a book club... but for music docs

first post of 2021 and something like a resolution

It’s been a minute since my last post! I’ve been MIA because I recently started a full-time job and I’ve been too tired after work to write. Plus I’m still emotionally in 2020 and some part of me will always be stuck in that horrible, horrible year. I mean, thank god it’s over, but I’m pretty sure 2021 trumped 2020 in the “how quickly can I ruin a year” contest with January 6th. But! I’m trying to be positive (very healthy of me) and find things to look forward to. Which is not an easy task when my options for entertainment are confined to my home.

Do you know how long the workday feels when you have no real “weekend” to look forward to? Sure there are days off, but that’s not the same as doing something truly cathartic or relaxing. No one ever tells you how exhausting routine can be. But! In an effort to make the days more exciting, I’ve decided to watch a new music documentary every week—it’s kind of my new year’s resolution, except I’m starting a little late. January kinda sucked so I don’t mind starting in February.

February is African-American History Month so I’ve chosen four movies around that theme; I decided to stick to 20th-century musicians, particularly from the civil rights era, because I’ll be covering other Black musicians in the coming months. Technically The United States vs. Billie Holiday is not a music documentary, but I’ll make the exception. Billie, an actual music doc, would be fun to watch as a double feature but isn’t available to stream yet (you can rent or buy it though).

You’ll notice that all of the films are on major streaming services—I wanted to make this list easy for everyone to watch along with me if they wanted to. If you do decide to follow along each month, I’d love to hear from you! I’ll be hosting a watch party for some select films each month and will email anyone who’s interested at least a week in advance about the time. I’ll also cross-post the Teleparty link on Twitter and Instagram.

Nothing can ever truly replace live music, that goes without saying, but there are still other ways to enjoy music outside of going to a show. My real new year’s resolution was to hone my craft, so I’m excited to learn more about music—and hopefully, you’ll tune in along with me!

Before I go, I’d like to shout out The Family Reviews for publishing my first article of 2021! I wrote about 2020isasong, a virtual sonic time capsule that offered an emotional alternative to the Spotify Wrapped year-end campaign. I also dug around their site and broke down how New Yorkers were feeling during 2020, what songs they loved, and who they were listening to. A companion piece, an interview with one of the creators, will go up sometime in the next week so stay tuned!


Got any music documentary recommendations you want to sling my way? Hit reply on this email or leave me a comment. I’ll see it and cherish it forever.

P.S. Thank you to Enne Goldstein for looking over this graphic! Enne’s got a great eye for design and you should definitely hire them for everything immediately.