Written by Killian O’Neil
What in the actual F@*& was this last year? How in the hell is it about to be 2021?!
Next week is Christmas. Normally at this time of the year, I would be stressing out about what dress to wear for a holiday party or what restaurant to schedule happy hour at, but nope, not this year. The last 12 months have been something out of a movie. It feels like the entire planet got sucked into a black hole and got spit out into another dimension. This year has not been easy on any human being. It has tested everyone physically, emotionally, and mentally, as well as spiritually.
If you feel like you’ve been personally victimized by 2020, please raise your hand because I promise, you’re not alone. I don’t even have a catchy witty title for how much of a screwball year it has been. I myself have been keeping my head above water just barely like the rest of the world. This year was point blank one of the worst years of my adult life, there I said it!
If someone told me that 2020 would of turned into a weird sci-fi movie, I absolutely would of laughed in their face and told them to seek professional help. Looking back on everything that has transpired is mind boggling. For as long as I can remember there have been two things in my life that has kept my sanity in tact, music and writing. The only thing that was a constant in 2020 for me was the fact music existed. Being in a lockdown and not being able to see your friends and live your life is a pretty big culture shock and one hell of a learning curve.
I found coping mechanisms and new hobbies to distract myself from what was going on in the world around me.
Music was the keystone in it all, I had ten metaphorical lifelines that continued to keep me afloat. When I say metaphorical lifelines, I mean albums. Two of the ten albums that have been on repeat include The Used by the Used and On Letting Go by Circa Survive. There were many days that I would be filled with anger about what was happening in the world. Those are the days that In Letting Go or The Used would get played from start to finish.
Another album, which is the complete and polar opposite from my previous two, is Alicia by Alicia Keys. If you haven’t listened to this album you need to stop what you’re doing and look it up. She uses words of inspiration and paints a picture of the world events that have been unfolding in the most eloquent way. That album definitely was one of my strongest allies of this year once I heard it. I also would highly recommend Nomad by Lotus. Instant waves of happiness will wash over you.
Also, Everything In Transit by Jack’s Mannequin is also an oldie but goodie. That is also in my top 10 that got me through this year. Anytime I wanted to transport back to simpler times, I would find this album and blast it through my speakers with the windows down. I can’t forgot to talk about my favorite workout companion this year, Halsey. The album, Manic, is a continuous reminder for me to push myself. If you want a reminder of how much of a bad a$% you are, this album will be your jam. Halsey really kills it with the lyrics on this one.
On days that I would find myself in my feelings, I had a bunch of go-to albums for that occasion as well. Broken Into Better Shape by Good Old War, Heard It In a Past Life by Maggie Rogers, They Might Even Love Me by NoMBe, Folklore by Taylor Swift, and Love Deluxe by Sade.
The five that I just listed have some of the most hard-hitting lyrics that say the things you couldn’t ever bring yourself to say out loud. They all hit a cord of intense, emotional waves. If the wave is of a heartache, a family issue or just feelings of depression and grief that reside within yourself. These ten albums that I just listed are a wide variety of genres but all have one common thread, they all saved me at one point or another in the last year.
I remember a day in particular where everything was complete and total crap and I listened to the song “Blue And Yellow” by The Used and the lyric ‘Well, you’re never gonna find it/If you’re looking for it won’t come your way/Well, you’ll never find it/If you’re looking for it (Looking for it)’, which somehow snapped me out of the brain fog that I was in that day.
There’s nothing quite like the comfort of music. That’s one of the most beautiful things about music is that it’s always going to be there. It won’t ever go away and its also a wonderful reminder that you’re not alone.
Another song out of my top 10 that was a major staple for me was “Wait” by NoMBe. The chorus is ‘Let’s make it last forever/’Cause the night’s still young/It’s true, I feel the pressure/Every time you’re gone/As long as we’re together/This moment lasts forever’. Those lyrics are so raw and real. I’m not quite sure how someone couldn’t connect to it. When that song plays everything stands still for at least half a second. It’s so crazy beautiful to think how music can change your mood. In a single second. Albums and songs can really be soundtracks to your life and really speak the words we often try to say. I’m thankful for my music library especially more so now than ever. I wouldn’t have gotten through 2020 as well as I did without these albums to soften the blow.