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It seems to me the turning of the annual calendar means not only the onset of a new year but the inherent wish, whether recent times have been good or bad, for things to get better. And on that theme there are many good songs from which to choose, but some are just, well, better than others.

A trio of my favorites are all named ‘Better Days,’ three different songs by three different artists – Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, and The Jayhawks – but all with a similar message and the same simple title. The one that would probably first come to most people’s mind would be The BeatlesSgt. Pepper hit ‘Getting Better,’ possibly followed by Pearl Jam’s ‘Better Man.’ And other somewhat lesser-known members of this list of hoped-for improvement would likely include ‘It’s Getting Better (Man!!)’ by Oasis and ‘Better Than It Was’ by Fastball, as well as two with markedly different twists on seeking progress: ‘Make It Better (Forget About Me)’ by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, and ‘I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better’ by The Byrds – a title line which is always followed in the song by the phrase “when you’re gone.”

However, the best example here (better than better), both musically and lyrically, would have to be the classic Kinks song ‘Better Things,’ which was released on their 1981 album “Give The People What They Want.” If what the people wanted was three minutes of melodic pop perfection paired with some hopeful and inspiring words, then the great Ray Davies – who interestingly wrote the tune about his impending split from his second wife, Yvonne – certainly provided it.

Enjoy the song, happy new year, all, and in whatever way it may manifest, here’s to a truly better year.


Better Things, written and produced by Ray Davies

Here’s wishing you the bluest sky
And hoping something better comes tomorrow
Hoping all the verses rhyme
And the very best of choruses, too
Follow all the doubt and sadness
I know that better things are on the way

Here’s hoping all the days ahead
Won’t be as bitter as the ones behind you
Be an optimist instead
And somehow happiness will find you
Forget what happened yesterday
I know that better things are on the way

It’s really good to see you rocking out
And having fun
Living like you’ve just begun
Accept your life and what it brings
I hope tomorrow you’ll find better things
I know tomorrow you’ll find better things

Here’s wishing you the bluest sky
And hoping something better comes tomorrow
Hoping all the verses rhyme
And the very best of choruses, too
Follow all the doubt and sadness
I know that better things are on the way

I know you’ve got a lot of good things happening up ahead
The past is gone, it’s all been said
So here’s to what the future brings
I know tomorrow you’ll find better things
I know tomorrow you’ll find better things
I hope tomorrow you’ll find better things
I know tomorrow you’ll find better things
I hope tomorrow you’ll find better things