With the global pandemic, political turmoil, and every personal obstacle on our plates, it’s safe to say that 2020 was a strange and difficult year for all of us. And now that it’s over, it’s a great time to start processing all that happened in the past months. Considering how effective our article on 10 Songs That Are Keeping Us Emotionally Sane At Home was, why not turn to music once again? Below, we’ve put together a list of songs released last year that do a great job in summing up humanity’s collective experience in 2020.
Phoebe Bridgers’ sophomore record garnered a ton of positive feedback from both critics and fans alike, with Rolling Stone even praising Bridgers’ stellar songwriting. They go as far as comparing her to songwriting legends like Warren Zevon and literary giants such as Joan Didion.
One standout track from the entire album is “I Know The End”. The song pretty much encapsulates what she was trying to do with her album Punisher, as the theme of loneliness and the acceptance of one’s sadness is evident in the track.
It was a great year for the band IDLES. After being nominated for a Mercury Award in 2019, the boys from IDLES capitalised on their success and released their third studio album, Ultra Mono.
And while you can pick any track off of this album to represent what went down last year, “MR. MOTIVATOR” is a great pick. This is the type of song you listen to early in the morning to hype yourself up. The distortion pedal-fuelled guitar riff that rings through the entire song gives it an aggressive sound — which seamlessly complements singer Joe Talbot’s declaration to “seize the day.”
This song was a good reminder to keep trudging on despite things getting more and more difficult by the day.
It was definitely a fruitful year for Dirty Hit too. Rina Sawayama’s spectacular album SAWAYAMA was a critical success, as it even managed to be named The Guardian’s third best album of 2020. Out of all the songs on the album, we’re sure many can relate to the track “Bad Friend.”
Due to the lockdowns, many of us may have had falling outs with some of our friends. Indeed, maintaining relationships was hard enough, but the added stress brought about by 2020 may have damaged long-time friendships that you’ve fostered through the years – and that is perfectly normal. The song manages to encapsulate the complicated feelings of guilt and sadness.
To cap this list off, we have a song from Thundercat’s fourth album, It Is What It Is. Before we talk about “Miguel’s Happy Dance,” we really recommend checking out the entire album. After all, Thundercat is one of modern music’s most promising talents. This isn’t surprising as he’s worked with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Kamasi Washington, Erykah Badu, and the late Mac Miller.
As the title implies, the song is all about doing your “happy dance” even when things aren’t going your way. While this may seem simplistic, there’s something refreshing about the belief that things will fall into place if you simply keep moving forward. Being a Thundercat song, the song’s instrumentals are also pretty unique. It takes traditional jazz and funk elements and combines them with electronic music. All in all, Thundercat’s bass lines blend effortlessly well with the synths, which are also prominently featured in the song.