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Music Review: 2020’s Playlist

A playlist for 2020 | Graphic by Kayli Thompson | The Wright State Guardian


One constant in the move between 2020 and 2021 has been music blaring from our smartphones and stereos. The soundscape that defined last year consists of indie rock, introspective hip-hop and disco-pop tunes straight out of the 1980s, and often the songs that soundtracked each month went hand in hand with then-current events.

Here is a short playlist of the songs from 2020 that made it special. 

“Good News” by Mac Miller 

Released: Jan. 9. 

The lead single from Miller’s posthumous album “Circles,” “Good News” features morose lyrical delivery and a mellow groove that compliment each other perfectly. It is a look into Miller’s psyche during the period before his death, and it is brilliant, to say the least. 

“Breathe Deeper” by Tame Impala 

Released Feb. 14. 

“Breathe Deeper” was inspired by an experience Tame Impala mastermind Kevin Parker had while high on marijuana and shopping. Parker encourages the listener to breathe deeply and relax during a stressful event, and that tone paves the way for six minutes of alternative bliss. 

“Break My Heart” by Dua Lipa 

Released: Mar. 27. 

The melody bares a striking resemblance to the INXS hit “Need You Tonight,” but Lipa and company make this song stand out with a refreshing blend of 80’s disco influence and modern pop flair.  

“Stuck with U” by Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber 

Released May 8. 

“Stuck with U” was released as a charity single to benefit the First Responders Children’s Foundation and debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song is a sentimental ballad that discusses lovers quarantining together during the coronavirus pandemic, with the music video featuring Bieber’s wife Haley and Grande’s now-fiancé Dalton Gomez.  

The voices of Grande and Bieber blend together quite well, and though the lyrics are a little cheesy at times, it has a strong degree of honesty about love in the time of quarantine. 

“I Know the End” by Phoebe Bridgers 

Released June 18. 

The last track on Bridgers’ sophomore album “Punisher,” “I Know the End” features masterful songwriting and a wailing climax that feels oddly appropriate when summing up 2020. 

“I Can’t Breathe” by H.E.R 

Released June 19. 

Written in response to the murder of George Floyd, “I Can’t Breathe” touches on police brutality and the need for love in a time of injustice. The lyrics are pure poetry, and they convey the song’s message with unbridled passion. 

“Starting Over” by Chris Stapleton 

Released Aug. 28. 

The title track from Stapleton’s newest album, the acoustic guitar-led “Starting Over” speaks of a man seeking a fresh start with his partner. 2020 and 2021 will be a time of change and starting anew, and this song sets the mood perfectly. 

“Therefore I Am” by Billie Eilish 

Released Nov. 12. 

Produced by Eilish’s brother FINNEAS, “Therefore I Am” sees Eilish take on her critics and body shamers, and the result is a swagger-filled work that feels like a spiritual successor to “Bad Guy.” 


Maxwell Patton

Wright Life Reporter

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