Song Analysis – Zombies Ate My Neighbors

15 03 2009

Sorry for the delay in getting this up! I was having issues pulling up umw blogs.

My song is called Zombies Ate My Neighbors and it is by Single File. Yes, it’s really about zombies. I decided to take a pop culture approach to this assignment. I’ll put the lyrics and my analysis behind a cut so it doesn’t take up too much room:


so call the neighbor kids,
the trash can lids,
with buckets on their heads,
i’m telling you,
we’re gonna need a little help tonight

so hey man, check this out,
downtown there’s rioting,
somethings spreading through the crowd,
try channel 9,
i’m pretty sure they’re heading
straight for this part of town,
i can’t be certain,
but i swear i hear them just outside,
there’s no way that this is real,
so count me in

so grab something sharp,
find some cover,
kill the lights,
nail the back door shut,
this isn’t funny anymore,
oh, no, this means war

to take this the wrong way,
i’d much rather choke and die,
than sit alone and fall with out a fight

so call the neighbor kids,
the trash can lids,
with buckets on their heads,
i’m telling you,
we’re gonna need a little help tonight,
so call the neighbor kids,
the trash can lids,
with buckets on their heads,
i’m telling you,
we’re gonna need a little help tonight

and there she was,
wearing,
with olive eyes,
and chocolate skin,
don’t need to know,
that i won’t be holding back tonight,
she stole my heart,
i’ll be taking hers with a long dart now,
but look at the bright side,
it’s not like she had one there to start,
something tells me,
it’s gonna be a long night,

so grab something sharp,
find some cover,
kill the lights,
nail the back door shut,
this isn’t funny anymore,
oh, no, this means war,
and something tells me,
it’s gonna be a long night

so call the neighbor kids,
the trash can lids,
with buckets on their heads,
i’m telling you,
we’re gonna need a little help tonight,
so call the neighbor kids,
the trash can lids,
with buckets on their heads,
i’m telling you,
we’re gonna need a little help tonight

“Zombies Ate My Neighbors” by Single File is the chronicle of a zombie attack, set to music. At first, and even second, listen, the song sounds like pop-punk light-hearted fun. However, the song actually addresses multiple interesting social and cultural issues.

The fear of zombies is nothing new. Myths and stories about zombies, or the living dead, can be found in nearly every culture around the world. Zombies are found in the Epic of Gilgamesh and One Thousand and One Nights. Historically, zombies were seen as either beings brought back from the dead to be controlled by a master, in order to avenge some wrong, or to haunt the living. While these early zombies were typically two-dimensional, mindless drones, modern zombies have become aggressive, bloodthirsty, mindless drones bent on human destruction.

Zombies embody many of our worst fears: death, a loss of free will, a reversion to our animal nature, incurable sickness, and the apocalyptic end of the world. Zombie films have been popular since the 1930s and have only grown in popularity since the 1960s. George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Return of the Living Dead, just to name a few, set the stage for the modern zombie – who had become so familiar that Michael Jackson’s 1984 “Thriller” video was shown on MTV, safe for the entire family to watch. Contemporary films include the Resident Evil trilogy, 28 Days Later and its sequel, and I Am Legend, which grossed over 500 million dollars.

“Zombies Ate My Neighbors” begins by expositing that there are riots downtown and something is spreading through the town. “There’s no way this is real,” sings the lead singer, “so count me in.” A zombie attack seems to be the modern generation’s Red Scare: an ever-present danger, capable of wreaking worldwide destruction and the end of our way of life. With lines like, “This means war,” and “I’m much rather choke and die than sit alone and fall without a fall” bring to mind a more serious conflict than the melody suggests. The narrator’s account of shooting an ex-girlfriend with a lawn dart through the heart is a comedic representation of another cultural fear that zombies call to mind: that of facing the death of a loved one.

While this song may not at first glance seem to be historically significant, this is partially because we as historians need to continue to expand our studies to be culturally-inclusive. “Zombies Ate My Neighbors” represents both a long-running pop culture phenomenon and the subject of historical fascination.


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