The Definitive Coronavirus Quarantine Playlist

I will not apologize for a cliched article topic. I recently started DJing with KPCW Volunteer Air Force in Park City, which allowed this misanthrope to subject the masses to hot takes about how krautrock ackchyually influenced your favorite band more than you possibly realize, man. Due to the coronavirus pandemic you may have heard about, the volunteer program is on hiatus in a rational and understandable effort to limit the number of people who enter the studio. Currently I’m off the airwaves, but I still have access to this blog, and I’m still drunk with power, among other things. Here’s a collection of songs—some pandemic-adjacent, some emotionally cleansing, some comically on the nose—to get you through your socially-distant day.

The Coronavirus Quarantine Playlist

Isolation – Ty Segall

You’re correct, this is a John Lennon song, but I prefer Segall’s garage-rock Californian snarl during these times. As the pandemic unfolds, it’s important we acknowledge our darker impulses. Belting out “ISOLATION” in unison with Segall is a peculiarly cathartic exercise.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide – David Bowie

Ignore for the moment this song is about Ziggy’s downfall and embrace the ecstasy of chanting “Oh no, love, you’re not alone” alongside David Bowie. Sometimes you just need somebody to ask for your hands and tell you you’re wonderful.

That’s the Way the World Goes Round – John Prine

Those first two tracks threaten to burn out your emotional fuse, so let’s recalibrate with the legendary John Prine. Prine tragically succumbed to complications from coronavirus on Monday, but his comforting insights will always have our back when a half an inch of water has us thinking we’re gonna drown.

Lonely – Swamp Dogg

“I’m so lonely baby. Man don’t suppose to have to live like this.” Once again, hiding our anxieties won’t help us right now. Some shared feelings and a perfect horn-infused melody can’t help but cheer you up at least a little.

No Cars Go – Arcade Fire

Car insurance companies are literally giving money back to us! Weird times. With nobody driving other than for essential trips, there are far fewer accidents than normal, and insurance companies are flush with cash. That place where no cars go? It’s everywhere right now.

Earfquake – Tyler the Creator

As you probably felt, Salt Lake City recently experienced a magnitude 5.7 earthquake. “Cause when it all comes crashing down I’ll need you.” Tyler knows how we’re all feeling right now.

Keep on Movin’ – King Tuff

The upbeat optimism in this keep on keepin’ on anthem makes it worth a relisten when you need to get it together for the “bettering yourself” part of the day. Sometimes it’s all we can do to keep on moving. Sometimes that’s plenty.

Avant Gardener – Courtney Barnett

This song was written before COVID-19, but the allusions to isolation, the prescient references to anxiety and chest tightness—”I’m breathing but I’m wheezing. Feel like I’m emphysemin”—and Barnett’s wry delivery make it perfect for this current moment. Barnett chooses gardening, but we all need to something to take our minds away from where they tend to wander.

Virus – Deltron 3030

Yeah, it’s about a computer virus. Yes, the connection I’m drawing lacks nuance. “I wanna devise a virus, to bring dire straights to your environment, crush your corporation with a mild touch.” But it’s about extreme societal disruption and the insidious rise of totalitarianism. And I like Del. Sue me. If you have to, just imagine it was co-written by the bat and pangolin that met before setting this whole thing in motion.

It’s the End of the World – R.E.M.

Talk about on the nose. “That’s great, it starts with an earthquake.” Even if song choice beats you over the head with its subtlety, it’s making the list. Michael Stipe’s voice brings me comfort and joy. It probably will for you too.

Otis Redding – The Happy Song

Distill this and inject it directly into my veins. It’s a jump start for the soul. There’s not much to say other than sit back and bask in the glory of Otis Redding singing a happy song. We’ll get through this.


Tony Gill
Tony Gill
Tony Gill is the outdoor and Park City editor for Salt Lake Magazine and previously toiled as editor-in-chief of Telemark Skier Magazine. Most of his time ignoring emails is spent aboard an under-geared single-speed on the trails above his home.

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