I’m one half naive, one half skeptic, and this always leads to more concern over the end-of-the-world rumors than I should entertain. I know the world won’t end– but then, as I stay up late tonight polishing up a little of my writing, I worry that I’m doing it in vain. Why am I not in bed, sleeping next to my husband? That’s where I want to be when the world ends. Then my voice reminds me, But the world will not end.
But what if it does?
Well, friend, if it does, these are the songs you’re going to need. Buckle up and prepare for the end.
Still not totally convinced that the world is ending? Maybe you’re in the mood to dance a little whilie fire rains from the heavens? Not a better song you could do that with than Imagine Dragons’s new single “Radioactive.” I am not sure how I feel about how I feel about this song, haha– I love it, deeply, and really get a kick out of the bridge. Most importantly, though, I know that it’d be a killer end of the world song. There’s almost no way to kick off something as terrifying as the apocalypse better than with an empowering song about ‘breathing in the chemicals,’ and ‘waking up’–
I raise my flags, don my clothes
It’s a revolution, I suppose
We’ll paint it red to fit right in
I’m breaking in, shaping up, then checking out on the prison bus
This is it, the apocalypse
I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Of course, I’m afraid I’d realize pretty quickly that this was a very serious situation. Harvey Danger’s “Big Wide Empty” off of Dead Sea Scrolls is one of the most poignant songs I know for when it feels like the world is ending: a song you can quite literally drown in. Nelson outdoes himself with the lyrics here– perhaps one of his better outtakes, and one I wish I’d gotten to hear as it continued to become more polished. There again, I’m not sure you can do any better than this…
I like to watch the right decisions dance around my head
and sit around reflecting on the ones I made instead
I got lost in thralldom right away
And look at where I am today:
Fingering a thin and fraying string forever
And if it drags me down what can I do but follow
To swim against a vortex or to lie me down and wallow?
The big wide empty…
(lie me down)
The big wide empty…
Brought up in seclusion
California breeds confusion
When your fossil fuels run dry meet me under the delusion
We could leap off of the infrastructure
Choose our words less carefully
The music of a thrumming nerve
I’m sure then I’d be consumed with thoughts of the people I love– my husband and the kiddo, my parents, my sister, my friends. I hope I’d be comforted, at least slightly, by knowing all of that love was worth it in the end; that it was fulfilled and fully realized, and that I have no regrets. I think I’d want to listen to “The Temptation of Adam” at least a couple hundred times, but hey, in case of some kind of riders in the sky, I’ll be satisfied with one.
Oh, we could hold each other close, stay up every night
Looking up into the dark like it’s the night sky
Pretend this giant missile is a old oak tree instead
Carve our name in hearts into the warhead
Oh Marie, there’s something tells me things just won’t work out above
That our love would live a half life on the surface
So at night while you are sleeping, I hold you closer just because
As our time grows short I get a little nervous
So I think about the big one, WWIII
Would we ever really care, the world had ended?
You could hold me here forever like you’re holding me tonight
I think about that big red button and I’m tempted
Once you’re going down that path, you can’t forget to listen to Death Cab for Cutie’s incredibly moving “Grapevine Fires.” Perhaps the most striking imagery and setting of any of their songs (and, as Gibbard is a master of setting and details, this is a stunning statement to be able to make; for the record, my favorite DCfC song is “Steadier Footing. Wanna fight about it? We can’t. The world is ending. Get your priorities straight, people), “Grapevine Fires” talks about the visuals of the apocalypse.
We bought some wine and some papercups
Near your daughter’s school when we picked her up
And drove to a cemetery on a hill
On a hill.
And we watched the plumes paint the sky gray
And she laughed and danced through the field of graves
There I knew it would be alright
That everything would be alright,
Would be alright
Would be alright
Would be alright.
And the news reports on the radio
Said it was getting worse
As the ocean air fanned the flame.
But I couldn’t think of anywhere I would have rather been
To watch it all burn away.
To burn away.
The firemen worked in double shifts,
With prayers for rain on their lips
And they knew it was only a matter of time.
OK, now I’m angry. I’m remembering all the things I have to live for, and I’m furious that our time has been cut short so prematurely. There’s almost no song better to be indignant with than Pearl Jam’s masterpiece, “Porch.” Almost more relevant now than when it was initially released in the early ’90s, this song is the perfect anthem for everything that is going wrong in the world on a grand scale. I feel like the apocalypse would fit in with that.
What the f*** is this world
Running to? You didn’t
Leave a message, well
At least I could have
Heard your voice one last time.
This could be my time
How ’bout you?
Would you hit me?
Would you hit me?
All the bills go by
And initiatives are taken up
By the middle
There ain’t gonna be any middle any more
And the cross I’m bearing home
Ain’t indicative of my place
Left the porch
Anderson’s new independantly released and posted songs on his Tumblr are all amazing, and I advise you to go look at those (and the ones he’s collaborating on with my friend Chris Fullerton ). But I feel like the hushed, ghost like tones would be perfect for an ash-filled world in those last few moments. I feel like it would appropriately score the situation; husky and dark, “Get Low” would be a companion in the fear of the end.
Head like Heaven, heavy and thick
Seven come eleven, lost it all again
I was high as the sun burning over the trees
Now I’m drinking from the river on my hands and my knees
I had to get low
They say the devil lives Texas but I saw him last night
He come to me in that smoke between darkness and light
He said, “There ain’t no valley you can cross without fear
The big wheel’s swinging, boy, the wagons are here
it’s time to get low
And finally… duh.
DID YOU SURVIVE THE MAYAN CALENDER’S APOCALYPSE? DO YOU KNOW BETTER APOCALYPSE SONGS? LET ME KNOW YOU’RE ALL RIGHT IN THE COMMENTS!