Let's face it, the Mayan Calendar thing is kind of silly, but I'm still obsessed with it because I often ruminate on The End. It's an important scenario to consider, no matter how unlikely, because it makes us ask the Big Questions and wonder how meaningful/meaningless our lives truly are.
One of my favorite films is Melancholia, which features Kirsten Dunst nakedly staring at a large blue planet that is going to collide with Earth and destroy all life. It's stunningly begs the question, if you had 24 hours left before the world was smushed into nothing, what would you do? Cower in fear or commit suicide? Have sex or shoot up heroin? Just watch?
Dunst pretty much says anything you do is "a piece of shit." And she's half right, but whatever your choice, it reflects deeply on you, no matter if its meaningless. For me, I'd put on a vinyl record or two and just wait. And I'd smile and I'd smile and I'd smile. Here are five albums from this year that make the perfect soundtrack for your apocalypse, coming this year or next.
The End is Nigh: Muse, The 2nd Law
Conspiracy theories, doom and gloom, the end of the world -- it's all typical Muse. It got really melodramatic with 2009's The Resistance, but they bounced back to supremacy with this year's The 2nd Law. Sure, it was pretty cheesy and a lot like Styx, but it took itself less seriously and thrived in its apocalyptic paranoia.
Plus, it was a really romantic album and when you're about to die and everyone else is about to die, it's important to focus on love and stuff. Awww.
...Not With A Bang, But A Whimper: Crystal Castles, (III)
Despite having yet another unoriginal title, (III) was Crystal Castles' strongest, most concentrated album. It's also the Toronto duo's most depressing, as if the morose cover photo of Fatima al-Qaws holding her tear-gassed son didn't give it away. Dealing with themes of oppression, it also focused a lot on submission. Giving in, ending the fight, waiting out the inevitable like how dying dogs wander off to perish alone.
Crystal Castles almost suggest we deserve our Armageddon. Themes of plague focused with the "Wrath of God" has Alice Glass singing, "Sterilize Samaritans / Contravene loyal ties / Migrate them through the pesticide."
Can you say dismal? But what better soundtrack to dance along to as you watch the sun set for the last time.
It's The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine): Prince Rama, Top Ten Hits of the End of the World
This one's kind of a giveaway, ain't it? But it's a pretty genius concept album, with each song channeled through a different fictional band, complete with hilarious press photos and song titles. Examples like "Exercise Ecstasy" by The Metaphysixxx or "Those Who Live For Love Will Live Forever" by I.M.M.O.R.T.A.L.I.F.E. Sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson went all out for this one.
I loved Prince Rama's Shadow Temple, but this album is pushing the band in more of a pop-centered, English-lyrics direction, rather than their trademark Hare Krishna commune doom tunes. Good for them, 'cuz I've yet to meet anyone that appreciates Rama's bizarre flourish and this might help them get some much deserved attention. Like A Dark Paradise: Lana Del Rey, Born To Die
Born To Die is the best album of this year, in my humble opinion. Pop idolatry is littered with pretty faces, but there's so much more beneath Lana's gorgeous exterior. Sure, she's still part of the rash of neo-blue-eyed soul singers like the late Amy Winehouse or Adele, but she emotes a deeper existentialist fanaticism than you could ever expect from the mainstream.
Mostly about the death of the American dream, BTD is also a fitting backdrop for understanding one's purpose in the midst of Biblical-scale catastrophe. As she delicately croons on the album's titular opener:
"Choose your last words This is the last time Cause You and I We were born to die..."
Truer words couldn't be spoken in the shadows of mushroom clouds, meteors and God's fist.
Road Warriors: Black Moth Super Rainbow, Cobra Juicy
BMSR once asked us, "Don't You Want To Be In A Cult?" When civilization has completely broken down, that answer should probably be "hell yes." This year, Tobacco and company asked us if we want to be part of some "Gangs In The Garden." Truth is, donning an orange peel mask, dropping some strong doomsday acid and taking crowbars to windshields may be your only hope of survival.
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Plus, it'll be fucking fun. I can't wait for the apocalypse. Can you?
Troy Farah crosses his fingers, waiting for The End at troyfarah.com