You'd Prefer An Argonaute

The Sounds of Science

Posted in Gallimaufry by YPAA on July 26, 2009

While sifting through my iTunes library recently, I came across more than a handful of songs on the subject of science. Sometimes the lyrics directly address science, sometimes the reference is more tangential, and sometimes only the song title is relevant. I’ve included links to audio/video (of mixed quality).

Biology

Do The Evolution – Pearl Jam

Do it. Dooooooo it.

This land is mine, this land is free
I’ll do what I want but irresponsibly
It’s evolution, baby

General

The Sounds of Science – The Beastie Boys

I’ve got science for any occasion
Postulating theorems formulating equations
Cheech wizard in a snow blizzard
Eating chicken gizzards with a girl named Lizzy
Dropping science like Galileo dropped the orange

The Scientists – Hum

She said I made some new connections to astound them all
in ways we’ve never dreamed about

This is what we all dream about in lab. One of my favorite bands couldn’t have stated it better.

My Mathematical Mind – Spoon

Yeah, damn this thing. Why must it insist on half-a-tick-mark accuracy on my P1000?!

Physics

Why Does The Sun Shine? (The Sun Is A Mass Of Incandescent Gas) – They Might Be Giants

Ok, this song definitely takes the cake for the scienceiest song from a legitimate rock band I’ve ever heard.
You must listen to it–it’s a real hoot.

The sun is a mass of incandescent gas
A gigantic nuclear furnace
Where hydrogen is built into helium
At a temperature of millions of degrees

What Is The Light? – The Flaming Lips

What is the light
That you have
Shining all around you?
Is it chemically derived?

Colours – Hot Chip

Colors are a fascinating physical phenomenon. This song has a real nice melody, and sounds really sciencey too.

Chemistry

Polyethylene (Parts 1&2) – Radiohead

So sell your suit and tie and come and live with me
Leukemia schizophrenia polyethylene
There is no significant risk to your health
She used to be beautiful once as well

Plastic bag, middle class, polyethylene
Decaffeinate, unleaded, keep all surfaces clean

The Chemistry Of Common Life – Fucked Up

Here but for the spinning of a sphere,
Electric skies and vibrations rise the breach,
the birth, the seed inside,
The chemistry of common life

Chemical Elements

Lithium – Nirvana

Cobain was speaking about atomic number 3; or maybe he was talking about mood stabilizing drugs.
Who cares the song rocks.

Aluminum – The White Stripes

The great Detroit troubadour Jack White went simple for the lyrics to this song.
Oh yeah, and this track is off their album White Blood Cells.

AAaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!
AAaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!
AAaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!

BioMedicine

Better Living Through Chemistry – Queens Of The Stone Age

The blue pill opens your eyes
Is there a better way?
A new religion prescribed
To those without the faith

Sister Morphine – The Rolling Stones

Here I lie in my hospital bed
Tell me, Sister Morphine, when are you coming round again?
Oh, I don’t think I can wait that long
Oh, you see that I’m not that strong

Cocaine Blues – Bob Dylan

Hey baby you better come here quick
This ol’ cocaine is making me sick
Cocaine all around my brain

Yeah, it’ll do that.

Space

Man On The Moon – R.E.M.

If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon
. . . Newton got beaned by the apple good. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
. . . Mister Charles Darwin had the gall to ask. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

The Apollo Programme Was A Hoax – Refused

No it wasn’t. It happened. Listen to the R.E.M. song.

Polemic and Beyond

Science – System Of A Down

Science fails to recognize the single most
potent element of human existence
letting the reigns go to the unfolding
is faith, faith, faith, faith

What Would Wolves Do? – Les Savy Fav

The world may seem cruel
The world may hate us
In time we will show the world why the world made us

God Makes No Mistakes – Loretta Lynn

You might be wondering why a song with this title is on this list. I find the lyrics really fascinating actually; while a scientist’s explanation for these “mistakes” may be far simpler, they are probably unlikely to resonate as profoundly as Lynn’s with most people.

Why I’ve heard people say
Why is my child blind
Why is that old drunk still livin’
When a daddy like mine is dyin’
our blessed father gives us life
has the power to take it away
There’s no reason for what he does
God makes no mistakes

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