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Pandemic Playlist

Between anxiety and isolation

And now it turns out the virus is putting songs like R.E.M.’s It’s the End of the World As We Know It on charts. We hadn’t thought about it — it’s actually the least apocalyptic song we know. It appeared on R.E.M.’s acclaimed 1987 album, Document, and hit No. 69 in the US Billboard Hot 100, but this isn’t its first renaissance. The song regularly makes lists of top songs for doomsday, and has been played for 24 hours straight by radio stations in Cleveland and Canada.

The song entered right into the playlists of people who are experiencing the pandemic indoors, just like Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson. A few days after they announced they were both diagnosed with COVID-19, Rita took the positive approach and compiled her quarantine music playlist. “I want to make a Spotify playlist for people self-quarantining,” she tweeted, “something that might relate to isolation, perhaps?” The end result is Rita Wilson’s Quarantunes on Spotify, with songs such as Dancing With Myself by Billy Idol, I Wanna Be Sedated by the Ramones, I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor and I’m So Tired by the Beatles, to name a few. She also included a few songs she sings herself.

And this is, somehow, our list — with a cover taken from Gaspar Noé’s Enter the Void movie.

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