Give us a soundtrack for our walk away from the apocalypse
December 2, 2008 2:47 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for songs that call to mind (music-wise, rather than lyrics-wise) the rather specific feeling of walking or driving away from a great disaster that has left one greatly scarred, but alive: Post-apocalyptic victory songs.

My roommate and I are having concurrent miseries. We were putting together misery playlists and realized that we didn't really want SAD songs, per se, but songs more of this strange nature. She described it as music that calls to mind driving away from something, through a desert. I'm thinking it's music that is a fitting soundtrack for walking over a bridge away from a burning city that nearly consumed you and that you helped destroy. We are being figurative.

Some examples of music that fits:
"And I" by Portugal.The Man
"MalagueƱa Salerosa" performed by Chingon
"Gold Dust Woman," Hole's version
"The Show Must Go On" by Queen
"House of the Rising Sun" by the Animals
"I Luv the Valley OH " by Xiu Xiu
"Zoo York" by Paul Oakenfold
"Every Me Every You" by Placebo
"Silence Is Golden by The Tremeloes

Basically, we are looking for dark, churning, vaguely hollow-sounding songs with a sad or bittersweet edge. Lyrical content is not especially important--it's that sound I'm looking for.
posted by millipede to Media & Arts (41 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Someday You Will Be Loved - Death Cab for Cutie
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:55 PM on December 2, 2008

"Tonight is the Night I feel Asleep at the Wheel" by Barenaked Ladies?
posted by puckish at 2:59 PM on December 2, 2008

"Pyramid Song" - Radiohead.
posted by muddgirl at 3:00 PM on December 2, 2008

"Sons of Thunder" - High on Fire
posted by Tixylix at 3:05 PM on December 2, 2008

"Devastation" by the Besnard Lakes
posted by arcticwoman at 3:17 PM on December 2, 2008

The Appleseed Cast's "View of a Burning City." I believe this is exactly the song you need.

Also, consider anything by Explosions in the Sky. If I recall, the band self-describes its output as "sad, triumphant rock music." It doesn't get any closer than that.
posted by resurrexit at 3:30 PM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

"Cigarettes, Wedding Bands" by Band of Horses

Also, "Paint It, Black" by the Rolling Stones plays at the end of Full Metal Jacket. I always thought that was a good choice.
posted by thebergfather at 3:35 PM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

"I Will Survive" - Gloria Gaynor

Just kidding. I'd actually go with early Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Explosions In The Sky, Silver Mt. Zion (and the many permutations thereof), basically post-rock stuff. You might even look into the Requiem For A Dream soundtrack. Isis, Black Heart Procession, Dead Can Dance and Angels Of Light may also fit the bill. And even if they don't, all those bands are great.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:36 PM on December 2, 2008 [4 favorites]

If you have any taste for EBM/electronica, you might check out Praise the Fallen by VNV Nation. The whole album deals with this theme.
posted by lekvar at 3:43 PM on December 2, 2008

- The Ecstacy of Gold. Normal version is fine, but I like Metallica's better.
- Where Is My Mind from The Pixies. Hey, if it works for Fight Club it works for me.
- I Will Follow You Into the Dark from Death Cab for Cutie. Not normally a band that I like, but I do like this song.
- Easily from Red Hot Chili Peppers. It started to play while I was writing this and it seems to fit well, musically at least.
- She Sells Sanctuary from The Cure. It screams "watch the fire consuming everything" in the intro and "heroes walk away" when the song kicks in.
- Fear of the Dark from Iron Maiden. I'll let the first verse and chorus speak for this one:

I am a man who walks alone
And when Im walking a dark road
At night or strolling through the park

When the light begins to change
I sometimes feel a little strange
A little anxious when its dark

Fear of the dark, fear of the dark
I have a constant fear that someones always near
Fear of the dark, fear of the dark
I have a phobia that someones always there

- Atlantic City from Bruce Springsteen.
- Stupid Dream/Pure Narcotic from Porcupine Tree. It's technically two songs, but they go together.
I'll leave it at that for now.
posted by theichibun at 3:48 PM on December 2, 2008

Chick Corea "Golden Dawn."

Sorry, this podcast is the only source I could find--but it's the first song they play
posted by Restless Day at 3:56 PM on December 2, 2008

[I apologize again, I missed the "dark, churning, hollow-sounding" part--"Golden Dawn" is a victory song, bright and upbeat . . . ]
posted by Restless Day at 4:05 PM on December 2, 2008

More Radiohead, Airbag:

In a fast german car
I'm amazed that I survived
An airbag saved my life

In an interstellar burst
I am back to save the universe

posted by Exchequer at 4:06 PM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

"This is What It Is" and "Ocean" by Nina Nastasia
posted by rabbitsnake at 4:39 PM on December 2, 2008

Seconding thebergfather's Paint It Black. Has worked for me, more or less in this situation. Best method: play it through some powerful old-timey stereo speakers, lie down on the floor with head between same, play at full volume. As I said, works for me.
posted by Rain Man at 4:41 PM on December 2, 2008

nthing Radiohead, specifically Hail to the Thief (an entire album)

If either of your concurrent miseries relate to relationships, John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats is the undisputed king of awesome, angry post-love songs. For starters, try:
1) This Year (sample lyric: "I am going to make it through this year if it kills me")
2) No Children (best angry, sad, and hilarious post-breakup song ever)
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 4:49 PM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Porcupine Tree's "Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled"
Mogwai's "Auto Rock".
Actually a lot of both artists have that feeling to me.
posted by Lemurrhea at 4:58 PM on December 2, 2008

hole's version of "Gold Dust Woman" completely rules :)

#1 song above all Nina Simone "Sinnerman" I will most def be listening to this one when the apocalypse comes.

Yeasayer "Sunrise"
Ladytron "Destroy Everything You Touch" (really seems in the spirit of that Hole cover IMHO)
Autolux Turnstile Blues
Low "Monkey"
Come (band on Matador Records led by the great Thalia Zedek) "Hurricane"
Mazzy Star "Ghost Highway"
The Knife Girls' Night Out
Nick Cave "Stranger than Kindness"
Sonic Youth DEATH VALLEY '69
her music is not really my cup of tea in general but Ani DiFranco Joyful Girl (remix) is pretty good
posted by citron at 5:11 PM on December 2, 2008

You guys are great! Thank you! Keep them coming!
posted by millipede at 5:15 PM on December 2, 2008

This particular GSYBE song always gives me the creeps when I hear it. Super apocalyptic, I'd say.
posted by cusack at 5:52 PM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Lou Reed - Cremation
Pavement - Here
Tom Petty - Crawling back to you
Spiritualized - Cool waves

The Chili Peppers' Scar Tissue video has many of the components you described - driving in a desert wasteland, beat, bloody, and bandaged.
posted by Mapes at 6:05 PM on December 2, 2008

Eels - Last Stop: This Town
Nick Cave - New Morning
Tom Waits - Earth Died Screaming (a lot of Bone Machine really)
Chemical Brothers & Flaming Lips - The Golden Path
David Bowie - Diamond Dogs (it's based on Dhalgren, a book about a burning city)
Lots of Brian Eno...Just Another Day or An Ending (Ascent)
Johnny Cash - The Man Comes Around
Black Heart Procession - lots of songs off 2 and 3
A lot of Sigur Ros would work, too
posted by Kafkaesque at 6:11 PM on December 2, 2008

"insignificance" by Pearl Jam.
posted by micawber at 6:38 PM on December 2, 2008

God Is An Astronaut - Fire Flies and Empty Skies
Murder By Death - Those Who Left
The Cure - Disintegration
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:14 PM on December 2, 2008

The Old 97's "Won't Be Home" perfectly fits your needs.

You're a bottle-cap away, from pushing me too far
Well the problem's getting big and its a compact car
So I won't feel so bad, I did all I could do
Now I'm on wounded knee and we're at waterloo
So Please get out, of my car

I was born in the backseat of a mustang
On a cold night in a hard rain
And the very first song that the radio sang
It was "I won't be home no more."

You're a rattle-trap tonight, my ears are getting tired
So listen for awhile, before this thing expired
It was bound to fail because of where I'm from
Now the moon's at four o'clock and It's high time kingdome come
So please get out, of my car

I'm pulling off the road, I'm opening the door
I'm giving you the pavement, I'm telling you what for
You're no more than a thought
And you're getting smaller in my rearview mirror
Yeah, you're getting smaller in my rearview mirror
Yeah, you're getting smaller

posted by Sara Anne at 7:22 PM on December 2, 2008

Explosions in the Sky: First breath after coma

The video is slow-ish at the beginning but really picks up around 3:20+
posted by bradly at 7:57 PM on December 2, 2008

How about:
Wave of Mutilation - Pixies
Walking in my sleep - Alabama 3 (in fact most of their La Peste album)
Lots of Pulp - A little soul/ Trees/ Last day of the miners strike (those these may fit mostly cos of the lyrics)
Stay positive - Streets (dead good doomy striding beat to it)
Nick Cave - Moonland, Red right hand, Night of the lotus eaters
Queens of the stone age, the Rated R album
so probably Kyuss as well
Chris Whitley - Living with the law, Big sky country
Polly Harvey - To bring you my love
posted by runincircles at 8:13 PM on December 2, 2008

2nding Nina Simone's "Sinnerman". I think it really brings to life the idea of running from and to something at the same time. Plus, I was listening to it when I read this.

Also, I would add the following:

Crystal Method's "Name of the Game" (Explicit Lyrics) - Brings to mind a severely justified and delivered ass whooping for me.

My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult - "After the Flesh"
posted by slavlin at 8:42 PM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Nthing Springsteen, "Atlantic City".

Though more down-to-earth desolation than apocalyptic.
posted by Beardman at 9:09 PM on December 2, 2008

Earth's Hung From the Moon. Just wait until the piano comes bittersweet. That whole album, really.

PJ Harvey's That Was My Veil. Also, The Desperate Kingdom of Love.

Dinosaur Jr's Goin Home.

Low's Murderer fits in with your culpability in destruction.

Pinback's Non-Photo Blue has a certain "driving through a desert" feeling to me.
posted by otolith at 9:10 PM on December 2, 2008

The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance
posted by electroboy at 9:31 PM on December 2, 2008

Got to throw out one more PJ Harvey suggestion: Rope Bridge Crossing. Unfortunately, that's only a sample, but I think it conveys the mood. Really a devastating song. I actually recommend the whole album "Dance Hall at Louse Point." I've always thought that it carries a sense of living in a world that has been washed out and fallen apart.
posted by otolith at 9:37 PM on December 2, 2008

from the video game Silent Hill 4... Room of Angels.
posted by Jacen at 10:42 PM on December 2, 2008

New Paths to Helicon Pt I - Mogwai
posted by Cantdosleepy at 2:34 AM on December 3, 2008

I think nearly everything by Less Than Jake fits up to a point. Lots of great rock/punk/ska about being the last one left behind (though not always a positive way), lots of stuff about endurance.

Check out Lawrence Arms, as well. Especially 100 Resolutions.

This year, I'll try not to think too much
This year, I'll try to stand up for myself
This year, I'll try to stand up for myself
This is my year for sure
posted by Ghidorah at 4:42 AM on December 3, 2008

Totally slo-mo different, and more like walking towards something new: Eisley, 'I Wasn't Prepared' (for this).
posted by Pennyblack at 5:56 AM on December 3, 2008

While Radiohead's Airbag is a good one (as well as Pyramid Song...and the Hail to the Thief album suggestion) my vote would be for their song Lucky:

I'm on a roll,
I'm on a roll this time
I feel my luck could change.

Kill me Sarah,
kill me again with love,
it's gonna be a glorious day.

Pull me out of the aircrash,
Pull me out of the lake,
I'm your superhero,
we are standing on the edge.

The head of state has called for me by name
but I don't have time for him.
It's gonna be a glorious day!
I feel my luck could change.

Pull me out of the aircrash,
Pull me out of the lake,
I'm your superhero,
we are standing on the edge.
We are standing on the edge.

posted by Windigo at 6:16 AM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Several years ago I found myself figuratively walking across a bridge away from a burning city that I helped to destroy. The album I most enjoyed listening to during that time was "In the Aeroplane over the Sea" by Neutral Milk Hotel. I can't tell if it will fit your needs but I know it fit mine. Another song I listened to a lot was "This place is a prison" by the Postal Service. I think that one meets your requirements.

windigo may be on to something with "Lucky". That was on one of my playlists from years ago. Other songs on that list: "The Battle of Who Could Care Less" by Ben Folds Five, "Self Esteem" by The Offspring, and "One Headlight" by (yes) the Wallflowers.

posted by A dead Quaker at 8:27 PM on December 3, 2008

My Chemical Romance, Famous Last Words

Disturbed, I'm Alive
posted by cereselle at 9:40 AM on December 4, 2008

"Lucky" is a pretty triumphant song. Not a lot of hollow bitterness there.
posted by muddgirl at 1:39 PM on December 4, 2008

In keeping with the "rearview mirror" sub-genre and lyricfest...

Pearl Jam's Rearview Mirror

I took a drive today
Time to emancipate
I guess it was the beatings made me wise
But I'm not about to give thanks or apologize
I couldn't breathe holdin' me down
Hand on my face kissin' the ground
Enmity gauged united by fear
'Posed to endure what I could not forgive...

I seem to look away
Wounds in the mirror waved
It wasn't my surface most defiled
Head at your feet fool to your crown
Fist on my plate, swallowed it down
Enmity gauged, united by fear
Tried to endure what I could not forgive

Saw things
Once you, were in my...Rearview mirror...

I gather speed from you fucking with me
Once and for all I'm far away
I hardly believe, finally the shades...are raised...hey...

Saw things so much clearer
Once you, once you...
Rearview mirror

Saw things so much clearer
Once you...oh yeah...

(cut and pasted from some lyric site)
posted by darth_tedious at 1:30 AM on December 5, 2008

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