21 Best Songs About January

For many people, January is a time to start over. We don’t make New Year’s Resolutions in August for a reason, right?

By the same token, many of the best songs about January address love and loss since we all have a feeling of starting over whenever things end. Here are our top songs with January in the title.

1. “January Friend” by Goo Goo Dolls

Song Year: 1998

The Goo Goo Dolls were the poster band for post-punk pop, and they show what they’re made of with “January Friend.” Dizzy Up the Girl dropped in ‘98 at the height of the band’s fame, and while “January Friend” wasn’t released as a single, it’s still a big deal for fans.

The titular January friend is a woman who seems to consider the narrator little more than a booty call. This song isn’t about the month, but instead about those times (few and far between) when she wishes he would come around.

2. “January Hymn” by the Decemberists

Song Year: 2011

“January Hymn” is a folk-inspired song about looking back on loss. The narrator anticipates the anniversary of when things went south with his lost love, and he reminisces about how good things were as recently as last January.

The Decemberists’ frontman Colin Meloy sounds like his heart is broken on this one, but you hear resignation in his voice as opposed to the raw pain of a recent breakup. It’s a subtle nuance, but it serves the song well.

3. “January” by Pilot

Song Year: 1975

You most likely know Pilot from the band’s 1975 hit “Magic,” a song now associated with a commercial for diabetes medication.

But that same year, Pilot released “Janaury,” a disco-tinged story about a girl named January. The song is bouncy and happy-sounding, for the most part, even though Januaray walks away from the narrator despite his pleas for her not to be cold to him.

4. “January” by Elton John

Song Year: 1997

Another song simply titled “January” made up part of On 1997’s The Big Picture. Like so many songs, this one is about a relationship. “January” looks back at this one month by month.

The song and its parent album are part of the long partnership between Sir Elton and lyricist Bernie Taupin, which has lasted more than 50 years. The song isn’t about their work together, but it’s a long-term commitment like the one in “Janaury.”

5. “Black-Dove (January)” by Tori Amos

Song Year: 1988

“Black-Dove (January)” doesn’t have much of a narrative flow to it. If you spend time trying to find a protagonist and antagonist in the lyrics, good luck to you. But that’s not a dig.

Tori Amos herself spoke about the song, saying that it came from a dream she had in which a black dove played an integral part. She wanted to convey more of a mood and feeling than tell a story with the song, and she succeeds pretty well.

6. “January Song” by Billy Bragg

Song Year: 2013

While “January Song” never mentions the month by name, it draws on the rebirth and the new start that the month represents and brings to us every year.

Bragg’s voice, somewhat gravelly and sounding like he’s seen a lot in his life, lays over a swinging acoustic guitar line that’s simple but catchy. It’s a short song, but in it, Bragg mentions how stressful life can be, and how, sometimes, getting a chance to start over can be a blessed thing.

7. “January 28th” by J. Cole

Song Year: 2014

Other than the title and the event that happened on that day, “January 28th” isn’t about the month, but rather all that happened after one specific January 28th.

That’s J. Cole’s birthday, and the song ends up a look at the life he’s lived, the things he’s encountered in it, and the pain and injustice the world has inflicted on him and all of us since birth.

There’s a certain I-never-asked-to-be-born vibe to it. That said, it doesn’t find Cole wallowing in self-pity.

8. “January, April and Me” by Roy Clark

Song Year: 1970

Not every song with January in the title is about the month. “January, April and Me” tells of a father and his two daughters, January and April, as they pack up and walk away from their wife and mother.

It’s a far cry from “Hee Haw” and the feel-good rockabilly and country music Clark picked so much of in his storied career, as it’s a song of heartbreak. He’s leaving his wife, and the title refers to the three people she must say goodbye to.

The lyrics imply that mom has just had enough of this life, and they paint a picture of a very sad drive away from her.

9. “January Gloom (Seasons, Pt. 1)” by All Time Low

Song Year: 2020

“January Gloom (Seasons, Pt. 1)” addresses Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a real mental health condition that afflicts many people during winter. Songs about mental difficulties are hardly uncommon.

The song had extra resonance because it came out in 2020, seemingly just minutes before the world had to lock down and subject itself to isolation and loneliness in the face of a global health crisis.

Even people without SAD knew some gloom that following January.

10. “January Man” by Christy Moore

Song Year: 1975

Irish folk singer Christy Moore is one of those musicians that not everyone knows, but those who do love him and his music desperately. “January Man” is a cover of a similar artist, Dave Goulder, a British singer-songwriter with deep folk roots.

The song goes through the life of a working man, month by month, with the weather warming and cooling again, each change affecting him differently.

The lyrics also outline a man’s life as an adult. As he approaches December, he’s approaching the end. The song isn’t quite as sad as that description makes it sound.

11. “Fire in the Belly” by Van Morrison and Steve Winwood

Song Year: 1997

A late addition to the Van Morrison canon, “Fire in the Belly” dropped in 1997 as part of Morrison’s The Healing Game album.

January represents the cold season and new beginning we all face in the wake of a relationship that has ended, especially when the other person did the ending. The narrator just hopes to make it through cold January, and then things will improve. That’s true about actual and metaphorical January.

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