The Atlantic Daily: New Music to Stave Off the Omicron Blues

Let our critic try to lift your spirits with new music.

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(Maria Chimishkyan)

If we’re going to have to face another bout of pandemic uncertainty, then, hey: We at least deserve some good tunes.

This week, our culture writer Spencer Kornhaber summarized the year in music, picking his top 10 albums. I asked Spencer to tell me which of those three would be particularly good for staving off plague anxiety. Find his choices below, along with his thoughts.

Add the following albums to your queue and blast them when everything feels like too much.

1. Allison Russell, Outside Child

Sun rays spill out in rousing choruses about endurance and grace. Particularly when she slips into the French of her native Montreal, her steely-smooth voice makes the same case as her lyrics: “I’m stronger than eggshells / I’m tougher than luck.”

Listen on Spotify or YouTube.

2. Lorde, Solar Power

How rude for fans to start mocking the onetime coolest-girl-on-Earth the second she started making relaxed beach music. How predictable of me, a longtime Lorde skeptic, to finally get into her when she did.

Listen on Spotify or YouTube.

3. Underscores, Fishmonger

With glitchy productions and unpredictable song structures anchored by tidy hooks and an emo heart, Underscores nails the same trick that Violent Femmes, Blink-182, and 100 Gecs did: creating songs that first seem like a joke, but that don’t get old.

Listen on Spotify or YouTube.

For more fresh music recommendations, explore the rest of Spencer’s picks for the 10 best albums of 2021.

Storm debris is seen from inside the damaged theater of an American Legion building after tornadoes ripped through several U.S. states, in Mayfield, Kentucky.
Storm debris is seen from inside the damaged theater of an American Legion building after tornadoes ripped through several U.S. states, in Mayfield, Kentucky. (Shawn Triplett via Reuters)

Explore the week that was. Our senior editor Alan Taylor compiles some extraordinary recent photography.

Read. Spend time with Cara Dees’s poem “What You Missed.” Or try a short story from our archives.

Watch. The latest Spider-Man installment, No Way Home, is “less a movie and more a fun-house ride through our collective memory tunnels,” staff writer David Sims reports.

If you’re feeling an itch for a holiday film, just know that there are only two Christmas specials worth watching, Tom Nichols argues in his newsletter. Our staff writer Megan Garber, meanwhile, can vouch for Hallmark’s The Christmas House, “a story, fundamentally, about anti-magic.”

In case you missed it: Succession’s Season 3 finale was, Sophie Gilbert writes, a perfect, albeit cyclical, piece of television.

Listen. On this week’s episode of The Experiment: Rebecca Shrader had always thought of abortion as a black-and-white issue. But when she became pregnant, she started to see the gray.

On The Review, our critics unpack that aforementioned Succession finale.


Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.