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Love Lockdown: GRAMMY.com Staff Playlists To Get You Through The COVID-19 Quarantine
Hello, and welcome to another week of self-isolation. There's no disputing that it's rough out there right now. Each day brings another wave of troubling coronavirus/COVID-19 news, legions of folks are in self-isolation until further notice and the music industry is in a state of flux, with festivals and 2020 tour dates being postponed or outright canceled.
Through it all, though, music lovers are still finding the light in tough times. The Recording Academy and MusiCares have established a COVID-19 Relief Fund; last week, Bandcamp and numerous record labels gave up their share of profits on music sold through the Bandcamp platform; and countless musicians—from John Legend to Chris Martin to Ben Gibbard—live-streamed their performances.
Today, as we head into another uncertain week, each member of the GRAMMY.com editorial team has created a quarantine-themed playlist that's helping them make it through the moment. Hopefully, these songs will help you too.
"Use Your Inside Voice" — Rachel Brodsky, Managing Editor
Despite working in the music industry, I've always been a little bit un-rock-n-roll. I prefer early bedtimes, and all things being equal, I'd usually rather be inside on the couch than out at a show. Truly, I can be a little bit of a shut-in on a normal day. But these last couple of weeks have been anything but normal; there's something bizarre about being required to stay in that immediately makes me restless. Now, some people journal to make sense of their feelings—me, I've always turned to playlisting. To describe the present moment, I've got some old standbys (Wilco's "How To Fight Loneliness"; Belle & Sebastian's "Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying"), as well as some newer classics (Paramore's "Hard Times," Kacey Musgraves' "Loney Weekend"). It's all topped off with one of my favorite older cuts by the National, who sing some words to live by right now: "Baby, we'll be fine. All we have to do is be brave and be kind."
"Dial Q For Quarantine," Nate Hertweck, Senior Editor
We’re all feeling different, we’re all feeling the same. What strikes me about social distancing is the range of emotions from excitement at having the time and space to slow down, enjoy little things and catch up on our sleep and our dreams, to the anxiety of the state of the world and, especially, the missed in-person connection with others. In that spirit, "Dial Q For Quarantine" is a head-scratcher, some old favorites stashed in the back of the closet, some new tunes just arrived in the day's mail on the kitchen table... Truth be told, the playlist has about as much rhyme and reason as the current situation it was created in, but perhaps you’ll find something in there that makes you dig deeper. The good news is you should have the time.
"Lunchtime Dance Party," John Ochoa, Editor
As a devoted dance music fan, it pains me to see so many clubs, festivals and venues shutting their doors for what may be an extensive and unknown period of time. But as a concerned and caring human, I am doing my part to help flatten the curve by staying home in self-quarantine and practicing social distancing. For the past two-plus years, I've worked from home, but I totally understand this may be the first time many of you are experiencing this new and sudden change in daily work life. So to help ease the humdrum of isolation, I've put together this funky playlist to soundtrack your Lunchtime Dance Party. Just because the clubs are closed and the dance floors are empty—for now!—doesn't mean you can't get down at your own homemade dance party. When the day gets tough, when work gets busy or when you're just plain bored, fire up this playlist and get to boogieing. Make sure to "Express Yourself" with Diplo, show off your "Fancy Footwork" with Chromeo and always, always, always remember that, like GRiZ says, "It Gets Better."
"Tough Times Tunes," Jennifer Velez, Staff Writer
This playlist is random, much like my music taste. Some songs made it in because they’re what I’ve been listening to since going into essential lockdown. Alejandro Sanz was one of the first artists I saw doing live shows; I felt so touched that I started playing him and haven’t stopped. "Conversations In The Dark" is one of John Legend’s new songs that he played during his live stream. It’s so good. Other songs I discovered while doing home workouts, Flume’s “Let You Know” with Robin Hannibal and London Grammar is one of these. Others are earworms I’ve been listening to lately" Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” I heard at a brewery while on a recent work trip to Mexico in February. It's a reminder of what normal used to be. And other songs, like Modjo’s “Lady- Hear Me Tonight,” never fail to make me feel happy.
"Dancing On My Own, A.K.A. Self-Quarantine Bops," Ana Monroy Yglesias, Staff Writer
I am a big fan of putting on music you can dance to in your bedroom or living room, especially when I'm trying to psych myself up. In these strange and scary times, everyone is at home more, so I think the need to find joy and dance moves under your own roof is especially important. The obvious starting point for me was putting on solo anthems from two pop queens: Robyn's timeless 2010 hit "Dancing On My Own" and Carly Rae Jepsen's 2018 breakup anthem "Party For One." Bad Bunny also celebrates getting down on your own with "Yo Perreo Solo," or "I dance/grind alone." There are more of my favorite pop queens on here—Christine and the Queens, Rosalía, Dua Lipa, Grimes and the incomparable Whitney Houston—bringing big vocals and a range of emotions, not unlike the experience of having the world as we know it turned upside down.
My self-quarantine playlist felt incomplete without Talking Heads' "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)." "Home is where I want to be / But I guess I'm already there." Before that, after the Weeknd brings us into the "After Hours." there are four songs from electronic acts I love, RÜFÜS DU SOL, Maceo Plex, Luttrell and Yaeji. The first two songs feel deep, dark and expansive, moving us from the ups and downs of our at-home dance party to deep into nighttime. Yaeji's fun self-care/adulting anthem, sung in Korean and English, brings us into the morning, with the playlist bringing us through the ebbs and flows of a day in quarantine and then into the next and the next one.
One day, this will end, but for now, let's stay safe inside and turn the music up.
"Spaced Out Solitude," Onaje McDowelle, Editorial Intern
When it comes to being stuck inside, finding healthy ways to occupy our bodies and minds is of the utmost importance. But, with time to kill and no access to outside distractions, keeping yourself from going practically insane is far easier said than done. That’s why researchers say music can help. It’s been scientifically supported that music can increase your peace of mind by calming and stimulating the brain, therefore enhancing your mental health and your mind’s functionality. "Cue, Spaced Out Solitude, a curated collection of meditative new releases featuring morale-boosting singles from GRAMMY-winners and nominees the Weeknd, Childish Gambino, Flume, Tame Impala, J Balvin + more." Across genres and moods, it spans the atmospheric ambiance of "Freefall" and "323" to off-center upbeat experiments in “New Jade” and bouncier dance arrangements like “Blanco." Plug in, tune out and remember; even in times of crises, your mental health matters. Shower concerts, bedroom dance parties and solo sing-alongs are highly encouraged.”