Michael Stipe sings a stream-of-consciousness-style rap in the vein of Bob Dylan with the world’s most famous apocalyptic chorus. R.E.M.’s trademark jangly guitars actually make you feel fine about the idea.
“Don’t Fear the Reaper” – Blue Oyster Cult
Probably 1970s stoner rock’s most notorious end of the world track. Spanking cowbell drives the song forward with its guitarmony arpeggios and gang vocals. If you doubt this song is about the end of the world, look no further than ABC’s adaptation of Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic The Stand, which used the song as its intro.
“Apocalypse Please” – Muse
The bombastic goofballs in Muse create an epic song about the end of the world with classical piano tinkering and thundering drums. Guitarist Matthew Bellamy’s slow dredge guitar lines and haunting vocal harmonies add to the creepiness factor of the songs. Let’s not forget a beautiful synthesizer breakdown, in case you forgot these guys really like prog-rock.
“The Four Horseman” – Metallica
Off of Metallica’s extremely thrash debut Kill em’ All, “The Four Horseman” has James Hetfield screaming like the devil and Kirk Hammet throwing down fast power chords that sound like an apocalyptic stampede.
“Bad Moon Rising” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
This is your dad’s favourite end of the world track. R&B-inspired southern rockers CCR play an upbeat pop song about natural destruction and impending doom. This is the go-to apocalypse song for people who like to smoke pot.
“Mogwai Fear Satan” – Mogwai
This droning instrumental track by the Scottish doom rockers may not have any lyrics, but its overbearing distortion and monotonous chord progressions give it a bit of an apocalyptic flair. Or maybe I’m just drawing too much from the song title, being that they often name their tracks whatever seems to come in their head (i.e. “Golden Porsche”, “Stanley Kubrick”).
“New Dawn Fades” – Joy Division
Lead singer Ian Curtis’ lyrics are certainly up for interpretation, but with a title like “New Dawn Fades”, this song is definitely either about committing suicide or the end of the world. Peter Hook’s bass is continually bleak, while guitarist Bernard Sumner offers a pretty rare sludgy and ominous guitar riff to add to the darkness of the song.
“Sexy and I Know It” – LMFAO
Honestly, the fact that I can’t go one day without hearing this song somewhere must be a sign of the looming apocalypse.