Skip to main content

jack-ashworth
21st November 2016

Top 5: Songs About Death

With the death of Leonard Cohen, Jack Ashworth shows us the songs that have looked at the passage into ‘that great gig in the sky’ with more nuance
Categories:
TLDR

5) ‘Together Again’ – Janet Jackson

Ms. Jackson’s beautiful homage to a friend who had succumbed to AIDS was an instant hit – celebrating the possibility of reuniting in the after-life. The disco-laced anthem struck a chord with fans, and is a testament to the indestructability of love.

4) ‘Box of Rain’ – The Grateful Dead

A favourite amongst ‘Deadheads’, Bassist Phil Lesh’s tender lament to his dying father explores grief and loss in all its sincerity. A philosophical exploration of death, ‘Box of Rain’ packs a punch with its hauntingly poignant lyrics and its melancholy instrumentals.

3) ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’ – Blue Oyster Cult

Rock giants Blue Oyster Cult’s instantly recognizable classic refutes the fear and inevitability  of death as being meaningless when juxtaposed with the possibility of eternal love in the afterlife – when Buck Dharma sings “40,000 men win every day”, it’s hard not to see death as something transient.

2) ‘Do You Realize??” – The Flaming Lips

As much a celebration of life as it is homage to death – Wayne Coyne’s hauntingly beautiful ‘Do You Realize??’ deals with the finality of death, whilst also imploring the listener to celebrate life in all its multi-faceted beauty.

1) ‘Lazarus’ – David Bowie

No list on death would be complete without Bowie’s heart-wrenching self-epitaph. Contemplating his impending demise, Bowie explores death succinctly and irreverently – in a way only the brains behind some of Rock’s greatest tracks can. When he sings ‘Oh I’ll be free, Just like that bluebird/Oh I’ll be free, Ain’t that just like me’ it’s hard not to feel a little comfortable about our own mortality.


More Coverage

Adrianne Lenker live in Manchester: Beauty in simplicity from a generational talent

Big Thief frontperson Adrianne Lenker brought her solo show to Castlefield’s Aviva Studios, gifting the audience simple snippets of grace and serenity

Bleachers live in Manchester: Fan-centric show from the studio to the stage

The Jack Antonoff-fronted six-piece, Bleachers, break the fourth wall at their Manchester O2 Ritz show equipped with theatric production but packed with earnest, artist to audience interactions

The Pleasure Dome present ‘Liminal Space’: A surprisingly varied punk rock powerhouse

Bristolian rockers The Pleasure Dome return with their newest EP ‘Liminal Space’ to demonstrate their musical versatility

bar italia live in Manchester: An embrace from ‘Tracey Denim’ and ‘The Twits’

bar italia gets the crowd ‘punkt’ with a fruitful return at Manchester’s Band on the Wall, sustaining their reputability after two successful albums