50 Songs About the End of the World & The Apocalypse

Foundations of Music

50 Songs About the End of the World & The Apocalypse

This collection of apocalyptic songs will appeal to anyone who is morbidly fascinated by the concept of a dystopian future, concerned about the impact of climate change, or just going through a really intense breakup.

I. Pop songs about the apocalypse

Pop music somehow manages to sugarcoat the darkest of subjects, including the end of the world. So, if you’re looking for some more upbeat songs to listen to during the apocalypse, this genre has got you covered.

1) New Reality

Artist: Klaxons
Album: Love Frequency
Year: 2014
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This song has a decidedly futuristic quality to it. According to one of the band members, it represents the changes that will come about in the lives of human beings after the world has ended.

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2) Critical (feat. Tim Williams)

Artist: Travie McCoy
Album: Lazarus
Year: 2010
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3) 4 Minutes (feat. Justin Timberlake & Timbaland)

Artist: Madonna
Album: Celebration
Year: 2009
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If you only had four minutes left to spend on Earth, how would you spend it? It’s not hard to guess what these guys and girls would get up to when it’s their last minutes on Earth.

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4) The End of the World

Artist: Lenka
Album: Two
Year: 2016
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This song is the definition of sugarcoating the apocalypse. It describes two lovers who are utterly oblivious to the destruction that’s taking place around them.

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5) Song for a Future Generation

Artist: The B-52’s
Album: Time Capsule
Year: 1998
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II. Old songs about the end of the world

People usually have differing opinions about classifying things like “old,” but we figure that half a century is long enough for these classics.

1) Bad Moon Rising

Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Album: Green River
Year: 1969
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It might be hard to fathom that such an upbeat track has anything to do with the end of the world, but listening closely to the lyrics might just change your mind.

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2) Wooden Ships (2005 Remaster)

Artist: Crosby, Stills & Nash
Album: Crosby, Stills & Nash
Year: 1969
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This song is about the survivors of a nuclear war. Given the fact it was written during the Cold War, it might not have seemed like a far-off reality to some people at the time.

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3) The End

Artist: The Beatles
Album: Abbey Road (Remastered)
Year: 1969
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4) Talkin’ World War III Blues

Artist: Bob Dylan
Album: The FreeWheelin’ Bob Dylan
Year: 1963
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This satirical number by Bob Dylan essentially ridicules the fears that many people had at the time about the possibility of a third World War.

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5) The End

Artist: The Doors
Album: The Doors
Year: 1967
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III. Modern apocalyptic songs

These Apocalyptic songs are from the last few decades, but mostly the 2000’s.

1) 1999

Artist: Prince
Album: 1999 (2019 Remaster)
Year: 1982
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This classic dance track from the 1980s was intended to encourage people to enjoy life and keep on celebrating despite all of the doomsday predictions that were going around.

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2) 30000 Megatons

Artist: Pond
Album: The Weather
Year: 2017
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3) Abattoir Blues

Artist: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Album: Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus
Year: 2004
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4) Acts of Man

Artist: Midlake
Album: The Courage of Others
Year: 2010
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“Acts of Man” has to do with the destruction that humankind wreaks upon itself.

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5) Ashes of Eden

Artist: Breaking Benjamin
Album: Dark Before Dawn
Year: 2015
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One interpretation of this lovelorn ballad is that it represents a sci-fi version of the Creation story of Adam and Eve.

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IV. Post-apocalyptic songs

These songs paint a picture of a world that has already met its end.

1) Safe & Sound (feat. Civil Wars)

Artist: Taylor Swift
Album: The Hunger Games (Songs from District 12 & Beyond)
Year: 2012
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Taylor Swift performed this song to film a series of books set in a dystopian future.

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2) Dancin’ In the Ruins

Artist: Blue Öyster Cult
Album: Club Ninja
Year: 1986
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3) Atlas

Artist: Coldplay
Album: Hunger Games: Catching Fire [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]
Year: 2013
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4) Radioactive

Artist: Imagine Dragons
Album: Night Visions
Year: 2012
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5) Robots

Artist: Flight of the Conchords
Album: Flight of the Conchords
Year: 2008
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The lyrics to this song border on the ridiculous, but it also provides some much-needed comedic relief in a list of songs that represent a lot of death and destruction.

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V. Sad songs about the end of the world

These songs are for when you feel the world is crumbling around you and you just want to be alone with your thoughts.

1) The End of The World

Artist: Rob Dickinson
Album: Fresh Wine for the Horses
Year: 2005
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2) If the World Was Ending (feat. Julia Michaels)

Artist: JP Saxe
Album: If the World Was Ending – Single
Year: 2019
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There’s no better time to reflect on a failed relationship than during the end of the world.

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3) No One Won the War

Artist: Matt Maltese
Album: No One Won the War – Single
Year: 2017
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4) Runaway

Artist: The National
Album: High Violet
Year: 2010
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5) No Hard Feelings

Artist: The Avett Brothers
Album: True Sadness
Year: 2016
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While this song is not necessarily about the apocalypse, it does bring across an important message: live your life to the fullest while you still can – no regrets.

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VI. Love songs about the end of the world

The world may be falling apart around them, but the lovers in these songs are only focused on one thing: each other.

1) As the World Caves In

Artist: Matt Maltese
Album: Bad Contestant
Year: 2018
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2) I Melt with You

Artist: Modern English
Album: After the Snow
Year: 1982
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Melting takes on a very literal meaning in this song that’s about a couple making love as the bombs are falling all around them.

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3) Apocalyptic Love

Artist: Slash
Album: Apocalyptic Love (feat. Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators)
Year: 2012
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4) Dancing with Tears In My Eyes

Artist: Ultravox
Album: Lament (2009 Remaster)
Year: 1984
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5) Acid Rain

Artist: Avenged Sevenfold
Album: Hail to the King
Year: 2013
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In this apocalyptic love story, two lovers are cast out into space to escape the planetary collision that is about to occur on Earth.

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VII. Country songs about the end of the world

While the country music genre is not particularly known for representing the end of the world, it does tend to produce songs that focus on the resilience of the human spirit. This quality would come in handy during the apocalypse.

1) Best of Times

Artist: Sheryl Crow
Album: Feels Like Home
Year: 2013
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2) End of Time

Artist: The Band Perry
Album: Pioneer
Year: 2013
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3) If Tomorrow Never Comes (feat. Garth Brooks)

Artist: Kent Blazy
Album: Have Guitar – Will Travel
Year: 2006
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This country hit may not be about the end of the world, but it is about making sure that your loved ones know how much you care about them if something happens to you.

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4) The Man Comes Around

Artist: Johnny Cash
Album: American IV: The Man Comes Around
Year: 2002
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Johnny Cash composed the lyrics to this song by quoting mainly from the book of Revelation. Still, he also makes many other references to other well-known passages in the Bible that depict the second coming of Christ.

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5) Blaze of Glory

Artist: Kenny Rogers
Album: Share Your Love
Year: 1981
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VIII. Rap/Hip-hop songs about the end of the world

Apocalyptic themes do not appear to be hugely prevalent in rap/hip-hop music, as these two genres are typically more focused on representing themes of social injustice, substance abuse, and materialism, to name but a few.

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Artist: Kendrick Lamar
Album: untitled unmastered
Year: 2016
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2) Handlebars

Artist: Flobots
Album: Fight with Tools
Year: 2008
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This song chronicles the life of a dictator. It fits into this playlist because dictators rarely care about the well-being of every person on Earth; there are usually some groups that end up oppressed. When this happens, it means the end of the world for those people.

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3) Judgement Day

Artist: Method Man
Album: Tocal 2000: Judgement Day
Year: 1998
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4) Turn It Up/Fire It Up (Remix)

Artist: Busta Rhymes
Album: The Best of Busta Rhymes
Year: 2001
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5) Practice Lookin’ Hard

Artist: E-40
Album: The Mail Man (Original Master Peace)
Year: 1993
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IX. Metal songs about the end of the world

Metal music has always been obsessed with themes of death and destruction, so it may come as no surprise that songs about the end of the world are common in this genre.

1) 777

Artist: Danzig
Album: Danzig II: Lucifuge
Year: 1990
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2) Asteroid

Artist: The Devil Wears Prada
Album: Space – EP
Year: 2015
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There is no hope for the inhabitants of Earth in this doomsday track about an asteroid plummeting towards the planet.

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3) Babylon’s Burning

Artist: W.A.S.P.
Album: Babylon
Year: 2009
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4) Beyond Oblivion

Artist: Trivium
Album: The Sin and the Sentence
Year: 2017
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This song compares the rise of artificial technology to the atomic bomb. Basically, it describes how these technological “creations” have led to the demise of humankind.

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5) Fight Fire with Fire

Artist: Metallica
Album: Ride the Lightning (Remastered)
Year: 1984
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X. Songs with the words end of the world in the lyrics

These are some more songs you can add to your playlist for the end of the world.

1) 2012 (It Ain’t the End) [feat. Nicki Minaj]

Artist: Jay Sean
Album: 2012 (It Ain’t the End) – Single
Year: 2010
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“2012” is a feel-good jam that mirrors Prince’s “1999”.

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2) Until the Night Turns

Artist: Lord Huron
Album: Strange Trails
Year: 2015
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3) The End of the World

Artist: Skeeter Davis
Album: The End of the World
Year: 1972
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Sometimes the end of a relationship feels like the end of the world. At least, this is how the woman in this country hit from the 70s describes it.

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4) It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

Artist: R.E.M.
Album: Document
Year: 1987
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5) Apocalypse Please

Artist: Muse
Album: Absolution
Year: 2003
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