Songs to help ease the grief of 2020

2020 has been a year of ups and downs ? mostly downs. There is a lot to deal with right now and a common emotion is grief. Current events all have a negative theme with COVID-19, social distancing and now the stress caused by the election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, which had many on edge.

Jake Tapper of CNN, described the first Presidential debate on Sept. 28 as “a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck.” This is a fitting quote for 2020 too. Here are some songs that may help you get through those stages of grief and perhaps see a little light at the end of the tunnel.

Music can ease the mind and soul during these tough times and a playlist tailored to 2020 might help. Graphic by Christina Swayney.

Stage one: Denial

I’m my Own Doctor” by Remo Drive

This garage punk meets chill emo song has a sense of humor and is uplifting to listen to. It’s also the perfect song to have on when doom browsing Web MD.

The Denial Twist” by The White Stripes

A rosy view of a relationship that is one-sided is a classic subject for music. Sharp vocals and clever lyrics pop with sharp rhythm.

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Stage two: Anger

Killing in the name of” by Rage Against the Machine

This song was released in 1991 but is still completely relevant. It is about social injustice and calling it out. It is powerful, angry and represents a lot of what is going on in the world today. Movements like Black Lives Matter, political division and the rage of marginalized people are finally getting the attention of mainstream America which has chosen to ignore it on a collective scale.

Sleep Now in the Fire” by Rage Against the Machine

Good old American greed is featured in this song. The video is almost precognitive and starts off with a widely grinning Rudy Giuliani introducing the set location, which was Wall Street, in NYC. Protestors rally as the band plays in front of the building entrance and businessmen hold signs promoting Donald Trump as president, back when he was still just a businessman. It was filmed in 2000.

This is America” by Childish Gambino

Heavy trap beats and social references are featured in this song. The music video should not be missed, which is laden with dark truths and social commentary that weave seamlessly between scenes of violence and dance. It is a masterpiece of deep American anger that cannot be ignored.

Stage three: Bargaining

Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” by The Smiths

A classic song from this English group about bargaining with a lover, God or perhaps the universe to just let things go smoothly for once, which is pretty relatable for 2020.

Stage four: Depression

To Die For” by Sam Smith

Emotional lyrics and singing punctuate this ballad about deep loneliness.

A Letter to Elise” by The Cure

Depression is not easily defined, but some lyrics just resonate in this song, such as “and every time I try to pick it up, like falling sand, as fast as I pick it up, it runs away through my clutching hands.” The lyrics were written by Robert Smith, the lead singer of the band during a bout of depression.

Stage five: Acceptance

In the Meantime” by Spacehog

This British rock group sings about being patient in the meantime while waiting for better days ahead.

“A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke

Sweet soulful vocals tell a story of hope. The song was released during a contentious time of U.S. history in 1963. Looking ahead to a future of positive possibilities is a plausible prospect now and this is old but classic song is perfect for new beginnings.