an australian girl living in new york writing about music, fashion and life in general.

if life was a movie and death was the ending…

Posted by livefastpartyhard on 01/14/2010

Maybe the cold weather brings out the morbid side of me, or maybe I was in a melancholy mood, but today for some reason I started thinking about songs that would be good to play at funerals. Then that train of thought brought out the narcissist in me and I began thinking about the songs that would play  if my life were a movie. In particular, what songs would play at the funeral/the ending/as the credits were rolling.

A quick search on google reinforced what I already thought would be true – people play really bad music at funerals. According to Creative Funeral Ideas the most popular songs played at funerals in North America right now consist of:

  1. Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On
  2. Robbie Williams – Angels
  3. Bette Midler – Wind Beneath My Wings
  4. Elton John – Candle in the Wind
  5. The Righteous Brothers – Unchained Melody
  6. Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water
  7. Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bocelli – Time to Say Good-bye

These songs would be fine if it was a funeral for someone born circa 1970 or before, or even for someone that is a fan of those late night radio shows where a presenter with a super husky voice takes love song dedications but for your average teenager or 20-something hipster, Celine Dion belting out a ballad ode to a sinking ship is just not going to cut it. And for the soundtrack of my life, I definitely don’t want a 90’s power ballad closing the show.

So what follows is my carefully thought out list of songs that would be good to play at a the aforementioned ending, definitely no Celine Dion or Bette Midler allowed.

Imogen HeapSpeeding Cars: I’m pretty sure the first time I heard this song was when it was used in the television show ‘The OC’. It may have even been used for Marissa’s death scene, don’t quote me on that one though. The slow piano chords and the brooding lyrics are enough to bring tears to anyone’s eyes. It also references angels and love, and the chorus repeatedly says “bye bye baby….none of us were angels and you know I love you yet”.

Brand NewPlay Crack the Sky: Jesse Lacey’s voice in this song is so raw and emotion-filled that I think from the first time I heard it I knew it would be the perfect funeral song. It always reminds me of that movie ‘The Perfect Storm’ that had George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg in it where they were fishermen and died when their boat got capsized by a huge wave but I think that’s probably because Lacey uses a boat metaphor the entire song. The lyric “I wish for one more day to give my love and repay debts” reminds us that life can come to an end very suddenly and unexpectedly.

Jeff BuckleyHallelujah: I was actually pretty surprised the results I googled didn’t bring up some version of Halelujah. I thought that the K. D. Lang version would be up there with the Dions and the Midlers, but it wasn’t. I think this song is the closest I would go to cliched because it’s a beautiful song and a classic, so why not include it in this list?

LCD SoundsystemSomeone Great: The first couple of times I heard this song the lyrics really stuck with me, I thought they sounded sad but I liked the way it was juxtaposed with the seemingly happy dance beat. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that it came on the radio and the DJ mentioned that the singer actually wrote it about someone they knew that died.

Rise AgainstSwing Life Away: I can actually picture Tim McIlrath sitting on his porch with an acoustic guitar singing this song. Its a jaded stripped-back song that has lyrics that ring true to any person that has grown-up a music-lover.

Jimmy Eat WorldHear You Me: This song reminds me of forgotten promises and words left unsaid. The soft guitars and distorted piano keys build on each other to a musical climax with sweet melodies that guarantee not a dry eye in the house.

Honorable Mentions:

Straylight Run – Existentialism On Prom Night

Bloc Party – SRXT

Death Cab for Cutie – I Will Follow You Into the Dark


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