25 Songs That Are Really Scary (2023)

As Halloween approaches,you can ignore "Monster Mash" in favor of this handful of harder creeps: classic killer ballads, dissonant classic thrills, psychedelic quirks, shock rock madness, southern gothic alt-rock gloom, raucous music, and more.

  • Carolina Buddies, "The Lawson Family Murder" (circa 1930)

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    how is this murderthe ballad has become a popular standard, most famously recorded by the Stanley brothers in 1956, the events it narrates have become hazy legend. But when this tough three-piece string ensemble sang the lyrics for the first time in 1930, Charlie Lawson's story disappeared from the headlines. Just a year earlier, on Christmas Day, Lawson murdered his wife and six of their seven children, put his head on stone pillows, and then killed himself. (Seventh son was running errands at the time.) The pals sing with cool Appalachian resignation, acknowledging but not glamorizing the brutal horror lurking in everyday life. The idea that one day a man might inexplicably lash out and destroy himself and his family seems all the more tragic in the context of the Great Depression, suggesting that even family life can offer no refuge from the economic despair of the times.

  • The Louvin Brothers, "The Girl from Knoxville" (1956)

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    perhaps the most famousThe Ballad of Appalachian Murder is the first-person account of a seemingly ordinary man from Tennessee who inexplicably interrupts a walk with his girlfriend to beat her to death with a stick, despite her heartbreaking protests. About the recording they did for their debut album in 1956.The tragic songs of life.(later a country hit), Ira and Charlie Louvin harmonize with grim directness over a fast, easy waltz rhythm that adds doom to its sharply self-righteous finale, with a brutal prison-lost flow. (Though, in truth, the killer looks no more remorseful in prison than when he dumped his dead girlfriend in the river and then went to bed.) In fact, it was based on material that had been around for centuries, perhaps about an actual murder in the 17 century in Wittam, England. Over the years, the main victim came from various towns, from Oxford, England to Wexford, Ireland, suggesting, rather horribly, that there was at least one bloodthirsty killer to sing in almost every place.

  • Krzysztof Penderecki, «Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima» (1960)

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    The music experts are callingthis groundbreaking piece of 20th-century classical music exemplifies the use of "sonorismo," but this dark cloud of 52 chords is more simply described as controlled anarchy. Instruments are struck, strings are sawed where they weren't meant to be, and the entire orchestra buzzes like a swarm of angry bees. Naturally, the Polish composer's sound became synonymous with the film's tense and psychologically suffocating: bothBrilliantIchildren of menWear a piece; and his music influenced the music of Jonny Greenwoodthere will be blood thereand Micah Levy's score toUnder the skin. "In the case of certain pieces, like Threnody, I prefer them to be played by young people, because they are still open to learning" - Pendereckisaid the resident adviser. "Some of the notations I invented at that time are now common, but there are still special techniques, different types of vibrato, played on the tail of the bridge, played just behind the bridge. Things like that are unusual, even after 50 years . -They are called regular symphony orchestras, sometimes I refuse to include this work in the program because it requires too many rehearsals. Some older orchestra players do not want to learn anything new."

  • György Ligeti, "Volumina na organy" (1962)

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    Hungarian composer GyörgyLigeti worked with groups of sounds, creating a blur of chaos and movement that filled the space. Ofvolumes, a solo organ piece, opens with the keyboard player's forearms setting fire to an organ machine in Gothenburg. Although the track is more about "colors" than notes, "Volumina" is extremely restless with long passages of dissonance and a length that hovers somewhere north or south of the 15-minute mark.

  • The door, "The End" (1967)

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    Login toAt nearly 12 minutes long, Jim Morrison's epic "The End" is a wicked journey that leads to a crazy and surprising ending. The psychedelic rock epic was widely interpreted as a farewell to childhood innocence, and Morrison has said as much in interviews. It begins calmly as the singer says goodbye to his only friend, then lyrically shifts into wilder lyrics, imploring the listener to "ride the snake" and "drive the highway west." The final section is an oral narrative telling the story of Oedipus, with the narrator telling his father that he wants to kill him and his mother that he wants to have sex with her before proceeding to the chaotic "fuck" S. "The End ". was made during the group's stint as the band at the Whiskey a Go Go when he improvised a stormy ending to the song one night after Morrison took acid. They were released the next day.

  • Pink Floyd, "Watch That Hatchet, Eugene" (1969)

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    psychedelic zThe 1960s translated its share of terrifying fantasies into whirlwinds of ominous sounds, echoes of bad trips that slip into the listener's subconscious wormhole. But in its final form - a live version of Pink Floyd.UmmagummaLP - "Careful With That Axe, Eugene" is less die-hard rock fan and more of a lysergic haunted house offering door to door that you can open against your better judgement. At the start, a Richard Wright organ and Nick Mason cymbals flutter and soft, distant moans herald doom. Then the title is a whisper, and before the danger it entails has a chance to register, Roger Waters screams repeatedly in terrifying madness. David Gilmour's guitar frenzy in response, but soon the music returns to the hushed, haunting silence that preceded the violent interlude. Something terrible has happened and it remains to be imagined.

  • Bloodrock, "D.O.A." (1971)

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    Miracle of a Bloodrock HitIt probably made the Top 40 with a gruesome eight-and-a-half-minute first-person account of death. The hard rockers' music sounds like a British ambulance siren and the lyrics describe the bloody aftermath of a plane crash as a paramedic attends to a man. He feels "something warm slipping from his fingers", tries to move his hand, but when he looks he sees that "there is nothing". He looks for his girlfriend and sees her face covered in blood as she looks away. Finally, he offers this couplet: "The sheets are red and wet where I lie / God in heaven, teach me how to die." It ends with the sound of American sirens. "I think maybe it's the whole package [music and lyrics] that scares people and the sirens on top of that," said keyboardist Steve Hill.in a 2010 interview. "The FCC banned 'DOA'. A lot of stations didn't carry it because people stayed in their cars because they thought an ambulance was following them."

  • Leonard Cohen, "Lawina" (1971)

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    songs about lovei gaveIt might be Leonard Cohen's most depraved record, which is saying a lot. Tales of suicide ("Dress Rehearsal Rag") and infidelity ("Famous Blue Raincoat") leave an undeniable sting, but the scariest moments on the 1971 album come on opener "Avalanche," in which Cohen plays his classic role. Stygian bard. to perfection Over a rolling flamenco guitar and swelling strings, he portrays a hunchback living at the bottom of a gold mine: "Your laws don't force me / To kneel grotesque and naked," he quips. Even as the song borders on dark haunting and, ultimately, pure horror ("It's your turn, love / It's your body I use"), Cohen's voice maintains a trance-like calm. It's no surprise that dark rock award winner Nick Cave has been recording this song for over 30 years.

  • Alice Cooper, "I Love the Dead" (1973)

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    shock rock the bestthe act could add any number of songs to its list of truly scary songs: "Dead Babies" (about child neglect), "The Ballad of Dwight Fry" (an inside look at madness), "Sick Things" ( sick things) - but this is one of at least three (!) jokes of Alice Cooper's necrophilia, which remains the creepiest. There's a haunting honesty to the recorded version of "I Love the Dead" - Bchildren for millions of dollarsa gothic and sometimes majestic piece that transcends satire: "While friends and lovers mourn your stupid grave / I've got other uses for you, baby." Only in the scene, where the song serves as a prelude to Cooper's guillotine beheading at night, does it become cheesy. INInterview in Rolling Stone 2014, Alice Cooper dismissed the tune's shock value. “To me, anyone who takes it seriously…yes,” he said, pausing. “I don't think you can surprise the public anymore [today]. If I cut my hand off and eat it, okay, that would be shocking. But you can only do it twice."

  • Suicide, "Frankie's Tear" (1977)

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    Alan Vega in Suicidefeatures the central character, a 20-year-old factory worker struggling to support his family, breathless as if to fall in love with "Be-Bop-A-Lula," but living in a world too bleak for such casual pleasures. Only halfway through this nearly 10-and-a-half-minute training session, Frankie kills himself and his family, but even death is no escape: "Frankie is in hell," Vega insists. And there is no way out of Suicide's claustrophobic wave either. Vega's screams aren't cathartic: they're half-cocked with embarrassment at first, then hoarse outbursts that collapse into sobs or are indefinitely muffled by the effects of delay. Frankie Teardrop's story would be pure melodrama if it had the lead guitar and up-tempo of CBGB Suicide mates, but Martin Rev's electronic backdrop swirling and crackling with the haunting hum of Insomnia home appliances suggests a particularly modern take on doom. : not the blazing fires of biblical imagery, but the dull gray static of eternal despair.

  • Throbbing Cartilage, "Hamburger Lady" (1978)

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    always fetishistsGrotesque English art/noise collective Throbbing Gristle hit the pinnacle of body horror with the single "Hamburger Lady" from their 1978 album.DOA: third and final report of pulsating coat. The lyrics were taken directly (and combined) from the written testament of Blaster artist Al Ackerman, who served as a medic in Vietnam and later in a hospital burn ward, tending to a woman who suffered expensive burns from the waist to the knees. . "Hamburger Lady," repeats Genesis P-Orridge, "is dying, burned from the waist up." Even scarier than the words themselves is the hideous mechanical roar of the engine set against a background of clinical white noise.

  • Birthday Party, "Dead Joe" (1982)

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    "Welcome todestroying the car," 25-year-old Nick Cave screams wildly. "Dead Joe" is a nasty fiasco about a car accident, probably around Christmas (according to Cave's ho-ho-ho-ing), that's so gruesome that "you can't tell the girls from the boys anymore" , an interesting metaphor for Postu's London punk scene. The song was co-written by Cave and his then-girlfriend Anita Lane, blending the tonal elements of American southern gothic into tumultuous, cartoonish art-rock. Although the band disbanded just a year later, Birthday Party had an impact on gothic rock, combining various bluesy and rockabilly themes to impressive results.

  • Bruce Springsteen, "Nebraska" (1982)

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    just another Springsteena song about a boy, a car and a girl. Only this time the driver who offers to drive his girlfriend out of his town full of idiots is Charlie Starkweather, a real-life crazed killer who spent two months in the American West in the late 1950s with his "beautiful baby" . Carl Ann Fugate, 14 years old. Bruce had given voice to desperate souls before, but usually they were good people going through hard times. He's never sung about such bums, and his drawl takes on an appropriately sociopathic chill as his harmonica scrapes like a rusted weathervane over an abandoned barn. When Charlie's captors demand to know the reasons for his cruelty, all horror fans will recognize the moment a psychotherapeutic explanation appears. Starkweather shrugged in justification, "There is only evil in this world."

  • Metallica, "One" (1989)

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    Although Metallica wasUnderground trendsetters in the early 1980s, they burst into the mainstream consciousness in 1989 with "One," a single about a quadriplegic soldier calling for death. “When we wrote itPuppeteeralbum, James [Hetfield] had an idea: what if you were in a state where you were some kind of living consciousness, like a garbage can, where you couldn't reach out and communicate with anyone around you, Lars? Ulrich once said: "You had no arms or legs, you obviously couldn't see, hear or speak." They got the idea in the fall of 1987 when their managers referred them to Dalton Trumbo's anti-war novel and film.Johnny has his gun, about the anguish of a patriotic American soldier, Joe Bonham, during World War I, who wakes up one day to find that a landmine has taken away his limbs, eyes, ears and most of his mouth of him, but he can still think and feel. He finally nods his head in Morse code to his pillow, asking the doctors to kill him. For Metallica, that story, with machine-gun thrash riffs for nearly eight minutes, spawned an unlikely Top 40 hit, an unforgettable music video featuring footage from the film, and a Grammy Award.

  • PJ Harvey, "By the Water" (1995)

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    the story toldby a first class swamp witch. In the first single from their 1995 album,to bring you my lovePolly Jean Harvey transforms into a lovely, dirty mother from the swampy underworld, calling her daughter back from the river where she drowned. In the video, Harvey rocks an ominous cha-cha rhythm and thumps underwater in a red satin dress - she said she was struggling to get to the surface.revolve around, thanks to the weight of his mighty black wig. The chorus plays the otherwise innocuous "Salty Dog Blues," an American standard first recorded by New Orleans legend Papa Charlie Jackson: "Little fish, big fish swims in the water," Harvey whispers, "Ga back here and give me my daughter." ".

  • Scott Walker, "Farmer in the City" (1995)

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    low droneopening with Scott Walker's 1995 song "Farmer In The City" only hints at the horror to come. The pop icon-turned-experimental wretch has a voice that can't be described in simple terms like "haunting" or "funereal." her voice and bleak view of the world to devastating effect. "Farmer in the City" might be the closest to a pop song she's released in her later career, though it's still pretty poignant. Over the tight, spare arrangement of the London Sinfonia, Walker mourns his abstract interpretation of the last thoughts of Italian director and intellectual Pier Paolo Pasolini (murdered in 1975). "Paulo, take me with you/It's been the ride of your life," he murmurs toward the end of the song, a flash of regretful self-reflection that speaks to the low-level horror of not knowing when the end is coming.

  • Nick Cave και Bad Seeds, "Song of Joy" (1996)

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    almost all nicknamesThe cave song is scary. Few artists have devoted themselves to bleak, macabre music quite like the Australian frontman Bad Seeds. In the mid-1990s, he decided to write and record a self-study album.murder ballads, whose songs claimed the lives of dozens of unfortunate fictional victims. Originally conceived as a follow-up to Cave's favorite Milton-inspired soundtrack Red Right Hand, its somber title track tells the unflinching story of a man who meets a "sweet and happy" girl named Joy, whom he eventually meets. , only to be discovered a day after being "taped up, gagged/stabbed multiple times and put in a sleeping bag." The killer also took the other three daughters of the narrator. by the end of the song, it seems that the narrator knows more than he is letting on. "They never caught that man," Cave sings. He is still on the run.

  • Diamanda Galás, "In 25 Minutes" (1998)

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    The famous Diamanda Galaspreceded by a vocal range of four octaves. But in her 1998 cover of Shel Silverstein's seminal 1962 song "25 Minutes to Go," her voice penetrates in a more restrained way. When Johnny Cash recorded the song in 1965 and again in 1968 at Folsom Prison, his version of the death row inmate's song was played with dark humor. Galás, on the other hand, inhales the air from the cell as if transforming into Mary Surratt. Its meandering piano is almost like the way the song's 25-minute countdown begins with a twisted, circus-like drumbeat and ends with a slow strum of keys. Galás illuminates more abandoned lines. "Now comes the preacher to save my soul / 13 minutes left," he sings as his lungs fill with liquid. Instead of the cheesy ending found in the folk versions ("One more minute to go / And now I'm rocking and leave!"), Galás' voice drops the final layer to gruesome effect, emphasizing the tragedy it inspired. the comedy. The songwriter and singer makes it clear on her album of blues coverscurse and prayer, pays homage to both the poignant arias of Maria Callas and the tradition of dry, murderous ballads.

  • Tom Waits, "What Builds?" (1999)

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    This dramatic monologueof a Nosy Neighbor is set to a palette of eerie sound effects (muffled metallic swooshes, cheap electronic flapper) that would be the envy of any haunted house designer. Always a scary guy (Francis Ford Coppola played him as the bug-eating Renfield in the Dracula version for some reason), Tom Waits roars here as if shining a flashlight under his chin to scare a bunch of nervous explorers around him . A fire . In fact, he repeatedly sings "What are you building there?" - stressing the word 'build' each time with busy compulsion - ultimately making the narrator sound far more suspicious than the wacky loner he spies on. At least until the unsettling coda, where we ourselves hear whistling coming from an eccentric builder's house.

  • Tori Amos, "'97 Bonnie y Clyde" (2001)

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    Eminem's revenge fantasy"'97 Bonnie And Clyde" was an upbeat yet haunting track as the bright blonde MC detailed the father and daughter trip to the beach, with some hints that "Mama" in the trunk wasn't about to give up willingly. . Tori Amos' 2001 cover album revealstrange girlsshe conquers the American-goth quotient with horror strings, Dimestore synth beats and a reversal of the song's perspective: her choked expression and paternal tenderness make the monologue sound like it's coming from a victim as her life bleeds to death. "'Bonnie & Clyde' is a song that depicts domestic violence very accurately, right on the money," Amos said.he told MTV in 2001. "It didn't fit the character I was playing. There was one person who definitely didn't dance with that thing, and that's the woman in the trunk. And she spoke to me... [She] took my hand and said, 'You have to hear it like I hear".

  • Eminem, "Kim" (2000)

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    one of the rappersMost of the chilling songs come in rhyming form as Eminem recreates the moment an abusive relationship turns deadly. Written and published when his relationship with ex-wife Kim Scott was at its most toxic, the rapper murders Kim's husband and stepson, verbally abusing her from their home to their car, where he eventually ends his own life. He shouts throughout the song and even imitates Kim's voice at times when he rejects her statements. "If I were her, I'd run when I heard that shit," Dr Dre's mentor.he told Rolling Stone in 1999. "It's an exaggeration, the whole song is her scream. But she's good. Kim gives her an idea."

  • Us, "Conmutado" (2003)

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    The word "extreme"in metal now denotes a subgenre rather than a measure of true intensity. But the sounds of defunct New York quartet Khanate, released in the early 2000s, fit that description, reaching unusual levels of ominous pessimism. "The music is pure structural experimentation and blatant attempts at restless mood swings through dissonance and time playing," said guitarist Stephen O'Malley, also of Sunn O))) in 2001. In practice, this means the sound of stretched metal. and absorbed into painfully tense epics like this 19-minute behemoth. O'Malley's sour chords echo softly and Tim Wyskida's bass drum rumbles calmly as singer Alan Dubin shouts what sounds like a real-time narrative to make you lose your mind: "OMG/Smiles/Sneezes/Talk.. .” When the whole group finally reaches a series of dull, wobbly climaxes, the impact is similarBrilliantDanny Torrance takes a creepy look at these twins in the hallway of the Overlook Hotel.

  • Sufjan Stevens, "John Wayne Gacy Jr." (2005)

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    ambitious StevensIllinoismentioned at various times in the state's history, including the haunting story of 1970s serial killer John Wayne Gacy, Jr. — known as "The Killer Clown" — who buried the bodies of 26 teenagers he had sexually abused and murdered in area of ​​his house. "I felt an overwhelming empathy not with his behavior but with his nature and there was nothing I could do to admit it, as terrifying as it sounded," she explained.in the interviewAt the time of the album's release, he noted elsewhere that Gacy served as a foil for the more upbeat Illinois figures he was researching, such as Abraham Lincoln and Carl Sandburg. Stevens' subdued style of musical presentation - soft singing over muted guitar - makes his almost tender empathy for Gacy all the more chilling.

  • Cover of Haxan, "Fog" (2013)

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    such as the Capa de HaxanBobby Krlic has received reviews for his music that sounds like underground techno, but has a taut, biting, crunchy texture that seems to come straight from the thick, dripping world of slasher sound. Although it is a groundbreaking albumExcavationFull of ominous snorts, hums and pounding heartbeats, "Miste" is the scariest thing ever thanks to (spoiler alert!) opening with a good old fashioned jump-scare. When that scream arrives at the beginning, it circles and reverberates, grafting itself onto the skin of the track before giving way to waves of alarm. “I don't find the dark depressing. In fact, I find it quite refreshing and purifying." —Krlichhold still he said. “There are certain moments where I challenge myself and try to be as uncomfortable as possible. And it's not that I'm a dark person. It's like some kind of adrenaline rush."

  • Wolf Eyes, "Asbestos Youth" (2015)

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    Detroit scuzz-wallopers WolfEyes has spent the better part of the last two decades creating warped distortions, gut-wrenching screams and blade-dragging slashers across more than 250 releases. But they've reached a new homeland terror zone with their latest album for Third Man Records,I am the problem: mind in pieces. They stopped screaming for a more desolate feeling, haunted and full of lost woodwind hums and moans. Or like John Olsonsaid affairs pop"It's not as dystopian as our other records... We're older guys and Jim [Baljo], the youngest guy in the band, is a laid-back rocker and you know we're all hippies at heart." you feel so much the need to annihilate everything in our path. You say more with less, you know? You get older and show more and attack less. "Asbestos Youth" may not be offensive per se, but it creeps uneasily like John Carpenter's soundtrack to hide in a tool shed.


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