Two weeks ago, I posted part one of my Halloween playlist featuring some catchy gems for getting down to this Samhain, whether that means lighting actual sacrificial bonfires or just enjoying the XTC song of the same name. Since time’s slipped away from me lately and this blog gets the most hits at 4 AM on the weekends anyway, here I am posting part two in the most timely manner I know how to.
TWELVE: “Dragon Queen”- Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Where’s That From??: 2009’s It’s Blitz!
“My mouth is blowing right off
I’m so gone
Incoming, out clubbing
Not loving, slow your body down”
Shaking off Depeche Mode and slinking into this sexy little number by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the songs are thematically connected by and possibly even by mouths. There’s a good opportunity to transition from one song to the next, even if “Shake the Disease” mopes and haunts everywhere that “Dragon Queen” shakes and rocks.
THIRTEEN: “Lizard King”/ “Cowboys”- Sad Lovers & Giants
Where’s That From??: 1991’s Treehouse Poetry/ The 1996 compilation E-Mail From Eternity
” Like souls thrashing in darkness
Sometimes we lose control
Together we are strong
No man is an island… “
” We’ve talked now it’s time to shout
Let’s focus sides again
All views can’t be reconciled
This compromise feels tame “
So when building this playlist the first time, I used only my personal music library. Then I lost it, had to rebuild it mostly from memory and uploaded it to Spotify to embed at the top of this post and to document any further changes. In the process of transferring it to Spotify, a bit of my artistic vision had to be compromised since Spotify’s missing the one Sad Lovers & Giants album I needed for this playlist. If you can track down the spooky Doors-laden and reference heavy “Lizard King”, I believe it’s a better fit for the playlist. It’s like a friend who dresses up as the best Jim Morrison you’ve ever seen, even if he doesn’t sound a lick like him. If you can’t, well, “Cowboys” is a fine substitution and Spotify’s got your back.
FOURTEEN: “Kings”- Chelsea Wolfe
Where’s That From??: 2013’s Pain is Beauty
” The voice of God despairing him
Then crept into the severed heads
Of dreams we have forgotten and
Lost upon the rotten minds
Of unjust fools who’ve forgotten
Lost upon the rotted hearts
Of those who have forgotten us “
Golly, Chelsea Wolfe is goth as fuck. If Sad Lovers & Giants brings a wispy and somewhat whimsical fall air to the playlist, Chelsea Wolfe provides a full-on icy synth-tronic arctic assault. This is, after all, from the same person who brought the world titles such as “Destruction Makes The World Burn Brighter”, “I Died With You”, and “Carrion Flower”, so that much is probably expected. But it also kickstarts a religious theme that will follow throughout the next several tracks, carrying on with..
FIFTEEN: “Imitation of Christ”- The Psychedelic Furs
Where’s That From??: 1980’s The Psychedelic Furs or the 2009 compilation The Best of The Psychedelic Furs
” The nails are words
The nails are lies
To make it crawl
And make it scream
And make it real
And make it bleed
And make it bleed
And make it bleed
And make it dream “
Where keyboards have driven every song on this part of the playlist so far, The Furs mix things up here by mostly following a saxophone lead throughout this song. The saxophone is less creepy for sure, but that’s not the point. I’m sure we’ve all been to a party where we’ve seen a lazy white guy with long hair, a beard and a robe who opted out of doing the cool thing and instead of being The Dude, they did their own imitation of Christ, a stance this band would probably stand by as it’s fairly critical of religion. The Imitation of Christ that the song refers to is a Christian devotional, and with lyrics like those above that stand in stark contrast to anything even remotely removed from devotion. So for this reason, when you see hairy white dudes this Halloween season, I hope you think of The Psychedelic Furs.
SIXTEEN: “Impasse Satan”- Pink Turns Blue
Where’s That From??: 1991’s Aerdt
” Then for some reason, har
The dead are still lying there, har
You harlot, you murderer, har
Nothing but words then,
Nothing but words then, har?
There is no climbing back, har
Nothing of flesh and blood, har
You want me alive, har. “
The final track of the religiously supercharged Pink Turns Blue album Aerdt is a re-telling of Satan’s fall from grace, one that’s less with concerned with sympathy and more concerned with blunt feeling and understanding of the figure. The lyrics above connect it with the Furs track, but the lines “Stranger than mankind/ shan’t I be alone?/ why shan’t I be alone?” very much explain it all. It’s a song that legitimizes and humanizes every kind of the many devil costumes, whether they’re the cool, svelte David Bowie kind of devil, a “sexy” devil, or even a cool, “sexy David Bowie” kind of devil. They’re all rooted in the same permissive empathy of one who’s been left alone, which no partygoer ever should be.
SEVENTEEN: “Higher Hell”- Echo & The Bunnymen
Where’s That From??: 1983’s Porcupine
“Smack in the middle of today
Got to find new words
Merely got to simply say
I think we all misheard
Just like my lower heaven
You know so well my higher hell “
Another song that uses religious themes, but Echo & The Bunnymen covertly consider themselves less with certain figures as they do religion’s certain duality. From that standpoint there are many directions to go in, especially concerning All Hallow’s Eve. Plain clothes versus fun costumes! Real food versus candy and booze! The light of day as opposed to the dead of night! Hey, speaking of that dynamic…
EIGHTTEEN:“Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde”- The Damned
Where’s That From??: 1980’s The Black Album
” I try to be to true, he tries to be cruel
I’ll hold you gently but he’ll smother you
My clothes will impress you
And his claws will undress you… “
Like Frank Sinatra told Al Bundy’s clan, you can’t have one without the other. The costumes, drinks, candy and night give their way to hangovers of their own when the day starts again on Sunday this year. But let’s make the most of that extra daylight savings hour, because as Love and Rockets tells us…
NINETEEN: “It Could Be Sunshine”- Love and Rockets
Where’s That From??: 1986’s Express
” My love for you won’t last for one day
My love for you will last for two “
Those are the lines the song ends on, and with the aforementioned daylight savings giving us an extra hour of Halloween this year, what’s not to rejoice? Dip into November 1st while you’re at it! It stays dark longer in fall anyways, and it could always be sunshine instead.
TWENTY: “Carcass”- Siouxsie And The Banshees
Where’s That From??: 1978’s The Scream
” Someone’s in cold storage
Thawed in Heinz main courses
Carved in a new tin
He got you with the cleaver
He hung you up forever
Anticipating new skin “
Because what kind of Halloween playlister would I be if I skimped on Siouxsie Sioux? As if this song wasn’t perfect enough on its own, it gets bonus points for conjuring an image that’s up equal parts Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Rocky Horror Picture Show, both holiday staples.
TWENTY-ONE: “The Hanging Garden”- The Cure
Where’s That From??: 1982’s Pornography
” Creatures kissing in the rain
Shapeless in the dark again
In the hanging garden please don’t speak
In the hanging garden no one sleeps “
Again, because what kind of
Halloween playlister period, would I of all folks be if skimped on the dark Cure stuff? This song is quoted verbatim and in full in James O’Barr’s comic version of The Crow, which if I had my way would be mandated scholastic Halloween reading or, depending on the laziness of the teacher, even viewing. Like “Carcass” though, it stands fully on its own legs. It’s a song that, despite the roots it has in the Pornography album (which I’ve talked about before), has a big and strangely accessible sound. While “Close to Me” or even “In Between Days” might also suit a party atmosphere, this is not that kind of party.
TWENTY-TWO: “Ghost Rider”- Suicide
Where’s That From??: 1977’s Suicide
” Ghost Rider, motorcycle hero
Hey baby baby baby he’s a-lookin’ so cute
Sneakin’ round ‘n’ round ‘n’ round in a blue jumpsuit “
Electronic pioneers Suicide are mostly remembered these days for a sample of this song that repeats throughout M.I.A.’s “Born Free” (here’s Martin Rev of Suicide getting his due on that song during a performance on David Letterman), but “Ghost Rider” is an early no wave jam about a Marvel Comics character who’s literally a flaming daredevil skeleton on a motorcycle. In short, it’s so awesome and Halloween I had no choice but to put it on this mix.
That’s it for part two. Look for the last part to drop in the next two days!