Love in a time of pandemic: A very special playlist

It’s a rainy and frankly dark afternoon on the ninth day of April as I reach the end of the fourth week of working from home since we cleared the newsroom out, and wisely so, at the newspaper.

This time of self-isolation as the state of Maine, the entire country and the entire planet tries to get through this unprecedented time of dealing with a global pandemic caused by the spawn of Satan called Covid-19 is surreal. It’s also frightening and it keeps shooting anxiety-dipped arrows through my heart and soul and of the hearts and souls of just about everyone I know. But still, we persist.

I keep myself as well informed as possible and also go down enough streaming show holes to keep myself distracted. (Thank You, “Schitt’s Creek!”)

The other thing I do is take lots of walks and when I’m doing them solo, I listen to music, specifically a playlist created a few weeks ago when it became evident in a hurry that we were not going to be dodging this coronavirus bullet and plans and events fell away at breakneck speed.

As I write this, it’s up to 227 songs and is over 15 hours long. Every song has something to do with isolation, hope, longing, love, loneliness and everything thing else that keeps cropping up as I slog through each day, doing the best I can to get my work done, be present in my life,  and support the local economy (in particular local musicians).

‘Love in a time of pandemic’ kicks off with the only song it really could: “The Ride” by Amanda Palmer. It’s from her album “There Will Be No Intermission.”The song is more than ten minutes long and I hang on every second, especially now. Like the rest of us, Palmer didn’t know when she wrote the song that we’d be dealing with a pandemic and that life would radically change with very little notice. And yet, the lyrics are entirely fitting, especially these lines:

I want you to think of me sitting and singing beside you
I wish we could meet all the people behind us in line
The climb to the crest is less frightening with someone to clutch you
But isn’t it nice when we’re all afraid at the same time?

Even seeing them typed out takes my breath away.

And yes, it is nice. I feel less alone. Don’t you?

We all know that no one likes a playlist more than the creator of it, so I’m not expecting people to spend 15 hours going down an Aimsel musical rabbit hole. But I do think you’ll find some tracks on it that will resonate with you. You might cry or dance or get really pissed off or even inspired. Hit shuffle play and have at it. Or use it as a jumping off point to create your own playlist and find your own bunch of songs that will help you. But do me one favor, and always start with “The Ride.”

Here are ten other songs that are on the playlist to give you a hint of what’s in store.

  1. “The Year Will End Again” by Lucy Wainwright Roche
  2. “Shelter” by Lone Justice
  3. “These Four Walls” by Shawn Colvin
  4. “Team” by Lorde
  5. “We’re All In This Together” by Katie Herzig
  6. “Let Love Rule” by Lenny Kravitz
  7. “I Will Not Be Broken” by Bonnie Raitt
  8. “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne
  9. “Laughing With” by Regina Spektor
  10. “Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House

And here’s the  entire Love in  a time of pandemic playlist:

Please. Stay Safe out there. We’ll get through this. One song at a time.

XX Ponti out.

p.s. I went for a very long walk a few weeks ago and brought my camera and some weird, vintage action figures/dolls with hastily crafted masks along for the trek. Below are two hots from that day. I needed to do something on that particular day. This was it.

Casco Bay Bridge
Casco Bay Bridge between South Portland and Portland, Maine on 3/22/20. Photo by Aimsel Ponti
Mill Creek Park in South, Portland, Maine. 03.22.20 Photo by Aimsel Ponti
Mill Creek Park in South, Portland, Maine. 3.22.20 Photo by Aimsel Ponti


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