Songs for the Socially Distanced

Songs for the Socially Distanced

JJ Smith

Life seems to be full of question marks these days, and all of this time spent quarantining in solitude and social distancing can inspire some serious self-reflection. If you find yourself feeling especially introspective during this strange time, take a listen to this playlist featuring some groovy gals of the music scene. These songs are sure to lighten your mood, with their upbeat tempos and thoughtful lyrics that will hopefully help guide you along.

Oom Sha La La – Haley Heynderickx

This track was written originally for a song challenge by singer/songwriter Haley Heynderickx but quickly turned into a catchy song about doubt that arises when searching for meaning in daily lives. The joyful melody featuring a repetitive guitar line, consistent kick drum, and a chorus of these silly, rhythmic syllables combined with Heynderickx’s rich vocals that deliver humorous yet emotional lyrics about young people’s efforts to create beauty from their uncertainty.

Wannago – Frankie Cosmos

Singer Greta Kline describes this song about love, life, and distance as having a “youthful glow.” The catchy tune flows effortlessly, merging the vocals of lead vocalist Greta Kline and pianist Lauren Martin to create soft yet striking harmonies. The constant guitars and percussion keep pace throughout the song, adding just enough charm to the vocals to make for a catchy, charming song that could be left on loop all day to boost your mood.

Dreams – Japanese Breakfast

This song, originally written and performed by The Cranberries, was recorded by Japanese Breakfast as a new version for Spotify’s singles series. The cover stays rather true to the original, with the same rhythmic guitar riff to keep pace, a steady kick drum beat, and a bridge that sounds like an outburst of instrumentals and emotions. In Japanese Breakfast’s cover, singer Michelle Zauner’s entrancing voice adds her own twist to this song, which is just as mesmerizing and ecstatic as the original.

Kyoto – Phoebe Bridgers

This song was initially written as a ballad, typical Phoebe Bridgers style, but the singer-songwriter opted for an upbeat track instead because she was simply sick of recording slow songs. “Kyoto” is fast and fearless, featuring a quick beat that keeps pace during verses before bursting into a loud chorus complete with horns, perfectly capturing a fleeting feeling. Bridgers’ voice soars as she delivers lyrics aching with hints of cynicism, as they paint a scene of ghosts from her past following her overseas to Tokyo while on tour.

Where the Sidewalk Ends – Sidney Gish

This song is a blissful outburst featuring complex harmonies that highlight Gish’s rich vocals and lyrics that uniquely shrug off the uncertainty of misinterpretation and manipulation with a touch of carefree humor. A staccato keyboard riff, tempo tambourine, and soft strumming of an acoustic guitar all come together to create this layered, catchy, childish chorus that ironically describes the navigation of a part of adulthood.

circle the drain – Soccer Mommy

This song disguised as an upbeat track is really about spirals of isolation experienced by singer-songwriter Sophia Regina Allison, aka Soccer Mommy. Lyrics that describe spiraling sadness are overpowered by warm melodies that blend a steady drumline, guitars that hold back during verses and escalate during the chouses, and bubble sound effects to pull off this nostalgic, hazy tune.

Sports – Beach Bunny

This pop-garage track features hazy guitar riffs, a steady bassline that escalates with lead singer Lili Trifilio’s powerful vocals at the chorus. Lyrics that detail the uncertainty of a relationship present a relatable comparison between love and sports by complaining about the frustration of playing “games.” Despite the harsh reality of the lyrics, this song is an upbeat anthem perfect to describe any feelings of impatience.

Psych Ward – Okay Kaya

This song lyrically addresses an experience of Okay Kaya’s founder, Kaya Wilkins, that she describes as “dark.” Like “circle the drain,” this track uses optimistic instrumentals to deceive and convey an upbeat tune instead. Kaya’s literal experiences detail each lyric and her mesmerizing vocals blend well with steady bass riffs, hazy guitars, and kit drums to create a simple, synth-like melody that’s catchy and captivating.

If You Want To – beabadoobee

Bea Kristi, aka beabadoobee, delivers a refreshing track that blends angst of Indie Rock and modernity of fresh Pop with “If You Want To.” Lyrics describe the heavy topic of insomnia with slight humor and radiates nostalgia while juxtaposing sad lyrics with upbeat melodies. This song seems to embody a sense of childhood familiarity while grasping at topics associated with coming-of-age realism, making for the perfect song to sleepily nod along to.