Everyone has been affected by Covid-19. Whether it be to do with your work life, relationships, personal mile-stones or planned events, a lot has changed. At first this was frightening, but soon enough this horrific shared experience was something that we were united in. One way in which humans join together in is through music. So, combining this odd, universal experience with the talent of song-writing, a lot of musicians have used this to their advantage.
Within the first couple of weeks of lockdown, there were already songs being released about the pandemic. In the last week of March, just two weeks into lockdown in the UK, Matt Maltese released ‘Ballad of a Pandemic’. Admittedly, I gave the single 5-stars. I thought it was important for people to listen to, and it was reassuring to hear your favourite singer talk about the same things that had been on your own mind.
But, as time went on, these quarantine songs became less cute and relatable and more annoying. Music works as the ideal escape from the news, but when the music begins to incorporate the horrifying reality which everyone is living through right now, where do you turn to? When music becomes a source of anxiety rather than a reliever of it, something has gone wrong.
Twenty One Pilots‘ ‘Level of Concern‘ became a popular one instantly. And, to be fair to them, it’s one of the best of the bunch. It doesn’t dwell too much in the pandemic, and the lyrics aren’t obviously about it.
Turbo, Gunna and Young Thug‘s single ‘Quarantine Clean’ is, on the other hand, a prime example of this issue. It combines the problem of keeping everything clean with some lustful desire towards an unnamed female. “Yeah, I’m quarantine clean, so relax” is the one of the only lines that is explicitly mentioning the quarantine, but it’s done in quite a distateful way. Later on, they sing “Why would a disease come around when you get rich”. Rapping about a deadly pandemic whilst talking about money and sex just doesn’t sit well with me.
In an interview with The Edge, Frank Turner also admits his concern with these quarantine songs. He stated that in a year’s time, there will be a ton of songs released from artists that are all about this situation. The diversity of music is what makes music so wonderful – what will be the point in listening if every single song deals with the same, universal experience?
So, let’s leave these quarantine songs behind. In a few years, they will be a reminder of the times we all lived in and might serve as some comfort to your future safety. But for right now, whilst we’re still living through it, music needs to serve as an escape rather than a constant reminder. Ditch the songs about quarantine – write and listen to songs to do with love, teenage years, anger, or anything you’re into. Please… just avoid the topic of the pandemic.