Over Thanksgiving, I thought about all the wonderful things that make me grateful. I suppose I'm happy about my friends and family, but I keep coming back to the important role music plays in my life. Just about everything I've done over the past 13 years has been music-related, so I figure I should be extra-grateful for that possibility. But then I expanded that idea until I had a list of the top five things in music that should make us grateful.

5. Other than a stupid Hewlett-Packard commercial and a dancing video game that looks more horrible than ET for the Atari, The Black Eyed Peas has been noticeably absent in recent months—no singles, music videos or television appearances bringing my rage to a boil, and for this we should all be happy. The gap in crap might also give TBEP fans an opportunity to listen to other music, which should make them feel grateful to be free of whatever witchcraft made this group popular. (Editor's note: Pre-Fergie TBEP was actually good, its lyrics talking trash about the kind of vacuous celebrity lifestyle its members now lead.)

4. It's not like we have an explosion brewing, but a number of new bands have popped up. Nearest and dearest to my heart are a couple of punk bands that I predict we'll be seeing more often in coming months. Yes, we all know that I love punk (despite a recent SFR website comment that claims the genre isn't real music), so when bands like These Charming Cobras and The Elected Officials start putting on DIY/all-ages warehouse-space shows and self-releasing bitchin' albums, I not only feel grateful, but I also feel hopeful that Santa Fe can finally live up to the cultural variety everyone always talks about.

3. This may come off as a total ass-kissing move, but I assure you that I am legitimately grateful for our new arts and culture editor, Matthew Irwin. Not only does homeboy let me get away with saying some pretty weird shit, but he doesn't force me to write about things I hate. Sure, he's a total weirdo, but I'll let that slide in light of the cool subjects I'll be able to tackle, subjects like how hard The Black Eyed Peas sucks. (Editor's note: Aw, shucks…)

2. Santa Fe now has more open mic events than ever before. Sometimes, the best musicians are the ones who don't spend all their time demanding everybody love and pay attention to the endless minutiae surrounding their existences. While not every performance at an open mic is worthwhile (sorry, everybody who had to watch me play "music"), the chance to see something fantastic is always high, and that's worth giving thanks. For example, that dude Jesse Berlin I wrote about recently [cover story, Nov. 16: "Microphony"]—well, he's just plain awesome. Somebody book this guy an actual show, and you'll be grateful you listened to me for once in your life.

1. In the span of a few days, legendary acts Pixies and Morrissey performed in Santa Fe. Even though Morrissey makes my skin crawl, I still have to admit I was pumped he came here. Promoter Jamie Lenfestey deserves a high-five for these shows, which go a long way to proving Santa Fe is a viable destination for bigger-name acts. In related news, the former owner of the beloved and prematurely closed Corazón, Mikey Baker, has quietly mentioned the possibility of a 2012 edition of SxSF (South by Santa Fe). If you attended either previous SxSF festival, you damn well should be grateful at the prospect of another solid week of incredible bands that come through Santa Fe before heading to SxSW (South by Southwest). (Editor's note: Pixies!)

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