Spooky scary skeletons, monster mashes, and tigers - oh my! A devilishly haunting occasion for the Music Den to be bringing you an edition on All Hollow's Eve. Today, we celebrate that which is full of fear, fright, and terror. Get the witches brew at the ready this week for this week's horrifying curation!
clipping. - There Existed an Addiction to Blood & Visions of Bodies Being Burned
My only engagement with clipping. is this two-part horrorcore experience. I admit, my opinion of Daveed Diggs before 2019's There Existed an Addiction to Blood was tainted from Christmas Day basketball broadcasts on cable television. However, I caught waves of critical acclaim and decided to check it out on release. Outside of the 18-minute statement aptly titled Piano Burning, Diggs' story-telling through the verses paints grim vignettes across the album. Interludes litter the listening experience throughout the tracklist, providing the listener with thematic color commentary to the eery depictions the full songs present.
Visions of Bodies Being Burned is the sequel, whose first full-length song Say The Name bounces the album title back and forth and is the standout track that gets repeat attention even when I'm not in the mood for a spooky session.
In the case of this double album spotlight, I would recommend this two-hour affair be consumed in private, rather than try to be the life of a party.
Kim Petras - Turn Off the Light
While the new single with Sam Smith is currently in the pop culture zeitgeist thanks to TikTok, I instead want to point you towards Petras' 2019 album, Turn Off the Light.
A bit more electro-pop than the gothic Unholy currently getting radio play, this album is over-processed like candy corns, but a modern staple in terms of Halloween-themed dance albums. The standout track for me is There Will Be Blood.
The Devil Wears Prada - Zombie EP
Clocking in at 22 minutes, this extended play from Ohio's very own has been an absolute favorite of mine since its release in 2010. At a time when the group seemed to be moving away from the "screamo" scenes and moving towards more mature metal pastures, The Devil Wears Prada (Prada) decided to do a conceptual project. With Zombieland releasing the previous year, The Walking Dead just around the corner, and a handful of adolescents needing a soundtrack to Call of Duty: World at War's zombie-slaying, you could say that at the turn of the decade that zombies were in fashion.
Every song lead by Mike Hranica up to this point in Prada's discography contained lyrics that, I felt, mimicked poetry. Such an excellent choice then to narrate this onset of an apocalypse. Zombie EP's steps towards metalcore with the guitar tones and song structure providing a driving intensity for the drums to pound away on Escape.
Outnumbered was the lead single, which opened with a media PSA about the virus. I learned that song on guitar as fast as I could, as I felt the song was so cool and thematic in a time when I felt like such an amateur on the instrument.
The last song I'll mention is Survivor, which closes out the EP. Written from the perspective of a male subsister that has lost everything and gone to great ends to persist for humanity, this discovered note reads as someone who's cracking under their emotional distress.
Though before my time, Michael Jackson’s Thriller is so iconic that I doubt a generation exists that has not heard and enjoyed it. It’s more than a song. Literally. The 13-minute short film has seen people mimicking the dance and dressing up in the iconic red leather jacket for as long as I can remember. The music behind it all is so energetic that hearing just the slightest clip is enough to get your shoulders moving.
I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow might not be the obvious choice for a spooky playlist, but Halloween shifts more candy than any other time of year. I confess, I didn’t know more than the chorus for this song, so it was an interesting read. The candy lead singer Chloe Demetria had in mind isn’t what you’d go door to door for. This is a fun toon that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
It would be easy to reach for Nina Simone’s version of I Put a Spell on You, but I will go for Alice Smith’s tribute version instead. Done in 2015 as part of Nina Revisited, this version is a total departure from the original. Gone is Nina’s sass and power and we get a more meditative vibe instead. If Nina’s version is the spell, Smith’s version is the trance you cannot escape. The beautiful runs and harmonies sprinkled throughout are their own version of haunting.
I’ve covered Coultrain before, but I can’t talk about Halloween vibes and leave Kiss of Death from 2015’s Side Effex of Make-Believe out. This song’s macabre tone lines up nicely with the aforementioned I Put a Spell on You. Love and lust can be scary things when left alone in the mind. So many iconic horror films are based on these feelings.
Whether you’re partying, tagging along for a trick-or-treat session, or just chilling this evening, enjoy some seasonal tunes. Stay safe and revel in a spooky break from reality in whatever form it may come.