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2020 Music in the Midst of a Pandemic: A look at the best COVID-19 music.

The year 2020 — a year of adversity, fear, uncertainty, and major struggle. Mental health, small business prosperity and normal life took a decline into what seemed like a dark abyss.
Smaller artists in the music industry took a large hit as well, with many artists struggling to stay afloat because of the inability to go on tour. That didn’t stop several artists, popular and niche, from producing songs or albums echoing the unique-turned-everyday struggles present in 2020.

Whether it was self-discovery, overcoming adverse situations or encouraging the message of “separate but together,” artists’ newly released music helped many fans cope with the challenges the COVID–19 pandemic brought forth.

Taylor Swift, known for her country-pop love songs and new rock-pop anthems, surprised the world with two album releases in 2020. The first, “folklore,” was released in July as Swift’s eighth studio album. “Folklore” offers a different look into Swift’s wide range of genres. It has an indie, folk-rock sound that takes listeners to the forest. “Folklore” was a surprise not only because of how drastically it differs from “Lover” (2019) and “Reputation” (2017) but because of the messages found beneath.

A lot of fans began interpreting the songs on Swift’s album as the 9 enneagram personality types. For listeners across the world, stuck inside because of a global disaster, finding identity in pieces of music was a way to reconnect with oneself when human interaction had an obvious limit.

Another artist brought light to darkness with his single, “Six Feet Apart.” Country singer Luke Combs sings about the sadness and bad news of the world because of COVID–19, having nothing to do and missing everyday greetings like hugs or handshakes.

Relatable? Absolutely. Combs acknowledges the emotions we all feel and struggles we all face in today’s six-foot-gap of a society. He sings that “there will be light after dark / someday when we aren’t six feet apart.” Combs is hopeful, encouraging everyone to look ahead to the better times to come.

Although the song was released in 2003, Foo Fighters’ “Times Like These” was brought back during a virtual live performance in April 2020 by Dave Grohl—the lead singer of Foo Fighters—Dua Lipa, 5 Seconds of Summer and Chris Martin from Coldplay, just to name a few. The artists all pitched in to raise money for COVID–19 relief funds across the country.

The band also performed the song on a “Saturday Night Live” episode in November 2020. Fitting for “times like these,” the song reminds us to keep motivation to simply live, no matter how hard the situation. It reminds us to stay strong, love, be bright and new and shine even in darkness. As the chorus repeats, “it’s times like these you learn to live again / it’s times like these you give and give again.”

Despite hits like AJR’s “Bang!,” Thundercat’s funk album “It Is What It Is,” and various Doja Cat songs, 2020’s music recap isn’t done justice unless pandemic popular tunes are emphasized. In a time of divisiveness and separation, music continues to unite us and tie together a string that cannot be broken, not even by a pandemic.

Sources: Spotify, Rolling Stone, Billboard

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