Pick Six is a half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view.
Chris Steller of Minneapolis:
1 Stars align. Prince, the Replacements and Bob Mould each released boxed sets this fall (combined cost: more than $500 for nearly 500 tracks). Arriving about 33 1/3 years later, the Mats and Prince sets are expanded reissues of albums from 1987; the Mould collection covers everything of his since.
2 Musical lists. These aren't just for obsessives anymore. Cooped up amid COVID, we've elevated list-making to a national pastime, from Rolling Stone's new "500 Greatest Albums" and 89.3 the Current listeners' "Top 89 Covers" to niche lists on social media with categories like "Songs where the narrator wants to be someone's mother."
3 Jeremy Messersmith. With the new, disco-inflected "No Sidewalks" off his "Mixtape for the Milky Way" project, he extends his catalog of urbanist tracks, dating back to "Light Rail," his cover of "Skyway," and others. He's the city-planning troubadour we didn't know we needed.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Stevie Wonder's two new singles. For his first new music in 15 years, he gives us the classic-sounding Stevie love-one-another "Where Is Our Love Song" (that he began writing in 1968) and the fiery, contemporary, change-the-world "Can't Put It in the Hands of Fate" featuring Busta Rhymes and Rapsody. Stevie still has his fingertips on the pulse.
2 Jack White, "Saturday Night Live." Proving that guitar heroics aren't a lost art, he ferociously revamped the White Stripes' riveting "Ball and Biscuit" with snippets of his own Beyoncé collab "Don't Hurt Yourself" and Blind Willie Johnson's "Jesus Is Coming Soon" that was written during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. Later on "Lazaretto," White played a guitar designed for him by Eddie Van Halen.
3 Lizzo and Megan Thee Stallion speak up. Whether accepting a Billboard Music Award (Lizzo) or writing an op-ed in the New York Times (Meg), these hitmakers spoke truth to power as Black women determined to raise their essential voices.