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In these ‘unprecedented times’, there is a good chance that more people have turned to music to help them. This could have been listening to a new song on the Government mandated ‘one walk a day’ or jamming to an old favourite while discovering a new lockdown hobby. As the official lockdown is coming to an end, we asked our writers what they had been listening to help them through the pandemic.
Beth Train Brown – Comment Editor
As someone who can be identified in the shower, through a closed door, by the sound of Muse blaring out at full blast, lockdown has been strangely quiet. I don’t know if it’s the stillness that seems to have descended on the country or our collective mourning for the end of year celebrations but playing loud music right now feels a bit like trying to play disco at a funeral.
At the start of lockdown, I joined two other cool kids for a virtual Hobbit and Lord of the Rings marathon. For a few weeks after that, I confess that the main playlist I was listening to on repeat was the film soundtrack. (‘Misty Mountains’ sung in Richard Armitage’s knee-quivering timbre is really something to cook morning breakfast to.)
The New Abnormal by The Strokes. I’m not sure you could have a more apt title.
Start of Time by Gabrielle Aplin is probably a song I’ll always associate with lockdown because it’s about finding positivity in a negative situation, added to the fact that the first time I heard it was in lockdown I was sat scrolling through sad songs because I was missing university and my friends.
Despite the DIY origins of Charli XCX’s latest album, ‘How I’m Feeling Now’ is every bit as polished as her studio releases and amounts to her most impressive project to date. Marrying production that exists at the crossroads of experimentation and pop appeal with her most personal songwriting yet, Charli leverages a range of styles to capture the mood swings that many of us have experienced during lockdown. From Pink Diamond’s claustrophobic vocals and deconstructed club beats to Enemy’s retro synth palette and paranoid lyrics, this collection of tracks intimately explores the songstress’ mental state in a way that is both bold and cathartic, yet easy to relate to. Whether you’re a fan of the PC Music scene who is desperate for another hit of their trademark style, or simply someone looking for a fitting musical tribute to these challenging times, this album has something special to offer you.
Olivia Middleton – Music Editor
‘Hadestown’ composed by Anaïs Mitchell has been my go-to listen during lockdown, a period which I thought was the perfect time to dedicate myself to a new musical. The story follows the classic Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice set in a Great Depression landscape. The musical quickly became my obsession; it is beautifully composed and masterfully crafted to dictate a heart-wrenching story. Many songs gather their influence from blues, jazz, and folk (being originally a folk concept album) while others sound like something out of a choir or chorus. Patrick Page stands out as Hades with his deep haunting voice, contrasting heavily with the high tones of Reeve Carney as Orpheus. However, it can be argued that the females outdo the males with their vocal performances, especially with Amber Gray in ‘Our Lady of the Underground.’
The story may not have the happy ending needed during the pandemic but the core message is about hope. The final song conveys this point. I have listened to it many times and have always been left with the hope that better times are coming.
Chromatica by Lady Gaga because f*ck knows most of us don’t want to be on Earth right now.
I’d say any of these, but probably mostly the songs “Snowflake” and ‘Holy Mother Forking Shirtballs’. Snowflake because it’s a great pop-punk song about embracing our imperfections. HMFS because it’s a great tune that summarises key moments of ‘The Good Place’ and right now it definitely feels like we’re in the bad place.
It’s safe to say I’ve had way too much time on my hands to be looking around for new music over lockdown, and in truth that extra time has led me to find what I now consider to be some of my favourite albums. The ones which stick out to me, in particular, include A/B by KALEO, Phantoms by Marianas Trench and Launch Fly Land by Dreamers, and I’d recommend any of these albums to anyone of a rock or alternative taste musically. However, by far my favourite album of the lockdown era has to be Wake Up, Sunshine by All Time Low. They’re a band that has been slowly growing on me over the last year, and this has fully cemented them as one of, if not my favourite band to listen to in 2020. Special mentions also go out to Hot Milk, The Hunna, and Inklings for the steady stream of bangers they’ve been putting out this year, particularly ‘California’s Burning’, ‘Cover You’ and ‘Sertraline’ by each artist respectively.
Might be a bit obscure but we got a new The Prize Fighter Inferno material for the first time in like 8 years. ‘More Than Love’ and ‘Stray Bullets’ are particularly great.
Erin Wilson – Scan Editor
Throughout lockdown I’ve returned to some of my old favourites – not only did I rekindle my love of my Nintendo DS, but I went back to my iPod Nano and listened to all the songs I loved about 10 years ago.
So as well as listening to Dua Lipa’s new album ‘Future Nostalgia’, I have been reliving Pop Party 5 through 8, some hits from Oasis and the early days of Paloma Faith.
Some of the best songs I have been listening to over the past few months are, first off, Tears Dry On Their Own by Amy Whinehouse, such a classic song – her deep, baritone cadence with the emotion she sings about is exceptional. Secondly, Skinny Genes by Eliza Doolittle, from her first album, and these songs do not get old – just for something fun and upbeat to listen to. Finally, ‘She’s Electric’ by Oasis, which again is a really happy and chill song to listen to.