U2

New Year's Day

Song Review by

"'New Years Day' is a love song. Subconsciously, I must have been thinking about Lech Walesa being interned and his wife not being allowed to see him," says Bono in the book In His Own Words (Omnibus, 1997). "Then when we released the song, they announced that martial law would be lifted in Poland on New Year's Day." Prophetic, synchronistic, or just plain luck, the new year coincidence found U2 with its first ever U.K. Top 20 song in February 1983. The simple but melodic keyboard line, Bono's trademark wail, the Edge's evocative, sharp guitar, and the rhythm section which makes the whole thing roll is, in essence, the sound of U2 packaged into one perfect anthem. The middle instrumental break that precedes the final verse is drawn out (for dramatic effect?); the evocative lyric "Under a blood red sky" became a signature for U2 when they reprised it as the title of their live album that same year. The song and its sound served as a culmination of U2's work to date: It signaled the group's end as a young, scrappy yet determined band on the way up and opened the door toward a longstanding career as professional agents of love and change in the big arenas.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
New Year's Day 1983
U2
Island
War 1983
U2
War
Island 5:35
Sunday Bloody Sunday 1983
U2
BMG 4:28
Two Hearts Beat as One 1983
U2
Island
No Image 1991
U2
RP 0:00
No Image 1994
U2
SIAE
Christmas of Hope 1995
Various Artists
Columbia / Sony Music Distribution
Mango: Remixes for Propaganda 1995
U2
Mango
No Image 1997
Various Artists
Polydor
The Best of 1980-1990/The B-Sides 1998
U2
Island 4:17
The Best of 1980-1990 1998
U2
Island 4:17
Now: 1983 [2 CD] 1999
Various Artists
Virgin / EMI 4:18
Elton John's Christmas Party [Abridged] 2005
Various Artists
Hear Music 4:19
The U2 Phenomenon: The Independent Review 2006
U2
Classic Rock Legends
Elton John's Christmas Party 2006 Hip-O 4:19
U218 Singles 2006
U2
Interscope 4:18
1977-1984 [Collector's Box Set] 2009
U2
Island / Universal Island Records 9:41
The Best of 1980-2000 2009
U2
Island 4:18
No Image
Various Artists