A coronavirus themed Spotify playlist with some darkness in the mix

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All the time in the world for music. // Photo by Brock Wilbur

I’m not sure about you, but in times of high weirdness, I turn to music to help me make sense of the world around me. And I don’t listen to music to help distract myself, rather I listen to music that makes me confront the world head-on. Taking it down, with one tune at a time, if you will. Here’s my playlist for dealing with our new reality.

Protomartyr – Processed by the Boys. Brand new this week, and the first great song of the Coronavirus era. “When the ending comes, is it gonna run/At us like a wild-eyed animal/A foreign disease washed up on the beach/A dagger plunged from out of the shadows.”

Anthrax – Among the Living. Inspired by Stephen King’s The Stand (you know, the one where 99.9% of the world’s population is wiped out by a super flu?), this 1987 thrasher goes all-in on the doom ’n’ gloom that permeates perhaps King’s greatest novel.

Dead Kennedys – Government Flu. What’s a playlist about a global pandemic without a little conspiracy thrown in for good measure? This one goes out to the tinfoil crowd, and in all seriousness, source those tidbits you’re throwing out there on social media.

Sonic Youth – Touch Me, I’m Sick. Sonic Youth’s cover of Mudhoney’s 1988 grunge classic is NOT what you’re supposed to do at this time. Get down with the tune, but avoid the message.

Anika – End of the World. Here’s the lowdown, folks – it’s not the end of the world. But it kinda feels like it, doesn’t it? Anika turns Skeeter Davis’ song about a romance gone south into an apocalyptic dirge.

Can – Vitamin C. Take plenty of it.

The Upsetters – Influenza Dub. A little tip o’ the hat to the viruses of yore. This is actually a dub version of Little Willie John’s song “Fever,” later made famous by Peggy Lee.

X-Ray Spex – Germ Free Adolescents. This is the song you should be thinking about when you’re washing your hands over and over and over…scrub away, scrub away, scrub away.

The Police – Don’t Stand So Close to Me. Yeah, I know this song is about a pervy teacher with a Lolita thing going on, but this is currently very on-brand messaging for these social-distancing times.

Joy Division – Isolation. It’s a good time to stay in and do yoga, clean the house, read books, binge a series, play games, do a puzzle, catch up on emails, learn a language, build models, sew clothes, write letters, listen to an Iggy Pop record, watch a Werner Herzog movie…

Devo – Too Much Paranoias. How much paranoia is too much? Easy on those toilet paper rolls, folks.

Wire – Germ Ship. Heave to, ladies and gentlemen, heave to.

Suicidal Tendencies – Feel Like Shit….Deja-Vu. If you do feel like shit, please check the CDC website for specific coronavirus symptoms. If its allergies or the common cold, please don’t burden the medical system at this time. If it’s a hangover, I hear you, I see you, and I feel you.

New York Dolls – Pills. A most excellent cover by the legendary Bo Diddley. When Bo was sick, he got himself a rock ’n’ roll nurse to tend to his needs. We can’t all be like Bo (much less David Johansen and Johnny Thunders), but we can pretend for two minutes and forty-eight seconds.

The Ramones – You Sound Like You’re Sick. And if anybody should know, it would be Joey Ramone. Take it from him and stay inside.

Depeche Mode – Shake The Disease. We’re pretty resilient people, and I’m optimistic we’ll overcome this. I’m not so optimistic Depeche Mode will ever put out another great album, however.

Dr. Octagon – Waiting List (DJ Shadow/Automator Mix). Dr. Octagon is “here for you for any type of intestine surgery, rectal rebuilding, relocated saliva glands, and chimpanzee acne. And of course moose bumps.”

Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc. Ending on a note of hope. Feel well and hang in there, everybody.

Categories: Music