Hello new music lovers.

This week…it’s our look back.  At the end of every year. Well, for the past 15 years we’ve had a radio show. We collect a few of our favorite songs.  It’s our notable songs of 2020. A review. A rewind. A reminder of what we played on NEXT during said year.

What was your favorite song of 2020 that NEXT played?

Welcome to NEXT. We have a simple goal: Find you a NEXT, new favorite song. #NextFavoriteSong

“No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government, our corporations, our media, and our religious & charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful.” ― Kurt Vonnegut

“Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music.” ― George Eliot

“Music is everybody’s business. It’s only the publishers who think people own it” ― John Lennon

The internet is awash with information. As Sting sang many moons ago “Too much information”. Which is one reason I believe we like when all that info gets turned into bite sized chucks. A list. Why do we find lists so appealing? It’s a mind trick. And we like the buzz. So why an end of year list? Let me explain…No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

 1. We know exactly what we’re getting

Whether it’s the 10 ways your body is disgusting or the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, the layout is familiar to us. This predictability allows us to develop what psychologists call “schemata” – the mental maps we build up from experience which give us an idea of what to expect. These mental shortcuts allow us to understand and take in information more easily.

2. We don’t like missing out

The temptation to click on the list is hard to resist. It already exists. It’s right there. The homework is done. You just need to look and listen. If you miss out by failing to click on it, you are losing something that you had in your grasp. So sometimes it’s just easier to click on the article than to overcome that slight sense of loss if you decide not to look. 

3. They feel less taxing on the brain

Online reading requires us to multi-task. While we read we are also making decisions about whether to click on links, when to move the mouse and where to situate the page on our screens, not to mention handling pop-ups reminding us that emails and messages are coming in. Lists can make it all feel more manageable.

4. We like to think we’re too busy to read anything else

It’s easy to believe that we are much busier these days than people used to be. If you look at surveys of time use over the decades this isn’t quite true. Back in 1887 Nietzsche was complaining about the same thing, ‘One thinks with a watch in one’s hand even as one eats one’s midday meal while reading the latest news of the stock market’. But if you take the US as an example, a compilation of five different measures of time taken over the past 50 years, indicate that the average American man has six to nine hours more free time every week than he had five decades ago. Even so, the information explosion means that we have a huge number of news sources vying for our attention, giving us the feeling that we can never keep up. And a LIST seems less of a burden. Than say a more forbidding, narrative articles or essays.

5. They are easy to scan for information…

Presenting articles in list form works well for snappy, isolated facts – As in NEXT a new music and these are Our Notable Songs of 2020. You know you are getting NEXT songs. And a few of our favorite songs of 2020. You know this. And click.

6. …and we always know how much is left.

With a numbered list you can always place exactly where you are in the piece. Right now you’re on Week 2 of our end of year 4 week review. See how easy that is? On to week 3. Thanks for listening.

7. It’s fun to try to guess what’s on the list…

The moment you know that an article is framed as a list, it’s hard to resist trying to predict. It becomes a game. Will you win? How many of the top songs of NEXT can you name? Even better…maybe something surprises you. Or reminds you of that great song. Or even better you missed a week and holy balls this “old” new song is new to me and how the hell could I have missed this the first time around? And you can’t know whether you’ve won until you click on the list.

8. …and we love being proved right.

The beauty of a list is that you can make quick decisions about which items to notice. The confirmation bias means that we pay more attention to any information which confirms what we already thought. With lists this helps us feel satisfied. Yes, I do know new music because I know (and like?) this song on this list. Which is it’s so difficult to get people to listen to a new music show. You don’t KNOW most of the songs during the hour of NEXT. It takes a special music listener to get passed the confirmation bias of “there’s no good music being made today.” And listen. Really listen.

9. A list feels definitive.

A list gives us a sense that the list is all settled and this is the end of the matter. Uncertainty is reduced. We, as humans, love anything which gives us a semblance of control in an uncertain world. Plenty of psychological research over the decades shows that we have a desire to feel as though we’re in control and that when we do it is good for our well-being.

This week…it’s our look back.  The last Wednesday of every month we collect a few of our favorite songs.  It’s our notable songs of the month.  A review.  A rewind.  A reminder of what we played on NEXT during said year.

What was your favorite song of 2020 that NEXT played?

It was tough before Covid 19. Now more than ever we need to support these bands. Even something as simple as buying an album, or a ticket to a show (when live music comes back or if they are hosting online events), or a tee shirt. And if you can buy directly from them. Even better. Thank you.

Spotify playlist updates on Thursday(ish). Link to Chris Bro on Spotify.


WARNING may contain bad words. Or may not. Depends.

You can listen to NEXT on the radio. Listen to NEXT on Ocean 98 in Maryland Sunday nights at 10. Or Saturday afternoon on VOBB in Canada

Artist and Song Title:

  • Hanni El Khatib – Peace
  • Cayucas – Yeah Yeah Yeah
  • Foxfire Run – Paralyzed
  • Cam Cole – Mama
  • Steven Wright Mark – Underground
  • Painted Shield – Knife Fight
  • Deep Sea Diver featuring Sharon Van Etten – Impossible
  • Black Pumas – Fire
  • Jake Bugg – Rabbit Hole
  • Nathaniel Rateliff And the The Night Sweats – Don’t Care Darlin’
  • John Craigie – Don’t Ask
  • Black Taxi – Swagger
  • Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – She’s There
  • Ripe – Little Less Polite
  • Katie Pruitt – Expectations
  • Phoebe Bridgers – ICU
  • Bartees Strange – Boomer

and remember if you love someone hug them right now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.