Lists And Mixes

COVID-19: A Pandemic Playlist

It’s spreading–this craze to create a Pandemic Playlist. And I caught it.

As we all–or, at least the smarter of us non-essentials–self-isolate at home, it’s given many of us time to tackle assorted projects, renew our personal goals, reconnect with folks we lost track of in the obsessive quest for the almighty dollar, and, finally, take a deep breath.

So, as I sit down to take steps toward assorted HubSpot Certifications, I figured I needed a good Pandemic Playlist to accompany me.

NOTE: If you want to skip all the mumbo jumbo and get straight to the playlist, here’s the embed:

Creating a Pandemic Playlist

First up, the parameters. The songs needed to have something illness related, be shrouded in fear, or at least have something dystopian about them.

Sickness, illness, quarantine, panic, isolation–all fair game.

Pandemic Playlist

The darker and more brooding, the better.

Select songs, like “Wucan” by Black Mountain, are more lyrically suited, whereas others like “Lazy Bones” by Wooden Shjips simply have that post-apocalyptic sound.

Finally, tracks like “This Little Life of Mine” by Spiritualized and “No One Was There” by Dark Meat simply feel chaotic with appropriate titles.

When creating a thematic playlist, one challenge is to organize the songs in a way that both flows both musically and contextually. You need a hard-hitting opener, but you also need to ensure that the content flows through to a suitable end.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Superbug

To set the tone, I selected “Superbug” by the prolific King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. It’s heavy, donning elements of metal, while lyrically fitting the bill in the most eerie of ways for a song released in 2019:

Superbug coming up
H1N1 was a flop
Anti-microbial
Resistance is futile
Superbug is like a truck
Penicillin is a duck
That’s sitting on the road for luck
Faceless and ageless
It’s simply outrageous
Never ever, ever stops
And never ever gives a fuck

Pandemic Playlist: Creating Artwork

I use a mobile app called Studio to create my Spotify Playlist Cover Art. While I tend to generate art using an original photo I’ve taken and manipulate it accordingly, for this I felt a screen shot of Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Map of the pandemic was suiting.

It shows the sheer scope of the current situation, albeit almost immediately outdated given that the known infection rate is increasing by approximately 10% every 24 hours (currently likely due to the fact that adequate testing here in the United States has been lacking and is starting to catch up–actual numbers are likely much higher).

Pandemic Playlist: Required Highlights

It goes without saying: some songs simply MUST be included on a Pandemic Playlist. There’s The Cramps’ cover of Little Willie John’s “Fever” and Ramones’ “You Sound Like You’re Sick” and “Panic” by The Smiths.

One that’s mandatory in my opinion is Mudhoney‘s “Touch Me I’m Sick” off the band’s extended deluxe reissue of 1988 Sub Pop LP Superfuzz Bigmuff.

Totally failing to adhere to mandatory self-isolation requirements fits the bill in the lyrics of “Touch Me I’m Sick” …

I feel bad
and I’ve felt worse
I’m a creep, yeah
I’m a jerkCome on
Touch me, I’m sickWow
I won’t live long
and I’m full of rot
Gonna give you girl
everything I got

You could essentially say the same for Mudhoney’s “Generation Genocide” off the 1991 LP Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge. Especially in the days of the Coronavirus with the lack of responsibility many Americans have for their fellow neighbors, family, friends, and community by continuing to socialize.

Another necessary track is “Isolation” by Joy Division. The post-punk and goth traits of Joy Division are quintessential for any post-apocalyptic-leaning mix tape. Hence why they show up twice on my playlist, first with “Isolation” then toward the end with “Day of the Lords” off Unknown Pleasures.

I could go on and on about required tracks, but I won’t.

Living in a Pandemic: Ignoring the Experts

Before, I mentioned Mudhoney’s “Generation Genocide” and “Touch Me I’m Sick.” The former is a chaotic instrumental that fits perfectly between “On Fire” by Spiritualized and The Modern Lovers‘ “Hospital.”

Let’s continue on that trend with another shunning of expert recommendations: “Girl, You Have No Faith in Medicine” by The White Stripes.

A Fitting End

With a theme such as this, great attention must be given to the culmination of the playlist. I chose chose David Bowie‘s “My Death Waits There” cover to begin the Pandemic Playlist outro. The song was featured earlier this week on my David Bowie Deep Cuts post.

Following Bowie is a lesser known artist, but one of great prominence in the late ’70s English folk punk scene. Patrik Fitzgerald‘s “Personal Loss” off Gifts and Telegrams seemed to be a fitting choice:

And, there’s no better fitting conclusion than Sharon Van Etten‘s haunting cover of “The End of the World” which was featured on The Man in the High Castle’s Resistance Radio compilation. Here’s a live version of the song from BBC.

What’s missing from my playlist? What songs would find their way onto yours? Let me know in the comments below.

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