Zombie-mania is running as fast and wild as the super-charged infected that ate (almost) everyone in "28 Days Later." Brad Pitt's "World War Z" is rampaging through global box offices while the PS3 zombie apocalypse game "The Last Of Us" is getting some of the best reviews since, well, last year's "The Walking Dead" game, which was based on the 10-year-old zombie comic that also inspired the hit TV show.
You'd basically have to hide out having pointless arguments at a farm in the middle of nowhere for an entire infuriating television season to avoid the pop-cultural undead these days. And that includes not listening to music because zombies have somehow lurched their way in there, too.
So in honor of all of this horrific hoopla, we've compiled a list of the best -- or, at the very least, most disturbing -- songs about zombies. Read on...we dare you!
Dead Man's Bones "My Body's a Zombie For You"
While none of the tracks on Dead Man's Bones' self-titled album can match the smooth swooniness of the Ryan Gosling "Hey Girl" meme, there's still something oddly charming about the collection of monster love songs that Gosling wrote and recorded with his musical partner, Zach Shields. The most adorably creepy of the bunch is "My Body's a Zombie For You," a tale of lurching devotion that comes complete with an "I'm a Z-O-M-B-I-E. Zombie!" chant-along by the Silverlake Conservatory Children's Choir.
The Cranberries "Zombie"
Fictional horror creatures can't compare to the real life monsters that The Cranberries are singing about in this 1994 hit. Infuriated by the IRA bombings of Warrington, England that took the lives of two children in 1993, singer and songwriter Dolores O'Riordan penned this protest song about The Troubles in Northern Ireland. The titular creature here isn't a pile of reanimated and rotting flesh intent on eating your brains, but a human being who is mindlessly controlled by hatred -- which is just as, if not more, disturbing.
Fela Kuti "Zombie"
Long before The Cranberries hit it big with their anti-conflict hit of the same name in the '90s, afrobeat icon and political provocateur Fela Kuti was already exploring similar zombie-as-thoughtless-killing-machine ground. In Kuti's case, the zombies in question were the soldiers of the Nigerian military. His song and album of the same name became an immediate success among the Nigerian people when released in 1977, but it also made him a target of the Nigerian government. Enraged by the criticism, the government sent the very "zombies" that Kuti had criticized to attack his people, injuring the singer and killing his mother in the process.
Tom Petty "Zombie Zoo"
Free-falling rock balladeer Tom Petty compares aimless, thrill-seeking freaks to the undead in this track from his 1989 album Full Moon Fever. Not only does he take white lipstick wearers, lunch pail purse owners, and dropouts to task for being easily led and having no goals or ambitions beyond their desires to dance at the Zombie Zoo, he also goes so far as to burn one with the line "you look like Boris Karloff and you don't even care." Apparently Petty doesn't even care that Frankenstein's monster, whom Karloff played in the classic '30s flicks, isn't actually considered a zombie.
Sufjan Stevens "They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back from the Dead!! Ahhhh!"
Only multiple exclamation points can express Sufjan Stevens' horror in this loquaciously-titled ditty about the looming specter of obsolescence from 2005's Illinois. Invoking the names of dead historical figures from Ulysses S. Grant to Ronald Reagan and referencing the ghost communities that exist in the state of Illinois, the lo-fi singing and songwriting hug magnet delivers a tune every bit as haunting as the punctuation in its name is excitable.
Jonathan Coulton "Re: Your Brains"
Internet famous singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton makes some very good points in this wry novelty hit. Singing as Bob, a new zombie trying to convince his old coworker, Tom, to give in and join the undead (or, at the very least, feed himself to them), Coulton points out that Tom and everyone else is going to die screaming, anyway, and that spending your whole life in a mall, Dawn of the Dead-style, is a really crappy plan. Besides, he argues: "All we want is to eat your brains/ We're not unreasonable/ I mean, no one's gonna eat your eyes."
Harry Belafonte "Zombie Jamboree"
You won't find any Walking Dead-style misery or nihilism in this calypso number written by Conrad Eugene Mauge Jr. and popularized by the likes of Harry Belafonte, The Kingston Trio, and Carmen Sandiego-seeking acapella group Rockapella. In this perky little number, the living dead are having a grand old time, singing, dancing and drinking rum in a New York cemetery. "I don't give a damn," the narrator reasons. "I done dead already."
Rob Zombie "Living Dead Girl"
Despite taking his stage name from the undead creatures in question, musician and filmmaker Rob Zombie doesn't actually spend that much time singing about zombies. He seems to spread his love equally among all '70s horror film creatures and cliches, penning tunes about muscle cars, monsters, witches and death. There are a few zombie-specific songs in his oeuvre, though, with the most famous of the bunch being 1998's "Living Dead Girl." Named after French horror filmmaker's 1982 film, La Morte Vivante, the song samples music from the trailer for a Wes Craven film and references a character played for horror icon Vincent Price. The video for the tune was based on the famous expressionist silent film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which isn't actually about zombies but is awfully creepy nonetheless.
Insane Clown Posse "Zombie Slide"
Insane Clown Posse's contribution to the zombie song canon is basically a "Zombie Jamboree" for semi-literates who have probation officers. The gist of the number is that you shouldn't be sad when the narrator dies, because he's going to have a crazy undead party that will include "pop locking" in the casket, "crumpin at a murderous pace," and "fucking up air guitar," all while the police try to shoot and him and his left eyeball hangs out of his face.
Buck 65 "Zombie Delight"
If we ever do face a real-life zombie apocalypse, old-timey storytellin' rapper Buck 65's living dead song is the one that we should turn to. Eschewing any drama, self-pity, or grandstanding, Buck prefers to take a practical approach to the undead, filling his song with a plethora of useful facts. Among other things, he points out that "they'll try to bite your body, but don't let 'em," "zombies have the tendency to mobilize in large groups," and "don't try to reason with them -- zombies are irrational." He also reminds us that they're excellent dancers, which is something pop culture really hasn't addressed since the "Thriller" video.
Michael Jackson "Thriller"
The song itself is really more about spooks and spooky films in general, touching on horror tropes like lurking evil, grabbing hands, monsters and such, but the video's famous zombie dance break earns MJ an honorary nod here. And Vincent Price does mention that "grizzly ghouls from every tomb are closing in to seal your doom" in his spoken word part, so it's not like zombies go completely unrepresented in the text
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