Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled Bless Randy Newman for offering a little optimism with his new quarantine song, Stay Away
Photo: Scott Dudelson (Getty Images)

There’s been no shortage of coronavirus-inspired music, from timely covers and parodies to originals that, while sweet, are sillier than they are resonant. Until now, the best one’s this infectious (in a good way) hip-hop PSA out of Uganda, but the great Randy Newman is here to give it a run for its money.

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Los Angeles radio station KPCC got the ball rolling, asking Newman for his advice during our current crisis. He responded with a song that, in Newman fashion, is warm and funny and kinda melancholy—it’s an actual song, one that’s perhaps suited more than any of its contemporaries to capture the new, odd emotions with which we’re all dealing.

Titled “Stay Away,” it begins with a cheeky riff to the Velvet Underground before asserting that words like “stay away from me” are “words of love in times like these.” Buoyed by jaunty piano, it soon cycles into a touching portrait of a 30-year marriage: “I’m gonna be with you 24 hours a day/ A lot of people couldn’t stand that, but you can,” he sings.You’ll be with me 24 hours a day/ What a lucky man I am.”

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Give it a listen above and read the full lyrics below.

Venus in sweatpants

That’s who you are

And when this mess is over

I’ll buy you a car

We’ll drive that car

So fast and so far

All your stupid friends

Will be left behind

Stay away from me

Baby, keep your distance, please

Stay away from me

Words of love in times like these

I’m gonna be with you 24 hours a day

A lot of people couldn’t stand that

But you can

You’ll be with me 24 hours a day

What a lucky man I am

Stay away from me

Wash your hands

Don’t touch your face

How do you like that

Wash your hands

Don’t touch your face

I saw you

Thirty years together

And we’re still having fun

Once we were two,

Now we are one

Let’s go out and get a burger

When you’re done, you’re done

Memories of the past

Be kind to one another

Tell her you love her every day

If you’re angry about something, let it go

If the kids are frightened, tell them not to be afraid

But don’t let them touch your face

Don’t let them touch your face

Send Great Job, Internet tips to gji@theonion.com

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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