Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween Music

A big problem I find with Halloween music in general is that very little of it actually has to do with Halloween. If you look at any Halloween party albums, apparently the compilers of these albums believe that the song selection should depend primarily on the mention of anything remotely Halloween themed, even if it doesn't actually have anything to do with Halloween.

For instance, Alice Cooper's "Feed My Frankenstein" shows up on a lot of Halloween albums. Just because he says "Frankenstein," does not make this a scary song. He's referring to his libido. "Feed My Frankenstein" is a song about sex, not Frankenstein's monster. It's a little literary device known as allusion, which you'd understand if you spent any bit of time in college learning practical skills like the English fucking language, and not just how to make beer bongs and destroy morale in your future workforce.

Sometimes the most effective scary songs don't even mention their subject matter. These are created by real artists who know how to combine melodies and sounds to form the proper evocative emtion in the listener. I combed through my music collection and found a few examples of these and a few examples of more appropriate Halloween-themed party songs for your enjoyment.

Dead Soul Tribe - "Some Things You Can't Return"
Every repost is repost repost, right? Yeah, I posted this song
before, but I think it accurately conveys a sense of dread normally associated with a haunting.

Morgana Lefay - "Harga"
Morgana Lefay combines the polished heaviness of Nineties Metallica with the menacingly insane vocal stylings of Savatage's Jon Oliva stretched to the limits. They are awesome for coming up with some of the most refreshing riffs since Metallica quit being good. This song starts out with a pirate-like dirge, talks about Satan luring fallen souls into Hell. Charles Rytkönen sings like he normally does, like he lost his fucking mind and plans on taking you out with him, but the scariest part is the foreboding moans of the lost souls through the bridges.

Oingo Boingo - "Insanity"
The former king of Gothic party songs, Danny Elfman, in 1994 deviated from his well-established norm by releasing one of the most disturbing albums of his career. Although the album still contained hints of his bitter wit, it was mostly a serious foray into doom and despair. It seemed like he was trying to acknowledge that the fun party attitude of the Eighties was dead and work his compositional style into the gloomy grunge attitude, with mixed success. This song was one of his most prolific. It almost sounds like he was trying to evoke a little Jaz Coleman at times. The reason I include this is because somewhere between the hypnotic psychedelia of repeated musical themes and the disturbingly violent final verse, it creates a lingering sense of anxiety that stays with the listener long after the song is over. It's insanity from the point of view of the insane. If this is your first listen, for full effect I'd recommend putting on headphones, turning out the lights, shutting down your senses and really let the song infiltrate your brain.

Le'rue Delashay - "The Midnight Tower"
Le'rue Delashay was a former keyboardist for some gothic death metal band I care nothing about and can't remember the name of anymore; I just remember reading that about him at some point, like, ten years ago. I happened across his CD purely by accident, but decided to keep it. It's full of gothic symphonic horror compositions. Despite its clichéd cheesiness in some places, this song in particular sounds like it could be featured as the intro to any number of gothic Satanic horror movies.

Now for some fun music:
Bruce Dickinson - "No Way Out, Part 2"
I would have posted this as an impressive song at some point anyway. It's a dramatic departure from Iron Maiden and even a lot of Bruce Dickinson's solo work, with a rhythm more suited for dance pop music and a lighter metal sound. I also love Dickinson's vocal contrast between his normal operatic voice and an older, heavier, gruffer voice. I don't think a better song has been written to convey the idea and emotion of vampirism, even though the message can be applied to a number of topics.

Devin Townsend - "Vampira"
Progressive metal's most eccentric composer tries his hand at a goth rock track. I think it turns out pretty well. It contains every bit of horror fun normally associated with goth rock, the heavy majesty of goth bands like Type O Negative or The Cult, and Devin Townsend's frighteningly powerful vocal range.

Voltaire - "Zombie Prostitute"
I couldn't end a music post of fun Halloween themed music without including at least one Voltaire song. Voltaire picked up the torch where Danny Elfman dropped it for gothic party music. With his wry sense of gothic sarcasm, I kind of think of him as the goth rock version of Weird Al Yankovic, only with fewer song parodies. The man is a whimsical lyrical genius. I was torn between whether to post this song or his biggest hit, "When You're Evil," but this song won out because that song is just about being evil, and this one is specifically about zombies.



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