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Green River by Credence Clearwater Revival
Green River by Credence Clearwater Revival

Hope you got your things together
Hope you're quite prepared to die
Looks like we're in for nasty weather
One eye is taken for an eye

These morbid lyrics are hidden behind seemingly happy music. The writer, John Fogerty, certainly had an ear for what was coming.

Though familiar with this song long before the SHTF, a specific incident locked it into my memory. I've always been a fan of rockabilly. The beat can't help but raise my spirits. And I was desperate for that. At the height of the crisis, I needed to make a night time foray. As you well remember, the dark is the worst time for a jaunt amongst the undead. CCR's playing in the background, I've pulled on my ass-kicking, steel-toed Doc Martens and I'm touching up the duct tape wrapping on my sleeves (a surprisingly effective defense against bites). I see rising from the eastern horizon a full, orange-tinged moon. I was ready

Grace Under Pressure by Rush
Grace Under Pressure by Rush

The whole purpose of your PEM playlist is to attract the undead and get your adrenaline pumping for that task at hand. Red Sector A certainly does this. The fact that it is itself about a TEotWaWKI topic makes it more poignant.

I clutch the wire fence until my fingers bleed
A wound that will not heal
A heart that cannot feel
Hoping that the horror will recede
Hoping that tomorrow we'll all be freed

While this was written about the Holocaust, I find it just as relevant to what we went through: the constant hope that the horror would recede.

28 Weeks Later Soundtrack
28 Weeks Later Soundtrack

I have mentioned before the opening scene to 28 Weeks Later, how it is heart-in-your-throat exciting. The theme song from this movie will induce the same feeling. Slowly building and ever louder, your adrenaline will start pumping. I believe this is the perfect song for a PEM since the slow start will help set the mode for your unit while the undead take notice of and then march towards your kill zone. Make this the first song on your list.

Back in Black by AC/DC
Back in Black by AC/DC

This song was made to attract the undead. The ominous ring of that large bell, the slow build up of the intro:

I'm a rolling thunder, a pouring rain
I'm comin on like a hurricane
My lightning's flashing across the sky
You're only young but you're gonna die

Damn right! This song certainly puts you in the right mood. Truth be told, though, just about any song by AC/DC will do this: Highway to Hell, For Those About to Rock, If You Want Blood or, heck, even Girl's Got Rhythm. You can't go wrong with this band.

I'm certainly not the only one to believe this. You'll find this song on most folks' PEM Playlist. It's especially popular in the regular army.

Live Rust by Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Live Rust by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

This may not be head banging rock-and-roll, but the pace and lyrics put one in the mood to get the job done.

Cover me with the thought
that pulled the trigger
Think of me
as one you'd never figured
Would fade away so young
With so much left undone
Remember me to my love,
I know I'll miss her.

Neil Young speaks as one who has survived the catastrophe. He realizes that there may come a time when your death is not only imminent, but may very well be required so that those who you love will survive. This song nicely conveys that feeling when you've come to terms with what needs to be done. Though I am no longer young, I am still faced at times with situations when I need to be covered in the thought that pulls the trigger.


Piece of Mind by Iron Maiden
Piece of Mind by Iron Maiden
I bow to the popular will on the selection of this song. My original favorite from Iron Maiden was Run to the Hills from Number of the Beast. However, I realize that a song about fleeing is, perhaps, not the best motivator when one needs to make a stand. Truthfully, any song from this band will get my blood up for a good fight with the undead, and The Trooper is a good one.

The Bugle sounds and the charge begins
But on this battlefield no one wins
The smell of acrid smoke and horses breath
As I plunge on into certain death.

You'll still hear this played on the radio, but it rings of cliché. It is fashionable among the younger generation to make fun of this song, but if I'm alone and it comes on, I do puff out my chest and look for the nearest weapon at hand.


No Need to Argue by The Cranberries
No Need to Argue by The Cranberries

YES, I realize this song is about the pre-SHTF troubles in Northern Ireland (interesting that we now think of that horrible time as less than completely catastrophic). And, NO, I do not think of this song as being about the undead. It still strikes the chord which the author, Dolores O'Riordan, intended: those who have died in the violence of the outbreak, of whatever cause, haunt us, drive us insane. We must be careful not to lose sight of the fact that survival is not the ends, but the means to create a new life. If we are consumed by the violence that was necessary during the outbreak, we not only decrease our chances for survival, but also make it less likely that the new world will be worthwhile.

Oh, and it has a great, driving beat.

Max Brooks, despite my past disagreements with him, got it right when he called attention to the Primary Enticement Mechanism (PEM). Once humanity counter-attacked, it seemed each group of survivors independently determined that loud, pulsating music served two purposes: The first, stated reason would be to lure the undead into a kill zone. The second, but most important reason was to psyche you up.

I have my own, personal playlist from the time that I served as a Sky Watcher. Whatever the artistic merits of these songs, they still get my blood up. Each song on the list has a personal story behind it. I will relate those as time allows.

TEotWaWKI Soundtrack