Coronavirus: A Deadly Source of Inspiration?

COVID19 KILLS SXSW BUT SPARKS WAVE OF CREATIVITY AMONG MUSICIANS

Coronavirus has not only been infecting people for months now, it has also been tainting industry and culture. Quarantines, cautionary measures and panic have not only slowed the economy, they've also caused the cancellation of concerts, tours and now even popular festival events like SXSW 2020.

But even in a time when musicians are starting to feel real financial impacts from the fallout of COVID-19, there appears to be a silver lining. Less time touring means more time to record in the studio – and time to get out some of the frustration over losing performance opportunities.

The Internet is now bursting with humorous songs about hand-washing and amusing anthems about the virus – even as parody master Weird Al Yankovic declared on Twitter that he would not be updating his 1983 parody of The Knack's song "My Sharona" ("My Bologna") to "My Corona." But with Coronavirus in the air, a parody version of The Knack's 1979 hit seemed inevitable. And it looks like many musicians thought of the idea nearly simultaneously.

Singer-songwriter Stephanie Forryan gave a convincing one-woman band parody performance of My Sharona on YouTube (watch the video here), dubbing her soundtrack for hand-washing "My Corona" and creating a happy tribute to hand hygiene. She chose to focus attention on a positive message and the things people can do to prevent spread of the COVID-19 illness with lyrics like:

"When you gonna get to me, make me sneeze? Is it just a matter of time, Corona? Is it d-d-destiny, d-destiny? Or can I rinse you out of my life, Corona? Never gonna stop: gonna wash, my hands all the time. Always get the suds, kill the bugs and the dirty grime. My my-y-yACHOO! Not m-m-my Corona. Not my Corona."

ZDoggMD, a YouTube creator focusing on medical satire, chose the same title but a different humorous approach (watch the video here), concentrating on the more societal aspects of the disease, including cultural stereotypes and political statements, using a more stylized presentation, more polished video production and lyrics like:

"When's it gonna get to me, get to me? You killed the doc that called you out. Why, Corona? Internet conspiracy COVID-19. Is it just a pack of communist lies, Corona? Never gonna stop. Media, such a dirty game. Cuz no one gets the shot for the flu but it's just as lame. Why-y-y-ACHOO!"

These two examples are a great representation of the range of topics dissected in these parodies – everything from PSA-type messages to political commentaries, all with a dash of humor. And the number of parodies continues to grow, with playlists now popping up throughout social media. As artists process their own feelings about COVID-19 and all its implications, they help society process it as well. If we all spend a little more time binge-watching parody videos, it might do more than just improve our moods. It might also give us less time to clear out the shelves in supermarkets or hoard masks and toilet paper.

As measures to prevent the spread of the virus continue to expand in scope, we need to give serious thought to both public and our own personal health, be considerate of those who are sick or stuck in quarantine, and remain sympathetic to the plight of working musicians and everyone else losing work due to the situation. But a little levity never hurt. As a wise man once said, "laughter is the best medicine".

Now go wash your hands, stop hoarding hand sanitizer and listen to some great "viral" versions of My Sharona... er, I mean My Corona.

_____

Like what you read? Send me a tip below to support more content like this.

pop culture
Stephanie Forryan
Stephanie Forryan
Read next: Jay Z: From Worst to Best
Stephanie Forryan

Musician. Writer. Sweet Insomniac.

See all posts by Stephanie Forryan