Since I’ve repeatedly stated my affinity for interesting collaborations, I won’t yet again belabor that point. Madvillainy, suggested to me by my most prolific album-recommending friend, is the 2004 offering from Madlib and MF DOOM, reminded me that my selections have become homogenous recently. The recommendations that I get have not only provided interesting listening experiences, but have also highlighted my own blind spots, both musically and in life in general. It’s been a useful tool under the current circumstances, where I spend a lot of time each day searching for answers to the extremely tough problems facing the world today. The collaborative efforts of musicians seems to be an excellent metaphor for what is needed in America right now. There is a lack of willingness by all kinds of people to come together and work towards the common good. The focus on partisan quibbling and one-upmanship has really distracted the populace from what is possible through cooperation. The “good old days” that many are longing for were times of great unity and productivity in this country (also profound inequality and social injustice) and we have strayed as far from those ideals as democracy can allow. I can only hope that some of our nation’s leadership value our country above their own personal gain, but they have given me plenty of reason to doubt this.