Music has long been considered a refuge of people and artists from global problems. At the same time, songs are a good way to express one's sentiment about different events in one's life, including lost love, considered by some as akin to the end of the world.
Your companion for the end of the world
To join the world in observing what would happen on Dec 21, 2012, here are the top five songs with end-of-the-world themes as listed by Huffington Post.
1. It's the End of the World As We Know It and I Feel Fine - R.E.M.
The song came out in the 1987 album of alternative rock group R.E.M. When it was released as a single in November that year, it reached number 69 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and later peaked number 39 in the UK singles chart when it was re-released in December 1991.
It actually started from a previously unreleased R.E.M. song titled PSA (Public Service Announcement) which guitarist Peter Buck said was in the tradition of Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues.
James Herbet directed the music video of the song which featured Noah Ray, a young skateboarder, seen going through an abandoned, collapsing farmhouse and showing the relics he discovered.
Due to the 9/11 attacks, the song was placed on the post-9/11 inappropriate titles. The album version runs 4:07 and the single version 3:29.
2. (2012) It Ain't the End - Jay Sean
The song was by British recording artist, Jay Sean, from his compilation album Hit the Lights. Featured in the song are Trinian rapper and Nicki Minaj. It is classified as a dance-pop, synthpop by genre, and runs for 3:41 with the rap and 3:19 minus the rap.
When the song was released in August 2010, it was number 50 at the Billboard Hot 100 and later jumped to 31. On the Pop Songs Chart in the U.S., it was at 34 and reached a peak of 23 at the Canadian Hot 100 chart.
The music video was shot in Los Angeles, which had a lot of flashing lights and recreated a typical hip-hop club scene environment, although in post-production, the MTV showed parties in Tokyo, New York and London.
3. (Nothing but) Flowers - Talking Heads
The rock band, Talking Heads, released this New Wave song in 1988 in the final album titled Naked. It reached number 79 on the US Singles Chart and runs for 5:39.
Bret Easton Eliss, an author, used a passage from the song as an epigraph for his novel American Psycho, particularly the line - "And as things fell apart/Nobody paid much attention."
4. Is This the Beginning of the End? - Merle Haggard
A song by American country singer Merle Haggard, who together with his band, The Strangers, helped create the Bakersfield sound characterised by the unique twang of Fender Telecaster and the unique mix with traditional country steel guitar sound.. The song tells the story of a heartbroken man whose end of relationship could be considered a personal end-of-the-world scenario.
5. The Final Countdown - Europe
Swedish band Europe released this song in 1987, the first single of the group's third studio album with the same title as the song. It peaked at number 1 in 25 nations including UK, reached number 8 in the Billboard Hot 100 and 18 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.
The Detroit Pistons used the song as its starting lineup song since its inception in 1988. It was inspired by David Bowie's Space Oddity and was written originally as an opening song for concerts, but became a monster hit to the band's surprise.
While only 11th on Huffington Post's list, no end-of-the-world playlist is complete without mentioning Skeeter Davis's iconic End of the World hit song that enjoyed international success in the 1960s.
It was released by RCA in December 1962 and peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart and also number 2 on the country singles chart. The song, which runs 2:33 is in the soundtrack of several films including Girl, Interrupted, Riding in Cars With Boys, Daltry Calhoun, An American Affair and The Boat That Rocked.
With the big publicity that the 2012 Mayan Calendar Doomsday is generating, it would not be surprising that enterprising recording companies would also release songs and albums inspired by the 12-21-12 apocalypse-that-never was.
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