7 Albums to Listen to During Quarantine

During this time where we are stuck in our houses 24/7, it’s important to do things that bring you joy and can help take you out of that depressive slog that many of us are feeling. One way I have done this is by listening to a lot of music: both new projects released this year and older favorites that I already know I like. This list is a collection of some of those albums that I’ve really enjoyed listening to during this quarantine. Hopefully, you will find as much enjoyment in some of these projects as I have. 

SAWAYAMA – Rina Sawayama 


Rina Sawayama’s SAWAYAMA is unabashedly a pop album. Much like her debut EP RINA, which incorporated a carefully crafted mix of homages to earlier pop and use of interesting experimentation to make amazing pop bangers, SAWAYAMA takes this formula and runs with it. Songs like “Paradisin’” and “Comme Des Garcon (Like the Boys)” are clear tributes to the bubblegum pop hits of the early 2010s while a song like “Bad Friend” is more along the lines of a 90s melodramatic power ballad. Not only does SAWAYAMA emulate the best elements of modern pop movements, it incorporates unique elements in its songs. “XS”—an amazing brag track that sounds like a classic Britney Spears song in about every way except for its use of a heavy guitar riff in its chorus—is a great example of this. Other songs like “STFU!”, which is genuinely just a metal song, reflect the diversity of paths Rina takes to keep her album sounding fresh. If you need a feel-good upbeat listen during this time, then this is the album for you. 

Fetch the Bolt Cutters – Fiona Apple


Fetch the Bolt Cutters is critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Fiona Apple’s most recent studio album released after a 8-year hiatus after her 4th studio album The Idler Wheel… in 2012. This album stands out from much of her past work because of its relatively raw and unpolished sound both sonically and lyrically. Apple doesn’t hold anything back on this album which spends much of its run time talking about her anger about her past relationships, experiences with depression, and sexual harassment in excruciating detail. While her impressive piano skills are still present on this project, many more instruments appear in this album than her other projects including drums, bass, and of course her voice which she frequently uses to harmonize with herself. If you need an album to listen to help you deal with anger you may be currently experiencing, then check out Fetch the Bolt Cutters.

LP1 – FKA Twigs


LP1, the debut album of FKA Twigs, is an album filled with longing. This album tells the story of Twigs in a tumultuous point in a relationship, possibly with her ex Robert Pattinson, where she keeps trying to get closer to her partner who keeps pushing her away into a friend with benefits situation. The entire album feels just as ethereal, largely due to the immense production by FKA Twigs herself in frequent collaboration with artists like Arca and Devonte Haye, as it is vulnerable, which can be credited to FKA Twigs soft and seemingly fragile vocal performance along with her lyric abilities to lay all of her emotions on the table. Despite her more vulnerable moments, songs like “Two Weeks” and “Kicks” express large amounts of strength reminding Twigs and the listener that they can find the strength within themselves to power through difficult times. For that reason, this album is quite a cathartic listen. 

Reflections – Hannah Diamond


Hannah Diamond is the pop princess of the record label PC Music. Her music, much like the label itself, is equal parts parody and loving tribute to the era of pop music that existed in the 2000s and early 2010s. Most of the music on this album consists of chiptune-like beats and overly auto tuned vocals which are used to create upbeat club bangers like “Fade Away” and “Love Goes On” or more sad and contemplative songs like “Never Again” or “Make Believe.” Diamond’s music creates the aesthetic of a sad pop star in a forgotten era of music that never really existed in the first place and for whatever reason, it works really well. If you need to listen to something when you’re feeling sad but don’t want to feel any worse by the end of it, then this is the album for you. 

Miss Anthropocene – Grimes


Grimes’s fifth studio album, Miss Anthropocene, is named after the combination of the terms misanthrope (which means hatred towards humanity) and Anthropocene (the proposed name for the current age of Earth’s geological history). This album shows off much of Grimes’s strengths like her ability to create moody instrumentals through a mix of voice distortion and sampling, which can be seen in songs like “So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth” or “My Name is Dark” and the use of guitar and drums samples creates a uniquely heavy experience. This album is also much darker thematically than her last works discussing issues like climate change, the opioid crisis, and her depression. While I don’t necessarily love all the songs on this album, the high points of it are really high. Songs like the previously mentioned “My Name is Dark” and “4ÆM” are songs filled with an immense sense of melodramatic doom that while ominous is somehow very cathartic to listen to during an actual time of doom. 

Bonito Generation – Kero Kero Bonito 


If there was a way to turn serotonin into musical form it would be Kero Kero Bonito’s Bonito Generation. KKB, who is probably best known for their song “Flamingo,” creates music that is insanely infectious with catchy hooks and upbeat melodies that get stuck in your head for days. The best part of their music is that the happiness feels sincere. The band seems to be having fun making their music and the constant inclusion of breakdowns and strange bridges within their songs shows the band’s willingness to loosen up and just enjoy themselves. The lyrical content of their songs is aggressively optimistic but never sound preachy rather encouraging and uplifting. If you need something to lift your spirits up, this album is for you. 

Post – Björk 


Björk’s second studio album, Post, is not new to being praised, but I have no qualms about adding onto that praise. Björk’s skills as a songwriter and producer along with her willingness to collaborate with other artists allow her to become a musical oxymoron of sorts: she is an artist whose style is highlighted by her willingness to have no specific style. Songs like “Army of Me,” which samples the drums from Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks” and I could only describe as a weird industrial pop song, and “It’s Oh So Quiet,” which is a showtune-like cover of Betty Hutton’s original version, somehow exist on the same album and don’t ruin the flow at all. But this album isn’t just full of sonically diverse choices but also an immense amount of beautiful lyrics. “Hyperballad,” possibly my favorite Björk song, discusses the time in a relationship where you need to actively remember to do stuff you love so you will not forget who you are. As a 16-year old I can’t relate to it much, but I find it to be deeply profound. Other songs like “Isobel” and “Possibly Maybe” discuss similarly deep themes and keep you coming back to the album again and again. If you need an album to distract you from the world right now, this album can accomplish that for you. 

While you may not end up liking any of these albums I hope that this list at the very least inspires you to listen to more music that brings you comfort during this difficult time. If you want some more musical suggestions, the Foreword staff created a playlist of songs they have been listening to recently. We all have varied music taste so it is likely you will end up finding something you like.