The Dead Flag Blues: The Apocalypse in Song

If you are looking for the perfect representation of the apocalypse in song form, you have

come to the right place! "The Dead Flag Blues" is a song by Godspeed You! Black Emperor on

their album F# A# ∞. The track is 16 minutes long and mostly instrumental outside of the

spoken intro. The spoken intro is what truly gives a bleak depiction of what the apocalypse may

look like, but the rest of the song carries on the gloom even without words.


The spoken part begins with “The car is on fire, and there is no driver at the wheel,” instantly

putting the listener onto the idea that this is the end of days. The world is in chaos and there is

no one there to guide anyone through it. The line is so simple, yet creates such a potent image.

Another line that continues the apocalypse imagery is “We are trapped in the belly of this

horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death.” This line is fairly edgy, but it does get

the point across of a hopeless future and the downfall of society. Through metaphors, the

eeriness and gloominess of what the apocalypse may look like becomes evident. The final line I will

discuss is “The skyline was beautiful on fire, all twisted metal stretching upwards, everything

washed in a thin orange haze.” This line intrigues me because it shows how something so

terrible could somehow also be beautiful in a weird way. Almost like the narrator is accepting

their fate, and there is no other way to see it but beautiful.


After the spoken intro, the song continues on with multiple different instrumental sections,

continuing the gloomy atmosphere. It is incredibly hard to describe the instrumental sections, so

experience them for yourself by listening to the entire song. This song is definitely not for

everyone due to its length and subject matter, but for those that the song clicks with, you will

surely be in for an experience. May your day become worse by listening to this song.

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