I’ve been keeping a playlist of funeral songs for years–probably ever since I had the idea that I wanted my funeral to be less about the loss of my life and more about the celebration of the lives around me, the life ahead of those lives. Music was a natural facet of this notion due its influential energy over mood and the way it can sum up a thought, emotion, lifetime in a single track.

And so the funeral soundtrack was born. The songs have changed over the years, but the idea remains the same: one final message to those near and dear to you.

It sounds morbid, but more folks do this than you might think. One for letting it all hang out there, I posted the question of “Do you have a list of tracks for your funeral?” to Facebook and Twitter. A common response was, “I thought I was the only one who did this!” Apparently, we’re all in good company.

What’s on my swan song set list?

1) Mastodon “The Sparrow”
2) Mastodon “Oblivion”
3) Megadeth “A Tout Le Monde” (Youthanasia version)
4) 10 Years “So Long, Good-bye”
5) Oasis “Stop Crying Your Heart Out”
6) Fiona Apple “Across the Universe”
7) The Cardigans “Feathers and Down”
8) The Wallflowers “6th Avenue Heartache”
9) Coldplay “The Scientist”
10) Our Lady Peace “4am”
11) Paramore “All I Wanted”
12) Evanescence “End of the Dream”
13) VAST “We Will Meet Again”
14) Neutral Milk Hotel “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea”
15) The Rolling Stones “Moonlight Mile”
16) The Smashing Pumpkins “Farewell and Goodnight”

Honorable mentions: “Paint It Black” by The Rolling Stones, “Before I’m Dead” by kidneythieves, “Sober” by Tool, “If Only For A Night” by Florence + The Machine, “Check Please” by Cold, “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime” by Beck, and “Dig” by Incubus

The responses I received on social media about what tracks others would play for their swan songs varied from humorous and ironic ditties to kick ass headbanging anthems to traditional, introspective tunes.

What songs would play at your funeral? With the Mayan Doomsday looming, it might be wise to get a jump on them if you haven’t already (yes, that’s typed as a “tongue in cheek” remark). You can bet your bippy I’ll be rocking this playlist on December 21, 2012 (not “tongue in cheek”).

“Cause I’m just about a moonlight mile on down the road…”


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