Music helps keep us sane. I listened to a lot more music than usual this year, between lockdowns and working from home, and a couple dozen songs saw me through some of the tumult and craziness.
I alternated between comfort songs and raging at the void screaming songs, probably swinging like most of our moods did this year. Isolation, political carnage in my home country, sickness and worry… The soundtrack of 2020 is a schizophrenic thing.
Admittedly, I skewed heavily towards older songs this year, returning to the comforts of the familiar; also, I’m an old dude. A song can reassure you, like the still-fiery Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello’s latest works, it can lift you, like the looney chaos of The Cramps or the hypnotic rhythms of Alice Coltrane, or it can fire you up, like Lou Reed’s still-incandescent rage in 1987’s “Strawman,” or Pylon’s jittery “Stop It.”
This isn’t my “best of the year” list – but here’s a playlist of the 25 songs that helped me survive 2020: