It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since we did our first Halloween Party Playlist in 2017. Just like so many horror movie franchises, we aren’t above recycling our ideas into sequels, so here is our second crack at a Halloween party mix. Last year, hardly anyone was getting together for Halloween fun, but now in the “post-vaccination” world, we figure at least some of you might venture to host or attend a costume party for the holiday. Like last time, we skipped some obvious choices everyone knows (“Thriller”, “Werewolves in London”, etc.) but let us know about your favorite Halloween-themed tunes that we missed.
I love taking another go at a Halloween party list. Not on my list but a starter for me is always the Halloween film score, that is some scary stuff. It gives me the creeps whenever I hear it, except for the new Halloween film, which looks horrible. I hope everyone gets their Halloween parties going with these 10 classics.
- “Too Much Blood”, The Rolling Stones (1984) – A Stones’ song about a serial killer, that is like American Psycho. Mick Jagger even drops an “F” bomb. Jagger talks through most of it and even mentions the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
- “The Fly”, U2 (1992) – This has nothing to do with the great Vincent Price or Jeff Goldblum films of the same name. But I can pretend it does. The song that really got me into U2.
- “Ghostdancing”, Simple Minds (1985) – From one of my favorite albums and a band that does not get the credit it deserves. Jim Kerr sings out about different world political issues, including Ireland and South Africa. The song starts great and has a great chorus.
- “I Feel Possessed”, Crowded House (1990) – The movies that scared me most were always devil possessions, the Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen. “The House” as I call them, hit the right notes in this beautifully constructed song about abstract possession in a relationship.
- “Jacob’s Ladder”, Huey Lewis and the News (1986) – The scariest movie on my list, it terrified me. Real life terror, always the worst. This song unfortunately was not in the film. It could have been a nice tie-in like the Back to the Future soundtrack. We talk about the film here Scary Movies
- “Madness”, Muse (2012) – English electronic band Muse put out this neoclassic song back in 2012. It sounds like madness but in a good way. I am always a fan of a person going mad in a film, or, like, in the Tell-Tale Heart by Poe.
- “Spiderman 79”, Veruca Salt (1996) – I loved this band, just for the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory reference alone. I know someone here who is scared of spiders, but honestly I put it on here because as a kid I always wanted to be Spider-Man for Halloween. I got Batman instead – still cool.
- “Somebody’s Watching Me”, Rockwell (1984) – Motown’s Berry Gordy’s son breaks out on his own – sorta. He gets a backing vocal – a great one at that – from Michael Jackson. A song about complete paranoia, think Hitchcock. Bonus – it has a great video too. One Hit Wonder.
- “Pet Sematary”, Ramones (1989) – The Ramones wrote this to tie into the Steven King novel, King was a huge fan of the Ramones and got to spend sometime with Dee Dee. The song is way better than the Fred Gwynne (Herman Munster) film, not sure about the remake, though.
- “Living Dead Girl”, Rob Zombie (1990) – The king of new horror films and the lead singer of White Zombie, Rob Zombie should always make any Halloween list. Great song, whose video uses the silent horror film the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari as its template.
MG: I considered using the last two, on my list. “Pet Sematary” is a great track that I only recently came to discover and like (by the way, I tried watching the remake of Pet Semetary – not good), and Rob/White Zombie is a Halloween mix staple. I have fond memories of being creeped out by the “Somebody’s Watching Me” video in the 80s, with the pig’s head and the creepy mailman. “Ghostdancing” is a good pick, and one I had not thought of before. Different take to use “The Fly” and “Jacob’s Ladder” – both for their shared use of the film title, even though neither song is related to the actual film. “Too Much Blood” is an interesting mix of brash horns and serial killer lyrics.
If you are a follower of our blog, you know I’m a huge Halloween fan. It’s a holiday that is all about fun and less about boring obligations. Plus, anything goes in terms of decorating, costumes, and, of course, party music. I’ve discovered many Halloween-themed tracks since doing this four years ago, many of it from hearing songs on different Sirius XM channels and quickly making sure to add them to my “Halloween” playlist on Spotify. There are my corporate plugs for this blog, even though we don’t get any advertising support!
- “Burn The Witch”, Radiohead (2016) – The intense strings (or synthesizer) that drive this song give it a true menacing tone. It has a great, creepy video to go along with it.
- “Skeletons”, Stevie Wonder (1987) – This was my favorite song from Stevie’s 80s work. I love the funky bass line in it.
- “Vampires Will Never Hurt You”, My Chemical Romance (2002) – This one is for my oldest, who is a fan of the band. It’s a good hard rock tune with lyrics that fit the theme. The cover of the single is from Halloween III: Season of the Witch (see above).
- “(Every Day Is) Halloween”, Ministry (1984) – Even though this came out in the 80s, I only first heard this new wave track sometime since we did our first list. I have no idea what the lyrics are about, but you can’t beat the title for this list.
- “I Am Stretched On Your Grave”, Sinead O’Connor (1990) – Based on a 17th century Irish poem, Sinead delivers her vocals in such a haunting way it gives me chills.
- “Werewolf”, Fiona Apple (2012) – This is a jaunty tune, by Fiona’s standards, comparing a lover that jilted her to a werewolf and a shark, among other things.
- “Voodoo”, Godsmack (1998) – This is the rare mellower track from this band. It sets the perfect mood for Halloween night.
- “Gravedigger Rock”, The Polecats (1999) – I cannot remember how I discovered this obscure song. You may remember their 80s hit “Make a Circuit With Me”. Starting off with some wolf howling and featuring a pipe organ throughout, this fun track will fit perfectly in a Halloween party.
- “Dead Man’s Party” Oingo Bongo (1985) – This is a fun party song that is all about the dead coming out to play. Perfect for “All Hallow’s Eve” when the barrier is thinnest between the worlds of the living and the dead.
- “The Ghost In You”, The Psychedelic Furs (1984) – This was the first song by the band that I took to. For a new wave band, the Furs have a timelessness to them.
DJ: I love The Psychedelic Furs, they, like Simple Minds, do not get enough credit for 80’s popular New Wave. This track is one of their strongest. Not overall a fan of Oingo Boingo, but Danny Elfman has done a ton of good film work for Tim Burton (Basically the director of Halloween type films) and “Dead Man’s Party” is definitely a classic. It should be on any Halloween music list. “Burn the Witch” also made our MTV playlist blog – see the video here in our post https://thepopculturallists.com/2018/06/21/i-watched-my-mtv/ . Sinead O’Connor’s first two albums are fantastic and this song is one of her best. Stevie Wonder’s track doesn’t make me think of Halloween but probably one of his best 80s tracks, very funky.