‘Tis the season for horror films on cable, all black outfits, and eerie playlists. So grab the nearest black cat, light a candle, and let this playlist rock you into the Halloween spirit.
Number One: “In the Woods Somewhere” by Hozier is essential for any dark playlist. The song weaves together a terrifying experience wrought with mystery and monster. “What caused the wound? / how big the teeth? / I sure knew eyes were watching me.” Creeped out yet?
Number Two: “The Angry River” by The Hat, Father John Misty, and S.I. Istwa was featured on the True Detective soundtrack. Featuring haunting vocals, ebbing instrumentals, and a chant-like chorus, the song builds on mystery and danger.
Number Three: “Too Dry to Cry” by Willis Earl Beal is reminiscent of African work songs, with the use of a humming background vocal and building story lyrics. This foot-stomping, rhythmic track adds a melancholy, historical flavor to the playlist.
Number Four: Clinging to the coattails of Beal’s work song, “Graves” by Whiskey Shivers also uses gospel chorus and unconventional instruments under the religious and moving lyrical theme. The stomp-clap beat strengthens the dark theme of the playlist and fosters darkness in the raw vocals.
Number Five: “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo” by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club provides a more modern gothic song for the playlist, while still clutching to the rhythmic, stomp beat of the other songs. Fueled by heavy rock guitar and haunting vocals, the track gives a little edge to the rest of the playlist.
Number Six: “Bones” by MS MR is another more modern gothic track for the playlist. Dealing with the themes of loss and darkness with the image of digging up bones, the track pulls a more pop-like sound, while keeping with the eerie background vocals favored on the other tracks.
Number Seven: “Rosie” by Bruce Peninsula from the soundtrack of Ed Glass-Donnelly’s Small Town Murder Songs really needs no more introduction that that. The song deals with dangerous, unrequited love with Peninsula’s raking and harsh vocals. The passion that burns out of the song is enough to give one the chills and double check the locks.
Number Eight: “Devil’s Backbone” by the Civil Wars gives a more upbeat and smooth iteration of the gothic themes already explored. Joy Williams’ smooth soprano underlined by John Paul White’s own alto strengthens the already powerful chorus and the whispered bridge. Songs like this make one wish the two hadn’t called it quits.
Number Eight: “Raise Hell” by Brandi Carlile is a more rock-based sound, but still deals with religious themes as well as dangerous love. Carlile’s scratchy voice paired with powerful guitar riffs builds a brilliant and empowering sound that invokes the fury of a woman scorned.
Number Nine: “Devil Town” by Bright Eyes is a bit of divergence from the angry or grieved themes already touched on in the playlist, but nonetheless it provides a peaceful break to slow down the speed of the playlist. It remains with the devil/monsters of Halloween, but in a more interesting way, “all my friends were vampires / I didn’t know they were vampires / turns out I was a vampire myself / in the devil town.”
Number Ten: Closing up the playlist with a slower, more somber track, “Hemlock Grove” by Little Vigils combines all the features the songs above have delved into. Although, instead of painting a dangerous love story, this one seems to just be sad. “Our love is crooked / as the teeth in an old man’s smile / the stones in the graveyard / that country mile.”