12 Songs for the Coming Apocalypse
I’m a mix-tape kinda gal — except no one makes mix tapes anymore, because we all have MP3 players now. So I’ve evolved into a playlist kinda gal.
It occurred to me the other day that it’s been quite some time since I’ve made a new playlist. And since we’re approaching that fateful Mayan day of doom ever so swiftly now, I thought, “I’m going to make a playlist for the end of the world… you know, just in case.”
So I made a list, I narrowed it down to a holy 12 (to match 12/21/12, of course), and then I decided I’d see what other people had come up with, because, as much as I’d like to think I’m that original, I’m not.
What was shocking, though, was that not a one of these songs below appeared on any of the lists I checked out on Page 1 of my Google search. So either I’m way off, or everybody else is just less imaginative about their aural experiences than I am… or both.
So here it is — my apocalyptic list of awesome. If it’s going to happen, might as well sound good, right?
1. “Mad World” — OK, so even though this song was originally done by Tears For Fears, whom I dig, I think the Gary Jules version really captures the spirit of, “The world is crazy and meaningless, so why even bother?” — a good attitude to have if the world is actually ending. It’s not going to make you feel better to mourn it or miss it when there’s nothing you can do to stop its destruction, now, is it?
One bonus thing to note here: If the world does end, so too does Adam Lambert and his horrific cover of this song from when he was on American Idol. Praise Jesus!
2. “No Leaf Clover” — Many people had one Metallica song or another on their apocalypse list, but I went for a less popular one — mostly because I love the idea that “It comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel / Is just a freight train coming your way.” What if death is like that? Guess we’ll find out soon, right?
3. “This Place Is a Prison” — I like The Postal Service — as in the band that’s way better than Death Cab for Cutie, not the entity that always dicks over my friend Joe. I wish The Postal Service would make another album already. But since that won’t likely happen before the end of the world, I’ll enjoy this song on the last day of it. “I know there’s a big world out there like the one I saw on the screen,” sayeth Ben Gibbard, but the truth is, that big world is about to get toaster-caked, so really, escaping the prison of one’s own body is the only reasonable option at that point.
4. “Shimmer” — I got to see this song performed IRL a couple years ago when Fuel did a reunion tour. Carl Bell’s still rockin’. While technically, the song is about a relationship, I think its chorus is quite philosophical about existence in general as well — with just the right amount of cynicism to appeal to my crusty, curmudgeony self: “We’re here and now / Will we ever be again? / ‘Cause I have found / All that shimmers in this world is sure to fade away again.” Fade… or be blown to smithereens by a meteor.
5. “I Don’t Like Mondays” — OK, so I gotta give mad props to Bob Geldof of the Boomtown Rats for writing a song back in 1979 about what would happen (again) years later, though this time at Columbine. But I still have to admit I like Tori Amos’ rendition better.
There’s a lot of truth to this song about madness, a girl’s excuse for a shooting spree being “I don’t like Mondays.” The world is madness. You can ponder that reality and these lyrics as your home starts incinerating: “And he can see no reasons / ‘Cause there are no reasons / What reason do you need to die?”
6. “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” — Oh, Bobby D., you are one of my idols. Let’s walk up to that special door together.
(For those of you who are hardcore G&R fans, I will permit this cover as an acceptable alternative.)
7. “Night” — If you’ve never listened to Morphine, your life probably wasn’t worth living anyway. Seriously, though, what a terrific band — over far too soon with the death of its frontman, Mark Sandman. (I mean, seriously, best last name ever, in the most inappropriate way ever.) This song was released posthumously, in fact, so every time I hear it, I can’t help thinking of Lilah, the woman in the song, as his own personal ferrywoman to the underworld. Hopefully Lilah will be there for the rest of us, too, because damn, she sounds sexy!
8. “Waiting for a Superman” — The Flaming Lips are pretty serious. Like, for real. I know some of their songs seem just wacky and weird, but this is a deep band, and I dig that. This song in particular seems apocalyptic to me because it essentially says that even a superhero can’t save us from some impending dooms. Share this one with your kids!
9. “Thoughts of a Dying Atheist” — A lot of people listed “Apocalypse Now” by Muse as an apocalyptic song. That’s too easy. I want to think a little more deeply about life as I’m about to die — hence, “Thoughts of a Dying Atheist” instead. I mean, what do you do when you know your death’s approaching but you don’t believe in anything beyond? Well, I guess you sit in fear. Unless you’re Buddhist. But that’s doesn’t necessarily qualify as a form of atheism, believe it or not, so I guess you’re just going to have to deal with the fact that you didn’t meditate to achieve nirvana and gain the ability to shed your mortal coil in peace.
10. “No Surprises” — Another great song — this one by Radiohead — that just seems to say, “Screw it all. I want out. Life sucks, so give me nothing instead. No alarms and no surprises. Just silence.” Radiohead fans will naturally take less convincing than others to drink Thom Yorke’s Kool-Aid.
11. “Lake of Fire” — “Where do bad folks go when they die? / They don’t go to heaven where the angels fly / Go to a lake of fire and fry.” This Nirvana song is for all you sinners that thought you’d get away with all the effed-up stuff you did. I had to put a little fear of God in you, because it is a possibility, after all… Granted, it’s too late to shape up now, but…
12. “You’re Beautiful” — Because nothing will make you actually wish for the death that’s already coming for you than this James Blunt song. Nothing.