Playlists for Quarantine: 20 songs that encapsulate life in isolation

By Craig Strachan

A couple months into our collective banishment to our front rooms, exile from the gig venues, expulsion from the indie discos and the heart breaking cancellations to our festival filled summers, life in isolation seems to have settled into its’ routines and procedures. The arduous late wake up, slipping into the comfy joggers and oversized band tee of the day and the inevitable ‘uni coursework’ that turns into a 4 hour Netflix binge just before bed. And with the end of it all not yet within visible sight, here at Quench’s music department, we’ve decided to compile together a couple of playlists to help us all get through this crisis with at least some of our sanity intact. 

Within these two sets of 10 songs we’ve covered all of the bases of life in quarantine. If you’re looking for a set of tunes to play lounging in the back garden’s sun, the first ten songs are for you. Whereas, if like many of us, you are experiencing at least 3 or 4 existential crisis a day, the second 10 tracks have a song for each of those moments. 

10 Songs for back-garden chills

Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles

Yes, an obvious choice, but the obvious and the comforting familiarity of songs just like this late 60s classic are exactly the kinds of songs we need right now. Great tune to put you at ease too. 

Avant Gardener – Courtney Barnett 

A brilliant lyrical account of what many of us gardening virgins, perhaps looking for refuge amongst the compost, have discovered in the last 6 weeks. The Australian songwriter shows us the perils of productivity in a 4 minute stunner about an asthma attack. 

Sunflower – Vampire Weekend 

Perhaps a better accompaniment to those of us who have successfully grappled the tricks of the gardening trade, Monty Don style. This short but sweet song comes from the groups most recent album ‘Father of the Bride’ and shows off a smoothly rhythmical base lick. 

Mr Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra

Another classic of our childhoods which for me gives off real Magic Roundabout flashbacks. Perfect for a midday lunch out on the patio or for that daily dose of government approved exercise.

Bros – Wolf Alice 

A beautiful, shimmering pearl of a song that to me sounds sunny and joyful, even if the lyrics themselves might make you pine after your mates a little. 

Bone – King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

One of the most peaceful and pleasant songs the Aussie psych rock outfit have ever produced and holds just the right level of weird to perfectly represent my own levels of insanity at the moment, just an edge off sane.

You Make Loving Fun – Fleetwood Mac

Off of their classic 70s record ‘Rumours’, this song is by far the most upbeat on that album and has thus earned its place on this playlist.

Damselfly – Loyle Carner

Play this one whilst the sun is just starting to fade away, you’ve already had a couple of cold beers and you’re just relaxing into your chair. Perfect. 

Shine On – The Kooks

The perfect band for any summer playlist, it’s hard to pick just one of their tunes for this one but this 2007 effort does just the trick.

Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys 

Another classic to finish, this title captures exactly what I think we are all striving for at the moment, which is just a bit of peace of mind. 

10 songs about life in Isolation

Lonely Boy – The Black Keys

It says it all really, just in those two words, it’s a lonely life this quarantine business. Doesn’t mean you can’t listen to some good songs though.

Living in a Ghost Town – The Rolling Stones

This being the only song on this list that is actually written about the coronavirus outbreak itself, Jagger and co have made us cast our minds to all our favourite places now lying empty and dormant. The abandoned beer gardens alone, are enough to make you weep. 

Yesterday – The Beatles

This melancholic tune is how we were all feeling just after all of this hit the fan. One minute sitting wherever we wanted, however close to other people we wanted. The next day it’s all gone.

Old Friends – Circa Waves

Warning. Listen with due caution and a tissue or two to hand. This one will definitely make you miss your mates if you weren’t already. Zoom calls just aren’t the same. 

Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac

The second track from the ‘Rumours’ album on this list and whilst it was written as the mother of all break up tunes, I think you’ll find it is also perfect for summarising how you feel when an impatient middle aged woman isn’t keeping her 2 metres distance in the queue at Tesco. Think about it. 

Gimme Some Truth – John Lennon

Continuing on our angrier train of thought, this is a song perfectly suited to screaming at the daily coronavirus briefing on the tele, just begging them to tell us when things will start easing up again.

Never Had No One Ever – The Smiths

With that anger out of the way, this one will send you straight back to sad town. Listen with caution.

Heroes – David Bowie

One for the key workers, whomever they are to you, this song only goes a fraction of the way to explaining the sacrifices they’ve made of late.

O-o-h Child – The Five Stairsteps 

After the crisis of the day or hour is over, listen to this one to remind you that it will end eventually. 

Isolation – Joy Division

No words needed really.