Nancy Altman of St. Louis Park:
1 The Current, 89.3 FM. This radio station is indescribable and indispensable. Within a 10-minute span, I heard Miles Davis’ “’Round Midnight,” Lizzo’s “Cuz I Love You” (I can’t say enough about her) and U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” Billie Eilish during the middle of the day (she’s incredible, listen to “Bury My Friend”) and then going home — Bob Dylan and Nina Simone.
2 “Famous People Who’ve Met Me” by Owen Husney. The man who discovered Prince has written a very entertaining and insightful memoir.
3 Queen. It was great to see “Bohemian Rhapsody” win four Oscars and Adam Lambert and the band give a fantastic performance. RIP Freddie Mercury!
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Gary Clark Jr., “This Land.” His bold and boldly experimental album should be his big breakthrough. With diverse styles from punk to blues to Princely falsetto soul, this collection not only expands his musical palette but the Texan takes on topics of race, stereotyping and what it means to be an American.
2 Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper perform “Shallow” on the Oscars. Despite their formal attire, there was a deeply felt connection between them on their first public performance of this “A Star Is Born” duet. They’ve proved that they can both sing and act — together and solo.
3 Angelique Kidjo, the Cedar. The veteran African star was a captivating, enduring dynamo doing Talking Heads tunes plus a few of her own favorites and Mariam Makeba’s “Pata Pata.” A truly Afro funky performance.