Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Tunes in the Time of Covid-19

On the morning  of March 14, Tony Neely sent me a link to this playlist. Seventeen days ago seems like years ago in Pandemic Time. As soon as I saw the list, as soon as I started listening, I realized how perfect this was for imperfect times, how Pandemic Playlists would be a lifeline for these strange days. From now on, this comprehensive Covid 19 playlist is the defining self-isolation playlist.

Seeing Tony’s list made me want to see everyone’s quarantine survival kit of sound. The playlist is the mixtape of this moment, articulating the feelings that everyone is feeling. Hopefully you will listen to this and all future installments of this “pandemic playlist project.” Send us your playlist, too. We have time to listen! A.W.S.

Tunes in the Time of Covid-19: An Annotated Playlist by Anthony D. Neely, Ph.D.

Music has always been my escape. More than an escape…music has offered a place of solace. For every moment of my life, whether joyful or morose, there has been an accompanying melody.

When my son was born, I played “Here Comes the Sun” (The Beatles) because that was the first song I wanted him to hear upon his triumphant entrance into this broken world. And I wept with pride.

My father abandoned our family, not once but twice, while I was in high school. We lost our home as a result. All memorialized to the tune of Jars of Clay’s Tea and Sympathy.

A song for every turn and every experience.

In March of this year, it became evident that Covid-19 was not merely the gone-tomorrow-flu that the media had led us to believe. As a school teacher, I saw the writing on the wall that I would likely not be returning to my classroom for quite a while…if at all during this school year. Again, music became a coping mechanism.

I decided to compile a playlist.

That playlist is titled aptly titled, Coronacation Playlist.

The obvious first song to add, as I’m sure will be a theme across most Covid-19 related playlists, was R.E.M.’s It’s The End of The World As We Know It. I chose this song as the opening track because it represents the cognitive dissonance that I, and so many others, are experiencing during this time as we simultaneously bask in a slower pace to life while watching the world’s social and economic structures crumble in front of us. It’s all just mumbled words in a major key.

As a Christian, however, I am not hopeless during this time. My faith helps me to believe that nothing happens without God’s foreknowledge. There is peace in knowing that I am not in control. Thematically, this aligned with the second track of the playlist, Sky Falls Down by Third Day.

After choosing the first two tracks, the playlist honestly became a form of mental exercise; a flexing of my music nerd muscles, if you will, to see how many songs I could pull from memory that fit within various themes related to Covid-19.

Illness: Down with Disease (Phish), Down with the Sickness (Disturbed), Sick as a Dog (Aerosmith)

Fever: Fever (Peggy Lee). Cold Sweat (James Brown), Feeling Hot Hot Hot (Bad Influence)

Contagiousness: And It Spread (The Avett Brothers), U Can’t Touch This (MC Hammer), Don’t Touch Me (Etta James)

Social Distancing: Don’t Stand So Close to Me (The Police), Keep Your Hands to Yourself (Georgia Satellites), Quarantined (At the Drive In)

Hospitals: In the Hospital (Friendly Fires), Hospital Beds (Cold War Kids), Hospital (The Lemonheads)

Death: Death with Dignity (Sufjan Stevens), Don’t Fear the Reaper (Blue Oyster Cult), Die Die Die (The Avett Brothers)

Breathing Issues: Lungs (Townes Van Zandt), Harder to Breathe (Maroon 5), Pneumonia Blues (Lightnin Hopkins)

Armageddon: End of the World Party (Medeski, Martin, and Wood), The End of The World (The Cure), The Earth Died Screaming (Tom Waits)

Hope: Hope in a Hopeless World (Widespread Panic), Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (Monty Python), Touch of Grey (The Grateful Dead)

More and more themes emerged as I worked on the playlist. Examples included hygiene, medicine, ambulances, healthcare professionals (e.g., doctors, nurses), school, and hysteria, to name a few.

Knowing the first cases of Covid-19 had emerged in November 2019, I was also curious if any songs had been published specifically about the virus. I found several that I decided to include such as The Coronavirus Cruise (Oscar Shorts).

The playlist, as it exists now, consists of 132 songs and lasts 8 hours 19 minutes.

An ever growing soundtrack to this catastrophically calm time of my life.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

This Is Not The End (TOTR 384)

"TOTR 384 - This Is Not The End" aired on WTTU 88.5FM in Cookeville, TN on Monday, March 9, 2020.

Jason Isbell - What’ve I Done to Help
Judah & the Lion - Best is Yet to Come
Dawes - A Little Bit Of Everything
Mandy Moore - I’d Rather Lose
Mandy Moore - Forgiveness
Maria McKee - Let Me Forget
Lone Justice - Dixie Storms
Sara Bareilles et. al. - Could We Start Again, Please?
Sara Bareilles et. al. - Everything’s Alright
U2 - Running To Stand Still
U2 - Moment Of Surrender
Grateful Dead - Brokedown Palace
Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors with The Lone Bellow - Dragons
Pacific Gold - Shall We Gather at the River?
A New Liturgy - For the Beauty of the Earth
Mike Farris - The Lord Will Make A Way Somehow

Gungor - This Is Not The End

You can listen to the audio archive of this entire show here:

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Walk The Line (TOTR 383)

"TOTR 383 - Walk The Line" aired on WTTU 88.5FM in Cookeville, TN on Monday, March 2, 2020.

(All songs by Johnny Cash unless otherwise noted)

Folsom Prison Blues
Cry, Cry, Cry
Jackson (with June Carter Cash)
I Walk The Line
Long Black Veil
The Ballad of Ira Hayes
Five Feet High and Rising
with Bob Dylan - Girl From The North Country
with Bob Dylan - Wanted Man
with Bob Dylan - Ring of Fire
Carolina Chocolate Drops - Jackson
Brandi Carlile - Folsom Prison Blues
Grateful Dead - Big River
U2 - The Wanderer
Man in Black
The Man Comes Around
I Hung My Head
God’s Gonna Cut You Down
The Kneeling Drunkard’s Plea
Sunday Morning Coming Down
I Came To Believe
It Was Jesus
Do Lord
The Old Account Was Settled Long Ago
No Earthly Good
Bridge Over Troubled Water
Personal Jesus
In My Life

You can listen to the audio archive of this entire show here:

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Loser (TOTR 382)

Loser (TOTR 382)

"TOTR 382 - Loser" aired on WTTU 88.5FM in Cookeville, TN on Monday, February 24, 2020.

(All songs by Grateful Dead unless otherwise noted)
Mountains of the Moon
China Cat Sunflower 
Jerry Garcia - Run for the Roses
Jerry Garcia - It Must Have Been The Roses
Box of Rain
Brokedown Palace
Scarlet Begonias
Terrapin Station
Cumberland Blues
Fire on the Mountain
Dead & Company - Help On The Way
John Lennon & Yoko Ono - Power To The People
Steve Earle - The Revolution Starts Now
Tracy Chapman - Talkin’ About A Revolution 

You can listen to the audio archive of this entire show here: