There’s more to scary music than Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s “Monster Mash,” and Halloween is the perfect time to find out. Whether it’s the sheer length of a song, the content, sound effects or the artists themselves, these songs are just right for the Halloween spirit. A truly creepy song can range from unsettling or uncomfortable to nail-bitingly suspenseful and unexpected. From experimental performance art to eerie ballads, these picks will make you squirm, writhe and cheer with passion and dark angst.
“New Slaves” by Kanye West
West is angry, he’s passionate and he’s about to “tear shit down” with this hardcore rant against commercialism and material superficialities. The song will inevitably make listeners either intimidated or passionately angry themselves. Prepare to be possessed with defiance and contagious fury by Yeezus Christ himself.
“Midsummer New York” by Yoko Ono
John Lennon’s former lover and infamous pop culture icon is considered a musician and performance artist, but listen for yourself and prepare to feel assaulted by Ono’s unintelligible cackling and yodeling. It is highly probable that you will cry, in a bad way.
“The Beautiful People” by Marilyn Manson
Manson in the flesh is petrifying enough, but this classic rock track is a gothic masterpiece of contrasting satanic mutters and possessive chants. Its chaotic and demonic ambience is actually quite beautiful as a whole, but it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. Check out the music video for a heightened experience.
“Trapped in the Closet” by R. Kelly
This very long rap opera is mainly known as a series of music videos depicting a progressing storyline. It starts off with a one-night stand that ends with the woman’s husband coming home, causing the man she was with to hide in a closet. The situation escalates from there, becoming an oddly dangerous epic, and the piece’s length alone is enough to scare people away.
“Come to Daddy” by Aphex Twin
Here’s a song that will give you nightmares for sure. The electronic composer’s most unsettling song is a flurry of industrial chaos, static and distortion with creepy voices and sound effects. The music video is filled with children donning creepy masks with warped smiles, and it is known as one the most disturbing music videos of all time.
“Lady Dada’s Nightmare” by MGMT
Off the band’s 2010 album Congratulations, this song is MGMT’s symphony of terror: an entirely instrumental piece, complete with distorted screams in the background and eerily placid synthesizer ambience throughout. The result is the effect of a haunted house environment or an underworld of sorts. It’s basically an increasingly unnerving lullaby in a purgatorial void.
“We’ve Only Just Begun” by The Carpenters
This 1970 classic was a soft rock hit, and who doesn’t enjoy Karen Carpenter’s soothing, innocent vocals? After seeing the 2007 horror film 1408, however, one can never listen to it the same way again. It’s still catchy, but you’ll find yourself looking behind your back and checking your grasp on reality while it plays.