Pair #31: "Shoot the Zombies"

Original Post Date: January 16, 2007
Runtime: 1:15
Genres: Pop/Novelty
Compilation Album: Pink Pants

Prompt Summary: [Paid Song] a short, upbeat, catchy song about zombies' habits and how to kill them

Like a zombie rising from the grave, I return with a post about the song I promised on last Halloween to cover this Halloween. Where have I been?* Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…brains???

One of the most treasured Songs to Wear Pants To, "Shoot the Zombies" is a hilarious tonal mismatch between music and lyrics. On the one hand, you have some rather graphic lyrics about zombies and zombie murder, while on the other, you have a jaunty pop beat, complete with jangly guitar and a fast pace. Truly a magnificent combination of pop-culture phenomena: upbeat pop music, zombies, and violence.

If you're squeamish, you may or may not want to steer clear of "Shoot the Zombies." One particularly gruesome line, sung against a sparse yet ironically cheerful guitar instrumental, is, "They'll limp around in blood and cover things in stains." While not as explicit as it could have been, it still paints…quite a picture! The song also explains that "the best way to kill zombies is by shooting them in the head," which is a profoundly violent piece of advice that is especially jarring to hear in such a peppy melody.

It's that juxtaposition of dark lyrics and light music, paired with the beloved, memetic topic of zombies, that likely shot this song close to the top of STWPT's all-time list. I'm personally not a fan of zombies—I find them uninspired and boring—but I can never get enough of "Shoot the Zombies." It's one of Andrew's funniest and, violence aside, most fun songs.

In the original STWPT website post for this song, Andrew tagged this song with some heavy-hitters, including "Andrew's Favorites," "Fan Favorites," and the prestigious "Front Page" tag, which ensured that it would show up on the site's front page after the project died down. Another curious tag included was "Instruction Manuals," which only showed up on a small handful of songs throughout the years, including—as I just noticed almost a full year after writing about it—"How I Make a Rap Song…." These seem to be analogous to narrative songs, but instead of telling a story, they provide directions for accomplishing some sort of task, like making a rap song…or killing zombies effectively. (Can you actually kill a zombie, though? Aren't they technically already dead? I dunno. Stupid.)

One of the last Songs to Wear Pants To was a remix of "Shoot the Zombies," in an even lighter musical style reminiscent of "Pink Fluffy Unicorns…," which makes for an even wilder tonal inconsistency. This remix apparently never showed up on the STWPT website, but it is included towards the end of the last album, Corduroy, with Tassles (2011). You can also check it out on YouTube. As of this posting, the remix is one of the top 5 most listened-to songs by Songs to Wear Pants To on Spotify.

If you go trick-or-treating tonight, please leave your firearms home. Any zombies you see are definitely living human beings in costume and/or makeup and not actual zombies. Probably.

*I started another post back in March(!) that I completely forgot about until today lol. It's, like, at least 2/3 done, so I'm not sure why I never got around to finishing it. Oh, well! I'll do that in the near future. I pwomise!

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