Every October I spend most of my down time looking for new things to add to my collection (way over 300 now) – dark songs are all that I play throughout the month: darkwave, horrorcore, folk, heavy metal, psychobilly, cabaret, movie scores… darkpop has become so popular that AmazonPrime was advertising a darkpop playlist. We’re only halfway through the 2010’s and already it was difficult to winnow down my collection of Halloween-appropropriate songs. I don’t mind this at all.
To help me make my choices, I tried to pick from a variety of styles, some folk, alternative, rock, electronic, dance, pop, hiphop, one with a touch of humour…
1. Nightcall, Kavinsky
This is one of my favorite songs to play on my way in to work each night as it is…you add Halloween to the mix and really, I could just listen to it on repeat for days. Those deep, creepy vocals telling what he’s doing, and what he’s going to do, and the light touch of the girl’s response…the 80s feel about it all. Plus, I like to imagine that the problem is that he’s a werewolf, and she loves him anyway and it’s totally hot.
2. After Hours, Electric Six
I first became a fan of Electric Six when I stumbled upon the “Danger! High Voltage” video on a Youtube binge about 8 years ago. It was a beautiful thing – glowing genitals, even on a moose! So, I was surprised to see Amazon giving away a new song by them in 2010 (free music FTW!). Drunken afterwork revelry, drugs, sex, Satan…we can all hope for such a fun holiday.
3. Devils, Say Hi
This has always made me think of skeletons in a band …in New Orleans. “Woe is me indeed…” If you like this style, you should also check out “Shake/Shiver/Moan” by the 22-20s – which is totally what you’d be doing if you did happen across that New Orleans skeleton band.
4. Walking Dead Theme, Bear McCreary
I was torn between this and the “American Horror Story Theme,” but AHS kinda changes a little each season anyway (you should have each in your playlist though, plus treats like “Twisty & Dandy’s Theme” and “Lala, Lala Song”). Walking Dead came first though, and actually premiered ON Halloween, so…it wins.
5. The Curse, Agnes Obel
There’s just something about the way the strings crawl around through this song, it’s beautiful, it’s eerie. The video to go with it was done in black and white, and features wintery imagery that, much like the song, alludes to something spooky without actually identifying it. I really want to know what this cure was, where it came from, what it did…but I guess what it is is whatever we imagine it to be – the curse our brains ascribe to coinciding events. If you like the pretty sense of horror, also try her songs “Beast” and “Run Cried the Crawling.”
6. Zombie, Natalia Kills
So…your in love with a zombie…That can be…difficult. I wonder if he’s a zombie because he’s the boy from “Kill My Boyfriend,” perhaps? You could also have “Mirrors” and “Wonderland” on the list with this one. They all have well-made videos to match.
7. Dance in the Graveyards, Delta Rae
I was originally going to use “Bottom of the River” here, because witches will be flying for the night! Between the two songs though, “Dance in the Graveyards” is more appropriate, because it’s a Halloween pastime. Also, The X-Files taught me that the dead are scary when they first rise, sure, they’re hungry, but when things calm down a bit, after we’ve all run away, all they really want to do is dance and make love.
8. Seven Devils, Florence + the Machine
I could probably give F+M a list of 13 songs for Halloween all their own (which would include “Breath of Life”, “Never Let Me Go”, “Third Eye”, “Which Witch”, and “Heartlines”), but…this is one of my favorites since 2010. Agnes might have the beauty of those strings, but F+M brings the power of strong and creative drumming…like a possession. Unfortunately, they never made a video to go with it. Perhaps they figured Game of Thrones fans would take care of that. Yeah? Well, I didn’t find any up to par…so this at least features the lovely Florence Welch.
9. Bride of Infinity, Blondie
A few years ago, Blondie released three singles…on a whim it seems, or just because. They were free on Amazon, and I was excited, because, Blondie! One song was a throw-away cover song (oh well). One was “Dead Air,” which is also on my Halloween playlist, and it’s beautiful (reminds me of something from 1999’s No Exit), but then you hear this song, and – OMG, this is Blondie?? I had to double-check my MP3. You should also look for the single, “Mother” from 2011’s Panic of Girls. Below, a fan combined it with some Snow White and the Huntsman love, and it just…fits.
10. Ash Tree Lane, MS MR
Wait, MS MR and it’s not Bones? Yes. Bones is a great song, and those of you that watch Game of Thrones may be familiar without realizing it. Nothing says, “Welcome to Halloween!” like a a Tales from the Darkside intro to a song with a House of Leaves reference.
11. Sticks & Stones, Joe Henry
It’s a little disappointing that no one’s made a short film for this song…something dark and dusty with, well, “blood, ash and bone.” It’s the slow, bluesy-country type of folk song that Joe Henry does so well.
12. Funeral Song, Fast Romantics
Sometimes, you need a bit of whimsy. Fast Romantics made a break-up song that reads like a funeral lament, but sounds like a cheerful, catchy tune. It’s a well-balanced mix.
13. Monster, Kanye (ft. Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z)
There are artists out there that are straight up horrorcore, so if you’re looking for more like this, just check out TechN9ne, Kung Fu Vampire, Insane Clown Posse, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony…They have full albums with some seriously wicked tracks. In fact, even as I type this, I’m STILL debating switching this out with Wyzae’s “Night We Own” – it’s losing due to a lack of video magic, but really, check out the song & the whole Momento Mori album, yo. Maybe start by dipping a toe in this popular rapper conglomeration’s venture into the genre, it’s a great, creepy song, with a monster-filled video to match.
But wait! No Gossamer? Voltaire? Rob Zombie? She Wants Revenge? Marilyn Manson? The Devil’s Carnival soundtrack? Dude, google those, pick anything, and there you go – albumloads.
Not enough? There are plenty more out there…