Ten Scifi Songs You Should Take to a Barren Asteroid

Illustration for article titled Ten Scifi Songs You Should Take to a Barren Asteroid

The year is 2199, and you've just entered the long phase of your thirty-year journey to the outer reaches of the galaxy. You're about to enter suspended animation when, oops, something goes wrong. You end up stranded an a decent-sized chunk of asteroid, and thanks to the technology of the future, you have a self-replenishing oxygen supply, and a foodgizmo that will keep you flush with nutrient cubes for decades. However, your implanted music device has shorted out during the crash, and you only have one playlist available to you: Great Science Fiction Songs From Back In The Day. What's on that playlist? Click through to find out.

  • "Space Oddity" by David Bowie: Mercury Records considered this song about a stranded astronaut to be a gimmick track, and didn't pay much attention to it during production. However, they decided to rush it out to coincide with the Apollo 11 moon landing taking up much of the public attention, and it shot up the UK charts as a result.
  • Best lyric: "And I think my spaceship knows which way to go"
  • "Rocket Man" by Elton John: Elton John's single about an astronaut's mixed feelings about leaving his family behind on a journey to Mars echoed a bit of Bowie's previous "Space Oddity," but has surpassed it in popularity and become one of his most popular.
  • Best lyric: "Rocket Man, burning out his fuse up here alone."
  • "She Blinded Me With Science" by Thomas Dolby: Dolby's over the top homage to mad scientists actually featured a real British scientist with a cool name, Magnus Pyke, yelling out "Science!" during the song. On a side note, this also served as the opening song to the short-lived mutant teenagers tv show, The Misfits of Science.
  • Best lyric: "Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto! You're beautiful!"
  • "Fly Me To The Moon" by Frank Sintatra: Originally titled "In Other Words," this song became one of Sinatra's staples, recorded with Count Basie with an arrangement by Quincy Jones. The song was also played by the Apollo 10 astronauts while on their lunar mission, meaning it did literally fly to the moon.
  • Best lyric: Let me see what spring is like, on Jupiter and Mars.
  • "Red Barchetta" by Rush: This song was inspired by the futuristic short story "A Nice Morning Drive" in Road and Track magazine about vehicles of a dystopian era which have become huge, safe, and boring. In the song, the narrator drives an old and illicit car kept by his uncle, and the new futuristic cars can't keep up when he zooms across a narrow bridge. Very early 80s. Very awesome.
  • Best lyric: "I strip away the old debris, that hides a shining car."
  • "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Pt. 1" by The Flaming Lips: This song from the Lips' concept album of the same name is about a young Japanese girl who works for the city, battling the giant robots that keep invading. She's a black belt in karate, she takes a lot of vitamins, and the robots don't stand a chance.
  • Best lyric: "Those evil-natured robots, they're programmed to destroy us."
  • "Mr. Roboto" by Styx: Styx performed this song on their rock opera album Kilroy Was Here. In it, the hero Kilroy is placed in a futuristic rock and roll prison, and escapes by hiding himself inside a menial custodial robot, The Roboto. He escapes the prison inside the metal shell, and offers up his thanks in the form of this song.
  • Best lyric: "With parts made in Japan, I am the modern man."
  • "Space Age Love Song" by Flock of Seagulls: Granted, nothing is particularly science fiction about this song other than the title, but it's so firmly rooted in the 1980s that we had to include it for the sheer amount of nostalgia-power it resonates with. If you catch the retro-arcade wonders documentary Chasing Ghosts, this song runs over a brilliant montage of the videogames of yesteryear.
  • Best lyric: "I saw your eyes, and you touched my mind."
  • "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath: This song about a time-traveling man of steel seeking revenge has not only become a mainstay of anthem rock and Black Sabbath, but it's had a resurgence in popularity thanks to both Guitar Hero and the filmmakers of the upcoming Marvel superhero flick of the same name using it prominently in the trailer. Probably one of the most identifiable guitar riffs in all the world.
  • Best lyric: "He was turned to steel, in the great magnetic field."
  • "Love Missile F1-11" by Sigue Sigue Sputnik: This song, filled with simple repeated lyrics and sound effects, has been brought back to life by being featured in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Bowie even covered it in 2003. We're still not sure why it continues to endure, but hey, it's a love missile, and it closes out our outer space playlist.
  • Best lyric: "There goes my love rocket red."

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Josh Wimmer

@braak: You were astounded to discover that something written by Ozzy — the substance-leaking, bat-head-eating Ozzy of days gone by, no less — was insane? ;-)

Those are all classic, obv, but if I had to pick one from the past year or so, it'd be "Citizens of Tomorrow" by Tokyo Police Club (and actually, most of their A Lesson in Crime EP). Best lyric: "I have a microchip implanted in my heart / So if I try to escape, the robots will blow me apart."