If you’re like me, when you heard that the world would be ending this Saturday, your first thought was: but what music would be appropriate for the occasion? And, if I were to throw a party, what sort of songs might be on the playlist? Well, your musical worries are over. (Do feel free keep worrying about the Rapture, of course.) Our research teams here at Nine Kinds of Pie have conducted a comprehensive, cursory survey of music to celebrate/commemorate/lament the end. And we’re pleased to present the results in the following series of seven (yes, seven!) mixes featuring all of your End-of-Times favorites!
Rapture Party I: It’s the End of the World (and I Feel Fine)
1) Highway to Hell AC/DC (1979) 3:28
Sinners, this track’s for you! Or, you know, if you make the pronouns third-person, then it could also be for any of the saved who wish to pass judgment on those left behind. Title track from the final album to feature lead vocalist Bon Scott.
2) Hell Squirrel Nut Zippers (1996) 3:13
The band’s biggest hit. From Hot.
3) Sympathy for the Devil The Rolling Stones (1968) 6:19
Appears on Beggars Banquet and several hits compilations.
4) You Dress Up For Armageddon, I Dress For Summer The Hives
Such a difficult choice. Dress for Armageddon? Or dress for summer? The Hives tackle a pressing problem for those about to be raptured. From The Black and White Album.
“That’s great. It starts with an earthquake. Birds and snakes and airplanes. And Lenny Bruce is not afraid.” From Document.
6) Pretend We’re Dead L7 (1992) 3:55
“They’re neither moral nor majority.” From Bricks Are Heavy.
7) I Feel So Good (I Must Be Dead) Maurice King & His Wolverines with Ruby Jackson (vocals) (c. 1949) 2:55
Appears on The Okeh Rhythm and Blues Story 1949-1957.
8) Birth, School, Work, Death The Godfathers (1987) 4:39
One of the great songs — and great bands — from the 1980s. They deserve to be better-known.
9) Can’t Kill Me Twice Slo Leak (1999) 4:14
From When the Clock Strikes 12.
10) Dead Disco Metric (2003) 3:28
From Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?
11) Life During Wartime (live) Talking Heads (1984) 5:04
“Burned all my notebooks. What good are notebooks? They won’t help me survive.” Below, the band in concert, from Stop Making Sense.
12) Murder On The Dancefloor Sophie Ellis-Bextor (2002) 3:37
From the single, though the song also appears on the album Read My Lips (2001).
13) Do the Panic Phantom Planet (2008) 3:34
From Raise the Dead.
14) Heads Will Roll Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2009) 3:42
“Dance ’til you’re dead.” From It’s Blitz!
15) Zombie Jamboree (Back To Back, Belly To Belly) Charmer (1953) 2:47
Because what would a rapture party be without Louis Farrakhan? Yes, you read that correctly. Before becoming a minister in the Nation of Islam, he was a calypso singer who performed under the name “Charmer.” Appears on The Best of Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour vol. 2.
16) Cemetery Gates The Smiths (1986) 2:39
“They were born, and then they lived, and then they died.” From The Queen Is Dead.
17) Bless Me Father The Saw Doctors (1996) 3:34
“You have no idea what you’ve missed.” Appears on Play It Again Sham!
18) Sin Wagon Dixie Chicks (1999) 3:41
19) Original Sin INXS (1984) 3:47
From The Swing. Features Daryl Hall on backing vocals.
20) Personal Jesus (7″ Version) Depeche Mode (1989) 3:45
From the 7″. Original version appears on Violator.
21) Lost in the World Kanye West feat. Bon Iver (2010) 4:17
From Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
Rapture Party II: Sing You Sinners
1) Gloria Patti Smith (1975) 5:53
The first track on Horses, and one of the boldest opening lines to any song ever. So, if you enjoy blasphemy, this song’s for you! If not, well, then I suppose you can comfort yourself with the surety that Ms. Smith will not be among the elect.
2) The Diamond Church Street Choir The Gaslight Anthem (2010) 3:12
From American Slang.
3) Sing You Sinners Erin McKeown (2006) 2:13
From the album of the same name. Great collection of American standards, including: “Get Happy,” “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” “Rhode Island Is Famous for You.”
4) Have Mercy Loretta Lynn (2004) 2:35
That’s Jack White on guitar. From Van Lear Rose.
5) 99 Problems DJ Danger Mouse feat. Jay-Z + The Beatles (2004) 4:07
From the brilliant mash-up record, The Grey Album.
6) Mr. Bad Example Warren Zevon (1991) 3:22
“Well, I started as an altar boy, working at the church / Learning all my holy moves, doing some research / That led me to a cash box labeled ‘children’s fund.’ / I’d leave the change and tuck the bills inside my cummerbund.” From the album of the same name.
7) Run on for a Long Time The Blind Boys of Alabama (2001) 3:24
“God Almighty’s gonna cut you down.” From Spirit of the Century.
8) Runnin’ with the Devil Van Halen (1978) 3:37
From the band’s self-titled debut.
9) The Devil Went Down to Scunthorpe Toy Dolls (1997) 3:28
Purists should feel free to substitute the Charlie Daniels Band’s original here. I’ve chosen the Toy Dolls’ cover because it’s harder-edged, and fits better between Van Halen and All Time Low.
10) Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t) All Time Low (2009) 3:11
From the single. Also appears on Nothing Personal.
11) Temptation Elvis Costello and the Attractions (1980) 2:34
From Get Happy!!
12) Get Back Temptation Ollabelle (2004) 2:51
From the band’s self-titled debut.
13) Ya Got Trouble Robert Preston & The Ensemble (1962) 3:59
From The Music Man, one of the greatest musicals ever written. If you’ve not seen it, do get your hands on a copy — starring Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, Buddy Hackett, and Ron Howard.
14) You’re the Kind of Trouble The Holmes Brothers (2010) 3:46
From Feed My Soul.
15) I’m a Believer The Monkees (1966) 2:47
Written by Neil Diamond, and a #1 hit for the group. Appears on More of the Monkees (1967) and various hits collections.
16) I Believe in a Thing Called Love The Darkness (2003) 3:37
From Permission to Land.
17) God Put a Smile on Your Face Mark Ronson featuring the Daptone Horns (2007) 3:13
No, you may not substitute Coldplay’s original for this cover version. The power of the Daptone Horns are here to save you. Yes, you! Appears on the Stop Me EP.
18) Livin’ on a Prayer Bon Jovi (1986) 4:12
From the band’s breakthrough record, Slippery When Wet.
19) Like a Prayer The Rondelles (2001) 2:45
A punkier version of the Madonna song. From Shined Nickels and Loose Change.
20) Die Another Day (Radio Edit) Madonna (2002) 3:30
Theme from the James Bond film.
21) People Who Died Jim Carroll (1980) 4:59
“They were all friends of mine. And they died.” From Catholic Boy.
22) Straight to Hell The Clash (1982) 5:33
From the final studio album (Combat Rock) because, well, no one — not even the band — counts Cut the Crap. And, yes, this is the song that M.I.A. samples on “Paper Planes” (2007)
Rapture Party III: Don’t Believe the Hype
1) Paul Is Dead [Radio Report] (1969) 0:18
2) Live and Let Die Paul McCartney & Wings (1973) 3:13
Themes from James Bond films appear to be a theme here.
3) Last Night I Nearly Died Duke Special (2006) 3:49
From Songs from the Deep Forest.
4) Heaven Must Have Sent You The Elgins (1971) 2:33
Appears on The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 11B: 1971
5) Just Like Heaven The Cure (1987) 3:33
From Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me.
6) Blue Heaven The Pogues (1989) 3:36
From Peace and Love.
7) (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes Elvis Costello (1977) 2:48
From Mr. Costello’s stunning debut record, My Aim Is True.
8) Angels Of Destruction Marah (2008) 3:16
From the album of the same name.
9) The Devil Is An Angel Janiva Magness (2010) 3:09
From The Devil Is An Angel Too.
10) Devil Inside INXS (1987) 5:16
From the band’s best-selling Kick.
11) Soul Meets Body Death Cab for Cutie (2005) 3:51
12) Praise You FatBoy Slim (1999) 5:24
Featuring Camille Yarborough on vocals.
13) Respect Yourself The Staple Singers (1971) 4:55
The song that inspired Maddona’s “Express Yourself,” which in turn inspired Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” A few months back, I shared a few thoughts on this lineage… and other songs that borrow.
14) Don’t Believe the Hype Public Enemy (1988) 5:19
From the second studio album by PE: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.
15) Unplug This Armageddon B-Side Players (2007) 4:01
Wait… you mean we can just unplug this? Excellent! From the band’s Fire in the Youth.
16) (Don’t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below We’re All Going to Go Curtis Mayfield (1970) 3:28
Appears on the compilation What It Is!: Funky Soul and Rare Grooves.
17) Sheep Go to Heaven Cake (1998) 4:45
… and “goats go to Hell.” From the band’s third record, Prolonging the Magic.
18) Only the Good Die Young Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (2008) 2:47
Covering Billy Joel. From the all-star punk cover band’s seventh full-length LP, Have Another Ball.
19) One Foot in the Grave Pernice Brothers (2003) 3:15
From Yours, Mine & Ours.
20) Sukie in the Graveyard Belle & Sebastian (2006) 3:00
From The Life Pursuit.
21) Rapture Blondie (1980) 5:37
From Blondie’s Autoamerican. Below, the video. With cameo appearances from Fab Five Freddy and Jean-Michel Basquiat, “Rapture” was the first rap video to air on MTV.
22) Kiss Me, Son Of God They Might Be Giants (1988) 1:53
“I built a little empire out of some crazy garbage called the blood of the exploited working class.” From TMBG’s second album, Lincoln.
Rapture Party IV: Saturday Night Is Dead
1) Armageddon Days Are Here (Again) The The (1989) 5:41
From Mind Bomb.
2) The Armageddon Slide Greg Camp (2008) 3:14
If this song sounds a bit like Smash Mouth, that’s because Greg Camp was the band’s guitarist and principle songwriter. From Defektor.
3) Devils and Angels Toby Lightman (2004) 3:55
From Little Things.
4) That’s How You Got Killed Before Dirty Dozen Brass Band with Elvis Costello (1990) 3:15
“I’m just trying to tell you….” From the Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s New Orleans Album.
5) Saturday Nite Is Dead Graham Parker & The Rumour (1979) 3:17
“It don’t matter what they said. I’m going to the funeral Sunday.” From the classic Squeezing Out Sparks.
6) Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting Elton John (1973) 4:08
First appears on Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
7) Police On My Back The Clash (1980) 3:17
“I’ve been running Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. What have I done? What I have I done?” The Clash covers the Equals. From Sandinista!
8) Karma Police Radiohead (1997) 4:24
“This is what you get when you mess with us.” From the band’s OK Computer.
9) Wages of Sin The Proclaimers (2009) 4:28
The group that taught us how to “haver” (in their hit “500 Miles”) hopes and prays “that the wages of sin aren’t due today”: “I need few more years to build up the credit side.” From Notes & Rhymes.
10) It’s a Sin Pet Shop Boys (1987) 5:01
The first single from Actually.
11) You Don’t Have to Belong to the Religious Right The Cute Lepers (2010) 4:18
With a band name like “The Cute Lepers,” we might well assume that the group does not belong to the religious right, a sense which the lyrics confirm: “Headmasters, archbishops aren’t our best thinkers.” From Smart Accessories.
12) Losing My Religion R.E.M. (1991) 4:29
“Like a hurt, lost and blinded foal — a fool. Oh no, I’ve said too much. I haven’t said enough.” From R.E.M.’s Out of Time.
13) Spirits in the Material World The Police (1981) 3:01
From Ghost in the Machine. The video, below, including (at the end) a fascinating interview with drummer Stewart Copeland.
14) I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive The Little Willies (2006) 3:22
Hank Williams, covered by a band comprised of: Richard Julian (vocals), Norah Jones (vocals, piano), Lee Alexander (bass), Jim Campilongo (guitar), Dan Rieser (drums). From the group’s debut (and only) album, The Little Willies.
15) I Want to Be Buried in Your Backyard Nightmare of You (2005) 4:07
From the band’s self-titled debut.
16) (Don’t Fear) The Reaper Blue Öyster Cult (1976) 5:08
From Agents of Fortune.
17) When the Saints Go Marching In Louis Armstrong (1938) 2:45
18) The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing The Persuasions (2000) 2:46
The Persuasions cover Frank Zappa from their album, the aptly named The Persuasions Sing Zappa.
19) Ever Since the World Ended Mose Allison (1987) 4:51
From the album of the same name; also appears on the “Best of” collection put out by Blue Note. Below, Mose Allison performs this song last year.
20) Last Will and Testament Jake Thackray (1967) 3:01
Rapture Party V: Thou Shalt Always Kill
1) Heaven’s on Fire The Radio Dept. (2010) 3:33
2) Heaven Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians (1985) 4:03
3) Stairway to Heaven The Beatnix (1994) 2:46
This appears on Stairways to Heaven, a record comprised entirely of covers of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” The above version is in the style of the Beatles, circa 1964.
4) True Faith New Order (1987) 5:52
Appears on Substance, among other places.
5) Have a Little Faith In People The Lodger (2010) 2:13
6) I Believe I Can Fly Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (2003) 3:01
Covering R. Kelly, from Take a Break, the band’s fourth album.
7) Sister Rosetta (Capture the Spirit) Noisettes (2007) 2:57
From What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?
8) Like Rasputin Amy Rigby (2005) 2:31
From Little Fugitive.
9) The Day The Devil Laurie Anderson (1989) 4:02
From Strange Angels, Anderson’s most accessible record, but also one of her best. Indeed, if you were to pick exactly two Laurie Anderson albums for your collection, you’d want to get this one and Big Science.
10) The Devil Never Sleeps Iron & Wine (2007) 2:07
From The Shepherd’s Dog.
11) Hayride to Hell Hoodoo Gurus (1985) 3:17
From Mars Needs Guitars!
12) Crossroads Cream (1968) 4:14
13) Two Lost Souls Gwen Verdon & Stephan Douglas (1955) 2:19
From the original cast recording of Damn Yankees.
14) Agent Double-O-Soul Edwin Starr (1965) 2:46
15) A View To A Kill Duran Duran (1985) 3:36
Another Bond film theme.
16) Another Way to Die Alicia Keys & Jack White (2008) 4:23
And yet another Bond film theme.
17) Freddie’s Dead (Theme from Superfly) Curtis Mayfield (1972) 3:19
18) Fly on a Windscreen (Final) Depeche Mode (1986) 5:21
“Death is everywhere. There are flies on the windscreen, for a start, remind us that we could be torn apart… tonight.” From Black Celebration.
19) The World Is Gone Peter Thomas Sound Orchestra (1967) 2:30
From the delightful compilation, The In-Kraut, Vol. 3: Hip-Shaking Grooves Made in Germany 1967-1974.
20) The End of the World Is Bigger Than Love Jens Lekman (2010) 4:40
21) A Violent Yet Flammable World Au Revoir Simone (2007) 5:03
22) Thou Shalt Always Kill dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip (2008) 5:19
The video for this one introduced me to the song. Whenever I hear the song, I think of the video. Also, it’s quite a good video. See for yourself:
Rapture Party VI: End of the Line
1) Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? (New Edit) Chicago (1970) 3:19
2) Are The Good Times Really Over For Good John Doe and The Sadies (2009) 2:39
A cover of the Merle Haggard tune. From Country Club.
3) There Is No Time Lou Reed (1989) 3:47
From New York.
4) The Future Leonard Cohen (1992) 6:43
From The Future, one of Cohen’s best albums.
5) Mass Destruction (Radio Edit) [Single Version] Faithless (2004) 3:35
6) World Destruction Time Zone featuring John Lydon & Afrika Bambaataa (1984) 5:33
Did these two ever collaborate again? Great combination. Below, the rarely seen video for this song:
7) Bomb the World Michael Franti & Spearhead (2003) 4:29
From Everyone Deserves Music.
8) The World (Is Going Up In Flames) Charles Bradley & Menahan Street Band (2009) 3:22
9) Ball Of Confusion (That’s What The World Is Today) The Temptations (1970) 4:07
10) Atom Bomb The Apples In Stereo (2007) 2:44
11) Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb The Pilgrim Travelers (1951) 2:28
One of several gospel numbers about atomic energy — another is the Spirit of Memphis Quartet’s “Atomic Telephone.” I haven’t included that on this mix, but it’s a great a capella gospel number, too.
12) Jesus Saves, I Spend St. Vincent (2007) 3:57
From Marry Me.
13) The Devil and Me BR5-49 feat. The Jordanaires (2006) 2:40
“You can’t know good unless you know evil.” From Dog Days.
14) Church Lyle Lovett (1992) 6:01
From Joshua Judges Ruth.
15) This Little Light Mavis Staples (2007) 3:23
From We’ll Never Turn Back, which is one of my desert island discs. If you don’t have this album, you really owe it to yourself to check it out.
16) Darkness Is So Deep Hurricane Bells (2009) 3:01
From Tonight Is the Ghost.
17) Anti-D The Wombats (2011) 4:41
“Still I threw away my citalopram, / Although I felt as grim as the reaper man.” From This Modern Glitch, a strong follow-up to their excellent debut. Definitely recommend it — as well as the debut.
18) Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well Mike Doughty (2005) 3:59
From Haughty Melodic.
19) If I Ever Leave This World Alive Flogging Molly (2002) 3:22
From Drunken Lullabies.
20) End of the Line The Traveling Wilburys (1988) 3:28
From Vol. 1: Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty
21) Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) Green Day (1997) 2:34
Rapture Party VII: What a Wonderful World
1) Panic The Puppini Sisters (2006) 2:17
“Honey pie, you’re not safe here.” The Puppini Sisters cover the Smiths. On Betcha Bottom Dollar, the trio’s debut. Good news for Puppini fans: they’re in the studio, recording a new record.
2) Time Has Come Today (Single Edit Version 2) The Chambers Brothers (1966) 4:53
From Time Has Come: The Best of the Chambers Brothers.
3) Livin’ in the Future Bruce Springsteen (2007) 3:57
“None of this has happened yet.” From Springsteen’s Magic.
4) Prophesy The High Decibels (2008) 2:35
From the duo’s self-titled debut. Great old-school-style hip-hop.
5) Faith Alejandro Escovedo (2010) 3:24
From Street Songs of Love.
6) Get Rhythm Reverend Horton Heat (2005) 2:28
The Reverend Horton Heat covers Johnny Cash. Appears on Texas Fed, Texas Bred: Redefining Country Music Vol. 1.
7) What a Wonderful World Joey Ramone (2002) 2:23
The late Joey Ramone covers Louis Armstrong. From the posthumously released Don’t Worry About Me.
8) Temptation (7″ Edit) New Order (1982) 5:42
9) How Shall I to Heaven Aspire? Rock Plaza Central (2007) 2:05
From We Are Not Horses.
10) The Edge of Heaven Susan Rafey (1965) 2:09
From Hurt So Bad.
11) Earth Angel Death Cab for Cutie (2005) 3:17
Death Cab covers the Penguins. From the Stubbs the Zombie soundtrack.
12) Graveyard Girl M83 (2008) 4:53
From Saturday’s Youth.
13) Richest Guy in the Graveyard Dinah Washington (1949) 2:54
Appears on The Best of Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour.
14) I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead “Weird Al” Yankovic (1982) 3:41
From Yankovic’s self-titled debut, the album that also brought you “Another One Rides the Bus” (parody of Queen) and “Mr. Frump and the Iron Lung” (a “Weird Al” original).
15) Let’s Think About Living Bob Luman (1960) 2:07
A top ten hit on both the country chart and Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. His first big hit. Luman went on to have many other country hits before dying in 1978 at the age of 41.
16) Closing Time Semisonic (1998) 4:34
From Feeling Strangely Fine.
17) Closing Time Leonard Cohen (1992) 6:01
From The Future.
18) A Common Disaster Cowboy Junkies (1996) 3:22
From Lay It Down.
19) Calamity Song The Decemberists (2011) 3:50
From The King Is Dead.
20) Turkish Song of the Damned The Pogues (1988) 3:28
From If I Should Fall from Grace with God — an apt album title for Rapture Day, don’t you think?
21) Waiting for the End of the World Elvis Costello (1977) 3:22
From My Aim Is True, one of the all-time great debut albums: “Watching the Detectives,” “(The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes),” “Allison,” and “Mystery Dance” are all on this one.
22) The Hand of the Almighty John R. Butler (2003) 2:05
This one has some NSFW language in it. So, not that you’d be listening to this at work, but… if you are, consider yourself warned.
23) Atheists Don’t Have No Songs Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers (2011) 3:51
From their latest album, Rare Bird Alert: