New Music Under New Circumstances: What’s Released, What’s Being Released, and What’s Bringing Us the Joy We Need

By Olivia Montes

Elm Staff Writer

For what seems to feel like several months, the COVID-19 pandemic has not only swept illness across the globe, but also our communities have become completely isolated.

In conjunction with the loss of going to see new releases at the movie theatre, we are also prevented from experiencing the diverse world of music. From going to far-off concerts to watching new music videos on YouTube, we as the audience feel robbed of that experience entirely, stripped from an environment in which social interaction is reduced to a soundtrack of composed beats and catchy anthems.

And we’re starting to feel its rippling effects within our mental state.

“With the country seemingly shuddering to a slow halt, people are hunkering down in their homes, hoping to flatten the curve of the spread of the coronavirus,” Jon Caramanica, host of The New York Times’ PopCast, said on this week’s episode. “But it’s easy to go stir crazy — all the tension of the extreme amount of indoor time needs to be cut with some joy.”

But as the coronavirus continues to spread, restlessness with the lack of new material in our lives seems more imminent — but it doesn’t have to be this way.

“As the crisis continues to spill over into the operations of record labels, venues, streaming services, booking agencies, tech startups, and other companies in the various corners of the music industry, [but they are still] committed to [entertain us],” the music-centered magazine Rolling Stone collectively said.

Yes, while some choose to accept quarantine as the end of the world, others are connecting to their audiences in the same manner as they always have been: through the power of their unique, individualized art. 

With new album releases from the likes of Childish Gambino “3.15.20” and Dua Lipa “Future Nostalgia” and new singles from classics such as Dolly Parton, Troye Sivan, Panic! At the Disco, and The Strokes, and even new concert appearances from a variety of different artists spanning multiple genres, the entertainment industry knows that it takes more than just a few synchronized tunes to take us beyond the walls of quarantine — it takes an entire wave of artists across the globe to spread that message that we will inevitably recover.

Musicians across the globe sense that those in quarantine need something more uplifting in their lives. New releases of singles, such as Carlos Vives and Ruben Blades’ “No Estás Solo Canción Para Los Enfermos (You Are Not Alone: Song For the Ailing)”, strive to inspire those into knowing that we, despite the distances between us, are alone together.

“The pair’s first-ever collaborative effort, a song that will lift your spirit with comforting lyrics like “no discomfort is eternal, even less so if it’s shared,” had not been released until now during times of uncertainty,” Griselda Flores of Billboard said.

Other musicians, due to the mass exodus of concerts being cancelled for months on end, have committed themselves to keep their fans feel alive through virtual concerts. Billboard has listed an entire catalog of future livestreams, including appearances from indie artists like Phish, Sure Sure, and Code Orange, as well as popular artists such as Miley Cyrus, Dave Matthews, and Jewel.

Noted musicians, including Taylor Swift, have also dedicated their time and energy to making sure the artistry of music is preserved throughout the nation and beyond.

“In isolation, music feels more necessary than usual. Fans know that, and musicians know that, which is why many artists in quarantine are finding other ways to perform ‘live,’ via platforms like Instagram and YouTube, andrallying around hashtags like #TogetherAtHome,” Allegra Frank of VOX Media said.

“[Each release] is unique and unfiltered, revealing a side of artists that many fans don’t get an opportunity to see up close,” Frank said. “And like viewers, artists are looking for ways to stay hopeful. Through these at-home shows, they’ve found a perfect opportunity to blend performance with an uplifting experience that puts everyone tuning in just a little more at ease with their situation.”

And with new music, both currently streaming and on the way, producing a message of perseverance and strength, we are given endless amounts of hope to carry on about our days and take advantage of the beauty of tomorrow.

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