The truth is, I’ve never cared for the National Anthem. If you think about it, it’s not a good song. Too high for most of us with “the rockets red glare” and then there are the bombs. (Always, always, there is war and bombs.) Once, I sang it at homecoming and threw even the tenacious high school band off key. But the song didn’t mean anything, just a call to the field, something to get through before the pummeling of youth. And what of the stanzas we never sing, the third that mentions “no refuge could save the hireling and the slave”? Perhaps, the truth is, every song of this country has an unsung third stanza, something brutal snaking underneath us as we blindly sing the high notes with a beer sloshing in the stands hoping our team wins. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the flag, how it undulates in the wind like water, elemental, and best when it’s humbled, brought to its knees, clung to by someone who has lost everything, when it’s not a weapon, when it flickers, when it folds up so perfectly you can keep it until it’s needed, until you can love it again, until the song in your mouth feels like sustenance, a song where the notes are sung by even the ageless woods, the short-grass plains, the Red River Gorge, the fistful of land left unpoisoned, that song that’s our birthright, that’s sung in silence when it’s too hard to go on, that sounds like someone’s rough fingers weaving into another’s, that sounds like a match being lit in an endless cave, the song that says my bones are your bones, and your bones are my bones, and isn’t that enough?
Whatever you want to say about 2020, and there’s probably a lot to say, one thing is certain, for me anyway, my playlist for 2020 rocks. It could be my favorite all time. Though, 2013 was pretty darn good too.
I make a playlist every year of songs I discover during that year. It could be new artists, but it doesn’t always hold to those conventions. I also sometimes include older artists I’ve just discovered and/or deep dive tracks from albums I already own but may have not paid enough attention to. There are no real parameters other than it has to feel new to me, even if it isn’t something new. I’ve done this for years and years now. Initially I made mix-tapes on cassette recorded from the radio, then mixes recorded from CDs, then playlists on iTunes and burned onto a CD on a laptop. I used to make copies and give them as gifts to friends. But, with the advent of streaming services and a change in laptops that made it harder to burn discs, I switched to making them on Spotify last year. Sharing doesn’t involve making discs for people anymore, but I can still share, which I love.
I know 2020 isn’t over yet (just keep hanging on and getting through people) which means I’m still adding to this list, but I’ve been giving the 2020 list a listen quite a bit recently and I’m really into it. Just past the midway point, I guess you could say this is the mid-mix 2020.
Enjoy and know going in, it’s a mix for sure. My tastes are eclectic, so be prepared.