We've already shared with you song recommendations, podcasts, and playlists that work great for the Halloween season. This time, we're unveiling a list that proves every great artist and band wants to show off their monsterous side.
That's right: we're shoveling up some of the best spooky albums from the graveyard! From modern pop hits to 80s punk classics and blood-curdling alternative bops, several frightening LPs have been produced throughout music history. In this list, we've included 10 of our all-time favorites. Look below...if you dare!
1. When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? - Billie Eilish
While Eilish does have some calmer tracks on this beloved 2019 record, most are spooky enough to give you chills. We're talking about "You Should See Me In a Crown," "All the Good Girls Go to Hell," "Bury a Friend," and "Bad Guy," just to name a few. This is one of those albums that's poppy and mainstream enough that you could play it aloud at a Halloween party and people will probably dig it. When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? was partly inspired by Eilish's night terrors, and listening to this thing on repeat will make you feel closer to the monsters under your bed.
2. Bad Moon Rising - Sonic Youth
Bad Moon Rising is the second studio album by American rock band Sonic Youth and was released in 1985. It's a perfect Halloween record. No, seriously: there's a freaky scarecrow on the album cover and the most streamed track on the record is titled "Halloween." The theme of the album is centered around American horrors. There are references to obsession, insanity, Charles Manson, heavy metal, Satanism, and early European settlers' encounters with Native Americans. It's a wild ride, and proves the American Dream may actually be something of a nightmare instead.
3. Hellbilly Deluxe - Rob Zombie
If you've been poring through songs to put on a Halloween playlist, chances are you've spotted more than a few Rob Zombie tracks from this 1998 LP. Hellbilly Deluxe is THE definitive metal Halloween album. Not only is it special for being Rob Zombie's debut, but it's also "13 Tales of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside the Spookshow International." (Yes, that's the record's tagline.) Some of our favorite gory hits off this gritty masterpiece include "Dragula," "Living Dead Girl," "Superbeast," and "Spookshow Baby."
4. TURN OFF THE LIGHT - Kim Petras
We'll admit: we're not the biggest Kim Petras fans due to her several collaborations with the controversial Dr. Luke. But we'd be kidding ourselves if we didn't recognize the impact her 2020 album TURN OFF THE LIGHT has made on the Halloween music genre – specifically the queer Halloween music genre. It's eerie electro-pop at its finest, and is equal parts spine-tingling, sultry, and synthetic. Standouts include "Close Your Eyes," "There Will Be Blood," "demons," and "TRANSylvania."
5. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Ready to go on a trip with Brad and Janet to a spooky castle and meet up with Dr. Frank N Furter and his other alien friends from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania? Okay, sure – you could just watch the movie or go to a shadow cast production this Halloween season. But if you're looking to fill up space on your 2022 Spooky Season playlist, we encourage you to add some fun tunes from this campy, sexy, culty classic. The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack boasts hits like "Time Warp," "Dammit Janet," "Sweet Transvestite," and "Touch-A Touch-A Touch Me" and features the vocal chops of Susan Sarandon, Tim Curry, and even Meat Loaf (RIP). Give yourself over to absolute pleasure and listen to The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack this Halloween!
6. Murder Ballads - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
We crown Nick Cave the king of creating 90s hits that are totally appropriate for Halloween time. Murder Ballads is the ninth studio album from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, released in 1996. As the title suggests, the album consists of new and traditional murder ballads: a subgenre of songs that relays the details of crimes of passion. This post-punk treasure will have you releasing blood-curdling sceams...of delight, we mean. The biggest hit on this record was the single "Where the Wild Roses Grow" – a duet featuring Cave singing with Kylie Minogue. It received two ARIA Awards in 1996. Other prominent guest musicians on the album include PJ Harvey and Shane MacGowan.
7. Walk Among Us - Misfits
Almost any Misfits album could make this list, but for now, we're going with the one that started it all. Walk Among Us is the debut album from the band, released in March 1982. With the album, the New Jersey-bred Misfits introduced a key concept for both rock and horror culture: the punk as a monster. It's an idea that's endured for years, and with bangin' songs like “I Turned Into A Martian,” “Skulls,” "Night of the Living Dead," and “Braineaters” you'll be howling along like a monster yourself. Walk Among Us is a twisted classic!
8. Welcome to My Nightmare - Alice Cooper
If Hellbilly Deluxe is the definitive metal album of Halloween, Alice Cooper's debut Welcome to My Nightmare is the definitive hard rock record of the holiday. This thing's been keeping us entertained every October since 1975. Welcome to My Nightmare is a concept album and when played in sequence, the songs form a journey through the nightmares of a child named Steven. This hit album inspired the Alice Cooper: The Nightmare TV special, a worldwide concert tour in 1975, and Cooper's Welcome to My Nightmare concert film in 1976. The ensuing tour is considered one of the most over-the-top excursions of that era.
9. Halloween - John Carpenter
Many horror movie scholars agree that Halloween by John Carpenter has the best soundtrack of all time. And it's not hard to know why: before Carpenter dipped his toe into directing, he was already an established musician. Carpenter’s Halloween soundtrack perfectly encapsulated the underlying horror of late-70s sleepy suburbia, complete with jarring synths and disturbing keys that made listeners keep their eyes peeled for Michael Myers. Carpenter would go on to compose the scores for subsequent installments of the Halloween franchise, later horror movies The Fog, Christine and Village Of The Damned, and the recent Firestarter.
10. Blood Money - Tom Waits
Blood Money is the fifteenth studio album by Tom Waits, released in 2002 on the ANTI- label. The LP contains songs written for the musical Woyzeck, based on the play of the same name by Georg Büchner. It's considered one of the most depressing and psychologically damning plays ever written, and Tom’s misanthropy on this project perfectly embodies playwright George Buchner’s tale of woe and betrayal. With its heavy use of horns and jazzy melodies, Blood Money has an antique sound to it that feels very Hitchcock-esque (especially on our favorite track, "Knife Chase"). Looking to make your life sound like a horror film? Blood Money is the album to play.
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