Kieran Moore – If you live on this planet you probably already know what this top 10 list is all about. If, however, you don’t live on Earth – maybe you’re on the International Space Station, a Yip Yip Martian or simply operate on a different astral plane; then I should probably write something just for you. After all, it’s context – it has to go somewhere…
So we’re having a global pandemic and we’ve all got to keep away from each other. We’re in lockdown. Like the Hula Hoop or complaining about the recent Star Wars movies, self-isolation has become a huge craze and everyone’s doing it.
Some of us have embraced the opportunity and spent time learning the names of wildflowers and taking up macrame… Some of us have forgotten how to shower and have decided “beige” is now a major food group… Wherever you fall on this scale (a little of column “A”, a little of column “B”) one thing that will definitely be helping you get through is The Muppets. Various puppety places are posting online content, there are plenty of YouTube videos to enjoy, and fansites are pumping out brilliant content too (how meta am I right now?) Personally, I’ve been rewatching the 2015 Muppets series on Disney+ and I must say quite enjoying it.
So in the spirit of having Muppets help get you through this difficult time, here are my Top 10 songs about Lockdown and Self-Isolation. Each one is guaranteed to make you pleased to be stuck in the room with it. *Guarantee is non-binding and will not hold up in court (tennis or otherwise).
10 – Talkin’ Bout Germs – Fraggle Rock
This might be a bit on the nose, but it had to be included. In many ways Boober is the ultimate Prepper. He might not have a nuclear bunker, but he’s been getting ready for the worst his whole life. In this song he’s finally proved right as we’re all Talkin’ Bout Germs now too. This fun blues number is something we should perhaps all take note of – that said, I don’t think panicking quite like he and Wembley do is really the answer so perhaps we’ll move on…
9 – Brave Alone – Fraggle Rock
Perhaps we should take a leaf from Wembley’s attitude in this song instead. Being on your own for a long time isn’t a lot of fun – even if you like your own company. We’re human after all, and like Fraggles that makes us sociable creatures. Not having company can take its toll, but if Wembley can be brave alone then we can too. Thankfully, with the wonders of modern technology you don’t actually have to be alone the whole time. Over the last few weeks I’ve taken part in family quizzes, bingo and card games online and enjoyed a few movie watchalongs too. Someone is always out there (I meant that a lot less creepy than it came out.) Please, please, please though: being brave alone might be admirable, but we all need help sometimes and a problem shared is a problem halved. If self-isolation is getting you down there are people and services you can reach out to. If you do, you’re not a burden – they want to speak to you. I promise.
8 – Home – Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem
This is such a great song. I love the relationship between Floyd and Janice. They are one of the Muppets’ most enduring partnerships and are perfect for each other. Speaking of perfect – how about the recasts of Matt Vogel and David Rudman? They put so much feeling into this piece. After talking about being alone in the previous entry this song is about being together, but at the same time the message of “Home is wherever I’m with you” isn’t lost on me. I’m lucky that I’m on lockdown with someone I love; but even if you’re not, home is still the place where you can be with family in some way, shape or form. And found families are just as important. Go through old photos or scrapbooks, watch home movies, remember the good times and, like Janice and Floyd, tell someone you love them.
7 – Keep on Smilin’ – Fraggle Rock
Time for another Fraggle song – they have something for every emotion! This one perfectly captures the sentiment of trying to stay optimistic in the face of great adversity. It’s a scary time in the world right now – that’s a fact we can’t deny, but there are pockets of joy and happiness. In our darkest hours the human race will always shine a light. We won’t be beaten (until 2043 when we get hit by that meteor). So keep on smilin’. The best weapon we have against this pandemic right now is our ability to be happy (and hand washing).
6 – The Big House – Muppets Most Wanted
Sorry, I couldn’t resist including this! One of my favorite things about this song is the joke of making the gulag sound like a hotel. Right now the idea of being in a 5 star hotel is very appealing – especially if it has an onsite barber’s shop (I’m thinking of cosplaying as Wolverine when I eventually get out of maximum security). Whether your big house has more in common with the Four Seasons or Alcatraz, having home comforts around sure makes being on lockdown more comfortable. Throw on your pajamas, light a candle and eat a tub of ice cream (and then use the spoon to start digging a tunnel…)
5 – Alone in a Swamp – Sesame Street
And here is another of the Muppet world’s greatest couples. This song picks up where the last one left off. Anywhere can be the perfect place for you if you make it so. For Oscar and Grundgetta it helps that they’re Grouches, but even if you’re not you can always follow their lead and make the best out of wherever you are. In some ways Oscar’s grumpy attitude makes him the eternal optimist! Aside from any message this piece has, it’s a fun song brilliantly performed by Caroll Spinney and Pam Arciero – it’s worth watching whether you’re stuck at home or not! And make sure you stay until the end as Oscar’s final declaration might be his most important ever. “Imagining – the next best thing to being there.” That’s deep, man.
4 – Don’t Fence Me In – The Muppet Show
Two of entertainment’s most versatile performers together at last! Bob Hope and Jerry Nelson go toe to hoof in this fab musical comedy piece that never fails to raise a smile. Both are class acts and brilliantly funny. It would be very appropriate to assume that we all feel a little like the title of this song implies and it’s true I’m missing going to the gym and even my commute to the office, but you know what? I’m actually kind of enjoying lockdown right now. It feels like a mini holiday where I get to try out different things and maybe stress a little less. So while physically we might feel fenced in, there’s no reason why emotionally and spiritually we can’t soar with the metaphorical eagles. (You get those in cowboy country, right?)
3 – Here to There – Fraggle Rock
Fraggle Rock was always a profound show and this song might be (Cantus aside) one of its peak philosophical moments. And like most instances of clarity where you see the world and its wonders and your place within its mysteries, it’s also very short. In fact, in the time it’s taken me to write that sentence the song has finished! Like Wembley I’m always here too. I’m here for work, I’m here for leisure time, I’m here for everything. I’m never there at the moment. One day I hope to be there again, but then there will be here and here will be where I’ve been. But I’ve already been there so I’ll have to go back here – which is where I already am…
2 – I’m Never Alone – Fraggle Rock
Making it 5 out of 10 for Fraggle Rock is this cheerful number about mental fortitude and being comfortable in your own skin. Ultimately, that’s what this is all about – wherever you are, you’re always with you. You deserve to spend time with the best and at the end of the day, that’s you. I can prove it because you’re reading this – that automatically puts you in the top 1% of people in the world. If there’s one thing you can learn from the Muppets, from Grover to Gonzo and Gobo to Gonger, it’s acceptance in all its forms. The Muppets get to be who they are because they feel accepted by their peers and by themselves. And when you love yourself there’s nothing you can’t do. And (like Boober) you’re never alone.
1 – Cabin Fever – Muppet Treasure Island
You wouldn’t know it to read this stuff, but I generally try to write with humor. Even with that in mind, it’s fair to say this chart has been pretty serious so I’m pleased we can end with some good old Muppet craziness. And craziness really is the name of the game in this madcap moment from Muppet Treasure Island. I can’t believe this song is approaching it’s 25th anniversary! Boy, do I feel old. (I wish I were you people watching this for the first time!) Muppet Treasure Island might be one of my favourite Muppet movies, but then that’s like me ranking all the potato chips out of a bag of my favorite flavor! The lesson we can take from this is just to go with the flow. Embrace the silliness! Have fun! Don’t let things get you down! It’s easy to say, but if we follow the Muppets’ lead it’s also easy to do. Why not spend a day talking mock German, allemanding left or wearing fruit on your head like Carmen Miranda? All are acceptable past times at the moment and you might never get this chance again. Don’t succumb to cabin fever – embrace it!
And that’s me done! I’d love to chat longer, but I have an Über on the way. I’m going water-skiing in tapioca this afternoon and then I’m booked on a flight to Indonesia to get my favorite mexican food. Then it’s pole dancing in Poland, line dancing in Lineland and deep sea diving in the Mojave desert. I don’t know when I’ll be at home next…! Before I go I just want to thank all of the talented people behind today’s songs and you for reading this.
And on a slightly more serious note, please stay safe both physically and mentally. Help is available for both and you don’t ever need to suffer in silence. Stay awesome and I’ll see you out in the sunshine soon.