Songs that take place during a nuclear blast
February 28, 2019 10:38 AM   Subscribe

I can come up with "Every Day Is Like Sunday" (Morrissey), "Breathing" (Kate Bush), and "I Melt With You" (Modern English). What other songs take place during a nuclear bombing?

Asking because I heard the bowdlerized "I Melt With You" by Bowling for Soup after reading the ska covers thread from this morning ("Being friends with you was never second best") and discovered it was because Disney used it for a movie in 2005. Great pick, Disney, a song about fucking during a nuclear bombing!
posted by fiercecupcake to Media & Arts (68 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Dancing with Tears in My Eyes by Ultravox is mostly pre-blast but sort of wraps up at the blast. There is a blast in the video.
posted by jessamyn at 10:41 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]

"Two Suns in the Sunset," Pink Floyd
posted by the phlegmatic king at 10:43 AM on February 28 [3 favorites]

Pink Floyd's "Two Suns in the Sunset."

I don't know if any of the songs specifically reference this, but my mind also went straight to Midnight Oil's Red Sails in the Sunset, which has cover art of a nuclear strike on Sydney Harbour.
posted by jzb at 10:44 AM on February 28

Two from Tom Lehrer:
We Will All Go Together When We Go
So Long, Mom
posted by briank at 10:47 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]

I guess arguably "When Ivan Meets G.I. Joe" by the Clash, although it's not *quite* as direct
posted by the phlegmatic king at 10:49 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]

Moxy Fruvous, "The Drinking Song"
posted by bile and syntax at 10:52 AM on February 28 [2 favorites]

What about the Decemberists' Calamity Song? It has lyrics about the end of the world, and the music video is a tennis game simulation of global thermonuclear war from Infinite Jest.
posted by beandip at 10:56 AM on February 28 [2 favorites]

Timbuk 3's "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades," at least as I interpret it.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:57 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]

Weird Al Yankovic, Christmas at Ground Zero.
posted by doctornecessiter at 11:01 AM on February 28 [7 favorites]

"We'll meet again" as used in the film Dr. Strangelove.
posted by beagle at 11:01 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]

Nena's "99 Luftballons."

I really question this theory that "I Melt With You" is about a nuclear attack--I don't know where it comes from but let's just say that the lyrics aren't very strongly determined in that direction.

(Also technically I think "Sunday" is set after a nuclear attack.)
posted by praemunire at 11:10 AM on February 28 [9 favorites]

Wooden Ships by Crosby, Stills & Nash
posted by wellred at 11:14 AM on February 28

Josh Ritter's "The Temptation of Adam" takes place in the moments before a hypothetical nuclear blast and is a really pretty song.
posted by dapati at 11:17 AM on February 28 [9 favorites]

Klaus Nomi "Total Eclipse"
posted by noxperpetua at 11:21 AM on February 28 [2 favorites]

Tom Lehrer's So Long Mom, I'm Off to Drop the Bomb.
posted by ubiquity at 11:21 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]

Oh, duh: "Nuclear War (On the Dance Floor)," the Electric Six
posted by the phlegmatic king at 11:26 AM on February 28 [3 favorites]

Big Dipper's All Going Out Together is great.
posted by johngoren at 11:26 AM on February 28

There's a faked nuclear attack during the "Do It For Our Country" number in Grease 2.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:31 AM on February 28 [2 favorites]

Fishbone - Party at Ground Zero
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:33 AM on February 28 [9 favorites]

the last verse of new model army's "i love the world" contemplates a world-ending event i've always understood to be nuclear destruction.
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:36 AM on February 28

I've never interpreted "Melt With You" as being about a nuclear attack. I just figured it was about having sex.
posted by sarcasticah at 11:37 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]

Morning Dew, Bonnie Dobson
posted by eviemath at 11:40 AM on February 28

We Will Become Silhouettes by Death Cab For Cutie.
posted by peppercorn at 11:43 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]

Living Through Another Cuba – XTC
Bombers – David Bowie
Come And Stand At Every Door - Byrds
Mushroom – Can
posted by mr. remy at 11:43 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]

Cassiopeia - Karine Polwart.
Stop the Cavalry - Jonah Lewie.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 11:46 AM on February 28

"So Long and Thanks for All the Fish" by A Perfect Circle seems to be about the eve of atomic destruction:

All the dolphins have moved on
Signaling the final curtain call in all its atomic pageantry

posted by Sunburnt at 11:55 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]

I came in to suggest the song dapati already mentioned.
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

Oh, 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

posted by emelenjr at 12:17 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]

Shades of 45, by Gary O.
posted by hanov3r at 12:20 PM on February 28

The Great Atomic Power by the Louvin Brothers is about what will happen in the nuclear apocalypse rather than being directly set in it, but it is amazing and you must listen to it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:27 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]

The Sun Is Burning, Simon & Garfunkel
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:38 PM on February 28

1999 by Prince!

"I was dreamin' when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray
But when I woke up this mornin', could've sworn it was judgment day
The sky was all purple, there were people runnin' everywhere
Tryin' to run from the destruction, you know I didn't even care

Say say two thousand zero zero party over, oops, out of time
So tonight I'm gonna party like it's nineteen ninety-nine

I was dreamin' when I wrote this, so sue me if I go too fast
But life is just a party and parties weren't meant to last
War is all around us, my mind says prepare to fight
So if I gotta die I'm gonna listen to my body tonight"

posted by castlebravo at 1:00 PM on February 28 [6 favorites]

Black Sabbath: "Electric Funeral"
posted by AndrewInDC at 1:13 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]

Atomic Platters: Cold War Music From The Golden Age Of Homeland Security may be relevant to your interests.
posted by box at 1:29 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]

Here Comes The Flood, Peter Gabriel
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:44 PM on February 28

The Annihilation mix of Two Tribes by Frankie Goes to Hollywood conjures up the apocalypse pretty effectively.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 1:50 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]

Many suggestions on this page and this one (it was a popular song topic in the 80s for sure).

Two of my favorites from that era: Anne Clark's Poem For A Nuclear Romance (which was the first song I thought of) and Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Massive Retaliation.

Slightly more current: The Postal Service, We Will Become Silhouettes.
posted by acridrabbit at 2:10 PM on February 28 [5 favorites]

Radioactive Mama by Sheldon Allman.
posted by DSime at 2:29 PM on February 28

The Escape Club's "Wild, Wild West" is about waiting for the bomb that's just about to drop.

("Ronnie's got a new gun" refers to Reagan, for people not as ancient as I)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:19 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]

Tears for Fears - Everybody Wants to Rule The World

Siouxie and the Banshees - Cities in Dust
posted by Mchelly at 3:27 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]

Another set shortly before or in fear of: "You Are The New Day" by John David.

"Thoughts that we as humans small
Could slow worlds and end it all
Lie around me where they fall
Before the new day"
posted by readinghippo at 3:57 PM on February 28

The entire Killing Joke back catalog.
Einstein-a-go-go by Landscape
posted by thatwhichfalls at 4:31 PM on February 28

A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall, Bob Dylan.

Seconding the notion that Melt with You is about sex and wondering about the darker interpretation.
posted by she's not there at 4:34 PM on February 28

I think Star by Erasure is?
posted by exceptinsects at 4:41 PM on February 28

TIL that Melt with You is about a couple making love while an atomic bomb is dropped.

I'll be damned.
posted by she's not there at 4:50 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]

Not literally during the bombs. But Waltzing Matilda was the sad finale, I recall, in On the Beach, which takes place soon after the conflagration.
posted by LonnieK at 5:49 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]

There's a persistent rumor that "Here Comes Your Man" by the Pixies is about the bombing of Nagasaki. Black Francis has denied it, but the lyrics fit, mostly due to the fact that the B-29 that carried the bomb was named "Bockscar".
posted by kevinbelt at 5:52 PM on February 28

Also by Black Sabbath, War Pigs...
posted by Redhush at 5:58 PM on February 28

Siouxie and the Banshees - Cities in Dust

This one’s actually about Pompeii being destroyed in a volcanic eruption. Great song.
posted by ejs at 6:17 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]

Having been terrified/obsessed by nuclear war since my Cold War childhood, I created this Spotify Playlist
posted by ArizonaJedi at 6:30 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]

Discharge - The Possibility of Life's Destruction
posted by mwhybark at 7:48 PM on February 28

Enola Gay, by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.
posted by terooot at 7:49 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]

(conceptually, every single track on Urgh: A Music War. Love seeing all the citations upthread)
posted by mwhybark at 8:14 PM on February 28

Funkadelic's "Wars of Armageddon" ends with an atomic blast and the punchline "Look at that pollution!"
posted by hydrophonic at 8:47 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]

"Forever Young" by Alphaville.
posted by all the light we cannot see at 9:30 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]

Radiohead - "Four Minute Warning" (a B-side from their 2007 album In Rainbows, named after the British alert system for Soviet nuclear attacks)
Running from the bombers
Hiding in the forest
Running through the fields
Laying flat on the ground
Just like everybody
Stepping over hills
Running from the underground
This is your warning
4 minute warning
posted by Rhaomi at 9:30 PM on February 28

8.5 minutes by the d plan
posted by ohkay at 3:33 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]

Famous Last Words by Tears for Fears
posted by prinado at 7:48 AM on March 1

"Four Minutes", Roger Waters. Sole has no eyes!

My first thought when I read your question was "this is every song we played in the 80s." Glad to see that impression holds up.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 3:49 AM on March 2 [4 favorites]

CivilDefenseSpot (YT) might be up your alley.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:29 PM on March 7

Bill Haley and His Comets - Thirteen Women
Last night I was dreaming,
Dreamed about the H-bomb,
Well, the bomb went off,
And I was caught,
I was the only man underground.

Ann Margaret did her own version, Thirteen Men
posted by hydrophonic at 7:26 AM on March 9

Where's the metal in this thread??

Metallica - "Fight Fire With Fire" and maybe also "Blackened"
Anthrax - "Aftershock"
Megadeth - "Polaris" (doesn't happen during a nuclear blast, but is about an actual nuclear warhead
And the of course there's the thrash band named Nuclear Assault
posted by gwint at 1:58 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]

Gruff Rhys - Selfies in the Sunset

It's the last film that we'll ever see
Armageddon wants company
Selfies in the sunset
Won't get you many likes
Stare into the mirror
Until the moment's right
Selfies in the sunset
The backdrop's blazing red
And everyone is equal in the valley of the dead

posted by enfa at 7:04 PM on March 19

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