John Lennon was feeling lonely in the fall of 1970. The Beatles had ended in tears, primal-scream therapy was putting him in touch with his childhood pain like never before, and it often felt like it was just him and Yoko Ono against the world. You can hear it all on his classic solo debut, Plastic Ono Band, whose “home alone on the edge of sanity” vibe has rarely felt more appropriate than it does today in the age of social distancing.
That’s probably why Dirty Projectors’ Dave Longstreth chose to cover that album’s “Isolation” as a fundraiser for artists hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. “All proceeds through April 3rd are going toward MusiCares’ COVID-19 relief fund for musicians and music industry folks whose work has been disrupted by the crisis,” he writes in a statement. “I encourage you to buy it (pay-what-you-wish) so we can be a part of helping combat this together.”
For $1.29 (or more, if you like!) you can hear Longstreth’s spacey electro take on one of the most alienated songs ever written. “We’re afraid of everyone/Afraid of the sun,” he sings over an ambient synth bubblebath. It’s a lot more chill than Lennon’s original performance, but the tension comes through all the same.