Phantom Planet's Quarantine Playlist Is a Reminder That 'We're All Here for Each Other'

Phantom Planet
Travis Schneider

Phantom Planet

C'mon, c'mon, it's time to lose control--because Phantom Planet is back.

That's right, after releasing a handful of singles including "Time Moves On," "Party Animal," "BALISONG" and, most recently, "Only One," the celebrated rock group will be unveiling their first album in more than a decade this summer.

And while waiting for the highly-anticipated comeback makes being stuck at home feel a bit easier, the band delivered an extra treat on Wednesday (May 6) by curating a quarantine playlist for Billboard, packed with songs hand-picked by each band member to reflect on togetherness amid separation, and to throw back to simpler times.

"I wanted to stick with a theme represented in our new single ‘Only One,’" frontman Alex Greenwald explained. "The song is about pondering infinity and wondering how many people here are in the same boat. Loneliness can kill you, so I wanted to create a song where listeners could sing along together to move past such a feeling towards something."

"Whether it’s nostalgia for days gone past, or the need to state your independence to whomever will listen, or telling someone you love that you’re not in love because they might not love you back, or missing the touch of someone you lost in days past, and coming to the understanding that an old picture of them can only go so far, or missing your child more than you’ve ever missed anyone else in your life before," he continued.

Greenwald's tunes, which included the Kinks' "Young and Innocent Days" and Johnny Thunders' "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory," among others, "recognize the longing we all have inside of us, and the many forms it takes through our experiences over the course of our lives. These longings are fulfilled and they are unfulfilled throughout the course of our lives. These songs recognize that we are all going through s---, but we are not alone."

"We are living. This is life," he concluded. "These songs recognize we are all here, and that we are all here for each other. Also, they're good f---ing songs."

Speaking of "good f---ing songs," guitarist Darren Robinson added an eclectic mix of jams like Timber Timbre's "Bad Ritual" and Grizzly Bear's "Southern Point" to the list, plus "Don't Dream It's Over," a "total classic" from Crowded House. "I remember as a young kid my dad saying he loved this song," Robinson recalled of the latter. "I hadn’t heard it yet, but I knew I needed to. Finally, I heard it, and it blew me away. To this day it remains one of my all time favorite songs ever. There is heavy use of a chord called a 'sus 2,' which on its own, isn’t a very friendly sound. But they use it and they use it perfectly."

Though bassist Sam Farrar didn't include his most-played song of 2019, Billie Eilish's "When the Party's Over," to the quarantine playlist, he did tug on heartstrings by adding Peter Gabriel's piano version of "Here Comes the Flood"--which feels relevant given the current state of affairs.

"Simply put, this song breaks my heart," he said. "It's very difficult to listen to because it feels so heavy, but it's impossible to turn off because it is just so beautiful. Peter Gabriel has some truly brilliant songs, but to me this piano version might be my favorite."

Drummer Jeff Conrad rounded up the playlist with Prince's "I Would Die 4 U." "Everything about this song is perfect," he gushed. "Every sound, every lyric. Prince makes everything sound effortless, yet completely out of reach to us mere mortal musicians. You can not imitate, the only thing you can do is dance and smile."

Dance, smile, cry and go through all the emotions (much like how we're feeling in quarantine) with Phantom Planet's playlist below. Their album, Devastator, is out June 19.


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