This week, we get to a subject that’s been covered quite a bit, with a good variety of songs: zombies. One thing that I’m continually impressed with is the variety of styles that range from metal to folk, and just about everything in between. It’s no wonder: Zombies have captured the popular imagination by a storm, with numerous films released over the last couple of years, and with zombie walks getting ever more popular in major cities. This week, we’ll take a look at a broad sampling of what’s been released.
To start, Devil Wears Prada is a Christian Metalcore group, something I wasn’t aware existed. In 2010, they released, Zombie EP, following a bit of a zombie kick that the band found themselves interested in. ‘Outnumbered’, the first song off the record, feels very appropriate when it comes to the subject matter. Metal really isn’t my thing, but I think they captured the tone nicely.
I’ve never really listened to The Misfits, but this song works well, soundwise, and lyrically. It’s a far future setting with zombies and some other geeky references thrown in here and there, and it works well when it comes to the creep factor.
This song is quite a bit more subtle than most of the others on the list, but there’s a bit of a clever reference after the half-way point in the song, one that made me sit up and relisten to the song after I first heard it:
The dead are coming to life in our hometown
Holding their loved ones, muttering
“I was lost and now I’m found’
It’s a dark song, a tone that really defies the upbeat and fun nature of the song: it’s not until you really listen to the lyrics that that’s apparent. When it comes to the zombie line, it’s something that doesn’t hold to the traditional view of zombies, but something more emotional. It’s a neat take.
We talked about this song last week, when we covered Jonathan Coulton. As seen by the video, this is a bit of a crowd favorite, and it’s certainly a favorite when it comes to zombie songs. It’s a clever, catchy song about a zombie in an office building. Lots of officespeak, coming from a zombie. There’s some good satire there, I think.
Kirby Krackle is one of those groups that’s doing really well amongst geek music circles, not in the least bit because of their fantastic music videos. Zombie Apocalypse is a fun take on the modern perils of a zombie apocalypse, from internet outages to having to put down your parents. Like Whiskey, it’s a song that is undermined by the tone of the song. All in all, a fun listen.
Sufjan Stevens is an indie artist that is touch and go for me. There’s a handful of songs that I really enjoy from him, but there’s others that I just can’t stand. Fortunately, “They Are Night Zombies!” is one that I do enjoy, for its richness in sound. This song’s not necessarily about zombies when you get down to the lyrics, but more about the past coming back to haunt us, but if there’s anything that zombie fiction is good at, it’s allegory.
The film that comes to mind when I hear this song? Edgar Wright’s fantastic Shaun of the Dead. The song really sets the tone for the film, even when it doesn’t have much to do with zombies. But, it’s a quirky song that fits well with the movie.
You might be thinking, what does Bob Marley have to do with Zombies? Ever since the Will Smith movie, I Am Legend was released (yes, there’s always a debate about whether the creatures in the film were actually zombies. I’m counting them as such.), I’ve associated the song with a type of post-apocalyptic New York City that Smith’s character finds himself in. The song worked really well for its use in the movie, and it’s easily something that I can imagine a survivor singing to him/her self in a similar situation.
This song shares a similarity only in the title, but it helps to demonstrate where the imagery has very relevant connections to the real world, as any good fiction should. This particular song is a protest around the death of two boys in Northern Ireland. The lyrics can be imagined as if they’re something to do with the end of the world or a particularly dystopian state, depending on where you’re from.
We’ve gotten some of the political stuff out of the way when it comes to zombies, and Nelly McKay’s hilarious song is a good one that drops us right back into the genre nicely, with a song warning about the dangers of a curse in the deep green swamp. I love the atmosphere here: it’s a creepy, dark, fantastic sound that works brilliantly. Like Jonathan Coulton’s song “Re: Your Brains”, this appears to be a great crowd participation song. Rawr, rawr, raw.
This song has some particular connections to zombies for me. Last year, just before The Walking Dead was released, a fan created his own opening credits for the show, (far superior to the current credits!), using “Fresh Blood” by the Eels as the song. It works fantastically, and the song is creepy in and of itself, imparting the right feel. I also frickin’ love the shot where the camera flys away from the gun. Perfect mesh of sound and movement.
Where would any list about Zombies be without Michael Jackson’s classic horror song, “Thriller”? I couldn’t tell you. It’s a brilliant song off of a brilliant album, all of Jackson’s problems aside. It gets added bonus points for including Vincent Price for the narration over the song, which works perfectly. The song itself is outshined by the fantastic and elaborate music video that includes dancing zombies, fantastic coordination, and a memorable performance from the late singer. The song is widely acknowledged as one of the singer’s greatest.
Rounding out the list, “The Gonk”, a bit of stock music that was included in the movie Dawn of the Dead, as well as several other places: Shaun of the Dead and Robot Chicken.