New Year's Prayer

Album: Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk (1998)


  • This song is based on a poem Buckley wrote called My New Year's Eve Prayer, which he read at the annual New Year's Day Poetry Marathon at St. Marks Church in New York City on January 1, 1995. The night before, Buckley performed at the nearby Sin-é café, one of his favorite haunts.

    Buckley is one of many esteemed wordsmiths to perform at the Poetry Marathon, which started in 1974. Patti Smith, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Suzanne Vega have all performed there. Buckley's poem begins:

    You, my love, are allowed to forget about the Christmas
    You just spent stressed out in your parents' house

    It goes on to offer a kind of romantic liberation that left so many of Buckley's fans entranced:

    You, my love, are allowed to be soaked like a lovers' blanket
    In the New York summertime with the wonder of your own special gift

    The song distills the poem into several lines that Buckley repeats:

    Feel no shame for what you are
    Stand absolved behind your electric chair, dancing

    It's the same feeling of freedom, but without the additional prose.
  • New Year's isn't mentioned in the lyric, but is significant because of the timing, as Buckley read his original poem on New Year's Day. The new year is when many of us put pressure on ourselves to be better than we were the year before, making resolutions to reshape our bodies or minds. Buckley is letting us know there's nothing wrong with the way we are. We have nothing to be ashamed of.
  • Buckley recorded this song in 1996 or early 1997 with Tom Verlaine of Television producing. It was intended for an album called My Sweetheart, The Drunk, but Buckley died before it was finished (he drowned on May 29, 1997). The song first appeared in 1998 on the posthumous album Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk, which is comprised of material from these sessions and other outtakes.
  • The USA original series The Dead Zone, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, used "New Year's Prayer" as its theme song for seasons 2 and 3. The series ran from 2002-2007. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Kristy - La Porte City, IA

Comments: 4

  • David from Tyler, TxThe sky is a Landfill is actually about evil taking over the world, not pollution, thats pretty obvious when he says "watch the evil black the sky". The storm has ripped the shelter of illusion from our brow means that people arent "protected" by all the illusions that everyone is trying to put off. This power's no mystery to us the power of everything is known, therefore it isnt a mystery. If you just listen to the song, you can figure out what it means pretty easily.
  • Ash from Charleston, WvI always figured "Landfill" was about pollution. Don't know for certain. But I'm surprised someone from L.A., of all places, wouldn't have thought of that!
  • Dylann from Los Angeles, Cai want to know what "the sky is a landfill." is about.
  • Aaron from Seattle, WaThis song's title is taken from a poem Buckley spoke at his "Live at Sin-E" recording. The poem ranges from a little comical to a litte violent to a little calm, always retaining a beautiful honesty to it. This song showcases Buckley's range of guitar styles.
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