If you’ll allow me, let’s revisit one of the most evidently brain-leaky sentiments that was echoed right after the 2016 election: “Well, at least Trump will be great for comedy/music/art/healthcare stocks!” Without recycling this exact formula for another unambiguously bad world event: at least coronavirus has been good for music!
To say nothing of the numerous canceled international tours, music festivals, and uncertainty that lies ahead, there’s been one incredibly catchy CVOID-19-themed song, courtesy of Vietnam’s National Institute Of Occupational And Environmental Health (NIOEH.) The PSA repurposes a popular 2017 track called “Ghen” from Min, Erik, and Khắc Hưng with some coronavirus-centric lyrics. Courtesy of a friendly, instructional animated video and the universal appeal of a good post-Chainsmokers hook, this stuff translates across all language barriers.
Over the weekend, John Oliver helped bring this to western audiences on Last Week Tonight, and he was really getting into it. He also pointed out that the song’s caught on as a viral TikTok dance challenge courtesy of the user Quang Đang, a Vietnamese dancer with a sizable following. His original post has now racked up nearly 3 million views.
Other artists could enter the fray, with Charli XCX wondering out loud on Twitter who the first pop artist to namecheck coronavirus could be. Matty Healy of the 1975, one of my favorite songwriters who’s prone to cringe topicality, seemed to joke that he’s getting in the game. But as Stereogum points out, it appears MGMT’s Andrew VanWyngarden has tweeted a teaser for a song called “Oh No Corona” from a solo account that the band profile has retweeted.
It’s a super upbeat and unintelligible song, whose connection to coronavirus isn’t clear beyond the title and artwork. VanWyngarden’s Twitter bio also includes DJ COVID-19 right before listing MGMT, so maybe we’ll have some more hits like this to enjoy before the doom sets in.