- The novel coronavirus outbreak has forced thousands into mandatory or elective quarantine.
- Online, many are seeking ways to cope with growing anxiety, boredom, and isolation.
- Numerous virus-inspired Spotify playlists have appeared on the platform in recent weeks.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
As thousands adjust to life in quarantine, a plethora of coronavirus outbreak-inspired playlists are popping up on Spotify. With names like “melodic future bass songs that make me forget about coronavirus,” these playlists provide a surprisingly intimate look at how people across the globe are feeling about and coping with the ongoing crisis.
update: we're listening to these in the office and it's bops on bops https://t.co/F0MsRuP2JF
— lucy ford (@lucyj_ford) March 12, 2020
Carlotta Freni – who works in the music industry and has lived in Milan, Italy for 13 years – created her quarantine playlist “Songs for Pandemics” after the Lombardy region’s lockdown began on February 23. That lockdown now includes the entire country, as the number of infections and deaths continues to climb.
“To me, music is the primary way to communicate feelings and to seal a particular moment or history inside our memories,” Freni wrote in an email interview.
Dubbing the 23rd “the day of the Italian rage at the supermarkets,” Freni recalls going to the nearest supermarket to photograph the empty shelves and experiencing for the first time “the fear and the disorder of a scared crowd.” The following day, she created the playlist and used one of the ghostly supermarket photos as a cover image.
“I was conscious that we had to stay at home in order to prevent a sanitary disaster,” Freni wrote in an email interview. “So I decided to create a playlist for my friends, in order to share with them some good sounds and vibes, and let the day flow.”
To be faithful to this “unique period in our recent history,” Freni decided to include an eclectic mix of new releases from the past few weeks, songs by artists who cancelled gigs in Milan to prevent contagion, songs about crisis, and “songs from the past” that “let the listeners both dance and meditate.” Lastly, Freni added, she tried to put listeners in a good mood with a playlist that is equally joyful and melancholic. Her friends loved it.
“I’m happy to have contributed to their wellness in a very simple way,” Freni wrote.
The most popular playlist to emerge from the outbreak thus far is “COVID-19 Quarantine Party,” which boasts more than 100,000 followers at the time of writing. The tracklist conveys a sense of resigned acceptance with titles like “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance” by Vampire Weekend, “You Sound Like You’re Sick” by The Ramones, and “Time Is Running Out” by Muse.
This “Coronavorus Hand Washing Playlist” created by user jenntrev, on the other hand, serves a functional purpose. All 51 songs on the playlist have “a chorus/pre-chorus of at least 20 seconds for you to sing or hum (either aloud or in your head) while washing your hands to ensure you meet the handwashing guidelines set forth by the CDC.”
But the prevailing attitude expressed through these playlists is one of growing civil unrest co-mingled with a need for distraction and escapism. Take, for example, this “*corona virus intensifies*” playlist put together by user chrislax123, which bounces from optimistic tracks like Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and Ed Sheeran’s “I Don’t Care” to songs that hint at darker and more conflicted emotions, like “Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots and “The Age of Worry” by John Mayer.
That said, if you’re too anxious for Top 40 hits, user Listen2Listed has you covered with “Coronavirus beats to chill/hide in my room to,” a playlist dedicated to soothing, lo-fi hip hop.
Spotify did not immediately respond for comment.
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