One of the great unanswered questions of the Trump era is “Why haven’t space aliens gotten fed up with our stupid bullshit and destroyed all life on earth?” It seems self-evident that any extraterrestrial being tasked with observing the triumphs and follies of humanity would have thrown up its tentacles in disgust around Nov. 8 and started powering up the Death Rays. And yet, here we all are, not being exterminated by aliens, and let’s just say things aren’t getting less stupid. Who does a species have to elect around here for the rest of the galaxy to send a couple of Death Star or a Vogon Constructor Fleet to help out?
Sadly, we don’t know the answer to this question. But we do know the greatest songs about aliens destroying humanity. Listen with us now—listen … and dream.
DISQUALIFIED: “Astro Zombies,” The Misfits
A cheerful punk rocker about the Astro Zombies, beings with one “prime directive: exterminate the whole human race.” But despite the song’s spacey title and relatable, positive theme of giving planet earth a nice clean sweep, this one is technically disqualified. Despite their celestial name, the Astro Zombies come from the 1968 film Astro-Zombies, and aren’t so much “Astro” as they are “reanimated coupses created by a process whereby, in the words of the film’s trailer, ‘beating hearts and throbbing, living brains are transplanted by a scientist whose motives are entirely dedicated to evil.’ ” Why “Astro-Zombies” instead of “Zombies” or “Frankensteins” or even “Frankenstein’s Monsters,” you ask? Because the film’s mad scientist—played by John Carradine—sets off on his path to murder humanity after getting fired from “The Space Agency.” Still, “Astro Zombies” gets points for being very clear about what it’s like to meet an Astro Zombie: “Your face drops in a pile of flesh / and then your heart, heart pounds till it beats in death.” Not a moment too soon!
#5: “Rapture,” Blondie
Blondie’s tale of a Man from Mars is something of a disappointment: though he starts off strong, shooting a human and eating its head, within a single line he’s started eating automobiles, then moves on to bars. How does that even work? As if that weren’t enough of a letdown, he then stops eating bars when the TV is on (what?), returns to Mars to leave humanity alone, and goes on an all-guitar diet. Great start, no follow through. F minus, Man from Mars.
#4: “Pets,” Porno for Pyros
“Pets” loses major points for not actually making the argument that aliens should wipe us off the face of the globe. Instead, Perry Farrell envisions a future in which Martians turn us into pets to save us from destroying our own planet. But it also makes the argument that, left to our own devices, we’ll rapidly exterminate ourselves. Close enough—we’ll take it!
#3: “Flyin’ Saucers Rock & Roll,” Billy Lee Riley
Billy Lee Riley’s rockabilly vision of “little green men” who “taught [him] how to do the bop,” seems like a relatively friendly encounter between man and astroman, right up until you realize that the “rock ’n’ roll” the Martians bring with them will, over many years, have a devastating effect on both traditional values and the narcissism of the baby boomer generation, eventually eroding human culture to the point that someone like Donald Trump can get the nuclear codes. These aliens may be playing a long game, but rest assured: as Riley sings, that crazy beat will, eventually, a-stop-a you dead.
#2: “The Last Transmission,” The Comas
Now that’s what I call “music about aliens systematically wiping out humanity!” This song, bone-deep in its pessimism, explains in some detail why we’ve got this coming: we’re oblivious to everything around us; we’re afraid for reasons we don’t understand; and above all, we’re gonna be a cakewalk for the aliens to conquer. And has there ever been a lyric that crystalized this particular moment in time as well as “At this time, sirs, I recommend that we proceed to Phase Three: Eradicate them all for the glory of our interstellar queen”? Probably. But once the interstellar queen arrives and starts eradicating us, this is going to be the hottest jam of the summer.
#1: “Slime Creatures from Outer Space,” “Weird Al” Yankovic
This aspirational ditty is essentially the Tom Clancy novel of pop songs about aliens delivering our comeuppance: military details, military details, and more military details. How will the Slime Creatures from Outer Space dispatch us? Well, they have death ray eyes, will “rip your head off just for fun,” and, in some cases, may “suck your brain out with a straw.” The Slime Creatures from Outer Space are all about options. Will atom bombs work? Nope, the song is very clear about that. “Weird Al” even outlines their invasion plan in suspicious detail: first they’ll destroy New York, then Tokyo, and then Weird Al’s block. (Great news for Chicago!) It’s so detailed, in fact, that we have to consider the possibility that this is misinformation planted by Slime Creature from Outer Space spies (or quisling accordion players) to get us to defend the wrong cities. Either way, nine months into Trump’s presidency, I’d like to assure any Slime Creatures from Outer Space who might reading this of something on behalf of all humanity: We’re way too exhausted to put up a fight, and once we’re gone, you can steal the technology to make gelato. Hurry.