Mal Blum has shared a new recording of their song “New Years Day.” Originally released on 2010’s Every Time You Go Somewhere, this freshly re-recorded version features the full touring band the Blums, and expands to a fuller, richer sound. Blum has put the song up around New Years every year since they wrote it six years ago as way of gauging where they were compared to then, and to donate a portion of the proceeds to The Ali Forney Center, a New York-based organization serving homeless LGBTQ youth. They’ve written a blog post about the song with a message acknowledging what an exceptionally shitty year it’s been. It reads:
So, about 7 years ago I wrote this song called “New Year’s Eve” that was one big “fuck you” to the year preceding it. I was sad, I was drunk, I was lonely, but at the time I thought I was writing an ultimately hopeful, tongue-in-cheek, break up song.
Every year I would put it up for sliding scale download around New Year’s and take stock of how I was doing compared to then. A year or two ago I stopped wanting to do that. I reasoned with myself that it was because it didn’t much sound like me musically anymore (now that my voice is older and I tour as a band a lot of the time and blahblahblah) and also because as my view of relationships and relationship dynamics has become more nuanced, some of the earlier positions I have taken or things I’ve written make me cringe a little (I think every writer feels this way).
But this year we re-recorded it as a band in Ricardo’s space in Philly (very fun) and listening back, I realized something else. This song is about somebody who is depressed, who hates themself, who is using substances to change their emotional state, who is pretending that everything is fine, who has diverted everything into one person, who is channeling all of their sadness and insecurity and self loathing and anger into a perceived betrayal by somebody who has purported to care about them, but it is not only about that. The song resolves when they have decided to move on, but within the whole context that the partner is not really the issue – it makes the whole thing feel a little more hopeless.
This song is about somebody at the beginning of a hard road, not the end. But, it’s also about friendship, about feeling supported by your friends, the ones that stick by you yearly as you grow and change, even when you’re not at your best. It’s about channeling the hard feelings into your work, into looking ahead, into moving on as much as you can, and trying to remain resilient when you feel like your whole world is ending.
2016 sucked for so many people. 2017 is ultimately terrifying. I really do not know what the future holds and politically, it is not looking good for every human I care about in this tiny life of mine. I think it would be grandiose to connect this little break up song to the terrifying fascism that potentially awaits us in 2017, and I don’t think it is comparable, except as another “fuck you” to another year ending, and a representation of the oscillating struggle between hope and hopelessness for the year ahead.
Anyway, the new version (a rock version, oh my) is up for free/sliding scale download until January 1st. Gonna give 50% of whatever money we do make from to the Ali Forney Center (agency that works with LGBTQ homeless youths here in NYC)
Please pass it on to anyone who might need or want it. Love you.
02/02 Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory
02/15 Charlottesville, VA @ The Southern *
02/16 Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery *
02/17 Philadelphia, PA – PhilaMOCA *
02/18 Brooklyn, [email protected] Shea Stadium *
02/19 Providence, RI @ Columbus Theatre *
Download/purchase “New Years Eve (2016 Version)” here.