Though traditionally played on New Years, I think of it an honorary Christmas song, and one of the few holiday tunes that doesn’t elicit groans when I play it this soon after December. I like how it’s both sentimental and optimistic, as if to say: Go forth into the dawn! Don’t look back! There’s a whole year of Christmas ahead of us! Here are my favorite versions, which I listen to as a playlist, Auld Lang Syne all day and night:
Andrew Bird. Auld Lang Syne sung on the front porch with a banjo and a fiddle.
Mariah Carey. Auld Lang Syne as the national anthem. Then breakdown! Auld Lang Syne in the club.
Sufjan Stevens. Auld Lang Syne sung by bonneted 19th C American settlers and a chorus of their rosy-cheeked children. You can almost hear them knitting a quilt in the background.
Jimi Hendrix. Nostalgic electric shredding.
Beach Boys. Auld Lang Syne harmonized around a bonfire, with a classic spoken interlude from Denny Wilson.
Vitamin String Quartet. A traditional instrumental version, best listened to at night, the lights low, the flatscreen playing a recording of a crackling fire.
Patti LaBelle. A quiet, doo-woppy Auld Lang Syne, sang as though it’s the last song of the night before closing.