In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week, in honor of all the horrors, we’re picking our favorite songs about death.
I have a fairly laissez-faire attitude toward death. If it’s going to happen—whether it be to me, to my loved ones, to my enemies, whatever—it’s going to happen, and there’s little to nothing we can do about it. (My opinions aren’t really that popular in my home, in hospitals, or in funeral homes, obviously.) We’re all going to die, so let’s make the most of it before that day actually comes.
It’s for that reason that I think I’ve always been drawn to the bleaker songs about death, the ones that talk about loneliness, inevitability, and the idea of the lack of “something after.” Radiohead’s “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” sits right in that sweet spot, with some Bends-era lyrical doozies from Thom Yorke, including lines about how we’re “all [going] under” as we “fade out again.” And even though Yorke gets dark in “Street Spirit,” singing “I can feel death, can see its beady eyes,” it seems like he might be down with the whole “make hay while the sun shines” vibe I’ve so long embraced. After all, he ends the cut with an emphatic “immerse your soul in love,” a line that might be a little too hippie dippy for me, but that probably gets the point across all the same.