The Soundtrack of your Life, Part 1: a song to survive a pandemic

To build the Soundtrack of your Life, I asked people which song helped them through this pandemic, because we all know music helps ease the mind during hard times. 


A lot of people talk about the soundtrack of their life, and methods exist online to build your own soundtrack, helping people think about how music can revive a special moment or remember a loved one. Here today, my intention is to show you the soundtracks of other people’s lives, so we can all share music important to our hearts. 

The past year has been full of hard times for everyone around the world. To a tense context of hate crimes, natural disasters, political tensions and ongoing wars, the world added a global pandemic, that killed more than 2,8 millions of people

The coronavirus impacted us all in different ways. Most of us have been forced, or are still forced, to self-isolate and stay at home. People lucky enough to avoid the virus itself have seen its impact on their everyday life and mental health.

So, I wondered: what helped during this hard period? Loved ones, for those who had the chance to self-isolate with friends or family, must have been a true support. But music also has the power to help people cope with a difficult, lonely situation. To start the soundtrack of your life, I wanted to know which songs represented people’s personal survival in this pandemic.


Songs full of hope 


Hope for a better future is a recurrent theme in the songs people told me about. People also mentioned songs that make you believe things are slowly getting better, potentially improving in the next months thanks to the vaccine. 

On this theme, Annie (18, England) chose “Way Less Sad” by AJR. They explained this upbeat song is about things getting better, but also how our situation isn’t truly good yet. “No, I ain’t happier, but I’m way less sad”, the singer tells us in this song released in February 2021. “This feels quite relevant at this point in the pandemic,” Annie explained. “As in the UK vaccines are being rolled out but we still have countless issues. This song just really encapsulated my headspace recently.”

Abby (18, Germany) introduced me to “This Is Gonna Be Our Year” by HOKO: “It reminds me the year will go on and everything will be finein the end”. The chorus says to “say goodbye to all your troubles and your fears, ‘cause this is gonna be our year” and reminds us that things are improving. 

It won’t be easy to forget the past year, as HOKO talks about the negative parts of 2020 and the impacts they had on us all. Paying close attention, you realise that hearing this song helps you put things into perspective. “Didn’t think we’d make it this far”, they sing. We all need to realise that we made it through, and it’s already a big achievement. 

As the two previous songs were from 2021 and 2020, Júlia (26, Brazil) decided to talk about a song from 2007: “Pocketful of Sunshine” by Natasha Bedingfield. She summarized her choice by saying that “even in the darkest places, we can find light”. The song’s positivity reminds her that “we can never stop believing there are fine days to come”. And it’s a beautiful way of thinking we all need these days. 

Raine (14, India), tells me about “It Gets Better” by Bears in Trees: “It makes me feel hopeful.” Through various life situations, the song’s message is indeed very hopeful and makes us realise that things are getting better, even if the changes are too slow for us to notice them right away. 

We can also feel the importance of mutual support through sentences like the end of the chorus; “There’s a drug we can give you for that my friend, but first stay for tea, it did wonders for me.” We’re all in it together and even a small gesture of support may help us take a step further when we feel low. 


Songs about feelings linked to the pandemic


Hope helps us through life’s  difficulties, keeping us holding on. However, some people relate to other kinds of feelings to describe how they are surviving the pandemic; feelings found in the song they choose. All the following songs were released in 2020.

Tyler (18, Germany) picked the song “Everybody Blooms” by The Front Bottoms. “It emphasises that you do not need to keep up with others, especially during such stressful times,” he summed up. “Just do your best and it’ll work out.” This song reminds you to be kind to yourself and take your time in life, even when other people are a little bit ahead of you. 

Contrary to Tyler’s song choice, that tells you to focus on yourself, Kerry (17, Scotland) preferred a song that will reassure you are not alone. “Weird” by Yungblud is helpful in that way, because it makes  you realise that we are all in the same boat and nobody is going through this completely on their own. 

Both Nox (15, Turkey) and Bear (15, Australia) decided on Kpop songs. The former mentioned “Black Swan” by BTS because “it is about losing the ability to make music or to make stuff you love and the pandemic took a lot away from me”, and Bear chose “We Lost the Summer” by Tomorrow x Together, because the song “describes feeling annoyed at the pandemic and loss of social life”. 


Songs that give you a powerful feeling


To help you survive a pandemic, what is better than feeling like a powerful person who could take on the world? It’s a different way to cope with a difficult situation, but it is still valid, and a few people decided to tell me about songs that are aggressive or powerful because they make them feel better in our current situation. 

Morgan (26, United States) told me about “RAMPAGE” by GRAVEDGR, not only because she thinks this song is aggressive: “mask on my damn face” is one of the lyrics; so do I need to say more?” Meli (22, France) mentioned the amazing vocal of “VIRUS” by KLOUD, because she also thinks this song is “very powerful”. 

With the same idea, Malva (23, France) chose “Dropgun” by Krishna, because it makes her “feel like a badass”. Slightly different, Illeana (23, France) decided that “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child summarizes her feelings about the pandemic because, as she says, “my nose is still a virgin and I want it to stay so”. Staying safe, self-isolating can make you hyper-aware of, and want to avoid, the unpleasant sensation that comes with a nose test.  

For Ella (18, United States), it is “Ok ok?” by half•alive. Lou Ann (23, France) mentioned the energetic “Physical” by Dua Lipa, when Christelle (48, France) chose the more calm rhythm of “Battez-vous” by Brigitte. Anaïs (22, France) preferred to tell me about “Shoemaker” by Nightwhish, a song about Eugene Shoemaker. Shoemaker was the geologist who discovered that the craters on the Moon, and some on Earth, are the results of meteorites’ impacts. His ashes were sent on the Moon.


Everybody is living through the pandemic in a different way, which explains why people choose so many different kinds of songs to describe it. As we have seen, however, hope and kind feelings are very present. And you, what is your song for when you need to survive a pandemic? Let us know in the comment section!

Laurine Tiran
Laurine Tiran

I'm a French student doing a Master's degree in International Politics at the University of Toulon, France.

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