There’s a song for every situation and right now R.E.M.’s 1987 hit “It’s the End of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” feels particularly relevant. Michael Stipe has covered the song in part in a new coronavirus safety video, reminding us to stay home and be cautious.
In the video, shared on Stipe’s website (and in shorter form on social media), the singer performs a few lines of the seminal track and then addresses the viewers with his four rules for dealing with this situation.
“I do feel fine. I feel okay,” he says. “The important part of that lyric, that song title, is ‘As We Know It.’ We’re about to go through – we are going through something that none of us have ever encountered before and that is, of course, the coronavirus. And it’s real and it’s serious and it’s here.”
— R.E.M. HQ (@remhq) March 18, 2020
In the longer version of the video on his website, Stipe adds that he’s taking advice from friends in Italy, noting, “I’m bunkering. I’m quarantining. I’m Q.S.Q – quasi self-quarantined for several days now and that’s going to continue because I don’t want to go outside, I don’t want to be responsible for getting someone else sick if I’m already sick. I don’t think I am, but none of us know if we are.”
He also encourages viewers to stay inside and to find reliable sources of information. As for hand-washing he suggests finding an upbeat, feel-good song to accompany your scrubbing. “Don’t sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice,” Stipe says. “It’s already depressing and sad. Find another song, a good, happy, calming song – your, like, blue skies song and do that.”