For the modern human, there are a lot of ways to die. In addition to the classics (cancer, gunfight, piano falling on head, etc.) the technology-obsessed society in which we live offers many options that, up until recently, were never even conceivable. For example, it’s now possible to get crushed to death at a Pearl Jam concert. They never used to have that.
This is why I’m pretty angry that I was recently almost done in by a bus. A bus! The earliest humans have been getting killed that way. Whether it’s the
chariot of the classical age, or the massive rolling boulder that I assume prehistoric humans used to get around in, people have been getting smacked
by their transports.
But what’s even more of a tragedy is that, if I had died, someone else would’ve been left in charge of the music at my funeral. And you know how it is these days. No one parties at funerals anymore. Instead, they’re a time for people to dress up like Robert Smith, complain about all of the dead person’s gambling debts, and cry. That’s not for me. My funeral should be a time to get down, drunk, and dirty. If that bus had been halfa-second sooner, some relative of mine would’ve gone through my record collection, picking out all the Nick Drake and Elliott Smith, thinking that it was somehow the way I wanted to be remembered.
So I’m going to set it in stone. Right here, I’m making it clear. This is how I would’ve wanted my funeral done, and how I’d like it to be. Five songs for death:
1. “Gonna Have a Funky Good Time (Doin’ It To Death)” – James Brown
It’s important to establish early that this funeral isn’t for messing around. This essential funk beat, and the constant seductive repeat of “We’re gonna have a funky good time” will make sure people arriving at the funeral know that they’re now obligated to get down in a serious kind of way. Also, the title in parentheses implies that this song is more or less how I lived my life, and I’d like people to think that wherever I went, this beat followed with me. As the song hits its jazzier sections, the eulogy will be performed entirely as an interpretive dance by someone dressed as Bootsy from Funkadelic.
2. “Monster Mash” – Bobby “Boris” Pickett
Now that James has secured the party, and the eulogy is over, I want the congregation to really step up the boogie. Ideally, people have had the foresight show up in monster costumes, and if that’s the case, then this classic by Bobby “Boris” Pickett will ensure the flow of liquor and some eerie action on the dance floor (which will be set up overtop other people’s graves). This will be a bit of a special effects show: I’ll have hydraulics set up in my coffin, so that when Pickett sings, “Out from his coffin, Drac’s voice did ring” my body will spring up to a sitting position just in time to say, “Whatever happened to my Transylvania twist?”
3. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” – the Beach Boys
After the boogie part of the funeral, I’d like people to take a moment to share with each other all the great things I’ve said and done (the song may have to be played three or four times to adequately complete this). The charming nature of this Beach Boys classic is an obvious choice, as people can postulate exactly what I might’ve done with life had that bus not turned me into a weekend’s work for the carwash. And maybe if they “think and wish and hope and pray, it might come true.” Or maybe not, because I’m dead.
4. A Dedication: “Closer” – Nine Inch Nails
For this portion, people will be instructed to take their seats for a very special dedication. As a hush falls over the congregation, it will be explained how I wanted this song to be played for my dear girlfriend, the light of my life, as a token of my love which, though I’ve passed on from my physical state, will never die. I want her to sit next to my parents as Trent Reznor sings this moving ode to true love. There will be a camera closely recording them as they grow increasingly uncomfortable, the tension reaching a crescendo as he declares, “I want to fuck you like an animal.”
5. “Disco Inferno” – Tina Turner
Time to get rid of this damn body! Time for the main event! At this point, the congregation will head to the mausoleum, where this Tina gem will be blasting with as much bass as the foundation of the building can stand. The fire will be blazing, the heat will be rising, the people will be dancing, a disco ball will spin wildly in the strobe light above go-go dancers in cages, and my coffin will be inching its way into the inferno. The climax will be the moment my body is completely engulfed in flames, at which point the casket will shoot out rockets of sparks as Tina sings, “Just can’t stop/When my spark gets hot” and the people continuously chant “Burn baby burn/Burn that mother down!”
There you have it: a danceable funeral for the modern age. No plucking at heartstrings, just synth and bass. My only regret is that I won’t be there to break it down with them. I’ll be on my way to that great discotheque in the sky…