Music in 2020: a Soundtrack and Escape

Music’s role in our lives this year

Aya Kasim, Editor-in-Chief

In the scope of this year, many aspects of life faced unprecedented challenges and even decline. Schools closed, businesses filed for bankruptcy, and TV entertainment came to a brief halt. However, one industry that rose above the rubble was music. Just as technology allowed education and work to continue, music production pulled through for one of its most eventful years. The role music has among the madness is larger than imagined and ever necessary. 

Music in 2020 began as a way to soundtrack the days and crazy events. In a film-like style for a horror movie year, songs like “If The World Was Ending” and “This is America” were played as themes for videos circling social media. Artists began to cover songs of hope and unity to keep fans going through the tough times and eventually began to release their own music. 

“Music has helped me realize how we can get through anything and everything,” senior Abigail Wilson said. “I always try to find music that I can add to my soundtrack for my life and everyone else should too!”

When the unruly events did not stop, music turned towards an aim for

PC: Taylor Swift / Republic Records

escape. Folklore by Taylor Swift exemplified escapism through its storytelling theme. The album took listeners away from reality and dived into imagination with its three interweaving storylines. 

“Before this year, I probably would’ve overthought when to release this music at the ‘perfect’ time, but the times we’re living in keep reminding me that nothing is guaranteed,” Swift said in the caption of her announcement. “My gut is telling me that if you make something you love, you should just put it out into the world.”

Several times this year, people have accredited artists for “saving 2020” with their new music. Most recently the heroes have been Harry Styles and Ariana Grande.

On October 26, Styles released the music video for “Golden,” a song off his 2019 album Fine Line. A gift to fans, the video’s stunning shots and smiles brought a bit of light to a confusing time.

PC: Sony Music

“When [the video] dropped, my first thought was, ‘wow, he looks so happy,” Saydee Warren said. “Golden is my favorite song so the fact that  in the video Harry seemed so open and free really warmed my heart because I have been a fan of his since he was in one Direction.”

Shortly before “Golden,” Ariana Grande released her music video for “Positions,” a song off her new album also called Positions. Grande shocked fans in early October by posting, “Can’t wait to give you my album this month.”

PC: Republic Records

“It was hard for me to differentiate between, like, is this an inappropriate time to release because of the state of the world or is this the appropriate time to release because it’s going to make a lot of people feel something bright and something better and be uplifting to people,” Grande said in her Zach Sang interview. “At the end of the day, I’m an artist; this is what I’m supposed to do. I’ve always kind of tried my very best to take situations and make my fans feel better and turn it into art in some way.”

“Positions” debuted No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts, making it Grande’s 5th No. 1 and breaking her own record.

“I have been spacing out listening to each song to make sure I don’t spoil the album,” sophomore Jacob May said. “The songs I’ve heard so far have been incredible; the underlying messages and backstories behind them just add to the songs’ awesomeness.”

Grande has contributed to the music industry this year since March. Her collaboration with Justin Bieber on “Stuck with You” and “Rain on Me” with Lady Gaga became quarantine anthems. Later on, both Bieber and Gaga joined the dozens of artists also releasing new singles this year.

As our playlists continue to grow, music further establishes itself as a necessary art form. In a strangely emotional year, lyrics and melody have been the one of the healthiest ways to express how we feel. As the saying goes, music unites–what we truly need amongst such division. So, when you are full to the brim, subject to hate, and surrounded by gloom, turn to your favorite song, breathe, and escape.