With Washington State reeling from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard has written a folk song, “Life in Quarantine,” for his home state. Over gentle acoustic guitar, he sings about empty streets, bars, and cafes, and streetlights that change for no reason. He describes airports and train stations “full of desperate people” and the supermarket Safeway looking like something from the Eastern Bloc. “National Guard is on their way to protect us from our neighbors,” he sings, “and everyone who has tried to swim for it has drowned out past the breakers.” It all revolves around the chorus, “No one is going anywhere soon.” He premiered the song via Seattle newspaper The Stranger.
Although the song itself is not particularly hopeful, Gibbard closed his video with a plea for Seattleites to look out for those less fortunate. “I know this is a really fucked-up and scary time for everybody, including myself,” he said in the video. “And I know that we’re all trying to figure out what we can do to make it better and what we can do to alleviate the suffering of someone else.” He urged those with the means to donate any extra tents or sleeping bags to the organization Aurora Commons, which would distribute them to the homeless population. He closed his message saying, ” Let’s all get through this together.”
Washington State has suffered the most deaths related to COVID-19 since authorities started tracing the pandemic’s impact in the U.S. Like the leaders of many other states, Governor Jay Inslee has asked his citizens to practice social distancing and to close bars and restaurants temporarily.
Gibbard this week started livestreaming daily performances for a series he’s dubbed Ben Gibbard: Live From Home at 4 p.m. PST. “I know you are all freaked out right now,” he wrote in a letter to his fans. “I am, too. And while I’m proud that we’re all doing the necessary things at the moment to help flatten the curve, I know it has left us incredibly isolated. … Some of you have traveled great distances and/or shelled out large sums of money to see us play and that has never been lost on me. So in this crazy unprecedented time, I’d like to return my favor by coming to you.”