By Jess Szabo | Arts Writer
January always marks a new beginning, beyond just marking a new year on the calendar. It is of course a time when we traditionally make resolutions and set new goals. For many, it marks a new school term for the kids or for those in college or who work in an academic setting. January is often the time to make new budgets after holiday shopping, or take advantage of post-holiday sales to begin new projects. Since music makes pretty much everything in life better, here are The Heat Beat’s picks for the best songs about new beginnings, or at least suitable to listen to as you plan or anticipate the new beginnings in store for you in 2023.
The Beatles: Here Comes the Sun
The quintessential song about things turning around for the better from the quintessential rock band features straightforward lyrics about smiles returning to faces and brightness returning to life over soft, happy music. This song wasn’t included because someone out there reading it may not be aware of it, but because a list like this couldn’t be made without including this song.
Train: Brick by brick
Train is best known for “Drops of Jupiter,” “Meet Virginia,” and “Marry Me.” Their song “Brick by Brick,” from “Save Me San Francisco,” didn’t get the airplay of the others, but it is one of the best songs on the album. The lyrics tell a story of relationship difficulties, but while most songs about this topic are either about breakups, or about finding a new love after a bad relationship or period ends, this one is about working things out, creating a new beginning with the one you are with after going through a rough patch.
Lou Santacroce: Moving song
Phoenix Radio listeners know the name of the artist because he is the host of “Masters of Jazz” and “Blues Power,” two shows heard exclusively on Phoenix Radio. Lou is also a singer-songwriter from Utica. “Moving song” is one of Lou’s own songs, from his most recent album “The Man in the Rainbow Suspenders.”
Like Train’s “Brick by Brick,” “Moving Song,” stands out for having a less common perspective than other songs of similar themes. Most songs about moving on are sad. The narrator is grudgingly moving on after a loss. Some are triumphant but angry, more a “get lost” or “I’m getting rid of you” song. “Moving Song” tells the story of a literal move; the house is being packed up and the narrator is getting ready to reside in a new location. But nobody is being left behind, nothing bad has taken place. Both lyrics and music reflect a joyful move, one the main character looks forward to very much.
Clint Black: A Better Man
Anyone who listened to country music in the 1990’s remembers hearing Clint Black on the radio and watching his videos on Country Music Television nearly every day. And “Better Man” was probably one of the songs most often heard. The late 1980s- 1990’s was the decade in which country music began to be heavily infused with pop music, and by the decade’s end, it seemed that what was called “country” bore little resemblance to the music we traditionally thought of as “country music.” Clint Black stood out for music that kept the traditional sounds of country alive, and this song, released in 1989, sounds like a typical old country ballad.
The story in the lyrics makes this song stand out. While it is a breakup song, the narrator is not angry, bitter, or even sad. He is just grateful, because he is ending the relationship a better man, ready for the new experiences and new beginnings that await him.
Mercy Me: God with Us
Many, certainly not all, but many, songs are written in such a way that they can truly mean one thing, but be relatable to the listener for a different reason. Even if you know, for example, that a song was actually written about a new friendship, the lyrics may be vague enough that you’ll always think of it when you think of a new romantic relationship. “God With Us” by Mercy Me cannot be about anything but the ultimate new beginning, the most important one a person could ever experience, turning your life over to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
This song, in addition to being motivational for its high energy tempo, is especially encouraging for those whose new beginning stems from being saved, as it emphasizes the experience that we should have when we are saved….a “heart [that].. sings a brand new song and “chains [that] are gone.”
These five songs are just my personal favorites…the beginning for your new beginnings playlist.. An internet search for “songs about new beginnings” results in multiple articles, some listing more than thirty songs to inspire and encourage your next journey in life. A great way to narrow that list down to classic Rap, Hip Hop, R&B, Jazz, and Blues songs is by listening to Utica’s own Phoenix Radio. Tune in at 95.5 FM “The Heat” on your traditional radio, or online at www.955theheat.com