The next few weeks will prove a challenging time for those of us faced with the prospect of self-isolation. However, since it is for the health of society’s weakest that we practice social distancing, it’s a good idea we practice recommended measures. In the next week, The Badger will be recommending some of the best art to while away the hours with. This section, myself and music editor Léo de Riedmatten are recommending the best albums to self-isolate with.
The Berlin Trilogy – David Bowie
As a Bowie fan, I needed to encourage some Bowie listening in this list. The Berlin Trilogy marks an exceptional period of creativity for Bowie, in which he was in the process of recovering from a long period of illness (addiction) in relative isolation in East Germany. These albums document the writer’s long periods of self-reflection and are essential listening for any fan.
Me, Myself and I – Joan Armatrading
The track song “Is It Tomorrow Yet?”, while exceptionally beautiful, will probably reflect some mental states for the period of isolation. This album is fantastic, and Armatrading is a genius. You should listen to it.
Pure Comedy – Father John Misty
It feels as though anybody who should have come across Father John Misty will have by now. Nevertheless, there are some who will be unacquainted with his voice, his sound, and his lyrics. I think in a time of blind panic this album has the ability to provide some solace. Its illustrations of humanity’s absurdity, the conflict between our primitive and social instincts, can be seen in the coronavirus crisis. Essentially, Father John Misty is one of the greatest lyricists of our time, and we should all be listening to what he has to say.
The Return – Sampa the Great
A genuine art piece. Includes a perfect mix of easy listening, as well as tracks that make you want to smash windows and turn over chairs. An excellent way to make an hour fly away.
Kiwanuka – Michael Kiwanuka
I’ve been championing this album since its appearance last year. Said by some to have been the album of the decade (the last one), its musicality is enchanting, and the album sees the artist, Kiwanuka, really come into his own as a personality.
Cuz I Love You – Lizzo
Sometimes you just need to listen to a really good pop album.
Léo de Riedmatten
Absolution – Muse
If you’re familiar with Muse’s work (you should be), you’ll have no trouble understanding why they’ve made it to this list. Most of their albums touch on the world ending in some way, but Absolution (2004), their third album, really drives the theme home. The album opens with the rhythmic sounds of marching troops, and Matt Bellamy belting: “Declare this an emergency, come on and spread a sense of urgency, and pull us through”. Seems appropriate.
Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming – M83
We’re going to have a lot of time to kill in the upcoming weeks, so M83’s epic double album seems like an ideal way to slow things down. The increasingly single-driven music release strategy mimics our fast paced lifestyle and consumption habits, but this self-isolation period is a great time to rest, relax, and rediscover the beauty of listening to an album from start to finish, as intended by the creators. Plus, this album (as implied by the title) is all about dreams, a good way to escape reality for a short while.
( ) – Sigur Rós
It seems Iceland’s unique natural diversity is a breeding ground for exceptional musicians (Björk, Ólafur Arnalds, Of Monsters and Men, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Hildur Guðnadóttir, to name a few). Self-isolation gives you an ideal setting to catch up on all the reading you’ve been slacking on, and Sigur Rós’ magnum opus (according to myself) is the ideal soundtrack to an afternoon curled up on the sofa, a book in hand.
Not To Disappear – Daughter
Daughter’s sophomore album, Not To Disappear (2016), is a study of loneliness from the inside out, according to front woman Elena Tonra who says: “It does revolve around different ways to feel alone. Whether that’s feeling alone with somebody you shouldn’t be feeling alone with, or in a crowd of people, or when you’re on tour and for some reason (…) you just feel like you’re not there, like you’re invisible”. Self-isolation can be used as a time to think and reflect, and come to important conclusions, such as my favourite lyric in the album: “I hate being alone, I should get a dog or something”.