Everything is cornavirus. We are all inside our homes, looking at phones filled with coronavirus news, working hard now in case we’re laid off later because of the cornavirus-infected economy, and talking to our friends and family about how they’re doing while living under the global shadow of, you guessed it, the coronavirus. Considering that it’s pretty much impossible not to be thinking about the pandemic for more than a few seconds at a time, we’re completely unsurprised to have learned that a lot of musicians have been spending their free time figuring out ways to entertain us with parodies of popular songs themed around the disease.
Below, we’ve compiled a selection of these songs and, in an eagerness to establish The A.V. Club as the premier destination for coronavirus parody song criticism, ranked them on their merits. Are any of these truly good? Is the very idea of a parody on this subject in poor taste? Can anyone make an original quarantine joke or have we heard all of them by now? We don’t know any more! But some of these songs are certainly better than others, and it’s our job to figure out what that means.
#7: “My Corona,” By Jon Pumper
As well realized as Jon Pumper’s reworking of the Beach Boys’ “Kokomo” may be, it is still, at the end of the day, a cover of “Kokoma.” The original version of the track was enough. Another take on one of the band’s worst, basically self-parodying songs, no matter its quality, is more than we need.
#6: “Social Distance,” By Randy Rainbow
Randy Rainbow’s parody of the Hercules movie’s “I Can Go The Distance” goes ... the distance ... to mock up an evening news introduction, which is appreciated, but it simply cannot be higher on this list for the simple fact that it includes a “covfefe” joke in 2020.
#5: “Stayin’ Inside,” By Sympholily
Sympholily’s Bee Gees parody gets points for implicitly connecting the instruction to stay inside with the high stakes inherent to the title of “Stayin’ Alive,” but it doesn’t enjoy a better spot on the list because a morose piano cover is not what anyone needs at this moment. Now, more than ever, the people of the world require driving disco beats to keep our chins up.
#4: “Stay Home Vogue,” By Chris Mann
Here, for example, Chris Mann demonstrates the value of keeping the beats pumping while spending several weeks inside your home. It’s appreciated, too, that his video mirrors the Madonna original, even if all the face-touching shown in it is extremely ill-advised.
#3: “I Believe I’m In Quarantine,” By Lords Of The Trident
Lords Of The Trident don’t just give us a lovely falsetto chorus triumphantly singing out, “Not touching you, don’t touch me!” They also made something that reminds us to throw on The Darkness a little more often. They were pretty good, huh? If you’re not at the office, you can even listen to them without bugging the hell out of other people.
#2: “Sweet Caroline: Coronavirus Edition,” By Neil Diamond
This is an unusual entry, given that it’s a parody by Neil Diamond, who wrote and performed the original “Sweet Caroline” in the first place. Still, that kind of novelty aside, it provides both the educational value of having “hands, washing hands” stuck in your head and the welcome appearance of a dog, which sticks its face into the camera right at the beginning. These two elements are essential to the clip’s success.
#1: “Stay Inside!” By Urian Hackney
Nirvana’s “Stay Away,” with its lyrics about “poison skin” and Kurt Cobain screaming the title line, would’ve worked well enough as a completely faithful cover, but Urian Hackney went further with a parody that’s both funny and actually enjoyable to listen to without context. As a bonus, anyone who listens to this might hear a voice shouting “stay inside!” at them if they even consider breaking self-isolation.
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