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The Musical Relevance of ‘The Walking Dead’

10 songs inspired by the AMC Original Series

Music continues to play an interesting role in the zombie-filled apocalyptic nightmare that is The Walking Dead. Based on the award-winning comic series created by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore, the AMC original series tells the story of Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln) a police officer who wakes up from a coma to find out the hospital, his hometown, and even major cities have been quarantined.

Struggling to adjust to the world post-zombie apocalypse, Rick manages to find a group of survivors and is reunited with his son, wife and former partner… that, of course, was eight seasons ago and a lot has happened since then. The group found Sophia locked up Herschel barn; escaped to the prison where they faced against their first real adversary, The Governor; they fled from the cannibals at Terminus and eventually made a home for themselves behind the walled-in community of Alexandria before going to war with Negan (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the Saviors.

Since the show began there have been a variety of songs that have helped enhance key moments on The Walking Dead, whether it was the sound of Beth Greene (played by Emily Kinney) and Maggie Rhee (played by Lauren Cohan) singing “The Parting Glass” on their way to the jail, watching Negan torture Daryl Dixon (played by Norman Reedus) by repeatedly making him listen to the song “Easy Street” by The Collapsable Hearts Clubor the bittersweet sacrifice Sasha made while listening to “Someday We’ll All Be Free” by Donny Hathaway, so many of the shows most pivotal moments are motivated by music.

Even some of the most memorable moments from this past season were influenced by music, including an emotional letter-writing sequence where Carl Grimes (played by Chandler Riggs), faced with his own mortality prepares for the end to the tune of “At the Bottom of Everything” by Bright Eyes.

The show’s original score was written by Bear McCreary, the now 39-year-old composer who first became known for his work on the reimagined Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009). Since then, he has worked on composing music for film, television, and video games, including Eureka, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Da Vinci’s Demons, Black MirrorOutlander, Dark Void, SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALsand God of War.

The comic series began in 2003, followed by televised live-action series debut in 2010, and has since become a major influence on a great many musicians and artists.

Here are just 10 of our favorite tracks inspired by the AMC series The Walking Dead:

#1) Waka Flocka Flame – “Walking Dead” 

This Sunday will be the Season 8 finale of The Walking Dead… well, it just so happens that not only does the track include a sample of the theme by Bear McCreary, but it was released on Part 8 of the Atlanta rapper’s Waka Flocka Myers mixtape series.

#2) Justin Timberlake – “Supplies” 

Perhaps the former N*Sync heartthrob watches the show on a regular basis? Either way, he clearly understands its fandom and makes mention of the show a few times in the track.

I’ll be the generator, turn me on when you need electricity / Some shit’s ’bout to go down / I’ll be the one with the level head / The world can end now / Baby, we’ll be livin’ in The Walking Dead

#3) C. the Producer feat. DatBoiMccoy – “Rick Grimes” 

This instrumental track from C. the Producer of VibeLab is a pretty wild trap beat that seems apropos for the name “Rick Grimes.”

#4) Portugal. the Man – “Heavy Games”

Portugal. the Man wrote this song specifically for the show sometime between their seventh studio album, Evil Friends (2013), and the 2017 Grammy Award-winning album, Woodstock. It was also featured in the mid-season trailer for Season 4.

#5) Internal Fatal Error – “Michonne”

The Argentinan songwriter writes this haunting ballad fit for the group’s sword-wielding badass Michonne (portrayed in the show by Danai Gurira).

#6) Emily Kinney – “Last Chance” 

Before being cast as the recurring character Beth Greene, Emily Kinney primarily performed in the theater before being cast for the Showtime series The Big C, and NBC’s Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Her album, This is War, was released in 2015, following her final appearance on the show and features this track about taking one “Last Chance” at the end of the world.

“Nothin’ much to say / Pretty sure the world is gonna end today. Drink up one last whiskey, head to the dance / Baby, this is our last chance.”

#7) We are the Flesh – “Negan” 

This horror-based metal group wrote a song dedicated to the bat-swinging fearless leader of The Saviors. “Who is Negan? I am Negan.”

#8) Eclipse – “Grime” 

Emily Kinney is not the only part of The Walking Dead family making music. Chandler Riggs released his four-song Lunar EP earlier this year under his stage-name, Eclipse. This track was a no-brainer in honor of the late Carl Grimes.

#9) Reverie – “Slowly Going the Way of Rick Grimes and Shane”

Reverie is a four-piece punk group from Brisbane, Australia, who blend a ’90s influenced emo sound with a modern post-rock twist.

#10) Lil Wop – “The Walking Dead” 

This is the second time that Lil Wop has been featured for his 2017 mixtape Wopavelli 3 which features a sort of Halloween motif.

Be sure to also check out the season 8 finale of The Walking Dead on AMC this Sunday night at 9 p.m. EST / 8 p.m. CST


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