Pandemic Playlist


From left to right, trio Eslabon Armado, rapper Bad Bunny, and boy band BTS


Among all the things that we have done during these trying times, there is one thing that I know has stayed consistent throughout each of our lives: Music. Be it as a pastime, during workouts, or even during small (obviously social distanced) gatherings, we turn up to music and vibe to our heart’s content. 

Music is difficult to escape and it always reels us back in like a worm on the end of a fishing line. It’s the heart and soul of some of our relationships and is what makes our feet move on the dance floor. Apart from bringing people together, music also tears people apart. Music can be shaped into many different things and we all have the right to hold different opinions about said things. I wanted to write this so people could share their opinions, so people could connect during a time that brought so much disconnection. Whether it be your love of The Marias, Nicki Minaj, The Strokes or anyone, we all share the same love for music. 

The Alisal 2020 Playlist is a collection of the most popular songs, albums, and music which we have gathered and sorted by popularity, chosen by the student body of Alisal High School. Disclaimer, the data used for this article has been taken directly from the “Alisal 2020 Playlist” survey which included the responses of nearly 700 students. This list is based upon that for the purpose of entertainment and fun. This list isn’t meant to be a competition. It’s a display of how connected we can all be through our love of music itself. 



The three most popular artists, based on the survey are (from most to least): Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny, South Korean boy band BTS, and California trio Eslabon Armado. As a reminder, I’d like to point out that all artists ARE unique in their own way and attempting to make a list based on genre would have been more challenging with everyone’s diverse musical taste. These artists will be mentioned later, as their popularity within the students spanned across several categories. 





At the plateau of the most popular song by popular vote we have none other than the critically acclaimed hit single by BTS, Dynamite. The song dropped this year on the 21st of August and was the South Korean band’s second release of the year after Map of the Soul: 7. Debuting number one on the Billboard Hot 100, it marked the band’s first time they got a number-one single in the US and broke history as the first Korean band to accomplish this feat. It stayed in the top for 3 consecutive weeks and was even featured in the VMA’s where the band performed the song and choreography simultaneously which in itself is an already impressive feat. “One of their songs that I absolutely love is definitely ‘Dynamite,’” said junior, Anali Ayala-Aguilar. mentioning the band’s amazing accomplishment of releasing “their first all English single.” The purpose of the song was to bring positivity and ease the tension brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine. The song’s primary influences derive from 1970s disco-pop which involves the use of elements from soul and funk, which gives the song it’s bright and rhythmic sound that makes you want to get up and dance. Other songs with similar influences that have been released this year include: “Say So” by Doja Cat, “Watermelon Sugar” by Harry Styles, and “Rain on Me” by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande. 



The second most popular song was the second single from the album After Hours, “Blinding Lights” by Canadian singer The Weeknd. It became The Weeknd’s fifth number one single for both the Billboard Hot 100 and Canadian Hot 100. It reached several charts outside of the Americas including Germany, the United Kingdom, and Australia making the song his most successful single worldwide to this day. The song received numerous amounts of praise worldwide. It was used as the theme song for WrestleMania 36 and was featured in promotion for Super Bowl LIV. It appears in NB2k21, Just Dance 2021, and Fortnite Battle Royale and had its own choreographed dance challenge on TikTok. Fellow student, Diego Rosas, mentions how the song is “just so 80s” and that “it deserves it’s spot on the Billboard.” In fact, The Weeknd mentioned his appreciation for music of the 80s in an interview conducted by Billboard. “You can hear it as far back as my first mixtape…”he said. “Siouxsie and the Banshees, Cocteau Twins… [they] play such a huge role in my sound.”



Number three came from the rising regional Mexican trio from California, Eslabon Armado, with the song “Con Tus Besos.” The song originated from the trio’s debut album Tu Veneno Mortal, a ten song set including various elements from the likes of mariachi and banda. The song’s main inspiration came from the romantic drama movie, The Notebook. Pedro Tovar(lead singer) mentioned that he was moved to tears by the film, stating, “Esa película neta me hizo llorar.” He asked his mom for help on a certain part of the song, asking her if it was too much, and if stuff needed to be changed. “I made a lot of mistakes on that one when we were recording the album and wasn’t going to add it. But then my mom convinced me to include it.” Much to his surprise, the song was able to garner several listeners which allowed it to peak at number 21 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs Chart. 



The following are some honorable mentions from this category: “Yo Perreo Sola” by Bad Bunny, “Ella” by Junior H, “W.A.P.” by Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion, “Heather” by Conan Gray, and “Sofia” by Clairo.





The most popular album, by majority vote, is the second solo studio album by Puerto Rican singer and rapper, Bad Bunny, YHLQMDLG or Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana. The album started it’s recording process in 2019 and was released on a leap day, the 29th of February, the following year. The album has a run time of 66 minutes with various features from other artists like Daddy Yankee, Mora, Yesi, Yaviah, Kendo Kaponi, Anuel AA, Arcangel, Duki and others. It debuted number 2 on the Billboard 200 and became the highest-charting all-spanish album ever on the chart. The album lead with the single “Vete,” following “Ignorantes”, then “La Dificil,” and lastly “Yo Perreo Sola.” “Yo Perreo Sola” garnished more than 300 million views on YouTube with it’s seemingly controversial music video featuring Bad Bunny dressed from head to toe in drag. The music video sends a blunt message against harassment in the end of it with the words “Si no quiere bailar contigo respeta ella perrea sola” which translates to “If she does not want to dance with you, respect her, she’ll dance alone” in bold red text. The album is a mix of reggaeton, latin trap, and hip hop with strong percussive elements and beats used to make people get up and dance. “The album was amazing. So much versatility and just every song was a hit,” said senior Luis Tena. “I would definitely recommend others to listen to it because it’s something different, obviously. But just the vibe to Bad Bunny’s music is great.”



Three months after the release of their debut album, Tu Veneno Mortal, regional Mexican trio Eslabon Armado, released their second album Vibras de Noche. The album debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart making it the second title by a regional Mexican act to debut at the top in 2020. The album was an important and special project for the trio. “Production wise, it meant a great effort as it [was] super demanding in defining the sound we were looking for,” says Pedro Tovar of the trio. Several songs from the album were mentioned in the survey; “Dame tu Calor,” “Tal Vez,” “Sube al Carro” and many others. With the name popping up so many times, there’s no wonder as to why it’s so popular among the students of Alisal.



With “Blinding Lights” already being one of the most popular songs of the year, it’s no surprise that it’s album would be included as well. The Weeknd’s After Hours was recorded in the span of two years and was released on the 20th of March this year. The length of the album is a little under an hour, standing at 56 minutes and including 14 unique tracks. After Hours was primarily carried by it’s singles “Heartless,” “Blinding Lights,” and “In Your Eyes,” but it was much more than just a music album. It further showed how creative The Weeknd could be as an artist, with the telling of a narrative about troubled love and how one night in Las Vegas could go horribly wrong, all inside an album with a genre centering around dream pop, new wave, and electronic pop. “After Hours was a very great album that used material from past albums that made it sound like something we’ve never heard before,” said sophomore, Roco Contreras. “It was awesome with what he did for After Hours, using it all, creating it [into] a mood swinging story that anybody could listen to.”



The following are some honorable mentions for this category: Map of the Soul: 7 by BTS, Legends Never Die by Juice WRLD, Eternal Atake by Lil Uzi Vert, and Fine Line by Harry Styles.





On October 5th, 2020, the South Korean boy band’s music video for their song “DNA” hit over 1.1 BILLION views on YouTube. This makes them the first Korean boy group to hit this milestone, placing it closer to other Korean hits like PSY’s “Gangnam Style” and BLACKPINK’s “DDU-DU DDU-DU,” with both having 3.8 billion and 1.3 billion views respectively. This makes me wonder which of their songs will hit that milestone again. Their song “Boy With Luv” seems very close, standing at 976 million views as of this October.



Much like their emergence into mainstream Composed of musicians Laura Les and Dylan Brady, 100 gecs came into the 2020 experimental electronic pop scene and overall music scene like a slap on the face. Although their album 1000 gecs was released on May 31st of last year, it only recently became a hit due to the various memes and social interactions that people had with their songs. In July of this year, the duo released an album which embodied remixed versions of their original songs titled 1000 gecs and the Tree of Clues which featured artists like Rico Nasty, Kero Kero Bonito, Fall Out Boy, Tommy Cash, Charli XCX and more. Both remixed and unmixed versions of their song “Ringtone” were made into TikTok audios which could have had an impact on their fanbase. Their most popular song, “money machine,” garnered 8 million views on YouTube and was produced and written entirely by the duo. On October 9th 2020, the duo released the music video for their song “hand crushed by a mallet,” featuring Dylan Brady and Laura Les running around as The Mask and a fly respectively. Their aesthetic and sound is hard to explain, but they sure have mastered it. “I think their music is a reawakening of what music used to be in the mid-late 2000s and early 2010s [but reimagined],” said Carlos Robles of the Junior Class. “Even though the majority of music these days is Pop and Rock, 100 gecs made something new and it manifests itself into something different with every song in their album 1000 gecs.” 



Multi-Platinum artist and entrepreneur, Travis Scott, earned his fourth No. 1 Hit on the Billboard with the release of “Franchise,” earning him the “record for the fastest accumulation of three No. 1 debuts in Hot 100 history” according to Billboard. The Houston rapper teased his upcoming single and even made it available to preorder, before September 25th, the date of release. Artists Young Thug and M.I.A. were featured in the single, giving Young Thug his second No. 1 Hit and M.I.A. her first. The song pays tribute to the deceased rapper, Pop Smoke, in Young Thug’s verse and alludes to Travis Scott’s upcoming album Utopia. He references the collaborations he’s done with McDonald’s, Fortnite, and even Nike, giving the song the title it deserves – “Franchise.”