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Music to Atone To
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“The day my daddy died, I damn near quit the band /… The day my daddy died, I became a man.” Singer/songwriter Mike Posner is incredibly honest and vulnerable on “January 11th, 2017,” a highlight from his 2019 studio album, A Real Good Kid.  As stated in the aforementioned lyrical excerpt from the chorus, the death of his father, Jon Posner, has changed him.  Clearly, loss has altered his perspective about life.  While Posner can’t atone for the loss of his father (death is permanent), “January 11th, 2017” seems to be therapeutic, finding him reflecting and expressing his feelings, and moving forward.  That’s atonement of sorts.

Throughout the course of this brilliant, if semi-difficult record to listen to, Posner paints a picture of what’s happening in the aftermath of Jon’s passing.  On the first verse, he reminisces, “And everyone keeps sayin’ that I look just like you / Life don’t seem so alone anymore.” On the second verse, the memoriam continues, as Posner recollects sympathetic hugs received (“People hug me, I smell like 10,000 perfumes”), while also highlighting the sadness and emptiness (“… You’re gone, but I’m still here / January in Detroit is cold as fuck”).  The expletive seems to suggest that death only made winter even colder for Posner.

The big takeaway from this well-written, emotional number is the resilience that Mike Posner exhibits.  That’s the atonement in a seemingly ‘unatonable’ situation.  Filling in the ellipsis of the aforementioned excerpted chorus, Posner asserts:

 “I cried my tears, then dried ‘em up
Put my face inside my hands
The day my daddy died, I became a man.”

The best atonement for any difficult situation, particularly one that we can’t control such as mortality, is to work towards and exemplify resilience.  Posner does just that on “January 11th, 2017.”

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About The Curator - Brent Faulkner

Brent Faulkner - Music to Curator

Slightly eccentric with interests that seem to know no ends, restless ‘Renaissance Man’ is the best way to characterize Brent Faulkner, a native of Kentucky.  A certified music educator, multi-instrumentalist, and composer known for his incredibly sharp ear, he lives and breathes music of a variety of styles.  In addition to passion for educating, performing, and writing music, he’s equally passionate blogging and writing about it, managing his own site, The Musical Hype ( When he’s not intensely analyzing music, you can find him reading or watching a movie, reality television or some sporting event.