Chromeo’s Quarantine Casanova is Your New Pandemic Jam (Review)

The electro-funk duo tackles the pandemic and quarantine life with their trademark grooves and cheekiness.

Like the rest of us, David Macklovitch and Patrick Gemayel have been trying to make the best of an unprecedented situation. The coronavirus pandemic has laid us all low, revealed gross incompetencies in our national and regional leaderships, and robbed us of so much. Nobody knows when we’ll return to normal, or if ​“normal” is even a thing anymore.

So what did Macklovitch and Gemayel, aka Dave 1 and P-Thugg, do?

Well, if you’ve ever listened to their work in Chromeo, then the answer makes perfect sense: they released Quarantine Casanova, a collection of slick, infectious (npi) electro-funk tunes about the quarantine that are chock-full of tongue-in-cheek lyrics (and a double entendre or two).

Look no further than ​“Clorox Wipe,” which kicks off the EP with this profundity: ​“If I could reincarnate tonight/​I would be a Clorox wipe/​Because I know in this climate, you might/​Finally want me in your life.” The song explores the various advantages of this unusual arrangement, with Dave 1 assuring his paramour that ​“I’m not too cool for scrubbing/I’m not too good to clean/​Let me do the legwork/​And what comes in-between.”

Cheekiness abounds in the EP’s five songs — but would we ever expect anything less from the Montréal funklordz? Beneath the goofing, however, the duo addresses the frustrations, uncertainties, and anxieties inherent to pandemic life.

On ​“6 Feet Away,” Dave 1 bemoans social distancing and isolation (“They’re going to scream at us if we’re talking too close/​But I’m alone in my house and it’s you I need the most”). Meanwhile, ​“Stay In Bed (And Do Nothing)” honors essential employees, criticizes Zoom and covid-fluencers (“Your recipe won’t rescue me/​Your workout plan is stressin’ me”), and affirms that zero productivity and sweatpants are A-OK these days.

The EP also contains instrumental versions of the five songs which make it clear — if it wasn’t already — that these tracks might be jokes lyrically, but they’re the real deal, musically. ​“Stay In Bed (And Do Nothing)” boasts the EP’s strongest groove thanks to its G-funk rhythms and keys, while “ ​‘Roni Got Me Stressed Out” is all bubbling analog synths and faux-string arrangements that come right out of Daft Punk’s disco playbook.

The coronavirus itself is, of course, no laughing matter. The United States’ death toll just passed 115,000 and some states are experiencing spikes following efforts to reopen their economies. (That, and too many people are still too selfish to wear a mask.) Suffice to say, we should all plan on spending a considerable amount of the foreseeable future sequestered away in our homes. Thanks to Chromeo’s Quarantine Casanova, though, we can all have some fun — and funk — to help lighten our self-imposed quarantines.