Songs for 2020
As I sit in my childhood bedroom, time shrink-wrapped into 6
devastating months, I feel the weight of this country all around me. My little world protects me, but I am reminded that there are monumental changes happening out there – things that I have little control over. This year will mark my second time voting in a presidential election, and I feel the weight of my ballot times a million.
I made sense of a similar feeling four years ago with music. I was a wide-eyed sophomore in college, running the arts section of my campus newspaper. I wrote of the hope I felt and warned my peers not to give in to apathy. I remember hitting publish on that article the morning of the election, believing I’d be in a country that had just chosen a woman as president. Six hours later, I was sitting in our newsroom, stale beer growing warm in my hand, not completely sure what had just happened. That isn’t what I thought things would be like.
I didn’t go to class the next day. I slept in after talking all night with my friends; I didn’t think anyone would be in the mood to show up, anyway. Somehow, though, maybe because I was only nineteen, I still had hope. I still thought things could turn out fine, that the presidency is just a small part of our lives, anyway.
I miss being younger.
This time, I’m not excited at all for November. I’m a twenty-two-year-old, just over a year post-grad. And I’m scared. I’m angry. I’m lonely.
The songs that comfort me most these days are ones that speak directly to me. When I sing along to Bowie’s classic soul-pop, I feel like the protagonist in his vision of a more hopeful America. I listen to Anderson Paak’s chronicle of these times, grateful for artists who are still making new music. When Fiona Apple sings about breaking free from behind locked doors, I am reminded that everyone is feeling slightly stuck right now.
I am grateful to have music, no matter where I am, no matter what is happening here. Music will always be forever. Other things, bad times – they will pass. I feel better when I hear these songs and I hope that you do too.