Early on in this current moment of madness, when the realization of just how bad things were going to get was starting to settle in, Kim Kardashian shared a screenshot of a page from celebrity psychic Sylvia Browne's 2008 book End Of Days. Stating that "a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe" in or around 2020, this excerpt from Browne's book, for many, eerily read like a prediction of some catastrophic non-natural phenomenon. Kim herself simply wrote, "Kourtney just sent this to our group chat."
Whether or not you believe in the existence or validity of premonitions or clairvoyance, it's difficult to shake off the air that we're living through something of biblical proportions. Is this the end times? A reckoning humans brought upon ourselves by not taking care of the Earth? The first of many super-viruses to come? It surely feels more like apocalypse than the previously foretold disasters like Y2K and heavily mocked 2012 which, when it came down to it, nothing happened at all. Logically, of course, it's more likely that coronavirus will just be a blip in the grand schematic timeline. But who really cares about logic right now. Dark times calls for dark comforts, and what's more comforting than music that wallows deep in humanity's inevitable demise?
Luckily, musing about apocalypse has long been a favorite theme of musicians throughout history — from earnest, melancholy goodbyes to the world, to dance floor-ready pop anthems about going to the ends of the world for the one you love. Thankfully, they all feel appropriate now, and NYLON has collected the best ones, below.
Britney Spears ft. Kesha & Nicki Minaj, "Till The World Ends" (Remix)
"See the sunlight, we ain't stoppin'/ Keep on dancin' till the world ends"
A good song to play for a virtual dance party.
Bright Eyes, "No One Would Riot For Less"
"So love me now/ Hell is coming/ Kiss my mouth/ Hell is here"
For the more melodramatic moments, there's Bright Eyes.
Rilo Kiley, "Pictures Of Success"
"Staying home can't be that bad for me/ 'Cause I'm not scared/ But I'd like some extra spare time"
An anthem for every Virgo out there staying industrious during lockdown.
Weyes Blood, "Wild Time"
"Don't cry, it's a wild time to be alive"
Weyes Blood didn't know it at the time, but she was writing a guide for loving in the time of coronavirus.
Lana Del Rey, "When The World Was At War We Kept Dancing"
"Is it the end of an era?/ Is it the end of America?"
If Lana Del Rey instructs us to dance, then we shall dance.
Lil Uzi Vert, "XO Tour Life3"
"She said baby I am not afraid to, die/ Push me to the edge/ All my friends are dead"
Lil Uzi Vert's not the first to explore existential dread, but his is arguably the catchiest.
Lady Gaga, "The Edge Of Glory"
"Another shot before we kiss the other side/ Tonight, yeah baby, tonight, yeah baby/ I'm on the edge of something final we call life tonight"
And that's all she wrote.
Beyoncé, "End Of Time"
"I will be the one to kiss you at night/ I will love you until the end of time"
A classic bop that deserves to be played until the end of time.
Jack's Mannequin, "Hey Hey Hey (We're All Gonna Die)"
"Where I'll be tomorrow 'cause God only knows/ It seems there's a science in hand"
The optimistic side here is that science will actually help the current situation.
Fall Out Boy, "Get Busy Living Or Get Busy Dying (Do Your Part To Save The Scene And Stop Going To Shows)
"But we never stood a chance/ And I'm not sure if it matters"
You're obligated to say this entire title out loud if you know someone still going out.
Rihanna, "Only Girl (In The World)"
"Want you to make me feel/ Like I'm the only girl in the world"
A song for if we ever enter into an I Am Legend scenario.
Porter Robinson, "Goodbye To A World"
"Thank you, I'll say goodbye soon/ Though its the end of the world/ Don't blame yourself now"
As this A.I. said to a human on this Porter Robinson masterpiece, if it all ends at least we tried our best.