Music is powerful. As people listen to it, they will be affected. They respond.Ray Charles
2020 was not exactly the best year for those pillars of life we categorize as Eating, Drinking, Working, and Playing.
There wasn’t much in the way of gastronomic revolution last year what with restaurants being either closed or just plain unsafe. Sure there was the mass breadmaking phase it seems the whole country (at least, those parts of it represented on social media) took part in. Other than that, 2020 left our palates….wanting, yearning, salivating for more.
As for drinking, well, there was some of that. Perhaps too much. We shan’t linger too long here. Working from home has had its ups and downs (emphasis on downs). And “playing” has existed mostly in the form of solo Netflix binge parties, which, much to my amazement, do in fact get tiring. Yes, last year held its fair share of trials and tribulations in every facet of our lives. Yet, it also saw some incredible music releases.
In the darkest moments of 2020, these songs helped soothe our anxieties, uplifted our souls and brought us back in community with each other. Whether it was a kitchen-dance-party or a socially-distanced date night, these songs were the soundtracks to every moment of one of the most unforgettable years of our lives; read on to relive all those highs and lows!
2020’s Tunes for Eating
We really got creative with our meal times this past year. Were you a bit like me when some of the highlights of your weeks were planning how to make meals feel like an event? From outdoor picnics to pizza-making nights with our respective quarantine crews, good food really became integral to an enjoyable isolation experience.
It wouldn’t be a proper cooking sesh without an amazing soundtrack playing in the background. Here are some of the best cooking-friendly tunes released last year; try adding them to your queue the next time you get your chef on!
- When I’m in Your Arms by Cleo Soul
- Superbloom by MisterWives
- Steppy Downs Road by Sam Sweeney
- Circle the Drain by Soccer Mommy
- Hard to Forget by Sam Hunt
2020’s Tunes for Drinking
Let’s not mince words. On some days, if it wasn’t for alcohol, last year would’ve been a whoooole lot uglier. I’m not one to encourage excessive drinking, though we all can settle on the fact that it was rough there for a little while! After days on end without going outside or talking to another soul, red wine began to feel like my new best friend in a very real way.
Eventually we found our equilibrium and cocktails took back their rightful place as special occasion only companions. To honor all those champagne bubble baths (or shower beers), it only feels right to feature my favorite 2020 songs to drink to!
- Starting Over by Chris Stapleton
- Small Town Hypocrite by Caylee Hammack
- Johnny by Sarah Jarosz
- Invisible String by Taylor Swift
- Can’t Hurt a Fool by The Pretenders
- Cut You Off by Selena Gomez
2020’s Tunes for Working
Honestly, just getting through this past year should be considered a job well done! Unfortunately, self-affirmations don’t pay those bills, so 2020 just meant bringing the hustle home.
We spent time decking out the perfect WFH spaces, perfected our Zoom-casual uniforms, and made sure that our coffee pots were going all day long. Just because we were wearing slippers didn’t mean we were sleeping on the job! Staying motivated while isolated was, in a word, hard. But here we are in 2021; we did it!
If you’re anything like me, you agree that blasting music is one of the great advantages of having an office of your own. (A lack of awkward water-cooler conversations is probably the most notable though.) Even though 2020 may be over, it doesn’t mean that the work is. Check out my favorite productivity anthems!
- Les Boreades: The Arts & The Hours by Vikingur Olafsson
- Just Constellations by Roomful of Teeth
- Stupid Love by Lady Gaga
- Dynamite by BTS
- Die Midwestern by Arlo McKinley
- Hang in There Girl by Ashley McBryde
- Gaslighter by The Chicks
2020’s Tunes for Playing
Whatever your definition of “playing” has been for the past 365 days, here’s hoping it carried you through the year refreshed and relaxed.
Self-care has long been heralded as the priority we too often put on the backburner. If 2020 brought one thing into focus, it’s the vital nature of taking care of ourselves. Beyond washing our hands and wearing masks, the year forced us to look inwards and take stock of our quality of life. Have we slept enough, are we making sure to reach out and ask for help when we need it, are we really taking the mental space we need from world-events?
For me, playing took shape in baking cookies, starting a walking routine, and finally following my 5 page long booklist. Activities that once seemed trivial became the differences between nights of claustrophobia and celebration. Behind all of them were the sweet sounds of these songs.
So sit back, relax, and press play.
- My Truck, by Breland and featuring Sam Hunt
- Cutting Grass by Sturgill Simpson
- Cool for a Second by Yumi Zouma
- Break My Heart by Dua Lipa
- DANCE: I. when you’re broken up, by Inbal Segev and London Philharmonic Orchestra
- 7 Summers by Morgen Wallen
As hard as last year was, it also showed us more resiliency, beauty, and hope than I think any of us could’ve anticipated.
Food didn’t taste the same after waiting in a grocery line to get it and there was definitely a moment where wine started to take the place of water. There were many moments wherein the mundanity of daily work felt dull and meaningless and playful joy couldn’t have felt further away. Yet, through it all, we truly overcame our individual circumstances to reestablish fun, laughter, art, family, and grace into our daily lives. We developed new routines, fresh ways of living inside of this confined life to the fullest extent possible.
It’s truly a testament to us all. I hope by listening to these songs you’re able to reveal in the accomplishments and efforts of 2020. No one knows what 2021 will bring; the only certainty is that we will face it together.
Congratulations on all that you have achieved and hope your 2021 is off to a harmonic and exhilarating start!