A post-Halloween playlist for those not ready for Thanksgiving yet
Just because Halloween is over doesn’t mean the music has to be
November 16, 2020
Halloween has come and past, however in times like these, some of us might want to enjoy the scary season just a little longer. Here’s a few songs to accompany all of the leftover candy-eating and decoration-removing until “All I Want For Christmas” starts blaring through every car radio, television and shopping mall halfway through November.
- “Clap Hands” by Tom Waits: The song opens with a clunky, stuttering vibraphone riff, overlaid over distant clangs and thuds, perfectly setting an eerie atmosphere that reeks of Halloween. Waits’ gravelly vocals, stripped of their humanity by an AM radio, anchor the beat to a melody, and the whole affair gives way to an awkward, throttling guitar solo that screeches and rattles its way into the night.
- “Zomby Woof” by Frank Zappa / The Mothers: After setting the mood, this song takes it up a notch with Zappa’s hyper-fast melodic contours cutting lacerations through his sludgy vocal delivery and grunge-jazz guitar work. The track also contains an absolutely demented guitar solo, perfect to bop your head to in a haze of leftover Reese’s Cups and Twizzlers.
- “The Jezebel Spirit” by David Byrne & Brian Eno: A little more dancey, here discordant drones and basslines are applied to a repetitive afrobeat rhythm, making for a hypnotic sound. If that’s not enough, vocals are sampled from an actual exorcism, adding another level of eerie to this already spooky track.
- “Mundo Civilizado” by Arto Lindsay: While not particularly halloweenesque in subject matter or lyricism, the peculiar acoustic guitar line combined with the droning, warbling synth bass tones swirling in the background warrant this track’s inclusion on this list. All in all a bassy, funky track that fits snugly in with any moody Halloween playlist.
- “Sixtyten” by Boards of Canada: While something off of their sophomore LP, Geogaddi, might have fit more snugly with its satanic themes and unnerving sound, this song strikes a nice balance between the eerie sound and catchy quality. The tumbling drum beat and interesting vocal samples make it a great track for any post-Halloween parties, and the dissonant synth notes in the background deliver that subtle edge that send it perfectly into the realm of great Halloween music.
- “Ghost Town (extended version)” by The Specials: Probably the most famous “Halloween song” on this list, The Specials take traditionally joyous and relaxing sounds and twist them with a minor key and unnatural vocals. The end result is something still danceable, but slightly discordant, moody and fitting. The extended mix allows the track to breathe a little more, and even adds a trombone solo at the end, treated with echo and reverb to make it all the more eerie.
- “Psycho Killer (acoustic)” by Talking Heads: David Byrne and company show up again on this list to deliver another great party song, an alternate version to the classic “Psycho Killer.” Besides the obvious unsettling lyrics and subject matter, cellist Arthur Russell appears on the track to add a discordant touch of strings that broils violently in the background, creating an interesting splinter on the original track.
- “The White Satin Gown” by The Marshmallow Ghosts: The Marshmallow Ghosts are the quintessential Halloween band, a mix of dream pop, post rock and indietronica all wrapped up in a kitschy Halloween aesthetic. So it’s only fitting that I’d add one of their songs to this list. The song itself features a 6/8 time signature and an arpeggiated riff, reminiscent of a high school slow-dance song, and the lyrics take that concept and add a macabre twist to it, contrasting the melodic, nostalgic air of the song in what makes for a fitting end to the Halloween season; the sugary sweetness of a candy-induced haze with a little bit of spookiness left to excite.
Samuel Elliott is a junior staff writer for RHSToday and Knight Writers. This is his first year on staff. Aside from work and writing, his spare time is...