By Mike Bruno
December 31, 2008 at 06:30 PM EST

There is no bigger question in New Year’s Eve party planning than what song you’re gonna play the moment that ball drops, the 2009 flashes on the TV screen, and Dick Clark kisses his wife. Choices, choices, choices. You could go “Auld Lang Syne,” if you’re boring traditional. The Beach Boys do a nice a capella version (check it out below), and there’s something to be said for smooching a loved one at midnight while that wistful tune plays. Another obvious choice is Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration,” but unless your party’s over-60 quotient exceeds 50 percent, you should probably hold that tune until later in the evening, once everyone is good and sloshed.

I like ringing in the new year with less obvious selections, like Outkast/Andre 3000”s “Hey Ya” or the Beastie Boys’ “Jimmy James” (clip after the jump). The latter can seem jarring for the first couple seconds, but once it gets going, it firmly shuts the door on the squeaky-clean New Year’s Rockin’ Eve festivities and takes the party into a smiley, booze-swillin’ future. I’ve also had good results with Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit” (embedded after the jump), though that one does sort feel like you need a pack of pop-locking dudes in Puma sweats to jump out of something. And you can’t go wrong with a good Prince song (“Kiss,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” even “Sign O’ the Times”) — just avoid “1999,” which instantly became passe after every party on earth played it on New Year’s Eve 10 years ago.

Your turn, PopWatchers. What midnight song do you wanna hear at this year’s New Years’ Eve party? And what songs will have you packing for an abrupt 12:05 departure?

The Beastie Boys: “Jimmy James”

Herbie Hancock: “Rockit”