MMM Top Ten: 10 Alternative Bangers for Your Halloween Playlist

Halloween’s easily one of the best yearly holidays and while the classic Halloween songs will always be classics (“Thriller,” “Monster Mash,” “Ghostbusters”), there’s nothing wrong with wanting to breathe new life into your holiday playlist. Below are 10 songs that probably aren’t already on your Halloween playlist, but need to be. 

10. “Halloween” – Phoebe Bridgers

Photo Credit: Olof Grind

Phoebe Bridgers’ “Halloween” has everything you could want in a Halloween song; beginning with a morbid joke about living next to a hospital, haunting vocals, a verse about murder, and a chorus that speaks to the promise of Halloween that makes the holiday so attractive to so many: “Baby, it’s Halloween // And we can be anything.”

#9. “Season Of The Witch (Cover)” – Lana Del Rey

Photo Credit: Lionsgate

Lana Del Rey’s breathy cover of this Halloween classic adds yet more haunting dimensions to it. Recorded to accompany Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Lana’s rendition becomes a Halloween classic in and of itself – her repetitions of “You’ve got to pick up every stitch,” are enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine. 

#8. “Bessie, Did You Make It” – Marissa Nadler

Photo Credit: Marissa Nadler via YouTube

The dark-folk centerpiece of Marissa Nadler’s The Path of Clouds is inspired by the real-life disappearance of Glen and Bessie Hyde in 1928. Nadler wonders whether a rafting accident was really to blame for the tragedy or if foul play on Hyde’s behalf is responsible. “I’m Bessie, I killed him, I was simply surviving,” goes the haunting final line.

#7. “Frankenstein” – Rina Sawayama

Photo Credit: Thurstan Redding

Inspired by the Mary Shelley novel of the same name, “Frankenstein” is an obvious highlight from Rina Sawayama’s uneven sophomore album Hold The Girl. Overblown with guitars and drums, Sawayama cries, “I can be your Frankenstein!” 

#6. “Versions of Violence” – Alanis Morissette

Photo Credit: Alanis Morissette

This EDM-heavy cut from Alanis Morissette’s often-overlooked 2008 album Flavors of Entanglement is one of the darkest songs she’s ever penned – an unsettling reflection on all the various “versions of violence” inflicted upon us during our lifetimes.

#5. “Heads Will Roll” – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Photo Credit: Interscope Records

It’s a crime that Yeah Yeah Yeahs 2009 hit “Heads Will Roll” hasn’t become a Halloween essential in the years since its release. A euphoric, dramatic dance cut, it all centers around the urgent vocal delivery from the ever-eccentric Karen O as she cries “Off, off with your head // Dance, dance, dance ‘till your dead!”

#4. “Darkness Forever” – Soccer Mommy

Photo Credit: Soccer Mommy via YouTube

On “Darkness Forever,” Sophie Allison finally lets out all the unease that had built up in the first half of her most recent album Sometimes, Forever. A foreboding, Portishead-Esque opening sees Allison consider ending it all in the same manner as Sylvia Plath did, before building up to a spine-chilling scream at the 1:30 mark. 

#3. “The Order of Spiritual Virgins” – Lingua Ignota

Photo Credit: Emily Bird

Songs can be inherently creepy and they can also be used to enhance scary scenes in film and TV, but it’s rare to find a song that is genuinely scary in and of itself. Lingua Ignota’s “The Order of Spiritual Virgins” is one such rarity. Filled with cries of “Hide your children, hide your husbands,” and the sinister promise that “Sickness finds a way,” the nine-minute epic sees moments of silence interrupted abruptly by harsh cacophonies of noise – the closest musical equivalent we have to a jump scare. 

#2. “Judy’s Bedroom” – Sloppy Jane

Photo Credit: Ralph Arvesen

Haley Dahl of Sloppy Jane deserves credit for creating probably the grimmest sing-along of 2021. On “Judy’s Bedroom,” she turns the narrative of a gruesome murder into a rock song, with an ironically peppy delivery of the lines, “Judy has fallen to pieces // Judy, surrounded by policemen // Judy does whatever she pleases now // Cause she’s with Jesus now.” Accompanying the sing-along are glib cries of “Everybody” and “One more time!” that emphasize the deranged nature of the song’s protagonist. 

#1. “Strangers” – Ethel Cain

Photo Credit: Ethel Cain

On the closer of her debut album Preacher’s Daughter, Ethel Cain ties together the tales of love, violence, and isolation that swirl around her 75-minute concept album. “Strangers” finds her singing from the grave, reduced to a “freezer bride” in her cannibalistic killer’s basement. “Am I making you feel sick?” she repeats, nauseatingly, from the perspective of a woman whose flesh is now being digested by the man who brutally ended her life.

Written by: Tom Williams

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