In spite of auto-tune, reality TV and all manner of dreams deferred, 2011 turned out to be a phenomenal year for music of both the throwback and the young-buck variety. Some torches were passed, some torches were rekindled and some torches threatened to set the world on fire (and still might). LPs are now the complete artworks of accomplished music-makers moreso than they are sale-able commodities. But songs are not only the new um, currency of the music industry. They are sparks that spread music from person to person–and act as mini-soundtracks for the moments we’ll take with us if we get out of 2011 alive. So raise a glass (or break a bottle) while we run down some of songs that defined 2011 for us.