Pick Six is a half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view.
Josh Jacobson of Minneapolis:
1 Bruce Springsteen, “From My House to Yours.” His most recent SiriusXM DJ set was timely, political and powerful.
2 Dropkick Murphys, “Streaming Outta Fenway.” The Boston band streamed live from the Fenway Park infield, joined briefly by Bruce Springsteen on the Jumbotron, raising money for Boston charities.
3 Ari Melber’s “Fallback Friday.” Bill Kristol and Fat Joe? Waka Flocka Flame and Russ Feingold? You never know what unlikely pairings you will see each Friday on MSNBC.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Dear Class of 2020, Beyoncé. In her inspiring speech to graduates, Queen Bey talked about not going to college herself, the influence of her parents, her own struggles to make it in the music industry as a black woman and the importance of hard work. Then she advised: “To the young women, our future leaders, know that you’re about to make the world turn. I see you. You are everything the world needs. Make those power moves. Be excellent. And to the young kings, lean into your vulnerability and redefine masculinity. Lead with heart. There’s so many different ways to be brilliant.” Be authentically you, she urged.
2 Black country artists speak out about racism. In the aftermath of the George Floyd killing, Darius Rucker and Kane Brown took to social media to decry the racism they’ve experienced. Mickey Guyton wrote an essay in Billboard about racism in country music and dropped a new song, “Black Like Me.” Sonically, it could fit seamlessly in country radio. You can feel the pain in her voice. But the song isn’t about heartbreak from lost love. It’s about being perceived as different. “If you think we live in the land of the free,” she sings, “you should try to be black like me.”
3 Archie Shepp and Raw Poetic, “Ocean Bridges.” The veteran avant-garde jazz saxophonist and his rapper nephew bring two worlds together for some thoughtful, chill music, peaking on “Sugar Coat It.”