Recently a friend told me a funny story about a death in the family. The laughter felt just a tiny bit wrong, but it was exactly right.
AV Club wrote an interesting but silly piece about the top 26 inappropriate songs to play at a funeral, called Don’t Taunt the Reaper. In the spirit of the funny funeral story, I have given this topic some amount of thought. But before we get to my nominees, here’s the best of theirs:
I love #2, Ween‘s Push Th’ Little Daisies. That infectious glue-sniffin’ song gets in your head so bad it makes you want to die. And Queen‘s Another One Bites the Dust is freakin’ classic, of course, as is the Blue Oyster Cult tune to which the article’s title refers. I’m also on board with I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight, if we’re attempting the truly tasteless. From the comments section, I like the option of Dress Sexy at My Funeral by Smog.
AV Club also listed a Pixies song, Cactus, and an Eels song, Last Stop: This Town, but I decree they’re the wrong songs from those bands.
My top choice is the Eels‘ It’s a Motherfucker (Being Here Without You). The rest of the lyrics aren’t particularly compelling, but that line and the sound of the song (listen to part of it here) make perfect wake music. Maybe too perfect for the AV Club’s list of inappropriate songs, actually. [To be filed under random awesome quote, E says, “I’m not trying to fuck anyone’s mother here. Let’s just establish that right now.”]
“And the bastard you hated the most / Will stand up and give you a toast / He’ll say We were such good friends especially near the end / Then he’ll feel up your girlfriend in front of your ghost.”
The Pixies are an obvious choice. Dead, In Heaven, Wave of Mutilation, Into the White, Monkey Gone to Heaven, Ed is Dead … and there are many that don’t quite make the list like I Bleed or There Goes My Gun … but I have to go with Ed is Dead for the lyrics and mood, combining to be an inappropriate yet apt funeral song. The problem is that any Pixies song (see Dead) that’s about death could just as much be about sex. Or maybe that’s not a problem at all. The Pixies are good like that.
And last but not least, Modest Mouse. They sing about death quite often, with a proper fierceness, insisting that we remember “we are our own damn coffins.” That line is from Satin in a Coffin. Great titles, but not really great lyrics for a funeral, include Bury Me With It or Black Cadillacs. But perhaps the greatest MM song for this project is Parting of the Sensory. Check the lyrics: “Dehydrate back into minerals” and “Some day you will die and Somehow something’s gonna steal your carbon.” And when you listen to the song, wait for the end when it’s swirling you down the drain in manic round after round of intensity.
What are your suggestions? I’m excited to improve this list!