Starting the year with the perfect playlist is essential to setting the tone for the upcoming season. Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution or nostalgia rearing its head, music is the doorway to our hearts and minds. Whatever emotion you need to process as you enter this new season, there is a song for you. As 2023 rounds, we reflect on all the musical vibes to start the new year. Here are our picks:
1. Lavender Haze – Taylor Swift
Considering the song’s opening line says, “Meet me at midnight,” it’s probably one of the best ways to kick off 2023. While the song centers around the hazy honeymoon phase of love, one of the song’s main messages is not giving a damn about what others say. With a soft electropop and R&B sound, the song pulls anyone into a state of calm euphoria.
“Escapism” is one of the official bad-b*tch anthems to kickstart the year. Yes, it’s about a breakup, and yes, it’s about escaping your feelings and relying on some not-so-healthy coping mechanisms. However, it’s about taking control of a bad situation and pulling yourself out of some of the worst feelings anyone could experience. Plus, the beat and lyrics EMBODY power and energy.
3. I Ain’t Worried – OneRepublic
If this song doesn’t make you feel warm, bright and free, I don’t know what to tell you. Also, if you hate the cold winter months, this song makes you feel like you’re chilling at the beach. Part of Top-Gun: Maverick‘s soundtrack, this song embodies chasing your dreams, making the most of your days, and not wasting your energy worrying. It’s the perfect way to come into a new year with a clear head.
4. Golden Hour – JVKE
With its ambient sound and sweet lyrics, “Golden Hour” should bring a smile to anyone’s face. This song feels like soulful support and is one way to kick off good vibes for the year. It manifests your worth and how you should always realize you’re a shining star. It’s that song you can listen to when you need an extra hand as you navigate the challenges of the New Year.
5. Alien Superstar – Beyoncé
Another bad-b*tch anthem, this song fuels your power and worth. It reminds you just how unique and untouchable you are. It manifests the energy and vibes you should be going into a New Year with and about how you view yourself. It’s also a song that has you moving and letting loose with its dance, house, and disco sounds.
6. Summer Child – Conan Gray
Conan Gray has never failed to shy away from the challenging aspects of young adulthood, and this song is an ode to not having it all figured out. It’s a song that encourages taking time for yourself and lets you not be okay. New Year’s might be the time to start fresh and start on those changes, but this song should remind you that it’s okay to fall behind and stutter as you progress through a new season.
7. Anti-Hero – Taylor Swift
“Anti-Hero” is a great place to start if you’re in the mood for a bit of reflection. The retro synth-pop beat feels more like spoken word, encouraging the listener to think about insecurities, fears, motives, and morals. It definitely aims at reflection and could be the key to your New Year’s resolutions. Also, it’s nice to know that everyone worries about being their worst enemy at some point or another.
8. Alone – Burna Boy
Powerful, beautiful, and riveting in sound, the soundtrack for Wakanda Forever brings forward some inspirational messages. Alone focuses on tragedy, redemption, and heartbreak as it focuses on the hero’s memories and emotions. It’s a song that would inspire us through the New Year to focus on our emotions and navigate the landmines of our own stories.
9. It’s About Damn Time – Lizzo
While Lizzo is talking about the end of her hiatus, that doesn’t mean this can’t be a manifestation anthem for your New Year. This song is light, free, energetic, and all about good vibes. It hypes you up. So enjoy the music, and realize it’s about damn time in whatever you plan on doing. It’s also a great way to say good riddance to 2022 if that’s more your vibe.
10. Bad Habit – Steve Lacy
Unrequited love? Not saying how you feel? Steve Lacy’s “Bad Habit” might make you reflect on how you process your emotions this coming year. It’s also a great song to commiserate with if you’re used to bottling it all up. However, the message here is to go from biting your tongue to expressing yourself and being as bold as you can be.
11. W.I.T.C.H. – Devon Cole
Devon Cole pulls out all the stops in manifesting good things and knowing her worth. But she also doesn’t give a shit about what others have to say. This song encourages the listener to take control and realize that you shouldn’t have to change who you are (unless you want to, of course). It’s the ultimate, assertive, fiery start to girl boss the New Year.
12. N95 – Kendrick Lamar
Harsh truths, reflections, and the current state of the world. This song is if you need a reality check moving into the New Year. If you’re focused on change, not just for yourself but also for society, this is the song of genuine reality. From the Covid-19 pandemic to all current events, this song is a masterful piece of reflective art.
13. Born Again – Rihanna
What can we say? This soundtrack is beautiful. This piece talks about being born again. It fuels the listener to give it their all in whatever they do and to carry on no matter the challenges. It’s a great way to start the New Year because no matter what you’ve been doing up until now, it’s never too late to start fresh and put your heart into your next chapter.
14. Something to Someone – Dermot Kennedy
Everybody has someone at some point. You are never truly alone, and this is the perfect song for those of us moving on from past relationships and hurt. With a new season and a fresh start, we must appreciate the past as we move forward into the future. No matter what you’ve been through, and no matter what is to come, you are always on someone’s mind.
15. Inception: Time – Orchestra Version by Hans Zimmer
While this song may not be a recent release, it’s a piece that never gets old. Hans Zimmer is one of the most influential and impactful composers of our time, and this piece from Inception reigns a sense of serenity over anyone listening. If you’ve never listened to the live, orchestral version, I recommend adding this to kick off your New Year. The song’s name says it all because the composition is indeed an indication of time. From one instrument to the build-up of many different instruments, back to one, this song is an instrumental masterpiece for reflection and contemplation.
However, as you start your New Year, we manifest the best vibes for you. Here’s to 2023!