Quarantunes: 5 songs for your pandemic playlist

Noah Pasley

With much of the entertainment industry on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s all too easy to fall into a rut of rewatching old shows on Netflix or snuggling up to old playlists. But even as movie theaters and album tours have hit pause, many in the music industry have pressed play. Here are five songs you probably missed:

1. “Apocalypse” by Nati Dreddd

A newer name than any on this list, Nati Dreddd is perhaps best known for her TikTok, where she has amassed about 450,000 followers and 3.2 million likes by recording herself as she sings songs such as “The Drunken Scotsman” and “Jenny of Oldstones” from “Game of Thrones” in her now-famous Scottish accent.


Dreddd released her first single, “Apocalypse,” in early July, and while it lacks her iconic Scottish accent, it more than makes up for it with the subtle acoustic guitar and her chilling vocals. The result is an intimate connection as Dreddd confronts the mediocrity of her 9-to-5.

2. “Lay Your Head On Me” by Major Lazer feat. Marcus Mumford 

Well-renowned for their music in the electronic dance music genre, Major Lazer dips into the alternative scene with “Lay Your Head On Me.” While the song still incorporates many elements of Major Lazer’s typical fare, the song transcends the synth with smooth vocals from Marcus Mumford, lead singer of the British folk rock band Mumford & Sons, to create a song about brighter days on the horizon.

3. “my future” by Billie Eilish

A household name for many, Billie Eilish has had her fame climb rapidly since her debut in 2015 with the song “Ocean Eyes,” written and produced by her brother, Finneas. Since then, the artist released her 2019 debut album WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? and recorded a song for the upcoming James Bond film, “No Time to Die.”

In her newest single, released July 30, Eilish follows in a similar vein as Major Lazer, setting her eyes on the future. Combining her haunting, soprano voice with the soft notes of a piano, Eilish expresses her enthusiasm for the days ahead.

4. “Level of Concern” by Twenty One Pilots

No stranger to peppy beats, it hardly comes as a surprise that musical duo Twenty One Pilots hopped on the opportunity to produce music about the impacts of the coronavirus on the world. For lead vocalist Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun, their new single “Level of Concern” is actually their second outing in music produced from home, as Joseph revealed that the 2018 album Trench was recorded in a home studio.

“Level of Concern” conveys fears about how the pandemic will affect society and the music industry. In the chorus, Joseph also sings on the importance of reassurance and comfort from loved ones during this new period of time.

5. “Zen” by X Ambassadors, grandson and K.Flay

A collaboration from several music groups in the alternative industry, “Zen” is X Ambassadors’ most recent release following their ORION album in 2019. The single also follows grandson’s May album, Text Voter XX to 40649, which is part of a political activism campaign, including music collaborations (one with K.Flay) and a podcast.

The song is about finding “f*cking zen” as each artist sings about life under quarantine and how they are coping with their “new normal.” Sam Harris, lead vocalist for X Ambassadors, mentions asking friends for pictures of their pets or cycling through meditation apps, whereas K.Flay and grandson describe social distancing and their feelings of frustration and depression from being cooped up inside. 

Noah Pasley can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @PasleyNoah.