Late-Night TV Music (Levels Edition) | May 6, 2020

Mindless entertainment or a reflection of our times? You be the judge.

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Like all forms of art, late-night TV can work on multiple levels. It can just be some simple, mindless entertainment to help you drift off after another night of whatever the hell it is you spend your days doing right now. Or it can offer a deeper reflection of our realities, our desires, our dreams. Let’s look at Wednesday night’s offerings: First, you had the iconic and legendary singer-songwriter Randy Newman, summing up our isolated reality with his quirky quarantine-paranoia ditty Stay Away — “Some people are saying it’s the greatest song ever written,” he drily quipped — for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Then you had country king Brad Paisley and his bandmates tapping into something we’d all like — a brewski with friends — via their performance of No I In Beer for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. And finally, the still-distant dream of taking to the streets and rocking out big and dumb came true in Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker’s pop-punk firecracker Bloody Valentine, showcased on The Late Late Show With James Corden. Put them together and you seem to have something that adds up to more than the sum of its parts. Or maybe I’m just over-tired; I didn’t sleep very well last night. If only I had some simple, mindless entertainment to help me drift off …