For some purely non-topical reason today we have decided to throw up a playlist of tracks with one distinct feature: They are all about plagues, pandemics, viruses, and the mass death and suffering these unfortunate things tend to bring in their wake. So kick back, relax, and check out some classic virus-core bangerz:

 

Björk – Virus

Sure, the queen of Iceland may be using this particular virus as a metaphor for obsessive love, but you can’t deny the creepy death science porn of verses such as:

Like a virus needs a body
As soft tissue feeds on blood
Some day I’ll find you, the urge is here

Like a mushroom on a tree trunk
As the protein transmutates
I knock on your skin, and I am in

The perfect match, you and me
I adapt, contagious
You open up, say welcome

Like a flame that seeks explosives
As gunpowder needs a war
I feast inside you, my host is you

The perfect match, you and I
You fail to resist
My crystalline charm

Like a virus, patient hunter
I’m waiting for you, I’m starving for you

My sweet adversary
My sweet adversary
My sweet adversary

Shadow – Ebola In Town

A rap track about the outbreak of the African Ebola virus? Why not? And not only is it catchy as hell but it served as a very important public service announcement at a time when the population was getting no such information from their governments in the midst of the outbreak.

If you like the monkey
Don’t eat the meat
If you like the baboon
I said don’t eat the meat
If you like the bat-o
Don’t eat the meat
Ebola in town

 

Evoken – Atra Mors

You knew we weren’t going to get through a list of songs about disease and death without some metal, right? This one from funereal doom riffers Evoken comes at you as a first person account of the Black Plague, no less.

I have come; the dominant one
Virulent, I am the influence unnoticed
Antiquity is my strength; I shall cast upon the world my solitary message.
I will diminish those centuries and persecute those with quiet desperation…

They shall call me the “Great Morality”; a stain upon time.
Lugubrious, unforgiving; a terribleness that I bare for all age.
The crossing shall cease by only the shadows of my completed undertaking.
They will die both day and by night with the air still, the trenches deep.

I will unlock the mysteries of this universe, not within the heated stars, but below
the consecrated churchyards, cold in misery and disdain.
For it is not the singing of angels that beckon, but the feral groans of death…

 

1349 – Dødskamp

The year 1349 happens to be the time the aforementioned Black Death plague hit Norway, so what better name for one of the top Norwegian black metal behemoths? And unlike Evoken, here they actually long to be the plague itself. It doesn’t get much more kvelt than this, ladies and gentlemen.

I dreamt I was a cloud
Rid of human form where no light shines
Wake up to noxious walls and the stench of decay
Bloated faces holding grotesque expressions
Their bulging eyes sightlessly staring
Prayers flung
Heavenward
All to no avail
All to no avail
All to no avail

Triumphis mortis

 

Brian Eno – Flies

Is it possible to have an ambient song that evokes a plague? “Hold my beer” said Brian Eno. The master at work work with some help from Robert Wyatt.

 

Ring Around The Rosie – Traditional

You know this one, the seemingly innocent child’s romp about spinning in circles while holding hands? Well, it’s about the 1665 Great Plague that nearly wiped out England. And that famous “ashes to ashes, all fall down” line? That’s about the mass cremation of plague victims. Think about that the next time your kids are belting this one out.

 

Ween – Spinal Meningitis Got Me Down

An all time disease rock classic. Smile on mighty Jesus, baby.

 

Van Morrison – TB Sheets

In an unlikely twist, it’s none other than Van The Man who just may take the crown for most harrowing song about mass disease and death. “Brown Eyed Girl” this is most certainly NOT.

 

Fugazi – Smallpox Champion

There’s really no better person to sum up the Thanksgiving tradition of gifting smallpox infected blankets to indigenous peoples than Ian Mackaye.

Smallpox champion u s of a
Give natives some blankets
Warm like the grave

 

Joy Division – Atrocity Exhibition

We shall end this with the master at work. If anyone can take a haunted, hallowed, ethereally poetic look at a plague, using it as a stand-in for war, class conflict, and that good old chasm of existential suffering, it’s Ian motherfucking Curtis.

And I picked on the whims of a thousand or more

Still pursuing the path that’s been buried for years

All the dead wood from jungles and cities on fire

Can’t replace or relate, can’t release or repair

Take my hand and I’ll show you what was and will be

 

Niche Appeal Public Safety Unit