“Sweet Quarantine” by Nicolas Riel (Single Launch)

I’m pleased to announce that my son, Nicolas, is launching his new single today!

With singer-songwriter wit in an indie rock performance, “Sweet Quarantine” was written out of the depths of Nicolas’ experience of our most recent apocalypse, the COVID pandemic. “It’s the end of the world,” the song begins–and so we enter the moment again through song. Nicolas describes his new single this way:

“‘Sweet Quarantine’ is a bittersweet love song written during the darkest days of the 2020 lockdown. While the song started as a confessional of seasonal depression and covid lonesomeness, it quickly became a hopeful and tongue-in-cheek love letter.

The release of ‘Sweet Quarantine’ has been a long-time coming, and I hope that my hopeful reflection on a time of pandemic darkness may provide comfort for those who listen.”

The song was co-written with Island musician Andrew Waite (whose music you should also check out on Spotify), and produced/engineered by Sergey Varlomov at Crabbe Road Studio. Nicolas designed the album cover and promotional materials.

Although you might remember Nicolas from his 2020 song, “Obsessive, Compulsive,” which he wrote and performed with Moment of Eclipse, this is his first solo release as Nicolas Riel.

I am in the privileged position of having watched this song go from a few sketched-out words and a melody, through writing and refinement, into the studio, and then on its way to the world. As one of the chief funders of Nicolas’ studio (i.e., it’s in our Spare Room), I got a copy of this song as soon as it was mastered. “Sweet Quarantine” has been constantly spinning on my devices ever since. The lyrics and melodies of this hopeful flirtation with doomsday have wormed their way into my soul.

“Sweet Quarantine” also captures so much of my own experience during the COVID lockdowns. When I hear the beginning of the first verse:

Oh, the grass is never green this time of year
When the snow stops falling…

it is like I am back in the late winter of 2020, when Prince Edward Island’s legendary natural beauty was overtaken by crusty late-winter snow and grey, barren trees, and our family went on long walks through empty streets and lonely trails just to avoid being inside another hour.

But it is the second chorus that captures in just a few words that depressive, dislocated, drudgerly, deadening feeling that haunted me through those months:

It’s the end of the world
Oh sweet quarantine
I try to write new songs but all I want to do is sleep

All parental pride aside, I think it is brilliant.

So I encourage you to check it out. Nicolas’ “linktree” gives links to stream the song on your favourite platforms, like Spotify, Youtube, Apple Music, and Bandcamp–where you can support his music by purchasing the song. You can also find his social media links there. 

Spread the news: artists, musicians, and writers rely on you sharing their work on social media. Scholars too–which is why I have worked for more than a decade to make A Pilgrim in Narnia an accessible, no-limits, ad-free source for scholarship and artistry. As readers, music-lover, art appreciators, you can do your part by sharing.

“Sweet Quarantine” by Nicolas Riel

It’s the end of the world
And I’ve been thinking of you
I go to bed at daylight and I stay in bed ’til moonlight
Cause I’ve got nothing to do

Oh, the grass is never green this time of year
When the snow stops falling,
And my mind stops thinking clear
You can write me if you want,
I can be your confidant
But listen baby I’ve been thinking
I don’t want your social distance

It’s the end of the world
Bittersweet sixteenth
The slow recession and great depression
Keeps my eyes glued on you

It’s the end of the world
Oh sweet quarantine
I try to write new songs but all I want to do is sleep
I’ve been dreaming of you, have you been dreaming of me?
Six feet further, six feet under,
Six feet closer to the end

Written by Nicolas Dickieson and Andrew Waite

Performed by Nicolas Dickieson, Sergey Varlamov, Jonathan MacInnis and Josh MacNeil

Engineered by Sergey Varlamov at Crabbe Road Studio

About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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3 Responses to “Sweet Quarantine” by Nicolas Riel (Single Launch)

  1. joviator says:

    That title made me reflexively sing “bum bum bum”, before I realized that’s not how “quarantine” is pronounced.


  2. Ha! I told him if his audience was feeling to tender about the apocalypse, he could pronounce “Quarantine” to rhyme with “Clementine.”


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