Entertainment & Media

Why Was This Song Nicknamed the Anthem of 2020

By Isabella Menjivar

Volume 1 Issue 4

January 20, 2021

Why Was This Song Nicknamed the Anthem of 2020

Image provided by Powell Robinson

The song “If the world was ending” by Julia Michaels and JP Saxe instantly rose to #5 on the BILLBOARD Top 100 chart on March 21st, 2020.  Suddenly it was everywhere: on the radio while driving home after school closed, in stores, commercials, and during pandemic relief fundraiser performances. So why would a song released in October of 2019 suddenly go viral? There’s only one answer: a meaningful reason to play it.


Julia Michaels has said in an interview that the song was meant to make people “picture the scenario that such a significant occurrence may actually have the power to bring them together”. In the song we all heard the lyric “I didn’t feel it when the earthquake happened”. But what you may’ve not known is that this lyric isn’t a metaphor, it specifically relates to the Los Angeles earthquakes during the summer of 2019. Once we all saw the title of the song the day lockdowns began back in March, we instantly related and gave it an entirely new meaning. We all felt separated from the rest of the world but brought together with everyone we live with. The song made some think about who they’d want to be by, where they’d want to be, and what they’d do if the world were ending.  With a significant meaning to the pandemic, “If the world was ending” was performed for a frontline worker support charity called “Doctors Without Borders”. Julia Michaels and JP Saxe teamed up with singers like Sam Smith and Niall Horan for this special event.  Another lyric in the song that’s relevant to our situation is “All our fears would be irrelevant”.


We all wish that the fears brought by the pandemic like losing our loved ones, being quarantined, and losing the chance to have activities would go away. Therefore, at the “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” celebration this song earned its title by being presented as “The Anthem of 2020”.