Wow! And just like that, another year has flown by.
Just a few weeks before The Second Disc hits its 12th anniversary(!), this Christmas Eve it is our custom to look back on the last 12 months and take some time to think fondly of the music, magic, memories and friends that made our lives worth living.
As if last year wasn't unconventional enough, 2021 packed more pop, clicks, skips and distortion than the most misguided vinyl pressings. We got vaccinated, we got boosted, we tentatively returned to concerts and live performances, hugged our friends and family again. And now, in the bleak of winter and with a new COVID variant on our hands (well, hopefully not on yours), we again weigh our options about reuniting with loved ones and, perhaps, have to endure the pain about being apart again at a time when we wish we were together.
It's a time of constants and change. We've got more great music to enjoy, from the recent past to the mistral winds of "classic" times. I fell in love with some old favorites and made new discoveries this year - from Bowie to Beatles (few greater thrills than poring through Get Back with my Beatles-loving wife, whose father gave her the middle name "Michelle"), Oingo Boingo to Olivia Rodrigo. A host of archival soundtracks set my heart ablaze, as did the hypnotic work of rock bands like Little Hag (who released my favorite album of the year - shout out to Avery, Fern, Owen, Noah and even Chris). When life hurt, music did not.
And few things thrill me more than the knowledge that, perhaps, The Second Disc may have had some small hands in bringing the joy of sound to you. The brilliant set of Mike Nesmith rarities that Joe put together with Real Gone Music was a salve when we got the sad news that this terrific Monkee left us. I got to see our logo on a Liza Minnelli vinyl at multiple Barnes & Noble locations. (I got to show my parents this - do you know how cool that is?) Very soon, we'll help celebrate Mary Wilson and B.J. Thomas the way they deserve to be. The game of licensing titles from "the big guys" is not always easy - but we love playing it, we love bringing you interesting stuff, and we'll keep doing it as long as the powers that be let us.
I really want to thank all the lovely readers and commenters in particular on our Weekend Stream feature. When I became aware of just how many neat under-the-radar digital drops happen from week to week - all of which are piloted by some really great folks at the labels (including some TSD readers!) - I thought it was important to let you know about them. Yes, they're not on CD or vinyl...at least one of which is a format I consume with considerable regularity! But in our time together, my hope is that the albums and box sets we add to our shelves don't simply become status items, and that we don't get so caught up in holding the music that we fail to let the music hold us. This week, why don't you pull out a disc you haven't heard in awhile and throw it on. Let the memories you associate with it fill your heart, or maybe let it soundtrack some new ones.
No one can predict the next year in music, current or catalog. (Anyone who thinks they can is kidding themselves!) But despite all the times it might not seem this way - when the supply chains grind and the release schedules thin and physical titles get ignored in favor of streaming - I think 2022 will be a really fine year for music discovery and rediscovery. For one, there's plenty of great anniversaries, from Rio to Thriller to a certain extra-terrific favorite of mine (to name three from the same year). Vaults are dug into and the unexpected becomes expected. We learn and we grow and we laugh and we cry and we hope for the best and prepare for the worst. And through it all, there'll be a song or two (or ten...or more!) to get you through these most interesting of times.
In the new version of West Side Story - the film that most profoundly moved me in 2021 - one of the score's most famous songs (as co-written by the dearly departed Stephen Sondheim) promises a place for us...peace and quiet and open air. Whatever challenges await us in 2022, I think we're already closer to that place than we might think. Hold our hand and we'll take you there, on the wings of some lovely melodies.
Mike, Joe, Randy and the entire Second Disc Team
December 24, 2021