Playlist: Spooky Tunes

By Daniella Cortez

I hate the “Monster Mash”. I touch on this briefly in our print edition this week in the Six spooky songs article but I want to take it a little further. Bobby Pickett released “Monster Mash” in 1962 as a novelty song. It was a novelty! It wasn’t intended to be an incessant and agonizing earbug for the next 50 years. That bears repeating; we’ve been playing that song every Halloween for 50 years. It has to stop.

The 80’s and 90’s were ripe for creepy songs; the whole goth rock movement was lousy with lyrics paying homage to ill fated deaths, vampires, ghosts and all manner of magick. (Yes, magick with a ‘k’.) Then there was the whole emo thing in the early 2000s which to be fair was basically a big rehash of everything the Cure did the decade before but without the smeared lipstick.

Now mopey jerks like Bon Iver and Goyte are quietly and completely ripping our hearts out lyric by sad, pitiful lyric. They are not included in this mix because I hate Bon Iver and that Goyte song got played out. So with this huge body of work to pull from, why are we still accosted by the “Monster Mash” every October?

I’ll fix it for you. I’ve picked 17 other songs, most of which were written a lot more recently than 1962. Joy Division’s “She’s Come Undone” is the oldest on this list, released in 1978. It stands the test of time too. Although it was released four years before I was even born, it’s a song I’ve enjoyed since I was old enough to know from good music. It was the gateway song actually, to all those other moody tunes I’ve always gravitated towards.

Obviously The Cure, The Smiths and The Pixies are peppered through out this list. It’s hard to make a play list like this without the well-known weirdos at the forefront of the morose music movement. There are a few newer songs as well, like the ones I wrote about in the print edition this week, but as always it’s a mix of old and new.

Put this mix on while you’re getting ready to go out this weekend for Halloween festivities (check out our Picks of the Week for some suggestions) or let it play in the background of your party. I’d say it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser but that kind of defeats the purpose. The songs here are strange, sad, morbid, maddening or manic. They are all the parts of Halloween rolled into a fitful mix.

As always, feel free to let me know if I’ve left off any songs that you think should be on this list.

Daniella Cortez

About Daniella Cortez

Entertainment editor and your gal about town. Doing my best to bring you the highs and lows of Anchorage's arts and entertainment scene.

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