Ben Folds has released an exasperated new single, “2020,” to sum up what has already been a “rollercoaster year.”
“We seem to be currently reliving and cramming a number of historically tumultuous years into one,” Folds wrote in a statement. “For a moment it was all about the 1918 pandemic. Then we began seeing hints of the Great Depression before flipping the calendar forward to the Civil Rights protests of the 1960’s. Running beneath this is the feeling that we’re in the Cold War, while seeing elements that brought us to the Civil War rearing their head, making us wonder if we’ve learned a damn thing at all.”
There’s the sense that time is accelerating by the day. It’s personally disorienting, and also artistically disorienting. It actually stifles expression in that what you express in the morning may be out of date or even inappropriate by noon. It used to be ‘oh, that’s so 2008’ Now it’s ‘oh, that’s so 1:30 PM!’ How can you write a song in which the whole landscape has shifted by the time you’ve written the 3rd verse? All I could think to do was to write a song about this very phenomenon. The cramming of multiple (and not so fun) years into one. And about the worry of how many more there may be to come. Here’s to hoping for some stability in 2021, and to eventually looking back and understanding that this year, uncomfortable as it has been, took to get us to a better place. Until then, hold on to our hats.
The song is short, but the frustration is evident: “We’re not repeating history, just the parts that sucked / 2020, what the actual fuck?”
Listen to the song below: