A banner is placed in the center of the photo that reads “songs addressing 2020” with icons of COVID-19, a mask, a graduation cap and a protesting fist.

Songs addressing 2020

By Crystal Ramos
Music Journalist

2020 has left many marks on humanity and history. So much so that we may tend to forget some of the details.

The power of remembrance lies within all of the documentation we have of the events that have occurred this year.  Change, tragedy, first-hand accounts and feelings have all been etched into our history through pop culture and music.

Several artists have come out with musical tributes addressing what has transpired throughout 2020. Here are 3 that have stuck with me:

“Let Go” by D Smoke and SiR

Brothers D Smoke and SiR joined together to create this sonically powerful social commentary. The song begins by addressing the devastating change the pandemic brought to the class of 2020.

“Poor babies fightin’ depression/
Been writin’ them essays to graduate with no stage/
On Zoom, mother*****?”

We are pulled forward by the emotive lyrics that harp on the reality of racial injustices and inequality.

D Smoke then states:

“I wrote this the day they killed George Floyd/
We won’t forget your story.”

SiR melodically sings, “we need to let go,” throughout the chorus of the song, which at one point D Smoke rebuts, “we done let go one too many times.”

The song is a tribute to George Floyd, who’s murder spurred up massive protests throughout the country. The emotionally charged expressions are not just toward this one occurrence, it addresses a history of police brutality in America.

This song is an imprinted reminder to keep fighting for justice and to not forget the stories of those lost.

“Lockdown” by Anderson.Paak

I’ve seen the coined term, “The Uprising of 2020,” to describe this year’s revolutionary protests. Tuned to a funk groove beat, .Paak lyrically embodies this idea.

“You shoulda been downtown, the people are rising/
We thought it was a lockdown, they opened up fire”

This song grapples with people facing the harsh realities of COVID-19 and wanting to march against injustices. At the same time, many peaceful protests took violent turns with the onset use of teargas and rubber bullets, adding to the struggle of the fight.

“F2020” by Avenue Beat

The Gen Z/Millennial collective that is Avenue Beat, dropped a pop anthem that hits the nail on the head of how 2020 has felt like an endless scooter to the ankle. It starts with the idea that we all thought 2020 would be our year, but in turn:

“Yo, my cat died and a global pandemic took over my life/
And I put out some music that nobody liked”

At every turn, it seems we have all been collectively put through the wringer, so the group chants, “lowkey f*** 2020” and “can we just get to 2021?”

The conversational melody is one that is highly relatable as they converse about the exhaustion this year has brought on, both through personal and national unrest.

Featured image by Crystal Ramos.

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