A thought piece from Swindon Link feature writer Hannah Pooley.
The world changed forever in March 2020, when a global pandemic swept the globe and forced many to retreat to their homes.
As we adjusted to life spent mostly indoors, between various takeaways, Joe Wicks workouts, and Netflix marathons, one of our biggest solace’s was music.
With more time available, we were given the chance to reconnect with our Spotify accounts and record collections, enabling us to dance in the kitchen more and perhaps push ourselves further on a socially distanced jog.
The world has not gone fully back to ‘normal’, but with hindsight to reflect on that surreal time, I decided to catch up with some of the important people in my life and ask them to reflect on the question – what song helped you get through lockdown?
Hannah’s own pick: this is me trying – by Taylor Swift (2020)
“I truly connected Taylor’s Swifts music when she released Folklore in the dark depths of 2020. I had heard so many of her songs previously, but this album drew me in almost instantly and as a result, I have become a lifelong fan. The album has been praised by many as having some of her most mature and complex material and when we were stuck at home in lockdown, it felt like Taylor had captured a raw vulnerability of herself that echoed back to the listener. Each track can be read on various levels from her struggles with fame, fear of rejection and personal vulnerabilities through a nostalgic and cosy filter. ‘this is me trying’ is my top pick from the album (although I found that a very difficult task to do) because it emotes the very human experience of constantly trying your best but feeling like it is never good enough. Taylor hits home particularly when she sings ‘And it's hard to be at a party when I feel like an open wound’. Lockdown for me involved many nights nursing a glass of wine and having a good cry to this one.”
Gemma’s pick: - Bodys by Car Seat Headrest (2011)
“Lockdown was so devoid of physical intimacy that this song almost felt too on the nose to mention. A raucous, exuberant expression that swells to an almost effervescent, anthemic high. This song reminded me of the innocent, youthful abandon of partying. Embracing one another whilst knowing that our mortality is a very real concept, but remembering how to enjoy ourselves and let go without limit. A hopeful glimpse into a future where nothing is forever, including the pandemic.”
Pete’s pick: Alright by Supergrass (1995)
“This song exudes the feeling of being young, being free and being alright. Gas Coombes wrote ‘We are young, we run green, keep our teeth nice and clean, see our friends, see the sights, feel alright’. I saw Supergrass for the umpteenth time in Birmingham in late February 2020. We had already heard all the news reports about this new virus called Covid-19 and started to see more and more people wearing face masks around. But in that concert hall we were young(ish), we were free and we were alright. How little did we know that literally days later, the latter two would be snatched away from us. Going out was banned and feeling alright in our domestic prisons was more and more difficult as mental health problems started to take over. But with this song included on my playlist we all got through it and thankfully now, I feel ‘Alright’.”
Cat’s pick: Summertime by My Chemical Romance (2010)
“Like many people in Lockdown, you wanted to get away from life and everything around you was depressing and uncertain – people were getting ill, it was a horrible time. The album Danger Days by My Chemical Romance, where Summertime features, is about running away from an evil corporation and I guess that is how I saw Covid-19, as a huge ugly sinister thing. Danger Days was the album that I had on repeat in lockdown as well as reading the comics. Summertime was the song that I had on repeat the most and it helped me to metaphorically escape from things. It is a love song and echoed my feelings of wanting to run away from it all along with my loved ones – even though we were trapped inside. It is now one of my husband’s favourite songs too! The melody, the bass, the drums, and the guitars – it is just beautiful. The acoustic version of Summertime is somehow even better, it makes it feel even more real. A lot of people in lockdown went back to the things that made them happy and this song was my go-to throughout those difficult times.”
Josh’s pick: Saved My Life by Sia (2020)
“A lot of her lyrics are about resilience and strength, she has faced hardships and spoken openly about her anxiety and how much of herself that she put into her older music, and now she says she finds it easy to write these amazing pop songs which grip her listeners. But there's a lot of meaning to the lyrics in ‘Saved My Life’, I think anyone can listen to the song find their own meaning within the words. For me, at that time, it applied to my life, it helped me, it soothed me, it made me cry.”
Alice’s pick: All I Want by Olivia Rodrigo (2020)
“Lockdown challenged everyone in different ways, and being isolated after a heartbreak is certainly not something I expected. As cheesy as it may seem, Olivia Rodrigo's lyrics in this song hit very close to home for me. She speaks of giving a person everything and how through lies and deceit, the relationship ended. 'I won't fight for love if you won't meet me halfway'. Overcoming a heartbreak can be a painful process to undertake, but it always helps to hear that someone feels the same way. When I heard this song, it felt like a warm hug, I wasn't alone, and that I would make it through. That is the power of music and lyrics.”
Libby’s pick: It’s Alright – The Guvnor Mix by East 17 (1992)
“This is my song of 2020. My cousin would put on a weekly quiz for our family during lockdown. I’m not kidding when I say he went above and beyond every week with creative rounds and an amazing PowerPoint presentation with the questions on; there was of course a music round, and this would be the test song to see if our speakers were working. We would all pump our arms and jump around to let him know we could hear it. The song bought us together every week when nothing else in the world was certain, watching my family dance to this tune every week made everything feel okay and gave us all something to look forward to.”
Ruhena’s pick: Hard Times by Paramore (2017)
“The song’s upbeat melody juxtaposed with lyrics that are less than cheery just seemed so fitting for the situation in lockdown. At a time where everything was uncertain and scary, but everyone was trying to stay positive. Paramore have always been my comfort band. I can listen to them for hours, so it was no surprise that I turned to my favourite band to help me through some really ‘Hard Times’.”
It goes without saying that the various lockdowns in the covid-19 pandemic changed all of our lives, but there is some comfort in the fact that music was able to provide a source of hope when we were isolated and more importantly, it allowed us to escape even if only for a few moments when the world felt bleak and extremely hard to navigate.
Music is made to be shared, enjoyed, and listened to over and over again - and with that physical distance between us, we were able to feel closer to one another and perhaps even more in tune with ourselves.
If you would like to listen to the songs discussed, please follow this link the Spotify playlist.
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