A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:

Michael Bublé and Sharon Jones duet, "Saturday Night Live." Doing "Baby (You've Got What It Takes)," they were actually singing to each other, not to the cameras -- and getting into it, way into it. He seemed to be captivated and genuinely excited by her revved-up personality. A true duet.

"Love Reign O'er Me" by Bettye LaVette at Hopkins Center for the Arts. After an evening of mostly purging pain, the rebounding R&B vet closed with a plea for love, turning the Who's rocker into an understated prayer of swelling Southern soul.

Lil Wayne sings the Bob Dylan part in the new all-star version of "We Are the World." Isn't that perfect? Weezy sings the line that the geezer with the weezy voice made famous 25 years ago.


Clinter Carnival, Varsity Theater. This annual playful party pokes fun at the Winter Carnival while raising money for charity. The 10th installment featured the Melismatics and an iTunes playlist heavy on new and classic local music.

Elk, "Tamarack Mansion." Bellwether's Eric Luoma leads this cast of Twin Cities music vets, including members of the Hang Ups. Served up on white vinyl, "Tamarack Mansion" is a folk twist on pop music. Ambient and uplifting.

Best of 2009 lists. Whether it's a music writer's must-listens, an e-mail chain from friends touting favorite albums or www.metacritic.com, lists of musical recommendations are the ultimate endorsement. From the right source, a good ol'-fashioned Top 20 list can open doors, push for reconsideration or confirm an initial impression.