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Give Me Strength: Pandemic Playlist 6

There’s been plenty of talk about the highs and the lows of lockdown life and how music has helped through the struggles and uncertainty. But what about the journey as a whole? Music has brilliant power to help us through difficult times, but it also has the power to help us further along this journey into reflection, peace and genuine lust for life. Starting at what I felt was “the bottom” with Dodie’s comforting music and moving to the fighting spirit Charli xcx imbues in me, this is just a brief insight into the songs that pushed me over that last hurdle towards regaining the love for life and confidence I had been so missing during lockdown. 

I don’t doubt that bad times may come again, but this collection of songs is a reminder that things do get better and you will find your power again. Clearly these songs will not do the same thing for everyone and if you’re not quite at that stage yet that is fine – life is way more complex than Spotify playlists! But these are the songs that give me strength. 

Dodie – Secret For The Mad

“There will be a day when you can say you’re okay and mean it”  

Best part of the song- 2:45 

A reminder from Dodie that you might think you’re alone, and that you’ll never see the light at the end of the tunnel, but you will get through this. The bottom is a scary place but, as the rest of this playlist aims to show, getting through it is the bravest thing you can do, and you won’t regret it.  

Christine and the Queens – People, I’ve been sad

“If you disappear, then I’m disappearing too”  

Best part of the song – 3:04 

Written about the passing of their mother, Chris’ soulful French notes bring a different kind of strength to sadness. This lockdown has made it even more clear to us all how important human connections are and Facebook messenger cannot replace them, however hard Zuckerberg tries. Listening to this song always reminds me of how amazing my friends have been (you know who you are), even when I’ve been ‘away for too long’ from Facebook messenger. 

Tyler, The Creator – GONE, GONE/THANK YOU

“Thank you for the love, thank you for the joy, but I will never want to fall in love again” 

Best part of the song – 4:36 

This song, taken from the emotional IGOR by Tyler the Creator, always reminds me of the mixture of anxiety and relief that comes with ditching toxicity. Whether an attitude, person or habit, sometimes letting go of something is the first step on a journey to a healed mental health. 

Foals – Stepson

“And I’ll lead you by the hand, And we’ll fall into the blue” 

Best part of the song – 1:48 

Memories of listening to Foals on repeat while churning out essay after Trinity essay are strangely fond. This song specifically, though slow to get going, gives me this overwhelming feeling that I have the power to get through hard times. This marks a turning point in this playlist: acceptance of the past, embracement of what the future will bring. 

Tame Impala – On Track

“I know it’s been a slow year, nothing much to show here, I didn’t really go for it, so not a lot to show for it” 

Best part of the song – 2:18 

Strictly speaking, we were all on track before chaos erupted with the Covid-outbreak. This song, released in February before lockdown turmoil, was an eery foreshadowing of how many of us are now feeling: technically on track but a bit thrown off, dreams still in sight but put on hold. Listening to this song helps remind me that progress can only be measured by the one making the progress. It’s so much easier to be hard on ourselves then it is to look back at how far we’ve come and how far we’ve yet to go. 

Stevens Sufjan – The Only Thing

“The only reason why I continue at all 

Faith in reason, I wasted my life playing dumb 

Signs and wonders, sea lion caves in the dark” 

Best part of the song – 2:36 

A beautiful song from Sufjan Stevens, taken from an album where he deals with the passing of his mother. The list of memories, big and small, and this sense of emotional grounding reminds me that it’s the little things in life and people that make life so special. 

Bombay Bicycle Club – Everything Else Has Gone Wrong

“I guess I found my peace again, and yes I found my second wind.” 

Best part of the song – 2:56 

A fitting title to sum up this year so far, but an important message that better things are around the corner. One of the best feelings in the world is when you think you’ve found that peace and second wind after everything you’ve been through and this song gives me faith it’s out there for us all. 

Alt-J – House of the Rising Sun

(Yeah Alt-J lyrics make no sense so sorry on this one) 

Best part of the song – 3:53 

This song is the epitome of peace for me. Finding your peace to a piece of music, image or environment can be such a strengthening feeling. I have faith now that whenever I need grounding in this emotional peace it will be there in this song. 

BØRNS – Electric Love

“I can’t let you go now that I got it” 

Best part of the song – 3:04 

You’ve arrived at the end of my musical healing process: elation. The joyous tones of BØRNS give me a sense of enormous satisfaction in the knowledge that right now I feel healed and happy and that this current feeling is all that matters for now. And yes, TikTok brought me here too. 

Charli XCX – Pink Diamond

“Every single night kinda feels the same 

I’m a pink diamond, I need space” 

Best part of the song – 0:41 

I had to end this playlist with a track from Charli’s lockdown album as a reminder to be the unique and powerful person that you are. Whatever life throws at you, I hope that you can find strength in how far you’ve come and, like me dancing to Pink Diamond in my room at 2am, you can feel your unique power again.  

All that’s left is to “go real hard” when this is all finally over. 

And that’s a mic drop from me, MCjennyG. 

This is Part 6 of a mini series of Pandemic Playlists, curated by Music Editor Katie Bunney, sharing the songs that have been keeping us going through this peculiar time.

Jennifer Goodier

Jennifer Goodier (she/her) is going on to her second year of history at Brasenose and enjoys writing about the lighter side of life, with a special interest in all things playlist related.