Get excited! Another installment of your favorite weekly column! This is the Halloween edition! Featuring some really spooky songs! Submit songs for future installments in the comments or to me directly through Facebook or email! Check it out hereand the archive here! And be afraid. Be very afraid. #2spooky4me
Dracula - Bea Miller
I LOVE HALLOWEEN. This song just gets me in a very halloween-y mood. It has such an interesting sound and Bea Miller is so talented.
Aphex Twin - Come to Daddy (Pappy Mix):
Remember that guy I recommended a couple of weeks ago? Yeah. He makes all kinds of music.Unlike Rhubarb, which was ambient and laid-back, this song is instead influenced by industrial music, causing it to be much more aggressive and in your face. It isn't really like traditional Halloween music, but it's still very freakish and creepy. The song features a heavily distorted bassline, frantic drum patterns, and the musician himself (his name is Richard D. James in real life) growling the song's repetitive lyrics. It all climaxes near the end with Richard screaming, which comes out of nowhere, and is an effective ending to the song. In addition to the song, there's also it's (in)famous music video, directed by Chris Cunningham (he would also go on to direct videos for artists like Madonna and Portishead as a result of this video), which somehow got lots of airplay on MTV. On one hand, it's just as terrifying, with the psychotic children running around, along with the creature that appears near the end of the video. Then again, they all have the musician's face, which is also pretty funny if you're not being horrified.
Andrew Gold - Spooky Scary Skeletons
For Halloween songs, it doesn't get any better than the spookiest song ever made!
Kid Cudi - No One Believes Me
Over a dark, spooky bass backed guitar melody Cudi senses "something is wrong here" but nobody believes him. In the end it appears as though something strange is going on with him the whole time. Awesome, scary vibes to this track especially in the way Cudi groans the lyrics.
Oingo Boingo - Dead Man's Party
This song is great for Halloween, the title speaks for itself.
Jarboe - Troll Lullaby
Jarboe's Troll Lullaby, like much of her other work and the work of Swans, a band that she collaborated with for a long time, is meant to unsettle. The song has a lot of qualities that help it attain that goal, the most obvious being the narrative itself, which tells a story of what would happen if you let a troll - which, from the first two lines, appears to be an invocation of the vampire literary archetype - into your life. The diction of the narrative, which remains fairly dark and spoopy throughout - "twirling demons", "water green and thick", "creep in your door" - and the syntax and rhyme scheme, which are reminiscent of a childrens' story, play a big part in the song's mood, too. Jarboe's singing further enforces the idea that the song is a childrens' story, which makes it that much creepier through its juxtaposition with the menacing instrumentation, macabre lyrics, and underlying theme. Admittedly, it might appear to be a bit silly, but that's more a fault of the medium than the song itself.
Throbbing Gristle's Hamburger Lady, off of D.o.A: The Third and Final Report of Throbbing Gristle, takes a completely different approach to fear, relying mostly on surrealism and body horror. According to Wikipedia, the song is based on a letter by Blaster Al Ackerman, who used snail mail as a medium for art. The song details the hospitalization of a victim of severe burns all over her body - the "hamburger lady". Just the words "hamburger lady" are already creepy enough - what makes the lady a "hamburger lady"? The person "is burned from the waist up,/ ...Her ear is burned,/ [and] Her eyelashes are burned," which suggests that her burns were so extensive that her skin now has the appearance of a cooked hamburger. It's a terrifying thought. Adding insult to injury, she is alive and experiencing it: "...with medical advances,/ There's no end in sight/ For hamburger lady."
In the second half of the song, it's what is not said that upholds the fear rather than what is said. The speaker says, calmly, "it came out and saw the burn net... it flashed on the carpet... it flashed on the floor." What is "it"? Is it the hamburger lady? One of the "qualified technicians"? And what does "flashed" mean? Rather than detailing the scene, vague narrations are given and it up to the listener's mind to decide. What's particularly effective about this technique is that everyone has their own personal fears, be it spiders, being buried alive, or dark, crowded places, and by being ambiguous, the listener's mind can fill in the blanks with whatever the listener is afraid of; the writer doesn't have to guess and run the risk of guessing wrong, as is probably the case for when people with different fears listen to Jarboe's Troll Lullaby.
But enough about the lyrics: the song's sonic composition is very much worth mentioning, too. Underneath Genesis P-Orridge's unusually calm vocal delivery is a faint drum like a heartbeat, sparse static and electronic noises, faint conversation, and very ominous, fluctuating fuzz noises. It's all very surreal - P-Orridge's vocals in particular - and brings the creepiness of the song to a whole new level. The drums tap into a very primal fear of being watched or hunted; at some points, the fuzz sounds like power tools, which don't belong in a hospital; the random electronic notes add an element of chaos that amplifies all of the other aspects of the song.
Hamburger Lady is quite a bit of work. Make sure you listen with headphones if you want to fully experience it.
The Raconteurs - Carolina Drama
I feel that this song belongs in the Halloween playlist for the simple fact that it gives me chills. It follows the tale of a very troubled family in Carolina, through one specific scene regarding the unknown parentage of the main character, Billy, and his younger brother. This one incredibly violent scene is viewed through Billy's eyes, and many parts of it are left to the imagination. I find it to be a very well told story, and it always gives me the perfect eerie vibe I had in mind when I suggested the theme for this playlist. I don't want to say too much about the story because they tell it very well.
Gorillaz - Dracula
I've been trying to avoid using the same artist more than once, but I feel this song both belongs in this playlist and is different enough from Clint Eastwood to warrant it. The song addresses monotony and becoming essentially a vampire in the repetition of your daily life, doing things you're not passionate about, and losing your humanity to the lack of enthusiasm present in your life.
Bobby "Boris" Pickett - The Monster Mash
This is a Halloween song that everyone knows. It has been covered countless times but nothing surpasses the greatness of the original. Along with some rather funny music videos the collective renditions of The Monster Mash are the best during Halloween.
Imagine the original Spooky Scary Skeletons. Now imagine that if it had modern instruments! The beat to this song is great and it stayed as true to the song as a remix could. Great Tune!
Drake Bell - Bitchcraft
Did you know Drake Parker is still making music? Neither did I. Anyway, “Bitchcraft” is about dealing with an evil girl (No, not Megan) in his life. The obvious word play on Witchcraft and spooky lyrics make it perfect for the season. Perhaps the only thing scarier than this song is what Nickelodeon has replaced Drake & Josh with over the years.
Idina Menzel - Let It Go
This song is a true monster. It has infected the minds of children and adults alike. The story of rock monsters, suicidal snowmen, and an ice queen threatening her people with hypothermia because she’s embarrassed. Please open your eyes and ears to the darker meaning of this story. Wake up, America.
*Not present in the playlist because it was not in Spotify.