Recently Added: Quarantine Music

I think it’s safe to say the last few months have changed a lot of plans. Countless goals and dreams and ways of thinking have been forced to adapt, be revised, or be put to rest. One way, both beautiful and bittersweet, that these changes are expressed is through the art we create. Taylor Swift is a good example of what can be created in these unusual circumstances, but there are several other cases of creative projects altered by pandemic that are worth looking at. All the albums listed have recently been ordered for the library and will be available soon.

how i’m feeling now by Charli XCX is an album that was created in a truly unique way, unlikely to have arisen except in the context of self-isolation. The artist announced (where else?) on a Zoom call  that she would be making an album in self-isolation and that she would use only the tools at her fingertips to create the music, album art, everything.  Moreover, she worked collaboratively with her fans to get feedback on tracks, album art, and more. The result has been highly acclaimed by critics and fans.

In A Dream by Troye Sivan is the artist’s third album, following 2018’s Bloom. According to Sivan, this album represents an emotional rollercoaster, where emotions and feelings are shockingly fresh. Similar to Taylor Swift’s journey with Folklore, this album was made while Sivan was in lockdown in Melbourne, and it was facilitated by the boredom and isolation of the experience. Songs were created day by day and it was an unexpected realization to find that an entire album had materialized.

Here On Earth by Tim McGraw, in contrast to previous examples, was planned and recorded before the pandemic, but was unmistakably altered by it. The tour originally planned to accompany the release had to be canceled, and according to an interview with Rolling Stone, McGraw had to reexamine the record in light of the pandemic to see how its emotional impact had been changed. Some tracks, including I Called Mama, were found to have unexpected emotional weight.

ALICIA by Alicia Keys was also planned ahead of time, but struck a timely chord with its themes. Critics said the album struck a balance between hope and despair, and Keys herself said the album showed the value of introspection – something we’ve all had more time to do lately, right? The album was scheduled for release in March, but was delayed by the pandemic until September. In the meantime, various virtual performances allowed Keys to debut songs from the album ahead of its release, including the iHeart Living Room Concert for America.

QC Life in the New Normal Writing Project

QC Life in the New Normal Writing Project ConversationWhy is the Davenport Library involved in trying to document life in this particular time? Either by writing or recording interviews?

For one thing, it’s therapeutic to write creatively and to analyze your own feelings and worries. For another, it’s important to document history while it’s happening.

In an article by Anna Momigliano in the New York Times, she describes the impetus of writers in Italy to write and publish right now:

Much like Sigmund Freud wrote down his dreams when he woke, before they faded, [author] Giordano sought to document, in real time, his experience of the pandemic. “Once the emergency is over, any temporary awareness will also disappear,” he writes. “I don’t want to lose what the epidemic is revealing about ourselves.” Doctors, novelists and other writers are exploring, as quickly as they can, the pandemic’s impact.

The first phase is a writing project, QC Life in the New Normal. Some writing prompts are:

What have I learned about myself and others in the last few weeks. How have I changed? What am I grateful for? What keeps me going? What does “coping” mean? How has my work life changed? What is the impact on my home life? How has the arc of change on my daily life affected my decision making? What is my decision-making process? Who have I come to admire, and why? (locally, nationally, world-wide)

The second part we’ve launched is QC Life in the Covid-19 Era Oral History Project

As part of the “In Your Own Words” oral history project, you can record an interview using free video conferencing software (video, or just audio).

Sample questions could include:

Describe how you keep active? (exercise or fitness routines)  How do you plan your day? How have you changed the way you relax? (reading, streaming, tv, technology, games, or hobbies) How have your school, work life, or medical appointments changed? Describe the first wave, and subsequent waves of change. How have your plans (vacation or travel) been impacted for the present and near future?

We are putting out the call to anyone who would like to record an interview. Are you, or do you know? Grocery store workers, nursing home staff or residents, social workers, parents of small children, students of any age, farmers, teachers, first responders, small business owners, military personnel, restaurant workers, and anyone and everyone – we all have an important story to tell.

If you’d like to make an appointment or for more information, contact us at specialcollections@davenportlibrary.com or through our website at www.davenportlibrary.com.