Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Times Like These

It’s less than half a day until New Zealand enters Alert Level 2, the closest we’ve been to “normal” since the pandemic began. For many New Zealanders, including me, going to the next Alert Level has brought an odd mix of excitement and trepidation. We’ll know in the next couple of weeks which one was more justified.

The excitement is as obvious as it is palpable: We’ll all get to see friends and family that we haven’t seen in seven weeks, so “excitement” is for many of us a bit of an understatement. I think that’s especially true for people like me who have been in solitary confinement during that time.

The trepidation is similarly obvious and palpable. We’ve seen many countries begin to open up only to face a “second wave” of cases of Covid-19. Will we have that happen, too? Scientists still don’t fully understand how the virus is transmitted, so can we be sure that we’re avoiding exposure to the virus? On top of all that, after seven weeks of isolation, to varying degrees, the idea of going back out in public is terrifying for some, and a source of anxiety for many.

Excitement and trepidation abound.

Each of us has tried to get to this point as best we can, and some of those efforts have been shared publicly. The video above is among them.

It is Live Lounge Allstars’ cover of “Times Like These”, a song by Foo Fighters originally released January 14, 2003. The first version of their video for that song is at the bottom of this post. Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, who co-wrote the song, appears in the cover version, too.

The Live Studio Allstars are a bunch of performers who are well known in the UK (regardless of where they’re actually from). It refers to BBC Radio One’s “Live Studio”, a programme that has performers to cover versions of songs. The video above premiered during BBC One’s “Big Night In” telethon broadcast on April 23. It raised funds for charities helping those affected by Covid-19.

While it seems almost petty to talk about chart performance for a charity single, but since I always talk about that when talking about pop music, here goes: In Australia, it didn’t chart, but in Canada in was at 8, New Zealand 5, the UK 1, and the USA 12. It was the first single produced by BBC Radio 1 to hit Number One in the UK since their cover version of “Perfect Day” in 1997.

I don’t normally share lyric videos, but sometimes they can be justifed, and this is one of those times. The lyric video for this cover version makes it clear who everyone is, something particularly useful for some of us. The version of the performance video broadcast in New Zealand has a chyron as each performer sings, showing their names. I’m familiar with a lot of the artists in the video, but I didn’t necessarily recognise all of them, so, without the chyrons in the performance video on YouTube, I found the lyric video useful.

This pandemic has a while to play out yet, so we may see more collaborative efforts like this. Much as I like this, and I do, and without meaning any offence to the participants, I nevertheless hope we don’t need many more of these sorts of things. I hope we really are turning a corner. The thought we we may be doing so is a cause for excitement, but that’s definitely comes with trepidation. Here in New Zealand, we’ll know in the next couple of weeks which one was more justified.

Nice cover version, though.

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