We had some good machines but they don't work no more
August 25, 2018 8:22 AM   Subscribe

Please help me make a playlist of soft post-apocalyptica.

What I have so far:

- Faded Flowers by Shriekback
- After the Bombs by the Decemberists
- The Temptation of Adam by Josh Ritter (an edge case, as the setting is pre-apocalypse rather than post, but the tone is right)
- The Sermon of Sister Rust by Jack de Quidt

What I'm looking for:

- a quiet, intimate tone
- the feeling that something huge has been catastrophically and irreparably lost
( - ideally, that something huge is more along the lines of "society as we know it" and less "a romantic relationship")
- I'd prefer songs with lyrics in English
posted by darchildre to Media & Arts (32 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
Epitaph by King Crimson?
posted by eirias at 8:23 AM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

The World Was Made for Men by The Ghost of a Sabre Tooth Tiger. Also perhaps Robot Boy.
posted by adamrice at 8:31 AM on August 25, 2018

It's by association rather than original intent, but I would include this version of We'll Meet Again.
posted by each day we work at 8:33 AM on August 25, 2018

Tripoli by Pinback. Loro too. Most of Pinback has that feeling.

Also big science by Laurie Anderson, including from the air and o superman.
posted by umbú at 8:36 AM on August 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

American Tune by Paul Simon
posted by Daily Alice at 8:39 AM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

No Cities Left – The Dears

If lyrics aren't a hard requirement, I'd suggest exploring the catalogue of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, whose entire oeuvre is soundtracking the end of the world.
posted by rodlymight at 8:40 AM on August 25, 2018

Loudon Wainwright III's Pretty Good Day
posted by Gortuk at 8:48 AM on August 25, 2018

Also, the band Low.
posted by umbú at 8:49 AM on August 25, 2018

Dancing with Tears in My Eyes sums this up for me. Maybe too raucous. Maybe a bit too "impending doom" instead of strictly POST. The video is gut wrenching.
posted by jessamyn at 8:59 AM on August 25, 2018

Tables and Chairs by Andrew Bird
posted by abandonedwig at 9:04 AM on August 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

We will become silhouettes - The Postal Service

It's indirect, but I think of Bowie's Strangers when we meet as well

It takes time - Patti Smith and Fred Smith from Until the end of te world soundtrack (also the rest of that soundtrack probably)
posted by feckless at 9:23 AM on August 25, 2018

Neighborhood #1 - Arcade Fire

Nothing But Flowers - Talking Heads
posted by moonmilk at 9:32 AM on August 25, 2018

This is not exactly what you wanted-- more adjacent to the sound you are looking for. But will have some interesting diversions if you can tolerate folk/filk.
posted by seasparrow at 9:36 AM on August 25, 2018

If I'm reading you right, The Fall by Peter and the Wolf is perfect.
posted by BrashTech at 9:56 AM on August 25, 2018

Rags of Flowers, John and Mary
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:02 AM on August 25, 2018

Cry Little Sister from the Lost Boys soundtrack? (Dunno about apocalyptic, but it's definitely got "something huge lost").

End Times, Eels. We Will Become Silhouettes, The Postal Service. (It seems the analogy between the end of the world and a breakup is just too attractive to resist).

Geronimo's Cadillac by Michael Martin Murphey, Apache Tears by Johnny Cash, Kit Carson by Bruce Cockburn. (Country, but about a holocaust).

Und was bekam des Soldaten Weib by Bertolt Brecht. (I like PJ Harvey doing the English version, but the German version seems more poignant to me, considering its purpose).
posted by Leon at 10:32 AM on August 25, 2018

The album "Are We Not Horses" by Rock Plaza Central is great. It's sung from the perspective of jaded robots.

Also "The Humans Are Dead" by Flight of the Conchords is a delight.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 10:41 AM on August 25, 2018

So much of Grandaddy has this: Broken Household Appliance National Forest, A Lost Machine, the Jed cycle ... all very Sladekian broken humans working on broken machines kinda stuff
posted by scruss at 11:34 AM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

This, too, may be closer to “adjacent,” but sharing since it sprung to mind: When the Bomb Drops by Subhumans. It’s fairly soft, slow, and somewhat ironically upbeat.
posted by Carouselle at 11:49 AM on August 25, 2018

This World Over by XTC fits perfectly.
posted by Lexica at 12:18 PM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Of Monsters and Heroes and Men by James was inspired by McCarthy’s The Road and has the most gorgeous, mournful trumpet solo.
posted by Ruki at 1:31 PM on August 25, 2018

Final Day by Young Marble Giants

One Small Step by Stereolab

Sunset on Humanity by Dear Nora
posted by D.C. at 3:29 PM on August 25, 2018

Two Suns in the Sunset, by Pink Floyd.
The Sun's Gone Dim and the Sky's Gone Black, by Jóhann Jóhannsson (RIP).
posted by baseballpajamas at 3:47 PM on August 25, 2018

In Our Bedroom After the War, by Stars.
posted by ActionPopulated at 5:36 PM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Shipbuilding sung by Robert Wyatt

Pro: This is what you want. Con: This is the saddest song of all time.
posted by xammerboy at 9:26 PM on August 25, 2018

This Place is a Prison - the Postal Service

Post-War - M. Ward
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 10:09 PM on August 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Almost anything Jason Molina/Songs:Ohia/Magnolia Electric Co.
The Suburbs (album), Arcade Fire
Q and not U, Kiss Distinctly American
posted by a halcyon day at 11:05 PM on August 25, 2018

The Marmalade: Reflections of My Life
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: Muddy Water
Steely Dan: King of the World
The Police: Invisible Sun
Barry Adamson: The Violation of Expectation
posted by heatvision at 7:14 AM on August 26, 2018

Way of the Sun by Archer Prewitt
posted by lunasol at 7:49 AM on August 26, 2018

I Am Dust by Gary Numan
posted by angry.polymath at 7:58 AM on August 26, 2018

I got more hung up on "good machines" than apocalypse, I guess?

When They Came For Us by Shiny Toy Guns
(I always interpreted this as robots have won the apocalypse, but decades later they miss the humans, and especially the children, YMMV)

Neon Valley Street by Janelle Monae
Wondaland by Janelle Monae
57821 by Janelle Monae
Say You'll Go by Janelle Monae
BaBopByeYa by Janelle Monae
(This whole album is part of an Afrofuturism narrative that takes place in the midst of a robot uprising of sorts)
posted by a fiendish thingy at 12:23 PM on August 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

A human apocalypse, as sung by robots, The humans are dead by Flight of the Conchords
posted by furnace.heart at 7:38 PM on September 1, 2018

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