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All Music Considered: This is what our show directors listened to in 2023

SCOTT DETROW, HOST:

The directors of ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, they do a lot behind the scenes. They've got the very powerful job of being the person who tells me when to talk and when not to talk. And beyond that, they also pick the wonderful music breaks that you hear every single show. We're taking some time on the program at the end of the year to talk with our show directors about some of the music they listened to the most in 2023. Think about it as ALL THINGS CONSIDERED Wrapped. And this weekend, we are talking to producer Elena Burnett. Hey, Elena.

ELENA BURNETT, BYLINE: Hey, Scott.

DETROW: OK, so in this series, every director has had a theme. And your theme, I am told, is dance parties.

BURNETT: Yes. So this started for me at the beginning of the pandemic. I live and I still do in a small studio apartment. And to sort of keep myself sane, I decided that every single day, I was going to dance to a song.

DETROW: So this started as something you did around your apartment. Does this mean the dance parties are coming with? Does this mean you're just breaking out into dance all over the place?

BURNETT: Yeah, it is. It is.

DETROW: Oh, OK.

BURNETT: And then, like, a big part of this, I should preface, is I'm really bad at keeping track of popular music - like, really bad. So I get very excited and I start dancing when a song that I actually know plays on the radio.

DETROW: Makes sense.

BURNETT: And that happened a lot this year with my most listened to band, Lake Street Dive.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AUTOMATIC")

LAKE STREET DIVE: (Singing) I'm walking blindfolded.

BURNETT: They are everywhere - in D.C. grocery stores and Albuquerque outdoor malls and Edinburgh stationary stores. And, I mean, those are all places that now have been graced by an Elena Burnett dance party.

DETROW: How far did you extend this? Like, what was the outer limit of a place that you were like, you know what? I'm just going to dance.

BURNETT: I mean, you know, it got pretty - I was in the U.K. a lot this year, and I danced my way through it. But, you know, sometimes you don't really feel like dancing in public. Sometimes you just want to have it just for yourself. That's where running comes in for me. It's kind of like a socially sanctioned dance party. It's kind of like everybody around you is listening to the same song, like a silent disco. And so I think that's why The Head and the Heart's "Every Shade Of Blue" was my top song this year.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EVERY SHADE OF BLUE")

THE HEAD AND THE HEART: It's been a long year, the wrong year to be left alone.

BURNETT: Then the beat kicks in and there's this kind of like, da, da, da, da, da, da (ph) that just, like, zaps right through you, and the drums are just running right along with you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EVERY SHADE OF BLUE")

THE HEAD AND THE HEART: (Singing) You, you.

DETROW: I would like to point out that I feel like I'm dancing to the music more than you are during this interview, and I feel like that's ironic. And I just want to address that and see if we can fix it.

BURNETT: (Laughter).

DETROW: You mentioned you traveled a lot this year. How did the music follow you?

BURNETT: While I was away, I missed a lot of concerts that I would have loved to see. And the most devastating one that I missed was Sammy Rae & The Friends. Their music is just so infectious. It's like fireworks. But thankfully, they released a concert album of their tour, "If It All Goes South," and that album became what I listened to on repeat every plane ride I took this year. And the live just added this great element to it. Listening to them riff together, it's an actual party on stage. In fact, there's a song literally called "Let's Throw A Party."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LET'S THROW A PARTY")

SAMMY RAE AND THE FRIENDS: (Singing) Let's throw a party. Somebody's turning 30.

BURNETT: And it kind of crescendos into this, like, glorious, joyful, chaotic beauty. And it's just the exact go-for-broke vibe that you want from a good dance party. But, I mean, the dance mantra is go put a smile on somebody's face, go tell somebody they've got a place in this world, go tell somebody you want to be friends with them. And that is just the kind of pure human joy and connection that their music makes you feel. And I also think that's what these bursts of dancing have been for me, kind of a way to be a friend to myself and make myself smile and, this year more than ever, to connect and smile with friends and family and even strangers.

DETROW: I really like this approach.

BURNETT: Thank you.

DETROW: That is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED producer and director Elena Burnett. Thank you.

BURNETT: You're welcome.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LET'S THROW A PARTY")

SAMMY RAE AND THE FRIENDS: (Singing) Let's throw a party. Somebody's turning 30. Ooh, and we ain't looked this good since we don't even know since when. Let's throw a party. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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