St. Vincent’s DeJamz

Remember how last quarter I said that spring break was going to go by in a flash and we’d all be back to school in no time? Little did I know that the world was going to end! In all seriousness, living in quarantine has been very emotionally taxing for us all, and it’s always good to turn to healthy distractions from the uncertainty of what we’re living through; mine is music. Here are some songs I’ve been listening to throughout quarantine, that either capture how I feel or distract me from it.


Hello In There – John Prine


This song was a fixture of my childhood, with my mom playing the Michael Stipe and Natalie Merchant cover, and my dad preferred the original. After hearing that Prine was sick with COVID-like symptoms, I listened to the original all the way through for perhaps the first time and fully felt its emotional weight. The lyrics of loneliness and needing companionship feel even more relevant living in a state of social distancing, and the song has a quiet remoteness that fully captures the mood set by the lyrics. Remember to call your loved ones during this time and hang in there, John.


Golden Days – Whitney


This song has been a favorite of mine for years, but listening to it now takes a deeper emotional toll. As the title suggests, this song is all about reminiscing on better days, and how quickly they can slip away. This song used to evoke feelings of summer’s past, but now it feels more like it’s reminiscing on the world itself. Despite the melancholy concept, this song is nothing if not joyful, with a spirited vocal delivery and sing-along chorus reminding the listener to make the best of their current situation, even if it’s not the one they wish they were in.


The Greatest – Lana Del Rey


Unlike its predecessor, this is a mournful remembrance of better days from the Queen of Gloom herself. While it is always good to keep a positive attitude and look on the bright side of even the darkest times, sometimes you have to let the sadness in before you can feel better, and this song is the perfect one to do it to. Aside from the great vocal and deep atmosphere, the song contains one of the most perfect summations of the cultural mood right now: “I want shit to feel just like it used to.” Me too, Lana.



The Best Day – Taylor Swif

Ronald S Woan

This song has made me weep for a full decade, which is both a testament to what a big crybaby I am and how deep the emotional truth behind the lyrics. This song is a love letter from Swift to her mother, with her reciting some of her favorite memories the two have shared from over the years. I’m staying with my mom, who has helped me keep positive even when I want to give in to negativity. Even though it isn’t under the best of circumstances, we’ve been able to have some great days together, for which I’m grateful.


New Year’s Day – U2


I can’t help but get emotional whenever I hear this song. While originally about war, this song perfectly captures the feelings of restlessness and uncertainty of our current culture. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking of how to remain optimistic during this largely pessimistic age in which we live, but one lyric in this song serves as a perfect source of inspiration: “I will be with you again.” Even though there may not be an end in sight and it’s easy to fall into despair, it’s important to remember that nothing is permanent. We will all be together again soon, so long as we hold on a little bit longer and take care of each other.