I’m following up on my new tradition from last year, and present my New Year’s gift to you: a playlist of 17 favorite songs which were new to me this year. 2020 was awful, but music was one of the few things I could count on to help me keep my head clear and my chin up. Some of it’s sappy, some of it’s silly. A lot of it is instrumental. One I first heard through TikTok. The lead-off track I listened to on a loop while I wrote letters for Vote Forward night after night. All of it helped me feel a little less miserable, and a little more hopeful, when times seemed especially bad. And maybe it will for you, too.
As with last year’s playlist, my two criteria for picking songs were (1) only one track per album, and (2) the album had to be added to my iTunes [sic] library in the year 2020. Also like last year, you can play along at home and make this playlist; most tracks are available through your local library via Freegal Music in one form or another, or direct from the artists themselves via Bandcamp.
One Last Shot Then We Quit It
- Living In America – James Brown (Gravity, 1986)
- What a Time to Be Alive – Superchunk (What a Time to Be Alive, 2018)
- Voodounon – Lafayette Afro Rock Band (Soul Makossa, 1973)
- The Girl from Lodi – Bola Sete (The Incomparable Bola Sete, 1965)
- A Far Friendlier Robot – Griffin McElroy (The Adventure Zone Crystal Kingdom OST, 2016)
- renee – SALES (Renee / Tonka Time 7″, 2013)
- Mild Maniac – Peter Patzer (Unusual Sounds, 2018)
- (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thing – LCD Soundsystem (Electric Lady Sessions, 2018)
- Arcade Summer – FM-84 (Atlas, 2016)
- Makossa Rock – Manu Dibango (Bao Bao, 1996)
- Lido Shuffle – Boz Scaggs (Silk Degrees, 1976)
- Can’t Let Go – Earth, Wind & Fire (I Am, 1979)
- The Kid – Le Matos (Chronicles of the Wasteland / Turbo Kid OMPS, 2015)
- Pulsating Cells of Labor – Tralton Dumbo (woolgathering, 2020)
- Harvest for the World – The Isley Brothers (Harvest for the World, 1976)
- If You Were Here – Thompson Twins (Side Kicks, 1983)
- Celebrate Me Home – Kenny Loggins (Celebrate Me Home, 1977)
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