Semisonic's 1998 hit, “Closing Time” ends with the lyrics “every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” (The song also says “you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here,” but that might be a slightly harsher way of putting it.)
As the outgoing editorial leaves the metaphorical bar of The Ubyssey for the last time, we thought we’d leave you with a couple of parting gifts. Upon reflecting on the mess of the last year, through all the Zoom lectures and the ever-changing physical distancing restrictions, we found that music, in all its forms, was the throughline that kept us going. As a result, we made you a playlist for the difficult times, but also for the times that you want to reminisce.
But with every end comes a new beginning! The new editorial board have put together a playlist looking forward, with songs that contain hope for a better future — a time to come where we can gather and be together once more.
OUT WITH THE OLD: LOOKING BACK
Last year was a tumultuous time, but through it all the editors were able to make some stellar content to keep us connected. Before they move on to new opportunities, they took the time to drop some groovy song recommendations.
Outgoing Coordinating Editor, Pawan Minhas
- “Sacre Coeur” by Coeur de pirate
- “Isle-aux-Coudres” by Coeur de pirate
- “Les Eboulements” by Coeur de pirate
This newly-released album doesn't really match the prompt, but the story behind it is one of pure grit and inspiration, plus it's full of killer tunes.
Beatrice Martin (Coeur de Pirate) hasn't been able to sing in a while due to medical concerns, and recently underwent surgery on her vocal chords to restore her incredible range — but her most recent album, Perséides, shows that she's far from content with letting silence reign.
An acoustic album showcasing her incredible talent as a pianist, Perséides is a 10-track masterpiece that can inspire and invigorate without a lyric to be heard.
Outgoing Visuals Editor Lua Presidio
- “Sunday Best” by Surfaces
Spring is my favourite season and “Sunday Best” just feels like spring to me. Its continuous chill and upbeat vibe have helped me to get through some tough days. It is such a positive song that never fails to make me smile. The song is a verbal reminder that even when things are bad, we can make them better. Instead of listening to words of affirmation, I listened to this song. While I learned to longboard, “Sunday Best” became my theme song because walking around the neighbourhood was really the only thing I could do.
Outgoing News Editor, Andrew Ha
- “Supermodel” by SZA
From SZA’s smooth vocals to her deliberate lyrics, “Supermodel” is pure honey. I’ll be halfway to retirement when she decides to drop another album, but I’ll be content if the songs are half as good as this.
- “Hi High” by LOONA
With lines like “Love is more cruel than college entrance exams,” this song is better than any energy drink. Stan LOONA. Enough said.
- “YOU’RE THE ONE” by KAYTRANADA featuring Syd
Take KAYTRANADA’s beat-making prowess, add Syd’s cool verses and you get one of the best dance tracks I’ve ever heard.
Returning News Editor, Charlotte Alden
- “Changes” by Ruston Kelly
- “Ride Out in the Country” by Yola
Like a lot of people, last summer did not go as planned for me. It was the first summer in a long time where I wasn’t working full time and I was forced to slow down and reflect. “Changes” is a song that helped me come to terms with the fact that life rarely goes according to plan, and “Ride Out in the Country” made me breathe, and reminded me to go outside!
Outgoing Culture Editor, Danni Olusanya
Last summer when it felt like everything was falling apart it was music that helped hold everything together. I found picking between these songs to be way too difficult, but then I realized that I’m coordinating this list so I can do whatever I want!
“Ice T” by Tems
I heard this first track in the height of summer. Rather than enjoying the sun on a beach day, I found myself sitting in the Ubyssey office, breathing precipitation and disappointment into my mask. But this song helped me imagine the summer I could have had. “Ice T” by Nigerian pop star Tems, is a song about giving a lover one more chance, but as she sings about raspberries, blueberries and iced tea, I am suddenly on the beach, Long Island Iced tea in hand and ready to put this song on repeat.
“Weird Fishes” by Lianne La Havas
Lianne La Havas’ self-titled album was one of my absolute favourites of 2020. Her sultry voice is absolutely intoxicating. While I could have picked almost any song from her LP, La Havas’ soulful cover of Radiohead’s “Weird Fishes” is the most fitting. In the latter half, she sings in an almost yelling and then pleading voice, “Hit the bottom and escape!” In a world where we were often limited to isolating in the four walls of our bedroom, this song felt like the perfect cry for help.
“White Boy” by Jensen McRae
The first time I heard Jensen McRae’s “White Boy,” I put it on repeat for the next hour and a half. Listen to it and I know you’ll do the exact same thing.
“Bad Friend” by Rina Sawayama
Rina Sawayamas album came to me at the perfect time, I finally listened to it on the last day of 2020, and this album kept me going through 2021. While some songs such as “Chosen Family” felt like a hug, “Bad Friend” was a hard slap in the face. Being so far away from so many of my friends and not having the chance to spend this year in the office with my wonderful co-editors was incredibly painful, but this song helped me mourn all the small moments that were taken away as a result of the pandemic. Somehow, this song just gets it.
Returning Sports Editor, Diana Hong
- “That’s Okay” by D.O. (EXO)
- “Life Goes On” by BTS
This past year has been full of uncertainties and adjustments. Listening to music was important for me because it got me through tough times whenever I was stressed or having a rough day. Listening to ‘That’s Okay” made me feel like it is okay to feel stressed, overwhelmed and upset and it also reminded me to be okay with feeling these rollercoasters of emotions.
“Life Goes On” reminds me to remember that at the end of the day, life goes on and I have to try my best with the given situation to move forward.
Returning Video Editor, Josh McKenna
- “Survive” by Show Me The Body
- “Frost (C)” by Sunn O)))
Both of these songs were relevant to living through and processing last year for me. “Survive” uses a “punch up, not down” style lyric to present a sharp critique of policing, something extremely timely, and does so with a ferocity that makes this track cathartic.
“Frost (C)” helped me maintain a healthy mental state amidst isolation, the crisp drones that make up the 11-minute track made for impactful meditative material or the perfect background music for studying, editing videos or just trying to chill.
Outgoing Blog and Opinions Editor, Sam Smart
- “Walcott” by Vampire Weekend
- “Saturday” by Fall Out Boy
This year I listened to a lot of songs with strong memories attached to them, mostly as a way of escaping the present. My favourites were “Walcott” by Vampire Weekend and “Saturday” by Fall Out Boy.
“Walcott” brought me back to the Vampire Weekend concert I went to in 2019 where they played Walcott as the encore and the memory of that time fills me with a lot of joy, and their first album, in general, brings me back to a better time.
“Saturday” brought me back to my angsty teen years, and it was a much-needed escape from the present whenever I was feeling extra emotional.
Outgoing Photo Coordinator, Jasmine Foong
- “Anybody” by Burna Boy
- “Sunrise” by MICHELLE, Arlo Parks
Burna Boy and Arlo Parks make the kind of music that you feel in your soul. Anybody stood out to me this year because it is a 100% guaranteed mood booster, every single time. With the level of despair and restrictions that came with the pandemi-lovato, I think it’s safe to say that we all had no choice but to find serotonin in the smallest things. For me, it was browsing Airbnb listings while listening to Burna Boy, hyping myself up for a pandemic-free future.
“Sunrise” by MICHELLE and Arlo Parks was another song that got me through the year for reasons unrelated to the pandemic. The ways in which the rhythm and harmonies in the song flow has always been comforting to me. And the lyrics so eloquently describe the kinds of relationships that people never know how to label.
Outgoing Science Editor, Myla White
- “Gypsy Woman” Crystal Waters
- “Trash of Life” by Workerz
- “Drunk in LA” by Beach House
On reflection, the music I listened to this year really fit into three camps: instrumentals I’d listen to while working at my computer all day, music that made me feel strong and music that allowed me to let my feelings flow. When I listen to “Gypsy Woman” I’m reminded of the strength and the energy of the queer people who came before me; “Trash of Life” is emblematic of all different genres of electronic music that allowed my imagination to take on a life of its own from my bedroom; and “Drunk in LA” makes me want to head to the field close to my house and feel the grass between my toes.
Returning Features Editor, Bailey Martens
- “She’s So High” by Tal Bachman
- “Left Hand Free” by Alt J
Don’t ask me how “She’s So High” became my pandemic walk song. But last summer, I walked to an Edmonton lookout every night with it on blast. Walking in rhythm with the beat until I reached a view impossible to be sad while looking at. During a time of so much uncertainty and personal struggles, this daily routine reminded me that life can still feel like a movie montage. I also really loved Outer Banks and my brain is still a constant loop of “Left Hand Free” by Alt J.
IN WITH THE NEW: LOOKING FORWARD
As we look ahead, the incoming editors put together a playlist of songs filled with hope for when we can all be together on campus again.
Incoming Coordinating Editor, Lua Presidio
- “Pack Up” by Eliza Doolitle
This is an old song but over the past week, I remembered it, and now I’m obsessed with it again. This is my song for the future because I know I have a very stressful year ahead of me, but I can never allow myself to worry too much. Again, this song is all vibes and that’s what I’m here for.
Incoming Visuals Editor, Mahin E Alam
- “Ophelia” by The Lumineers
- “Cleopatra” by The Lumineers
- “Sleep on the Floor” by The Lumineers
This year, I found myself listening to these three tracks from The Lumineers. For me, these songs help me to take a step back and reminisce about my journey so far. They remind me to appreciate my life and the opportunities that I have been blessed with. It's like setting a refresh button and rediscovering life with a fresh perspective. These songs serve as a reminder for me to always appreciate life and to hope for the best for the upcoming year.
Returning News Editor, Charlotte Alden
- “Love You Now, Love You Later” by Ben Kessler
Seeing family and friends again is hopefully going to become a reality this year, but this is what I’ll be listening to until then. Ben Kessler wrote this song about saying goodbye to some of his best friends and assuring them that even if he doesn’t see them for a while, he’ll still love them. This song makes me cry, but it’s also a bop!
Incoming News Editor, Nathan Bawaan
- “It Gets Better” by Rex Orange County
The title says it all. Like everyone else, quarantine fatigue is hitting hard. Mask wearing is getting old, and I just want to be able to go home and see my family without having a two-week-long quarantine waiting for me when I get back. This song’s build to its upbeat final chorus reminds me that Miss Rona might be making a mess of things right now, but that a better future is so, so close.
- “Where Have You Been, My Disco?” by IV of Spades
My literal interpretation of this song is that Unique and the rest of the band just really miss disco and want it to come back. While I certainly don’t disagree, I think this song could apply to anything that the listener may miss. At the moment, I’m hoping that in-person hangouts and unproductive study sessions with friends, and even early morning walks to Buchanan, make a triumphant return soon. Until then, I will be playing this funky bop on repeat.
Incoming Culture Editor, Tianne Jensen-DesJardins
- “Change (Taylor’s Version)” by Taylor Swift
- “You’re Only Human (Second Wind)” by Billy Joel
- “One Day at a Time” by Sam Smith
As a firm believer in the power of words, I’ll let the lyrics speak for themselves. Last year was shitty, let’s make the next one less so.
Returning Sports Editor, Diana Hong
- “What Type of X” by Jessi
- “Rollin’” by Brave Girls
Now moving forward, listening to “What Type of X” makes me feel like a badass and gives me confidence towards all the new tasks and challenges coming my way.
Brave Girls are a K-pop girl group who were unrecognized for a very long time, so much so, that the band almost broke up. After a lot of hard work, their music was able to make it to number one across all music platforms in Korea allowing them to continue their journey. Listening to “Rollin” and hearing their story gives me hope that as long as you work hard, you will be able to reach your dreams.
Returning Video Editor, Josh McKenna
- “John L” by black midi
- “Sunblind” by Fleet Foxes
These songs represent looking forward to me for different reasons. “John L” is organized chaos, it’s this weird experimental jazz/post-rock track that stumbles together perfectly. I relate it to moving forward organizing the chaos of the last year. The lyrics, regarding a cult turning on its leader, though I’m not a part of any cults (except WWPD), remind me of doing away with bad habits.
“Sunblind” is a nod to the past while looking forward to the future, acknowledging musicians that have passed and their influence. It makes me think of how much I love and will miss last year’s editorial. But I’ll always carry what they’ve taught me, and am excited to work with the amazing incoming editorial.
Incoming Blog and Opinions Editor, Thomas McLeod
- “All My Friends” by LCD Soundsystem
The repetition of the phrase “if I could see all my friends tonight” voices a sort of yearning and nostalgia that we’ve all experienced during a year of isolation, but it also looks forward to the days when we can see all our friends and be dumb young people again. I would put this on any list, even if it wasn’t relevant.
- “Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen/Lucy Dacus
I’ve always loved the Springsteen version for its melancholy, circling-the-drain sort of anxiety, and the Lucy Dacus version changes the tone completely and makes it a song about hope. I’ve always resonated with the line “there’s something happening somewhere,” and living through a year where that has been uniquely false has made me reevaluate what I value, and how I see the time we spend alone.
Incoming Science Editor, Sophia Russo
- “Allstar” by Smash Mouth
- “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire
- “Stay @ Home” by Mikey Jose
Whenever I need a pick me up, I turn to songs with that classic groove potential, the kind that get you moving no matter where you are. “All Star” by Smash Mouth, aside from being a welcome reminder of Shrek, is a true inspiration. All that glitters is gold, man. Similarly, “September” is hypnotic in its dance power. Whether it comes on in a restaurant, at the grocery store or in lab, you can guarantee some not-so-subtle shoulder action. “Stay @ Home” by Mikey Jose, a UBC alum, is another uplifting jam that serves as an introvert’s anthem and always activates the *groove*.
Incoming Photo Editor, Isabella Falsetti
- “Angela” by The Lumineers
- “The Joke” by Brandi Carlile
- “Ever Since New York” by Harry Styles
If anything, these songs have taught me resilience. Though I enjoyed them before the pandemic, they’ve taken on a new meaning in this current context — especially the lyrics “It’s a long time coming,” “You’re looking tired, but you don’t look scared” and “I need something, tell me something new,” respectively. They convey a sense of weariness but ultimately a readiness for change, which I think we all can relate to. For me, taking on this role will be part of that change — my "something new" — and I can't wait to get started.
Returning Features Editor, Bailey Martens
- “Mirror” by Sigrid
- “enough for you” by Olivia Rodrigo
I have been obsessed with Sigrid for years. Her newest song, “Mirror,” has only been out for a little while and I don’t plan on ever turning it off. I can’t wait to usher in post-pandemic life with this bop. When I am not dancing around my apartment getting dressed up to go anywhere you will find me scream-crying in the car to the entirety of Olivia Rodrigo’s discography. “enough for you” breaks my heart a bit more with each listen, but misery loves company, baby!