Songs for the End of Days
Five ways the world might end--and five songs to remind us that as the world crumbles to pieces around us, at least we still have B96. Sure, we could do something proactive, but fuck it, let’s just raise our hands in the air when the chorus tells us to.
First Doomsday Scenario: Global Warming
The daily temperatures grow extreme, our crops fail, our air becomes thick with pollution, and we begin to witness intense droughts, floods, storms and the extinction of species across the globe. The earth becomes a scorched husk inhospitable to any living thing. How do we continue on in the face of such assured destruction? Let’s turn on Kesha’s 2013 single “Die Young” and appreciate its honesty.
The synthetic beat sets the stage for some truly grim lyrics. The pre-chorus of the lead single off Kesha’s second studio album repeats, “We’re gonna die young, we’re gonna die young, let’s make the most of the night like we’re gonna die young.” Then she slides into her thesis statement: “Looking for some trouble tonight, take my hand I’ll show you the wild side, like it’s the last night of our lives, we’ll keep dancing till we die.” In light of today’s news cycle, I appreciate Kesha’s frankness more than ever.
Second Doomsday Scenario: Mutually Assured Destruction
In September, a CNN headline read “North Korea tested a Missile that could Reach Chicago. Now What?” Look, don’t overthink it. Just lace up your sneakers and meet me at the club before tomorrow’s massive nuclear explosion. I mean sure, if a nuclear bomb detonated in Chicago, first your hair and clothes would catch on fire, and your eyeballs would melt, and your skin and bones will be stripped away, and your lungs will burst, and dear god, don’t Google “What happens to the human body in a nuclear explosion.”
So if a North Korean bomb lands in the Loop tomorrow, well, I think we should queue up "Dynamite" by Taoi Cruz: “I throw my hands up in the air sometimes saying A-Yo, gotta let go.” I love when songs tell me to put my hands in the air. It’s such an easy order to follow. I will, Taoi Cruz. Tomorrow, we die. But tonight, we gon’ rock this club, we gon’ go all night, we gon’ light it up like it’s dynamite.
Third Doomsday Scenario: Robot Uprising
In August, the big tech news was that artificial intelligence programs are learning to cheat. First it’s cheating, then it’s killing. In 2014, Elon Musk described experimenting with AI as “summoning the demon.” Great. I feel really great about this.
Right before our iPhones hatch a plan to wipe us out, we can sync them to our Bluetooth speakers and play “Till the World Ends” by Britney Spears. Britney’s strangely sexy metallic singing voice will prepare us for a future of orders from robot overlords. Let Britney inspire you to see the sunlight, let it happen, keep on dancing till the world ends, if you feel it, let it happen, keep on dancing till the world ends.
Fourth Doomsday Scenario: Demon Spawn Overrunneth the Earth
By now you’ve probably heard that a humanoid bat figure has been creeping all over the Chicago lakefront. A dozen 2017 sightings have been reported by reputable sites like Riotfest.org and the Singular Fortean Society, which is a blog with the tagline “Investigating the Impossible” animated so a cartoon Bigfoot strolls across the letters. So we all need to be on our guards.
Let’s listen to “Sign of the Times,” the first post-One Direction release by boy band heart throb Harry Styles. When Harry croons, “Just stop your crying, it’s a sign of the times,” the times are the end of days and the signs are the demons crab walking through Millennium Park. And when he sings, “They told me that the end is near, we gotta get away from here,” it’s easy to imagine him grabbing your hand and tripping over his St. Laurent boots as he flees from a terrible figure with the ragged wings of a bat and the glowing red eyes of your worst nightmare.
Fifth (and Most Unlikely) Scenario: The World Keeps Going
We keep on dancing, and there’s nothing deeper than us moving our bodies to the pandering rhythms of our favorite Top 40 hits. What do we listen to as we continue living day after day? I’m gonna go with Lana Del Rey’s 2015 album, Honeymoon, where she sings, “All I wanna do is get high by the beach, get high by the beach, get high. All I wanna do is get by by the beach, get by baby baby, bye bye.” Don’t we all, Lana. Don’t we all.