The Police — ‘Don’t stand so close to me’
In which the reluctant protagonist finds himself drawn to the advances of a young pupil who, er, gets too close. The teacher is pulled into a vortex of recriminations and accusations, as he tries to extricate himself from an untenable situation.
Was Sting recounting an experience from his days as a teacher?
The band were close to, if not already, past their sell-by date at this stage and barely on speaking terms. Perhaps that’s why Sting thought he could get away with rhyming “Nabokov” with “cough.”
While we’re at it:
‘Every breath you take’
Arguably the band’s biggest single. A commonly held perception is that this ditty is a love song. It’s not. It’s about being stalked.
The Police were’t that close to each other at the tail end of their career
Germany is debating whether to use an app to track every move you make, every step you take to establish who may have come into contact with infected individuals and thus pinpoint potential spreaders. Those affected would be required to enter quarantine. I’m not sure how popular this song is in China.
Read more: Will Germans trade privacy for coronavirus protection?
Toto — ‘Isolation’
Ah, remember them? Made up of crack session musicians big in the ’80s, with even bigger hair and with their biggest hit “Africa.” Er, that’s all.
Journey — ‘Separate ways’
You will have noticed: There’s a bit of an ’80’s theme going on. Fronted by arguably one of the best rock voices in the business (Steve Perry), they had a run of massive, but bland hits and equally massive bad hair days.
MC Hammer — ‘U can’t touch this’
Many of you will have heard of or know a game called “Twister.” Each player must put the relevant body part on the relevant color spot. If the body part is already on a spot of that color, it is moved to another spot of the same color. No two players body parts can share the same spot.
Now apply those contortions to attempting to avoid touching door handles, taps, toilet seats, etc. See above for further inspiration.
Britney Spears — ‘Toxic’
Britney sings about the taste of someone’s lips and the taste of a poison paradise. I don’t think she had Madonna in mind (who later covered the song), but the two did famously share a smooch at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2003.
Both Britney Spears (left) and Madonna never shied away from causing a stir
R.E.M. — ‘It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)’
I’m glad Michael Stipe’s feeling fine. Good luck trying to decipher what the singer of the Athens, Georgia, combo (who disbanded in 2004) is going on about, but I think he’s saying we’re all doomed.
The Tragically Hip — ‘Escape is at hand for the travellin’ man’
Not the best advice right now from the Canadian cult band, whose singer Gord Downie sadly passed away in 2017. If you think Michael Stipe’s lyrics are oblique, try Downie’s.
Queen — ‘Another one bites the dust’
Yes, I know, very bad taste. But John Deacon’s bass pattern is irresistible — even if he did rather blatantly nab it from Chic’s “Good Times.”
David Bowie — ‘Is there life on Mars?’
Let’s Dance: The “A Reality Tour” was David Bowie’s last run of live performances
Well, not yet — but that may be an option to escape the grip of the coronavirus. On second thought: We may catch something up there infinitely worse than COVID-19.
Read more: So many dead musicians? Rolling Stone editor-in-chief says it’s ‘quite natural’
Bobby Conn — ‘Disaster’
Chicago-based punk/avant-garde musician. Play. This. Very. Loudly. (While you’re at, do the same with the aptly named “Recovery”). Bowie fans should check him out.
The Raconteurs — ‘Consolers of the lonely’
Jack White and his mates (Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler — what could go wrong?) essentially sing about being cooped up. Spare a thought for those stuck in old people’s homes who can’t see their loved ones.
The Beatles — ‘Help!’
Are you listening, Boris Johnson? The National Health Service could do with a bit more from you.
Van Morrison — ‘The healing game’
Lovely tune from the Irish bard about the art of street singing in his hometown of Belfast. Soothing, smooth and silky — much like a pint of fine Guinness to take the edge off.
Dr. Dre — ‘I need a doctor’ (featuring Eminem Skylar Grey)
Yeah, Dre, who doesn’t? Let’s hope our solidarity, admiration and respect for all those medical professionals working tirelessly and selflessly endure beyond these troubled times.
Prince — ‘Sign of the times’
In the zone: Prince striking a perfect pose
Could be. After all, there have been prior warnings. Governments around the world have pandemic emergency plans sitting in their drawers. Perhaps they should be updated. Perhaps we’ll be better prepared for the next one.
Bee Gees — ‘Stayin’ alive’
Yes. Please. The best piece of advice packaged into an unstoppable groove.
*This list does not claim to be exhaustive, nor does it necessarily reflect the author’s taste in music. For further inspiration, check out the music platform of your choice.