Six spooky songs for everyone’s spooky season
By Mead Gill, Copy & Online Editor
As the neighbors whip out their tacky Halloween yard decorations and cafe menus explode with pumpkin spice, it is clear that the spooky season has crept up yet again. Possibly the most underappreciated music genre, spooky music is sure to send shivers down the spines of any open-minded listeners. Here are six tantalizing tunes that are essential to everyone’s October playlists.
“Nothing is Safe” - clipping.
This experimental hip-hop trio led by Grammy-award-winning rapper Daveed Diggs of Hamilton fame released this absolute banger of a song just last year. The track opens with sinister plinking piano keys, followed by Diggs’ intimate lines on safety and paranoia. As the song progresses, the instrumental slowly builds layer after layer, as Diggs’ flow surges faster and faster. At its pinnacle, it feels as if the walls are closing in rapidly, strangling any hope of safety the listener has left.
“Brother Eye” - The Flaming Lips
For nearly four decades, alternative rock band The Flaming Lips has been releasing music, most recently their sixteenth album “American Head” in September. The song “Brother Eye” gives a terrifying insight into the untimely death of the drummer’s brother. The combination of rhythmic hospital monitor-esk beeps, deep swelling horns, and distorted electronic vocals transports the listener to a terrifyingly apocalyptic landscape of red skies and falling debris.
“Sally’s Song” (from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”) - Catherine O’Hara
Would this list really be complete without including “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” possibly the most iconic holiday mashup of all time? Though the entire soundtrack is full of spooky classics, no track delivers the same ominous vibe as “Sally’s Song.” O’Hara’s vocals capture that of her character, a living doll, as if the doll were sneaking silently out of the closet, about to haunt an oblivious child asleep in their bed. Look out insomniacs, this song will not help you out.
“Li’l Red Riding Hood” - Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs
In this chart-topping nostalgic folk bop, the classic fairy tale is sung from the perspective of the big bad wolf. Though the song is arguably more whimsical than spooky, the soft minor guitar strums and piercing howls make it a Halloween essential. “Hey there Little Red Riding Hood, you sure are lookin’ good” is a timeless lyric as well.
“Black Skinhead” - Kanye West
With a dark distorted bassline and booming drum hits, “Black Skinhead” is an eerie aggressive mosh pit anthem. Throughout the song, West’s threatening vocals sound out of breath as if he is stumbling through the woods, running away from whatever unearthly monster is encroaching upon him. Themes of racism, wealth, and success are scattered throughout the lyrics, making the song not only a Halloween banger but a political statement. After all, when have Kanye West’s politics ever been problematic?
“Bachelorette” - Björk
The opening line “I’m a fountain of blood in the shape of a girl” is a perfect example of the disturbing imagery this song portrays. Björk’s ear-piercing Icelandic bawl soars over walls of droning strings, abductive percussion, and deep echoing piano hits that paint a picture of dancing around a fire amidst a satanic ritual. The dramatic production style builds in suspense and fades out into the sound of a faint stuttering accordion. Not the most by-the-books spooky song, but most definitely one of the greats.
Every one of these songs has a different style and genre, so there should be at least one song for everyone’s spooky preference. After all, Christmas should not be the only holiday with a music theme. Happy listening and happy Halloween!