How COVID-19 Has Influenced Music

There’s no doubt that 2020 was a weird year. Death, sickness, isolation, fear, uncertainty, and boredom are just a few of the effects of the pandemic that have plagued nearly everyone in the world in the past year. This has carried over into 2021, with the effects of COVID-19 still drastically changing the way we live our day-to-day lives. But with vaccines and other changes just around the corner, things seem to be looking up. Along with these positives, music has been influenced by the pandemic, and Nick Jonas’ recently-released album, Spaceman, aims to inspire listeners about some of the positives.

The pop album consists of 11 songs. Some of the titles include Death Do Us Part, If I Fall, and Don’t Give Up On Us. Clearly, there’s an air of fear and isolation within the album, as Jonas addressed in an interview after releasing the album. He said that this pandemic forced him to question what had changed in his life because of COVID, and to look at how isolated we had all become. This is where he drew inspiration for his album. While discussing his title track in an interview, he said, “I thought about what I was going through: I was away from my person, there was this crazy election, we’d all been wearing masks for almost a year. I wanted to speak about that in a poetic way”.

Jonas says that his first song on the album, Don’t Give Up On Us, was created when he was forced to be away from his wife for months at a time. He explains that after writing that first song, he realized what he wanted his themes to be for the entire album: “distance, indulgence, euphoria, and commitment”. While these four topics may not initially seem related to COVID-19, I think Jonas’ ideas were actually spot-on. It’s evident how distance has played a part in our past year, with the obvious inability to visit loved ones, self-isolation, and limited gatherings. But where do the other three ideas come into play?

Another song on the album sings about getting too drunk, hence the title, 2Drunk. Jonas jokes that he thinks this is something all of us can relate to lately, with the difficulties of the pandemic leading to some drinking. This is how we’ve indulged this year. The lyrics of the song say, “Nothing good happens after four in the morning but it’s another day guess I’m keeping it going”. Jonas says that he hoped his funny approach to such a serious and difficult year would help lift people’s spirits, and listening to the album definitely does just that.

Euphoria is another element that Jonas thinks has been important in the past year. His song This is Heaven is definitely euphoric, both through the music and the lyrics. He connects the idea of love to religion, two things that were obviously important to him in a difficult year. On another one of his tracks, he says that “there were certain limitations we had because of COVID, whether it be doing sessions over Zoom of having to keep bodies in the studio to a minimum”. Despite all this, his album came out even better than imagined, he says, showing the power of euphoria this year.

The last part of the album that Jonas made sure to include was the concept of commitment. Through a year of isolation, this became so much more important to him. Songs like Deeper Love, Sexual, and Death Do Us Part reflect this commitment to love Jonas made to his wife, even in difficult times like COVID-19. While some critics say the album is way too bland for Nick Jonas’ usually intense personality, he definitely achieves his goal of incorporating each of the four elements he thinks best reflect this past year. 

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Author: Kate Robart

Kate Robart is a double major in Business and English, and the Arts and Culture Section Editor at The Athenaeum.