This time last year, I was working in a bustling bookstore at the height of the holiday shopping rush. My social calendar was lively as friends came home from college for winter break. I was tentatively learning how to bike in the snow, wobbling down poorly paved city streets on my way to thrift stores, movie theaters, and restaurants. 

2020 has made all those memories feel like something I dreamed rather than lived. Covid cases are still rising in my corner of the world, so things will probably get worse before they get better. That’s a pretty scary thought. But before I brace myself for 2021, I want to take a moment to recognize the music that helped keep me (mostly) sane in 2020. 

The first half of this playlist is devoted to tracks that got me out of bed and kept me moving forward. Ateez and Everglow accompanied me on countless masked-up neighborhood jogs, while SuperM’s vrooms never failed to make me grin. A special shout out to “Good Guy” for being the subject of my Seoulbeats application piece. Joining the Seoulbeats community has definitely been a 2020 bright spot for me. 

The second part is filled with songs that let me pause and feel the feels. Many thanks to Taemin, Baek Yerin, and Heize for being the best cathartic cry companions a girl could ask for. Music has always been a solace, an escape, and a source of inspiration for me. I needed all that and more this year, and against truly incredible odds, these songs delivered. Readers, what songs got you through 2020?