"My music taste has always been eclectic and the soundtrack to my quarantine is no different."Ellie Etches for varsity

As I’ve been adjusting to life in lockdown these last few months, I’ve found myself increasingly weaving music into my days. In a ‘usual’ (pre-lockdown) week it may have been there to power my walks or bus journeys, keeping me entertained as I made my way from a to b. Or, it might have been blasting out from my speaker in my bedroom whilst I do my makeup; or just being the mood-setting background to a night of chatter and laughter with my friends. But being confined to home, losing the physicality and experiences of the world outside, has instinctively made me listen to music differently.

Days in isolation can seem to stretch out blankly, almost identical to each other, and yet also hold a surprising mix of contrasting emotions. With all these quarantine-induced moods, I’ve found that music has been a constant. It’s there to compensate for some of the vivacity I’m missing from ‘normal’ life, sometimes echoing the same feelings back to me comfortingly, or rather energising me to feel something new. My music taste has always been eclectic and the soundtrack to my quarantine is no different.

‘The first, my last, my everything / And the answer to all my dreams’

It feels right to start off with a musician who embodies a Saturday morning dancing with my mum between our bedrooms, arms waving above my head and shoulders jutting in a way that would no doubt offend the eyes of many. The gruffly warm baritone of Barry White’s voice, combined with the 70’s R&B disco sound, has left me brightened on countless occasions. The gusto in his singing is a call to dance that is impossible to resist. In particular, ‘You're The First, The Last, My Everything’ is steeped with associations of happiness and hopefulness, buoyed up by the melody and cheesy lyrics.

A collection of the songs featured by Georgina here:@musicvarsity

‘I took the good times; I'll take the bad times / I'll take you just the way you are’

Although Billy Joel’s music occupies the vastly different genre of soft rock, it has a similar association to White’s songs for me: dancing and singing on weekend mornings with my mum. In fact, Barry White has even covered Billy Joel’s ‘Just the Way You Are’. Our regular oscillation between both versions is a testament to the timeless beauty of the song and inevitable warm feelings it induces – so long as you don’t spend too long querying the dubious ‘don’t change the colour of your hair’ or ‘I don’t want clever conversations’.

‘Everyone said they were crazy / Brenda you know that you’re much too lazy / Eddie could never afford to live that kind of life / But there we were wavin’ Brenda and Eddie goodbye’

On an otherwise flat lockdown morning, I find myself turning to Joel’s music. Just hearing his transition from melodic piano ballad to uptempo jazz in one of my favourites, ‘Scenes From an Italian Restaurant’, is animating. Joel’s humming and ooo-ing acts as a foreground to his ‘simple’ poetry. Listening to his music, I am doused with a sense of energy that is reminiscent of the excitement I had starting Cambridge in October. It’s bitter-sweet, given the current context, and yet lifting.

‘We used to live adjacent, party in the basement / Used to chill with me and Frank but now you live with Jason / What’s he saying?’

It’s impossible to feel perpetually ‘lifted’ in lock-down, however, and there are times where I simply want to enter an existential thought bubble alone. Except, not quite alone, but accompanied by the electronic indie tunes of Easy Life, who aptly describe themselves as “your favourite old jazz record mixed with the dirty wonders of modern production techniques. Shit bangs”. Their music often ricochets around my room, irrespective of mood or time of day. But for the specific moments that I slip into lock-down introspection, it is inevitable that I’ll turn to a song of theirs such as ‘Basics’, a taste of the band’s characteristic sound: pulsing instrumental synthesised with soft vocals and nostalgia-infused lyrics.

‘I’m all in, yeah I’m all in / Be my baby, be my sure thing, you’re my sure thing’

It’s tempting to stay saturated in Easy Life’s music all day – indeed, I do – but to do this would mean foregoing the “melting pot of indie, rap, rock, and punk” that is Bakar. Songs like ‘Big Dreams’, ‘One Way’ and ‘All In’ are the anthems to shaking off any cabin fever. I’m constantly brought back to a desire for movement when hearing Bakar’s sound, the spikes of punk to R&B instrumentals and rap. At times it’s frenzied and demands dynamic movement, but this also works in dimension with a completely different element of his music: what could, but perhaps not technically, be described as slowed-down and sexy.


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‘Do you ever feel like, you could live a real life?’

The alternative R&B of Bakar’s sound, rapped to lyrics of hazy memory and muddled feeling, evokes similar personal feelings from Raleigh Ritchie. Songs like ‘Time in a Tree’, seem to embody how music can act as a medium to the conflict of emotions and thoughts felt in lock-down. Ritchie’s poetry ranges from musings on growing up, battling with the pressures of the world, as well as the anxieties of his own mind. It is a comforting echo of my own swaying thoughts, as well as - like with all those featured in the soundtrack to my quarantine - simply a song I love to listen to.