Halloween is almost upon us! Looking for exciting songs to play on your radio station for the holiday but tired of the same old tunes? You know...repetitive stuff like "Monster Mash," "Werewolves Of London," and cheesy hits from the 80s?
No need to fear! Below is a list of musical treats (no tricks!) for you to pore over. All 15 of the songs below have been released within the past 5 years: we're talking from 2017 to 2021. Perhaps you've heard some of these tracks already and didn't think to play them for spooky season. Others have been dug up from the dense cemetery of underappreciated music.
Turn up the volume on your device and get ready to listen. Here are 15 modern Halloween songs to play on your station this year!
1. "bury a friend" - Billie Eilish
Any song off Billie Eilish's 2019 masterpiece WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? is suitable for Halloween, but "bury a friend" may be the best candidate for a Hallows Eve shindig. It's both creepy and funky with drill sounds, a catchy shuffle beat, and a story told from the monster under your bed.
2. "Demon High" - Lil Uzi Vert
This fun, fresh, and freaky song was just released today (October 29)! It features a totally new sound from Uzi, and plays on the word "high" - both as a reference to a high school, and an upsurge of energy. The beat drop is expertly placed, and we're sure "Demon High" is going to be played at several hip gatherings this year.
3. "Little Dark Age" - MGMT
After a five-year hiatus, electronic rock group MGMT came back in 2018 with their album Little Dark Age. The title track was a total pivot from the band's usual fun, summer-y bops. "Little Dark Age" is a spooky romp when it comes to instrumentals. Lyrically, it's a deep reflection of depression, hypocrisy, and times of chilling realization.
4. "Bad Habits" - Ed Sheeran
Perhaps nothing in Ed Sheeran's recent hit "Bad Habits" specifically states a connection to ghouls or the occult. However, this song is heavily associated with vampirism due to Sheeran's iconic promotion of the song, which showed him as a pink-suited "glampire." Additionally, the tune reflects on how the night brings out a wilder side of Ed. Good music for a graveyard smash!
5. "GHOST" - Jaden (ft. Christian Rich)
Musical talent runs deep in the Smith family. Cold, crisp, and criminally underrated, this spine-chilling Jaden creation was the first song rapped from the perspective of his character ERYS, who has a "dark soul and twisted mind," according to a 2018 tweet. While the bars of this track mainly talk about ERYS's luxurious lifestyle, he compares himself to a ghost in the chorus due to the fact he is powerful yet invisible to the common eye.
6. "GHOST" - Jack Harlow
Same title, different artist! In this track, Jack Harlow discusses the modern ghost...you know, the kind that leaves you hanging over text message? (AKA "ghosting.") While the mix and lyrics may not be super frightening, "GHOST" is a great song to play to get your listeners boogieing.
7. "Baby You're a Haunted House" - Gerard Way
Cute, indie, and criminally underrated, this song sounds like it's tailor made for a Halloween coming-of-age movie. Gerard Way described this 2018 ditty as being "about all our inner ghosts and demons and what it feels like being in love and having to deal with your own internal horror show." Fun fact: Way's brother Mikey plays the bass in the original recording.
8. "Grave" - Summer Walker
Ready to give your listeners sultry smooth R&B funk? Kick things up a notch with this hidden gem by Summer Walker. "Grave" is mainly about the toxicity of hookup culture (especially for women), but the lyrics referencing Walker's grave and the "body without the soul" line give it a pinch of Halloween flavor.
9. "Kids See Ghosts" - Kids See Ghosts (ft. Yasiin Bey)
Whether it's little Carol from Poltergeist, Regan from The Exorcist, or Cole Sear from The Sixth Sense, it's true that kids are prone to seeing ghosts - as well as other things adults lose sight of. The lyrics to this Kanye West and Kid Cudi (AKA Kids See Ghosts) song are told over a haunting beat. Not only does this track lean into supernatural imagery, it also talks about the pain of fame, the loss of parents, and mental health.
10. "Close Your Eyes" - Kim Petras
A pop bop with synth-heavy devilish flair, "Close Your Eyes" is the sexiest nightmare you'll have the pleasure of listening to. In this track, Kim takes the role of a monstrous lover who won't let the ones who fall for her get out alive. Urging them to give up, she tells them to just let go of the struggle and close their eyes.
11. "Halloween" - Phoebe Bridgers
Slow things down a bit with this chill jam by revolutionary artist Phoebe Bridgers. With a title perfect for the holiday season, "Halloween" comes off her critically-acclaimed 2020 album Punisher. Full of dark humor and heartbreak, it's a song where Phoebe asks her lover to pretend for one Halloween night they don't have problems - a night where people can dress up and pretend to be whoever they want. The track features vocals from Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst, who also is in the band Better Oblivion Community Centre with Bridgers.
12. "Scary Nights" - G-Eazy
“Scary Nights” is the booming opener and title track to G-Eazy’s late 2019 EP. While the lyrics mostly talk about G's money and haters, there's a sense of dread throughout the song thanks to an eerie piano riff and a chorus that describes G and his friends being watched by suspicious people. It's like an updated version of Rockwell's "Somebody's Watching Me."
13. "Baby I'm Dead Inside" - KOPPS
Like "Close Your Eyes," this sultry electronic pop number is perfect for lighting up the dance floor. The singer takes on the persona of a freaky creature who goes through mortal lovers because she's got nothing to lose - she's dead inside! Dark, stormy, and oh-so delightful, this song is an underrated crowd-pleaser your listeners will be happy to discover.
14. "Magic Is Easy" - Guerilla Toss
Looking for something a bit more witchy? This psychedelic trip from Guerilla Toss is nothing short of sorcery. What makes it appropriate for spooky season is its bizarre reference to a lizard master and lyrics about hypnotism. It's straight out of The Twilight Zone!
15. "Scary Mask" - Poppy (ft. FEVER 333)
As one YouTube commenter said about this 2019 track off Choke, "This is a good song to prank someone in the car when they ask to play chill music." Poppy is an eclectic artist who often uses a contrasting combination of baby doll and screamo vocals, and this twisty, turning roller coaster ride is no exception. "Scary Mask" is cute one second, violent the next, and moody in between. With lyrics about a terrifying facial disguise, it could be the heavy metal anthem for horror movie slasher villains everywhere.
Those are all the picks we have today! If you're searching for more Halloween song recommendations, make sure to check out our previous blog posts covering the holiday. Until next time...happy broadcasting, and have a happy Halloween!
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Article Image: Two skeletons in front of orange string lights and other Halloween decorations. (NeONBRAND via Unsplash.)