Get into the spooky mood of the season with this Halloween-themed playlist – The GW Hatchet
Media credit: Raphael Kellner I Personal photographer
Take a trip back to 1984 and unlock the doors to the Twilight Zone by listening to Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me,” which topped international charts and went viral on TikTok last year before Halloween.
While classics like “Monster Mash” and “Thriller” will do the job of setting the season’s spooky vibe, sift through less popular but equally spooky songs ahead of Halloween.
We’ve curated a selection of unsettling melodies and haunting lyrics from old-school and new-era songs suitable for a Halloween party or just a fall stroll around campus. From Arctic Monkeys to Girl in Red to Andrew Lloyd Webber, dive into a vast repertoire of sinister-sounding melodies.
“Onion Boy” by Isaac Dunbar
Rising alt-pop artist Isaac Dunbar combines loud, catchy backing with eerie lyrics for a chilling product that’ll be on repeat when you hit the dance floor. Telling the story of a loved one who cheated on you, this song features heartfelt lines like “Gouging out my eyes / You made them burn and now you’ll pay the price”. Dunbar masterfully cracked the code for Halloween bop pop with this short, sweet single.
“Four of Five” by Arctic Monkeys
Throughout the Arctic Monkeys’ discography, frontman Alex Turner’s enchanting voice sounds like it was purposely crafted to express a seductive spirit. The band’s quirky sound reaches a new level of psychedelic pop on this song’s album, “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino.” “Four Out Of Five” delves into the album’s space-themed narrative, and the ominous lyrical repetition near the end of the song sets it apart as one of the band’s most chilling songs.
“Someone’s Watching Me” by Rockwell
“But why do I always feel like I’m in the twilight zone?” Take a trip back to 1984 and unlock the doors to the Twilight Zone as you listen to this classic R&B track, which topped international charts and went viral on TikTok last year just before Halloween. The song is complete with stellar keyboards, synthesizers and guest vocals from the King of Pop Michael Jackson.
“Body and Mind” by Girl in Red
The queen of autumnal pop – known for her soft indie shots like “we fell in love in October” – reaches new levels of angst in this physically frightening song. Like the majority of Girl in Red’s 2021 album “if i could make it go quiet”, the song features heavy lyrics exploring her mental health issues, such as “I chased whatever makes me cold”. The lyrics are reflected through a hauntingly dark instrumental with a powerful drum beat and a chilling melody on the keyboard that begs listeners to turn up this unsettling song.
“Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode
This song’s inherently eerie riff and powerful drum beat are enough to make you feel unwell. Songwriter Martin Gore said the lyrics refer to seeking forgiveness for one’s sins through a “personal Jesus” – someone who can give you hope. While the lyrics aren’t necessarily as spooky as a typical Halloween song, the echoing sound and rhythmic breaths amp up the song’s thrill and set the ghostly composition above.
Calling All Monsters by China Anne McClain
As the standout Halloween anthem from our peak years with Disney Channel, McClain, who starred in the early 2010s sitcom ANT Farm, caused a stir with this 2011 release. sensation topped Radio Disney’s Top 30 at the time, and McClain and her sisters’ band, “Thriii”, re-recorded the song last year in time for its 10th anniversary. Spooky and catchy, with just the right amount of nostalgic auto-tuning, McClain’s song ushers in the Halloween season like no other.
“I’ll Never Smile Again” by Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra and The Pied Pipers
With obsessively devoted lyrics and sounds straight out of a psychological thriller, “I’ll Never Smile Again” evokes a palpable air of goosebumps. Singing “I’ll never smile again / Until I smile at you,” Dorsey and Sinatra’s tranquil melody backed by a spooky chorus positions this alum as a particularly sinister pick for the selection. Even listening on Spotify, the 1940 song sounds like you’re hearing it straight from an old record player and might inspire you to check you’ve locked your door before you go to bed tonight.
“Wires” by the neighborhood
Exploring the difficulties of navigating the music industry, this bizarre song from The Neighborhood delves into the power that money and success can hold over a person. The menacing piano accompaniment sets up nightmarish lyrics like “When he talks, I hear his ghosts”. This moving and uplifting tale adds an unease but soulful feel to our selection.
“Cannibal” by Tally Hall
Likely Topping Armie Hammer’s Halloween playlist, “Cannibal” details the wounds a romantic partner has left through the metaphor of cannibalism. Sparing no bloody imagery, the band sings “She tears my bones like I’m an animal / And just when I feel like my blood’s drained / She calls it a game.” Although the song carries a surprisingly cheerful and upbeat melody, the lively lyrics give a bone chill feel to this piece.
“Halloween” by Phoebe Bridgers
The playlist takes a slower turn once you hear the sweet opening guitar chords of Bridgers’ devastatingly divine “Halloween.” Her delicate, pained tone mirrors her desperate words as she tries to salvage a relationship by pretending to be something she’s not, singing “It’s Halloween, and we can be anything “.
“The Phantom of the Opera” by Sierra Boggess and Ramin Karimloo
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s imaginative score of his musical comedy triumph ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ seamlessly blends opera and rock to create melodies that sound as spooky as the show’s sinister plot – especially true for the titular song. Like an ode to imminence closing from Broadway’s longest-running show, the stunning vocals and soaring electric guitar of this iconic track round out the end of the playlist.
Discover and save the complete playlist here.