But does it really have to be that way? Shouldn’t a $2 million speaker system sound like a million bucks, and not like World War II? There’s only one right answer to that question, and it rhymes with “guess.”
Since nothing says “Music City” like actual music, below is a list of 20 (22 actually, because fuck it!) alarmingly topical songs the city should set to blare out of these 20 new storm-warning sirens. From Johnny Cash to JEFF the Brotherhood, each is, in the event of a twister, literally, lyrically and sonically pitch perfectly sound to hastily rustle you out of bed in the dead of night.
Skrillex, "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”
Listening to this dubstep anthem feels like being stuck in a nightmare from which you cannot wake up. Ironically, with its piercing squeals, gut-rumbling drops and repeated “Oh my God’s!” it’s one of the most alarming tracks in the history of recorded music.
It’s got sirens! But Gene Simmons will sue the dick off the city for using it.
Drake, Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Eminem, "Forever”
This song is all air horns, sirens and disharmonic chest-beating. If this hip-hop supergroup had a name, it would be The First Responders.
Nelson, "After the Rain”
First off, I forgot that this is one of the funniest music videos ever made. The rain will wash away the tears and all the pain — so say twins Gunnar and Matthew Nelson in this Def Leppard knockoff. Until then, take cover and stay the fuck away from windows.
Eddie Rabbitt, "I Love a Rainy Night”
I mean, c’mon!
The Chemical Brothers, "Song to the Siren”
No, it’s not a Jeff Buckley cover. You’re thinking about Tim Buckley’s “Hallelujah.”
Meat Loaf, "Sailor to a Siren”
First line: “Long distance callin' in the middle of a rainy night.” Case closed.
Roxy Music, Siren (full album)
Nothing assuages anxiety like Bryan Ferry’s warm, squishy croon. Siren might not wake you, but if it does, at least the wait for the storm to pass will be excellent.
Pixies, “Stormy Weather”
It’s topical and tropical!
JEFF the Brotherhood, “Hey Friend”
It kicks off with an air horn? It’s got local flavor? It’s in.
Who knows shitty weather better than Canadians? No one.
Frank Zappa, “G-Spot Tornado”
Who could ever possibly sleep through this obnoxious, whimsical cacophony? No one.
Megadeth, “Tornado of Souls”
Because nothing sounds more Mother Nature 86-ing Toto (dog, not band) from Kansas like the vocal stylings of Dave Mustaine.
Toto, “Hold the Line”
And speaking of Toto … “Africa” might mention rain (or the lack thereof), but this gem has all the urgency of a funnel cloud.
Scorpions, “Rock You Like a Hurricane”
Just because tornadoes and hurricanes aren’t the same thing doesn’t mean a tornado can’t rock you like a hurricane. Think about it.
Bob Dylan, “A Hard Rain’s a Gonna Fall” (Rolling Thunder Revue version)
Bob Dylan also sang about a hurricane once. He also sang about wind and how it blows. He sang about an idiot wind, too. Bob Dylan just loved to sing about the weather. Oh, but he says he’s not a topical songwriter. Whatever! Anyway, this is song the city should use for the sirens. And definitely, definitely, definitely this version.
Led Zeppelin, “Fool in the Rain”
A cautionary tale.
Poison, “Ride the Wind”
Another cautionary tale.
Johnny Cash, “Four Strong Winds”
I mean, DUH!
Cat Stevens, “The Wind”
Listen, if it starts to sound like a barreling freight train, head for the basement and get good with God. Click here for directions.
The Alarm, “Rain in the Summertime”
OK, God created The Alarm and The Alarm wrote this song for the sole purpose of one day (today) being included on this list.
Crowded House, “Weather With You”
A perfect love song for storm chasers and the twisters they follow?