We have fallen into unprecedented times, where distance seems to have taken over every aspect of our lives. Easter bank holiday came and went, with the sun shining with temperatures perfect for BBQ with friends and a trip down to the coast. With COVID-19 in full swing none of this is possible, and it can leave you feeling down and out.
There are so many emotions linked to the current pandemic. This week’s isolation playlist aka ‘Quarantunes’ is focusing on a time before social distancing. Rather than dwelling on the feelings of loneliness and helplessness turn on your favourite summer track and dance in your kitchen.
With the sun shining bright and windows open to let in the warm, spring heat find that track that brings you to a happier time. We will get back there soon, for now let music help.
Weezer – “Island In The Sun”
Weezer got it right when they wrote “Island In The Sun”. This track takes you right to the happiest summer of your life. Whether it reminds you of scorching summer music festivals or drives to Margate, this song is a time capsule of summer happiness.
Weezer has become a staple in many people’s discography, but even if you haven’t heard anything else by them “Island In The Sun” has probably made it onto your summer playlist. It was a successful radio hit in both the US and UK.
While never gaining the same respect as classic Weezer album Pinkerton, critics saw a reason to hold the album up in high regard. While tracks like “Hash Pipe” and “Don’t Let Go” root the album in Weezer’s quintessential rock aesthetic, “Island in the Sun” is what will always be remembered as many the best Weezer song ever released.
Beyoncé – “XO”
All hail Queen Bey, she’s ready to get you out of that funk. While any pop fan will have a list of their favourite Beyoncé track, it is hard for me to take “XO” from the top of my list., it was one of the singles released of her legendary fifth solo album.
Beyoncé sings to her love about being in love, and in such a way that sounds like she is shining from the inside. It is a pop song, no question about it. But there is a closeness you feel when you listen to the emotion oozing from the track. Sit back and think about a love of your life, while Beyoncé gives you the words.
Anyone around during the time Beyoncé was released can remember the short videos that were accompanying the tracks, especially “Drunk in Love”. But it will forever be “XO” that owns significant space in my brain.
Not only does Beyoncé look absolutely gorgeous and relaxed in the video, but she is playful and filled with joy. Running around Coney Island’s legendary amusement park, director Terry Richardson has Beyoncé riding the park rides while colourful lights flash around. There is magic in that video, and you can see it from the minute you press play.
Childish Gambino – “California”
Put on Childish Gambino’s Awaken, My Love, skip to the song “California”, and I dare you not to dance. The album is a feat in musical artistry. It has psychedelic soul and funk oozing out of it, something many Childish Gambino fans were probably not expecting.
While “Redbone” was the shining star of this record, I find myself always going back to “California”. It is a fun, modern take on funk while still borrowing from some of funk’s legends and is perfect if you need an excuse to get up and move.
From the minute the guitar starts you can’t help but dance to the beat. When Donald Glover’s voice comes in, clearly altered for the track, it just adds to the vibe. The lyrics tell a story about a woman who against any better judgement has found herself in in California, but at this point we would probably do anything to get out of the house.
Leikeli47 – “Hoyt And Schermerhorn”
At this point there are probably little things you miss. Your new routine makes you miss your old routine, which consisted of waking up early to take the bus to the tube station. If you’re thinking about your next train ride, Leikeli47 wrote us a love song taking place on public transport and I’m living for it.
Leikeli47 is well-known for her politics, flow, and wearing a balaclava during public appearances. She’s radical in all the right ways and challenges you to understand a world that might not be your own.
Her second album Acrylic was released in 2018 and is a celebration of being a black woman growing up in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy before the hipsters got there. She has an incredible voice and writing style, and that all comes together on one hell of a record.
Named after a station near and dear to my heart, “Hoyt And Schermerhorn” is a fun semi-ballad about being in love on the subway. She points out how the wobbling of the train is perfect for dancing, and how the lights filter in through the windows.
These little things remind us of the good bits of being on the train. I close my eyes and remember endless days taking the train to work, friend’s parties, and nights out longing for the days when that is the norm.
The Cranberries – “Dreams”
I remember the first time I heard “Dreams” by The Cranberries, and how Dolores O’Riordan’s voice transported me to a completely different place. While listening to the song at the young and formative age of 13, I remembered feeling how I wanted to be anywhere else but here. What better time to add this song to a playlist?
For many, the Cranberries was a significant part of their musical journey. When O’Riordan passed a couple of years ago, the news was received with heavy hearts. Their musical talent combined with such an incredibly powerful lead vocalist made them a force to be reckoned with. Tracks like “Linger” and “Zombie” have found their way into many films and television programmes for those moments filled with raw emotion.
“Dreams” for me is a track that takes me away from where I am and brings me joy. In times like this where all I want to do is escape my current situation and find something better, I turn on this track and get away.
Words by Claudia Arnoldo