Photo courtesy of Artform Radio

The Music of Distance: A Quarantine Jukebox

One of music’s greatest powers has always been its ability to serve our most intimate and private of needs, while also connecting us to others through its sonic social networks. 

One way to tell the history of recorded music specifically is as a story of bridging distance and overcoming physical barriers, uniting listeners and performers into collective bonds that care nothing about location or limits or seclusion. 

Music moves and links, across isolation and across quarantine. 

I curated this playlist in response to the present moment of COVID-19 with its distancing and lockdowns. It’s full of songs that resonate with our anxiety and fear, songs about viruses and pandemics, songs that help us breathe and stay calm, songs about our cities as ghost towns, songs that call out the inequalities and injustices that pandemics reveal, songs about keeping our distance and staying home, and songs that remind us to move, breathe and sweat — to dance and listen for hope.

Stream Kun’s playlist via Spotify here.


Josh Kun, director of the School of Communication, is an award-winning cultural historian, critic and curator. The 2016 MacArthur fellow is an expert on the intersection of arts, culture and politics, with an emphasis on popular music. Kun adapted the “The Music of Distance: A Quarantine Jukebox” playlist from his monthly radio show on Artform Radio/Worldwide FM. This week, he was among 35 music experts whom the Los Angeles Times invited to share their selections for the best albums to listen to amidst self-quarantine.