2020 in music

2020 takes the prize for the worst year ever for pretty much everyone (except the rich). But at least there is still music, right?

Every year I accumulate a playlist of the music that’s best reflects whatever has been going on in my life. It’s cool to see how this changes over time.

So of course my 2020 list reflects my experiences with the peak capitalist, racist, structurally and environmentally fucked, pandemic hell world dumpster fire that is the good old US of A. The playlist isn’t just about the now though, but the past, present and future. And there’s a wide variety of musical genres.

Something that’s helped me get through the year, as someone who has been pretty strictly quarantined since March, has been going outside in the warm, sunny weather, whether that’s gardening or sitting on my porch or walking around town. So, you’ll find a handful of songs about nature and sunlight, as well as hope and dreams of the “normal” summer that could have been, the summer I was looking to as I surfaced from the gray Portland winter into a beautiful, flowery spring. Then are a lot of songs about loss, loneliness and mortality. Songs about social justice and revolution. And songs about the frustrating complexity of humans that has been making me feel really misanthropic this year.

Below is the complete playlist, followed by individual songs and snippets of poignant lyrics. Please enjoy, and let me know if you find any connection with this music, if there is anything you would add, or if you have a playlist to share.

Floating By by Washed Out
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
It’s all the same day
I wake up, I go to work
And I try my best to just forget about
Everything that’s bringing me down
Waking up, I can’t get going
I think I need some help
Need something to get me through
I want to clear my head
Breathe it in and soak it up
I’m finally feeling right
While the world is out there stressing
I’ll be floating by
Close my eyes and take a moment
Head up in the clouds…

Dancing With Myself by Generation X
Oh oh, Dancing with myself,
Oh, oh, dancing with myself
Well, there’s nothing to lose
And there’s nothing to prove,
And I’ll be dancing with myself

Summer Breeze by The Main Ingredient
Summer breeze
Makes me feel fine
Blowing through the jasmine
In my mind

Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve
Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony this life
Try to make ends meet, you’re a slave to the money then you die
I’ll take you down the only road I’ve ever been down
You know the one that takes you to the places where all the veins meet, yeah

World Go ‘Round by No Doubt
You see there’s many many many many
People in the world
And I’m not sure if I like
What I’ve heard
I’m not sure if I like
What I’m doing myself
I’m not sure if I like how it’ll turn
Oh degradation
I mean violation
Inexcusable exploitation
It’s the dawning of a new era
People consciously don’t care
How unfair
We’ve got to find another way
To make the world go ’round

Are You Feeling Sad? by Little Dragon
Don’t worry, don’t worry, no
You’re gonna be alright though
No worries, no worries, no
Things gonna turn out fine
All the people that we lost
Light the way when we’re in the dark
Wondering what might’ve been
Will never ever change a thing
Tryna mend this broken heart
It’s OK not to be strong
My sorrows have a million layers
And I’ve been told I wear them well
I’m happy for the time we shared
Nothing could ever compare
In the end I’ll meet you there

Some Sunsick Day by Morgan Delt
After the blast levels our town
We can relax and watch it come down
Maybe we’ll find somewhere to stay
Some little cave where we can make it
We’ll finally find what we need
After the ships leave us behind
We can forget the lives they assigned
Maybe we’ll have more time to play
Running around totally naked
We’ll finally find what we need
After we start over again
We’ll start to feel safe in our skin
Maybe we’ll be wrinkled and grey
Or maybe we’ll get new plastic faces
We’ll finally find what we need
Some sunsick day, sunsick day…

Sun In My Morning by Saint Etienne
Of light upon the counterpane
The dust that settles on the balustradeI
I’m opening my eyes
To find
Sun in my morning (sun in my morning, this is what I see)
Sun in my morning (sun in my morning, shining down on me)
A list of things to do today
What a shame!
The morning breeze just blew it all awayI
I’m opening my eyes
To find
Sun in my morning

Sunday (Moby Remix) by David Bowie
Nothing remains
We could run
When the rain slows
Look for the cars or signs of life
Where the heat goes
Look for the drifters
We should crawl under the bracken
Look for the shafts of light on the road
Where the heat goes
Everything has changed
For in truth, it’s the beginning of nothing
And nothing has changed
Everything has changed
For in truth, it’s the beginning of an end
And nothing has changed
And everything has changedIn your fear
Of what we have become
Take to the fire
Now we must burn
All that we are
Rise together
Through these clouds
As on wings
In your fear, seek only peace
In you fear, seek only love
In your fear, seek only peace
In you fear, seek only love
In your fear, in your fear
As on wings
This is the trip
And this is the business we take
This is our number
All my trials, Lord
Will be remembered
Everything has changed

We’re Only People by Father John Misty
People, we’re only people
There’s not much anyone can do, really do about that
But it hasn’t stopped us yet
People, we know so little about ourselves
But just enough to wanna be nearly anybody else
How does that add up?
Oh, friends, all my friends
Oh, I hope you’re somewhere smiling
Just know I think about you more kindly than you and I have ever been
And I’ll see you the next time around the bend

Committed to the Cause by The Radio Dept.
We’re here to work
Not break free
We’re here to hurt
Cause when our pain’s over
It’s someone else’s turn
No point in staying sober
If we’re gonna burn
And they’re never gonna give it up
Never ever gonna give it up
Committed to the cause

Love’s In Need of Love Today by The Sachal Ensemble
Good morn or evening friends
Here’s your friendly announcer
I have serious news to pass on to everybody
What I’m about to say
Could mean the world’s disaster
Could change your joy and laughter to tears and pain
It’s that
Love’s in need of love today
Don’t delay
Send yours in right away
Hate’s goin’ round
Breaking many hearts
Stop it please
Before it’s gone too far

It Takes a Muscle to Fall In Love by Spectral Display
When everybody leaves you lonely
And times are worse than sad
And the world is falling on your head
Just remember for all you know
Good or bad, come what may
You’re gonna live tomorrow if you don’t die today

Calm It Down by Sisyphus
When you feel
Like you just can’t stop (can’t stop)
Twisting and turning
And burning shit (wait a second, wait)
You need to calm it down
Calm it down

Enough About Human Rights by Moondog
Enough about Human Rights!
What about Whale Rights? What about Snail Rights?
What about Seal Rights? What about Eel Rights?
What about Coon Rights? What about Loon Rights?
What about Wolf Rights? What about, what about, what about,
What about Moose Rights? What about Goose Rights?
What about Lark Rights? What about Shark Rights?
What about Fox Rights? What about Ox Rights?
What about Mole Right? What about, what about, what about,
What about Goat Rights? What about Stoat Rights?
What about Pike Rigths? What about Shrike Rights?
What about Hare Rights? What about Bear Rights?

Fragments of Time by Daft Punk & Todd Edwards
If I had my way I would never leave
Keep building these random memories
Turning our days into melodies
But since I can’t stay
I’ll just keep playing back
These fragments of time
Everywhere I go
These moments will shine

Battleflag by Lo Fidelity Allstars featuring Pigeonhed
Tell me is it time to get down on your mothafuckin’ knees
Tell me is it time to get down
I’m blown to the maxim
Two hemispheres battlin’
I’m blown to the maxim
Two hemispheres battlin’
Suckin’ up, one last breath
Take a drag off of death
Hey Mr. Policeman
Is it time for getting away
Is it time for driving down the mother fuckin’ road
And running from your ass today
Now tell me if do you agree
Or tell me if I’m makin’ you bleed
I got a few more minutes and
I’m gonna cut to what you need
So one of six so tell me
One do you want to live
And one of seven tell me
Is it time for your mothafuckin’ ass to give
Tell me is it time to get down on your mothafuckin’ knees
Tell me is it time to get down
Got a revolution behind my eyes
We got to get up and organize

Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears
It’s my own design
It’s my own remorse
Help me to decide
Help me make the
Most of freedom and of pleasure
Nothing ever lasts forever
Everybody wants to rule the world

Colour by Pete Josef
Colour in my life
Make me happy
Colour in my life
Give me joy
Flowers in my life
Make me happy
Flowers in my life
Give me joy

Walking through the meadows of my mind

Good Day by The Kinks
Today is gonna be a good day,
Today has got to be a good day,
Good day, good day, good day, good day.
If we blow away the past with a bloody great blast,
Make it fast, make it fast.
So have a good day today because it could be your last,
Make it last, make it last.
Will it light up the sky?
Will it blot out the sun?
Well we’ve waited this long,
So it better be a good one.
Good day, good day, good day.

Hold On by Little Dragon
In a life, we live many lives
Go astray, oh, so many times
Farewell in the millions
Broken hearts into billions
Always real
No regrets, though the pain will heal
Please accept why we’re standing still
I wish you happiness, joy
Good fortune, boy

Where Are We Now? by David Bowie
Where are we now?
The moment you know
You know, you know

Peep Hole by Bullion
People what did you expect to get from them
People they don’t think about anything
People they don’t know a lot
They don’t know a lot
We’re just people, people, people
Take a look through the key hole
What did you expect
Of people
How could you let them get inside your head
They’re just people
They don’t know a lot, they don’t know a lot
They’re just people

Trouble At The Lights by Field Music
Hard times for everyone
Stunned for a moment
Watched for a while
There’s trouble at the lights
Trouble at the lights
Speeding past on the outside
Driving through
Beating the signs
Racing through the breaking glass
To feel the road
Hard times for everyone

I Shot The Sheriff by The Wailers
I shot the sheriff, but I swear it was in self-defense
I shot the sheriff, and they say it is a capital offense
Sheriff John Brown always hated me
For what I don’t know
Every time that I plant a seed
He said, “Kill it before it grows”

King of Pain by The Police
There’s a little black spot on the sun today
It’s the same old thing as yesterday
There’s a black hat caught in the high tree top
There’s a flag pole rag and the wind won’t stop

Lost Moon by Nightlands
Days go by
Just like a glass
Clear like a glass
Fold them up so they shimmer and pass

It feels like the moon
Is lost in the sky
It’s filling my room (It’s filling my room)
With silver light

All We Need by Raury
Who’s gonna save the dying man from his hunger?
Who’s gonna take from the rich
And give to the ones who never had a chance?
Who’s gonna wipe the tears?
Are we ever gonna overcome the fear?
We’ve got a battle
Who can save the world, my friend?

Everybody Loves the Sunshine by Takuya Kuroda
My life, my life, my life, my life in the sunshine
Everybody loves the sunshine
Sunshine, everybody loves the sunshine
Sunshine, folks get down in the sunshine
Sunshine, folks get ’round in the sunshine
Just bees and things and flowers

Sunshine – Groove Armada Remix by Handsome Boy Modeling School, feat. Sean Lennon, Money Mark and Father Guido Sarducci
Forget about your sorrows
Forget about your heartache
Life is nothing but a shadow
Forget about your worries
Forget about the bad times
Life is nothing but a shadow
I used to think time, was on my side
I used to think the world, could be so kind
That was another day
That was another time

Sean III by Cass McCombs
Tell me about your dog Snuffy
He shits on the rug and he can’t get out
What does he spend most of his time doing?
He’ll bother the police
Why does he do that?
Because they bother us
Why are the police around? Huh?
I don’t know, why do you think they’re around?
I don’t know
Do you think we need police?
No. If I was going to a riot I would bring Snuffy!
Have you ever seen them throw things?
No but I’ve heard of them, bottles…
Would you do that?
Yeah. I’d throw it at a police man.
I’d throw a full one.
One that would bomb ’em.
What if you hurt a police man?
Too bad.

Hands Up by Blood Orange
Are you sleeping with the lights on baby?
(Hands up, get up, hands up, get up)
Keep your hood off when you’re walking ’cause they
(Hands up, get up, hands up, get up)
Trying not to be obsessed with your heyday
(Hands up, get up, hands up, get up)
Sure enough they’re gonna take your body
(Hands up, get up, hands up, get up)
Don’t shoot!

Orpheus by David Sylvian
Standing firm on this stony ground
The wind blows hard
Pulls these clothes around
I harbour all the same worries as most
The temptations to leave or to give up the ghost
I wrestle with an outlook on life
That shifts between darkness and shadowy light
I struggle with words for fear that they’ll hear
But orpheus sleeps on his back still dead to the worldSunlight falls, my wings open wide
There’s a beauty here I cannot deny
And bottles that tumble and crash on the stairs
Are just so many people I knew never cared
Down below on the wreck of the ship
Are a stronghold of pleasures I couldn’t regret
But the baggage is swallowed up by the tide
As orpheus keeps to his promise and stays by my sideTell me, I’ve still a lot to learn
Understand, these fires never stop
Believe me, when this joke is tired of laughing
I will hear the promise of my orpheus singSleepers sleep as we row the boat
Just you the weather and I gave up hope
But all of the hurdles that fell in our laps
Were fuel for the fire and straw for our backs
Still the voices have stories to tell
Of the power struggles in heaven and hell
But we feel secure against such mighty dreams
As orpheus sings of the promise tomorrow may bring

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