Halloween is perhaps my favorite holiday. I say ‘perhaps’ and not ‘definitely’ because some might consider my birthday a holiday, so…the debate is on. Either way, the general atmosphere of wanting to be scared senseless by ghosts and ghoulies, watching the classic It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, pumpkin everything, and listening to ‘Thriller’ on repeat have me in a kitschy-spooky mood that I adore. To get you all in that spooky mood (with less kitsch), here’s a list of some of the most lusciously dark songs of all time, with some new treats mixed in for good measure.
Afterhours – Sisters of Mercy
Considered one of – if not, the – greatest goth bands of all time, Sisters of Mercy is always bound to be on the Halloween playlist with their 1988 hit ‘Lucretia My Reflection’. While still haunting, ‘Lucretia My Reflection’ can’t compare to the morbid echoing and sense of dread ‘Afterhours’ brings on. If you’re looking for a backing track to a demon summoning, this is it.
Map of the Moon – Daniel Woolhouse
Take a peak outside at the almost-full moon as you first listen to Mr. Woolhouse. That’s assuming you’re not already outside and reading this while trick-or-treating with the kids. Ambient music? Check. Forlorn vocals? Check. Has a somewhat poppy indie vibe? Check. Lyrics that give you an idea of what last-minute costume you should wear to that party on Saturday night? Sadly no check for that.
Hollow Hills – Bauhaus
Bauhaus is a goldmine for All Hallow’s Eve tracks. ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ is the vampiric A-side to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ on the imaginary ‘Greatest Halloween Songs Ever’ single. Who could ask for anything more than lyrics like “The bats have left the bell tower / The victims have been bled / Red velvet lines the black box”? No one, but check out ‘Hollow Hills’ off their second studio album ‘Mask’. The song is based on the Celtic myth of fairies who have fled the modernization of society and found refuge in hollow hills. “Ancient earthwork, fort and barrow,” Peter Murphy’s voice beckons from the start, and soon you’re transported to somewhere else entirely. Spiritual, indeed.
Frankie Teardrop – Suicide
Whilst not a traditional Halloween song, ‘Frankie Teardrop’ tends to chill the best of us to the bone. About the murder of a young child and wife to a poverty-stricken factory worker, it could never be described as easy listening. The bloodcurdling screams of lead singer Alan Vega have given it the title of ‘Most Terrifying Song Ever’ on numerous occasions, and if you haven’t heard it before? Drop everything you’re doing currently. Shut off the television. Stop responding to your text messages. Ignore anyone else with you. Close your eyes and just listen.
Burn – The Cure
Okay, why isn’t ‘A Forest’ on this list? The Cure have plenty of other songs far more goth. Why ‘Burn’? Good question, go listen to ‘A Forest’ as well. Off of the soundtrack to the dark fantasy film The Crow, ‘Burn’, though, is the quintessential track to get you thinking about life, death, spirits, and the eternal soul. As the character Sarah said in the film: “If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them. Buildings burn, people die, but real love is forever.”
Irreversible – Vukovar
Soon to be the next Joy Division, Vukovar is a band that’ll have you brooding. ‘Irreversible’ is off their critically lauded 2016 album ‘Voyeurism’, along with other haunting tracks like ‘You’re Not Alone’.
Everyday Is Halloween – Ministry
To take you into the next 365 days until next Halloween, ‘Everyday is Halloween’ will have you in that apple cider drinking, candy eating mood year-round. “You look so absurd, you look so insane.” It’s also home to lyrics that describe the unspoken thoughts running through your head when your neighbor randomly shows up in costume.