Art Shorts: Haunted Hits (Staff Picks)

Carlo Javier // Editor-in-Chief
“Death with Dignity” – Sufjan Stevens

Mood: You haven’t drank yet

Creating the perfect Halloween playlist isn’t the easiest of tasks, but since the best Halloween thrills are the ones that completely immerse you, then that is exactly what this playlist will do. First things first, you die. Let Sufjan Stevens’ hauntingly melancholic vocals take you away peacefully. For now, at least.

“Make My” – The Roots

Mood: You’ve had two tequilas

“I did it all for the money lord,” Big K.R.I.T raps in the highlight track of The Roots’ Undun. “Make My” is an apt soundtrack for your journey through the purgatory. The song features contemplative lyrics from K.R.I.T. and the great Black Thought. It’s full of regret and a closing line that seems completely devoid of hope, “If there’s a heaven, I can’t find the stairway.”

“Mr. Rager” – Kid Cudi

Mood: You just started mixing your alcohol

Without much sense of direction, you turn to the dark side just to find some answers. There aren’t many better artists that capture the sense of loneliness than Kid Cudi, and “Mr. Rager”, from his second album still stands as a gem in Cudi’s increasingly diluted discography. Cudi’s signature moaning/slurring style of singing, combined with Mr. Rager’s chimes and pulsating percussion makes for background music in your journey to the unknown.

“The Cool” – Lupe Fiasco

Mood: Someone brought you some snacks

Looks like there is some hope after all. “The Cool”, off Lupe Fiasco’s debut album, details the story of a murdered drug dealer who comes back to life to avenge his death. “He came back, in the same suit he was buried in, similar to the one his grandfather was married in.” This was a young and hungry Lupe Fiasco, and the clever storytelling in “The Cool” is as spooky and thought-provoking as it gets.

“Closer” – The Chainsmokers

Mood: You blacked out and forgot to drink water

After all your effort, you find out that you’re going to hell after all. I imagine hell to simply be a place where “Closer” plays on an endless loop, complete with The Chainsmokers’ terribly off-key vocals and hundreds of teenage girls screaming along. Sucks to be dead.

Justin Scott // Managing Editor
“Faded Creek” – D33J

Mood: The people who are always early are at the party, but no one else is

“Faded Creek” may not be as overtly spooky as other productions, but it belongs on this list. The spaced out vocal samples are sure to remind listeners of spirts and the heavy basslines perfectly mimic the vibes brought by autumn weather.

“I Bleed” – Pixies

Mood: People are showing up and you don’t want to scare people away

An older selection, the 1989 track is perfect for a Halloween playlist. It opens with a simple bass guitar line and builds the whole time. The contrast of Black Francis and former member Kim Deal’s voices is especially chilling. The songs simplicity lends to its spookiness. Much like Dark Red, much of 1989’s Doolittle would be welcome on a Halloween playlist.

“Ditch” – Shlohmo

Mood: Time to get things spooky, but not crazy

Almost any track off Shlohmo’s Dark Red album could find a home on this list, but “Ditch” is surely the spookiest. The low end of the song could be the soundtrack for a haunted house, while the pitched-down chimes numerous samples add even more of an eerie aura to the song. Overall the song oozes creepiness while still being a beautiful production.

“Monster” – Kanye West

Mood: It’s time to get the party going

“Sasquatch, Godzilla, King Kong, Loch Ness Goblin, ghoul, a zombie with no conscience.” This song is not only great, Jay-Z gives some pretty handy costume advice as well. One of West’s best collaborative efforts, this track is sure to kill at party’s as well as instill some truly haunting visuals in your mind.

“Goosebumps” – Travis Scott

Mood: Things are getting out of hand and everyone wants a song to scream along to

Sharing a title with one of the all-time spookiest works, R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps, Scott’s collaboration with Kendrick Lamar was a shoo-in for this list. It doesn’t hurt that the production has ghostly quality to it. The lyrics aren’t especially haunting, but overall the song fits the mold for a Halloween hit.

Tia Kutschera Fox // Opinions Editor
“Slow Like Honey” – Fiona Apple

Mood: Dark and vampy

Play this song for slinking around the party with a glass of wine in your hand. Fiona Apple’s velvet voice will take you away to a field of dead flowers and fluttering bats under a full moon. With lyrics like “I’ll haunt the world inside you” and “Slow like honey heavy with mood” this song is great for some melancholic private contemplation or for when you want to actually be able to hear guests at the party.

“The Zombie Song” – Stephanie Mabey

Mood: Cute and catchy

A cute Halloween song? Hear me out: this is a song that simultaneously combines 8-bit style retro-Halloween melodies with a post-apocalyptic romance that makes fun of Twilight. Need I say more? Play this when you want to liven up the party — it Could also make an awesome karaoke number.

“Paradise Circus” – Massive Attack

Mood: Scary sexy

Hope Sandoval’s breathy voice sings against some deep bass and a twisted top melody that sets the perfect ambience for a darker and scarier setting. As with most Massive Attack songs, the singing is more of an accent to the melody so you don’t have to listen very closely to enjoy it. Play this when you want to bring the party tone back to a proper scary Halloween.

“Bust your Kneecaps” – Pomplamoose

Mood: Upbeat and twisted

The title is going to throw you off – when you first play this song you’re not going to understand unless you listen to the lyrics closely. This makes it very fun to play at parties because once the chorus starts, people start tuning in and getting horrified. “Oh, a cute little song – nope I was wrong, they’re singing about busting a guy’s kneecaps what the fuck.” This is the trick in trick or treat.

“Smoke and Mirrors” – RJD2

Mood: Spooky blues

The beat of this one just puts me in a damn good Halloween mood, the kind that makes you feel confident wearing the blackest clothing you have and starting a conversation with that hot werewolf in the corner of the party. You should also dance to this with said hot werewolf because blues music is the bomb and Halloween should have more partner-dancing.

Helen Aikenhead // Features Editor
 “Walking with A Ghost” – Tegan and Sara

Mood: Anti-Halloween

I like to think of this not just as a Halloween playlist, but as a regular playlist in disguise. Or, in costume I suppose. First up is a song I tend to listen to year-round that just happens to mention ghosts. If you know me, you know my love for this band. So, it’s a given that this would be first on my list. A timeless song by a timeless band, “Walking with A Ghost” is the perfect kick-off to this playlist.

“Easy” – Son Lux

Mood: Late October night

This song is just spooky. Lyrics telling you to “pull out your heart,” aside, it’s the instrumentals that really give this song its Halloween vibe. Something about the synthesized beeping becomes menacing as it continues throughout the entire song. Combine that with a dominating trombone sound and the occasional distressed wailing of a flute-like instrument, and “Easy” is the perfect unconventional Halloween song.

“Wolf Like Me” – TV on the Radio

Mood: Pumped up

A true anthem for werewolves, this song has an obvious Halloween connection. Complete with howling, this song narrates the curse of someone that changes form in the moonlight. I don’t know if there’s anything more appropriate to the holiday than that.

“No Rest for The Wicked” – Lykke Li

Mood: Melancholy

At it’s core, Halloween as we celebrate it is centred around wickedness – a key theme to this song. Lykke Li’s signature sad and echoed sound lends itself well to the spooky theme. Something about the lyrics “no hope for the weary” and “no rest for the wicked” paint a picture of a lost soul or wandering ghost, other than overall sound, that idea is why I threw it in the list.

“Seven Devils” – Florence + The Machine

Mood: Uneasy

This song is loud and anthemic. Probably not something you want to play at your costume party, but it definitely earns its keep in a Halloween playlist. The harp, violin and choir give this song an eerie vibe. As Florence Welch sings of the seven devils plaguing her, this playlist comes to a climactic end.

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