Tuesday, October 02, 2012

A Soundtrack for the End of the World - The Top 10 Songs for the Apocalypse

With all the talk of the end of the world and post-apocalyptic wastelands at VCon this past weekend, I started thinking about music where global cataclysm was a central theme. Two or three songs came to mind right away, and I decided to put the question to some friends to see if we could flush it out into a good Top 5 or Top 10 list, and they came through with flying colours (or musical missiles, if we want to stick with the focus).

Many of the following selections deal specifically with the end of the world, its approach, or aftermath, but a couple are more about personal end or metaphorical annihilation.

Submitted for a jukebox in the wasteland waystation of your choice, I give you:

The Top 10 Songs for the Apocalypse:

10) "Comfortably Numb" by Pink Floyd

9) "My City Was Gone" by The Pretenders

8) "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" by Monty Python

7) "The End" by The Doors

6) "Mad, Mad World" by Tom Cochrane

5) "If" by Bread

4) "When the World Ends" by the Dave Matthews Band

3) "99 Red Balloons" by Nena

2) "It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)" by R.E.M.

1) "Bad Moon on the Rise" by Credence Clearwater Revival

Honourable Mentions:

"Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell. Yes, to many listeners, by all rights, this classic should be in the Top 10. But it didn't make the cut this time around because, over the decades, it's just been so massively overplayed. Besides, when it comes to songs about the destruction of the landscape and the loss of culture, I much prefer The Pretenders' "My City Was Gone". My list, my rules.

"Don't Drink the Water" by Dave Matthews Band. A great song about cultural annihilation, but there's already a DMB tune on this list - one that actually ends abruptly with "...When the world ends-" which just fits too perfectly to not make the list.

"Slime Creatures from Outer Space" by Weird Al Yankovic. How can you not love Weird Al's tribute to destruction at the hands of alien invaders? And I do - just not quite enough to make the list, when the suggestions from the rest of the gang have been factored-in.

Thanks to William (first to jump in!), Nicole, Phoebe, Colin G, Catherine, and Colin F for your nominations!

So what about the rest of you? What are your favourite songs of impending doom for the planet or our species that should be on the list?