Need a playlist for a coronavirus outbreak that would’ve seemed inconceivable just a month ago? Alternative rock band R.E.M.’s 1987 hit, It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine), might just be on that soundtrack. The buzzy hit has shown up in the top songs list on iTunes, landing at No. 41 on Monday morning. That’s up more than 20 spots from Sunday, when music and entertainment publication Consequence of Sound reported the tune was at No. 64.
A representative for R.E.M. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The song appeared on R.E.M.’s acclaimed 1987 album, Document, and includes a fast-paced, rat-a-tat-tat lyrical stream. Lyrics reference everything from Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev to comedian Lenny Bruce to the biblical Rapture. Some lyrics seem creepily apocalyptic in nature (“that’s great, it starts with an earthquake”) while others … not so much .(“Birthday party, cheesecake, jellybean, boom!”)
Back in 1987, the song hit No. 69 in the US Billboard Hot 100. This isn’t its first renaissance. The song regularly makes lists of top songs for doomsday, and has been played for 24 hours straight by radio stations in Cleveland and Canada.