Being alive is undeniably stressful right now. Uprooting your entire life and isolating yourself, no matter how necessary it may be, can be a wearisome and seemingly impossible task. While everything may feel a bit up in the air for the time being, let music serve as a grounding force with the Catalyst’s handpicked playlist for social distancing.
“Nobody” by Mitski
Despite its dance-worthy, disco-pop beat, Mitski’s “Nobody” is a song about feeling absolutely and debilitatingly alone. “I went to Malaysia, where I spent a lot of my childhood, and I thought it would be great, like [I’d] finally get to decompress, except I greatly didn’t prepare for how frickin’ lonely it would be to just be all alone in a country where no one knows me,” the highly acclaimed indie singer-songwriter explained in a video interview with Genius. To Mitski, the repetition of the word “nobody,” which punctuates the song throughout, is a lyrical representation of the “semi-fugue state” her severe loneliness put her in. “And then, I don’t know, I was like, ‘let me use this pain and exploit it for my money,’” she goes on to semi-jokingly, but also somewhat genuinely, explain. Take a page from Mitski’s book and use your existential dread to create something beautiful, profitability aside, during this ever-lengthening social distancing period.
“Kiss Me Thru The Phone” by Soulja Boy Tell’em feat. Sammie
Revisit an extremely timely middle school dance classic with iconic early 2000s rapper Soulja Boy Tell’em’s “Kiss Me Thru The Phone.” “Girl, you know I miss you, I just wanna kiss you, but I can’t right now so baby kiss me through the phone,” R&B artist Sammie sings in the chorus. While being cities, states or even countries away from some of the people that you love most right now is nothing to make light of, it is undeniable that Soulja Boy’s surprisingly sweet albeit incredibly cheesy ode to his long-distance lover perfectly fits this ongoing, involuntarily solitary cultural moment.
“Don’t Stand So Close To Me” by The Police
Although lead singer Sting’s story behind The Police’s hit single, “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” is questionable at best (student-teacher relationships—yikes), the ‘80s British rock song thoroughly encapsulates the feeling of waiting in line at the grocery store surrounded by angry, toilet paper-less people who are well within your CDC-advised six foot radius. Although staying inside during this uncertain and frenzied time is ideal, let the repeated chorus of “Don’t stand, don’t stand so, don’t stand so close to me” take over your thoughts and provide you with a relevant internal monologue the next time you have to face the germ-infested outside world.
“Love It If We Made It” by The 1975
“‘Love It If We Made It’ is the gem of hope amongst all of the rubble,” Matty Healy, frontman of English pop rock band The 1975 stated in a Genius video interview. The song highlights a few of the countless failures of modern society—the prison industrial complex, ongoing wars, the alt-right and Donald Trump, to start—and emphasizes Healy’s desire to better the world through connection and compassion. Although the song is primarily inspired by events that took place between the years of 2016 and 2018, the message of “Love It If We Made It” transcends the time period Healy and drummer George Daniel created this electropop track within, bringing a sense of cautious optimism to present day pandemic life.
“Ketchum, ID” by boygenius
Although the entirety of boygenius’ self-titled album is worth a socially isolated listen, “Ketchum, ID,” a song about profound loneliness and longing for a sense of home, hits the hardest. “I am never anywhere, anywhere I go, when I’m home I’m never there long enough to know,” the group—made up of indie artist collaborators Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus—sings. For many members of the school’s community, thesis students especially, the home that we found at New College has been taken away from us, much sooner than we could have anticipated and potentially before we could even appreciate how much of a home it was. Let “Ketchum, ID” with its soft, sad harmonies and thoughtful lyrics remind you to appreciate the places and people you love, while they’re still within reach, as much as you possibly can.
Check out the Spotify playlist for this column at https://spoti.fi/2xjDE78.