These last couple years we’ve been isolated by force due to the pandemic, but there were some who chose to be isolated before, during, and after those years, because they preferred not to face the world. “Cordon Sanitaire” by Former Lives portrays what it’s like to have anxiety and live with fear in such a chaotic world.

Former Lives is a musical project based in the US, by multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Sean Joseph Klassen, with the significant contributor to the project being his dog, Bruce. “Cordon Sanitaire” has powerful lyrics that are relevant to anyone who suffers from anxiety or gets anxious in hard times. It’s hard not to find lines like “Let’s stay inside today and pretend we’re OK” and “Let’s not go out tonight and pretend we’re alright” relevant and provoke a certain period in one’s life when one is unable to cope with the outside world. The world is not a pretty place, and its events are overwhelming and tearing countries, societies, even families apart; we are all impacted, afraid, and seek refuge in our own protective bubble. It’s a horrible feeling, yet Former Lives was able to depict it in the lightest possible way through uplifting alt-rock with nostalgic rain sounds and dream-pop vibes particularly before the final verse, which has one repeated line.

The single features the vocalist Madison Savary with her silky, soothing, vivid vocals, which go best with the upbeat ambiance. The music arrangement is brilliant with adding the layers that give different moods, like the part where it feels like a soundtrack to a pixel character game, which aligns with the artwork and the whole idea of the song, and how being impacted by fear and anxiety makes us see everything blurry.

If you decide to stay home today, you can use some company and comfort by listening to “Cordon Sanitaire.”