The topic of death is a complex and universal human experience that has been explored through various forms of art, including music.
Death is a topic that is often explored in various cultures and religions, and songs about death can serve as a way of connecting with and understanding these different perspectives.
Listening to songs about death can provide a sense of emotional release and catharsis. The lyrics and music can help people express and process their feelings of grief, loss, or sadness, which can be helpful in coping with these difficult emotions.
Here, in this article we bring you some songs about death which provide a space for emotional release, reflection, connection, and artistic appreciation.
1. Billy Boyd – “The Last Goodbye”
“The Last Goodbye” is a song written and performed by Scottish actor and musician Billy Boyd for the end credits of the 2014 film “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” The song has themes of farewell, departure, and the bittersweet nature of saying goodbye. It speaks to the emotional impact of endings and how even the best of friendships and adventures must come to a close.
The lyrics of the song include lines such as “The road is long, we carry on, try to have fun in the meantime,” which speak to the idea of enjoying the journey even as it comes to an end. The song is also notable for its use of a choir in the background, which gives it a sense of grandeur and emotion.
2. Green Day – “Wake Me Up When September Ends”
“Wake Me Up When September Ends” is a song by American rock band Green Day, released in 2005 on their album “American Idiot.” The song is a deeply personal one for Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, who wrote it about the death of his father from cancer when Armstrong was a child.
The lyrics of the song deal with the theme of grief and loss, with lines such as “Summer has come and passed, the innocent can never last” and “Like my father’s come to pass, seven years has gone so fast.” The chorus repeats the line “Wake me up when September ends,” which is a metaphor for wanting to skip over the painful memories and emotions associated with September, the month in which Armstrong’s father died.
3. David Bowie – “Lazarus”
“Lazarus” is a song by British musician David Bowie, released in 2016 on his album “Blackstar.” The song was one of the last recordings Bowie made before his death in January of that year, and has taken on added significance as a result.
The lyrics of the song deal with themes of mortality and the inevitability of death, with lines such as “Look up here, I’m in heaven, I’ve got scars that can’t be seen” and “This way or no way, you know, I’ll be free.” The song’s title references the biblical story of Lazarus, who is raised from the dead by Jesus, and the lyrics suggest a sense of acceptance and even liberation in the face of death.
4. Kovacs – “The Devil You Know”
“The Devil You Know” is a song by Dutch singer Kovacs, released in 2018 on her album “Cheap Smell.” The song is a dark and brooding exploration of themes of temptation, desire, and the darker side of human nature.
The lyrics of the song deal with the idea of the devil as a metaphor for the temptations and desires that can lead us astray, with lines such as “You play with fire, you’ll get burned” and “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.” The song’s chorus repeats the line “I’m in love with the devil you know,” suggesting a sense of fatalism and resignation in the face of these dark impulses.
5. Cat Power – “I’ll Be Seeing You”
“I’ll Be Seeing You” is a song originally written in 1938 by composer Sammy Fain and lyricist Irving Kahal. The song has been recorded by many artists over the years, including Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, and Bing Crosby.
Cat Power, the stage name of American singer-songwriter Chan Marshall, recorded a version of “I’ll Be Seeing You” for her 2008 album, “Jukebox.” Cat Power’s version of the song is a stripped-down, intimate interpretation that features her unique vocals and sparse instrumentation, consisting of just piano and strings.
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6. Christina Aguilera – “Hurt”
“Hurt” is a song by American singer Christina Aguilera, released as the second single from her fifth studio album, “Back to Basics,” in 2006. The song was written by Aguilera, Linda Perry, and Mark Ronson, and produced by Perry.
The song is a powerful ballad that showcases Aguilera’s vocal range and emotional depth. It features lyrics about the pain of losing someone you love and the regret that comes with not cherishing them enough while they were still alive.
7. Simple Plan – “Gone Too Soon”
“Gone Too Soon” is a song by Canadian rock band Simple Plan, released on their third studio album, “Simple Plan,” in 2008. The song was written by the band members and co-produced by Dave Fortman and Danja.
The song is a tribute to young people who have passed away too soon, whether due to illness, accidents, or other tragic circumstances. The lyrics express sadness and regret at the loss of these individuals and the hope that they are in a better place now.
8. The Kills – “Doing it to Death”
“Doing it to Death” is a song by the indie rock band The Kills, released as the lead single from their fifth studio album, “Ash & Ice,” in 2016. The song was written by band members Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince and produced by John O’Mahony and the band.
The song features a groovy, danceable beat with Mosshart’s sultry vocals and Hince’s catchy guitar riffs. The lyrics speak to the thrill and danger of living on the edge and taking risks, even if it means risking everything.
9. The Black Keys – “Dead and Gone”
“Dead and Gone” is a song by American rock band The Black Keys, released on their seventh studio album, “El Camino,” in 2011. The song was written by the band members, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, and produced by Danger Mouse.
The song features a driving, bluesy rock sound with Auerbach’s distinctive vocals and Carney’s heavy drumming. The lyrics speak to the pain and heartache of a failing relationship, with the narrator feeling trapped and suffocated by their partner’s controlling behavior.
10. Bob Dylan – “In My Time of Dyin”
“In My Time of Dying” is a traditional gospel blues song that has been covered by numerous artists, including Bob Dylan. Dylan’s version of the song appears on his debut, self-titled album, released in 1962.
The song features Dylan’s signature acoustic guitar and harmonica playing, with his raw, emotive vocals delivering the poignant lyrics. The song speaks to the inevitability of death and the hope that one’s soul will be saved in the afterlife.
Songs about death are a common theme in music, as artists use their craft to explore the complexities of mortality and the emotions that come with loss. Given above songs can be powerful expressions of grief, hope, and the human experience.