Dan’s Best Songs of 2011 By Month

Instead of creating a conventional “Best of the Year” list for music in 2011, which Jim did so well on Tuesday, I’m taking a different route. I’ve heard more new music this year than at any point in my life, and I figured why not retrace those steps in chronological order, for a kind of big picture timeline of my favorite song for each month during 2011.  The catch, which is what made this list so strenuous to narrow down, is that each track came from an album that had to be released during the respective month. I will echo my fellow List Off writers by saying these are not what I think are the best songs of each month of 2011. It’s simply a timetable of tracks that wouldn’t let me stop listening to them. Here is to 2012 for providing more songs like these.


January: “We Will All Be Changed” by Seryn (This Is Where We Are)


I couldn’t think of a better, more optimistically sounding song to begin 2011. It’s inundated with implications of reevaluation and self improvement–things will all strive to start the new year off with.

February: “One and Only” by Adele (21)


While “Rolling in the Deep” and “Someone Like You” received significant and deserved radio attention in 2011, “One and Only” sat quietly on the backend of 21, begging to be heard…and loved.

March: “Beautiful People” by Chris Brown (F.A.M.E.)


This last track off F.A.M.E. was the best dance song of 2011 that nobody ever heard, or liked because it isn’t cool to appreciate Chris Brown’s music anymore. Yes, shame on him. But shame on you if you didn’t give this Benny Benassi production a chance.

April: “Down In The Valley” by The Head and the Heart (The Head and the Heart)


Is it hushed and delicate? Yes. Is it a chance-taking song? Not really. Have you heard many folk songs like it before? Absolutely. These are all the qualities as to why I played “Down In The Valley” continuously.

May: “Grown Ocean” by Fleet Foxes (Helplessness Blues)


Fleet Foxes are adept at everything, but perhaps their strongest attribute are their ability to progress. In what was an album founded on constant questioning and immense reservations, “Grown Ocean” is the closer that evokes promising images of the positivity that may be coming next.

June: “Holocene” by Bon Iver (Bon Iver, Bon Iver)


This is my favorite song of the year, if there was any doubt. I’ll never forget that June day when I first heard “Holocene.” The windows were wide open and my speakers were throbbing. I’ve played it dozens and dozens of times since then, but with each listen it still brings me back to that hazy day, like it’s my first time hearing it again.

July: “Lessons Learned” by The Vulcans (Shadows EP)


I happen to know this Harrisburg, Pennsylvania trio well, and have been fortunate enough to see them live a couple of times, too. When I got my hands on this EP, their first release, it was this track’s reflective content and faint harmonies that combined to become a July mainstay of mine.

August: “Santa Fe” by Beirut (The Rip Tide)


This Beirut track contains the appropriate colorful sound that was needed during the dried-out, humidity ridden days of August. As I’m playing it, I have this sudden urge to relive last summer.

September: “Hope You Know” by Megafaun (Megafaun)


The folk genre created it’s first ever legitimate baby making jam this year, and it came in the form of “Hope You Know” by Megafaun. Best love song of the year.

October: “Midnight City” by M83 (Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming)


The punch that is packed by “Midnight City” cannot be overstated. Perhaps what sets it apart and validates it as one of the most well-crafted songs of the year is that not only is there a killer sax solo, but M83 wanted the saxophone insertion to be the complete opposite of cheesy, and it worked.

November: “Over My Dead Body” by Drake (Take Care)


Before listening to Take Care, lightheartedly making fun of Drake was my favorite thing to do. I didn’t understand the guy or his musical direction, and cringed watching him flaunt in music videos. Since playing Take Care, I haven’t cracked a single joke and fully grasp him and what he seeks. “Over My Dead Body” was the perfect invitation to a party that I hope lasts a while.

December: “Our Day Will Come” by Amy Winehouse (Lioness: Hidden Treasures)


I’d like to think at this very moment, Amy Winehouse is on a stage somewhere, playing a song like this, and is receiving cheers, not boos, by the boatloads. Yes, it’s a certain tragedy the world only saw a small glimpse of Winehouse and her powerful, authenticity-filled voice. But right now, in another world, she’s putting on quite the show.


Categories: Best of 2011

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2 Comments on “Dan’s Best Songs of 2011 By Month”

  1. 12.23.11 at 1:45 PM #



  1. Shawn’s Best of 2011 | List Off - 12.23.11

    […] Best of 2011 The other guys have the  music and film covered for the year 2011. Dan had an interesting idea of listing the best song for each month of 2011. James had a crazy […]

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