Pick Six is a half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view.
Emma Chekroun, Radio K music director:
1 Lil Nas X, "Montero (Call Me by Your Name)" video. From Madonna's "Like a Prayer" to Lady Gaga's "Judas," pop stars have forever created controversy with religious imagery, so Lil Nas X cementing his pop career with the same gesture is no surprise. What did surprise me was the hyper-saturated, playful, video-game-like visual approach he and director Tanu Muino took to the heaven/hell dichotomy.
2 Serpentwithfeet, "Deacon." On his sophomore album, Serpentwithfeet offers a tender exploration of Black, gay romance. His angelic, smooth sound, accented with elements of art/glitch pop, is proof of the exciting options that current R&B has to offer.
3 Satan Shoes controversy. Lil Nas X has teamed with Brooklyn art collective MSCHF (which gave us the "Walk on Water" Nike sneakers filled with Holy Water three years ago) to deliver a companion sneaker with his new "Montero" single. There will be 666 pairs of altered sneakers, each with a drop of blood in the sole. It's been priceless to watch news anchors' reactions while delivering this story.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune critic:
1 Rosanne Cash, "Killing Fields." The Americana perennial's stark new single is a haunting, harrowing reflection on racism and lynching. "All who came before us is not who we are now," she sings.
2 Chapel Hart, "You Can Have Him Jolene" video. With a mix of Gretchen Wilson-like scorn and Dolly-worthy humor, this Mississippi female family trio (two sisters and a cousin) goes on a honky-tonk romp over a cheatin' man.
3 Eric Church and the COVID vaccine. For his cover story in Billboard magazine, he suggested a photo of him getting his shot. The quintessential Nashville outsider who built his career on concerts not radio, Church urges fans to get vaccinated: "I'm a liberty guy, too. I get it. But I view this a little differently than most other things. We've never encountered this."