In an effort to raise vaccination rates, the United Kingdom’s culture minister has put together a group of songs on a Spotify playlist to inspire people to get the COVID vaccine.
The 54-song playlist, from Oliver Dowden’s personal Spotify account, begins with a strong opener and a fairly obvious reference to what the British call “jabs”: Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” Some of the songs also follow in a vaccination-themed vein, including “The Cure” by Lady Gaga, “My Shot” from the Hamilton soundtrack, and “If You Wanna” by a band called The Vaccines.
Others are more tangentially connected by expressing optimism, including U2’s “Beautiful Day,” Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day,” and the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling.”
Politico had some criticisms of the playlist, observing, “‘Jump Around’ by House of Pain can presumably only be listened to after the requisite 15-minute wait following vaccination; ‘Jump In The Line’ by Harry Belafonte could encourage queue jumping, which is extremely un-British; ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ by Depeche Mode sounds like having more than the required two jabs; and ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’ by Justin Timberlake suggests lingering COVID-19 symptoms.”
Of “I Gotta Feeling,” the publication cracked that its inclusion “at least suggests Dowden isn’t trying to be cool.”
The Times of London reported that Dowden announced the playlist on Twitter, saying, “So many great moments in life are celebrated through music, so get ready for the jab and soundtrack your vaccine journey with this playlist. All adults aged 25 and over can book their vaccination from tomorrow!”
With rock concerts already returning for people who have been vaccinated, building a COVID vaccine playlist to get people pumped might not be a bad idea.
But there are questions about how involved the Conservative politician might have actually been in building the diverse playlist. “Despite being in the job for almost 18 months, the secretary of state has been guarded about his musical tastes,” the Times wrote, adding that “his Spotify account looks suspiciously underused.
“This is his first public playlist, he has six followers and he only follows one account, the one belonging to his government department,” that article added. “That’s like relying on the Department of Fisheries for your salmon recipes.”
The article also questioned the strategy of creating a playlist that is aimed at younger adults but that features artists from so many people who are over the age of 60 (and two who are already dead).
Author Ed Potton dubbed the playlist the “kind of upbeat, unthreateningly melodious playlist that a middle-aged father of two like Dowden would compile for a barbecue,” adding, “I know this because I’m a middle-aged father of two and it’s the kind thing that I might conceivably put together.”