Doomsday need not be ushered in silently; top 10 songs for the apocalypse

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Cosmic journeys through spirituals, drugs, and life or death experiences aid songwriters in describing the end of the world and emotions brought by doomsday.   

Telling when the world will end is difficult, but listening to this list of apocalyptic tunes brings the emotion and realizations of the unthinkable. 

“Desolation Row” by Bob Dylan (1966)  

Riot squads and jealous monks cause chaos on a street full of cyanide holes. The end is near, and Dylan documents the scene through strange, mysterious letters.

 “The End” by The Doors (1967) 

Jim Morrison howls for nearly 12 minutes over cosmic guitars and energetic keyboards. “This is the end/My only friend, the end” shows the necessity of keeping those close to the heart with you when the time comes.

“Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones (1968) 

With jungle guitars, eerie background vocals and numerous percussion kits, the song’s vocals could be about anything and sound post-apocalyptic. However, words of war, colossal fire and a manic storm show a new order is “just a shot away.”

“Five Years” by David Bowie (1972)

In five years Earth and everyone on it perish, and Bowie chronicles the grave, dramatic feelings Earthlings hold while watching the time tick.

“Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder (1973) 

Wonder knows it won’t be too long until judgment day comes, but with experiences learned in a past life, he encourages people to keep learnin’, preachin’ and lovin’ until the time comes. 

 “1999” by Prince (1982) 

“When I woke up this morning could of sworn it was judgment day/The sky was all purple, there were people running everywhere.” Prince’s description is haunting, but an upbeat instrumental and silly lyrics make the apocalypse seem like a house party.

“Hail Mary” by 2Pac (1997) 

There isn’t much time left, tension escalates and 2Pac seeks revenge on his enemies; he prays before preying on those who’ve done him wrong near doomsday.

“Save the Population” by Red Hot Chili Peppers (2003) 

Lyrics coated with violence and revelations highlight a dire end, but it’s difficult to tell if singer Anthony Kiedis offers a valid plan to keep the human race alive or just wants some last-minute fun. 

“Exo-Politics” by Muse (2006) 

Singer Matthew Bellamy’s pick for the cause of a new order—political unrest—makes sense now more than ever.   

“Moment of Surrender” by U2 (2009)

The apocalypse hits at the most unexpected time—while Bono runs errands—and coming to grips with it takes a beautiful observation: “I was punching in the numbers at the ATM machine/ I could see in the reflection a face staring back at me/ At the moment of surrender of vision over visibility/ I did not notice the passers-by and they did not notice me.” 

Depending on when doomsday comes, 10 songs won’t suffice. Add to the list on our Doomsday Playlist Poll at Facebook.com/DixieSunNews.