“Dance of the Clairvoyants” – Pearl Jam
It’s been seven years since we’ve had a new Pearl Jam album. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Their last couple albums were uneven at best, teetering toward mid-life mediocrity at worst. A new album is set for a spring release, and we got the first single this week.

It’s different, which I think is a good sign. Instantly there were dozens of David Byrne GIFs posted in response, as this track has a definite Talking Heads vibe. Each time I listen to it I’m really wanting Mike McCready to tear loose, and a little disappointed when he doesn’t.

It’s a promising first glimpse. I’m hopeful they can give us an album that isn’t filled with safe, boring songs. I’m not going to get too hopeful about that prospect, though.

“Sleep” – Cartalk
These LA kids have a good vibe. Kind of a SoCal Middle Kids thing going on, which I naturally dig.

“Streetlight Blues” – Squirrel Flower
Oh snap, this is a hell of a song! Mournful with that little country twang, those lyrics about missing out on something, and that slow simmer that never quite reaches a boil and deliciously builds tension. Thumbs up!

“The Boy in the Bubble” – Paul Simon
I remember kind of hating Simon’s Graceland album without ever listening to it. When every aging Baby Boomer rock critic flipped their shit over it, I chalked it up as out-of-touch old folks trying to recapture their youth. Pretty aggressive criticism for a 15-year-old!

In the early 2000s, when file sharing took over, I had a long-term project to download and listen to every album from a collection of Greatest Albums of All Time lists I had collected. It was through that process that I discovered that while all that praise for Graceland from Rolling Stone, et al was likely pumped up a little because of their Boomerism, it was indeed a hell of an album. And this is the song that I heard for the first time during that stretch and has stuck with me ever since.

“Adore You” – Harry Styles
Finally, a departure. One of my brothers-in-law sent this to me last month when it first came out. I set it aside to get through the holidays and other vids, but as I’ve started to hear this song in heavy rotation on the pop stations we listen to in the car, I’m actually digging it. To be honest, I dig most of the One Direction guys’ solo songs. But this is probably my favorite, and the video is delightfully strange and fun.