Top 10 Songs for When the World Has Gone to Shit

Gone to ShitAt this point, it’s almost universally accepted that 2016 has been a dud year so far. We’ve started proceedings with a slew of departed icons, social and political turmoil across the board, and the realisation that, actually, our collective carbon output is killing the planet much faster than expected – and we didn’t think we had that much time anyway. It’s three minutes to midnight on the Doomsday Clock. Add the sense of impending global catastrophe to everyday human fears and failures of love and work, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed.

Luckily, we’re here to help.

Below are DrunkenWerewolf’s Top Ten Songs to Listen to When the World’s Gone to Shit – for crises of both the global and personal kind.

10// The Clash – I’m Not Down


The Clash had a song for every occasion. "I’m Not Down", from their seminal record London Calling is a declaration in defiance of misery. It’s a song for squaring leather-jacketed shoulders and setting your jaw, refusing to back down to fear or desperation.

9// Soko – I’ll Kill Her


Not all catastrophes are global. Soko’s tongue in cheek attack on an unrequited love and his new flame is ideal for wallowing over failed relationships and romantic non-starters. Part funny, part furious, "I’ll Kill Her" is the perfect track to keep you from getting too depressed by your broken heart while you wait to realise you don’t need them, anyway.

8// Martha – Ice Cream and Sunscreen


DIY indie punk outfit Martha come from a village called Pity Me, so they know a few things about doom and gloom. That said, their second record Blisters in the Pit of My Heart deals in sunny, punk determination and the kind of tracks that call for ungraceful bedroom dancing with the door shut tight against the world.

7// Babyshambles – Nothing Comes to Nothing


“Give me all the young and the blue,” sings Babyshambles frontman Pete Doherty on "Nothing Comes to Nothing". The title is open to interpretation – either nothing is wasted, or giving nothing gets nothing in return - but the lyrics focus on the sanctuary of music, pubs, and love, the holy trinity of coping mechanisms. Factor in the song’s uncharacteristically pop-driven guitar riffs and you come out with one of Babyshambles’ most cheerful singles to date.

6// Slow Club – Let the Blade Do the Work


"Let the Blade Do the Work" closes Slow Club’s latest album One Day All of This Won’t Matter Anymore. The track has a gentle, mournful undertone without getting too bleak, and makes reference to the exhausting “constant coverage of the wars” alongside more personal failings. Perfect for the Sunday morning hangover.

5// Michael Kiwanuka – Love and Hate


Michael Kiwanuka is twice-nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize for good reason. The title track off his latest album Love and Hate is a soulful song of recovery and personal strength. Kiwanuka’s blues-tinged vocals are just mellow enough to allow for a moment of self-pity, before the track instils a sense of quiet determination.

4// Jenny O – Won’t Let You Leave


Jenny O is the voice of reason. "Won’t Let You Leave" is a comfort to those who feel inadequate or weird in love and life, a quiet plea to settle down and let the storm pass. Her stripped back, acoustic guitar work and gentle vocal are calming in a crisis, and bring to mind crackling fires and the comforts of home.

3// Supergrass – Alright


It’s almost impossible to be upset listening to Supergrass’ debut I Should Coco. The manic energy of "Caught by the Fuzz" or the dreamy acoustic "Time to Go" could both fit onto this list in their own ways, but it’s the laid back sunshine pop of ‘Alright’ that’s the true standout. Bass player Mick Quinn is said to have contributed the iconic line “keep our teeth nice and clean” after deciding the song sounded like it belonged on a toothpaste commercial, and it’s easy to see where he was coming from. "Alright" is all smiles.

2// Rage Against the Machine – Killing in the Name


Sometimes you need to throw yourself into the mosh pit and thrash things out, and "Killing in the Name" is the number one song to turn to. It rails against the government and the KKK, institutional racism and political control. The expletive-riddled finale is one of the most cathartic closers in modern music, calling for fists in the air and raw, throat-scraping vocals.

1// Bob Marley – Three Little Birds


This is the king of cheer-up songs. Bob Marley’s "Three Little Birds" has been covered at house parties on battered acoustic guitars and onstage by professional musicians with a decent backline, but the effect is always the same. Every little thing is gonna be alright. People have tattoos in honour of this song, with three little birds flying along forearms or collarbones the world over. The melody is simple, and is intertwined with the kind of lyrics that can be easily remembered in the middle of a panic attack. It’s nothing too fancy, but calming and familiar. Sometimes that’s all you need.


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