Hey everyone! It’s Ryan with another monthly installment of the Playlist Challenge. This should be a fun one so hopefully you guys want to participate on this one. As always, here are the rules. I will post a 20-song playlist on a certain topic complete with explanations for each song. I challenge each of you, Brent included, to do the same. Once you see this, shoot us an email at email@example.com and put “Playlist Challenge October” in the subject line.
Our topic this month is, well, Halloween. For a lot of people, Halloween is a great time. There’s candy, booze, costumes, horror movies, and cold weather. I love Halloween and contrary to popular belief, there is more Halloween music than just “The Monster Mash” (although I love that song). This playlist should be perfect for whatever Halloween festivities you have in mind. Hell, I might throw this playlist on for my Uber passengers this weekend.
1. Ghost Town- Shiny Toy Guns
I remember a short time at the end of 2007 when it was thought that this female-fronted alt rock/synthpop ensemble known as “Shiny Toy Guns” would rule music in 2008. Unfortunately it never panned out with their 2008 album “Season of Poison” getting lost in a deluge of garbage pop songs as 2008 would end up being the year of club shit. This song is killer though, and I first heard it at a friend’s Halloween party a few years ago. It’s not explicitly about Halloween, in fact it has more in common lyrically with “Born to Run” than any kind of spooky Halloween track, but the music definitely evokes a spooky sensation. All in all, an excellent addition to a Halloween playlist.
2. The Monster Mash- Bobby “Boris” Pickett
I couldn’t not include this one. It’s too much fun. If you don’t like it, then I hope you turn into a werewolf and never speak to me again. If you’re looking for some background information on this song, then you’ll want to check out Todd in the Shadows’ video on this song. It’s better than anything I can provide you in this space.
3. Ghostbusters- Ray Parker Jr.
Everyone say it with me now…BUSTIN’ MAKES ME FEEEEEEEL GOOOOOOD!!!!!!! I shouldn’t have to say anything more than that, really. Who doesn’t like this song…besides Huey Lewis and his attorneys. It’s a Halloween classic from a classic Halloween movie.
4. Thriller- Michael Jackson
I can’t not include this one. It’s written in the contract. This song is fantastic though and has plenty of creepy atmosphere to earn it a permanent spot on every Halloween playlist since its release. I’ve attached the full John Landis-directed 14 minute music video too because it’s amazing.
5. The Thing That Should Not Be- Metallica
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a huge fan of HP Lovecraft and his C’thulhu mythos stories. The atmosphere of horror he laid out in those stories is palpable even in written word. You know what else is awesome? Metallica!…usually. Lars is a piece of shit. Anyways, these two things were combined masterfully on Master of Puppets for a heavy little number entitled “The Thing That Should Not Be.” It’s fabulous.
6. Bark at the Moon- Ozzy Osbourne
Forgive the garbage video quality. This music video has apparently vanished from YouTube. This is my chosen Ozzy song for this playlist though because honestly, it’s the most fun. I love Bark at the Moon a lot. I don’t even know why. I just do. It might have something to do with how hard it was to play in Guitar Hero 1 though. I have fond memories of conquering that particular challenge.
7. Sweating Bullets- Megadeth
As if one Dave Mustaine wasn’t freaky enough… Anyways, this is probably my favorite Megadeth song, which is saying something because I have quite a fondness for this band. This fondness came from Guitar Hero. Just being honest. Some day I’ll see them live. For now though, I’ll place this little insane gem on my Halloween playlist.
8. Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner- Warren Zevon
Let’s move away from heavy songs for a minute. There will be a lot more to come. For now though, let’s look at an artist I’ve expressed great affinity for in the past, Warren Zevon. It would have been easy for me to throw Werewolves of London on this list, but I wanted to give you guys a deeper cut than that. Hence this gem from the same album about a ghostly, headless hitman revenge killing the man who murdered him. That’s plenty spooky, right?
9. Who Can it Be Now?- Men at Work
I’m including this song over Rockwell’s Somebody’s Watching Me because Rockwell sucks and Michael Jackson already has an entry on the list. This song covers the same ground as that one though, crippling paranoia that keeps the narrator from leaving his home. The song itself doesn’t sound creepy, but the subject matter certainly is. Plus, Colin Hay’s lazy eye is kinda creepy too.
10. Bullet With Butterfly Wings- Smashing Pumpkins
This is probably the best song the Pumpkins ever put out. It’s fantastic on an album full of fantastic songs. Billy’s voice and the subject matter of the song make it just creepy enough to fit my criteria for this list. I’ll be honest, it’s hard to fill a Halloween playlist with more than just metal, but I’m gonna do it, by God!
11. Beelzeboss- Tenacious D
Tenacious D vs Dave Grohl as Satan. Can you beat that? Of course not! Of course you can’t because Tenacious D is fantastic and perfect. BTW, this is the climax of the movie “The Pick of Destiny” so if you don’t want spoilers then don’t watch it.
12. Halloween- Helloween
This is 13 minutes of German metal awesomeness and it’s actually about Halloween. We’re firmly back in metal territory now and we’ll be staying here for awhile to come. I’m not overly familiar with the full body of Helloween’s work, but they are well-regarded by people I trust, so I will continue to look at their body of work. This song is awesome for the witching hour though.
13. Fear of the Dark- Iron Maiden
Confession time: I’m shockingly ignorant about Iron Maiden. I only very recently caught the metal bug and have yet to fully venture into the realm of Iron Maiden or any of the classic British heavy metal bands. With that said this song is iconic. It’s a staple of their live shows as seen in our video and it perfectly encapsulates a sense for foreboding that often accompanies darkness. Perfect for Halloween.
14. Lights Out- The Haxans
Here’s an interesting band. The Haxans are relative newcomers in rock music and consist of singer Ashley Costello and guitar player Matt Montgomery. They describe themselves as goth pop and definitely fit the aesthetic. This song gets an inclusion on this list because Halloween isn’t just about being scary…although this band does that well. It’s also about partying and having a good time. That’s this song to a T. It’s a Halloween party in song form.
15. Dance Macabre- Ghost
Let me introduce you to one of the hottest new acts in rock right now. This is Ghost, a Swedish prog metal band that against all odds is getting super popular in the US in 2018! They’re kicking rock radio’s ass with a concept album about medieval times. Their current single is this track, Dance Macabre. It’s a dark, upbeat love song. Goths in love rejoice. Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Ghost single-handedly brought the goth subculture back into the mainstream…okay, maybe that last part isn’t a good thing. Ghost is a good thing though and I love them.
16. Dead Man’s Party- Oingo Boingo
You were all expecting this, right? You had to be. It’s not Halloween without Oingo Boingo! I’d like to talk about them on the show sometime (maybe next October?), but for those of you who aren’t familiar with this outfit, this is the first appearance of now popular composer Danny Elfman in pop culture. He fronted this truly bizarre art rock outfit from the 70’s through the 90’s. They were most famous for this song, the song Weird Science, and their Halloween concerts.
17. Feed My Frankenstein- Alice Cooper
I basically picked an Alice Cooper song at random. He has to be on this playlist and any song will do. This is a personal favorite of mine though…probably because of Wayne’s World.
18. Holy Diver- Dio
I just wanted Holy Diver on this list, okay? Is that so wrong?
19. Godzilla- Blue Oyster Cult
Most people would give this spot to Don’t Fear the Reaper, but personally I want to give the nod to The King of Monsters, Godzilla! Hot damn do I love this song! It’s fantastic and evocative. Besides, we’ve talked ad nauseam about the dead and the devil here. Let’s give Godzilla his due!
20. Witch Hunt- Rush
I told you that Rush will make it onto every playlist. They have more than enough songs to accomplish this goal. This one was fairly obvious, so enjoy the atmosphere of the music and Geddy’s voice.