Well, happy October, anyway.
We all know Halloween is just around the corner, and I am pumped. I love haunted houses, I love the fall air, I love how chilly it gets, I love pumpkin seeds, and I love horror movies. As a kid, I was picked on a lot by my older brother (nothing too bad, just typical sibling shenanigans) and my only way to get back at him was to scare him.
And scare him I did.
Believe me, I did.
In fact, when we visit with each other, I still do scare him. Mostly by accident, sometimes on purpose. It kinda depends on the situation and what mood I’m in.
Halloween was always the best time of year to scare my brother. Sure, he was expecting it, but that didn’t lessen his reactions any, and it didn’t detract from the spookiness of the month. Even something as simple as a song could rock his world, that’s how much of a scaredy cat he is.
I’m going to take a break from stories today (not entirely, of course, since I’ve already kind of told a few, and since stories are, apparently, an integral part of my life) and instead, I’m going to share a few spooky songs that ought to be blared at this time of the year but are, generally: ignored, or overlooked, or not well-known enough to get to be part of everyone’s spooky halloween spirits.
Without further ado, here is my list:
Forever Halloween by The Maine.
–If you’ve heard this song, then this is an obvious pick. When you listen to it, you can feel the spookiness oozing. It throws out this walking-through-a-graveyard sort of vibe. When it plays, I can feel the coldness of the graves as the singer leads you by them. I can feel ghosts rise up from the ground. I can feel the dead building their chorus.
It’s so eerie.
And it’s so well-done.
I love it.
Additionally, this song feels so mysterious, which just adds to the spook-factor. I find myself listening to it every year and trying to discern what, exactly, the story is behind this song. The lyrics seem to be sung from the perspective of a ghost, who’s imploring his old lover (maybe? That’s my theory, anyway) to visit him every Halloween. Every year, my brain goes through the lyrics and feeling of this song, and I come to the same conclusion:
This song is about a dead man talking to whomever he left behind. Visiting with them. Letting them know that they (the ghost) will be forever the same. Stuck in this holiday, as the celebrated dead. Stuck in this forever Halloween, alive for this one night.
They wish it would be forever halloween, so that they could stay longer. So that they could visit with their beloved for forever.
But, of course.
The song cuts out abruptly, ending this beautiful dance with the dead. Ending, I imagine, with the sun rising on November the first. A brutal finale for this yearly reunion.
I LOVE it.
It’s so chilling, every time. Definitely one that ought to go on your Halloween playlist. Both for spook factor, and for ambiance. This song really delivers.
Lake Pontchartrain by Ludo
This song is really fast. Super punk-rock, I think. It’s got that excellent electric organ thing going on in the background as the singer lays out the full story.
And, oh man.
What a story.
Right from the get-go, you can tell this song is eerie. That the story the singer is telling isn’t quite normal. It’s a dark, spooky night, they’re traveling late, in unfamiliar terrain, and it’s raining.
Obviously, a recipe for disaster.
And that’s exactly what it is for him and his friends.
“Come down to Lake Ponchartrain, rest your soul and feed your brain, that’s where you will get to see, everything the water can be.”
If you ever hear something like that come over your radio, you just inherently know:
You’re in trouble.
Of course, the song builds, the story goes. They’re driving around, they eat crawfish, they get lost, the lake sends out warnings.
And, in the end, you have this poor traumatized guy trying to explain to the cops (it seems) why his friends disappeared, how the lake swallowed them whole. There’s a chorus that turns into a chant as the song builds, right before the waves crash over his friends, and you know:
This is the lake’s revenge.
Or, maybe, the crawfish’s.
But I think the lake taking revenge is spookier.
Regardless, this song is tight. From the lyrics, to the beat, to the music itself—everything about this song is spooky.
The kids I used to watch absolutely LOVE this song. It’s eerie without being truly scary, and it’s great to sing along to. The choir-style bits, and the chanting parts, and the singer interjection the lyrics with his actual thoughts (“COME BACK! Why the hell would they leave the car?!”) all make the song real, relatable, and quite spooky. Definitely an unknown Halloween classic.
Werewolf Shame by Direct Hit!
You think you were getting out of this without a werewolf song?
I love werewolves. They’re so sad, and powerful. The classic werewolf is a guy who gets bit, goes on rampages, is hit with angst and despair, all because he doesn’t want to be a werewolf.
This song is all of that. The anxiety of constantly being on the verge of accidentally murdering someone. Having to spend your nights out in field instead of sleeping in your bed, and waking up in random places. Being abandoned for what you are. It’s all the reasons why someone wouldn’t want to be a werewolf.
Only, this song is more of:
What if a punk-rocker got bit by a werewolf? How would he express that?
Which I think is perfect. Besides Emo music itself, I think punk-rock is very emotional (Emo would be a little too overdramatic for something like this, I think). Full of different brands of angst. If you’re going to write a song about how much you don’t want to be something, you ought to make it a punk rock song because no other musical genre can deliver that in the same way.
I will say that this song is gritty. Very raw vocals going on here. But, personally, I think that, for the topic of werewolves, it works. Werewolves are very base-line creatures. All raw instinct and raw emotions. Running rampant when they’d rather be at home sleeping. Tearing things apart and howling at the moon and hunting their friends down, when they’d rather just have magic and murder leave them alone. This song encapsulates all of that perfectly. The lyrics are so accurate to that, it’s hysterical. They’re loads of fun to shout. Plus, the song has an excellent guitar solo, and a section of “barking” which is also a boatload of fun.
Another song the kids loved.
Ghosting by Mother Mother
Another song that fits with the eeriness of the undead.
Sure, the song is clearly a metaphor, but it works on the physical level too. It paints this melancholy picture of a ghost trying so desperately to gain the attention of the living, only to find out that he’s not important. That they don’t need him. He’s pointless. He does his best to stop being a ghost, only…
It doesn’t work.
Even without his white sheet, he’s still a ghost.
And he still isn’t needed.
It’s so sad, but the song sounds more playfully melancholy rather than depressingly morose. It’s an interesting, eerie little song with tons of illusions to Halloween (“You don’t need treats, and you don’t need tricks…”) and it definitely makes an impact.
Ghostbusters cover by WALK THE MOON
Okay, hear me out:
The remake/reboot/whatever-the-hell-it-was of Ghostbusters was terrible. Mostly because they changed so much about the movie. Too much. I think people were fine with female ghostbusters (most people, anyway) and new casting and all that, but the tone was different, the humor was off, and the theme song.
The theme song!!!!!
Fall Out Boy’s cover/remake/reboot/remix/whatever-the-hell-it-was of the Ghostbusters’ theme was inlaid over the movie. Playing in different scenes as they did… whatever the heck you want to call what they did. I remember when the song came out, I was ecstatic. And, in all honesty, it isn’t that bad. I mean, it’s a very Fall Out Boy style song, so if you’re not into that, I get it, but other than that, it really wasn’t bad.
But people flipped.
It was way too different from the original. Not enough homage—or, really, as the fans thought—not enough respect for the original.
I think if they’d made THIS track the main track instead, it wouldn’t have been a problem. Not at all. Because Walk the Moon doesn’t try to reinvent the theme, instead, they pay homage, as well as give it a funky, updated sound.
It’s really groovy.
Plus, I love the band’s sound in general. They’re great.
The Horror of Our Love by Ludo
Yes, another Ludo song. Honestly, a lot of their songs are on my Halloween playlist, because they’re very eerie, or have lyrics that call to the holiday in a way that most bands’ songs and lyrics don’t.
But this song?
This song is undeniably horrifying.
This song is inappropriate, and has horrific lyrics. The melody is haunting, and drawing. A very spooky song, one that I definitely don’t play for the kids.
But I love it.
This is such an intense song. It paints such strange and vivid images in your mind, laying out quite the horror story, while also drawing in a heavy atmosphere with the sounds and guitar. This song feels like it belongs in a remake of some gothic vampire movie. And a good remake at that.
The melody, the metaphor, and the music in the song all paint one bloody good horror story.
Perfect for Halloween.
Li’l Red Riding Hood cover by Bowling For Soup
This song came about because of the movie Cursed.
Literally, it was the only good thing about the movie.
Which was surprising, considering it’s a Wes Craven movie.
However, the tone was all over the place, the acting was poor, and the script wasn’t phenomenal. Somehow, the Scream director wasn’t really able to land the werewolf film, and it ended up being cheesy, and kind of boring. Even the werewolf effects weren’t anything to get excited about.
Granted, this was 2004, but still, that can’t really be an excuse. Not with An American Werewolf In London existing.
Anyway, I digress.
This cover of the classic song is performed by, none other than, Bowling For Soup, a punk rock legend. It’s upbeat, and it has loads of fake-howling, which makes for an excellent party song. The kids loved howling along to this in the car.
Turn The Lights Off by Tally Hall
Spooky fun! Fun and spooky! A true gem!
I love this song.
It’s a metaphor for something, I’m sure, but the creatures it describes and the vibes the song gives out is of absolute monster madness. Plus there’s that spooky section with all the whispering and voices laid over one another…
A lot of fun, as well as being spooky.
To me, it kind of feels like there’s a monster talking to you. Trying to convince you to join in the mayhem and madness. Slowly luring you into insanity.
It’s strange and eerie, and about monsters. Everything you need around Halloween time.
And, last but not least:
Another Ludo song.
Love Me Dead by Ludo
Another song that is definitely not for the kids.
But still manages to be loads of fun.
A song that is definitely sung to a monster (literal? Or metaphorical? You decide) and has tons of illusions and references to different beasts, and death itself. Thrilling, upbeat, and irreverent, it’s the kind of song you’d like to dance along to, but you’re just not really sure how.
For extra fun, watch the music video. It’s a mess and I love it. It’s very fitting for the tone and lyrics of the song.
Well, those are my personal, not-so-popular Halloween song recommendations. I love all of those songs. In fact, I like a few of them so much, I’m sure I’ve written a story inspired by one or two of them. You could probably go through last October’s list of stories and find a few different ones inspired by those songs.
If you’ve got any obscure Halloween favorites, I’d love to hear about them! I’m always on the lookout for new music, especially music I can add to my spooky playlist. There’s just not enough there.
But, please, don’t throw Thriller at me. It’s great and all, but I already know that one.