By Allie Antonevich
I remember January 1, 2020 perfectly — a gin and tonic in my hand, my hair in the perfect low bun, eyes glittering. The energetic chatter of strangers enveloping me in an embrace. I sat at the counter of a Harvard Square bar with one of my best friends, celebrating the turn of the new year while also debating whether I should order another drink.
I wish I could go back and warn past Allie. But at the same time, I want her to keep existing in that peaceful space, falling in love with a zillion strangers on the train she’ll never see again, looking forward to her second semester abroad, considering where to land in the US for a summer internship. Regular life felt so planned and so sure.
2020 has felt like three trillion years wrapped up in one, but it has also felt like an extremely long weekend where I’ve done nothing but watched Gilmore Girls and made Bon Appetit’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (they are cancelled but this recipe is not). In a year where I’ve spent more time inside than I could ever imagine, it’s also felt extremely isolating. Through it all, however, music has kept me company.
Though not all of them were released this year, here’s a reflection on some of the songs that shaped my 2020.
Guilty Conscience – 070 Shake
Picture this: There is an outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Northern Italy in late January, where you were just a few days ago. With the NYU Florence study abroad program suspended indefinitely, you’re now on a packed train to Pisa to stay at a hotel overnight, scarf held tightly over your face. You’re to fly out of Pisa first thing in the morning to London, and then to Boston. People around you won’t stop coughing. Oh what’s that? We’re describing Allie’s nightmare turned reality? Cool. I couldn’t do much, but I did listen to this song on an alarmingly high rate in order to calm my nerves (it helped marginally). It’s a shame I now associate 070 Shake with a deadly pandemic, because this entire album was pretty cool and seemed underrated (a modest 7.3 from the chumps over at Pitchfork).
La Vita Nuova – Christine and the Queens, Caroline Polachek
The epic (I’m bringing back this term, yes) duo of Christine and Caroline… going to learn a bit of French just so I can sing along for real and not just pretend I know the lyrics when really I don’t and just sing in the tune.
Collide – Tiana Major9, EARTHGANG
See the movie “Queen and Slim.” Listen to the soundtrack. Report back.
Still – Teyana Taylor
An emotional reflection on what it means to be black in America. This song — and music video — has been imprinted on my mind. Also, Teyana’s “The Album” is certainly in the running for my favorite album of the year. It’s worth adding that the sexual energy is off the charts (A woman??? Enjoying sex? Giving instructions?? Unheard of!) , and the feature from her husband on “Wake up Love” is certainly better than Big Sean’s own on the album. Also got a 7.3 from Pitchfork. Damn it!
Song to the Siren – Wolf Alice
A cover from one of my favorite bands that reminds me of sweet Evan. I’d listen to this when he was on his way over to see me. “Long afloat on shipless oceans / I did all my best to smile / ’til your singing eyes and fingers / Drew me loving to your isle.”
Iris – Phoebe + Maggie
— Maggie Rogers (@maggierogers) November 13, 2020
august – Taylor Swift
This summer, I spent almost every weekend in Cape Cod. I would go on quiet morning walks, the salt air wrapping around me. This song kept me good company, and I knew right off the bat it would remain in my time capsule of Summer 2020.
pov – Ariana Grande
I’m not ashamed to admit that I truly adore Ariana Grande. Every single time she releases an album, it matches up perfectly with whatever life event I’m going through. So even if we’re not coincidentally tied by the spirits (but I hope we are), she just gets it. And she gets what it means to be in a relationship, dealing with personal stuff, but not hiding it because when you’re in a relationship you let your guard down! And hold each other’s hands through the process!
Bad Friend – Rina Sawayama
Rina Sawayama reminds me of doing laundry freshman year in Warren Towers. I’m glad that she now reminds me of both that and also of late summer nights perusing Spotify, with this on blast.
Panini (DaBaby Remix) – Lil Nas X
My brother said it best – when DaBaby says “Let’s go!!!” it makes me want to spin kick into a wall. Daytrip took it to ten indeed, good sir!
Chinese Satellite – Phoebe Bridgers
Crying looking at Mr. Rogers compilation videos on YouTube, then sobbing reading Humans of New York posts on Instagram, then a quick remedy with Miss Phoebe Bridgers as she drags me deeper into the existential crisis of what it means to be a human being on this earth. :) Nice!
Here’s to hoping that 2021 feels a little bit brighter. Until then, I will be listening to my 2020 Wrapped playlist into oblivion.