Since the government decided it would be funny to commission the CDC to publish “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse” back in May of 2011 as a cheeky poke at emergency situations, the world has for long been having its undead moments of sorts. AMC’s The Walking Dead series is back in swing, Halloween is here, and the blogosphere is legitimately waxing on ways to survive a flesh-eating epidemic – not that the threat of such a thing has ever escaped pop culture. 2011 or not, there’s consistently been some great art directly and indirectly related to a zombie apocalypse. Thus, we bring you the Zombie Rockpocalypse playlist. Because when the brains hit the fan – what will you be listening to?

13. ‘I Want to Eat Your Hand‘ by The Zombeatles

Meat The Zombeatles

Proposing a parallel universe in which The Fab Gore fight for spots on The Dead Sullivan Show—amongst peers like The Rolling Kidney Stones and Elvis Grisly—these Madison, WI mock-rockers took their vision large when Rob Zombie plugged them on a YouTube Halloween playlist back in ’07. But celeb plugs need-not-apply here. The garage-kibosh homages hit hard on their own. Throw on Meat The Zombeatles when you feel the hunger, and need some friends: [LISTEN]

"I Want to Eat Your Hand"

12. ‘Zombie Boy‘ by The Magnetic Fields


Notoriously homoerotic, this ominous tune is one of lead singer Stephen Merritt’s most monotone and harrowing sonic sketches. Complete with some static-guitars and cross-dressing imagery, this makes some great company for your inner sadist. I mean, what zombie isn’t a sadist?

"Zombie Boy"

11. ‘They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!!  They Have Come Back from the Dead!!  Ahhhh!‘ by Sufjan Stevens


One of the more ornate cuts on this list, threaded with Steven’s religious calling-cards, “They Are Night Zombies!!” is a veritable march of horror. Let’s say this whole zombie thing happened overnight while you were sleeping. This is the soundtrack to the synchronized chaos you would witness, while yawning, scratching your ass, and looking out the window: [LISTEN]

"They Are Night Zombies!!..."

10. ‘Astro Zombies‘ by The Misfits

Walk Among Us

Largely considered the horror-punk album of all horror-punk albums, The Misfits’ 1982 gem, Walk Among Us slung end-of-the-world hate with an entertainment sensibility better than KISS, while still clinging to the ethos of punk and somehow pop as well. Like hit single “Skulls“, “Astro Zombies” is penned with some lurid themes. But Glen Danzig’s 60’s-led harmonies oi! everything into a moshing balladry that is an absolutely necessary play, should the zombie apocalypse stem from outer-space: [LISTEN]

"Astro Zombies"

9. “Zombie” by Fela Kuti


Using the power of funk and jazz as a scathing political attack on the Nigerian military of the late 70s, groove God-head Fela Kuti wrote the album and track “Zombie” in response to a series of violent attacks upon himself, his family, and his livelihood. Hateful, emotionless brutality is as zombie-like as it gets. Kuti made music a weapon here and incited riots later on. Can music change the world? Maybe not. But the people that listen to it can—this is an uprise in song. Every apocalypse needs one: [LISTEN]

"Zombie" (Fela)

8. ‘Thriller‘ by Michael Jackson


This is funk-gore genius. There’s no particular order to this playlist, but it would be number one if there was. Even without the million-dollar video that animated it into a classic, Jackson made zombies cool. When you feel the fever, throw on “Thriller:” [LISTEN]


7. ‘Dead Souls‘ by Joy Division

Atmosphere/Dead Souls

Ian Curtis did a good job of putting a poetic veil over the demons that haunted his brain. This song most likely has nothing to do with zombies, at least in the literal sense of the term. But if we happened to become one of the afflicted, we couldn’t help but to be hypnotized by the sterile Factory Records snap of this backbeat—with or without a trademark seizure dance from Curtis. In other words, we would be some hip zombies. R.I.P. Curtis: [LISTEN]

"Dead Souls"

6. ‘More Human Than Human‘ by White Zombie

Astro-Creep 2000

Another song not necessarily about zombies, “More Human Than Human” is an arsenal of thrash against an army of brain-eaters, with Woody Harrelson “Zombieland” kill-em-all testosterone. Kill or be killed. Stay human: [LISTEN]

"More Human Than Human"

5. ‘Infidel Zombie‘ by The Dickies

Dawn of the Dickies

Early Cali-punks The Dickies had a few scrappy hits that moderately blew up on the British charts, including a kooky song about bananas—”Banana Splits” (Tra La La Song). “Infidel Zombie“, however, deals with some unrequited love—the zombie variety, of course. Strung along by a maddening sax fill, the chorus gets a chance to light up something comical as the antagonist “gets depressed with duress.” It’s funny in a morbid “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” kind of way, which The Dickies had the dubious opportunity of scoring back in 1988, as well: [LISTEN]

"Infidel Zombie"

4. ‘Zombie‘ by The Cranberries

No Need To Argue

A cut having nothing to do with zombies in the classic sense, Ireland’s The Cranberries took a page from Fela Kuti here, drenching their guitars in an uncharacteristic grunge sludge to get their anger across, and used the song as a metaphor for political strife that has plagued Northern Ireland for decades. “Violence causes the silence” is a pretty ubiquitous lyric, though. Still, it’s entertaining to imagine Delores O’Riordan’s angsty brogue of a wail making an undead attacker shudder with annoyance: [LISTEN]

"Zombie" (Cran)

3. ‘Deado‘ by Stephen Malkmus

Stephen Malkmus

This is the last one that hits out of left field. Malkmus is on here because he’s the king of the crypt. And by crypt we mean cryptic. Consider this one-liner—”The equinox tail-chaiser super frail.” Take what you want from it. We like to imagine this super chill foot-shuffler as an olive branch to a zombie dude or dudette—e.g., “hey, zombie dude or dudette, what do you say we stop this murderous charade for a second and smoke a doobie?” Listen to the baritone “Deado” voice-over in the beginning and it will all make sense: [LISTEN]


2. ‘Nights of the Living Dead‘ by Tilly and the Wall

Wild Like Children

This is the resident teen zombie song. Omaha’s Tilly and the Wall created this allegory of youth wasted on the young so gleefully. Teen or not, this is about smiling when the ship is sinking, shutting out the voice of God, and as Tilly and crew put it—”feeling alive.” Enjoy it. “Fuck it up.” Death is coming: [LISTEN]

"Nights of the Living Dead"

1. ‘The Way I Feel Inside‘ by The Zombies

Begin Here

After the dust has settled, all your friends and family are gone. Maybe you’ve succumbed to the after-life, as well. All that’s left is the silence of the emptiness that is Earth after the human race eats itself into extinction. This is your swan song on repeat. That is, if you can feel anything anymore: [LISTEN]

"The Way I Feel Inside"