I wrote my top 10 for 2021 in a bit of a hurry the night before it posted, and it shows. For one thing, I mentioned the Netflix miniseries The Queen’s Gambit as one of the year’s highlights, and I realized later that the show appeared in 2020 and was also on last year’s Top 10. Oopsie.
Most crazy was realizing that I’d assembled a top 10 of the year without once thinking about the music that moved me in 2021. How could I have forgotten? A year without music would be a year without a soul.
This was the year of Dolenz Sings Nesmith and The Mike and Mickey Show, before Mike left us. It was the year Peter Jackson’s Get Back reminded us of the Beatles’ lull before the grand finale of Abbey Road. It was the year I retroactively discovered Black Cadillac and The List after I read Roseanne Cash’s compelling memoir, Composed.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band rediscovered the magic in Letter To You, and I found the extended editions Wildflowers & All the Rest and Finding Wildflowers (Alternate Versions), which provide a whole new dimension to my favorite Tom Petty album.
No, it was not a year without music. There’s no such thing. Music keeps us sane, or brings us back from insanity. Music makes us breathe when there doesn’t seem to be enough oxygen in the air. Music is everywhere if you just know how to listen, to paraphrase Terry Pratchett in a quote that search engines refuse to find for me.
It frightens me, just a little, that I forgot to include music in my mental search for the best of 2021. I hope and pray that melodies follow me everywhere in 2022, so that I never forget again.