This being the end of the year, I figured I'd put out a brief music retrospective for the year. I also decided that I'd split it into two parts to reflect the developing zeitgeist of the year, and I am choosing two songs by old stalwarts to begin.
Perhaps the signature song of March and April was the April 2020 release Living in a Ghost Town by The Rolling Stones. Lyrically, it captures the pandemic year mood perfectly:
YOU CAN LOOK FOR ME BUT I CAN’T BE FOUND
YOU CAN SEARCH FOR ME I HAD TO GO UNDERGROUND
LIFE WAS SO BEAUTIFUL THEN WE ALL GOT LOCKED DOWN
FEEL A LIKE GHOST LIVING IN A GHOST TOWN
Yeah, Mick, you said it... you summed up 2020 in less than four minutes:
The other song by an old stalwart that I chose is Got to be Tough by Bastard faves Toots and the Maytals, which references the social injustice that the Black Lives Matter movement was founded to shed light on. It's also a good prescription for living in a year in which everything was terrible:
This song takes on an uncommon poignancy given that Toots succumbed to COVID-19 in September. This combination warning and pep talk was his last gift to the world.
The topicality of these songs are a perfect illustration of the ability of clever artists to continue to release relevant material while old enough to collect social security checks... the Stones and the Maytals released music as up-to-date as cable news headlines, and provided solid grooves while doing so. These songs aren't happy by any stretch of the imagination, but they possessed the sort of dourness which manages to be uplifting.