these people aren’t judging you. I don’t want to speak for you but if it were me, Spice Girls would be in there somewhere.
5am – 7am
At this point, absolutely no one wants you to be educating them – cosy familiarity is best. This is where you put the albums which you can play all the way through without hearing a single dud: Paul’s Boutique (Beastie Boys), your Pink Floyd of choice, Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City (Kendrick Lamar), even Radiohead’s OK Computer if you don’t feel it’ll bring ya down too much.
7am – onwards
If you’re still up now, I have no wisdom for you because you’re on your own plane. Well done mate, and Happy New Year *party hat emoji*.