Change is hard.
It’s scary. It’s one of those things you can’t plan or account for many times. You can’t see into the future, ask a question of a Magic 8 ball and predict what’s coming. Did anyone think that this pandemic was going to last into 2021, this time last year? It was supposed to be gone by April, those 15 people who had died in March 2020 were to be the last.
It’s a weird time. It’s the changing of the season. I always feel restless, as the world turns. I’m always ready to go, but I don’t know where to go. And furthermore, there is nowhere to go. We made it past the stretch of sunsets that happen before 5pm. But is anything actually different? We’re still isolating. Still isolated. Still locked down. Shut down. Just…down. Most human interaction I have is on the phone or on a Zoom screen, even still. It’s wearing a little thin. Some people I haven’t seen since 2019. Some I’ve never even met in person.
I haven’t posted a new playlist in a while because of a very first-world problem: I’ve been looking for a Spotify alternative. The algorithm broke — for me, and it sounded like, for many, last year. Like the algorithm looked at the state of the world and thought that those of us music-seekers only wanted comfort listens and decided to just play the same 25 songs over, and over, and over. If that isn’t a metaphor for the longest month that was 2020, I don’t know what is. Adding insult to injury, when I started making playlists on the platform, the algorithm devolved even further for me, as if my playlist-curation suggested those were the only songs ever.
But I don’t want this to be a complaint session. Change is hard. It’s scary. But if my life has taught me one thing, it’s that you can’t plan for ten years ahead, whether it’s your music-listening service or your apartment or your job. You can’t even plan for five years ahead. The future is scary. Change is the worst. But in 2021, I have to often wonder: would down be better than steady? At least, it would be something different? The fact that you can’t plan for 15, 20 years from now doesn’t mean you should sit on your ass, at home, under lockdown. Yes, don your mask, please. Wash your hands, please. But don’t just let yourself go.
I’ve been doing it wrong. Looking at it wrong.
My point is, I’m working on getting the playlist creation experience back online, so there is no new playlist this month. There is a playlist. Just not a freshly-shorn one.
For the next few newsletters, I’ll be sharing previously-curated The Hott Rock playlists that I had migrated over to Spotify at one point or another. I don’t have any context clues for them, so I apologize — no pithy preamble. But at the very least, it’s a break from the monotony. Which I think we could all use right about now.
Change is hard. But sometimes, change is gonna come whether you like it or not.
February’s best reads
My Year of Reading continues. I decided not to participate in the 50Books Challenge, because number resolutions are dumb. Instead, I’ve been challenging myself to read fiction — in some form or another — every day this year.
I’m terrible at reading full-length novels, which probably has something to do with why I’m terrible at writing full-length novels. I consistently lose interest in the midpoint of Act Two, and switch to something different. Hopefully I’ll finish some longer works this year, too — of others, and of my own.
But, I love short stories for this reason. Here are some I especially enjoyed this past month, in no real order of importance:
A Fine Night for Tea and Bludgeoning — Beth Cato
How to Talk to Girls at Parties — Neil Gaiman
The Sycamore and the Sybil — Alix Harrow
In The Space of Twelve Minutes — James Yu
SADs Songs, Vol. 5 (kind of)
I have zero context for this playlist. This is not technically a vintage playlist from The Hott Rock of old, but it does capture the spirit of that show more than any other SADs Songs playlist to date. I shared this on my blog before I decided to switch to newsletter format, so if you’ve seen this before — apologies. Hopefully you can enjoy it now under the SADs Songs umbrella.
If U C My Enemies — Rubblebucket
Different Now — Chastity Belt
Billions of Eyes — Lady Lamb
Whites Not My Color This Evening — Cherry Glazer
(I’ve Got) Trouble In Mind — The Limiñanas
To the Boys — Molly Burch
Archie, Marry Me — Alvvays
I Will Miss the Jasmine — Shannon & the Clams
Pet Carrot — Palehound
New for You — Hinds
Peaceful Easy Feeling — The Blow
Pull Shapes — The Pipettes
As always, if you like any of these artists, please consider checking them out on Bandcamp or giving them a spin.
There’s something manic about the way that Spring comes in hot, isn’t there? After so much dormant time, so much hibernation, it’s hard to want to run so soon. But here we are.
I’m looking forward to lighter and longer days, trees bulging with pink blossoms, and more excuses to move.
Until next time,