QOTD: What Are You Currently Listening To? Late Summer 2020 Edition

Chances are that none of us are listening to as much music in our cars as we used to, but the songs and artists we all love to enjoy are always one click or tap away. I’ve been spending a lot more time in new cars lately, which will most likely spur me to finally pay for Spotify Premium at some point in the near future. I’m sure your recommendations will also encourage me to as well, as these posts always generate great discussions.

Anyway, here’s a sample of what I’m currently listening to.

Why aren’t we talking about T. Rex? Seriously. In college I had some acquaintances who loved classic rock and they never mentioned Marc Bolan or any of the bands he played in. Can anyone explain why? Anyway, despite the band’s output being cut short by Bolan’s death, there’s still a decent amount of T. Rex albums to enjoy. Which is a good thing, because they rock.

I’ve been splitting my time between listening to incredibly cynical music and more uplifting stuff. “Faith” clearly belongs to the sillier side of that spectrum. I was actually reminded of this song because it’s parodied very briefly in an episode of Community, which I recently rewatched because TV comedies are basically the only shows I can stomach right now. Anyway, this is a surprisingly great morning song and I love it.

All of my picks have so far been from deceased musicians. But this last one stings the most, as Adam Schlesinger penned it. Schlesinger passed away earlier this year from Covid and it really bummed me out because I am a huge fan of Fountains of Wayne, the band he belonged to. And of course this song is one of the reasons why he was so great. He’s also one of the reasons why Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was such an excellent show, as he consulted on a number of the musical bits. Anyway, “That Thing You Do!” is a pretty insane song because it’s a catchy 60s tune that would have easily fit into an early Beatles album yet it was still a popular release in 1997. Purposely anachronistic songs are rare. At least I think they are. But this one deserves to be remembered, as does Schlesinger, although I think his legacy will always be with us in some way.

The movie itself is an enjoyable watch but hardly essential.

Pop punk is in right now, at least for me. Angst is a legitimate feeling to have these days, so naturally, bands like Blink-182, Green Day, and the other bands that I had on rotation in high school are back in play. “American Idiot” is unfortunately just as relevant than ever and the album of the same name has aged extremely well. Green Day’s older stuff is also still good, especially Dookie.

Like T. Rex, it’s criminal how little we discuss Elvis Costello. I’ve always appreciated him from afar but delved a bit deeper into his work when I purchased My Aim Is True and This Year’s Model from a record store last year. But this is the song that’s most fitting for the current atmosphere. I’m hoping there’s at least one Costello fanatic among us who can tell me if any of his stuff after Mighty Like A Rose is worth exploring.

Despite all the talk about me needing to listen to angst-ridden songs and more cynical stuff, my summer was actually pretty good and I’m in about as good of a mood as can be expected given the state of everything right now. I’ve gotten plenty of driving in this season, as you’ll soon read about. Haim’s latest album, Women in Music Pt. III, definitely helped keep things positive. I’ve recommended this band before, but felt compelled to once again feature them, as the three sisters make same damn fine music. They’re more confident than ever and this time around they really leaned into their influences. They effortlessly blend Fleetwood Mac, Sheryl Crow, modern indie rock, and even some hip hop into their work. This album is simply stellar front to back.

Albums I’m about to dive into: The Strokes, The New Abnormal; Bright Eyes, Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was.

So what are you currently listening to?