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

Kate-Madonna Hindes Quast of Lakeville:

1 Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, "Please Read the Letter." Subdued in its sadness, yet still clinging to hope, this is one of my favorite jams that they played last summer at the Somerset Amphitheater. We just got our tickets to see them at Mystic Lake amphitheater in June.

2 U2 at the Sphere in Las Vegas. "Bad" has a moment where Bono screams, "I'm wide awake — I'm not sleeping." I was hoping they'd magically insert this banger into their set when I saw them two weeks ago in Vegas but no such luck.

3 Damien Rice, "Coconut Skins." This is a weekly play that even my kids dance to in the car. Full of references to sticking fire in terrible places, the silly reference to rolling still gives this 42-year-old the giggles.

Jon Bream, Star Tribune critic:

1 Beyoncé hits No. 1 on Billboard's country chart. After all the hubbub over her new twangy, banjo-propelled single "Texas Hold 'Em," she became the first Black woman to top the country chart. A good song trumped the sexism, racism and ageism of Nashville's country establishment. As a solo artist, Beyoncé has now landed at No. 1 on seven of Billboard's 14 charts: the Hot 100, Hot Country Songs, Hot Dance/Electronic Songs, Hot Gospel Songs, Hot Latin Songs, Hot R&B Songs and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. Only Justin Bieber has topped more song charts, with eight.

2 Lainey Wilson on "People's Choice Awards." Standing amid faux sagebrush in her leather, fringe and, of course, bell bottoms, she delivered a medley of her hits "Things a Man Oughta Know," "Heart Like a Truck" and "Watermelon Moonshine" along with her new single "Country's Cool Again." With her crooked drawl (her words), Wilson doesn't tout Morgan Wallen or Luke Combs in her new tune but cowboys, jon boats, John Deere and backwoods front porches as well as Garth Brooks' "The Dance" and Brooks & Dunn's "Neon Moon." She'll be back at No. 1 again soon.

3 Sullivan Fortner, "Solo Game." Having been impressed by the jazz pianist's live work with Cécile McLorin Salvant, I was eager to check out his new double-disc solo project. The first disc is acoustic, the second electric. This 18-song instrumental collection is an enticingly rich, excitingly improvisational triumph of technique, inventiveness and whimsy.

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