It’s been awhile since we’ve had a normal Friday playlist. Might as well wrap up 2020 by getting back into the routine of sharing good music with friends on Fridays.

“Maelstrom” – Melts
I’ve been sitting on this one for awhile. Turns out it is perfect to save for New Year’s Eve, as it is about a getting caught in times of turmoil and being powerless to resist. I can’t think of a better analogy for the past few years.

“Easy” – Sun June
This band makes some nice music.

“Spinnin’ N Reelin'” – Creed Bratton
I watched most of the Christmas episodes of The Office multiple times over the past few weeks. I wondered what that catchy track Creed sings in the legendary/infamous “Benihana Christmas” episode was. Turns out it was one of Creed’s actual songs! It is really good!

“Take Me to the Mardi Gras” – Bob James
Monday’s The Number Ones covered PM Dawn’s “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss,” from November 1991. One of the samples used in that track was this, a 1975 cover of a 1973 Paul Simon track. I don’t recall ever hearing this version before, although it was one of those random tracks that got sampled all across early hip-hop, most notably in Run-DMC’s “Peter Piper.” It’s funky as hell! My life is better for having heard it. After you listen to this, go listen to Simon’s. It’s amazing that there is one step between his mellow, mostly acoustic track and some of the greatest hip-hop tracks ever made. Also, I went back and listened to a few PM Dawn tracks after reading that piece. Their “I’d Die Without You,” which was on the Boomerang soundtrack, is definitely worth a re-listen if you haven’t in awhile.

“All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” – Taylor Swift
As much as I’ve come to like Taylor Swift, I didn’t have much interested in her re-recorded albums. Until this landed on just about every Best Songs of 2021 list, and usually near the top. I gave it a listen and was floored. She has such a gift for writing these intensely personal songs that both come across as universal and are loaded with perfect pop elements. I love this song’s slow climb that builds and builds the tension until that little moment of release at the 4:25 mark. And reading through the stories behind the lyrics (and the fan interpretations) is pretty amazing. There aren’t many mega-stars like Taylor who share this much in their music. If you were a doubter, like I was, I recommend you listen to this with an open mind. I bet it will floor you, too.

“New Year’s Day” – Taylor Swift
After that, why not give T-Swift the final say on 2021? Happy New Year to you all!