With Halloween two days away, the most tolerable holiday themed music is abundant as we get in the festive mood. Personally, I enjoy creating a dark, Lynchian vibe to get one’s skin crawling, which quite frankly is hard to do with the radio friendly Halloween tunes (and I’m not trying to go full on slasher horror film). Not that I have anything against the “Monster Mash” (it’s a great song), but it just doesn’t suffice when I want something a little scarier, or at the very least something a little less corny to play to get me in the Halloween spirit.
That’s why this year, I’ve made a playlist full of Halloween-esque songs to play if you’re like me and want to mix it up a little. A few classics still make an appearance, but there are plenty of tunes one wouldn’t initially associate with this spooky month. Give them a chance though, and they’ll set the mood just right.
“Dark Night of the Soul” by Danger Mouse (feat. David Lynch)
What might seem like a strange collaboration at first, further inspection proves it makes total sense to pair the likes of musician Danger Mouse and director/writer David Lynch if your aiming to create, a spooky, atmospheric album. “Dark Night of the Soul,” off Danger Mouse’s album of the same title, echoes and creeks with a haunted melody and unearthly vocals courtesy of Lynch. The whole song feels aged and dug up from a crypt home to ghastly ghouls.
“I’m A Lover (at Close Range)” by Escape-ism
While this song doesn’t quite fit into the theme lyrically, the vocals eerie pipe organ and synth drum beats are right at home in a spooky playlist. This infectious tune even includes little screeches and screams from singer Ian F Svenonius.
“El Fantasma Enamorado” by Pate de Fua
The intro to this song is purely instrumental, and the instrumentals are pure fun. It’s spooky, whimsical, yet never crosses the line of corny. Sung in Spanish “El Fantasma Enamorado” speaks of a ghostly love affair and a man desperately seeking the company of his lover, though he is dead and she is still alive. At night, his spirit walks the grounds of the graveyard he was buried in, lost in his never ending quest to reunite with his love.
“Vampire Again” by Marlon Williams
If you’re into a spooky serenade, this song won’t disappoint. Marlon Williams takes inspiration from the best do-ops and uses his sultry vocals to evoke a ghoulish fiend. He laments over the boredom he finds in Los Angeles during Halloween, but revels in the fact that he will have his fun once again as a menacing vampire. The song is smooth and smoking, filled with little hints of terror and just a touch of tongue-in-cheek humor (or tongue-and-fang I should say).
“The Blob” by The Five Blobs
The cheesiest song on this playlist, “The Blob” is an infectious classic I couldn’t leave out, especially since it pairs so well with the song before it. The danceable tune not only spooks up the atmosphere, it makes you envision a 60s, art deco party filled with Mod-clad women, groovy furniture, cheese fondue and dry martinis. It’s the least scary song on this album, but you do need a break every now and then.
“Little Girl” by Danger Mouse (feat. Julian Casablancas)
“Little Girl” features the creative mind of Danger Mouse with the very specific vocals of The Strokes lead singer, Julian Casablancas. The song oozes with mystery and a menacing kind of allure. Fit for a frantic chase scene, this song could fit into a scarier, gorier version of Scooby-Doo. Its dark tone makes it a perfect alternative to the usual Halloween thrillers.
“Grim Augury” by Danger Mouse (feat. Sparklehorse and Vic Chesnut)
Danger Mouse’s album, ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ could easily be played on shuffle and it would make a suitable, horror inducing soundtrack, “Grim Augury” might be the most horrific tune on the LP. Cryptic, graphic and sufficiently morose with grizzly, shrill vocals and a slow, methodical tempo, the song uses someone’s worst nightmare to strike fear in its listener.
“Lonesome Hunter” by Timber Timbre
Akin to Marlon Williams crooner song about vampires, Timber Timbre’s sultry single, “Lonesome Hunter” is a playful, eerie tune that creeps one out as much as it seduces him/her. Delicately layered instrumentals overlay beautifully with singer Taylor Kirk’s vocals as he lays down lyrics of a lovesickness with zombie-like effects.
“Pa Pa Power” by Dead Man’s Bones
Not many people know that about five years ago Ryan Gosling and friend Zach Shields teamed up to write and record a Halloween themed album filled with retro sounding tunes. “Pa Pa Power” even comes equipped with an eerie chorus of children and echoing instrumentals.
“My Dream From Last Night” by Molly Nilsson
Deep vocals, a strange instrumental arrangement and minimal effects, “My Dream From Last Night” is an audible shiver of things we try to remember and those we can’t forget. Nilsson’s unique vocals make just about every song she sings sound cryptic and haunting, and this one in particular is perfect for a chilly, dark night.
For more ghoulish tunes, check out the rest of my Halloween playlist on Spotify.