Tunes That Have Made Quarantine Bearable

Graphic by Jia Chen

Closure of non-essential businesses, social distancing and self-isolation, no large crowds – these are some of the rules and policies put in place when Ontario and the rest of the world was put into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For a “wild college student” like myself who loves to party, especially during the summer, this was a situation where I really needed to look deep to see the silver-lining. Although clubs, gyms, restaurants, and venues got cancelled, music (thankfully) was still open for business and enjoyment. Below are some of my most played tracks during the quarantine that kept me sane and positive:

1. Glow Drake ft. Kanye West

I am a huge Drake fan. I can write a whole separate list of songs that I listened to: ‘Toosie Slide’, ‘Pain 1993’, and ‘Time Flies’ from his quarantine-released mixtape Dark Lane Demo Tapes; ‘Popstar’ and ‘Greece’ from his DJ Khaled collab; and his hot and fresh new single ‘Laugh Now, Cry Later’ from his upcoming album Certified Lover Boy. Like the UPS driver, Drizzy always delivers and never disappoints. So as a Drake fan, why did I choose a song that sounds like Kanye ft. Drake? Just like almost everyone, I wanted to use the quarantine to improve myself, stay in shape, clear my skin, and “glow up.” The song’s lyrics, “You better watch out for me, I’m about to glow,” sung softly by Drake and Kanye, was not only a mantra and an affirmation to recite and stay motivated, but the song’s softness and upbeat melody were a reminder to not rush things into perfection and to take my time and enjoy the process of bettering myself.

2. Blinding Lights The Weeknd

FYI – I was here before TikTok. The Weeknd has always been a hit or miss for me. I, either really like his song, or I can’t listen to it. ‘Blinding Lights’ is one of those songs I can listen to on repeat when driving, then watch the live performance when I get home. I love everything about this song – the 80’s vibe, the music video, the catchy lyrics. Songs like this that are upbeat, fast, and tuneful are what makes times like these bearable and fun. These songs change the mood instantly. But it is true without question, the TikTok dance challenges are a factor in what made this song successful and trending on the charts for such a long period of time, and why it was one of my most listened to songs. My favourite ones have to be the TikToks involving peoples’ parents, as they are trying their hardest to keep up with the movements (although some actually slay it).

3. Stuck With You Ariana Grande ft. Justin Bieber

Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber made a slow pop song, and they didn’t miss. With harmony, the beat and the synthesis, this song is one of the best songs 2020 has to offer thus far. Other than that, I honestly don’t know why I like this song so much. The lyrics just rub it, in my face, that I am single and lonely in a time where I don’t need to be reminded about my being single and lonely. And it’s the music video of Grade 12s slow dancing with their prom date for me. The silver-lining, however, is that I am truly grateful I had a senior year to remember, and I had a great time at my prom (the food was meh). If you gave Grade 12 me a choice, I would take prom with bland food over cancelled prom any day of the week. I guess this one is also on here for the hopeless romantics (such as yours truly) that sings along with this song to manifest a significant other. 

4. Rockstar DaBaby ft. Roddy Ricch

If Summer 2020 could be represented by one song and one song only, this has to be it. DaBaby and Roddy Ricch went inside the booth and left with a bop. As soon as I hear that, “I pull up” you know the volume is getting raised to the max. This was definitely a great addition to my workout playlist. What I really respect and bump on repeat is the BLM remix to ‘Rockstar’ DaBaby, released amid the George Floyd protests, as well as the controversial BET Awards performance to the remix that made a loud and clear statement. It’s one thing for a celebrity to post and preach on social media, but to actually do something productive and authentic by raising awareness through their craft despite management and their “brand” or “personal image” is truly remarkable, respectable and creative.

5. We Outside Viking Ding Dong

Since Caribana and all of its festivities were cancelled this year, you know I had to do it up with soca from time to time. The vibes in this song are immaculate. I enjoy the upbeat, yet calm tempo, the catchy lyrics, and the memories that come to mind. When listening, I reminisce about pulling up to a fete with my friends, with pre-game in my system, ready to have a good time and make some memories. Although that vision could not be a reality this summer, Viking Ding Dong himself remixed this song to endorse staying home and washing your hands, and called it ‘We Inside.’ You should definitely check it out.


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