“River,” Joni Mitchell’s dark holiday lament, gets some testerone competition with Imaad Wasif’s “The New Year,” a track from Kill Rock Stars’ Winter Holiday Album, a joyous little affair indeed.
Wasif was a member of Lou Barlow’s side project New Folk Implosion at the end of their run. The group appeared in the film “Laurel Canyon” in 2002.
The song begins with gathering cymbal thunder, spare acoustic guitar and a harrowing opening line:
It was Christmas time/and I was the reaper of woes
It doesn’t get much more hopeful, but when Wasif asks that everyone “come together this December and for the new year,” you want to believe it can happen.
It’s much like the way we root for lost hikers and suspected kidnap victims to be found.
Despairing, near suicidal, this song won’t be on the next “Now That’s What I Call Christmas,” but as a leadoff track for Kill Rock Stars Records holiday package, it’s perfect.