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2020 was like something out of a dystopian novel. The virus completely transformed life as we knew it, quite literally taking over the world! Music has been pivotal in motivating the nation through this disorientating and trying time. When normality disintegrated around us, music remained a constant, a reminder of bygone days spent with family and friends. There are a number of old classics which have taken on a new, even comic, significance. Here is your definitive list of songs to sing about the year that changed it all!

Kiss Me Thru the Phone - Soulja Boy

In a year of long-distance love, Soulja Boy’s 2008 classic has never seemed more appropriate. Stories of lockdown relationships budding over zoom warmed the nation’s spirits. Popular dating app Tinder now reports over 50 million users worldwide, emphasizing that people are more than ever looking for love online. Other favourites include Bumble and Hinge.

Don't Stand so Close to Me - The Police

This 1980 hit by The Police speaks to the supermarket anxiety of awkwardly edging out of someone’s way as they too reach for the houmous. Two metres never seemed so far! MC Hammer's U Can't Touch This is equally fitting.

I Want to Break Free - Queen

No explanation needed.

Ghost Town – The Specials 

The virus has left town centres eerily deserted amid nationwide shop closures, bustling high streets left with just a crisp packet fluttering on the pavement. We took to online shops, ASOS and Amazon to name just a few! 2020 saw unprecedented rates of internet purchases. Hopefully it won’t be long until we can once more visit our favourite shops and resurrect the ‘Ghost Town’.

Take My Breath Away - Berlin

Again, no explanation needed.

Contagious - Avril Lavigne

Who would have thought it would take a global pandemic to make Avril Lavigne somewhat relevant again?  Yet, the lyrics 'It's so contagious, I cannot get it out of my mind', perfectly capture the all-consuming nature of this virus, having invaded not just our physical, but psychological dimension.

Stayin' Alive - Bee Gees

A gloomy, but nevertheless fitting, addition.

Panic - The Smiths

The arrival of the virus induced a kind of hysterical panic in those otherwise sound of mind. Empty supermarket shelves were a common sight as the population wrestled over toilet roll and baking necessities. Who ever thought such basic produce would become so controverisal and divisive?

With the arrival of now three different vaccines in the UK, we can be optimistic about a brighter year as we jump into the Roaring 20s. Despite sh** being the adjective most frequently used to describe 2020 in a recent Guardian survey, the offer of a fresh start truly feels like the metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel. And yet, there are things we’ll soon find sentimental about this strange hunk of history. Why eradicate a year of your life which might have been formative? Whether you endured more existential crises than thought humanly possible, redecorated your entire house, or did absolutely nothing at all, make your own playlist in homage to 2020 today! 

Anna Sykes

Bristol '24

Anna is a second-year student of English Literature and French at the University of Bristol. She is one of the editors for the Culture section at HerCampus Bristol, and enjoys reading, cooking, and travel.
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