I can’t remember when Angie, Mary Alice and I started exchanging these list---I recently reread a letter from Angie that contained her best of 1996 so for at least 15 years now. Originally our end of the year letters were mainly a list of titles: movies, books, songs. Eventually they became more reflective of our personal lives and aspirations, but I still love the little time capsule of recommendations. And my new year doesn’t officially begin until my letter’s written.
Many of my favorites of 2011 aren’t necessarily from 2011; I’m often late to the party (or the DVD queue) so while I discovered these this year, you may have been familiar with them for years. And, of course, I reserve the right to edit and add to the list when I suddenly remember things next week.
Hoping to post every day this week as I pack up 2011 and prepare for the brand new year ahead.
Favorite Songs of 2011
- “The Most” by Lori McKenna
- “All Will Be Well” by the Gabe Dixon Band
- “Just Breathe” by Pearl Jam
- “Awake My Soul” by Mumford & Sons (as well as “After the Storm” & “The Cave”)
- “The Way It Goes” by Gillian Welch
- “Turn to Stone” by Ingrid Michaelson
- “I and You and Love” by Avett Brothers (this may have been on a previous year’s list, but fell hard for it again this year)
- “Someone Like You” by Adele
- “Such Great Heights” by Iron & Wine
- “Don’t Carry It All” The Decembrist
- “Brighter Than The Sun” by Colbie Caillat
- “Magic” by Rabbit! (didn’t know this was a kids’ song until looking for that link just now…the irony being that this is the only song Nolan demands we skip when listening in the car!)
- “Gray Street” by Dave Matthews Band
This year had three distinct moods to it, each with their own soundtrack. When I was running regularly, from January to June, I was obsessed with updating my running playlist. I bought Chumbawamba and other oldies that reminded me of high school track. Ain’t Nothing Gonna Break My Strike…actually not a great beat for running. “Love the Way You Lie” , despite being so disturbing, was very motivating. I’m not a fan of AC/DC in general, but when trying to keep moving, “You Shook Me All Night Long” is classic.
Summer came with fire season and my grand idea to sign up for a 5K race. Less than a month after signing up, major back pain set in. Probably my mistake of upping mileage and switching to pavement at the same time. I’d heal, run again, hurt again. I went to physical therapy most of July and August, as well as a chiropractor who finally convinced me to stop running until my back and hip fully heal. (I still ran/walked the 5K in September). Summer music was light and hopeful---see #11 & 12 above. “Come Dancing” by the Kinks got a lot of play, as well as Michael Franti & Spearhead with “The Sound of Sunshine” and “Say Hey, I love You.” Old Monkees favorites and lots of dancing around the living room.
It was in August/September that we learned the cancer had spread to my mom’s brain. Cue Mumford & Sons, a recommendation from my friend Jenny---a friend who moved away almost as soon as I discovered there was a momma who loved the same music & books living in the same town. How unfair is that? Her blog was one of the inspiration for resuscitating this one. I was recommending Mumford & Sons to a friend this month, and then realized I have no idea what they might sound like to a normal person who wasn’t in a morose state of mind. For me, they have been like oxygen the past few months. On constant replay.
I can’t remember where I came across The Most, but the lyrics have stayed with me and I often find myself playing the song just to get the words out of my head:
My life is pieces of paper that I’ll get back to later
I’ll write you a story, how I ended up here.
And how the little things make us, and how long it takes us
To figure out what matters the most . . . .
Someday, well, I’ll look back and wonder.
Someday--- comes around a little quicker than they told you,
asking “Did I do what I was suppose to in my life?”
2011 was a mixed bag, to put it lightly, but there was a lot of music in it. For that I am very grateful.