Think Out Loud

What music helped you get through the year?

By Sage Van Wing (OPB), Donald Orr (OPB) and Samantha Matsumoto (OPB)
Dec. 23, 2020 3:45 p.m. Updated: Dec. 24, 2020 12:47 a.m.

Broadcast: Wednesday, Dec. 23

Music can provoke powerful emotional responses. Sometimes your favorite song or album played on repeat, can be just what you need to get through a rough patch. This year has certainly been difficult. We asked our listeners what songs helped get them through this year.

Here’s some of them told us. And you can listen to a playlist of songs suggested by our listeners here.

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Yo-Yo Ma – Simple Gifts

I’ve been listening to Michael Allen Harrison’s Anti-Anxiety COVID-19 Music daily. I’ve been listening to Yo-Yo Ma selections. On YouTube, I found an hour-long collection of renditions of the song “Simple Gifts,” which I find myself playing in its entirety several times when things are particularly stressful.

All of this music has helped me make it through the year. Music is what’s helped me make it through 2020.”– Connie from Portland

Sault – Bow featuring Michael Kiwanuka

This comes from a critically acclaimed album called “Untitled (Black Is)” from a vocal and DJ collective called Sault. English singer Michael Kiwanuka is featured here. It’s got an incredible Afro-Caribbean beat as the backbone. The lyrics are essentially a roll call of African nations. This song had double meaning for me this year. Michael Kiwanuka was one of the last shows I saw before the venue lockdown. And the song (and the album it came from) captured a lot of the energy from the racial and social justice protests that swept the world in 2020. – Jerad Walker, OPB

Chronixx – I Can

It’s a really uplifting song that has a chorus that I’ve sung probably a dozen times over this pandemic. – Jessica from Milwaukie

Burial – Chemz

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It’s kind of this classic, UK garage club beat, over some yearning sound wash background tones that give it this sadness or distance feeling. … I’m an aging raver that misses the dance floor. And listening to that music, just somehow the familiar stuttering club beats but then inflected with this sense of distance and sadness just hit me as kind of the flavor of this year. – Tori from Boring

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down – How Could I

I interviewed lead singer Thao Nguyen about her record “Temple” for an OPB news feature in September. During the interview, I found out something about this song that personally shook me. I’m not a crier when it comes to listening to music or consuming art. But man, this song wrecked me. And it helped me through an incredibly tough time/grieving period. – Jerad Walker, OPB

One More Light – Linkin Park covered by One Voice Children’s Choir

The video particularly is very personal to that particular choir, but personal to me because this year I had a dear friend commit suicide, and I think it’s important that people know you matter. – Tina from Portland

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

Skee-Lo – I Wish

It’s just a perfect song for whenever I had to get in the car and go to work during this time, with my windows down and just blasting it. Always uplifting. – Bean from Portland

Alicia Keys and Brandi Carlile – A Beautiful Noise

“Beautiful Noise” by Alicia Keys and Brandi Carlile brought me to tears as I struggled with deep self-reflection and the relentless turmoil of 2020. Their clear and direct message of hope and unity cuts through the distractions and leaves me uplifted and inspired for 2021. – Bryana

Contact “Think Out Loud®”

If you’d like to comment on any of the topics in this show or suggest a topic of your own, please get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter, send an email to thinkoutloud@opb.org, or you can leave a voicemail for us at 503-293-1983. The call-in phone number during the noon hour is 888-665-5865.

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