The 10 Best Songs Written In Lockdown
So far, most of the new music we’ve heard over recent months was actually made before lockdown started. This is hardly surprising when you consider the lead time involved in making the average album and the logistical challenges presented by lockdown itself. Plenty of albums have been drip-fed through on a delayed release schedule, along with the occasional standalone track like Gojira’s awesome Another World (we’re not sure exactly when the mysterious Frenchmen recorded that, but it seems likely they’ve been sitting on it for a while).
At some point we’re due an absolute flood of lockdown-inspired creativity. Everyone from Rammstein to Black Veil Brides have declared that they’ve been working on new material. Hell, even arch procrastinators Metallica have said they’ve been writing in quarantine. The albums will come, but for now here are 10 of the best songs to have been written or recorded during lockdown…
blink-182 – Quarantine
And what better place to start than blink-182’s frantic offering that addresses lockdown directly? ‘Quarantine, fuck this disease / I’d rather watch some magic or do press in Germany,’ sings Mark Hoppus with lyrics that are a shade smarter than they appear, and also spin a bit of Trump-baiting politics into the mix. Plus it’s a fast, throwaway punk rock number of the type that harks back to blink’s past and was somewhat absent on Nine.
Machine Head – Stop The Bleeding
COVID-19 hasn’t been the only thing having an impact over recent months. The events surrounding the death of George Floyd and the worldwide upswell of support for Black Lives Matter have also had major societal and personal effects, inspiring a number of bands and musicians. Machine Head responded with a refuse/resist one-two digital single comprising Stop The Bleeding and Bulletproof. The former features an awesome guest appearance from Jesse Leach of Killswitch Engage. “We need more of our metal community to speak out on social issues and help raise awareness, especially during these crucial times,” said Jesse. “We can make a difference through music and we can help stop the bleeding.”
Ho99o9 – Pigs Want Me Dead
Ho99o9 also weighed in on the subject of police brutality with the chilling and sinister sounding Pigs Want Me Dead. Written in the wake of the George Floyd protests, the track came with a graphic, GTA-style animated video and a warning of “extreme language, intense violence portrayed in a realistic manner and scenes that some viewers might find upsetting and triggering”.
Matt Bellamy – Tomorrow’s World
The Muse frontman recorded a solo piano-led ballad that he said “captures my mood and feelings whilst in lockdown”. “I have been reminded of what really matters in life and have discovered growing optimism, appreciation and hope for the future,” Matt continued. “The song title comes from an old BBC TV show called Tomorrow’s World, which I watched as a child in the 1980s and always enjoyed the wild futuristic predictions of what life would be like now. It all seems rather lovely, comforting and naive in retrospect and reminds me that none of us ever really know what the future holds.”
twenty one pilots – Level Of Concern
‘Panic on the brain, world has gone insane / Things are starting to get heavy, mm.’ TØP got in there in the early days of the U.S. quarantine, ruminating on the growing panic and concern in a standalone single that dropped at the start of April. The video also reflected the process of making music in isolation, although Tyler Joseph, Josh Dun and co-producer Paul Meany presumably emailed files between them rather than sending flash drives by post.
Sleeping With Sirens – Talking to Myself
Sleeping With Sirens guitarist Jack Fowler started posting clips from the studio back in April. The track he teased has since emerged as the brand new, complete and pleasingly heavy Talking To Myself. “So, we’re in the process of getting ready to put out a deluxe reissue of How It Feels to Be Lost which will include three acoustic versions of songs on that album and a new single called Talking To Myself which is the clip [Jack] showed on Instagram and Twitter,” frontman Kellin Quinn explained.
Tom Morello – Stand Up
The Rage Against The Machine six-stringer recruited Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons, dance-punk duo the Bloody Beetroots and transgender rights activist Shea Diamond for his suitably explosive protest anthem Stand Up. He said that he was inspired to write the song after seeing a BLM march in “the tiny lily-white, archly conservative town” he grew up in.
Eskimo Callboy – Hate/Love
There are plenty of standalone tracks on this list, but German electronicore giddy goats Eskimo Callboy have managed to construct an entire EP in the form of MMXX. The EP “contains all the restrained energy that we couldn‘t bring to the stage during these weird times,” they said. “Hate/Love is one of the first songs that we have written during the Corona lockdown, so you can find a lot of emotions in it. It‘s rough and brutal – but also very melodic.”
The Dirty Nil – Doom Boy
“Doing quarantine the only way we know how. Locked down in the studio. See you on the other side,” The Dirty Nil tweeted on March 15. The Canadian punks were at an advantage as they all live in the same house, and the result is a forthcoming album called Fuck Art. Frontman Luke Bentham described the riff-tastic and recently released Doom Boy as “an ode to chivalry and thrash itself”. Plus, they got to let off fireworks in a minivan for the video. Bonus.
Evanescence – Wasted On You
Evanescence had actually been working on a number of songs with producer Nick Raskulinecz at the start of the year. “We were recording this music right up until we couldn’t go into the studio anymore, and finished it remotely through file sharing and phone calls,” vocalist Amy Lee explained. “Tweaking mixes, adding background vocals, creating the video and album art all from home has been like water in the desert for me, my light in a dark time.” Wasted On You wasn’t initially planned as the lead single, but the band felt that it reflected the strange times. “I didn’t write these lyrics about what we’re all now going through, but somehow that’s exactly what they are,” the singer added. The accompanying video was also very lockdown-centric, featuring the band members and their families shooting footage on their phones.
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