Welcome back to Takeover Tuesday, where each week Billboard taps chart-topping artists and taste-makers to compile their very own playlist exclusive to Billboard. We give the artists free reign to base the list on whatever subject they choose. The only rule? Make it as creative and unique to them as possible.
This week, M. Shadows from metal quintet Avenged Sevenfold shows us what happens when rock goes extraterrestrial. His spacey selections take us on a journey from the classic “Starman” David Bowie to Beethoven to Swedish heavy metal band Ghost.
“When I’m by myself asking the questions that many of us do at some point in our lives, I look to the stars knowing that the answers are somewhere out there waiting to be discovered,” he told Billboard. “Music and space collide for me as I find them incredibly stimulating.”
Avenged Sevenfold just announced the upcoming Dec. 15 release of the deluxe version of their album, The Stage, which initially debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200. After that, their tour will kick off in Nashville on Jan. 12.
Take a look at M. Shadows’ “Songs That Take Me to Outer Space” playlist and his explanations for each pick below.
1. David Bowie – “Blackstar”
“I heard this song for the first time after he passed away. Its arrangement, subject matter and video make it otherworldly. It’s long but worth investing the time.”
2/3. Pink Floyd – “Brain Damage” / “Eclipse”
“The final two songs on ‘Dark Side of the Moon.’ It combines the human element and our yearning for answers in a way that blows my mind.”
4. Elton John – “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding”
“This song is the one I warm up to for live shows and still feels as special as the first time I heard it.”
5. Daft Punk – “Contact”
“From the dialog far above earth to the sounds of taking off for the stars, this one paints a vivid picture.”
6. Gustav Holst – “Mars: Bringer of War”
“I just saw this played live at the Hollywood Bowl. Brilliant rendition of what us humans feel violence in space should sound like.”
7. Dream Theater – “Disappear”
“They paint a somber picture with this song. The atmosphere brings a tear to the eye every time.”
8. Rainbow – “Gates of Babylon”
“The bridge alone belongs on this list. Such beautiful chords. Lets the mind wander.”
9. Ghost B.C. – “Genesis”
The last song on their debut album. Feels as though you are traveling in deep space never to return.
10. Avenged Sevenfold – “Fermi Paradox”
“The song asks the question, ‘if life outside our planet must exist, then where is it?’
11. Soundgarden – “Black Hole Sun”
“Brilliant chords that coulda been written for a Beatles album. Chris shines on this one.”
12. Beethoven – “Moonlight Sonata”
“By far the most heartwrenching chords I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing. Whenever we take a flight, I listen to this song on take-off and landing and stare out into the horizon. Flying at night when the moon is out is also a trip while listening to this song.”
13. Elton John – “Rocket Man”
“The thought of leaving this world to explore a new frontier and having to leave your loved ones behind forever is heartbreaking.”
14. Pink Floyd – “Shine on You Crazy Diamond Parts 6-9”
“This is the reprise to another perfect song but the way they change things up and introduce some darker elements takes me away every time.”
15. David Bowie – “Space Oddity”
“Another crushing story. Major Tom lost in space forever and with him a little piece of all of us.”
16. Avenged Sevenfold – “Exist”
“We wrote this song about the big bang, human reflection and the future. If this song can’t make a space list then I’m not sure what would.”