A Song A Day in May: 80s Nuclear War Anxiety

The Music I listened to and loved in the 80s had an influence on me, it’s undeniable. Along with the books I read, the television shows and movies I watched, the people I met, they all helped shape create the foundation of who I am today. Would I be me today if I hadn’t seen “The Day After” at a young age and had a near-obsession level of paranoia over my skin getting peeled off in a nuclear blast? Who’s to say? Did the artists of the music I listen to and their speaking out on political and social matters shape me? Absolutely.

I stumbled across Stereogum‘s list of 80s songs about nuclear war and it was nostalgia on full volume for me. Their list included songs I may not have realized at the time were as political as they were, but now with adult eyes and 30+ years of hindsight, I am grateful that they are. I hope you enjoy some of them as much as I do.

Time Zone feat. John Lydon – “World Destruction” (1984)
The video for Time Zone — aka, the project headed by Afrika Bambaataa — and John Lydon’s “World Destruction” opens with, like some of the other videos on this list, a bit of footage featuring one of the beloved world leaders of ’80s. It’s a bit with Reagan talking about Biblical predictions of Armageddon, and that it might be coming, with the kicker “Now with regard to having to say whether we would try to survive in the event of a nuclear war, of course we would.” If that intro and the title didn’t tip you off, Lydon and Bambaataa go through it all in this track, touching on nuclear war and the end of the world and nationalities gearing to tear each other apart and the general disintegration of the human race. (Easy to relate to this one, these days.) Thankfully, far from being a dirge, “World Destruction” is a hell of a jam, so at least it gives you something to dance to as the world comes crashing down.

SOURCE: Stereogum 80s Songs About Nuclear Anxiety

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