Pandemic playlist, part two

Sometimes music is the best anchor

The second year of the pandemic has dissolved so many of the certainties and constants that structure everyday life. Hours and days bleed into each other; half the time, I’m hard-pressed to remember what month it is, let alone what the point of my various daily endeavors are.

In the middle of this boundless, inchoate mess, music has been a necessary anchor. That sounds like a grand statement, but it also works on the most mundane level: On far too many days, looping the same song on full blast turned out to be a key prerequisite to being a functional human being.

I’ve always liked this exercise because it creates a rich and often surprising sketch of the past year. Spotify Wrapped’s jazzed-up data is cool, yes, but there’s more texture to these annual playlists. Each song finds its way here because of the specific emotional logic of a certain moment. Or, put a different way: I needed these songs, at one point or another, and this compilation says more about how my year went than a programmed breakdown of my account data ever will.