2020 might not have been the best year on most fronts but when it comes to discovering and listening to music, it was actually a great one for me. I invested in a brand-new record player and bought a lot of – how I like to call them – ‘blind vinyl picks’ a.k.a. LP’s that I never heard of before buying them. I spent hours and hours listening to music podcasts, reading interviews with great artists, checking up on the website of Rolling Stone Magazine at least ten times a day and creating playlists as if my life depended on it. All together listening to music is a new interest that I developed into kind of a passion of mine. Now that it’s still early in the new year, I’d love to take a moment to line up the songs and albums that really went along with me on the journey and helped me get through the days of 2020.
Scroll down for the playlist that I put together with this article!
My 2020 began with a LOT of Harry Styles. Which is kind of funny because I never really listened to his first album nor the music of the former boyband he was in before he started creating his own songs and albums. I remember my high-school friends being HUGE ass fangirls of One Direction and talking about the band for the biggest part of the many classes, breaks and parties we spent together. And me sitting next to them, not caring at all because my interest in boybands or let alone boys was kind of nihil. But the first days of January a lot of my friends on Instagram started putting his songs in their stories – which made sense since the album came out in December 2019 and is an actual BOP. My curiosity was piqued, seeing this album on my timeline many times and I decided to give it a go. And boy did I make a good decision there. I Listened to Fine Line and Harry’s self-titled debut album the entire year. I took my driving test at the 27th of January and remember listing to To Be So Lonely on beforehand to calm my nerves. I fell asleep with the sound of From The Dining Table many, many times and enjoyed Adore You so often while sitting on the bus at late hours. Styles’ music really made my year a whole lot better.
The month I started my internship at NOS, I actually had some time to kill in public transport. I woke up at a very early hour – most of the time at 6 A.M. – after working late in the restaurant the night before. In order to be able to function throughout the rest of the day, I really needed my day to start slowly. Every morning, I listened to Let’s Fall in Love for the Night from FINNEAS while I looked out of the train-windows, it still being pitch black outside. I am a pretty loyal listener, which means that I kept up with this same ritual for weeks. The song is very easy-going, has a lovely guitar in it, comes with the super sweet feeling of liking someone and ends with croaking frogs in the background. I still love it and definitely will listen to it on the early February mornings when my internship starts again.
Oof, I really had to dig deep into what music I listened to in March. February and March (at least until the lockdown started at the end of the month) were crazy months for me. My schedule was tighter than ever and I worked 7 days a week, from early in the morning till late in the night. I hopped from the NOS to meetings and interviews for the magazine I’m chief editor of, to work shifts at the restaurant. But I really enjoyed seeing so many different colleagues, doing different kinds of work and talking to people I didn’t know before all day long. I don’t remember having any spare time so I don’t think I really listened to a lot of music during this month. BUT – yes, there is a big but – there are a few songs that always play in the restaurant where I work and those songs definitely defined my March in music. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Masego but if you haven’t, this is your sign to go listen to him. Masego (Micah Davis) is a BRILLIANT musician. Every time my work shift nearly ended and I gave all of the tables and the seats a good clean, his and FKJ’s song Tadow would bang through the speakers and right at that moment I just knew that it was a good day. The same goes for the song Tieduprightnow from Parcels.
Ah, April… The first full-on lockdown-month in The Netherlands. Everything was closed, all of a sudden all of the work fell out of my hands and I went from working seven days a week to having absolutely nothing to do. So, I went driving. A LOT. From Utrecht to Nijmegen to my parents and back again. I needed to keep driving in order to get used to it, with my still fresh drivers license. I made a Spotify playlist that could go on for eight hours and thirty-four minutes straight, stepped behind the steering wheel and started driving. At daytime, sometimes in the night. And it felt so, so, so freeing. To just drive with the windows rolled down, spring-sun burning on my cheeks, the wind running through my hair and me singing along with hundreds of happy songs. To name a few: Freaking Out the Neighborhood (Mac DeMarco), You Say I’m in Love (Banes World), Lost in Los Angeles (Love You Later), Kids (MGMT), Mystery Repeats (Pete Philly & Perquisite), Northern Lights (Satin Jackets, David Harks), Blue Monday (New Order), Truth Hurts (Lizzo)… Yes, only the good vibes. Oh, and I also dated a little back in April. A song that definitely reminds me of that and has to be mentioned in this list because it was a good time, is Could Heaven Ever Be Like This from Idris Muhammad.
May was just filled with the typical quarantine activities. I sat a lot on my balcony, enjoying the sun and reading books. It was also the month in which I definitely rediscovered the joy of going on long walks, mainly with our dog Teun. And boy was he happy about that. I did a lot of home workouts, went to church a few times to calm my mind and find some new hope. Spent a lot of time with my family at home. And bought some new records: Rumours (classic!) & Tango In The Night from Fleetwood Mac, Norman Fucking Rockwell from Lana Del Rey, Dark Side Of The Moon from Pink Floyd (another classic one!) and The Neon Skyline from Andy Shauf. I already knew all of the albums by heart, except for Andy Shauf’s which was a ‘blind pick’. And a damn good one for that matter! I had never heard of this Canadian singer-songwriter before but he actually really knows how to set the mood. Oh and Lana, Lana… She played through the stereo of my parents’ car at very late hours while I drove on the highway, tears streaming down my face. Not because I was actually sad, but because I listened to Lana. I respect her deeply. Venice Bitch is my favorite song of the album, a nine-minutes-and-thirty-seven-seconds-long artwork. I remember standing on a bridge next to the apartment I lived in, watching the water beneath it moving while Venice Bitch buzzed in my ears on the loudest volume. It has such a peculiar energy in it. It takes you places.
In June, I turned 21. I couldn’t celebrate it with a big ass party and to be honest – I actually didn’t even want to. So I decided to make a full five-course dinner (BY MY OWN!) for just my parents, sister and two grandmothers because I hadn’t seen them together in such a long time. I cherish them deeply. Something about the idea of spending the day with the people I have known my whole life felt safe and heart-warming. It was all that I needed. I spent two whole days in the kitchen, preparing the biggest dinner I ever made. It was totally worth it, but man, I’m not doing that again for a long, long time. To make the evening even better, I – of course – created a playlist with cheerful dinner music. Even after my birthday, I kept listening to it for the rest of the month. I spent the most of June at my parents’ house and did a lot of cooking back then. The playlist made the many dinners we had together even cozier than they already were. It contains songs like All My Friends – PREP Remix (Snakehips, Tinashe, Chance the Rapper), Waiting For The Rain (Kris Berry), Wait for Me (Swim Mountain), Happiness (Jonathan Jeremiah), Neon Experience (Júníus Meyvant) and The Way You Look Tonight (Frank Sinatra). For my birthday, my sister got me the new album of The 1975 on record. Notes On A Conditional Form has many good songs on it – I love the fact that The 1975 really tries out different things and you can hear that they had fun with it. Me and my sister listened to it many times together. The songs I listened to the most (’cause the album counts freaking 22 on it) are Frail State Of Mind, Yeah I Know, I Think There’s Something You Should Know, Shiny Collarbone, If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know) and What Should I Say. They made me dance more than I should’ve – with my dancing skills.
The second half of my 2020 in music will be up in a few days! P.S. The second half is better. Just saying.