Songs You Shouldn't Play at a Funeral
I have heard that it is becoming popular in Japan to have themed funerals. You can have music, live performers, paid mourners weeping like no person actually weeps, and even a laser show and fireworks. What a grand finale for the karaoke nut in all of us... but what about in the US where funerals are often somber occasions devoid of such razzle dazzle? Well, funerals don't have to be completely dull... some of us might like having the last laugh, making sure our loved ones play the most inappropriate music ever as people file in to pay their respects. So what songs are deemed woefully inappropriate? Here's a starter list!
Only the Good Die Young
Only the good die young is a nice motto and all but what if you died when you were old? Would this imply you weren't good? And besides isn't a song about a repressed Catholic schoolgirl a bit cliché? I mean unless you were a repressed Catholic school girl who wants to let her final message to the world be, "It wasn't worth it! Sin while you're still alive!" Then by all means we will take your blasphemy to heart. Of course this would be doubly hilarious if your name just happens to be Virginia.
Live and Let Die
We know you've been a HUGE Wings fan since... well since you realized Paul McCartney was in it. We also know you just about died going to that first concert you were just sooo happy to be there. It was amazing, we get it, but don't try to take that memory with you. Live and Let Die is an awkward note to leave off on. I mean what are you trying to say here? That we should all be happy you finally died...? It's a muddled message at best.
The Squirrel Nut Zipper's Hell saw fifteen minutes of fame and melted the hearts of everyone who thought it's title was In the Afterlife. This is because that's just about the only words anyone bothered to listen to, the first three. If they continued on they'd realize there's an adorable chorus that spells out damnation like a happy cheerleader and some really grotesque threats sung in a cheerful Big Band sort of way. This song sounds adorable if you don't listen to the lyrics. It might even slip by the attention of most of your mourners. Only the deeply sarcastic will realize you're in Hell where all the interesting people are. Of course if your desire is to attract attention to these perverse lyrics just play the music video that goes with it which is drawn as an utterly bizarre 1920s styled dance macabre.
How to Save a Life
I have no idea how this song ended up being the background music for every medical drama on the TV. It's not about some scrappy young surgeon standing over a bleeding eight year old, scalpel in hand. Actually... if you really listen it's about dropping the ball and not realizing your now dead friend was suicidal. Some might consider this an omission of guilt when played at a funeral. Sort of like, "Whoops, I saw your car explode but I figured you'd get out just fine by yourself!"
Dumb Ways to Die
Was your dearly departed a winner of the Darwin Award? Did they cut themselves out of the gene pool via a stupid act? Then this might be the song for them... Just note it it may be considered crass if your loved one actually died from an accident on the Metro as technically this entire song is a commercial for train safety. That's not to say it's not adorable, intensely catchy, and who hasn't used their private parts for piranha bait?
We Will All Go Together When We Go
Who wouldn't love to hear Tom Lehrer just one last time? His scathing sarcasm is just sooo... refreshing. And yet some of his songs might not be the best choice to say goodbye. We Will All Go Together When We Go might be mistranslated as some sort of beyond-the-grave threat to the living and there are a few PC issues as well. For instance "every hottenhot and Eskimo" might be offensive to any of the native peoples of Canada... and you really don't want to piss off a Canadian. Who knows what they'll do. And when they're done ransacking the funeral home the hottenhots will figure out who they are and that they've just been called a likely offensive word too. (Seriously though - what IS a hottenhot?!)
Seasons in the Sun
Seasons in the Sun is one of those creepy songs that follow people around like a severely retarded puppy. It's cute at first but after a while you just want the image of it to unburn itself from your head. It's another one of those cheerfully tuned suicide songs. It's sort of like saying, "Bye people! I love you all so much but I loved the idea of death so much better! Have a nice life suckers!"
I'm Going to Live Forever
Yeah.... you keep saying that dear, as we pop you into the ground. Poor sorry sod.
Another One Bites the Dust
This song is probably too crass for most funerals. We live in a society of fluffy euphemisms, where people don't die, they "pass away." Sometimes euphemisms can be harsher than the actual word they're covering. This might be one of those cases.
Waiting for the Worms
This one has the same problem as the song above it. We don't really want to envision you letting earth worms use your eye sockets as an obstacle course. It's gross and disturbing and that anguished scream at the end is NOT comforting. Why did you even put this one on your list?!
Ding Dong the Witch is Dead
Which old witch? The wicked witch! Ding dong the witch is dead!!
If this plays at your funeral expect a really terrible epitaph and few mourners.
Don't Fear the Reaper
Did you know that Houdini told his wife that if he died before her he'd try to contact her from the great beyond? This song might play if he had actually managed such a stunt. It sort of brings to mind a big black cloaked figure striking whole cities with plague and a dead guy in the background moaning, "Don't fear the reaper, he's just doing his job!"
Highway to Hell
This might actually be appropriate for any man who refused to pull over and ask for directions during his life. He'll have no idea he's heading south and not north until everything starts smelling oddly of brimstone. Oops.
Used to Love Her
"I used to love her - but I had to kill her." Obviously someone has taken that "honesty is the best policy" phrase a little too much to heart. This one is perfect for crimes of passion and honor killings.
People Who Died
This song is great for anyone who is so sarcastic that they can't even hold their tongue after death. Besides the wonderful title the lyrics drag you deeper and deeper into depravity describing interesting ways teenagers can die. What else could you possibly ask for?
The Ballad of Alfred Packer
This little known classic is possibly the greatest song ever written about cannibalism. If you'd rather be eaten then buried then this is likely the best song you could ask for. It has some great advice for the living - it just doesn't pay to eat anything but government inspected beef.
Zombie Love Song
I wanted this last song to be something really obscure I found that had references to sucking out people's eyeballs because you love them... but alas, I couldn't find it and had to make do with a random YouTube search for Zombie Love Song. I think it's a good one to go out on....