There’s a little project I’m working on that may or may not lead to anything, but at this point I’m trying to compile a list of musician’s that include science fictional or fantasy themes in some of their music. I’m not looking for filkers, but will include things like the Pixies use of UFOs in several of their songs. Any help would be appreciated. If you can also give record titles or songs that I could check out, that would be even better.
Prog rock would be your friend, here. Try Yes and Rush for starters. A lot of techno has SFnal themes as well, then you can dive into the Ozric Tentacles and surface somewhere out on Planet Gong.
Never listened to much Yes, but was a big Rush fan as a kid. Don’t remember anything in their lyrics, but it’s been a long time. I’ll have to check. Thanks!
Do you mean songs like “Space Oddity” & “Ashes to Ashes” by David Bowie (and “Major Tom” by Pete Schilling) or Elton John’s “Rocket Man”? Also, there’s “Battle of Evermore” (their homage to Tolkien) by Led Zeppelin, and Lenny Kravitz’ “Fly Away” has a small reference to space travel. I’m sure I can come up with others (once I get home to my iTunes collection, lol).
They definitely fit the bill. Thanks!
Also by Led Zeppelin re Tolkien: “Misty Mountain Hop”
The song “Trophy” by Bat for Lashes (no idea if there’s embedded music in their website, I’m at work so my computer’s on mute) has struck me since I heard it as being a bit fantastical. You can find the lyrics here. (The line with the ?? is “they bought it for oh so much less.”) If you want to listen to it, I can email it over.
I’ll give some thought to whether any other songs in my collection are SFnal.
Thanks. I haven’t heard of them before and will definitely check them out.
And now I’m reminded of a band called Grandaddy whose album The Sophtware Slump involves songs about robots and other SFnal things. Wiki has some info about it. It’s quite fun to write scifi to, I’ve discovered.
Do you have the rest of the album? There’s “Horse and I” which is pure fantasy and “Wizard” which seems to be a song sung from the perspective of an undead army.
With “Sarah,””Bat’s Mouth” and “Seal Jubilee” more than half their songs are fantasy.
I do have the rest of the album, I just have a very spotty memory about its contents. =D
I received “Fur and gold” only a couple weeks ago and totally got a crush on it.
Give me another month and I won’t sound so obsessed.
Happy Rhodes has many SFnal songs, including one about Bladerunner/Do Androids Dream Electric Sheep;
Louisa John-Krol writes about fantasy things–retold myths, etc.
Yay! More stuff I’ve never heard of. Thanks!
It’s been a long time since high school, but my buddy’s favorite band, Iron Maiden, did a direct homage to Dune called something like “Kwisach Hadarach” It was an amazingly shitty song, even by Iron Maiden’s standards.
Blue Oyster Cult (same buddy) had songs like “Veteran of the Psychic Wars” and “Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.” They were not as shitty as Iron Maiden, but then, what is?
🙂 Never was a Iron Maiden fan. Didn’t John Shirley write some songs for Blue Oyster Cult?
Maiden has done a bunch of songs based on SF themes. Their Somewhere in Tme album is full of them. Even taking on Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein
They also pull a lot from literary influences. Mostly horror and classic but a few SF stuff. I’ll go over my album list to see what they have. And I’ll check on the thrash metal/metal side of things.
Are they still recording and if so, are they still using SFnal themes?
Yeah they are still at it. Last album was last year or the year before. Supposedly they are in the studio now.
The album Brave New World (their newest) has some SF themes I believe. I’ll check when I get home.
I hadn’t heard of that.
That happened after I… er, I mean, my buddy lost interest in their music.
(Kidding. I was a sorta-fan because he was a big fan. That was how it had to be back then.)
Another addition: “Salsbury Hill” by Peter Gabriel.
hawkwing and blue oyster cult both had some lyrics by michael moorcock about the eternal champion.
Huh, sounds like BOC made a somewhat regular thing of getting lyrics from authors.
The Byrds did a song called something like, “Hey, Mr. Spaceman” that’s addressed to an alien.
Oh yeah, forgot that one. Thanks!
death to filk. srsly.
Ash–“Girl from Mars”
Daniel Johnston–“Devil Town”
Spiritualized–“Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space” (OK, I can’t make out the vocals on this one so I don’t know if it’s ABOUT floating in space, but it definitely has a dreamy, outer-space sound to it.)
Okkervil River–“The Velocity of Saul at the Time of His Conversion” (there’s just one line, “and when the spacecraft came down/we were left on the ground,” but I think it fits)
Mountain Goats–“Last Man on Earth” (not yet released, there are bootlegs)
I can yousendit some of this stuff to you if you want me to. Plus if you’re just looking for plain old CREEPY, Jandek’s your man.
Re: death to filk. srsly.
Thanks! Jandek? Don’t know who that is, but I’ll look all of these up.
Re: death to filk. srsly.
There’s a great documentary about Jandek’s life, Jandek on Corwood, if you find him interesting.
As for music – several tracks on the Flaming Lips albums Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and The Soft Bulletin fit the bill.
If you consider post-apocalpytic/dystopian themes sf-nal, you got your NIN and Marilyn Mason. Don’t know if you want them, but you got them. If you’re open to fantasy themes with a religious or folkloric overtone, a lot of country and blues fits your bill, from Robert Johnson’s “Me and the Devil Blues” on down.
Re: death to filk. srsly.
Post-apocalyptic and dystopian themes definitely fit. Thanks!
Re: death to filk. srsly.
And I nearly forgot:
“Science vs. Romance” by Rilo Kiley
“Heimalsgate Like a Promethean Curse” by Of Montreal (psychopharmacology)
Also a whole lot of Freezepop songs although that’s more video game geekery than SF geekery.
Queen : ’39” It’s about time-travel. Also, again Queen: “Machines or Back to Humans,” which is a brilliant song about computers making humans obsolete.
You can find ’39’ on “A Night at the Opera” and “Machines, or Back to Humans,’ can be found on “The Works.”
You’re very welcome. I love songs like this, too. If I come up with anymore, I’ll be sure to let you know. *grin*
Also, “Dancing, with Tears in my Eyes,” Ultravox. It’s about nuclear war. “Cities in Dust,” Siouxsie and the Banshees…though it’s written about Pompeii, it could easily be about nuclear war.
BTW…”Little Conversations,” by Caitlin R. Kiernan, was one of the most interesting stories I’ve ever read, as well as her “The Ape’s Wife.” Thank you for publishing them.
Have those Ultravox and Siouxsie CDs in my collection. There is actually a lot from that time period that fits.
Only updated through 2000 or so, apparently, but still a very good start.
Good find. Thanks! Too bad they haven’t been updating it or including dates.
I could do this a lot better from home, but off the top of my head you’ve got pretty much anything by Rob Zombie, Powerman 5000, and Monster Magnet. You’ve also got bands like Helloween, Therion, and Gamma Ray. I’m sure I’ve got a bunch of others in my collection, too, but those jumped to mind.
Thanks! Some new ones to me in there.
The Alan Parsons Project: I ROBOT. The whole concept album is SFnal.
Also, did anyone mention the group Klaatu? “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” for example. . .
Oh yeah, forgot about them. Thanks!
From the Bobs:
“Yuleman vs. the Anti-Claus” is a superhero christmas song
“Giant Robot Store” is about Giant Robots
“My Husband Was A Weatherman” is about uncanny prognostication
“Meat on the Moon” explores lunar cattle ranching
“Fluffy’s Master Plan for World Domination” is a ‘true story.’
“A Change of Heart” looks at the effects of organ transplants
“My Shoes” has sentient footwear
and don’t forget one of my favourite pop songs of all time – Another Girl Another Planet by the Only Ones:
also, it’s Hawkwind, not Hawkwing as suggested by another commenter
Rasputina has a bunch:
Saline, The Salt Lake Queen
Oh, Injury (Steampunk!)
The New Zero
That’s just a start.
Thanks! Just looked them up and they sound interesting.
Coheed and Cambria’s entire collection is one big sf story, supposedly, complete with comic books. ‘In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth’ is probably the best track.
Death Cab For Cutie – ‘Transatlantacism’ might be a good one.
The Decemberists have this really cool steampunk/victorian ghost story vibe going on that may suit. ‘Leslie Ann Levine’ is a good one.
A lot of Lemon Jelly is very spacey – ‘Space Walk’ and ‘Elements’ in particular.
‘Moon Child’ by M83 would be an awesome one.
What about ‘Tiny City Made Of Ashes’ by Modest Mouse? Or even better is the acoustic cover of the same song by Sun Kil Moon. Modest Mouse have a lot of songs that might suit. Muse, likewise, is suitably esoteric!
Nine Inch Nails’ latest album ‘Year Zero’ is a concept album set in twenty years time. ‘The Warning’ is a tale of aliens.
‘We Will Become Sillouhettes’ by the postal service is a sweet song about nuclear war, if that’s possible!
As well as David Bowie’s assorted songs about aliens, the fantastic collection of portugese Bowie covers by Seu Jorge from ‘The Life Aquatic’ are great.
Some of Sufjan Stevens’ songs may be worth it for the titles alone:
‘They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbours!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!!’
‘Concerning the UFO sighting Near Highland, Illinois’
some songs that have some hints/titles that might work include
Cave In – Jupiter
TV On The Radio – Staring at The Sun
Beastie Boys – Intergalactic
and lots more, if its more titles than lyrics, it opens up a lot.
Nice assortment there mysterious visitor.
Off the top of the head :
Flash Gordon stuff from Queen
Heaps of the Misfits, Teenagers from Mars, Astro Zombies, etc.
Final Countdown – Europe.
Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun – Pink Floyd
there’s a blitzen trapper song about being a sci fi boy (that may be it’s title, but i’ve forgotten), and also a spoken word like piece by the band cog on their album the new normal. it’s about an ironic factory in deep space–a kind of statement on culture, and so forth.
Another one I haven’t heard of. Thanks!
You gotta pick Muse — they’re all about SFnal concepts.
Black Holes and Revelations album – Starlight, Supermassive Black Hole, and Glorious (from the Japanese album, which i swear comes from the Stars My Destination), Exo-Politics, which references aliens, and last but not least, for the love of god, check out their video for Knights of Cydonia, which might be the most awesome video of all time:
Hope that helps! 😀
Re: Muse —
Thanks! I had seen that video before but had forgotten who had done it.