As we approach the two-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m not quite sure how to feel. We’ve made a lot of progress (yay to being on campus!), but in a lot of ways it feels like we’re still back in the anxious early days of this apocalyptic reality. These songs represent my full spectrum of emotions, ranging from hopeful to enraged. A lot of them even evoke some nostalgia for those first few months of quarantine, now that we’ve entered a new version of pandemic-life.
1. “Lockdown Blues” by Iceage
Leave it to Iceage to make a quarantine song that’s equal parts angsty, poetic, and hopeful. Singer Elias Rønnenfelt’s deep, gritty voice is perfect to scream along to when you want to let out your pandemic-induced anxiety.
2. “Antibodies (Do You Have The)” by Nicholas Braun
Who would’ve thought Cousin Greg from Succession could make a pop-punk anthem about hooking up safely during the pandemic? “Antibodies” doesn’t take itself too seriously, and I love it for that reason.
3. “My House” by Kitten
This song is the perfect soundtrack for those days lost to falling down internet rabbit holes and feeling acute existential dread. It’s so anthemic that it makes you feel like you can conquer the world, even when you can’t leave your house.
4. “EN CASITA” by Bad Bunny ft. Gabriela
I’m a sucker for a real-life couple making a love song together, and Bad Bunny’s first duet with his girlfriend Gabriela Berlingeri doesn’t disappoint. While Bad Bunny’s improvised bars aren’t his best, the song is still a joyful take on love in quarantine.
5. “COVID” by Tee Grizzley ft. Lil Baby
Tee Grizzley perfectly captures our uncertainty about COVID in the early days of the pandemic with this golden line: “They say the heat kill it, how the fuck they know? (How the fuck they know?) / What about the places that’s always cold? (Alaska).” Thank you, Tee Grizzley, for saying what we were all thinking.
6. “Corona Love Song” by Corey Kilgannon
This song would be perfect in a Two Night Stand-type (2014) rom-com about two people forced to quarantine together (full disclosure—I have not seen Two Night Stand. But I think I get the gist). This is a scenario I’ve seen play out on Tiktok, so when you listen to this song you can rest assured that this fantasy is realistic.
7. “Immune” by Jensen McRae
In that magical, optimistic moment when the vaccine was finally rolling out in the U.S., Jensen McRae made a joking prediction on Twitter: “in 2023, Phoebe Bridgers is gonna drop her third album & the opening track will be about hooking up in the car while waiting in line to get vaccinated at dodger stadium.” McRae herself ended up beating Bridgers to the punch, and “Immune” was born.