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A soft girl's guide to coping with a global pandemic

I put together a short list of the songs that have carried me through the past year as I’ve dealt with all the feelings one feels when coping with a global pandemic. I hope you enjoy listening and can find some comfort from these songs as well.

Pigeon- Faye Webster

In Pigeon, Faye Webster sings about the boredom and loneliness that accompany her long-distance relationship, but many of the lyrics in this song capture the feelings I experienced immediately after I began quarantining in late March. I wasn’t sure how to entertain myself, and I oftentimes felt like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day because each day was so similar. When Webster sings, “Don’t know what to do/I have nothing to do/There’s nowhere to go/I just stay at home”...I felt that.

anything- Adrianne Lenker

Adrianne Lenker released this single in September, and I would argue that it is the best song that was released in 2020. Lenker recorded this song and a number of others that appear on her new albums titled “songs” and “instrumentals” in a cabin in Massachusetts where she isolated at the beginning of the pandemic. This song captures an unwillingness or rather a lack of desire to talk about anything because it will either be too exhausting or too overwhelming. This is definitely something I have experienced throughout the pandemic; many of the feelings it has stirred up cannot be reduced to words and any attempt to do so has been a tiring exercise to say the least.

Walking- The Dodos

I was reminded of this song this past Spring when I turned to walking as a means to entertain, distract, and take care of myself. Throughout this pandemic, I have embarked on hundreds of walks with myself and with my roommates where I’ve discovered the most beautiful streets and houses tucked into the corners of Iowa City. When you find yourself heading out the door for your next walk, turn on this song by the Dodos and take note of your own little discoveries.

Drinking song- Haley Heynderickx

Throughout the pandemic, this song has been a source of comfort because it has reminded me that we are all going through this nightmare together. When Heynderickx sings, “and I can believe in these things/that everyone’s singing along/the good and the bad and the gone” I imagine people throughout the world in their homes sharing feelings of grief, fear, and hope, and it makes me feel a little better.

Endless- Pinegrove

Pinegrove released their latest album “Marigold” in January 2020, and by the time COVID-19 reached Iowa this Spring, I had become obsessed with the song Endless. This song perfectly captures the mundane, monotonous nature of life in a global pandemic. In the beginning of the song, Evan Stephens Hall describes a lingering numbness that seems endless, but in the middle of the song he decides, “I don’t think this goes on endlessly”, which is a sentiment that has kept me going this year. The song ends with Hall repeatedly singing, “hold me forever/when this is under/when this is over/hold me forever”. These lyrics remind me of the comfort that has come from being held by the people that I love during this unprecedented year.

Places/plans- Skullcrusher

Skullcrusher released an EP during this Summer that opened with the song Places/Plans. This ambient folk song is largely about Helen Ballentine questioning her self-worth, but the end of the song in particular reflects a feeling that has been common throughout the pandemic. Ballentine sings “Let’s sit/‘cause I don’t have any plans for tomorrow/I don’t have any plans for tomorrow” which is a reality that I can definitely relate to and I’m sure many of you can as well.

This Feeling- Alabama Shakes 

I, naturally, have binge watched Fleabag on three separate occasions since the beginning of the pandemic. I discovered this song because it is featured in the final scene of the series, and it has brought me a good amount of hope during these challenging months. Brittany Howard sings, “I’ve been having me a real hard time/but it feels so nice/to know I’m gonna be alright”, sending a reminder to each of us that this pandemic and the hard times that have accompanied it are not permanent and that we will all be alright in time.

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