I never thought that the subject matter of one of my blog posts might resonate with readers worldwide ... until now. I'm sitting in front of my laptop writing this post as the earth makes its official transition from Winter to Spring. But it certainly doesn't feel like the typical, anticipated change of seasons we've come to warmly embrace, as the human race finds itself in the the midst of a troubling and frightening pandemic: COVID-19 or the "coronavirus." Lives and livelihoods have been disrupted, events have been canceled or postponed, and some of us are under "shelter in place" orders. What world is this? Time will tell what comes of this and when we might see the light at the end of the tunnel.
In uncertain times, I find that it's music that has the magical power to temporarily lift us out of the (un)reality and anxiety of every day life. Whatever your magic musical potion might be, make sure you put it on. Support your favorite independent musicians, buy their music and products directly from their direct websites or Bandcamp page, become their Patreon or CASH Music supporter, consider any GoFundMe or Kickstarter campaigns, and share their music with your real and social media friends in whatever way you can. Their livelihoods may very well depend on such support.
People often use the phrase "gone viral" to refer to videos that capture the attention of millions, but perhaps it's "Corona (Song for a Virus)," the new single from English singer-songwriter and visual artist Mark Fernyhough, that should contend for the prize in this "gone viral" category.
Exploring the global trend of media hysteria, internet conspiracies and existential dread related to the global spread of coronavirus, Mark's reflection on this contemporary pandemic takes the form of an ominous, goth-tinged musing on the virus, with cautionary lyrics, phantasmal synths and brooding, gloomy vocals.
"Transmitted from bats or a covert experiment
It's in the air, in the houses and tenements
Corona, coming for you now
Corona, cover your mouth"
While the subject of coronavirus is serious and no laughing matter indeed, I have to admit it's cathartic and somewhat amusing to find oneself singing or humming along with the apocalyptic, yet facetious lyrics of "Corona."
"Corona (Song for a Virus)" is not the first Mark Fernyhough song to tackle contemporary, social topics in the form of a fresh, clever musical structure. Mark's previous single, "Divided Cities," inspired by Brexit, borders and the Berlin Wall, laments the unsettling, recurring policies of division in society.
"Corona" comes with its own visual accompaniment in the form of a folk horror-tinged music video shot by Mark and tracking at nearly 17,000 views at time of writing. The video documents a group of women performing a frenzied, yet hypnotic ritualistic dance to the ominous track. Watch, wash your hands and cover your mouth!