Music That Got Me Through Quarantine

As the world opens up even more I’ve been reflecting on the rollercoaster that is the music I’ve listened to since the spring, and how that mirrors my mental state as I processed everything going on in the world. I usually make a playlist based on what I’ve listened to each season and I started going through my saved songs for a Summer 2020 playlist. It was very chaotic. My Spring 2020 playlist as well. Here are some of my favorite songs from the spring and early summer in order of my obsession with them accompanied by some anecdotes. I put them all in a playlist as well if you’d like to listen as you read along.

1. Float On by Modest Mouse

For spring break I was in Montreal visiting my boyfriend who was going to school there at the time. That week things got more and more serious and I ended up getting on the last train from Montreal to the U.S.. My train ride was full of anxiety, the border people were really aggressive to everyone, and I was very scared. I coped by listening only to Good News for People Who Love Bad News for the day-long journey back home.

2. Sufre by Niños Del Cerro

I have no idea how I discovered this band, I think on some artist radio station. At this point I was getting a bit depressed although I don’t think I had fully understood my own feelings. Everything felt completely unreal and this song sounds like how I felt.

3. Fantasy by STRFKR

I impulsively adopted a cat, and I love him so much. But when he first moved in he would for some reason be bouncing off the walls and wake me up at 3 or 4 AM to feed and play with him. And I didn’t know how to set healthy boundaries with him so I obliged. I would sometimes just stay up and watch TV/draw while listening to electronic music. This was one of my watching-the-sunrise-because-of-the-cat songs.

4. Seventeen by Sharon Van Etten

At this time I was sitting on my fire escape looking out across the alleyway at other humans walk by. Or watching the cats that the elderly woman who lived in my building fed. I was pretending I was in a movie or something I don’t know why. Thinking a lot about when I was younger and being nostalgic about my youth.

5. Mystery of Love by Sufjan Stevens

I watched Call Me By Your Name with my roommate (I had tried to start it before but found it so boring that I gave up). This song played and it was so beautiful, and so I kept listening to it and similar songs (Fleet Foxes) to try to recreate the peaceful, romantic, and aesthetic vibe of the movie and force it upon my life. I was doing some part-time work from home, I got a lot of plants, and was drinking a lot of coffee. Trying to make the best of things in my summer sublet with my boyfriend and close friend.

6. Let it All Go, Man by Rayland Baxter

This song is just so incredibly relaxing. It makes me so happy but also almost makes me sad. Definitely trying to take Rayland’s advice here and let go of any negativity I was harboring at the time. I started going on more walks and sitting on my front porch with close friends.

7. It’s Gonna Be Lonely by Prince 

My boyfriend went through a major Prince phase, and in turn, so did our entire friend group. We were reminded of how completely amazing this guy was and also the album cover is so beautiful. Another reason to put this song on. Maybe we were all secretly lonely as well.

8. Meet Me Halfway by The Black Eyed Peas

My small safe circle of friends (I started calling us the Weenie Crew) would play this song so much. I think we might have ruined the song for others. But we would play Uno or Cheers to the Governor together on the porch or at the river and listen to pop from the 2000s it was so much fun! This was our summer anthem. And also The Sweet Escape by Gwen Stefani was the same vibe for us. I don’t think I saved this song though, we all just collectively played it at least every other day.

9. Caitlyn by Jank 

I had been listening to Jank a lot over the summer without saving it to my library. Around this time I started working at Rita’s on 21st and South Street because I had only a part-time job and needed to pay my rent and food. I had been laid off from my job as a swim instructor as well for a while and really needed another gig to make things work. I made this playlist with kind of more math and Japanese rock music that I would play every night when I was biking home from work. It became almost like a ritual. But when this song would come on, no matter where I was I would just start screaming the lyrics. Such a good song.

10. Lamb’s Wool by Foster the People

I stumbled upon this song and was so surprised that Foster the People was still making music that I really liked. I listened to Supermodel a lot in high school but hadn’t checked them out in a while. At this point in time, I was working as a swim instructor again, trying to accumulate as much money before school started again and I would listen to this song on repeat the entire 25 min bike ride to work.

11. I Can’t Handle Change by Roar

This song was really popular on TikTok for a bit and I am unapologetically obsessed with that app. So after hearing it in people’s videos a million times I saved it and it was very fitting for all the emotions I was experiencing. I was getting sad that the summer was ending although it wasn’t that great. I was excited to move to my next apartment in a few days but sad to move out with my roommate who I had lived with for a year. I was scared to start senior year, start writing my thesis, and start thinking about my life beyond college. I was going to start another period of change but I was glad I had a strong support system (my family and the Weenie Crew) and under all that fear was hope.

12. Demolition Lovers by My Chemical Romance

I started going on really long bike rides as a healthy coping mechanism. Also, the seasons starting changing, and you know what that means. ~Seasonal depression.~ I had started listening to all of MCR’s discography and this song, and all of I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love became like the soundtrack to my life. I listened to that album as I biked from my apartment to a friend’s house in Mount Airy and it was the most idyllic ride of my life. 

I think things are becoming more “normal” although I still spend most of my time sitting in front of my computer screen doing online school. It’s interesting to think about how difficult things were for me and so many other people. And I’m very glad that I have gotten through this without getting sick and that all my friends and family are safe as well. Thanks for reading this far, and hearing about my experiences these past few months and I hope these songs/stories could paint a picture of what I was feeling.