The soundtrack perfectly suited to facing your own mortality. ("My Way," "Wind beneath My Wings," and other popular funeral songs need not apply.)
1. "Dead Man's Party" by Oingo Boingo
The first time I heard this song, I couldn't believe how good it was. It imagines death as a raucous adventure. "Who could ask for more?," indeed.
2. "Leader of the Pack" by the Shangri-Las
Jimmy is in a motorcycle gang that hangs out at a candy store. (I question how serious a gang he was in.) That's where Betty meets him. Her family disapproves, so she has to tell Jimmy it's over. He speeds away on his motorcycle and dies. A perfect combo of teen angst and love and loss.
3. "Naked as We Came" by Iron & Wine
Someone is always left behind. This is universally hard to accept. I think all the time about my partner dying in my arms and spreading his ashes 'round the yard. But with all the Diet Coke I drink, I'm likely to go long before he is. You can pry that Diet Coke from my cold, dead hands.
4. "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" by the Smiths
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I haven't heard this song much since I was a 16-year-old hopelessly in love with Morrissey (tale as old as time), but I heard it in the car the other day while driving through rural Colorado and wept. Just spontaneous tears rolling down my face. Especially the second half of the song when that flute kicks in. Melancholic hope in the face of mortality.
5. "Tha Crossroads" by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
I had no business listening to this song at 11, but it was ubiquitous. It holds up flawlessly. The song was dedicated to Eazy-E, who died only one month after his AIDS diagnosis. Remember in the video where the grim reaper is a guy in a trench coat who comes to remove glowing spirits from corpses? I was pretty sure that's how it worked for a while. At the end of the video, he takes a baby! That video was not messin' around.
6 "Someone Great" by LCD Soundsystem
There are many interpretations to this song, but it sounds like one part loss, one part life moving forward whether you like it or not.
7. "People Who Died" by the Jim Carroll Band
Pretty no-nonsense death anthem. Leukemia, hepatitis, overdose on Draino, slit in the jugular vein. All people who died. People die all the time, and you could be next. fulmira Don't kill the messenger!
8. "My Boy Builds Coffins" by Florence + the Machine
You could build coffins all day, but frankly with the giant casket companies as competition, it wouldn't be much of a living. Maybe he's a trust funder? Regardless, I appreciate his dedication to handcrafted woodwork.
9. "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" by Blue Öyster Cult