Is it Friday already? Time for the first playlist of the year, then!

“Blue” – Thyla. This is kind of a perfect January song. Lyrically, it is dark and depressing, the singer complaining constantly about being “blue, blue, blue, blue, bluuuuuueeee.” Yet the music is driving and powerful as if it is pushing her through those January blues to the warmer months beyond.

“I Wonder” – Mike Krol featuring Allison Crutchfield. A nifty little rave-up that Crutchfield feels right at home joining Krol on.

“All Be Gone” – Buffalo Tom. I’ve held a grudge against Buffalo Tom for 25 years or so. They had that one single that hit big in the midst of the grunge era – “Sodajerk” – and based on that, alone, I bought their “Big Red Letter Day” album. Well, to be fair, one of my roommates told me he heard the album was great. I got it home, listened to it once, and pretty much hated every song other than “Sodajerk.” My roommate laughed, admitting he had never heard the album but wanted me to buy it so he didn’t make the same mistake. I wrote the band off forever, despite knowing there are a lot of people who really love their music. This song, which came out last spring, popped up on my Spotify Discovery playlist this week (more about Spotify and new music in a moment) and I loved it. Glad to see that they’re still making fine music. And props to me for getting over long-held grudges.

“Everlasting Love” – Carl Carlton. This may not be as well named as Carlton’s 1981 hit “She’s a Bad Mama Jama (She’s Built, She’s Stacked)” but it’s a better song, and it hit #6 in 1974.

“Head Alone” – Julia Jacklin. One of my on-going frustrations about the current music world is how some artists just get lost in the flood of new releases. Spotify insists on showing me 800 singles by artists I’ve never listened to instead of pulling songs by artists it should know I love to the top of the new releases page. Here’s the latest example: Julia Jacklin released this single last November and I just found it this week. It’s a fine song and I’m excited to hear her second album, which comes out in February.