Spotify playlist: Cemetery Sounds
Scary music: shorter and less intense than watching a horror film
Whether you’re having a Halloween party, putting together a costume or just in the mood for some creepy tunes, this list has what you’ll need. The gory, grotesque lyrics of popular artists are perfect for this time of year, as eager thrill-seekers search for the next fright.
Listeners beware: songs are intended to provide a scare.
“Black Sabbath” – Black Sabbath
The veteran rock band captures listeners with their track “Black Sabbath.” The song opens with haunting rain and church bells, setting an ominous tone for their guitar. Eerie power chords overlap the bells and lead into Ozzy Osbourne’s first verse. Other than the horror-film-worthy beginnings, the track features a diminished fifth in its harmonic progression, which has satanic connotations in Western music. This title track has a much darker side than what may appear on the surface.
“Jennifer/Cheerleader Corpses” – Pig Destroyer
Lead singer J.R. Hayes’ monotone and computerized voice narrates the opening of “Jennifer” – a tale of a fight that escalates to torture. His quiet voice is haunting, leaving listeners chilled by the tale. Once he finishes speaking, the group immediately dives into the next track, “Cheerleader Corpses.” It starts with an explosive guitar riff and then includes scattered screaming throughout the song, closing the combination with a terrifying, yet exciting bang.
“Nightmare” – Tyler, the Creator
The rapper’s track off his first album, “Goblin,” is filled with grotesque lyrics about killing, drunk driving and having problems at home. He chronicles his life and difficulties with the people around him to a heavy beat combined with eerie piano play through the background. He explains “I’m Ace, I’m parentless, I’m kind of arrogant/Ignorant as fuck, defend people for the hell of it / because I am the devil f*****, get on my level.”
“The Killing Fields” – Insane Clown Posse
The name of the duo is enough to leave you with American Horror Story-esqe images of killer clowns emerging from the woods to kill you with their music. The hip-hop song off their almost 20-year-old album “Riddle Box” is about a variety of gory events, such as raining blood, sleeping on a bed of nails and people who walk around without eyes. Long story short, the duo manages to tell a multitude of mini horror stories in their raps, frightening listeners long after the last bar.
“Boy Without Batteries” – Man Overboard
It may seem odd the happy-go-lucky pop-punk band is on this list, but this song deserves its place for its weird subject matter. It sounds like the music off the album, but the lyrics are what set it apart. The song opens with the lines “Do you wanna see something creepy? / Remember this? / It spent six years in my drawer / It doesn’t smell like you anymore.” Yes Nik Bruzzese, it is creepy you still keep, and routinely smell, items from your ex-girlfriend.
“This is Halloween” – Marilyn Manson
Manson will have you cringing with fright as he covers the tune from “A Nightmare Before Christmas.” The artist recreates the song with his raspy, throaty voice, becoming a horrific narrator to the tale of Halloween town. Mason himself is a character, often seen in dark and heavy exaggerated makeup. The music in the background is reminiscent of an old record being played slowly, adding a chilling tone to the track.
“Thriller” – Michael Jackson
The iconic track is a must-have for this list, especially for its music video. The idea of a date-turned-zombie is a nightmare in itself, and once they start dancing, it’s over. I think we can all agree coordinated zombies are the most terrifying thing. Jackson’s voice is remarkable as always, resonating over the funky ’80s groove and nearly outshining his famous moves. The name itself, “Thriller,” explains the fear the song attempts to invoke in its listeners.
“Buffalo Bill” – Eminem
The song is not the first of the rapper’s t touch on the topic of violence, but it has a specific connection to the murderer in the title. It starts off with sounds of a woman crying and screaming, until the sound of a chainsaw comes in and interrupts her. The legendary artist pulled his inspiration from the infamous killer, even citing his famous “lotion in the basket” line in his rap, singing “Make sure none of that lotion in the bucket don’t spill / Cut ‘em gut ‘em just to get stuff in those girls.”
“Bat Out Of Hell” – Meat Loaf
The song sounds similar to Bruce Springsteen single, with an intense, story-telling element and intense piano solos. While not as scary as some of the other songs on the list, the group manages to create a haunting scenario: travelling alone at night and encountering a murderer.
“Ballad of Dwight Fry” – Alice Cooper
The song by the iconic band pays homage to actor Dwight Frye, who played many maniacal characters throughout the ’20s and ’30s, including Renfield from the original Dracula. The band dropped the “e” at the end of the actor’s name in order to avoid a lawsuit. The slow rock ballad is dramatic and emotional, and when performed, lead singer Cooper would perform in a straightjacket and strangle a nurse. Crazy, huh?
“A Forest” – The Cure
This song is just plain scary in all senses of the word. The quiet intro lures in listeners to the steady pace of the song, but once the lead singer comes in, it’s over. The entire track is about hearing and seeing a girl in the forest, going to look around for her, and then realizing there was never anyone there. The echo of the lyrics used throughout only intensifies the eerie feeling of being lost in the forest, alone, as it’s starting to get dark. Not exactly an ideal situation to be in.