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Love in the time of COVID-19 from Danny Elfman, the man behind Oingo Boingo, ‘Simpsons’ theme

UPDATED: Thu., June 10, 2021

Danny Elfman stands for a portrait to promote the film “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot” during the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 19, 2018, in Park City, Utah.  (Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP)
Danny Elfman stands for a portrait to promote the film “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot” during the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 19, 2018, in Park City, Utah. (Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP)

“Love in the Time of COVID” is one of the most compelling and inventive songs of the pandemic. The quirky tune is accompanied by a visually stimulating video, but that shouldn’t be surprising since the avant-rock song was crafted by Danny Elfman.

The former leader of the under-heralded Oingo Boingo has released his first solo album in 37 years. Elfman has been busy making a staggering number of film scores, more than 100, so no one could be taken aback by the inventive video since Elfman has been thinking cinematically for much of his stunning career.

“Spider-Man,” “Batman” and “Men in Black” are among the box office smashes he’s scored. “Edward Scissorhands,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” are among his artier credits.

When anyone asks why Elfman left Oingo Boingo and put his solo career on ice, all one has to do is admire his four Oscar nominations, two Emmy Awards and his Disney Legend Award, among other honors.

Elfman, 68, is a film legend who could rest on his laurels, which also include TV work and the themes for “The Simpsons” and “Desperate Housewives.” But he’s back with “Big Mess,” which features left-of-center tunes such as “Love in the Time of COVID.”

The venerable songsmith, who found some humor in the pandemic, is sensitive to how he is perceived. “There’s certainly nothing lighthearted or funny about COVID, but I can still poke a little fun at the crazy way social isolation has changed our lives in every way, shape and form, and that’s what ‘Love in the Time of COVID” is about,” Elfman said in a news release.

The song is written from the vantage point of a young man losing it in his apartment. “It’s an expression of the borderline madness that so many of us have been experiencing,” Elfman said. “Lord knows I have.” The clip features Scottish transgender performer Shrek 666, with Elfman appearing occasionally.

“True,” one of the most intense songs from “Big Mess,” which drops Friday, is a moving and visceral shot to the gut. Live performance has been rare for Elfman due to the aural damage he suffered while playing live for 17 years with Oingo Boingo. However, Elfman was slated to play Coachella in 2020, which was scrapped due to the pandemic.

It’ll be curious to see if he’ll hit the road since he prepped for Coachella with his “Past, Present and Future! From Boingo to Batman and Beyond” set.

It’s risky,” Elfman told just prior to the pandemic. “There’s going to be nothing kind of like this chapter for this part of the show. I’m jamming it all together. I’m making a mixtape of my life over the last 40 years. And it’s going to be pretty insane.”

Elfman just added to his mixtape. Hats off to one of the most creative individuals in the world of music and film.

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