1. SUGA's Interlude
I chose this Halsey song to start off the playlist because it really represents where I am in my life right now and how I'm starting my year. "I've been trying all my life to separate the time/ In between the having it all and giving it up, yeah/I wonder what's in store/If I don't love it anymore". It's like she's reading my mind.
2. Hand in my Pocket
This song is way older than I am, but it speaks to where I'm at now. I love that the whole message is that everything is going to be fine because I need to hear that a lot. All the juxtaposition is fascinating, and the final chorus is a piece I really identify with how I want to feel moving to New York City in the fall. "And what it all boils down to/Is that no one's really got it figured out just yet/Well I've got one hand in my pocket/And the other one's playing a piano/And what it all comes down to my friends/Is that everything's gonna be fine, fine, fine/Cause I've got one hand in my pocket and the other one's hailing a taxi cab".
3. Lights Up
This year is all about me and being more me every day. That's what "Lights Up" is all about. It also acknowledges how change can be painful but is ultimately painful then staying the same. "Can't you see I could but wouldn't stay/Wouldn't put it like that/What do you mean?/I'm sorry by the way/Never coming around/It'd be so sweet if things just stayed the same."
Even though the reality of change is slow, a lot of the times, its effects hit you out of nowhere. Like they happened overnight. This song captures the disorienting feeling of everything shifting. "'Cause People change overnight/Things get strange, but I'm alright/I'm still here, and I'm still high"
5. Good Riddance
Here's a sad song that I've always found comforting. It's about the end of a relationship, but it could really be about so many different kinds of endings and taking chances. You can't tell if he's honest or bitter, but the words are the same regardless of intention. "Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road. Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go/So make the best of this test and don't ask why/It's not a question but a lesson learned in time".
6. you should see me in a crown
My 2020 songs list needed an empowerment bop, and there's nothing that puts me in a takeover the world mood quite like Billie's song. "You should see me in a crown/I'm gonna run this nothing town".
7. New Romantics
This song has always signified new beginnings for me and making the best of any situation. It's one of Taylor's edgier songs, and I love the dark talking tone to the whole song. It's the perfect rep foreshadowing, but, as for it's place on the playlist, I love its energy. "We're so wrong/But we're on the road to ruin/We play dumb, but we know exactly what we're doing/We cry tears of mascara in the bathroom/Honey, life is just a classroom".
8. I Love It
This Icona Pop/Charlie XCX mashup is slights annoying, but it's also a mood. This was huge on the radio one summer that I spent at camp so it sends me back to those happy summer feelings, but it's also about just living life and not really caring. While you can't be like that all the time, sometimes it's better to just let go. "I don't care/I love it".
9. Love Myself
I've been a fan of Olivia O'Brien's work since I heard her with gnash on "I Hate You, I Love You" which she originally wrote. This song is all about empowerment and self love even when it's hard. I like to put it on when I'm having moments of self hate or self doubt. In 2020, I want to work on letting the self criticism go, and "Love Myself" represents that. "I don't need to know who I am yet/I don't need to have a solid plan yet/I don't need to be the same as everyone else/I just need to motherfuckin' love myself".
10. I Miss You
There are a couple songs on here that are about romantic relationships that I'm twisting the meaning on for me, and this Julia Michaels/Clean Bandit track represents that. The chorus of repeated "I miss you's" relate to all the feelings I know I'm going to have when I leave. I need a sad song with a dance beat.
11. For the First Time
This Script song is another relationship one that's more focused on new beginnings and making it through hard times than everything falling apart. My parents played this one a lot so I have my own memories associated with it from hanging around the fire outside to actually seeing them in concert. "How we got into this mess, this is God's test/Someone help us cause we're doing our best/Tryna make it work but, man, these times are hard".
12. Never Grow Up
This Taylor Swift song from Speak Now is soul crushing, but she perfectly summarizes all of my feelings are fears about this new phase of my life as she tells a younger person to not be so intent on growing up fast. The bridge makes me cry every time. "Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room/Memorize what it sounded like when your dad gets home/Remember the footsteps/Remember the words said/And all your little brother's favorite songs/I just realized everything I have is someday gonna be gone/So here I am in my new apartment in a big city, they just dropped me off/It's so much colder than I thought it would be/So I tuck myself in and turn my night light on/Wish I'd never grown up."
13. Just Hold On
I needed a song to pick myself up after that last run, and this song is so full of hope. It has a dance beat to amp things up and the lyrics are amazing and incredibly hopeful. "What do you do when the chapter ends/Do you close the book and never read it again?/Where do you go when the story's done/You can be who you were or who you'll become."
This track from Fearless helped me through one of my lowest points this year. It's loud and explosive with bold guitars and a more aggressive song than the rest of the album. It's also a good reminder that I'm not going to be where I am right now forever. It might not be her best songwriting, but it makes me feel okay. "So we've been outnumbered, raided, and now cornered/It's hard to fight when the fight ain't fair/We're getting stronger now, finding things we never found/They might be bigger, but we're faster and never scared/You can walk away, say we don't need this/But there's something in your eyes says we can beat this."
This old Kelly Clarkson hit might be the quintessential break out/moving on anthem. It tells the story of a girl stuck in a small town ready to leave and make a name for herself. It's so cliche, but, also, cliches exist for a reason. "Out of the darkness and into the sun/But I won't forget the ones that I love/I'll take a risk, take a chance, make a change/And breakaway".
16. The Man
This Taylor song is my 2020 anthem, along with almost everyone else who follows Taylor. It's one of my favorite tracks off of Lover, and I love the intensity and power in the song. "If I was a man/Than I'd be the man".
I always think this Echosmith song is either Taylor or Miley, but I still love thee song. I wanted to end the playlist with a couple more mellow songs that just felt right. "I think the universe is on my side/Heaven and Earth have finally aligned/Days are good/And that's the way it should be."
18. End of the Day
This One Direction track off Made in the AM never fails to confuse me because it sounds like two entirely different songs between the chorus and the verse, but I love the reminder that the chorus lyrics offer. It always makes me feel better when I'm down. "All I know at the end of the day/is you want what you want and you say what you say/And you follow your heart even though it'll break sometimes."
19. Teenage Dream
This is another atmosphere song like "I Love It". I've always loved the vibes that "Teenage Dream" has when it plays, lyrics aside. It's a breeziness and level of adventure I would like to carry into the new yer.
20. Welcome to New York
This is one I threw on there particularly for my own situation. I'm moving to New York this year, and I think I'm going to run through this playlist as I'm on my way there. I want to land and have "Welcome to New York" playing in my ears. Until then, it's a good reminder of where I'm heading over the course of the next few months.