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Songs That Have Gotten Me Through 2020

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BY BRIANA PIZARRO ’24

Regardless of style or language, music is something I constantly listen to, whether it be to do work, taking a walk, or listen to the newest albums of my favorite artists. However, during quarantine, I found myself both going back to the music I used to listen to years prior and finding new music that I would end up playing on repeat. 

Nowadays, music acts as a source of comfort, especially in harder times such as these. With songs old and new, some well-known and others maybe not so much, they’ve either related to me or I simply enjoyed the sound. 

With a mix of indie, rap, K-RNB, and other genres, I’ve compiled a list – in no particular order – of my top ten albums and songs that have gotten me through 2020 so far: 

  1. mono. – RM 

RM, leader of the Korean group BTS, released his second personal mixtape, Mono, on October 23, 2018. Even though it came out two years ago, the songs on this mixtape are still some that I listen to daily. It is a mix of English and Korean Hip-Hop and R&B and is RM’s most recent mixtape (or playlist, in his own words) so far. This tranquil and smooth style of music brings a sense of familiarity to anyone listening. While Mono has been analyzed and said to be RM’s way of expressing his own personal struggles and self-doubts, listeners are also able to relate in their own ways. With themes of longing, loneliness, and inadequacy, RM uses reflective lyrics to comfort listeners who may be going through hard times. Contrasting with such dark themes, the lyrics urge listeners to keep fighting, and to push through their obstacles. It is even mentioned by fans as a helping hand in the dark and is known for its comforting words and ideas. 

Honorable mentions: Tokyo, everythingoes, forever rain

  1. bell’s palsy – suggi 

Bell’s palsy by Suggi is a song with a very beautiful melody. Suggi sings this song for his mother who struggled with bell’s palsy, and he expresses the struggle of watching his mother hide her own suffering from him and his regret of not doing more for her at the time. He wraps the song up by saying that his mother lived for him, and he will continue to live for her. While I do not relate to the specifics of this song, I still find this song very beautiful and bittersweet. It shines a light on the role of a caring and strong mother and the dynamic between mother and child in times when the mother may be struggling. The melody and overall tone of the song are melancholic yet powerful, showing Suggi’s very deep and genuine feelings and love he holds for his mother. 

  1. Goodbye, Oh Goodbye – AJJ

Released in 2016, Goodbye, Oh Goodbye by AJJ is a song that shows the darker sides of a family dynamic. This song carries themes of feeling misunderstood, stagnancy, isolation, and the distant relationship between parent and child. The folk and indie-rock feel to it make it sound very upbeat, but the lyrics are clear in its underlying anger and reminiscent nature. The lyrics use a lot of imagery, but the ending lines of each verse and the bridge contrast with the symbolic lyrics by using very blunt lyrics that speak of the lead singer’s distant relationships and the pain that it brought him as well.

  1. A Palé – Rosalía

Over quarantine, I’ve taken a new interest in Rosalía, a popular Spanish singer who creates music that mixes urban, flamenco, and Latin R&B. Her new flamenco style is very apparent in many of her songs (i.e. Juro Que), and act as a basis for many of them. The title A Palé means to move in secrecy, which is a term used from Castillano, a dialect from Central Spain, and is considered an original form of Spanish. A Palé is darker than her other songs and these darker themes are shown in the music video as well. The lyrics and music video are explained to be a way for Rosalía to go against the “commercialized” idea that people hold of her, and she uses the music video to show her authenticity and original style using an ironic setting of monochrome outfits and a factory setting. In the music video, she also has a unibrow, a tribute to Frida Kahlo, who is also known for her authentically raw and artistic nature. Growing up in a Dominican and Puerto-Rican household, I have always been surrounded with Latin American music, so hearing this modern take on a traditional Latin genre is both fascinating and overall great to listen to!

  1. Washing Machine Heart – Mitski 

Although Mitski has been around for years now, I had discovered her recently as I continued to see videos of her performances on social media. Washing Machine Heart has become my new favorite and speaks of the strong, powerful, and more idolized image that Mitski is seen as on the outside and how it contrasts with the “real her” that she may stifle and hide. Washing Machine Heart is very catchy and has a loud, upbeat melody and Mitski uses the symbolism of a washing machine to portray the deeper messages in this song. 

In conclusion, music (no matter the genre or language) comes as a source of comfort for many. Music can bring connection, relatability, or a simple energy boost in hundreds of different forms. Music and its impact on people is subjective but nonetheless brings many together, and carries us through emotions like anger, sadness, happiness, and all of the between. With this in mind, you can submit your own music recommendations to quin@mail.goucher.edu and show what songs bring comfort and pleasure to you!

More honorable music mentions: 

  1. Legend – Jannabi 
  2. love – DEAN, Syd 
  3. Memory – Hojean
  4. D-2 – AGUST D 
  5. anemone – slenderbodies
Image via Dead Oceans record label
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