Halloween Playlist

This evening I will be attending LATE at the Library: The Sorting as part of the Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination Exhibition at the British Library. I will be dressing up as is good and proper on these occasions, and I thought I would share my Halloween playlist. These are the tracks that I think really capture the contemporary spirit of Halloween – I am not a historian or folklorist so I am afraid I can’t pretend to be informed on the ancient traditions of All Hallow’s Eve and Samhain. (I am rather Mean Girls in my approach to Halloween. Although I am more likely to add fangs to all my outfits so that rather than *sexy* mouse, I would be *vampire* mouse. Hey, the media was all over the vampire cat so my decision is vindicated). So, in a rather particular order, my Halloween playlist is as follows: 1) Rasputina – ‘Transylvanian Concubine’ Everything about this song sings out Halloween. Not least the fact that it is featured on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer soundtrack. 2) Shakira – ‘She Wolf’ A pop song about werewolves? Whatever next? I like to think Shakira’s hair is dyed white blond as an homage to those early tales of female werewolfery, Clemence Housman’s The Were-Wolf (1890) and Gilbert Campbell’s ‘The White Wolf of Kostopchin (1889). At the very least, she deserves plaudits for rhyming the word ‘lycanthropy’. 3) Jace Everett – ‘Bad Things’ This is the song from the opening of ‘True Blood’ (2008-2014). It’s gritty, dirty and Southern. Nuff said. 4) Puscifer – ‘Rev 22:20’ A difficult choice. The song is from the Underworld (2003) soundtrack which is pretty awesome in its entirety. During my more angsty, teenage years I listened to it a little too much. However, this track is one of the more upbeat ones and I like its nod to succubi in the lyrics. Quite frankly, it’s a little blasphemous. 5) Deftones – ‘Change (In the House of Flies)’ This song appeared on the soundtrack for ‘Queen of the Damned’ (2002) – although the singing voice of Lestat was supplied by Jonathan Davis of Korn. I find it hard to think of a more vampiric/ lycanthropic track. It is the perfect song to transform yourself into a creature of the night. 6) Florence + the Machine – ‘Howl’ Another track about lady lycanthropes. It’s dark, luscious and shows off the impressive vocal range of Florence. The song is about obsessive love gone violent releasing the protagonist’s inner animal. I personally find the line about ripping out and eating your lover’s heart strangely cathartic. 7) Eels – ‘Fresh Blood’ The downbeat, bluesy quality of this song and its repeated refrain of ‘Sweet baby, I need fresh blood’ is deeply seductive in a Lynchian way. It makes me think of Americana gone bad: a suburbia where the security lights juxtapose the black windows of the houses and a cloying, bland existence slowly eats away your soul. The promise of immorality and being bad is impossible to resist. 8) M83 – ‘Graveyard Girl’ Unconnected to the Neil Gaiman novel The Graveyard Book (2008), this is a song about *that* Goth girl at your school whose dark exterior hides a heart of bubble gum. All electro, posing, and whispered lyrics, ‘Graveyard Girl’ proves our continental cousins will always be cooler than us. 9) Modest Mussorgsky – ‘Night on Bald Mountain’ Shakespears Sisters, Interview with a Vampire (1994), and Fantasia (1940): these are what got me into the Gothic. I remember watching Fantasia when I was five years old and being overcome by the imagery and the music. ‘Night on Bald Mountain’ and the accompanying Halloween-esque cartoons stayed with me long after the movie ended. 10) Annie Lennox – ‘Love Song to a Vampire’ Haunting and heart-breaking, wounded and wonderful, ‘Love Song to a Vampire’ is from Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) which re-created the novel as a timeless love story. And quite honestly, I want this song played at my wedding. (I judge myself sometimes). I have put these songs onto a Spotify playlist so you can get yourself in a spooky mood. Whilst I have checked that there are no rude words in the lyrics themselves, those of a more metaphorical mind will notice that they have an adult content. Still as the Gothic so often shows terror and pleasure are on the same spectrum. Enjoy!

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0 Responses to Halloween Playlist

  1. A very cool list Kaja mine would be a lot more cheesy and cringy and would have to include ‘Monster Mash’, ‘Wuthering Heights’or anything from Kate Bush ‘Hounds of Love'(lycanthropy?), Marc Bolan (“girl I’m just a vampire for your love”) anything from musical episode of Buffy and Morrissey singing about those ‘cemetery gates’ “Keats and Yeats are on your side but Wilde is on mine”!!!

  2. Great list, Kaja. But how about the disco version of Mussorgsky from Saturday Night Fever?

    • firekrank says:

      I have not heard this Bill. I am now forcing my young man to listen to this as background to cricket. Thereby improving cricket greatly! Xx

  3. firekrank says:

    Sam, yours sounds excellent. I was really tempted by the Placebo cover of Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up the Hill’ but in the end it was quite Halloweeny enough – though it is plenty Gothic.I think we should all make playlists. Then combine them for the ultimate one! I hope you had a wonderful Halloween.

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