5 albums to listen to while you’re self-isolating
The third part of my Quarantine Survival Kit is dedicated to music and let me tell you: these 5 picks took me time. It’s hard to suggest albums to other people, because even with the best intentions, music is always a matter of personal taste.
Also, the internet is full of lists of “best albums of all time”, “10 albums you need to hear before you die” and so on, so I have to warn you: these are not the ones that I would bring with me on a desert island, because the island would claim its own music and a pandemic is a totally different situation.
The point is that now you have some extra time and you should give yourself the opportunity to listen to a good record from start to finish. But what kind of record should you listen while you’re self-isolating?
I don’t think feel-good or tragic albums fit this global crisis, so I thought about these records like supplements: a balanced blend of fun, joy, carefreeness, with a pinch of melancholy and darkness, just to be sure your body gets all the nutrients.
My 5 album picks cover different genres: folk, classical crossover, indie rock, blues, synthopop. I hope you’ll all get through self-isolation anxiety “with a little help from my friends”.
Boy & Bear – Moonfire (2011)
I fell in love with this Australian band some years ago: people compared them to Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers, but their music has something ineffable that goes beyond mainstream folk rock. Moonfire is one of those rare album that doesn’t make you want to skip songs.
Ensemble Contraste – Miroirs (2013)
Ensemble Contraste is an evolving French project composed of virtuoso classical musicians who like to mix it up with popular music. Following the approach of its directors, Johan Farjot and Arnaud Thorette, Contraste reinvented the classical concert, giving it a textured, contemporary vibe. Their 2013’s album, Miroirs, includes original compositions and some of your favorite Bach, Mozart and Satie as you’ve never heard them before.
Peter Bjorn and John – Living Thing (2009)
I love the way this Swedish trio plays with vintage suggestions and contemporary elements. Compared to their popular predecessors (Seaside Rock and Writer’s Block) Living Thing is an experimental, reactionary album, an indie rock pastiche which mixes fun melodies with emotional discontent.
The Rolling Stones – Blue & Lonesome (2016)
If you love blues and you love The Rolling Stones, Blue & Lonesome is the album for you. In 2016 Mick Jagger & Co. had fun covering their favorite tunes giving the audience this heartfelt tribute to blues rock. The album includes gems like Just a Fool by Buddy Johnson (though the Stones based their version on Little Walter’s arrangement) and features contributions from Eric Clapton and Jim Keltner. This is the kind of record you want to use to practise sexiness in front of the mirror, so put the record on and dance like nobody is watching (actually, nobody will).
St. Lucia – Matter (2016)
If you read my blog before, you know I wrote about St. Lucia: this New York based band is one of the most interesting acts in the synthpop/indietronica scene. Matter is a work for 80s fans, curious people and everyone who likes quality pop: from the catchy Help Me Run Away to the romantic Love Somebody, it’s nearly impossible not to find songs that you like in this album.