“Isolation” was a term that saturated 2020 from Tampa, Florida, USA to Canberra, Australia. No one was spared the social distancing measures that governments enacted to protect residents from the coronavirus outbreak of COVID-19. As airports cut their flights and workplaces sent their employees home, thousands of families found themselves stranded from each other, not knowing when they’d be in the same city, state, or even time zone again. But for father of four Chris Knopik, he saw “isolation” not as a daunting term intending to separate his children, but as an opportunity to highlight a “BT 2012 Mix” of the Smashing Pumpkins, and hence, the first Corona Mini-Playlist was born.
- Isolation (BT 2012 Mix) – Smashing Pumpkins
- There’s No Other Way (Single Version) – Blur
- Virtual Insanity (Remastered) – Jamiroquai
- Real Long Time – White Reaper
- Who Can It Be Now – Men At Work
Curated and sent out to family and friends daily, the playlists began with upbeat situation-deprecating notes like Billy Idol’s 1981 classic “Dancing with Myself and Alvin Garrett’s “Can I Go On”, inserting an element of hope into these otherwise feeling-lonely messages. Meanwhile, fan favourites like “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by the Police and Tom Petty & the Heartbreaker’s “Don’t Come Around Here No More” acted as poppy reminders that we can still have a good time while remaining responsible in a socially-distant sort of way.
By the time Corona Mini-Playlist No. 5 appeared, it was clear that Knopik was starting to think to himself, I have “Too Much Time on My Hands” (Styx) and need “Help!” (The Beatles), but he continued to pump out daily lists; his kids loved them and shared them far and wide, transporting the playlists from Tampa to NYC, Canberra, Victoria, Italy, and beyond.”
After 13 playlists dedicated to the #stayathome movement, Knopik decided to move to beyond the initial coronavirus themed playlists to not only expand his themes for compositional scores, but to expand his own study of music, enlisting and assigning hundreds of songs to various playlists, from Playlist No. 14 “Financial Fallout”, featuring songs like “If I had $1,000,000 (Yellow Tape Version)” by Barenaked Ladies to Playlists No. 17 and 24, QIM (Quarantine-Induced Madness) Monday Volumes 1 and 2.
- Mad World – Tears for Fears
- Too Much Time On My Hands – Styx
- Work from Home (feat. Ty Dolla $ign) – Fifth Harmony
- Help! – The Beatles
- It Gets Better – COUNTERFEIT.
- Black Friday – Steely Dan
- Commercial Breakup – Thomas Dolby
- Cash Machine (Radio Edit) – Hard-FI
- Money’s Too Tight (To Mention) – Simply Red
- If I Had $1,000,000 (Yellow Tape Version) – Barenaked Ladies
- Madness – Muse
- Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
- Sweetest Perfection – Depeche Mode
- Psycho Killer (Live) – Talking Heads
- Crazy (Gnarls Barkley)
- Brain Damage – Pink Floyd
- Lunatic Fringe – Red Rider
- Fault Lines – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
- Weather in My Head – Donald Fagen
- RESTORE THE FEELING (feat. Sean Leon & Jacob Collier) – Daniel Caesar
- The Sound of Sunshine (Single Version) – Michael Franti & Spearhead
While a number of the playlists have similarities in recording eras and styles, others emerged where the only commonality songs share is the name, such as No 26. – Wishing (You) Well Wednesday, in which nearly every song is identically-titled. Sometimes, Knopik intends to relax the listener with Singer/Songwriter Saturdays and Serene Sundays, and for others intends to bring the listener on a road trip of America, like No. 34 “Tour of Hot Spots – Second Stop: Boston”.
- Wishing Well – Terence Trent D’Arby
- Wishing Well – Free
- Wishing Well – The Airborne Toxic Event
- Wishing Well – Jaime Wyatt
- The Well – Marcus King
- More Than a Feeling – Boston
- I’m Shipping up to Boston – Dropkick Murphys
- For Boston – The Hold Steady
- Dirty Water – The Standells
- Boston – Kenny Chesney
- Please Come to Boston (SingleVersion) – Dave Loggins
- Boston – Augustana
- Cheers: Theme from the Television Series – “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” – Dominik Hauser & Fletcher Sheridan
- Sweet Caroline (Single Version) – Neil Diamond
We have stifled giggles through One Hit Wonder Wednesdays, bopped through Funk Friday and demanded four more volumes, and blasted No. 54 – Strong Woman Wednesday…And Every Day far and wide throughout the Network, enabling women to be more in their musical taste via Dad’s choice 15,108 km away. We’ve enjoyed new waves and throwbacks and weekend soundtracks peppered with sounds of Java Jazz, Tones and I, and 50 Cent, so much so that it left us thinking aloud, “Not many people can follow up Prince with the Killers, but I think Chris Knopik is one of those people”.
"Not many people can follow up Prince with the Killers, but I think Chris Knopik is one of those people".
As riots and lack of leadership erupted in the USA, we were inspired to Get Up, Stand Up in Volume I, Volume II, and Volume III, while realising that music is a powerful tool that can and often does both connect us to each other and empower us to draw connection from one person’s experiences and compare those to our own. Knopik’s selections, then, don’t only offer the flavour of a place and time in history, but enable us to consider the global experience and see a reflection of our own circumstances in Australia, and how we can all be a little more empathetic, kinder, and upbeat, if only we let the music move us.
- Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) – Marvin Gaye
- What’s Going On Single Version) – Marvin Gaye
- This Land Is Your Land – Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
- Fight the Power, Pts. 1 & 2 – The Isley Brothers
- Get Up, Stand Up (Theivery Corporation Remix)- Bob Marley & The Wailers
- Can’tneverdidnothin’ – Nikka Costa
- Revolution – The Beatles
- (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding – Elvis Costello & The Attractions
- Takin’ It to the Streets – The Doobie Brothers
- In the Air Tonight – Phil Collins
- If I Had a Hammer – Ruthie Foster
- Wake Up Everybody (feat. Common & Melanie Fiona) – John Legend and The Roots
- Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today) – The Temptations
- You Haven’t Done Nothin’ – Stevie Wonder
- Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day
- Livin’ on the Edge – Aerosmith
- Land of the Free – The Killers
- Under Pressure – Queen & David Bowie
- Black Lives Matter – Nick Cannon
- Land of the Free – Joey Bada$$
- What it Means – Drive-By Truckers
- Troubled Land – John Mellencamp
- Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival
- Slippin’ Into Darkness – War
- Give the People WhatThey Want – THe O’Jays
- A Change Is Gonna Come – Seal
- One Word (Peace) – The Subdudes
- Peace Train (Royal Albert Hall) – Cat Stevens
- O-o-h Child (Remastered) – The Five Stairsteps.
This essay was written in honour of Father’s Day 2020, for Chris Knopik, who is the father of the author.
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