By Samantha Baker
We had to stop doing a lot of things during the pandemic: going to movie theaters, bars and clubs, seeing friends, seeing family. Everyone’s been coping differently. There’s been T.V. that's become instant phenomena, video games that have smashed records, and sequels to beloved books and series all released during quarantine. Even though we may not have been listening to our car radio’s as much these past 8 months, there’s still been great new music released. The following list of songs, presented in no particular order, were not only released during the pandemic, but are about the pandemic and other events from the past 8 months as well.
1. Level of Concern - Twenty One Pilots
Prominent Lyric: Panic on the brain/World has gone insane/Things are starting to get heavy
This stand alone single was released April 9th, pretty early on into all the pandemic craziness. We all had anxieties and worries about what was going to happen, and some of them still certainly exist. Just like in the song, we could all use someone who’s gonna tell us that, at the end of it all, it’s going to be alright. Then when this is all over we can listen to this fun pop song again and reminisce.
2. F2020 - Avenue Beat
Prominent Lyric: I don't know about everybody else/ But I think that I am kinda done/ Can we just get to 2021?
Like a lot of current songs, this one got big after a TikTok of the band singing it went viral. If you haven’t somehow heard it yet, it sums up a lot of feelings most of us have likely had about this year. Do you ever just have one of those days where everything goes wrong, oh and there’s still a pandemic on top of all that? Yeah, been there. Eff 2020.
3. Six Feet Apart - Alec Benjamin
Prominent Lyric: Oh, I miss you most/ At six feet apart.
As much as we all tried to stay positive, we all had bad days in the pandemic. Days where we were just lonely, sad, and frustrated, and this encapsulates that all perfectly in a chill and relaxed song. We may be out of quarantine, but we still need to make smart choices and stay six feet apart. One day, though, we’ll all be together again.
4. Ice Cold - Lil Tjay
Prominent Lyric: Jails multiplyin', change shit, I'm tryin/ Murder rate just keep on goin' up, it's horrifyin'/Cops pointin' fingers, they be misidentifyin'
From 19 year old Lil Tjay, this song is more about the racial inequalities that have existed for a long time but were prominent in the news this summer. This isn’t something that's gonna magically fix itself in a year or so. Everyone’s gonna have to work to fix the injustices that exist in America, but one of the easiest things you can do is vote. Lil Tjay’s advice for the meantime though, which you can hear in the chorus, is to spread love.
5. Better Days - OneRepublic
Prominent Lyric: Oh, I know that there'll be better days/ Oh, that sunshine 'bout to come my way
You’ve definitely heard this one. This song has been the backing track to every ‘We’re In This Together Now’ commercial since its release. It may be a bit overplayed, but it’s uplifting, which is something we all need to hear every now and then. While this song was written with the pandemic in mind, it’s a good play for whenever you need to remember that things will get better.
6. Mask, Gloves, Soaps, Scrubs - Todrick Hall
Prominent Lyric: I don't go to work (work)/ I don't leave, I stay (stay)/ I don't care I eat, eat, eat, and sleep all day (okay)
Todrick Hall took inspiration from Nina Simone’s quote that the artist needs to reflect the times when creating this upbeat number. The song is actually a reworking of a previous Todrick song “Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels”, now just filled with references to the pandemic and quarantining (Joe Exotic, Stimulus checks, TikTok and Grubhub, etc.). This song is just fun and something you can laugh at.
7. Stuck with U - Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber
Prominent Lyric: I’m stuck with you
This was a charity song for the First Responder’s Children Foundation, and if you’ve listened to top 40 radio at all then you’ve probably heard this. It's an easy listening pop song that, like some others on this list, will be playing even after the pandemic is over. While the song is about staying with a significant other, it can apply to just being stuck in the same house with the same person every day, and I can really relate to that.
8. Gotta Be Patient - Michael Bublé, Barenaked Ladies, Sofia Reyes
Prominent Lyric: I just wanna see my friends/ I wanna walk the streets again, again/ But I gotta be patient
Released in late April, “Gotta Be Patient” is a stay safe and be smart so we can end this pandemic type of song. This another fun collaboration between Bublé, the Barenaked Ladies, and Sofia Reyes, a Mexican singer-songwriter. This will be another song that we’ll hear in 5 or 10 years from now and go “Man, remember all that”.
9. IDK You Yet - Alexander 23
Prominent Lyric: How can you miss someone you've never seen?
This is another relaxed but sort of sad song to come out of the pandemic. It didn’t directly reference anything that was happening in the world at the time, but the feelings that the singer revokes were ones everybody had. There’s melancholy as he sings about needing someone who he hasn’t met. It’s a nice song, and it’ll probably find its way on to a lot of people’s chill playlists.
10. I Know Alone - HAIM
Prominent Lyric: 'Cause nights turn into days/ That turn to grey/ Keep turning over/ Some things never grow/ I know alone like no one else does
Maybe this should have been an honorary mention. It was written and recorded before the pandemic but not released until April. This slower pop song channels the complicated emotions around being alone. Sometimes it’s great, but sometimes you need to be around other people or you’ll lose your mind. This is probably my favorite song on the list, and one I’ll definitely be listening to for a long time.