"In the New Year" by The Walkmen
It's been a long time coming, but from the first groggy rumblings of The Walkmen's fourth album, it's clear that the party's over. Much as Sound Of Silver saw LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy waking up to the morning after, You & Me finds singer Hamilton Leithauser contemplating "Seven Years Of Holidays" and realizing that "these wild nights are no fun"—that in the end, everyone eventually just gets married and moves away. Granted, The Walkmen have always been predisposed to nostalgia, a reflective tone reinforced by their predilection for sepia instruments that thrum and flicker like old movie reels. But where once it looked back in anger, the group has transitioned to grudging acceptance, heaving itself off the floor with a weary sigh of "It's back to the battle today" in ruminative opener "Donde Esta La Playa," and facing the road ahead by "hanging on" and "getting through" with a last remaining lover/friend in wistful, moonlit songs like "Canadian Girl" and "Four Provinces." Those hoping for another woozy traipse from nightclub to after-party along the lines of Bows And Arrows will be disappointed, but then, this is an album about growing up. When Leithauser sings, "You keep replaying through the days / That have brought you to this place / What happened to you?" in "The Blue Route," it hits home like a 30th birthday—and as the standout "In The New Year" points out, realizing "It's all over anyhow" can be invigorating, a way of readying oneself for the next, far more interesting chapter.