In This Article
- COVID-19 songs are kind of a thing right now.
- One Spotify list compiled 650 coronavirus songs, and the list is growing.
- The songs sometimes share helpful tips and other times express the strangeness of the moment.
- Some of the more memorable songs include a Vietnamese pop hit, a South Africa choral arrangement and an old favorite, changed slightly.
Everyone everywhere is in a pretty strange spot right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’re all dealing with it the best that we can. For most of us, that primarily means staying home and washing our hands often, for at least 20 seconds, to flatten the curve and keep ourselves and our communities as safe as we can.
Musicians the world over are recording songs that capture the strangeness and urgency of this moment in time and teach people how to stay safe and protect others. The first COVID-19 song many heard, including my coworkers and me, way back when we were still meeting in the office, came via Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. It did not disappoint.
Nor did the ensuing Tik Tok choreography.
The song, “Ghen Cô Vy,” is an official PSA from Vietnam’s National Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health that urges people to wash their hands and avoid touching their faces.
Now, barely a month after “Ghen Cô Vy” was posted on YouTube, the Los Angeles Times is writing about “pandemic pop,” and Spotify data analyst Glenn McDonald is maintaining a playlist of more than 650 songs about the COVID-19 virus.
According to Ann Powers of NPR, in terms of pandemic pop, “Colombian cumbias and Scandinavian club mixes are popular. Rappers rhyme in myriad languages, revealing a few common threads (it turns out coughing makes for great percussion, and the word coronavirus itself has a hard edge that makes even facile rhymes sound authoritative).”
With such an abundance of virus songs to choose from, where could you possibly start? Here’s some superlatives to steer you in the right — or away from the wrong — direction.
Most Uplifting: Untitled, Ndlovu Youth Choir
South Africa’s Ndlovu Youth Choir, which brought the America’s Got Talent audience to its feet in 2019, put together a video that is well choreographed, brightly colored and sung with an abundance of spirit. It ends with the group singing, “Don’t worry, we’ve got this.”
Best Tiny DJ Cameo: “Quedate en Casa,” Ariel de Cuba
Parents everywhere are trying to balance taking care of their children with professional responsibilities. Ariel de Cuba is no different. The singer’s daughter recorded “Quedate en Casa,” which means “stay at home” in Spanish, and his son can be seen in the video, in the recording booth.
Best Modified Classic: “Sweet Caroline,” Neil Diamond
Although more of a remix than a new song, Diamond updated his popular classic to include lyrics like “hands … washing hands” and “don’t touch me, and I won’t touch you.” Solid advice from the songwriter.
Realest: “Spreadin’ (Coronavirus),” Psychs
With lines like, “Oh my God, 2020, what a start to the year we’ve had” and “Even the Simpsons said it was coming back in 1993,” 18-year-old Psychs comes across like your next-door neighbor unloading stream-of-consciousness thoughts from at least six feet away after a full week without human contact. But in a good way.
Worst Use of Facemasks: “Corona Virus,” Yofrangel
It’s super catchy, and the video is a spectacle, but … so much medical equipment was used in this video. I can’t get over it.
One’s not technically about COVID-19, and the other one’s not actually a song, but here are a couple of videos for the kids.
Cutest Use of a Monkey Puppet
This adorable monkey, complete with Guatemalan flag hair, stars in a television spot that shares COVID-19 prevention tips in Kaqchikel, an indigenous Mayan language spoken by about 400,000 people.
The One You’ll Never, Ever Get Out of Your Head
It’s definitely this one.