I tried to put a list together that wouldn't be your usual "Halloween" favorites. I've compiled those lists in the past and faithful readers know how much I hate to repeat myself. (But just to keep people happy, I've made a few lists that violate my own principles!) I always focus on having new ideas. For example, I'm planning on eventually writing about music that hasn't happened yet. This way I can be ahead of everyone. I'm filling out my Top Ten List for 2014 this weekend. It's so good.
For now, how about 10 tracks that will cause nightmares? The only rule is no rule. Let's go to hell! Now! While it's still half-price admission and kids get in free!
Bernard Herrmann: This is kind of obvious, but I've never given Bernard Hermann much space in my column and I really should. He didn't exactly fit that list of Best Heavy Metal Bands or even Songs About Delaware, but his soundtracks to such fine movies as Psycho, Vertigo and North By Northwest have even been assembled onto one album for people who hate to have to look very hard for anything. Oh, look, there's a raisin in my couch! Life is sweet.
9) "22 Going On 23"--Butthole Surfers: The Locust Abortion Technician album has some excellent tracks to annoy your roommates with. I like this one because it's gratuitously mean. I remember being this age and doing absolutely nothing. Look at me now. Nothing's really changed.
Raping A Slave"--Swans: If you can't get people out of your house with some Swans music, then you must have a really hot sister. The only people who love to listen to this music over and over are people who don't want to have other people around. Or who are planning on turning visitors into furniture. I have a few friends who would make a damn fine ottoman.
7) "Tubular Bells"--Mike Oldfield: I once had this album on 8-track, which was pretty much the only way to listen to it. (My other 8-track was, no kidding, Metal Machine Music.) It was the theme to The Exorcist, a horror movie that even people who never watch horror movies have seen and "wax eloquently" on. I was seriously thinking of dumping this track for Blind Willie Johnson or Nico's The Marble Index, but then Mike sent me a check and I suddenly liked this track a lot more.
Diamanda Galas: I've always suggested to people who love women singers that they'll love Diamanda Galas. I've lost a few friends this way, but it's awfully fun anyhow. This is one of those albums that looks at AIDS as a modern plague and something we shouldn't be ignoring. Why is it that things that sound like completely logical ideas are often met with resistance from the institutions that should be the first to embrace the effort? Who are we supposed to look to for guidance? The NRA? The Creationism Club For Non-Evolving Monkeys? The local PTA? Someone help us. Have you heard about RINGO?
5) "Frankie Teardrop"--Suicide: People used to throw objects at Suicide back when they first performed. So much for a tolerant punk scene. Suicide are a duo in the spirit of Simon & Garfunkel, Hall & Oates, Dillard & Clark, Sonny & Cher. If this song doesn't make you drive off the road, then you weren't listening to it loud enough.
Tim Buckley: I had people ask me to take this off because it made them feel uneasy. I found this amusing. How could a piece of music actually scare a person? I understand when people say certain music makes them feel hopeless. After all, I've heard a latter day R.E.M. record myself. But a piece of music that makes them feel like something bad is going to happen? I guess this list is working.
3) The Drift--Scott Walker: In the 30 Century Man documentary, Scott Walker pounds on a side of beef to get just the right percussion sound. To go along with vocals that often sound like a choking walrus. This album is like three days long. You can feel the hair on your back grow listening to it. Women have grown facial hair because of it. No one is safe.
Tanz Debil"--Einsturzende Neubauten: So much "industrial music" is nothing more than gore-ified heavy metal. Einsturzende Neubauten play with real factory parts. German is obviously the language of love and nothing makes you feel aroused more than a screaming German at knifepoint. Love is a battlefield and we are collateral damage. Oh, lover, won't you take that knife out of my back, please?
1) The Entombment of Christ--Krzysztof Penderecki: Penderecki never had many pop hits, if any. But The Entombment of Christ could've been a huge hit with the kids if it had been properly marketed to fans of Venom, Mercyful Fate and Pantera. This album of Easter-postponed is maybe slightly off for Halloween, but the amount of zombies drifting around this recording should help it get put on the Halloween schedule for 2014 or whenever the Executive Board of Latter-Day Zombies have their next overnight sleepover. Change we can believe in!
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