Halloween approaches! The holiday celebrating gluttony, drunken revelry, fake blood, terrible costumes, excellent costumes, and pranks that border on vandalism. Don’t you just love it? I sure as hell do!
To get everyone in the mood for the festivities, I’ve taken it upon myself (i.e., I was asked to by our dear editor-in-chief Alex) to put together a comprehensive list of songs that suit this slightly sinister season. My taste in music ranges far and wide and I’m no snob, so be warned: cheese ahead. Cheese with fangs and guitar solos.
Misfits - Monster Mash
This little beauty was originally written in ‘62 by Bobby Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers, and has been covered a ridiculous amount of times since. This particular incarnation is my absolute favourite. Misfits made two versions, one which features on their album Project 1950, and this one which is from their ‘rare & unreleased’ compilation Cuts From The Crypt. It’s better produced and has a little more energy to it, and has a sort of unpretentious geeky joy about it. It’s the way the lyrics are sung, I think. It’s vaguely reminiscent of the way they’re sung in the original version. In any case, It’s a must-have for any Halloween party playlist, and it’s sure to get people dancing and doing the monster mash. The monster mash; It’s a graveyard smash.
Other fantastic versions of the song by: Zombina & The Skeletones, Murphy’s Law, Mannheim Steamroller.
Alien Ant Farm - Smooth Criminal
Right, okay, hear me out. It’s got the same kinda sound as the previous song mentioned, and basically everyone knows it. If I’m at a party and this comes on, you bet your arse I’ll be first on the dancefloor (even though my style of ‘dancing’ is embarrassing, horrifying, dangerous, and probably illegal in certain countries). I shouldn’t even have to justify this song. If you don’t like it then you hate fun. The same applies for the next song I’ll mention…
Electric Six - Infected Girls
As I said, if you hate this song then you hate fun. Heck, if you hate Electric Six then you hate fun. While they’re most famous for almost universally-known songs such as “Danger! (High Voltage)” and “Gay Bar”, I recommend that everybody have a listen to the rest of E6’s discography. “Infected Girls” is supposedly about this guy who catches a particularly nasty STD from a lass whom he had sex with, but it’s ambiguous enough that you can pretend it’s about zombie girls instead. The music itself is reminiscent of ’80s horror soundtracks - the synth, the beat that could you can easily imagine hordes of undead staggering along to… it’s all there. It’s all perfect.
House of Pain - Back From The Dead
This along with “Boomshalaklakboom” and “Jump Around” are the only songs by House of Pain I really listen to. I don’t know much about them but this whole song is about how Everlast is too fucking tough to stay dead, he’s back up outta the grave and looking to cause harm; “like Steven Seagal I’m hard to kill/Like GG Allin I’m crazy ill”. It’s got a great beat, the theme is appropriate and it sounds just sinister enough to warrant a mention on this list. I advise listening to this during the pre-drinking portion of your Halloween evening.
Diablo Swing Orchestra - Balrog Boogie
The only way I can even vaguely describe the genre of this song is “operatic satan-worshipping swing metal”. The lyrics are in Latin, if that gives you any idea of how dark and halloween-y this song is. The weird thing is that you can TOTALLY dance to it, provided your costume allows for energetic and fast movement. Be careful of forming circles or pentagrams in the room while dancing though, you might summon some kind of hellbeast, and they’re terrible at parties.
Warren Zevon - Werewolves of London
I have a very strong attachment to this song, I used to sing it all the time because Warren Zevon is one of my dad’s all-time favourite musicians. He even took us to the restaurant mentioned in the lyrics, once or twice. It’s a relaxed, kind of silly song about a werewolf causing havoc around the greater London area, and with choice lyrics like “I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic’s/and his hair was perfect” how can you not love it? Again, this is probably one for either the pre-drinking portion of your evening.
Michael Jackson - Thriller and Ray Parker, Jr. - Ghostbusters
I don’t know how this got here. I’m sure I never typed the name of those songs just there. I think it’s some kind of ancient Halloween law that every playlist created within 10 days of the holiday must contain them. Do it. Don’t anger the Halloween Gods. I’m not even controlling my hands at this point, some unearthly and terrifying force is guiding them. These are not only the songs that guests EXPECT at a Halloween party, they’re songs that will cause a party mutiny if not played.
Kanye West - Monster
I couldn’t possibly leave this song out. I’ll personally maul anyone who says that this isn’t a fantastic song in which Nicki Minaj doesn’t absolutely kill it. There’s not much else to say apart from a recommendation that you ask everybody to wear fangs and shutter-shade sunglasses while this song plays.
SSQ - Tonight
I know absolutely nothing about this song or this band apart from the fact that it’s a core part of the ’80s film Return of the Living Dead, which features attractive young punks dancing naked in a graveyard and getting eaten by zombies. The song itself absolutely REEKS of typical ’80s music, but in a fantastic way. I highly recommend watching the film, too - it’s one of those “so bad it’s good” movies except it’s not even that good, apart from *that* zombie. That bastard gave me nightmares, it did.
Betty Curse - Excuse All The Blood
This, I’m afraid, is not one for the lads to enjoy. Betty Curse is a one-album pop musician who surfaced in 2006 and then disappeared into obscurity shortly after. You might know her better for her acting role as Hannah in 28 Days Later, but we’re not talking about that here. We’re talking about this song. Oh, what a song. What a beautiful, formulaic, very of-the-time song. If you had an emo phase but were bad at it, this song will bring on waves of horribly embarrassing nostalgia. I recommend playing this during the “everybody is off their tits” portion of your evening.
Marilyn Manson - The Beautiful People
I had a really hard time picking which song of his to include on this list, and I’ve settled on this. Deal with it. Halloween laws dictate that at least one Marilyn Manson song be played at every party, and this is my choice.
- "Sabotage" by Cancer Bats
- "Touch Me I’m Sick" by Mudhoney
- "Sick Sick Sick" by Queens of the Stone Age