Music is an entirely personal affair. What some people might stow on a pedestal, others might try and bury alive; it's entirely subjective, relevant to our own memories and feelings. We all have favourite artists, tracks and records that we hold close to our hearts: maybe it was a track that soundtracked a first kiss, or maybe a particular LP got you through some tough times. Maybe a certain band reminds you of a simpler time. We've all got opinions on what's the top album of all time, and 99% of the world is just bound to disagree. But that's fine. There are no right answers.

This weekly feature will see the 405 staff contribute their opinions and argue the case for what they think is the best music. It's also a handy way to get some recommendations of music you may not have experienced before - perhaps you'll create some new memories thanks to these delicious noises. It's not just the staff we want to hear from though; we want to know what you think. We'll ask around on Twitter and Facebook for suggestions and whack 'em in for the world to see. There might be a playlist or two as well slotted in for good measure. It's going to be a chunky collaborative periodical where we can all discuss how and why our favourite music is our favourite.

For this week's topic, we decided to ask the staff - and our readers - what they would put on an Apocalyptic Soundtrack.



  • Low

    Low - 'Point of Disgust'

    [2002]

    'Point of Disgust' by Low is the moment you get out of your underground bunker, surface, and see that everything has turned to ash. You find a dog-collar in the ground, and it reads 'Snoopy'. You never had a dog called 'Snoopy', and there's no reason why out of everything around you the only thing to remain intact is a dog collar, but it doesn't matter, you burst into tears anyway.

    This would be my apocalypse song, because I would no doubt spend my post-apocalyptic time going from place to place, breaking down and crying at anything even remotely sad. I'd be an emotional wreck. You know those people who rise to the occasion? They start off as an unlikely hero, then win around their fellow travellers, ending up as the de facto leader of their own bunch of mismatched misfits? Yeah, I wouldn't be that person at all. I'd be the guy sobbing over a scorched copy of Hamlet, and invariably end up starving to death because of it.

    Barnabas Abraham

  •  MOP

    MOP - 'Stand Clear'

    [2001]

    Nothing on this earth is as large as the combination of Mash-Out Posse and Adam Fenton (Sorry... Adam F). If the scientists at the Large Hadron Collider ever manage to successfully fashion a black hole that subsequently threatens to pull the planet and everything on it into some kind of negative, bizarro-universe, with trees ripping out at the root and brick dust choking the atmosphere, only the attempted entry of MOP and Adam F will finally fill that chasm. The sound of stock explosions seemingly pilfered from Busta Rhymes' 'Extinction Level Event' alongside the wild-eyed apocalyptic rantings of Lil' Fame ("Manslaughter / live on a camcorder / I bring the hardcore for soldiers that got war"), unleashed in the basements of D'n'B clubs at the turn of the millennium was enough to convince most listeners that civilisation was ending, culture was finished, and the four horsemen were rocking a crew song. They even did a D'n'B remix, proving finally that the End of Days would be funky too.

    Nicholas Glover

  • Harold Melvin

    Harold Melvin & The Bluetones - 'Don't Leave Me This Way' (Tom Moulton Mix)

    [1979]

    If the world was about to end, be it through the sun being snuffed out like a candle, a big space object that would crush Earth in its path, or nations pressing the big red button, the only real way to face it is with a bit of a dance. Films like The Day After Tomorrow show us people trying to survive which, as we well know, is an exercise in futility. You might as well spend those last moments doing something fun. Though it is a bit shit, that rave scene in The Matrix Reloaded taught us that a boogie and maybe loads of drink and sex is the perfect way to deal with loads of sentient robots coming to destroy human kind. It's going to happen anyway, might as well have a bit of a laugh about it.

    Harold Melvin & The Bluetones' 'Don't Leave Me This Way' is already a belter of a track that almost certainly fills dancefloors and hearts with joy. Tom Moulton took that track, though, and really kicked things up a notch, making a great track into something legendary. Not one second of its 11 minute running time is wasted, and each bit is a joyous as the last. It's anthemic, groovy, arms in the air, feet firmly on the dancefloor sort of stuff. If the world were to end, the only way to go would be in a club full of fantastic people dancing like they just don't care to this.

    Chris Taylor

  • Cloud Nothings

    Cloud Nothings - 'Wasted Days'

    [2012]

    Attack On Memory, the record from which 'Wasted Days' is lifted, will always been an important album for me. A landmark, if you will. Brash, unpredictable and disturbingly vicious, it allowed me to spit some of the teenage angst that still lingered in my throat in a relatively harmless way, and it appeared that Dylan Baldi, chiefly responsible for the band's tortured couplets and venomous delivery, felt something similar. If the majority of the LP brims with scuzzy guitar licks, albeit laced with unashamed pop sensibilities at the core, 'Wasted Days' is a sprawling, erratic interrogation of the band's respective instruments, resulting in a swirling psychedelic soundscape that only relents as Baldi begins to scream himself hoarse. Essentially, it's like being punched in the mouth, repeatedly, for ten minutes. Maybe it'll numb the pain?

    Lee Wakefield

  • Deafheaven

    Deafheaven - Dream House'

    [2013]

    The night sky has turned a violent shade of orange. There are screams and explosions in the near distance. All electricity and means of communication were knocked out hours ago. Running barefoot along the hot concrete past heaps of rubble, fires, bodies, you know the end is coming...soon. Your iPod has one bar of battery left. You stop to desperately scroll through hundreds of now insignificant songs that have sound tracked your life until this point. A grotesque shadow appears over the horizon, moving fast towards you...and then you find it.

    This - raging, wailing 100ft walls of ultra-distorted guitar, tortured vocals and doom-laden drumming at a heart-stopping speed, leading into a post-apocalyptic abyss of retrospect and memorialization. Mankind has abandoned all hope. But at least you went out of this world with one fucking amazing tune ringing in your ears.

    Lyle Bignon

  • Tom Waits

    Tom Waits - 'Dirt In The Ground'

    [1992]

    I really could have picked any song off of Bone Machine, but nothing really encapsulates the visceral horror of Tom Waits' post apocalypse like 'Dirt In The Ground'. This maudlin ballad starts out depressed and only gets worse from there. "What does it matter," wails Waits, "a dream of love or a dream of lies? We're all gonna be the same place when we die." The world Tom Waits imagines for us is one where the apocalypse has already devastated the Earth and is now just grinding down the spirit of those left. This is a world where "Hell's boiling over and Heaven is full" and where crowds gather to watch a killer swing from the gallows and where everyone you ask will tell you quite simply that "we're all gonna be dirt in the ground."

    Robert Whitfield

  • Jacques Brel

    Jacques Brel - 'La Valse à Mille Temps'

    [1959]

    First of all, I've always imagined French as the official language of the apocalypse - like the Olympic Games or Eurovision - so my choice would have to be a French-based. Also, the way I see things happening (the world ending, all on fire, yadda yadda yadda) it's a gradual process, not all of a sudden, so it gives us enough time to panic and even laugh at the whole thing; this rules out all the songs that are too dramatic because hey, we're soundtracking an apocalypse here, not the next epic Hollywood feature. Jacques Brel's 1959 song 'La Valse à Mille Temps' is a parody of chanson itself, of the very essence of the musetta's waltz; it starts with a slow, simple 3/4 tempo that gradually increases until an absolute whirlwind has been created and, before you've even noticed, there's nothing left.

    Ana Leorne

  • Bloc Party

    Bloc Party - 'Compliments'

    [2005]

    Watch this footage documenting a particularly rare occasion in which a precocious Bloc Party play a raw, skeletal version of what would bring their flawless debut to a close. In a quintessentially Okereke matter-of-fact manner, Kele explains "This is a song about hating your job." Having first heard this when I worked in a call-centre , it is clear why this resonated with me. Awash with fatalism, cynicism, lethargy and entropy, 'Compliments' becomes an ironic title for a song that captures the waning sentiments of a po-faced teen. "We sit and we sigh, and nothing gets done" / "torn asunder; nicotine and bacteria." The imagery paints a high definition picture of an adolescent gazing out the window of a run-down flat with a cigarette, suffocated by velleity, disappointed with the world but powerless to change it.

    Thankfully, it doesn't end this way. Following the five minute 'Silent Alarm' an eerie, electronic optimism emerges, a light at the end of the otherwise moribund tunnel, creating the perfect closing to a stunning opus. If that's not the way to experience the apocalypse, I don't know what is.

    Mike Walmsley

  • Brian Eno

    Brian Eno - 'Ascent (An Ending)'

    [1983]

    I imagine the apocalypse in slow motion; almost peaceful. All of the light beings will be teleported to Planet X by the intergalactic council, and the rest of us will see a beautiful sunset as the world explodes into infinite stardust. Thus, the only song to hear at the end would be 'Ascent (An Ending)' by Brian Eno. It is the sound of being born and dying at the same time! Also appropriately titled...

    Louise Burns

  • Mogwai

    Mogwai - 'Like Herod'

    [1997]

    It had to be Mogwai, didn't it? Post-rock is certainly the first genre that springs to mind when the term 'apocalyptic' is used, and the Glaswegians do drama and sheer noise better than just about every one of their contemporaries. Accordingly, there's no shortage of tracks that might've made the cut for this No Right Answers, even if they moved away from that kind of sound on last month's excellent Rave Tapes. 'Like Herod' is the one that struck me as most fitting - it was a tossup between that and fellow Young Team cut 'Mogwai Fear Satan - but there's something about the way that 'Herod' takes loud-quiet dynamics to their extremes that resonates here; the brooding buildup certainly hints that there's something big coming, but even after hundreds of listens, the avalanche of doomy, screeching guitars that crunches in to pierce the suspense still takes the breath away.

    Joe Goggins

  • Godspeed You! Black Emperor

    Godspeed You! Black Emperor - 'The Sad Mafioso...'

    [1997]

    The second someone/thing shoots the firing pistol on the apocalypse, this is what needs to play though emergency PA systems - screw government announcements. If there's one thing that 2012 taught us, it's that our dear leaders will do naff all anyway. Godspeed are the Armageddon's OST (not the film), catering for all eventualities - asteroids, viral pandemic, rapture, zombies, natural disasters... basically, anything from the mind of Roland Emmerich. The Canadian post-rock vets create the most genuinely terrifying piece of dramatic sound here: crammed with maudlin, blood-pumping guitar, with ever-so-gradually accelerating motifs, scraping violins, thunderclap percussion and the faintest vocals, 'The Sad Mafioso...' won't be a beacon of guiding light when the world's ending, but it'll be a perfect moment of audio-visual relations (silver lining, eh?). It kinda makes you wish for the end.

    Larry 'Judgement' Day