Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published September 10th 2021
Because sometimes music can help
Today, finally, I am going to do the most requested song-list I have received since starting at WeekendNotes. For over a year, I have had readers ask me on social media for this one. But it felt wrong somehow to do it, like I was taking advantage of a bad situation. But, I told myself, how long could this last?
Stupid me – our current situation has lasted a long time and is still stretching out before us, with lockdowns happening on and off around the world to this day. And so, after being reminded of it by a very persistent reader recently, I decided to do it.
What I decided to do was very simple – put together a playlist that encapsulates the lockdown experience we are enduring.
This is more a playlist than a normal list because there are so many elements to what we are going through. But I have decided to avoid songs that focus on loneliness and diseases, and with this being about general lockdown, no songs about prisons or incarceration, either. I also left some songs out that I like because the actual subject of the songs (despite the titles) did not match what I was going for; The Police's 'Don't Stand So Close To Me' is one.
So, this is a list of 20 songs, one per artist, I like them, from my collection, about an aspect of lockdown, in chronological order. I hope you can enjoy this. If it does bring up feelings of loneliness and isolation, please talk to someone, even a phone-line counselling service. Especially at times like this, we all need someone. As John Donne said, "No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…" (1624)
'No Particular Place To Go' by Chuck Berry (1964)
While this might be ostensibly about going for an aimless drive and getting trapped by a seat-belt, the whole concept of not being able to do anything after driving somewhere does hit home for many of us.
'I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself' by Dusty Springfield (1964)
Dusty with her glorious voice is singing about what happens after a break-up, but after being trapped in the same house for weeks on end, which of us haven't asked the same question as the situation we are in becomes more and more stark?
'Nowhere To Run' by Martha And the Vandellas (1965)
Another song that encapsulates the feeling so many of us have at the moment – we don't have anywhere to run to because we're not actually allowed to. And running from the virus is proving ineffectual as well.
'Stuck In The Middle With You' by Stealers Wheel (1972)
"Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right…" Yes, we are stuck in the middle with clowns on the left saying the virus is Mother Nature punishing us and jokers to the right saying it doesn't exist or vaccinations are bad. This song could have been written for our times.
'There's No Way Out Of Here' by David Gilmour (1978)
From his debut solo album, this song by Pink Floyd guitarist really speaks to the way so many of us are feeling nowadays. Sadly.
'Rage In The Cage' by J.Geils Band (1981)
Yes, many of us are feeling angry at being locked away, and this album cut from the band that gave us some songs about photography puts that out there really well, and with some weird sonic flourishes.
'Dancing With Myself' by Billy Idol (1981)
One of my son's favourite songs (released more than 20 years before he was born), dancing at home led to me writing a column on dancing. However, people are still doing more and more of these days. Go for it. Never stop that.
'Islands In The Stream' by Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton (1984)
I think many of us can relate to these feelings of, despite having friends or lovers, being stuck as an isolated rock, an island in a stream, if you will. And Kenny and Dolly are so wonderful together.
'Stuck With You' by Huey Lewis And The News (1986)
Stuck with a person for a long time, but this time the singer is quite pleased by the prospect. A joyful song about what we're going through!
'Keep Your Hands To Yourself' by Georgia Satellites (1986)
The anthem of social distancing! This fun song is a great, rocking number and while it is about saving yourself for marriage, it has become more pertinent in today's germ-paranoid society.
'Lock And Key' by Rush (1987)
From when Rush, Canada's greatest musical export, adopted more 80s stylings, this song is a strong one about keeping something under lock and key, and that's how many of us feel about this virus.
'I Think We're Alone Now' by Tiffany (1987)
Yes, Tiffany. Again. Live with it. And this is the song couples sing together when they realise both are working from home for the foreseeable future. At least, I reckon they would if I was a part of said couple…
'Islands' by Mike Oldfield with Bonnie Tyler (1987)
From my favourite album of 1987, with Tyler's distinctive vocals, like the Parton/Rogers track earlier, this time has made us all feel like the islands in the title. A pretty common metaphor, then.
Side note: I was a teenager at this time, but I don't remember something that made people – and song-writers – want to be alone and/or lock things away in 1986/1987. What was I missing?
'Locked Away' by Keith Richards (1988)
Where Richards' fellow Rolling Stone Mick Jagger released some okay solo works in the 80s, Richards' album Talk Is Cheap was great. And this track about different people who should be locked away takes on a new meaning now.
'Shakin' The Cage' by Zoo (1992)
Mick Fleetwood's sort of solo group, this is the title track of their debut album, with Billy Thorpe (yes, the Australian classic rock muso) on guitars and vocals, about the city being a jungle and people stuck in their cages. Again, different meaning now.
'(Why Are We) Trapped?' by King Missile (1992)
Some good hard rock here, asking a question that too many of us have asked over the past eighteen months. This album really did slip under the radar at the time, which was a shame because it is great.
'Trapped In A Box' by No Doubt (1992)
No Doubt's debut single, with the ska-pop inflections that marked much of their work, the box in question, with its windows and other accoutrements, is a room. Yes, could have been written for today.
Side note 2: Was there also something about 1992 that I missed?
'Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of' by U2 (2000)
Another song that takes on a while new meaning when looked at through a pandemic lens. I do like a lot of U2, and think that Bono is often under-rated as a singer; this is a good song.
'Out The Cage' by Keith Urban feat. Breland & Nile Rodgers (2020)
From The Speed Of Now (Part 1), this opening track, with its banjo and upbeat-ness is a song we can relate to – we want out of the cage!
'Quarantine' by Blink-182 (2020)
Recorded for the great lockdowns of 2020, it is still relevant a year later. This is a great rock track, written about our current situation, and the perfect way to end this playlist.
And there we are – 20 songs that can be related to what we are all going through. There were another 5 songs that missed out because there is no legal way I could have linked them here (nothing on YouTube, which is amazing, considering the tracks I've found there in the past), but 20 is probably enough.
And, as I've said before, if you are struggling in these tough times, please reach out to someone, even if a phone call, just to talk and make sure you are connected somehow and somewhere.