Creatives in Quarantine: Music
From the inside looking out, the world seems to be meek and distilled. People are clad with masks, walking six feet apart. Streets and sidewalks that used to be lined with cars and people, are now empty. Subways and trains have stopped running. During the midst of a global pandemic, people are retreating to inside their homes and have become disconnected with the outside world. COVID-19 has stopped the world in its tracks. Although, just because the world has paused outside, that does not mean creativity has paused inside. With this extended period of time spent inside, creatives from all aspects of the arts have utilized this time spent quarantined to produce and release new content. From musicians to writers, to film and television, I have been all about the new content that has spawned from artists. Week by week, or at least while we’re stuck in the confines of our homes and admiring the nice weather from our couches, I’m going to break down what’s been going on with creatives during quarantine.
Over the past several months, the music industry has been booming with new music. There are way too many to list in one article, but don’t worry, I’m here to fish out the true gems in this wave of new creative content. We will start with some new music singles.
Everyone has been buzzing about “THE SCOTTS” by Travis Scott and Kid Cudi (or aka The Scotts). The two had previously collaborated in 2016 for Scott’s “Through the Late Night” on Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight and Cudi’s “Baptized in Fire” on Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’. A collaboration like this could not had come at a better time. With Cudi and Scott, it is like listening to a father and son duo. You have Cudi who is a veteran in the Hip-Hop world (Man on the Moon: The End of Day, eleven years later, it still is one of my favorite albums of all time). Then you have Scott, a younger and more up in coming artist in the Hip-hop genre. While listening to the song, it is as if you are listening to the passing of a torch from one generation to another. What shines through in this song though is the production. Cudi and Scott are producers at heart, so it only makes sense they value production in their work. “THE SCOTTS” stands out as THE hip-hop single of the year so far because you have two of the greatest guys in the genre collaborating. It certainly made it to the top of my quarantine playlist.
Similar to the dynamic between the two artists in “THE SCOTTS”, we also got the “Savage Remix” by Meg Thee Stallion and Beyoncé. We have the passing of the torch from Queen B to Meg Thee Stallion. Let’s face it, anything with Beyoncé is worth a listen to. But, Meg Thee Stallion has proven herself as a prominent woman in the genre and one to watch out for. At only 25, she has collaborated with Nicki Minaj, Gucci Mane, Lil Uzi Vert, and now, the Queen. She has also won the Billboard Women in Music Powerhouse Award. “Savage Remix” debuted at number four in the charts, but has remained a surprising hit.
Moving away from singles, it’s time to talk about albums. Boy oh boy… there has been LOADS of new albums by some incredible artists. Some of the ones I am going to talk about are new, and some veterans in the industry. First up we got a veteran, Drake. On May 1st, he surprised the world with a new album featuring a slew of artists from Chris Brown to Playboy Carti. His latest release "Dark Lane Memo Tapes", is definitely a veer into the darker side of Drake, a version of him not always expressed in his music. I feel as though that is why it is kind of comforting to turn to his album in these times, cause they are just as a grim and we can feel a little less alone. The standout song from this album is “Toosie Slide”.
The next album I am about to introduce is a debut album from an incredibly talented up and coming artist. Three. Two. One. by Lennon Stella has quickly become, I’d say, one of my all-time favorite albums. Even though this is her debut album, she is no stranger to the music scene. I had been following her career since she was a little girl on the show Nashville. Now at the age of twenty, she has grown in to her own person with pain and music to bring with her into adulthood. Her storytelling really shines through in this album. She was able to encapsulate the pain of what it is like to grow up to in a society where everyone is forced to grow up a little too quickly. The universality of the messages in her songs are what really drew me to her album. Her creativity shines through in the editing as well with the inclusion of home video audio in her song “Weakness”. Some standouts from this album are “Older than I am” , “Much Too Much”, “Weakness”, and “Goodnight”. But, I highly suggest you check out the entire album as it is a stellar debut.
Lastly, we got The Weeknd. Now I don’t know about you, but this album has been long overdue. His newest album, After Hours, came four years after his previous hit album, Starboy. What I loved about this album so much was that it was a cohesive story both lyrically and sonically. He pulled creative aspects from materials that inspired him such as the novel “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” by Hunter S. Thompson. Abel was pulling inspiration directly from other creatives to foster and hone in on his own creativity within himself.
During these times we could take a note from The Weeknd and many other artists. The idea of mastering a new skill, or improving your fitness game have all kind of taken over the idea of quarantine, especially on social media. Life has almost become a competition to see who can come out of this the most fit, or the best at something. When actuality, the healthiest thing to do right now is to just relax, and create. Turn to artists to seek comfort in the chaos around us, and find that inspiration in the content we are consuming. These musicians have all released creative content that we can seek inspiration from. I suggest we use it, and most importantly, stay creative.