Doomsday Clock Playlist

The Doomsday Clock Playlist is a collection of songs that mention or demonstrate direct inspiration from the Bulletin’s Doomsday Clock. You can also listen to most of the songs from the playlist on our Spotify account.

 

Know a song we should add to the playlist 

The Doomsday Clock continues to be an inspiration and reference in pop culture. If you know of a song that mentions or is inspired by the Doomsday Clock—tweet it to us @BulletinAtomic or email it to us at [email protected] 

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Wasteland, Baby! — Hozier, 2019 

Hozier explained at a concert in Reno, NV that this song—as well as the entire 2019 album, Wasteland, Baby! — was inspired by the Doomsday Clock moving to two minutes to midnight.  

“[I] was writing much of this album in mid-2016 … it was kind of a funny, funny time... I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the Doomsday Clock … but it moved forward two minutes to midnight, which is just generally considered not a good thing. So, I was, you know, for the hell of it I was writing a few love songs for the end of the world.”  Hozier, December 2019 

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The Doomsday Clock — Smashing Pumpkins, 2007 

“Doomsday Clock” is the opening track on Smashing Pumpkins’ album ZeitgeistBilly Corgan, the lead singer, primary songwriter, and guitarist of the band, explained why the song was inspired by the Doomsday Clock.  

“If you want to understand the Doomsday Clock inspiration, its simple... I’m an American. Being an American right now, that is my experience. I feel like I’m watching something ticking down … I don’t know what’s ticking down, I don’t know why it’s ticking down, I don’t know who is moving the hands on the clock … but I certainly feel like an observer.”  Billy Corgan, AT&T Blue Room, July 2007 

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Easy/Lucky/Free” — Bright Eyes, 2005 

In 2005, Bright Eyes released this song which references a symbolic “atomic clock”  

I set my watch to the atomic clock
I hear the crowd count down ‘til the bomb gets dropped
I always figured that there’d be time enough
I never let it get me down.

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2 Minutes To Midnight” — Iron Maiden, 1984 

British heavy metal band Iron Maiden released this song in 1984. The song rose to number 11 on the UK singles chart. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t mention either 1980s Cold War tensions or the Cuban Missile Crisis but was instead inspired by hydrogen bomb tests in the 1950s.  

2 minutes to midnight
The hands that threaten doom
2 minutes to midnight 
To kill the unborn in the womb.

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Why Did I Fall For That?” — The Who, 1982 

The Who’s album It’s Hard taps into early 1980s nuclear anxiety. This song mentions the Doomsday Clock specifically.  

Four minutes to midnight on a sunny day
maybe if we smile the clock’ll fade away
maybe we can force the hands to just reverse.

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The Call Up — The Clash, 1980

This single off The Clash’s Sandinista! triple album features the Doomsday Clock reference: “At 55 minutes past eleven / There is a rose. This anti-draft, anti-war song also featured the anti-nuclear B-side "Stop the World" from the British rockers.

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Quarter Past Midnight” — Bastille, 2019

Not only did this British band call its third album Doom Daysits concert tour poster also evokes the Doomsday Clock design. Lyrics include: 
 
And it's a quarter past twelve 
And you said we'd leave this place in dust 
And fall from heaven straight through hell 
We never know what we have 
We never knew what we had

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“Two Suns in the Sunset” — Pink Floyd, 1983

This song is the closing track of Pink Floyd’s album The Final Cut. In June 2020, Roger Waters who was a songwriter, singer, bassist, and composer for the band released an updated, solo cover of this song. The music video starts off with a reference to the Doomsday Clock stating that:

We’re at one hundred seconds to midnight on the doomsday clock.

This is the closest the Human Race has ever been to nuclear catastrophe.

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“Minutes to Midnight” — Linkin Park, 2007

The title of Linkin Park’s 3rd studio album, Minutes to Midnight, is a reference to the hands of the Doomsday Clock. At the time the album was released in 2007, the Clock stood at 5 minutes to midnight.

"Hoping to continue its colossal success, the group spent more than a year working on Minutes to Midnight — a reference to the Doomsday Clock — writing over 100 demos and eventually settling on 12 tracks that Shinoda describes as a “breakthrough in the development of the band’s sound," wrote Dana Rodriguez in an article for Broadcast Music, Inc.

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“Seven Minutes to Midnight” — Wah! Heat, 1980

This 1980 single by Wah! Heat, refers to that year's change of the Doomsday Clock from nine to seven minutes to midnight.

 

 

 

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“Minutes to Midnight” — Midnight Oil, 1984

Midnight Oil's 1984 LP Red Sails in the Sunset includes a song called “Minutes to Midnight.” The album's cover also shows an aerial-view rendering of Sydney after a nuclear strike.

I look at the clock on the wall
It says three minutes to midnight
Faith is blind when we're so near

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"The Circle in the Square" — Flobots, 2012

In 2012, Flobots released this song which referenced the Doomsday Clock's setting that year.

Whatever time it was when you began
The clock is now 11:55 on the big hand

So you're invited into the circle that we sleep in
Invited to depend on friendships we deepen
To uncover the secrets in the [breath] that we're bleepin'
The treasures maps we pretend we do not believe in

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"EFFED" — Flobots, Snowy ft. Jason Williamson, 2019

One minute to midnight on the Doomsday Clock is heavily referenced in this song by Snowy and Jason Williamson. This track was later championed by a number of BBC Radio DJs including Iggy Pop.

I can tell something ain't right
It's one minute to midnight

 

Sting

"Russians" — Sting, 1985

A forebodding clock, reminiscent of the Doomsday Clock, appears throughout of the 1985 music video for this song from String's debut solo album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles.

There's no such thing as a winnable war
It's a lie we don't believe anymore
Mister Reagan says, "We will protect you"
I don't subscribe to this point of view
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too

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The Doomsday Clock is a design that warns the public about how close we are to destroying our world with dangerous technologies of our own making. It is a metaphor, a reminder of the perils we must address if we are to survive on the planet.

When the Doomsday Clock was created in 1947, the greatest danger to humanity came from nuclear weapons, in particular from the prospect that the United States and the Soviet Union were headed for a nuclear arms race. The Bulletin considered possible catastrophic disruptions from climate change in its hand-setting deliberations for the first time in 2007.

Learn more about the Doomsday Clock and its current time.

Learn more about the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and read our coverage of nuclear issues, climate change and disruptive technologies.