What music is helping keep you in good spirits?
The other Strauss is a great deal of fun. You know, those romantic, over-the-top Germans. Ever since we played Also Sprach Zarathustra on the podcast I’ve been drawn to a round of his music again. I used to hate Richard’s tone poems, but every few years they hit right. In other news, after a showing of the “November Rain” video and some hilarious questions and commentary, my kids and I happily sang along to Kenny Rodgers singing “The Gambler” on YouTube real loud the other night. I hope the neighbors heard us.
This past Sunday I entered a trance state of extremism in haute 90s coziness and just let the Ottmar Liebert playlist play.
Bob Dylan. My absolute favorite. With over 50 or 60 albums, there is something for everyone. His gospel album Slow Train Coming is my favorite. I don’t trust artists who have never recorded a gospel album.
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Of all the choral music that breaks my heart open and lets the light in, first prize goes to Thomas Tallis's "If Ye Love Me." (Listen to the King's Singers' recording on YouTube. Close second place goes to Morten Lauridsen's "O Magnum Mysterium," and third is Franz Biebl's "Ave Maria"). When it comes to new music I'm a basic bro, I admit, but I genuinely think Sara Bareilles is underappreciated as a lyricist. Listen to "I Choose You" and "Saint Honesty" a few times and you'll realize they're actually very carefully written. If that's just too lame for you then I suggest returning to Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago, you hip indie trendsetter you. I feel a bit like I'm eavesdropping on Kanye West's Jesus is King—it's just so not my kind of music, nor am I cool enough to listen to it—but what an artistic triumph it is. That's my something borrowed. But when I'm really in the mood for blues there's nothing quite like Nat King Cole's St. Louis Blues which—because yes, I'm that guy—really does sound better on a turntable.
It’s easy to let the sour state of the world today get to you. A pandemic, pending election results (depending on your political leanings), threats to our election integrity, censorship on social media by technocratic authoritarians, and more. But ask yourself if you’d really like to live in another era. There are so many things accessible to Americans now that used to be reserved exclusively for the affluent like cars, refrigerators, televisions, antibiotics, etc. These are things you and I often take for granted. Then there’s the advent of the internet, streaming, and more that have been generally affordable for most of their existence. Yes, the world is currently wrapped up in extremely troubled times, but the present is simultaneously the best time to be alive in all of human history. So, commensurate with that thinking, I recommend that everyone go and listen to Andy Grammer. If you only listen to one of his songs, “Good to be Alive” is his best. Thickly laced with good vibes and a fun baseline, if it doesn’t put a smile on your face I don’t know what will.