- The Aquabats!: "Radiation Song!" from Myths, Legends, and Other Amazing Adventures is a tongue-in-cheek show tune about life in a post-nuclear wasteland.Razor-blade boomerangs and iron hands
Crossbows and hockey pads are in demand
The toxic waste in synthetic place
Can add an eyeball to your face
- The last verse of "99 Luftballons " by Nena describes a survivor exploring a ruined city after "ninety-nine years of war". The English version, "99 Red Balloons", ends on a similar note.It's all over, and I'm standing pretty
In this dust that was a city
If I could find a souvenir
Just to prove the world was here
And here it is, a red balloon
I think of you and let it go
- Jimi Hendrix's "1983...A Merman I Should Turn To Be" from Electric Ladyland has the protagonist and his lover turn into merfolk and dive to the bottom of the ocean to escape a nuclear holocaust.
- The Decemberists song "After the Bombs" follows two lovers in such a world.
- The second and third verse of Neil Young's song "After The Gold Rush" describes the physical world and humanity's attempt to rebuild respectively after the end.Look at mother nature on the run in the 20th centuryWe got Mother Nature on the run in the 20th century.
- Metallica also had to get in on the action. Ladies and gentlemen, Blackened.Smouldering decayTake her breath awayMillions of our yearsIn minutes disappears
- The Kate Bush song "Breathing", the closing track of Never for Ever, is either this or an ongoing nuclear war that may well end in this. A spiritual foetus-like being usually occupying a womb implied to belong to mother nature, has seen the outside world multiple times before. The foetus entity remains one of the last living lifeforms on Earth, or the very last one, after a giant nuclear explosion has wiped all or most life off of it, and now perhaps even the aforementioned womb isn't safe enough anymore.We've lost our chanceWe're the first and last, oohAfter the blastChips of plutonium are twinkling in every lung.
- Judas Priest's "Cathedral Spires" from Jugulator is about mankind in post-apocalyptic world waiting to die in the titular structure.
- "Come Away Melinda", perhaps this trope's most understated yet touching example.
- Edge of Sanity's song "Crimson" takes place in a post-apocalyptic Earth where humans can no longer breed.
- Deltron 3030's self-titled concept album focuses on a post-apocalyptic world.
- Black Sabbath's song "Electric Funeral" from Paranoid portrays a struggle for survival on a post-nuclear Earth.
- The Police's song "When The World Is Running Down, You Make The Best Of What's Still Around" describes life in a bomb shelter after a nuclear war.
- Gotye's music video for Eyes Wide Open shows a band of strange, thin limbed creatures wandering Earth, starting with the aftermath of a nuclear war and going back in time to the beginning of life on Earth.
- The video for Alan Walker's "Faded"
- Masaki Yamada's EZO song Fire Fire is the world after a nuclear holocaust.
- Hawkwind: "Who's Gonna Win the War" and "Damnation Alley" (the latter based on the Roger Zelazny novel).
- Then there's Hawkwind soundalikes Underground Zero, whose song "Atomchild" seems to be set in a post-apocalyptic future (though it's really hard to make out the words and there's no lyric sheet).
- Steely Dan's King of the World, not very clear, but can be interpreted as such.
- Michael Moorcock's album The New World's Fair (featuring members of Hawkwind) seems to be based on this trope. Its cover depicts a funfair in the distance with a "Danger - Radiation" sign in the foreground.
- I Nomadi and Francesco Guccini, "Noi non ci saremo" ("We won't be there"), spends only the first verse on the presumably thermonuclear extinction of mankind; the rest of the song is bleakly optimistic (life recovers, and Earth will be better without us). A far cry from the juvenile destruction porn of some heavy metal bands.
- The Talking Heads song "(Nothing But) Flowers" takes place years after humanity has given up technology and now lives as hunter-gatherers while the surrounding architecture rots away. The singer becomes increasingly irritated by the lack of modern conveniences and reminisces about life before the end.
- Stereolab's "One Small Step"From the sky would fall an incessant rain of bombsWe had nowhere to go but retreat undergroundOur ground had been peppered with loads of minesGrowing our food was a risk at any time
- The Imagine Dragons song "Radioactive" alludes to a nuclear apocalypse. The music video for "It's Time" shows the band traversing a desolate wasteland (which somewhat resembles San Francisco).
- Akiko Shikata's song Replicare is about someone wandering in a destroyed world, condemned to relive eternally the fall of mankind in his mind and be tormented by the cries of despair of the dead. The Apocalypse itself is narrated between the verses in Ominous Italian Chanting.Unable to catch any of the lamentations that pour down
I stand there, petrified
The smashed up world scatters in the middle of silence
As blue flames overwhelm it
Darkness is filled by an inescapable nightmare
Disturbing and distorting my lost mind
How long will I continue to dream, now that the future is gone?
- The world that "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" takes place in has been stated to be this by its creator.
- The 1994 anime Rusty Nail PV for X Japan combines this trope with an Alien Invasion - the band members' animated avatars all play important roles in it - Toshi's character (armed with the phallic Lance of Longinus no less) and Pata's are part of La Résistance, hide's is The Quisling / Slave Mook with the invading aliens due to a Hypno Trinket he wears, and Yoshiki's is Crystal Dragon Jesus and the only one who can overcome the Hypno Trinket controlling hide's - by throwing roses at it.
- Muse's music video for "Sing For Absolution" features a spaceflight to retrieve a massive capsule containing thousands of cryogenically frozen people and take them to Earth. Problem is, when they get there, Earth is an unrecognisable, let alone uninhabitable wasteland akin to the surface of Mars, and it looks like it has been that way for some time. The only things that let the viewer know it is Earth are Big Ben and what remains of a bridge.
- Porcupine Tree's "A Smart Kid" is an incredibly depressing song set after the end, stated to have been some sort of war.There was a war, but I must have won
- Moby said his "South Side" song is about a post-apoc world:Here we are now going to the south side
I pick up my friends and we hope we won't die
Ride at night, ride through heaven and hell
Come back and feel so well
- Running Wild's song "Straight to Hell" is about bunch of survivors trying survive in post-apocalyptic world and "Land of Ice" is about Time Travel to a future where the world is caught on nuclear winter.
- Electric Wizard has a song called "The Sun has Turned to Black" which describes the very end of humanity by unknown means.
- German heavy metal group Rage have a song named "Take me to the Water", which deals with a lone survivor in an already dried-out Earth looking for a mythical source of water.
- Played for increasingly dark humour in Bob Dylan's "Talkin' World War III Blues".I called up the operator of time, just to hear a voice of some kindShe said "When you hear the beep, it'll be three o'clock."She said that for over an hour, then I hung up.
- Boards of Canada's Tomorrow's Harvest is (probably) about this and the events that will directly precede it.
- Klaus Nomi's music follows a plot: "Total Eclipse" from Klaus Nomi warns of nuclear annihilation, and the aptly titled "After the Fall" from Simple Man is this.
- The Postal Service song "We Will Become Silhouettes" seems to be set in the aftermath of nuclear destruction. The titular silhouettes are a reference to the ghostly images of people that were left behind on walls after the nuclear bomb drops on Hiroshima and Nagasaki◊. In a classic example of Lyrical Dissonance, the song sounds like a normal peppy, Postal Service electro-pop love song.
- "Wooden Ships" (written by Jefferson Airplane guitarist and SF Fan Paul Kanter, in collaboration with members of Crosby, Stills and Nash, and a hit for both groups) depicts ocean-dwelling survivors of an unspecified apocalyptic event.
- Bobby Goldsboro's "The World Beyond".
- The video for Tom Petty's "You Got Lucky."
- The video for ''You're Gonna Go Far Kid'' by The Offspring.
- Maybe overlapping with Gaia's Vengeance, we have "Scavengers Feast" by Cormorant
- The song "Wasteland" by Atargatis describes how, after having ruined Earth reducing it to a dry wasteland, humans become wretched, naked, creatures of knotty limbs looking in vain for fertile land. Overlaps with Gaia's Vengeance, as Mother Nature itself wants them to give up and leave Nature heal itself.
- Billy Joel, of all people, dabbled in this trope with the song "Miami 2017 (I've Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)". It describes a New York lost to what seems to be civil unrest, a mass flight and botched military intervention. The survivors apparently settled in Florida and the narration mentions that the mafia now openly rule Mexico.
- The song and accompanying video for Disturbed's "Another Way to Die" alternates between this and Just Before the End.
- The XTC "This World Over" is about parents doing mundane things after a nuclear holocausts, such as bathing babies with extra limbs from mutations and going on hikes to ruined cities.
After The End / Music