What music reminds you of science fiction or fantasy?

I enjoy music. I like listening to it in the car, I like listening to it while writing or working. I’m sure that music affects you in some way and at some time. Music has an undeniable power over humans.  

Lately, I’ve gotten to thinking about the music of speculative fiction, or rather, popular music with science fiction/fantasy elements. Not the music that could be defined as classical or soundtrack (everyone who hears “Darth Vader’s Theme” equates it with science fiction, as in many ways it defines SF soundtracks), but the music of the mainstream that may not be speculative in intent, but in some way includes elements (theme, subject, terms) we generally define as science fiction or fantasy.

For instance, Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi”  contains thoughts on climate change (i.e. respecting the Earth), but includes in its lyrics a reference to an apocalyptic future.

They paved paradise and put up a parkin’ lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swingin’ hot spot
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got till it’s gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

They took all the trees, and put ’em in a tree museum
And they charged the people a dollar and a half to see them
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got till it’s gone
They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot…

Every time I hear that song on the radio, I think of John Joseph Adams’ Wastelands anthology and apocalyptic fiction both in print and on screen. (As well as the movie Two Weeks Notice, but lets just gloss on past the fact I ever watched that movie.)

Or in the fantasy category, you have these lyrics from Dido’s “Hunter“:

If you were a king up there on your throne
Would you be wise enough to let me go
For this queen you think you own
Wants to be a hunter again
Wants to see the world alone again
To take a chance on life again
So let me go

Such lyrics make me think of novels by people like Kristen Britain, Michelle West, Mercedes Lackey, and others with strong female characters, or even movies like the version of King Arthur with Keira Knightley as Guinevere.

Obviously, these songs were written to talk about other things. The former is about climate change and the second about leaving a lover, but in the music has in it the element of the fantastic.

I would like to ask the Tor.com community to contribute their own thoughts on the matter. What music with lyrics reminds you of a book you have read or simply puts SF thoughts in your head? What music would you say is about science fiction or fantasy, even if the overarching theme or intent was something else?

If you need some help getting started, here are some links you should look over.

Top Ten Most Epic Songs of All Time

The Fantasy Worlds of Bad Eighties Music Videos (Part 1)

Ten Scifi Songs You Should Take to a Barren Asteroid

The Best Scifi Songs to Yell at a Karaoke Bar

These lists are by no means definitive, and there are many songs and musicians to pick from, so please, put in your two (or twenty) cents.


Back to the top of the page


This post is closed for comments.

Our Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.