Sunday, January 1, 2012

Best of 2011: Favorite Songs


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
  1. “The Most” by Lori McKenna
  2. “All Will Be Well” by the Gabe Dixon Band
  3. Just Breathe” by Pearl Jam
  4. Awake My Soul” by Mumford & Sons (as well as “After the Storm” & “The Cave”)
  5. “The Way It Goes” by Gillian Welch
  6. “Turn to Stone” by Ingrid Michaelson
  7. “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)
  8. “Someone Like You” by Adele
  9. “Such Great Heights” by Iron & Wine
  10. “Don’t Carry It All” The Decembrist
  11. “Brighter Than The Sun” by Colbie Caillat
  12. 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!)
  13. “Gray Street” by Dave Matthews Band
The boys started hosting a radio show on our local KZMU once a month, so their music taste often took precedence (and most of my measly music budget). They introduced me to Taio Cruz and “Dynomite”, Kate Perry and “Firework”. I introduced them to “Let the Day Begin” and “Don’t Stop Believing.” Brian introduced them to AC/DC, who are (sadly? I’m still undecided) getting a lot more air time than the Beatles now.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, so much I need to check out from your list! Thanks for sending this to me.

    Proud of your 5k efforts and again so sorry about your mom. Music is such a stabilizer, consoler, rejoicer and safe place to land when we need it.

    Hugs to you, friend!


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