The end of the world as we know it is an idea we're simultaneously petrified of and completely fascinated by. We see it constantly in fiction. The zombie apocalypse is one of the hottest ideas in fiction today, being exploited on TV constantly. Man-made and natural disaster films keep selling, and people keep craving more.
Maybe it's dissatisfaction with our own world, or just the same fixation we have on our own mortality, that fuels us to obsess over the mortality of our Earth. Regardless of the reason, it's been inspiring songwriters for ages, and it's produced some of the most blistering metal songs and inspiring anthems.
5. The Chariot, "And Then, Came Then" As a Christian band, the Chariot explored lots of themes dealing with faith, but none so powerfully as their faith that one day Jesus Christ would descend upon the Earth and all the sinners would be in some serious shit.
The ideas in the Book of Revelation about the end times weighs heavily over their work, probably because it's a pretty fucking hardcore subject. This song captures the scene best, describing the landscape as sinners must repent, the world is ashes, the kingdom is come, and the devil is in Atlanta.
4. Metallica, "Blackened" Nuclear holocaust is an ever popular way for the world to end, and Metallica summed that one up pretty well with this track. It kicked off their ...And Justice for All album with a bang, and still electrifies when they open concerts with it today.
It wasn't the only time Metallica turned their sights on that subject, as it was also the focus of "Fight Fire With Fire," but "Blackened" focuses a little more on the outcome of the destruction, rather than the destruction itself.
3. R.E.M., "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" R.E.M. paints a pretty bleak picture of the world's end in this classic hit, but like they said in the title: they feel fine about it. So fine, in fact, that the song is ridiculously upbeat and fun to listen to, despite its awful subject matter.
For a band who often traded in maudlin sounds and melancholia, it's an great joke that one of the happiest-sounding songs they ever recorded also deals in some of their darkest lyrical content.
List continues on the next page.
2. Black Sabbath, "Electric Funeral" This one is all in the imagery. It ranges from atomic destruction to Book of Revelation, but it's all about the destruction of the Earth and the end times. The wordplay is amazing, and the sights and sounds are a perfect picture painted by writer Geezer Butler.
Before they were known for all the silly Satanic tropes which they exploited to ridiculousness on their recent reunion record 13, Sabbath could churn out some truly stomach turning poetry.
1. Bob Dylan, "Talkin' World War III Blues" Leave it to the typically depressing Bob Dylan to come up with the funniest song about the end of the world. Instead of focusing on all the destruction and death, he focuses on the lighter side of being one of the last people left alive after everything is wiped away by war.
The song does have its dark side considering the subject matter, but Dylan's black comedy really takes hold and makes this one a lot of fun.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism