Two years ago, I wrote a two-part blog post for the Houston Press about “Ten Gruesomely Good Halloween Songs” (read Part 1 and Part 2 at Rocks Off). That’s still one of the most fun things I’ve ever written — fun for me, anyway. So in the spirit of the season, I’m revisiting the idea of a Halloween mix. Here are ten treats to accompany your tricks in 2010.
1. Alice Cooper – Welcome to My Nightmare
What would Halloween be without a little Alice? Ever the good-natured ghoul, Mr. Cooper welcomes us to his nightmare with some help from the Muppets.
2. Outkast – Dracula’s Wedding
This song is about the scariness of actually getting what you want. Healthy adult relationships are pretty terrifying, aren’t they?
3. Lou Reed – Halloween Parade
To appreciate this one, you have to know two things: 1) that the annual NYC Halloween Parade is a huge event that takes place in Greenwich Village, historically the heart of the city’s LGBT community, and 2) that this song was written in 1989, at the height of the AIDS crisis.
4. Rob Zombie – Superbeast
You can hear the NIN influence from co-songwriter Charlie Clouser in this song, which is kind of a great pop song in its own right. The pre-chorus refrain of “The ragged they come, and the ragged they kill” is super catchy, syncopated against the beat. And for some reason, I really want to choreograph a high school drill team field routine to this song, with high kicks and everything. Don’t ask me why. I guess it would be for the shock value. I’d love to see it at the homecoming game. Probably because I hated high school.
5. Jayce Everett – Bad Things
Even though True Blood has progressed through its three seasons from a sexy Southern Gothic fantasy to a ridiculous soap opera bloodbath, the song from the opening credits remains relatively undead.
6. The Dresden Dolls – Mandy Goes to Med School
Forget about the pregnant women hammering each others’ stomachs with mallets (and please ignore the random George Michael interlude); this video is all about the jam. Amanda and Brian play off of each other so well, it’s as if they’ve got musical telepathy.
7. Michael Jackson – Blood on the Dance Floor
Bet you thought this was gonna be “Thriller”, right? Nope.
8. The Sword – Tres Brujas
From The Sword’s new album, Warp Riders. The record is more space-aged than spooky, but this song (which means “Three Witches”) adds some necessary mischief to this potion of a playlist we’re concocting.
9. Spinnerette – The Walking Dead
Brody: call me.
10. Ozzy Osbourne – Mr. Crowley
Who better than the Prince of Darkness to finish up this mix? For a really good scare and more info on the true story behind this song, watch this 30-minute online BBC documentary about Aleister Crowley. And for the love of God, DON’T GO IN THAT HOUSE!