Skeletons hold incredible symbolic importance. For instance, they’re often used as reminders of mortality. Something that interested individuals might have come upon from time to time. However, bones can have other meanings in other cultures. One excellent example would be the Aztecs, who saw them as the seeds of new life. Regardless, skeletons play an outsized role in human imagery. Unsurprisingly, that means there are a decent number of songs about them in one way or another.
Here are ten of the best songs about skeletons ever released:
10. “Little Bones” – The Tragically Hip
The Tragically Hip released “Little Bones” on Road Apples in 1991. It missed becoming a Top 10 hit in Canada, but it was popular enough to claim the number 11 position. Indeed, “Little Bones” became one of the Tragically Hip’s best-known songs. Funny enough, it is nowhere near as ominous as one might expect based on its name. The song received its name from two coincidences. One was a fictional cat named Little Bones, while the other was a taxi driver telling the band’s frontman to eat his fried chicken slowly because it had little bones.
9. “Feel It In My Bones” – Tiesto Featuring Tegan and Sara
“Feel It In My Bones” is the product of DJ Tiesto’s team-up with the Canadian duo Teagan and Sara. Generally, people believe the song is about a change in a relationship that caught the narrator by surprise. The choice of theme enhanced the intended emotional punch.
8. “Pillow of Your Bones” – Chris Cornell
Pillows aren’t necessarily made out of soft materials. The Egyptians were known to have used stone and wood, while the Chinese had a noticeable preference for ceramic. Still, a pillow made out of bone would be eyebrow-raising by most standards. Of course, Chris Cornell wasn’t singing about a literal object in this song. Instead, the lyrics are about drugs. The high is described in exalted terms. In contrast, the titular pillow seems to be a stand-in for the real world.
7. “Bones” – Imagine Dragons
The search for meaning is an age-old quest with no chance of being resolved for the general public anytime soon. “Bones” is a product of Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds’s thoughts on these lines. Specifically, he was spurred to write it because of personal loss. Something that often puts people in a contemplative mood for understandable reasons.
6. “Boneyard” – Jon Cleary
“Boneyard” is one of those words packed with meaning. It’s often used as an alternative for “cemetery.” However, it can also refer to a place where animal skeletons have accumulated for whatever reason. Regardless, “Boneyard” is another song mulling over mortality. It stands out because it takes a catchier and more playful approach to a heavy subject than interested individuals might expect.
5. “Bag of Bones” – Guy Clark
Unsurprisingly, “Bag of Bones” also concerns itself with the looming specter of death. Curiously, it also deals with the subject of where the personality resides. Many people would argue that we are our bodies. Still, there are plenty of people who believe in a separation of the self from the vessel that houses it. Here, the narrator identifies more with his spirit than his body. It’s easy to sympathize with his position when his body is gradually failing because of encroaching old age.
4. “Skeletons of Society” – Slayer
The natural association of skeletons with bodily death means they make easy stand-ins for similar concepts. It seems safe to say that this song is about a post-apocalyptic world brought to that state by what sounds like an all-out nuclear war. As such, the title refers to the remnants of the old world, which stand as stark reminders of the death and destruction that have been visited upon the planet and its inhabitants.
3. “Skeletons In the Closet” – Alice Cooper
Given the name, interested individuals would expect this song to be about someone haunted by the secrets of his past. There is reason to believe that these are connected to PTSD. This is because “Skeletons in the Closet” was released on Alice Cooper’s Special Forces, which took on military themes. It’s easy to interpret the song as showing the tormented and tumultuous thoughts roiling beneath the narrator’s usual bombast and bluster.
2. “Skin and Bones” – Foo Fighters
“Skin and Bones” was the title track of a live acoustic album. However, it wasn’t original to that release. Instead, the song was the B-side to an earlier Foo Fighters song, “DOA.” It seems safe to say that the names of these two songs were no coincidence. After all, “DOA” stands for “dead on arrival.” For comparison, “Skin and Bones” doesn’t paint a picture of glowing health. If anything, it’s all too apt a descriptor of the decline that some people experience toward the end. Indeed, the lyrics seem to suggest exactly this, thus making this song another reminder of the inevitable end. What people take away from such reminders varies from person to person.
1. “Bones” – The Killers
Everyone agrees that “Bones” is about sex. The curious part is that people often read something more unpleasant in the lyrics. In particular, many think the narrator wants sex even though he doesn’t care about the woman he’s propositioning one bit. If anything, he downright dislikes her, so much so that it sounds like he’s more or less taunting her into doing what he wants. “Bones” was never as popular as “When You Were Young.” Even so, it reached number 21 in the United States and 15 in the United Kingdom. Interested individuals might want to check out the music video, which used skeleton imagery throughout.
You can also read:
- The 10 Best Alice Cooper Songs of All-Time
- The 10 Best Eydie Gorme Songs of All-Time
- The 10 Best Foo Fighters Songs of All-Time
- The 10 Best The Killers Songs of All-Time
- The 10 Best Cypress Hill Songs of All-Time