Death has a voice

By S. Elizabeth

Death has a voice.

From end of life celebrations, to fatalistic revelations, to mournful lamentations, there are myriad ways in which music gives death, and the dead, a voice.  Songs of the sighs of a sorrowful widow, the heartfelt  promises to a friend on their deathbed, the haunting whispers of a ghost to it’s murderer  – music is one of the most profound ways we can express or respond to the end of life experience.

The following playlist is comprised of women who have constructed and composed aural memento mori in this regard. As humans, we occupy a unique place in the saga of mortality, and these women in particular offer illuminating perspectives on the subject as it relates to the afterlife, funerals & wakes, ancestral memories, etc.


Track List

O Death – Jen Titus
Waiting Around to Die – The Be Good Tanyas
Harmonica – Anna von Hausswolff
Cross Bones Style – Cat Power
Wakes – Nina Nastasia
Sleeping Dead – Emily Jane White
Caleb Meyer – Gillian Welch
Fancy Funeral – Lucinda Williams
Long Ride Home – Patty Griffin
Family – Dar Williams
Buried in Teeth – Mariee Sioux
The Dirt – Mirel Wagner
Into Dust – Mazzy Star
Herb Girls Of Birkenau – Rasputina
Eulogy – La Vampires & Zola Jesus
Gallows – Cocorosie
A Lily For The Spectre – Stephanie Dosen
White Fire – Angel Olsen
Graveyard – Feist
Suzanne & I Anna – Calvi
Many Funerals – Eisley
My Boy Builds Coffins – Florence + The Machine
Living Dead – Marine and the Diamonds
Happy Phantom – Tori Amos

There are, of course, songs not included here which you might have on your own personal “Death and the Maiden” playlist – there is so much fantastically beautiful, heartbreaking, music to choose from that taps into our experiences with death and dying, and so your results may vary! Music is intensely personal and so, this list reflects the author’s own experiences.

Feel free to post your own playlist and comments.

‘Gallows’ Cocorosie [2010]

S. Elizabeth is a fancier of fine old things, nostalgic whimsies and magics both macabre and melancholy. She is a shadow seamstress, star stitcher, word witch and weaver of the weird. She currently lives among the mosses and swamps, enjoys her coffee a great deal, and is a friend to all felines.


5 responses to “Death has a voice”

  1. […] ‘Death has a voice’….a haunting soundtrack for your weekend, curated by yours truly for Death and the Maiden. […]

  2. […] This post comes to you via DEAD MAIDENS dot com. […]

  3. […] to Death and the Maiden, not once, but […]

  4. […] lovely Sarah Elizabeth of Unquiet Things who alerted me to Jen Titus. The track is featured on a spectacularly spooky playlist that she put together for Death & The […]

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