30 Best Songs of the Year that should be on your Playlist now.

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Wanna dance, move, smile, change the world or at the very least, be inspired? Listen to these:

Florence + the Machine’s, Shake it Up (Turn it up and dance now! Or get some revenge with her song, Kiss with a Fist.)

Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons, Awake My Soul (If you like this, check out Admiral Fallow, Squealing Pigs)

Young the Giant, My Body (Originally released in 2010, a special edition re-released in 2011. Worth a second go around.)

The Black Keys, Hell of a Season (Incredible live. They toured with the over-played Kings of Leon as the opener. In 2012 they’re rightfully the opening act.)

Aloe Blacc, You Make Me Smile (Great video from the Take Away Show. Deluxe edition of the CD released in 2011 with instrumental versions of all the songs.)

Mat Kearney, Hey Mama (Really teeny-bopper but with a shortage of clean, fun songs my kids can listen to, I’ll take it.)

Singer/Song Writers are flooding YouTube, Facebook, Daytrotter, The Take Away Show, CD Baby, SoundCloud, and other independent labels. Dozens of ways to view and interact with these outstanding artists. Here’s a few you shouldn’t miss:

Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs, For the Summer (His all time best song: Be Here Now.)

Marketa Irglova, For Old Time’s Sake (If you love the Swell Season, this is her solo attempt, available on Daytrotter)

James Vincent McMorrow, Higher Love (The remake is far better than Steve Winwood’s version; the album Early in the Morning is beautiful and worth the download.)

The Civil Wars, Dance with me to the End of Love (A Leonard Cohen song)

Gem Club, Twins (A haunting song)

David Berkeley

David Berkeley, The Blood and The Wine (Moving. It will hit every parent’s heart.)

Ariana Hall

Ariana Hall, The War Is Over (Um, I Like You, is a favorite.)

Kopecky Family Band, Remedy (First introduced to me at SXSW, they often send out free songs for each holiday. Great live. Free Christmas song.)

Alexander, Truth (If you like Edward Sharpe’s song: Home, this is his solo album. Just as unique, if not more so.)

Bhakti House Band

If you practice yoga eventually some of these songs will begin to seep into your music playlist and not just when you set foot on the mat.

The Bhakti House Band, Hari Om ,You are the Love (A passionate song, passionate band, pure kirtan)

Desert Dwellers, Waves of Reflections (Also known as Yogitunes, they offer free downloads.)

Gypsy Tears, Om Namo Lakshmi (Kirtan meets acro yogis with this ukulele lead upbeat mantra)

Simon Gentry, Jai (Electronic/new age instrumental that’s a perfect for on mat. On itunes, not from 2011 but a worthy find.)

Yogi Artists but not quite yoga music:

Avasa & Matty, Love, Lovin Yourself (Smile inducing kind-a-music)

Trevor Hall, Te Amo (Lyrics to melt your heart and ends with a beautiful spoken Rumi quote; for everyone else listen to Om Shakti Om.)

Bob Weisenberg, Granadinas (A fan of flamenco from age 7 when I saw Maria Benitez perform live, this album is classic flamenco guitar.)

More  great music everyone should have on their list:

Blind Pilot, We Are the Tide (First introduced to the song, One Red Thread, this 2011 album is worth a good listen.)

Bon Iver

Bon Iver, Perth (Still feel his album, For Emma For Ever Ago is his best and this version also from a Take Away Show. Any Bon Iver, I admit, I adore.)

Motopony, Seer (Re-released as a bonus track in 2011, another one worth a second time around.)

Pretty Lights, I know the Truth (Even better is their earlier song: Hot Like Sauce.)

TV On the Radio, Will Do (Alternative that doesn’t try too hard Aso check out the song: Tonight.)

DeVotchKa, 100 other lovers (Very 80’s. Their best tune, How It Ends.)

Wintersleep, Weighty Ghost (Seems to be a trend to throw a choir into the chorus. This one works.)

Andrew Bird, Bein Green (It’s not easy, that’s for sure, bein different. Yes, the Muppets still inspire.)

Obvious omissions include: Coldpay, Radiohead, Ryan Adams, Adele, Steve Gold, My Morning Jacket, Moby, Lykke Li and more who all came out with amazing albums this year. Tell me, who made your top 30 list this year?

For more playlists: yoga playlist December, yoga playlist November, and from the Soundtrack of My life.

Another Play list on Elephant Journal: 14 Love Songs (with an Edge) You should know.  

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Melissa Smith Smith

Melissa, Yoga Alliance ERYT® 500 in Yoga Therapeutics, Restorative and Sustainable Yoga Teacher Trainer, International retreats, Alzheimers and other Dementias caregiver advocate, and Mindfulness in Schools Educator. Native Texan, Melissa currently lives in Calgary, Alberta with her 2 sons and leads Retreats in Southeast Asia, Canada, Portugal, France and the United States. She also leads retreats for caregivers of Alzheimers in Texas and Alberta. Her teaching style lends itself toward mindful, slow with a dash of sustainable strength. Her for desire is for students to connect within and integrate their own intuition in practice offering each student the opportunity to deeply listen to their own body’s needs. Connect with her on Facebook, her Melissa Smith Yoga Website, and Instagram, or read other Elephant Journal articles.

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anonymous Apr 26, 2012 7:53pm

My Yoga instructor played a few pieces by Matthew C. Shuman the other day! My classmates and I really enjoyed it. In fact, I came home and already downloaded some to my iPod! 🙂

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_srch_drd_B003XO03

iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/matthew-c.-shum

anonymous Apr 5, 2012 9:52pm

[…] Want some music to feed your playlist? How about 30 of the best songs of the year? […]

anonymous Mar 27, 2012 8:48am

[…] I am singing a vibrant or inspirational song, I feel awesome, grounded and connected to my soul. When I feel connected to my soul I am able to […]

anonymous Mar 14, 2012 5:09pm

[…] […]

anonymous Feb 8, 2012 7:34am

[…] […]

anonymous Feb 2, 2012 2:29am

[…] Perfect. Her blonde hair and suitcases walked away from us. She cried. We cried. I’m sure a Bon Iver song could have played in the sky above our heads, that is, if God/Buddha/Allah were to press play. […]

anonymous Jan 7, 2012 3:56pm

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anonymous Jan 3, 2012 4:14pm

My parents are on this list! Oh my god thats so awesome!! The Bhakti House Band ^-^

    anonymous Jan 3, 2012 6:33pm

    yeah, your parents are super cool! Thanks for helping spread the word on the top 30!

anonymous Jan 3, 2012 2:17pm

Thanks Melissa – I just spent a bunch more money on iTunes!

anonymous Jan 3, 2012 11:52am

Thanks for the mention Melissa! For all you yoga music fans, check out these records:
http://www.yogitunes.com/content/spaces-between-e… (FREE MUSIC!)

anonymous Jan 2, 2012 11:00am

Thanks for this list Melissa, it is giving me some great new material for my yoga playlists which were starting to get stale. 🙂

    anonymous Jan 2, 2012 7:16pm

    fantastic! … want another playlist? here you go! (not current songs… but great)

    Twilight, Reyem Kir
    Deep, Citizen Cope
    Mool Mantra, Amrit Kirtan
    Fantasy, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Putumayo Presents: The Best Of World Music, Vol.2
    Let the Drummer Kick, Citizen Cope
    The High Road, Broken Bells
    Don't you Evah, Spoon
    Buildings and Mountains, The Republic Tigers
    Sundial Dreams, Kevin Kern
    Patience, Beth Waters
    脱出創世記:交響曲第3部(あがない), (muse) ミューズ,The Resistance
    I'm there too, Michelle Featherstone (beautiful, but not always appropriate for some classes)
    Solstice, Danny Birt
    Winter Solstice, R. Carlos Nakai (anything by Carlos Nakai, I love)

anonymous Jan 2, 2012 8:26am

Also check out matt's top 25 albums of the year! http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/12/top-25-alb

anonymous Jan 2, 2012 8:15am

Thanks M!!

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anonymous Jan 1, 2012 1:49pm

Loved this list! Thank you!

    anonymous Jan 2, 2012 7:22am

    thanks Erika! Anything to add? 🙂

anonymous Jan 6, 2012 6:52am

love to hear what made your list…