10 Songs About Mass Murderers | Playlist
Move over you twisted serial killers. The equally, if not more disturbing mass murderers are the subject of our latest, criminally insane playlist.
Serial killers = bad people. Mass murderers = bad people. What’s the difference between serial killers vs. mass murderers? Interestingly, quite a bit. The key word with mass murder is the mass part, which means lots of deaths. But we won’t use this latest, greatest, dark, twisted playlist to debate something the experts have debated and discussed for years. What we will do is deliver 10 songs about mass murderers – spree killers who ripped the life right away from the innocent. While there are fewer songs devoted to mass murderers compared to serial killers, musicians and society continue to be fascinated with the sheer evil of these people.
Album: Brutal Planet, 2000
“Nothing’s Shocking” in the hands of shock rocker Alice Cooper, right? Most of the time, but in this case, Cooper was rattled by the unfortunate, tragic events at Columbine High School. According to Post-Gazette, two songs from his 2000 album Brutal Planet were “based on the killings at Columbine High School.” In an article for Chron, Michael Moore speaks about the song “Wicked Young Man” specifically:
“One of the songs on the album, ‘Wicked Young Man,’ creates a character for the dark world by combine elements from the move ‘American History X’ with gruesome recollections from the murders at Columbine.”
Cooper gives a chilling description of the dangers of hatred. He first clarifies that it’s not outside influences, but pure wickedness.
“I am a vicious young man, oh I am a wicked young man / It’s not the games that I play, the movies I see, the music I dig / I’m just a wicked young man.”
Cooper doesn’t stop there. He cites specific examples of fuel for the fire:
“I got every kind of chemical pumpin’ through my head / I read Mein Kampf daily just to keep my hatred fed / I never ever sleep I just lay in my bed / Dreamin’ of the day when everyone is dead.”
Album: Nebraska, 1982
Mass Murderer Referenced: Charles Starkweather
One of the most notable albums in the Bruce Springsteen discography is Nebraska, released in 1982. As Ian Couch writes for The New Yorker in article “The Original Wrecking Ball: Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Nebraska’,” it was a unique, thanks to its share of dark material being told from a first-person perspective. The title track tackles 19-year old spree killer, Charles Starkweather, who murdered 11 people.
“I saw her standing on her front lawn just twirling her baton / Me and her went for a ride, sir, and ten innocent people died / From the town of Lincoln, Nebraska, with a sawed-off .410 on my lap / Through to the badlands of Wyoming I killed everything in my path.”
Starkweather had an accomplice, his girlfriend Caril Ann Fugate, who was just 14. Ultimately, for his crimes, which took place in Wisconsin and Nebraska, Starkweather went to the electric chair.
“The jury brought in a guilty verdict and the judge he sentenced me to death / Midnight in a prison storeroom with leather straps across my chest.”
Album: The Tempest, 2015
Mass Murderer Referenced: Charles Whitman
Veteran hip hop duo Insane Clown Posse tackle darkness on “The Tower,” a song clearly inspired by Charles Whitman.
“There’s a psychopath, way up in the tower somewhere / And when they think they outta range [gunshot] poofs they hair.”
An unlikely mass murderer with his clean-cut, All-American looks, nonetheless, Charles Whitman was indeed a mass murderer. He’s known for his hellish killing spree atop the tower at the University of Texas in 1966.
“…I barricaded the tower doors, safe this place ain’t / Up to the top, I can see the whole planet it would seem / The sun is beatin’ on my head as I’m living my horror dream / Up-chucked a couple times then I finally took aim / The man is chattin’ on his cell phone, I splattered his brain.”
Ultimately, the former military sniper took the lives of 16 innocent victims.
“I’m finally at war again, only I ain’t takin’ orders / 200 yards below, I’m taggin’ targets small as quarters / Marksman, sniper, military precision / Spotlight on the tower, tryin’ to nullify my vision…”
Album: The Crane Wife, 2006
Mass Murderers Referenced: Shankill Butchers
The Portland, Oregon indie-pop/rock band The Decemberists go with a gang of killers from Northern Ireland – the Shankill Butchers.
“The Shankill butchers ride tonight / You better shut your windows tight / They’re sharpening their cleavers and their knives / And talking all their whiskey by the pint.”
Maybe mass murderer isn’t the correct classification. Perhaps serial killer is more accurate considering the murders occurred with different members, but whatever. Regardless, these weren’t good guys.
“They used to be just like me and you / They used to be sweet little boys / But something went horribly askew / Now killing is their only source of joy.”
The Decemberists nail it, without being a death metal band or a hardcore rapper.
“Cause everybody knows… / The Shankill butchers wanna catch you / The Shankill butchers wanna cut you / The Shankill butchers wanna catch you / awake…”
Album: Double Up, 2007
Mass Murderer Referenced: Seung-Hui Cho
R. Kelly doesn’t mention Virginia Tech Massacre perpetrator Seung-Hui Cho anywhere in “Rise up.” “Rise Up” is an uplifting, inspirational song that was penned and dedicated to the victims of the 2007 school shooting. This beautiful song is about finding strength and moving forward despite the pain, the devestation, and loss.
“And we will cry together / And we’ll fight this together / And we’ll be strong together / Stand together, pray together / Rise up, when you feel you can’t go on / Rise up, when all of your hope is gone / Rise up, when you’re weak and you can’t be strong / Rise, rise up.”
Album: Gloom, 1989
Mass Murderer Referenced: James Huberty
Macabre, a death metal band formed in the 1980s, tackles the McDonalds spree killer, James Huberty. Known for their songs about the various scum of society, Macabre have appeared on a number of our lists. “McMassacre” gives us 40 seconds of noisy, aggressive guitars, pounding drums, and coarse vocals. Among the lyrical highlights:
“You go to McDonald’s / To eat a hamburger / The next thing you know / It’s time for your murder.”
The band then continues:
“The McDonald-land killer / Pops in by surprise / Pumping his lead /Between your eyes / McDonald’s / McMassacre / McMurder / McDeath.”
For good measure, they twist the theme song of the chain:
“McDonald’s is your kind of place / It’s such a happy place / Where are you now / Ronald old buddy / Where are you now / The fries are all bloody.”
Album: State of Insurgency, 2008
Mass Murderer Referenced: Timothy McVeigh, Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold (Columbine)
Who is HeXeN? According to their Facebook artist page, they are a melodic thrash metal band from Sunland, California. Sounds perfect to tackle a song about mass murderers. Initially, “Chaos Aggressor” begins slowly and beautifully, before becoming chaotic and aggressive as the title suggests. Soon enough, the guitars are biting, jagged, and unapologetic. Likewise, the vocals are gritty, filled with angst.
The prime target of the band seems to be Timothy McVeigh, the infamous perpetrator of the Oklahoma City bombing that claimed 168 innocent lives. Expectedly, HeXeN highlights his horrific actions.
“Smell of rot, taste of hate / Eyes bloodshot, doomed by fate / Yeah I remember Timothy McVeigh / One of many whose life was burnt away.”
“Chaos to make, a world to break / Dark shadows of retaliation / Chaos to make, a world to break / All negotiation will fail.”
“Mentally ill hidden among us to kill / Extremist geniuses driven by will / Should the government take the blame? / Conspiracy is the name of the game.”
“Federal buildings seem to be the prime / They’ve caught the bastard and they put him to sleep / For the most inhumane crimes.”
HeXeN also references Columbine, though they don’t name perpetrators Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold explicitly.
“The Columbine kids once calm and relaxed / Not a trace of evil from their front to their backs / Another set of souls fallen from grace / It’s lunch time now, holding a gun to your face.”
Album: Sinister Slaughter / Behind the Walls of Sleep, 2000
Mass Murderer Referenced: Patrick Sherrill
On their second entry on this list, Macabre tackles the postal spree killer, Patrick Sherrill.
“Killing Spree (Postal Killer)” appears on the band’s reissued 2000 album, Sinister Slaughter/ Behind the Walls of Sleep. Here, Macabre delivers a manic, aggressive, lightning quick performance featuring pummeling drums, jagged, hyper-rhythmic guitars, and disturbed, aggressive vocals. Here are the lyrics, for your viewing horror:
“Bullets spraying – people praying / Show no mercy – evil slaying / Bodies flying – many dying / No escaping – relatives crying / The lead flies free for what you’ve done to me / I’ll shoot you with my gun, when you try to run / There’s nowhere to hide, you’re all locked inside / As you act dead in silence, I rage with violence / Shells ejecting – thoughts reflecting / Contemplating – suicide…”
Album: Wolf, 2013
Mass Murderers Referenced: Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold (Columbine)
I Made A Song With Dylan And Eric In Mind Called ‘Pigs’. Its On WOLF. Today Is 14 Years Since. Check That Song Out If You’re Bored….
— Tyler, The Creator (@tylerthecreator) April 20, 2013
The tweet comes “straight from the horse’s mouth.” Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the infamous Columbine perpetrators, inspired “Pigs.” Tyler, the Creator paints a picture of the social outcast perfectly.
“Geek, fag, stupid loser find a rope to hang… / I sit in my room and I listen to tunes, I’m amused alone / Cause none of the cool kids would let me join a team.”
Also, the retribution is incredibly chilling, beginning at the end of the first verse:
“But not at lunchtime, see / I know better than to show my face around them / But the day I do it’ll be everywhere / When I share these feelings finally they gon’ fucking care.”
The full-on evil is revealed, beginning on the hook:
“Grab a couple friends, start a couple riots / Crash a couple – / Gather all the bullies, crush them motherfuckers…”
On the second verse, Tyler goes on to rap:
“And recently, them assholes been fucking with me in class / So I’mma keep them motherfuckers there and make sure they pass.”
On the third verse, Tyler dispels the myth that surrounding the source of the massacre.
“Music had nothing to do with my final decision / I just really wanted somebody to come pay me attention / But nobody would listen…”
Album: Holy Wood, 2000
Mass Murderers Referenced: Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold (Columbine)
As aforementioned, musical influence was questioned in regards to the Columbine massacre. The chief artist blamed was Marilyn Manson. While ultimately it was myth, Manson responded with a song that Loudwire included in its list of Disturbing Songs People Love. Author Graham Hartmann asserts that Manson was “likely commenting on the events aftermath, along with referencing George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four.’” Safe to say, there’s nothing ‘warm and fuzzy’ about “Disposable Teens.”
On the second verse, the disposable teen gives thanks.
“I want to thank you mom / I want to thank you dad / For bringing this fucking world / To a bitter end / I never really hated the one true God / But the God of the people I hated.”
On the chorus, he sings:
“You said you wanted evolution / The ape was a great big hit / You say you want a revolution man / And I say that you’re full of shit.”
Lyrically, Marilyn Manson is always captivating. Here, he seems to be repudiating the actions of Harris and Klebold, whom he was blamed for influencing.