8 songs that have kept me company during quarantine

A playlist of songs that helped me stay current with an artistic outlet during lockdown


Khalil Bourgoub

A mashup of albums that highlight the different themes of the playlist that were significant to Khalil Bourgoub. The albums from left to right are “Dragonball Durag Remix” by Thundercat, “Technicolor” by Covet, “Writer’s Block” by Peter Bjorn and John and “UNLOCKED” by Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats.

Khalil Bourgoub

With COVID-19 lockdowns and quarantine lasting a whole year, I wanted to mark the year spent inside with a playlist of songs that got me through the isolation and drives to work. I have eight songs that highlight eight different genres of music, which helped reignite my passion for playing music and finding new music to share with people.

‘Dragonball Durag Remix’ – Thundercat ft. Smino and Guapdad 4000


The first song is pretty hard to pigeonhole into a singular genre because Thundercat writes music that blends together a lot of different genres into one, but the remix to “Dragonball Durag” he released with Smino and Guapdad 4000 had to be my favorite song of 2020. This song is a mixture of jazz, funk, hip hop and a refreshing sound to give off the lighthearted energy everyone needed this year. 

If the artists behind this song were representative of the U.S. government, every time I hit play on this song a serotonin stimulus package was sent directly to my brain and was a song my roommate and I listened to making coffee every morning. 

‘Nakamarra’ – Hiatus Kaiyote


I felt I had to add a small section to the playlist dedicated to a couple songs that really got me back into playing music during quarantine. Jazz music has always been a genre I have been interested in when it comes to being some of the most fun to play, and “Nakamarra” by Hiatus Kaiyote was one of the first songs that had me sitting at my desk with a chord chart in a very long time.

The smooth chord changes and the soulful singing made this song so enjoyable to play along to and one that just never got old.

‘Parachute’ – Covet 

Continuing with music that helped me keep up with my quarantine guitar playing, I included a song from my favorite guitarist, Yvette Young and her band Covet. This band is very near and dear to my heart because they are from my hometown, San Jose, and make very interesting, progressive, math-y rock music. 

Learning excerpts from “Parachute” and another of their songs, “Nero,” kept my guitar chops warm and always gave me fun projects to work on in my down time. 

‘On My Mind’ – Jorja Smith 

The next genre I wanted to list was R&B and my favorite newer artist fulfilling that soulful music was Jorja Smith. Whether or not you lost love during this past year or you started to listen to music that helped you deal with hard times, Smith writes music that can fill the hole anyone left and leave you feeling stronger for it after.

2020 was a rough year for a lot of people but finding R&B music that helped me feel heard was a defining moment for me and I’m sure many others.

‘BTSTU’ – Jai Paul 


With this song I wanted to show a rekindling of love for music that I was into in my middle school and high school days. When I was in high school, electronic music was on an upward trajectory but I never knew it would rise to prominence in the modern music scene as it has today. 

“BTSTU” by Jai Paul is just an old school banger to me now that reminds me of how intriguing electronic music was to me when it was blowing up and was completely new artistic territory for me when I first discovered it.. 

‘The Chills’ – Peter Bjorn and John


Going back in time, one of the first genres of music I found completely on my own and I fell in love with was early to mid 2000s indie rock. Bands like Peter Bjorn and John were taking alternative rock to new and unexplored areas and bands similar to them were ones that really spurred my independence in my desire to find new music. They are responsible for developing the more adventurous side of my music taste even though they are relatively tame by today’s standards.

“Writer’s Block” was one of my favorite albums in middle school alongside “Chutes Too Narrow” by The Shins and my obsession with indie rock music back then kept me curious about what musicians could do with sounds and influences I’d never heard before.

‘Say So’ – Doja Cat


When I knew I wanted to make a quarantine playlist, I knew I needed to include Doja Cat. She has been one of my favorite pop and rap artists that I started listening to since lockdown started and she has been releasing quality songs and music videos to keep everyone entertained since. “Say So” has definitely been one of my favorite pop songs recently and her album “Hot Pink” went from one of those albums I thought I had to roll up the windows to listen to while driving, to unashamedly blasting while running errands.

Her music is fun, super catchy and even though I was a little late to the party finding her, I’m really glad I did because listening to her music is always a good time.

‘DIET_ ‘- Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats


The last song I included is “DIET_” from my current favorite rapper Denzel Curry. Simply put, this is the song I listened to this year when I needed that extra strength to get done what I needed to get done. Everyone needed an artist that did that for them last year.

Denzel Curry makes music that is there for you when you need to go super saiyan. I cannot count how many times I listened to this song on the morning drives to work.