Every TV show needs a montage of people processing their emotions every now and then. (We're looking at you, Stargate Universe.) But why not feature actual songs about space? Here are seven great space-themed songs to accompany your emotional moments.
"Satellite of Love," Lou Reed
If your stars are unlucky in love, there's no better way to convey the depths of their misery than a mopey montage accompanied by this song. The lyrics don't have much of a narrative - "Satellite's gone / way up to Mars / soon it will be filled / with parking cars"-but as soon as the first few notes hit, it's obvious someone's doing some serious thinking about their romantic life choices.
"Citizens of Tomorrow," Tokyo Police Club
The burnt-out ruins of Earth below; the watchful eyes of our AI overlords above. The worst part? "Our robot masters will know / How to clean this mess up." Our ancestors destroyed the planet, and now the machines get their shot. It's a tragic image, one that makes "Citizens of Tomorrow" perfect for when your your protagonist is sulking around the spaceship, kicking himself for some kind of epic screw-up. It's just a bit louder and pissed-off, perfect for self-recriminations.
"The Sun and the Moon," The Pogues
If you want to strike a more fatalistic tone, you could do worse than this liquor-soaked apocalyptic vision from the Pogues. Despite images of stars falling from the sky and shades rising from the grave, Shane MacGowan sings of a tomorrow that's "just another day after." It's a pessimistic musical shrug from a group that makes the Dropkick Murphys look like choirboys.
"Tapestry From an Astroid," Sun Ra and his Arkestra.
This number sounds like its beaming in from the Rainbow Room. Only it's not the one in Rockefeller Center circa 1939, but the rebuilt version in 3039 on Alpha Centauri Prime. It's a little sentimental, but also just a bit melancholy, in a way that suggests vast, empty stretches of deep space.
"Subterranean Homesick Alien," Radiohead
Radiohead's music has always been conducive to morbid self-examination, probably because of how thoroughly Thom Yorke plays the weirdo. In "Subterranean Homesick Alien," he wishes the aliens would "Take me on board their beautiful ship / Show me the world as I'd love to see it." Are they even there? Is anybody? This song perfectly suits the long, dark, possibly insanity-inducing night of the soul.
"Wandering Star," Lucero
Your characters have lost their way, maybe deep in space, maybe in a bottle. Make it clear just how far astray they've gone: "It's a wandering star that lights my way tonight / I follow it 'till I am gone." And while it's occasionally impossible to understand singer Ben Nichols's growl, the loneliness and yearning come through loud and clear. Plus, if this one doesn't show up on Stargate: Universe sooner or later, I'll eat my hat.
"Space Oddity," David Bowie
You didn't really think we'd get through this list without including Bowie, did you? From the height of his Ziggy Stardust period, "Space Oddity" features Bowie at his glam space alien finest. Sure, it's an obvious pick, but it's also famous for a reason.