I’m not a doctor, but I’m absolutely certain that listening to these songs will strengthen your immune system. There have been, uh, studies or something.
Randy Newman – “Stay Away”
A California public radio station requested a PSA from the master satirist and received a charming, full-fledged composition. Topics covered include: not letting children touch your face (now or, let’s be honest, ever), Randy’s promise to buy his wife a car when the crisis subsides, and the realization that “stay away from me” are “words of love in times like these.” As a bonus, we get to hear and see Randy’s dog and glance at his bookshelf.
E-40 – “Go”
He’s gonna release 30 new albums before we’re allowed to leave our houses again, isn’t he? Though this is not to be confused with the classic “Tell Me When to Go,” you do want to hear the Bay Area legend stretch the vowels in a line like “The friends I thought were solid turned out to be salad” like so much Silly Putty. Sadly, E-40 has yet to rise to the challenge and say “coronavirus,” even though this petition has already been signed by… uh, 35 people. Get this dude on Cameo already.
Charli XCX – “Forever”
With PC Music trickster A. G. Cook and Bon Iver bud (and, now, Minnesotan) BJ Burton devising a beat that sounds like a cross between a hard drive crash and a car crash, Charli’s latest is less glossy than some of her recent fare but hardly glum.
Stefan Babcock – “Waiting for Something to Happen”
The PUP lead singer goes acoustic by necessity, with drum pad accompaniment from the pop-punk band’s Zack Mykula and an assist from (why not?) French horn player Rachel O’Connor. And guess what? It sounds kinda like an acoustic PUP song with a French horn! Though on a regular PUP song lines like “You think about it all the time/You barely feel like you’re alive” would leave themselves a little more open to interpretation.
The Beths – “Dying to Believe”
Back again from New Zealand, wellspring of infinite indie-pop melodies, the Beths brandish bigger guitars than ever on the first taste from their upcoming album, Jump Rope Gazers. What a time to drop a single with the chorus: “I’m dying to believe/That you won’t be the death of me.”
Gorillaz feat. Peter Hook and Georgia – “Aries”
Ever wonder what a New Order song would sound like with Damon Albarn singing? Probably not! But now you’ll never have to, because if there’s one thing Peter Hook knows how to do, it’s write New Order bass melodies.
Every week, music editor Keith Harris scours the vast musicscape for six worthy tracks to add to City Pages' ever-expanding 2020 playlist.