From the moment the prospect of quarantining became reality, coronavirus/quarantine/COVID-19 playlists—or should I say plague-lists? (no, I shouldn't)—began popping up on Spotify.
Some are pretty damn good and a few, in particular, are very thought out. That being said, they’re mostly full of top 40 hits and mainstream staples. What’s an aging punk to do?
Now, I love a good pop song as much as anybody. And we’ve already established that I have a deep appreciation for nu-metal. But during times like these, I don’t often reach for Britney Spears’ “Toxic” or Disturbed’s “Down With The Sickness” to quell my feelings of unease.
Instead, I turn to these 69 (nice!) gems:
Dangers — “Stay-At-Home Mom”
This song is clearly about telling your parents to stay the fuck home and not buy cheap tickets to Palm Beach because this is all just a liberal hoax. Please, stay at home and sit on your throne made of toilet paper, Mom. (Not my mom as she is wholeheartedly freaked out about all of this.)
Pkew Pkew Pkew — “Asshole Pandemic”
On the topic of people not taking this whole thing seriously, it’s a simple fact that if you’re trying to continue living your life normally and not practicing social distancing, you’re an asshole, through and through.
The Suicide File — “Fuck Fox News”
And who’s the biggest contributor to the asshole pandemic? Fox News. The themes of this song are pretty relatable for daily life even when we aren’t dealing with a global pandemic so maybe keep this one in your back pocket for after this is all over.
The Menzingers — “America (You’re Freaking Me Out)”
Ya know? I’m starting to think that the blistered orange asshole in the White House might not be acting in all of our best interests throughout all of this…
Graf Orlock — “Panic at the Galleria”
Now, I haven’t been to the Galleria in Edina in years, but I have to imagine there’s plenty of panicking going on now that the bougie mall has shuttered and those hoping to buy a $5,000 ottoman at Design Within Reach or a new Louis Vuitton clutch are relegated to using last season’s styles like some kind of poor.
Body of Light — “Fever Freak”
Putting this list together made me think back to how good Body of Light was at Fine Line last year. Man, I miss going to shows so bad I’m even feeling nostalgic for the Fine Line.
Soft Kill — “Trying Not to Die”
Aren’t we all?
PUP — “See You at Your Funeral”
“What you were thinking when you saw me in the produce section…” I’ll tell you what I was thinking: “Why the hell do you need so many bananas? Why don’t you save some for the rest of us? They’re all going to go bad before you can eat them anyway. And don’t give me some excuse that you’re going to make banana bread with them because no one ever actually makes banana bread. We just fill our freezer with brown bananas and say we’re going to make banana bread and then somehow a loaf of banana bread appears one day. Dick.”
Graveyard Club — “It Hurts”
When I first heard the chorus of this song, I thought it was a perfect description of 2019. Turns out it’s just as relevant in 2020.
Citizen — “Fever Days”
You never really realize how many song titles have the word “fever” in them until you put together a COVID-19 playlist.
Nothing — “Our Plague”
It’s nice to have things to call our own.
Spanish Love Songs — “Beer and NyQuil (Hold It Together)”
The opening line of this song is “I took 45 steps today: couch to bathroom to kitchen to couch” and I don’t think I’ve related more to a song lyric in quite some time.
XFilesX — “Unemployment”
A song about what we’re all hoping to avoid or are already experiencing by a straight edge X-Files-themed powerviolence band.
Ceremony — “Into the Wayside Part I/Sick”
Dang, these dudes sure are sick of a lot of things. I wonder why. Oh, right: the dumpster fire that is our modern society.
Off With Their Heads — “Trying to Breathe”
Maybe a little too on the nose for this particular situation but it’s my playlist and I like this song.
Mind Eraser — “Withdrawal Symptoms”
Sometimes during a pandemic, the best thing you can do is listen to Mind Eraser and punch yourself in the head.
Christian Death — “Deathwish”
How sick would it be if your name was Christian Death? I know this is a band and not a person but still, it’d be pretty sick.
The Menzingers — “Hello Exile”
I truly believe that the entire Menzingers album “Hello Exile” was written for this very moment in our history.
The Carrier — “Hello Uncertainty”
Nothing — “Fever Queen”
The intro to this song goes on for just long enough that I always think the record is skipping. This parallels pretty well to how my entire life feels like it’s skipping and I keep putting on the exact same pair of sweatpants every morning.
The Effort — “Transmit”
This song is mostly a sound clip from the movie Network. You know, the one about how things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, “Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.” Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot -- I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, “I'm a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!” So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, “I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!” I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell “I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!” Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!... You've got to say, “I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!” Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first, get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: "I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"
Yeah, that one.
The Effort — “The Price of Medication”
Hopefully, since COVID-19 is suddenly making staunch opponents to socialism suddenly soften on the idea, the price of medication will go down in the near future. In the meantime though, here’s your $1000.
Blacklisted — “I’m Trying to Disappear”
“I don't think it's wise for me to get close to too many people.” Hard same!
Off With Their Heads — “Disappear”
Side note: Like many bands, Off With Their Heads had to cancel their tour because of COVID-19. Unlike other bands though, this was the second tour in a row that they’ve had to cancel. So, I don’t know, go buy a shirt or something if you’re able.
Ceremony — “Quarantine”
We’ve already learned of everything that ails Ceremony. So what do you do when you’re sick? Quarantine.
DIIV — “Wait”
Please, wait to take that cruise. Or better yet, just don’t at all because I think we’ve finally reached a point in our society where we can all agree that we don’t need giant floating cesspools sailing the seven seas.
Siouxsie and the Banshees — “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us”
I’ve been saying this for years.
Killing Joke — “Exile”
The first 12 seconds of this song sounds like the music you hear when you finally reach the final boss in a Sega Genesis game. Maybe COVID-19 is our final boss?
Thieves — “Confined”
If you’ve never listened to Thieves, quit reading my dumb words temporarily and listen to their entire catalog.
The Carrier — “Stranded”
I feel very bad for all of the people that took advantage of extremely cheap airfare or cruise tickets during a pandemic and now can’t get home. If only there had been some way for them to know that there was a global pandemic happening and that unnecessary travel was a very bad idea.
Hive — “Immunity”
Do local d-beat daddies Hive know something we don’t as to how to (d-)beat this thing? Let’s hope so.
American Nightmare — “Sore Throat Syndrome”
Every time I cough or have a tickle in my throat these days, I panic and assume that it’s COVID-19. But then I think what if it’s the flu? That kills more people than COVID-19 does, doesn’t it? But THEN, I think about how we don’t know enough about COVID-19 yet to make a definitive conclusion like that and anyone who spreads information like that is actually a huge dipshit.
It’s probably just the dry air, anyway.
Culture Abuse — “Yuckies”
There’s for sure a parent out there somewhere that has called COVID-19 “the yuckies” when talking to their child. Because that’s for sure the best way to develop your child’s vocabulary.
The National — “Apartment Story”
I’ve become intimately acquainted with my apartment over the last couple of weeks.
Off With Their Heads — “Always Alone”
How has no one started a quarantine dating app yet? I don’t really know what that would look like but that’s why no one pays me the big bucks I suppose.
Sincere Engineer — “Keep You Company”
Aw, that’s nice.
Modern Life is War — “Self Preservation”
I have an unproven theory that Joseph Gribble from King of the Hill grew up to be the frontman of Modern Life is War. Anyway, I hope this song about self preservation inspires you to learn the art of preservation during these trying times. Maybe start with something simple like fridge pickles or something.
American Nightmare — “I’ve Shared Your Lips So Now They Sicken Me”
The title of this song might seem a little harsh but given our current circumstances, I recommend you all invest in some dental dams immediately.
Weekend Nachos — “Sickened No More”
Phew, that was a close one.
Harms Way — “Isolation”
I’ve read that when Harms Way isn’t on tour, their singer, James Pligge, is a substitute gym teacher. When I was a dumbass little kid, I once mouthed off to my gym teacher and he punched the wall next to my head. After his ass got fired, we had a substitute for the rest of the year but, to my knowledge, it was not James Pligge. Actually I think he’s only a year or two older than me so it definitely wasn’t him.
Off With Their Heads — “Die Today”
Damn, I hope I don’t.
Drab Majesty — “Forget Tomorrow”
What are you trying to say? What’s tomorrow like? Better? Will tomorrow be better?
Hive — “Tomorrow Will Be Worse”
Motion City Soundtrack — “The Future Freaks Me Out”
Especially now that I know how shitty tomorrow is going to be.
Purple Mountains — “Nights That Won’t Happen”
The entire Purple Mountains album is perfect and… you know what? Just go listen to that instead of this playlist.
Ceremony — “Don’t Touch Me”
Unless you’ve washed your hands. Here’s a little trick I like to use: Wash thoroughly while singing along to Purple Mountains “Nights That Won’t Happen.” You’ll know your hands are clean enough when the sadness sets in.
Choir Boy — “Leave Me Be”
Or, at the very least stand a minimum of six feet away from me.
The Carrier — “Everyone Who I Knew and Loved is Gone”
Funny enough, this is one of the Carrier’s more positive songs...
Vein — “Virus://Vibrance”
The first time I heard this song, I thought it was Slipknot.
Modern Life Is War — “Fever Hunting”
I mean, come on...
Ceremony — “Hibernation”
When you're sick of everything and have been quarantining indefinitely, at what point do you call it hibernation?
Cold Cave — “People Are Poison”
It’s a little known fact that Cold Cave actually started when American Nightmare singer Wes Eisold dressed as Neo from The Matrix one Halloween and just couldn’t bring himself to take his leather duster off at the end of the night.
American Nightmare — “Please Die!”
The virus! Not all of you fine people. We want the virus to please die!
The Menzingers — “I Can’t Stop Drinking”
A couple of nights ago after my wife and I got home from our wine walk, we slow-danced to this song in our kitchen. It was tender. It was nice.
Ceremony — “Twenty Four Hour Fever Watch”
By now you’ve probably noticed that Ceremony has made this list several times and are likely wondering: “Did they know about coronavirus all along and were they trying to warn us all this time?”
The Hope Conspiracy — “Deadman”
Why wasn’t this song the title track on the soundtrack to the Jim Jarmusch movie Dead Man. Yes, I know the song came out seven years after the movie. So what?
Touché Amoré — “Rapture”
I’m by no means a religious person, but I’m beginning to think there might be some larger forces at work here. That, or people just really need to quit licking all the tasty metal surfaces they come in contact with.
Ash Code — “Disease”
I’m pretty sure all three members of Ash Code are vampires but this again is an unproven theory.
Siouxsie and the Banshees — “Sick Child”
Shout-out to all the anti-vaxxers out there!
Off With Their Heads — “Your Child is Dead”
Please vaccinate your children.
Phoebe Bridgers — “Funeral”
In keeping with the aging punks theme, I almost put the Spanish Love Songs cover of this song on here instead of the original. But what would a bummer playlist centered on despair be without Phoebe on it?
Gatecreeper — “Sterilized”
OK, OK,. If you insist on licking metal surfaces (they’re just so tasty!), please make sure you sterilize them first. I promise that the cleaning product won’t taint the taste of that sweet sweet steel for long.
Thieves — “Plague Horde”
Plague hoard is how I refer to my mom’s normal stock of toilet paper.
Graveyard Club — “Deathproof”
I guess we’ll see.
A Wilhelm Scream — “Die While We’re Young”
I have to believe this is the stance that all of the dipshits crowding the beaches of Florida in the name of spring break are taking.
Ruiner — “Kiss That Motherfucker Goodnight”
Seeing as we were already damn near at the “smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em” stage of human existence, I have to imagine that this virus is really doing wonders for the cigarette industry.
The Swellers — “Do You Feel Better Yet?”
Well, do you?
Orville Peck — “Hope To Die”
While I don’t actually hope to die because of this thing, you bet your damn ass that if I do, I want to listen to Orville Peck on my way out. I have this theory that if someone says that they don’t like Orville Peck, they’re a liar and are not to be trusted. Unlike my Modern Life Is War theory, this one is proven.
Korn — “Dead”
You didn’t really think I wasn’t going to include a Korn song on this playlist, did you? While this isn’t one of their hits, it seems a fitting note to end on.