Scary Songs to Play to in the Dark: Three Creepy Songs for Halloween

Halloween is one of the most thrilling holidays, but the usual picks for Halloween songs don’t offer the same thrills. Michael Jackson’s great, but how many times can you listen to “Thriller” without getting a little tired of it? And “Monster Mash” is campy fun, but that gets old even more quickly. Demo contributors picked some of the most bone-chilling, blood-curdling tunes for Halloween. You might want to go to bed with a nightlight after listening to them. (Pictured is the iconic Danzig skull, because Glenn Danzig is rock’s patron saint of all things macabre, but the Misfits and Danzig are probably already on your Halloween playlist.)

Animal Collective – “Safer”

“Safer” is, without a doubt, one of Animal Collective’s more overtly macabre tunes; a freak-rock symphony of sorts, it takes the listener on an epic sonic journey that feels like a strange nightmare. Avey Tare’s vocals grow increasingly agitated and desperate as the song progresses, and blood curdles as he unleashes primal scream upon primal scream. At times he sounds like he’s on the verge of a mental breakdown, telling tales of seeing “ghosts in the park wooing girls with cakes” and begging the listener not to get too freaky on him; one can’t help but imagine him rocking back and forth as he repeats the mantra of “I’m alright if you’re alright.” This song is best enjoyed late at night, after the streets have gone quiet and all the trick-or-treaters are safely tucked away in bed, because “the creatures all know that it’s safer in the dark.” – Maria Sokulsky-Dolnycky

Darkside – “Freak, Go Home”

“Freak, Go Home” is a song that embodies all my favourite qualities of Halloween. Halloween had always been more about a feeling and state of mind than costumes and candy. Nicolas Jaar and David Harrington’s album Psychic sounds like it could soundtrack a psychological thriller or a body horror movie. This track in particular fucks with you internally. After several listens,  it will creep into your bones causing your level of discomfort to increase when the song builds up to about the four-minute mark, and you hear the droned out, indescribable chatter that sounds like spirits warning you to “go home.” In this case, neither home or the place you currently are seem like a desirable place to be. – Sofia Luu

Lil Ugly Mane – “Uneven Compromise”

Travis Miller might have a pretty dumb rap name and album art, but the music he makes as Lil Ugly Mane is as spooky as hip hop gets. Lil Ugly Mane owes two serious debts in his sound. As a Virginian, he combines the darkest parts of Southern rap. The disembodied haunted-house vocal samples recall early Three 6 Mafia and the beat is so chopped and screwed, you’d swear it was a Texas chainsaw massacre. Miller was also involved in noise and black metal projects, and it creeps through in his dissonant lo-fi production. Lyrically, the first half of this track is a slasher-flick bloodbath, and the second half is a harrowing tale of drug addiction. “Uneven Compromise” is a sprawling Southern Gothic epic. Just imagine William Faulkner on promethazine.  – James Li

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