In this week’s magazine we hear from Simon Pegg and director Edgar Wright about how indie bands and old issues of the NME helped soundtrack their new film ‘The World’s End’. That got us thinking… what’s the last thing you’d want to hear? To kick things off, rather than agonising we’ve opted for a purpose-built REM song: ‘It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)’
“Golden days are passing over,” sings Ozzy Osbourne on ‘See You On The Other Side’. He somehow manages to stay optimistic though, and if he can, so can we.
Leiber & Stoller’s melancholy masterpiece ‘Is That All There Is?’, as sung by Peggy Lee, is absolutely perfect for those moments when existential terror needs to be met with stoic good humour.
Perhaps it’s easier to be in complete denial about your impending doom than it is to confront it, as on Super Furry Animals’ ‘It’s Not The End Of The World’. The lyric ‘’turn all the hate in the world into a mockingbird and make it fly away’’ is so fuzzy and warm you might just be able ignore the chaos.
Why die quaking in fear when you could instead jig yourself into the chasm of nothingness? The Libertines could lighten the mood of any apocalypse with ‘Don’t Look Back In To The Sun’.
Despite the nitty-gritty sound of Deap Vally’s ‘End Of The World’, there’s a peacenik message hiding between the distorted riffs and raspy vocals, ‘’there’s no time like the present, to pen up our hearts and let love shine in.’’ It’s never too late for love, apparently.
The Prodigy’s ‘World’s On Fire’ would set the right tone, although admittedly there’s a possibility you could become excruciatingly irritated at Maxim’s relentless stating of the obvious. “The world’s on fire!” Yeah mate, I got it the fourth time.
On Nine Inch Nails’ ‘The Day The World Went Away’, the words ‘went away’ offer a relatively sugar-coated description of the apocalypse, and the gently repetitive chords of NIN could act as some kind of sinister sedative as we approach the end.
The deadpan approach of The Smashing Pumpkins’ ‘Doomsday Clock’ may offer the most comfort to those with the driest of humours, or to those who are the coldest of fish, “apocalyptic screams mean nothing to the dead.”
With Europe’s ‘The Final Countdown’, at least you know you can have one last dance with your dad before you get sucked into the fiery abyss.
Radiohead’s ‘Lucky’ twists between desperation and euphoric hysteria. Just the ticket.
Jim Morrison jubilantly whispering about the Oedipal complex on The Doors’ ‘The End’ may be a disturbing last listen (as if the apocalypse wouldn’t be a disquieting affair in itself) but at least you’d feel sane by comparison.
Johnny Cash’s ‘The Man Comes Around’ is both sung and spoken, and its lyrical beauty would offer a contemplative accompaniment to the end of life as we know it.
The clear desperation in Bowie’s vocals on ‘Five Years’ would be unquestionably fitting.
With Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ ‘(I’ll Love You) Till The End Of The World’, at least we’ll have a bit of romance.
If the end of the world wasn’t a scary enough prospect in itself, Tom Waits’ ferociously deep, gargling vocals on ‘The Earth Died Screaming’ would ensure that you were in the fetal position sobbing uncontrollably as the end became nigh.
The fatal fireballs blossoming from the sky suddenly look like glorious shooting stars as the strains of Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’ fills our hearts with hope to meet again. If it’s good enough for ‘Dr Strangelove’.
The Clash’s ‘London Calling’ would at least rally a sense of camaraderie before we were all torn away from the Earth, although perhaps ‘Armageddon Time’ would be more apt?
Muse’s ‘Apocalypse Please’ is an epically orchestral song fertile with Queen-esque theatricals. The perfect soundtrack to a climatic embrace of the end. The temptation to listen to it kneeling and with clenched fists would be unbearable.
Timbuk3’s ‘The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades’ would keep you positive to the very end.
Morrissey’s none-more-lugubrious take on ‘Everyday Is Like Sunday’ literally begs for an end to it all: “Come armageddon, come armageddon, come…”
Barry McGuire’s Dylan-esque 1965 hit ‘Eve Of Destruction’ would be a warning too late of man’s inhumanity to man.
Skrillex told us last year he’d love to play a Mayan temple as the world fell away beneath him, so let’s embrace the gnarly beats of ‘Bangarang’.
Iron Maiden’s ‘Two Minutes To Midnight’ is one bad-ass listen for when it’s time to headbang your way into oblivion.