Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

It’s no shock that 2020 was a flaming rollercoaster of hell for a lot of people. There were many moments in the year when I felt as though I were suffocating until I turned on my music to help me escape for just a moment. I generated a list of the twelve songs that I felt helped me through 2020 as a whole and created this fictional world for me. I put the songs in an order that helped tell a (disorganized) story about my year and what I had been through.

Let's go!

[bf_image id="nhxw237rrg8hp7h2cxxsqfg"]

Mirrorball by Taylor Swift (folklore, 2020)

It’s no shock that Taylor Swift released a song to help me through a horrible year. “Mirrorball” is a beautiful song that perfectly explains how I felt in the beginning of the year when everything was first shut down. I felt that I still needed to ‘perform’ for people to help them with their problems while ignoring my own. The song helped me realize that I always put on a show and change the way I am with other people to get them “laughing at me” or accepting me. My thoughts about myself never really hit me until I listened to “Mirrorball” because I had never thought anything of it previously. There were so many versions of myself that I forgot who I really was.

Favorite line: “Hush. I know they said the end is near, but I’m still on my tallest tiptoes spinning in my highest heels, love, shining just for you.”

Falling by Harry Styles (Fine Line, 2019)

It took me by surprise that “Falling” ended up being a song that defined my life this year as I never really went through a breakup. And then it hit me — breakups and heartache come in so many different forms. For me this year, my ‘breakup’ was the slow realization that some people that were my friends truly didn’t want to be my friends anymore. At first, I thought it was all in my head because I’ve lost friendships before and those have always hurt, but this one hurt too much. “Falling” helped me realize that maybe it was me that had caused this rift in the friendship even though I wasn’t sure what I had done. Friendship breakups are always the hardest, and this song definitely shows the heartache I felt for this friendship slowly breaking. 

Favorite line: “And I get the feeling that you’ll never need me again.”

Dark Times by The Weeknd & Ed Sheeran (Beauty Behind the Madness, 2015)

The Weeknd and Ed Sheeran come together in this 2015 masterpiece that helped me realize that what I was going through was getting worse. I was becoming very irritable and angry about everything; I knew my dark times were coming, and they were coming quickly. I found the song a few years ago, and it was always something I would play whenever it came on shuffle because the song itself made me think about my dark thoughts. I definitely played this song a lot this year because I found myself falling in this hole that I couldn’t get out of many times. “Dark Times” is a favorite of mine because it’s so cool despite expressing one going back to their darkest place. 

Favorite line: “In my dark times, baby this is all I could be and only my mother can love me for me.”

I Think I’m OKAY by Machine Gun Kelly, YUNGBLUD, and Travis Barker (Hotel Diablo, 2019)

Machine Gun Kelly leaning into pop-punk is something that I never knew he would do until he dropped this song last year, and then his new album Tickets to My Downfall a few months ago. If I could, I would have listed his entire new album as something that helped me get through this year, but sadly I couldn’t. This was one of my top songs this year with the many times I kept it on repeat, needing some sort of release for the pent-up anger and confusion that I held. I really appreciate MGK and YungBlud coming together to create a song that someone can just scream and cry along with to help themselves feel better, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Turn it up loud, dance around and sing (badly, if you want) along.

Favorite line: “Watch me take a good thing and fuck it all up in one night. Catch me, I’m the one on the run away from the headlights.”

Soon You’ll Get Better feat. The Dixie Chicks by Taylor Swift (Lover, 2019)

Another Taylor song on this list means one thing: I really went through it. This song is something I listened to while wishing every person that got sick from COVID would get better soon. But I also played it on repeat for personal reasons. My father had gotten really sick due to his kidneys this year, and there was a moment when I thought I was going to lose him; this was something that really put a stop in my life for a moment. There were so many things that filled my head as I didn’t know what to do if he was taken away from me. I loved the song when it first came out, but now it’s difficult for me to get through it. I play the song on repeat on those days when he’s feeling extra sick because it’s almost as if I’m begging someone or something to help him just get better. This event in my life definitely made me realize that life is too short to not let the people you love know that you love them.

Favorite line: “I know delusion when I see it in the mirror. You like the nicer nurses, you make the best of a bad deal. I just pretend it isn’t real.”

feel something by Bea Miller (feel something, 2019)

By this time, I was starting to feel really numb from everything that has been going on, and then I realized that I didn’t really feel emotions as I usually did. Laying down, staring at the ceiling and playing this on repeat really helped me through this. Or, well, it helped me understand that I would rather feel absolutely devastated and furious instead of nothing at all. “feel something” (stylized in all lowercase) is a song where Bea is begging to feel something, anything instead of the numbness that she feels after everything she’s been through. After everything that has happened this year, I wasn’t shocked to find that I was starting to grow really numb to everything around me, but I was beginning to become worried. At this point, I reached out to a friend and had a long conversation about how I’d been feeling lately, and she really helped me come to terms with my emotions. I felt extremely thankful for her being there for me while chaos ensued around me.

Favorite line: “Can you tell me a secret? Can you tell me what’s wrong with me? I know I should be angry, but I can barely feel a fuckin’ thing.”

Treat Myself by Victoria Justice (Treat Myself, 2020)

This song came a little later in the year...okay, near the end of the year, but it still really helped me. After the conversation with my friend, I realized that I needed to treat myself better after everything I’d gone through and put myself through to ensure others were happy. Victoria gave me a song I never knew I was missing until I heard it and was like, “I feel attacked.” She’s right; we all need to learn to treat ourselves better than we actually are, because we deserve so much more than we’re giving ourselves. This song was the start of realizing that I was tired of feeling this way and treating myself like this. Everything after this song consisted of realizing my worth, slowly but surely.

Favorite line: “If only you could hear what goes on in my mind. I wouldn’t say the things I do to anybody else so why’s it okay to say to myself? I need to treat myself better.”

Still Have Me by Demi Lovato (Still Have Me, 2020)

Demi Lovato is the queen of ballads. She’s also the queen of being able to write a song so heartbreaking yet uplifting at the exact same time. “Still Have Me” is something that I've played on repeat since she released it. It helped me understand that even if I didn’t have my so-called ‘friends’ or anyone else, I still have me, and that was good enough to keep me going. I’m still a mess and still broken, but I’m also still fighting to find myself a place in this world, with a smile that is genuine for once. Maybe I don’t have much, as Demi sings, but I think that’s okay for now. It took me so long to come to terms that having myself instead of this large circle of ‘friends’ is enough.

Favorite line: “I’m a mess and I’m still broken, but I’m finding my way back.”

Breathin’ by Ariana Grande (sweetener, 2018)

This song helps me remember that all I need to do to survive is to “keep on breathin',” even when things become difficult and too much for me to handle. Life is scary and sometimes it’ll be hard to breathe, but all I have to keep in mind is this. Maybe I can’t control my mind or what is going on around me most of the time, but that’s okay. I can control how I react to the situation and pull myself in enough to keep myself afloat.

Favorite line: “Time goes by and I can’t control my mind, I keep on breathin’.”

Cry About It Later by Katy Perry (Smile, 2020)

A party track about pushing my tears away until after I’m done partying? Sign me up. “Cry About It Later” is a fun, catchy song; it's probably my most played song from Katy because it really resonated with me. The song helped me cry out my feelings (despite the title) until I felt good enough to go have fun and smile. I didn’t really push away my feelings or “cry about it later," but I did play this song a lot when life was feeling extra dull or numb. It helped bring me back to life and I felt happy when listening to it.

Favorite line: “I think I’m ready to be someone’s new muse. I think I’m ready for a brand new tattoo. I’m gonna fake it ‘til it makes me feel good.”

Sunshine by Transviolet (Born to Rule, 2020)

Oh gosh, this is my most played song of the year, and there’s a reason. It makes me want to run away to go get lost in the sunshine for a better life. This song helped me realize that it’s okay not to have a purpose in order to enjoy doing things, and I now do things for the hell of it. I also went to the beach a lot with this song playing on blast to give me that feeling of being able to escape the world for just a little bit.

Favorite line: “Guess we’re alive, might as well enjoy it. Let’s take a ride, so what if it’s pointless.”

Happiness by Little Mix (Confetti, 2020)

The last song on this list is a manifestation of the life that I want for myself. I want happiness for myself, and after talking with my friend, I realized that happiness is all that I want. Setting toxic friends free is the best way to survive and find true happiness, in her opinion. Finding yourself and where you’re meant to be is the most important thing in life — I’m glad I was able to find that small amount of love in me, and I currently have the tightest grip on it. I’m never going to let it slip through my fingers again if I can help it.

Favorite line: “Yeah, sometimes tears fall, I must confess. But now, I’m standing right where I’m meant to be. I found the love, I found the love in me.”

These songs created a story that describes how I felt this year. It started out pretty heavy but things got lighter toward the end of the year when I started to realize some things. It was a hard year for me, and I’m just so thankful to know that I made it to the end; it was difficult to see what was going to happen next, but here we are.

If you ever feel as though you’re alone or in a dark place, please don’t ever hesitate to reach out to someone for help. The Suicide Prevention Hotline is 800-273-8255.

I’m going to link my Spotify playlist here so you can listen to the playlist as well, if you would like.

TaTiana is currently a senior at the University of Central Florida on the way to receive a Bachelor's in English-Creative Writing and a minor in theater. She hopes to pursue a career as an author in the near future. TaTiana spends a lot of her time reading books or writing down new ideas to create her own stories, oftentimes turning to the internet to distract herself from said responsibilities. If she's not in her bedroom reading or writing, one can find her at one of the local theme parks or a winery with her friends. You can find her on Instagram @thisgirltatiana
Similar Reads👯‍♀️