Collaboration by the Quaker Campus Staff
Curated by Kim Tsuyuki
Asst. Arts & Entertainment Editor 

Each month of 2020 was a sucker punch to the gut that kept stacking on itself. The U.S. went under lockdown in March, which left a lot of people isolated. I haven’t seen any of my friends in person since then, and, man, has that left a void in me. I’ve tried to fill that void with an unhealthy amount of obsessions, but the one thing that remained constant in this flurry was music. After seeing everyone’s Spotify Wrapped on Dec. 1, I realized how many people turned to music to make some sense of this year (or find a distraction from it). So, I asked the QC staff one question: what’s one song or album that got you through 2020, and why? You can listen to the playlist created out of their responses here, or scan the image below.

Image of the Spotify Code for QC Wrapped

Here is music that got some of us at the QC through the year:

Copy Editor Ariana Juarez: “Come Along” by Cosmo Sheldrake
“I discovered [this song] maybe a month before everything shut down. In addition [to] it being creative fodder for stories, I think the lyrics offer very heavy escapism and gives it kind of a ‘running away with the fae’ vibes that makes it interesting to listen to.”

Staff Writer Sage Amdahl: “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” by Fall Out Boy
“I’ve always felt safe listening to this song, validated by emotional lyrics, and empowered by the passion behind the voice.”

Copy Editor Taylor Penn: Wake Up Sunshine by All Time Low
“[All Time Low] have been a band I have loved forever and they released this album back in April right before my birthday. Their music is always so personal and jammy, and I just love it.”

News Editor Annalisse Galaviz: “Ego Check” by Wynne and JID
“Ego Check just has a softer beat for a hip-hop song. It’s very melancholic but also has the upbeat beat, so it’s easier to take in that confidence you get listening to hip-hop while still being relaxing [and] not too energetic.” 

Arts & Entertainment Editor Kristi Weyand: None
“My top artist for 2020 is Big Time Rush, but that doesn’t reflect my taste in music so much as it shows my turn towards nostalgia when things became uncertain in an unprecedented way, just as my other top artists reflect a need for anger or comfort, a feeling that can be explicitly pinpointed. After the ‘indie exodus’ this summer, I made the personal choice to scrub my playlists of alleged abusers and assaulters, some of which hit extra close to home. I had placed faith in music and I felt betrayed, so I stopped listening as much. Music still holds a very important place in my heart, but I haven’t let it back in. The truth is, as much as it hurts, I have no top song of 2020 or song that reflects my year. The soundtrack of 2020 has been dead air for me and I’m trying to get the sound back.”

Campus Life Editor Addison Crane: Momentary Lapse of Happily Album by Adult Mom
“It’s a deeply lonely album, and, like many people, quarantine has been extremely lonely for me. However, in a way, I’ve learned to rely on myself a lot, as it’s hard to get emotional support in a time where I’m not seeing anyone face-to-face, so nobody really knows how I’m doing. I think this album really sums up my quarantine because, at its core, [it’s] about using that loneliness to learn self-reliance and growth. Songs like “What’s Another Lipstick Mark” and “Survival” are about confronting the bad parts of yourself and learning your flaws, which is something you can only do for yourself, so being alone helps that. But songs like “Be Your Own 3AM” and “Sun Theory” are about using that to grow on your own, which is vital. I know I sound so cynical, but everyone has flaws and room for growth, and nobody can do that growing for us. Ultimately, the album is hopeful because [it] ends with Stevie Knipe realizing that she thought she had lost herself because of a breakup, but being alone, [. . .] working on herself, and learning to be responsible for her own happiness, she was able to find herself again. The songs are really raw and honest, and I think the album has a great message.”

Staff Writer David Moreno: New Age Norms 1 by Cold War Kids
“[New Age Norms 1] listens as a memoir to younger, more excitable times from the eyes of someone with decades of life lived. Each song tells a story of happiness, anxiety, love, and heartbreak. It allows us to reminisce of feelings that we might not have had the luxury to experience in the past year in one album.”

Staff Writer Karen Romero: To Feel Alive EP by Kali Uchis
“[Uchis’s] EP was produced completely during the first lockdown of the year and features a mix of old, unreleased songs and additional new ones. The remastered unreleased songs that I used to listen to before were so comforting to hear in a totally different era of my life. Her new songs on the EP take a vulnerable approach to self-reflection brought forth by this year. She continues to play with the listener’s expectations by offering a clear musical display of what she needs, not what she wants.” 

Copy Editor Jordan Garcia: “Dynamite” by BTS, “Clover” by The Boyz, and “Blue Hour” by TXT
“BTS’s songs have always provided me with a source of comfort and happiness, but “Dynamite” has definitely been the one to help me get through 2020 as it is the perfect song to get me out of a funk.  It helps me see that life is indeed still “Dynamite;” I just have to look for what makes it that in my own life.  The Boyz were a new group that I got into this year, and I definitely do not regret it. One song in particular that has gotten me through 2020 has been their song, “Clover.”  I credit this song to also being my go-to for getting myself out of a bad mood. I love putting both headphones in and just dancing around in my room to it.  Lastly is TXT.  A song I truly love is their new title track “Blue Hour.”  You just can’t help but get up and dance to it once the chorus begins. BTS, The Boyz, and TXT have truly made 2020 much more bearable.”

Staff Writer Mercedes Brookins: Divine by Alina Baraz, CALM by 5 Seconds of Summer, Compensating by Amine and 6pc Hot by 6lack
“I think it was Divine that was my go-to album because it was so calming. Alina Baraz has a very soft voice, and her music genre is contemporary R&B, which I think was helpful in calming me down in such a stressful time!”

Editor-In-Chief Tori O’Campo: Notes on a Conditional Form by the 1975

“It was no surprise to find out that my most listened to song was “The Birthday Party” by The 1975 since they have been my top artist for the past four years. Plus, they released one of my favorite albums of the year, Notes on a Conditional Form. Released in May, right amongst the chaos of a world that seemed to be brought to a halt, this album depicted the global and individual anxieties of a cultural shift. I’m still unsure how this album had been written and recorded in the year preceding COVID-19 shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, but I am so glad it came to us at the perfect time. The range of anger, anxiety, isolation, and even the small glimpses of hope that I felt during this year was all captured here.”

If you want to read more about Tori’s take on the album, read her review!

Staff Writer Abigail Padilla: “Blue Bayou” by Linda Ronstadt and “Movin’ Right Along” by The Muppets
“Blue Bayou is returning to a familiar place, a place filled with love. It’s a beautiful song — no one can sing like Linda. “Movin’ Right Along” is Kermit and Fozzie Bear’s road song; they’re traveling to California to pursue their dreams. The Muppets are my childhood and are a safe space for me — a place where I can have my creativity nurtured.”

Managing Editor Brianna Wilson: “California” by The Rose
“So, “California” is a song that I’ve had in my “Road-Trip” playlist since The Rose released it. It’s very much a feel-good song, and it’s a fantastic mood-booster, which is what pretty much everyone needed during this hectic year. The Rose don’t have very many songs in their discography, and most are actually quite heartbreaking, but they released this one at a perfect time —  right before the world descended into 2020’s chaos. To be fair, I probably won’t stop listening to it for a long time, but it’ll definitely remain at the top of the list of things that made this year more bearable.”

Opinions Editor Abigail Sanchez: “Love Me Do” and “Can’t Buy Me Love” by The Beatles
“These two songs always give me feel-good vibes and make me want to dance, which is important to me because this year has been really difficult for all of us. I make sure to enjoy whatever gives me good feelings and lets me forget about everything that has happened this year. I also just love the Beatles in general.”

Sports Editor Arturo Muñoz: “Make It Better” by Anderson .Paak, “Ex-Factor” by Ms. Lauryn Hill, “Everything” by Kota the Friend, and “Busy/Sirens” by Saba
“[.Paak’s] “Make It Better” is [. . .] one of those songs that just reminds me that hardships in a relationship are always going to be there, but both people need to work together to work through it. “Ex-Factor” is the exact opposite, as, sometimes, no matter how bad a relationship is, you can’t fix it, but you can’t leave it for some reason. “Everything” speaks about [the things] that brings peace in his life and what everything means to him. “Busy/Sirens” speaks about the depression and difficulties of facing the murder of his cousin.”

Faculty Advisor, Visiting Assistant Professor of English Joe Donnelly: Eclectic, as usual

“No surprise, since I wrote about it for the L.A. Times, but I found Pearl Jam’s Gigaton to be oddly comforting in the early months of the pandemic. Though it was recorded prior to the outbreak, the songs were so prescient in thematic content that it was both jarring and weirdly comforting. I hadn’t listened to a Pearl Jam record in a long, long time, so it was also like catching up with a long-lost, old friend and finding out that they were still cool and fun to talk to. Plus, the record is just good, and though it’s got apocalyptic concerns, it takes them on with optimism, humor and compassion. 

On the other hand, more recently I’ve been going back to Joy Division. Not a lot of joy in the division, but if you want music to be bummed out to, this is cathartic stuff. Also, been rocking the Matthew Sweet lately, too — particularly tracks from Girlfriend. I love that record—volcanic eruptions of power-pop perfection — that came out around the same time as Nirvana’s Nevermind, which stole all the thunder, but I’ll take this.”

Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor Kim Tsuyuki (hey, that’s me!): “Don’t Take the Money” by Bleachers
I absolutely adore this song and will dance around my room while singing and yelling the lyrics. The song has a really cool synth-y sound and electric guitar parts (two things that draw me to a song). There’s one line I would absolutely get tattooed from the chorus: “You steal the air out of my lungs, you make me feel it.” That lyric reminds me of the beauty that comes with knowing someone so wonderful that they take your breath away, but it also feels like it’s on a more intense level. Jack Antonoff, the one man behind Bleachers, has explained the meaning behind the song. Spoiler alert: the lyric’s actual meaning is nothing like my interpretation, but isn’t that why music is so great?  The song as a whole is about how hard it is to be in a relationship and the need to say “stay” when the relationship gets tough. I guess that sums up where I’m at this year. I’m holding on to my relationships, and not seeing anyone without risk makes me feel so powerless, I just want to yell “stay.” This song made me feel something during a year where I felt so much, yet so little.


There’s a wide range of genres on this playlist, but that just reflects the wide range of emotions this year brought. Sit back and listen; maybe you’ll find new music to add to your library — a little gift from the QC to you.

Featured Photo Courtesy of Sage Amdahl 


  • Kim Tsuyuki is a third-year English major with a minor in Film Studies. This is her first year working for the QC and is currently writing for the Arts & Entertainment section. When she isn’t working, she can be found playing video games, collecting stickers, and watching the same three movies (over and over, like chill out Kim). She’s kinda sad, but mostly hungry.

Kim Tsuyuki is a third-year English major with a minor in Film Studies. This is her first year working for the QC and is currently writing for the Arts & Entertainment section. When she isn’t working, she can be found playing video games, collecting stickers, and watching the same three movies (over and over, like chill out Kim). She’s kinda sad, but mostly hungry.

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