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ThisIsRnB Releases Top 10 Scariest R&B Halloween Themed Songs: Parts 1 and 2

October brings autumn leaves, cooler weather, long sleeves, and sweaters, but it also brings Halloween; one of the scariest haunting unofficial but traditional celebrations. While trick-or-treating and candy sweets fill the bags of goblins and goons, R&B music also plays a part in making this day ghoulish.

As all of us know, the legend, Icon, and the Greatest, Michael Jackson reigns supreme with his chiller “Thriller,” and Vincent Price, the master of all things terrifying, lent his voice to the classic.

ThisIsRnB hosts Kadeja , Qyiana, and Flisadam curated a list of their top ten scariest R&B Halloween-themed songs, music videos, and movies featuring R&B artists providing discussion and commentary for each of the selections. They each describe their narrative, backstories, and connection to the song, music video, and movie, respectively.

Kicking off the list is an interesting selection of out-of-the-ordinary Halloween-themed R&B songs that cover parts one and two of our four-part series with artists such as Houdini, Ray Parker Jr.,  Beyonce’ , Jhene Aiko, Tamia just to name a few.

Be sure to watch our Halloween-themed R&B music special parts one and two below , and don’t forget to leave a comment.  Stay tuned for parts three and four which will feature Halloween-themed videos and movies dropping on Friday, October 27th , and on Halloween, Tuesday, October 31st.

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Halloween is slowly creepin’ up on us. Even if you don’t have a costume yet or plans for the haunted holiday, these jams will get you in the spooky spirit.

From the Geto Boys to Kanye West, stay mobbin’ with some of the hottest hip-hop and r&b Halloween videos!

Geto Boys – Mind Playing Tricks On Me

Beyoncé – Haunted

Michael Jackson – Thriller 

Meek Mill – Monster 

Whodini – Freaks Come Out At Night 

Eminem – The Monster ft. Rihanna

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Nightmare On My Street

Monster – Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Jay Z, Rick Ross

Lil Wayne – We Be Steady Mobbin ft. Gucci Mane

Rihanna – Disturbia 

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The Boombox

Happy Halloween — 15 Scary Songs in Hip-Hop & R&B

There's no holiday quite like Halloween. What could make this ghoulish celebration that much sweeter besides dressing in costume and snagging free candy just for showing face? The perfect playlist! The right or wrong music can make or break any holiday experience and in honor of all things spooky, The BoomBox highlights a few classic hip-hop Halloween tracks along with the dark and downright scary. Instead of carving pumpkins, visiting a haunted house or putting the finishing touches on your superhero costume, take a load off and check out our Top 15 Halloween Hip-Hop Songs.

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68 Halloween songs to get the party started

What's not to love about Halloween ?

It's a holiday chock full of spooky delights like crafting a fabulous costume to impress your friends, carving pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns and listening to spooky music.

Make no mistake, curating the perfect Halloween playlist is serious business. After all, having just the right soundtrack playing in the background of all your Halloween activities is nothing short of essential.

To ensure you've got all the creepy classics you need to keep the party going, we've conjured up a list of the best Halloween songs of all time.

Naturally, you'll find standards like "Monster Mash," "Somebody's Watching Me" and Michael Jackson's "Thriller," because no respectable Halloween playlist is complete without any of those chart-toppers.

But there are plenty of other favorites to add to your mix like songs from popular Halloween movies including "Ghostbusters" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas," along with TV shows like " The Addams Family " and "What We Do in the Shadows."

We’ve even tossed in a few kids’ Halloween songs to entertain the youngest trick-or-treaters in your crew. And, dare we say, all of them are frighteningly good.

Read on to see what Halloween tunes we've unearthed — and get ready to rock out, because these songs are totally wicked .

‘Monster Mash’ by Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett

Released in 1962, “Monster Mash” is the “hit of the land,” which means that no Halloween party playlist is complete without it.

‘This is Halloween’ by The Citizens of Halloween

The theme song from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is the essential Halloween song by which all others should be measured for the rest of all time. Period.

‘Thriller’ by Michael Jackson

Probably the most popular Halloween song of all time, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” starts off with a creepy coffin opening and finishes with poetic prose by the late, great master of horror films, Vincent Price.

‘Ghostbusters’ by Ray Parker, Jr.

If there’s something strange going on in your neighborhood, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! Throw the “Ghostbusters” theme song on your playlist to scare away the ghosts — or at least try to.

“I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

This tune by Jay Hawkins is a total Halloween staple, which is why it’s listed here. It’s been covered by dozens of singers since its release, but the most famous version is by the Sanderson sisters in the Disney classic, “Hocus Pocus.” And, dare we say, their version even spookier than the original.

‘Spooky, Scary Skeletons’ by Andrew Gold

This catchy (and mildly unsettling) earworm was released in 1996 by Andrew Gold before going on to become a viral sensation on TikTok .

‘Superstition’ by Stevie Wonder

The writing’s on the wall: Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” is a favorite on Halloween and beyond.

‘Somebody’s Watching Me’ by Rockwell

Are the neighbors watching? The mailman? The IRS? Rockwell certainly thinks so.

‘A Nightmare on My Street’ by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

Released in 1988 by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, “A Nightmare on My Street’s” lyrics are a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the classic slasher film, “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”

‘Werewolves of London’ by Warren Zevon

Beware! Werewolves are taking over London. Warren Zevon sets the scene with this tune, which describes all the mischief that these fictional creatures are getting into — with the Queen, no less.

'Spooky' by the Classics IV

We’ll just come right out and say it: It’s not officially Halloween until you hear this song. And if you’re planning to propose on October 31, then you’ll definitely want to put this song on repeat.

‘Disturbia’ by Rihanna

This popular song Rihanna is not only a total chart-topper, but it’s spooky dance beat makes it perfect for Halloween costume parties. Also, it’s Rihanna. Enough said.

‘Dead Man’s Party’ by Oingo Boingo

This hit by ‘80s band, Oingo Boingo is about “goin’ to a party where no one’s still alive,” or, in other words, a funeral. Grim stuff, but it’s a fan-favorite when it comes to Halloween songs.

Fun fact: The band’s frontman Danny Elfman went on to write the songs and score for “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” as well as sing Jack Skellington’s songs in the film.

'Haunted' by Beyoncé

Queen Bey slays in this tune from her eponymous 2013 album. With lyrics like "What goes up, ghost around," this Beyoncé song is guaranteed to deliver chills.

‘Ghost Town’ by The Specials

The Specials totally capture the Halloween vibe with this reggae-inspired song that'll make you think of tumbleweeds and haunted houses.

'Zombie' by The Cranberries

With more than one billion views on YouTube (that’s right,  billion ), the ‘90s classic is a timeless favorite.

‘Red Right Hand’ by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

“Peaky Blinders” fans, this one’s for you. But don’t worry, you don’t need to watch the British drama to appreciate the dark, sinister tone of “Red Right Hand,” a song about blood vengeance.

'Bones' by Imagine Dragons

We've got this feeling, you know, that we're losing all control when listening to "Bones" by Imagine Dragons. This earworm is guaranteed to haunt you long after it's been played.

'She Wolf' by Shakira

No need to believe that werewolves are real to enjoy Shakira's upbeat homage to the she-wolf who, naturally, comes out by the light of a full moon.

'Hells Bells' by AC/DC

"Hells Bells" pays homage to all things dark and evil, making this classic rock song a Halloween playlist essential.

'Frankenstein' by Edgar Winter

This one needs no explanation. The instrumental rock jam was a monster to edit — hence its name. Drummer Chuck Ruff compared it to Frankenstein and the rest, as they say, is rock 'n' roll history.

'Stranger Things' by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein

If you’ve got your “Stranger Things” Halloween costume all picked out and ready to go (and let’s be honest, who isn’t ?) you might as well add the show’s theme song to your party playlist.

'Goo Goo Much' by The Cramps

The Cramps totally give off surfer vibes in this 1981 tune which, thanks to Jenna Ortega (who performed the now-legendary Wednesday Addams dance on the hit Netflix show "Wednesday "), is enjoying a resurgence in popularity.

'Don’t Fear the Reaper' by Blue Öyster Cult

This '70s rock tune gets new life every year — and makes us all question if Romeo and Juliet are actually together for all of eternity. So, thoughts?

'Highway to Hell' by AC/DC

AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” is sure to take you a wild ride. Although it'll make a great addition to your Halloween playlist, it's also fitting for your next family road trip — totally your call!

'The Purple People Eater' by Sheb Wooley

This one's for the kids (and the kids at heart). In case you need a reminder, this 1950's hit by Sheb Wooley tells the tale of a one-eyed, one-horned, purple-people-eating alien that comes to Earth to join a rock band.

'Season of the Witch' by Donovan

Although it appeared in "Season of the Witch," the 1972 movie about housewives that get mixed up in witchcraft, this song was actually recorded by Donovan a few years prior. Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page even played guitar on the original recording, according to Billboard .

'Clap for the Wolfman' by The Guess Who

This super-catchy song by The Guess Who is guaranteed to get everyone singing and clapping along. It's actually a tribute to radio DJ Wolfman Jack, and you'll even hear his voice several times throughout the tune.

'Hedwig’s Theme' by John Williams

Calling all "Harry Potter" fans! This classic from “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone" will transform your house into Hogwarts — for a few minutes, at least.

'You Can Do Magic' by America

This infectious ‘80s pop record is all about casting spells, getting hypnotized and seeing things that aren’t really there — all ingredients for an awesome Halloween song.

'Bark at the Moon' by Ozzy Osbourne

The one-time singer of Black Sabbath is the self-proclaimed "Prince of Darkness," and this song is all the proof we need. With lyrics about waking the dead and finding heaven in the mouth of hell (yikes!), this one might be the scariest song on the list.

'The Blob' by The Five Blobs

Beware of the blob — it creeps, leaps, glides and slides. This completely silly (but undeniably singable) song is from the 1950’s movie by the same name.

'People Are Strange' by Echo and The Bunnymen

If you haven’t seen “The Lost Boys,” this Doors cover will give you a sense of what the cult classic vampire film is all about. Press play and prepare to be transported to Santa Carla, the "Murder Capital of the World."

'The Phantom of the Opera Overture' by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Sounding like a spooky carnival (clowns = scary), this instrumental overture from “Phantom of Opera” is heavy-handed on the organ and the drama.

'Witchy Woman' by the Eagles

Rumor has it that this vintage Eagles song was inspired by Stevie Nicks, but, according to the Eagles’ Don Henley , it’s actually about women in the ‘70s practicing white witchcraft. Either way, this tune will have you spellbound.

'Abracadabra' by Steve Miller Band

Play this song to cast a spell on your Halloween party guests. Just be sure to have your magician hat ready!

'Materia Primoris (The X-Files Theme)' by Mark Snow

The truth is out there — and it's that this song is loved by all people, even those who've never seen the hit ‘90s TV show, “The X-Files.”

'Witchcraft' by Frank Sinatra

It’s all about witchcraft, wicked witchcraft! Though it wasn’t originally intended to be a Halloween song, this Frank Sinatra smash has grown to become a favorite during the spookiest time of year.

'Theme From Halloween' by John Carpenter

More than 30 years after its release, John Carpenter’s “Halloween” remains the gold standard for slasher films. Crank up the movie's theme ahead of the newest release in the franchise, slated for October 2022.

'Bad Moon Rising' by Creedence Clearwater Revival

This classic by Creedence Clearwater Revival strikes the perfect ominous tone, aka it won't bring down the mood of everyone at the party.

'I Want Candy' by Bow Wow Wow

The chorus sums up the whole point of Halloween: You want candy — and lots of it.

'Time Warp' by Richard O'Brien

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” has firmly established itself as a madcap movie for the ages, and its breakout song, “Time Warp,” is vital to any Halloween playlist.

'O Fortuna' by Carl Orff (London Philharmonic Orchestra)

This intense, operatic piece of classical music is sure to bring the drama. Play it on loop to make your trick-or-treaters feel like they stepped into a movie scene.

'Psycho Killer' by Talking Heads

Looking for a Halloween movie to watch? Add “Psycho” to the cue, then add "Psycho Killer" to your Halloween playlist to stay in the spooky spirit.

'Halloween Spooks' by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross

This jazzy trio sums up the spooks that Halloween brings. Oooh-wah!

'Myer’s House' by John Carpenter

Nothing says “Help! I’m being stalked by a lunatic serial killer on Halloween," like this song from the original "Halloween" soundtrack. This one will have you checking under the bed before you go to sleep.

'Good Vibrations' by The Beach Boys

"Good Vibrations" is everyone's favorite beach song — unless, of course, you've watched "Us." Then it scares the daylights out of you.

'Heffalumps and Woozles' by The Disney Studio Chorus

How can a song from “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” be scary? Give it a listen and you'll understand.

'In the Midnight Hour' by Wilson Pickett

Everyone knows that ghosts and goblins come out when the clock strikes midnight. This song celebrates witching hour — and will get everyone dancing.

'Full Moon' by The Black Ghosts

If you’re hosting a “Twilight” movie marathon for Halloween, then this automatically goes on the list. Whether you’re Team Edward or Jacob (duh, the winner is obvious), we can all agree that “Full Moon” is as spooky as it gets.

'Toccata & Fugue in D Minor' by Johann Sebastian Bach (Academy of St. Christopher Orchestra)

Yet another classical song associated with Halloween, this centuries-old masterpiece is literally the musical version of a Transylvanian castle during a thunderstorm.

'Friends on the Other Side' by Randy Newman

With lyrics about voodoo and spooky premonitions, this song from Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" is deliciously dark and kid-friendly.

'Duel of the Fates' by John Williams

Set this high-octane piece of classical music to your Halloween show for an epic night of "Star Wars"-inspired fun.

'You’re Dead' by Norma Tanega

Fans of “What We Do in the Shadows,” already know this macabre song by Norma Tanega. Even if you haven't seen the movie or TV show, "You're Dead" is sure to get your toes tapping even though the lyrics are all about — you guessed it — being dead.

'Double Trouble' by John Williams

Something wicked this way comes in John Williams’ short, but oh-so-thrilling track off the “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” soundtrack.

'Cry Little Sister' by Gerard McMann

The theme song from the popular vampire movie, “The Lost Boys,” is dark, menacing and just right for when you come across a gang of bloodsucking vampires.

'Tales From the Crypt' by Danny Elfman

HBO’s "Tales from the Crypt" may have ended in 1996, but its spooky theme song lives on.

'Midnight, The Stars and You' by Al Bowlly

Recorded way back in the 1930s, this song sounds innocent enough — unless you’ve seen “The Shining.” In which case, it’ll send chills right down your spine.

'Magic' by Pilot

This classic Pilot song, which was remastered in 2003, is total Halloween magic — even if you never believe it’s not so.

'Tubular Bells (Pt. 1)' by Mike Oldfield

"The Exorcist" is definitely not for the faint-of-heart. Even if you're not a fan of scary movies, it’s eerie instrumental theme will pair well with any of your Halloween activities.

'Day- O (Banana Boat Song)' by Harry Belafonte

This folk song from the "King of Calypso" will forever be associated with the iconic dinner scene in the 1988 movie, “Beetlejuice.” Watch and see why.

'Grim Grinning Ghosts' by The Melomen

Happy haunts will materialize when you listen to "Grim Grinning Ghosts," perhaps better known as the music from The Haunted Mansion ride at Disney theme parks.

‘Every Day is Halloween’ by Ministry

The Ministry perfectly captures the ‘80s synth vibe in this submersive song. Crank it up at your vintage-inspired Halloween party to really play into the theme.

'Rhiannon' by Fleetwood Mac

Stevie Nicks' witchy-sounding vocals on "Rhiannon" make this Fleetwood Mac classic a must on your Halloween rundown.

'Addams Family' by Vic Mizzy

Nothing says "Halloween" like Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday and Pugsley Addams. The most ghoulish family on the block remain eternally popular along with the TV show's enduring theme song.

'Heads Will Roll' by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

You'll lose your head over this one (pun totally intended). This creepy song by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is essentially an ode to the guillotine and encourages everyone to dance until they're ... dead.

'Bury a friend' by Billie Eilish

Where do we go when we fall asleep? Who knows, but this Billie Eilish tune (and accompanying video) are spooky enough to make you go to bed with the lights on.

'Evil Woman' by Electric Light Orchestra

Nothing scarier than an evil woman bent on making your life miserable. ELO's classic from 1975 makes the perfect addition to your Halloween playlist.

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Sarah is a lifestyle and entertainment reporter for TODAY who covers holidays, celebrities and everything in between.

59 Halloween Songs Your Costume Party Playlist Needs

You can never be too prepared.

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"I Put a Spell on You" by Nina Simone

Though Simone's rendition is a cover of Jay Hawkins's 1956 original, her haunting voice makes this iteration downright bewitching, spellbinding us centuries later.

"Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr.

For partiers who "ain't afraid of no ghosts," blast this iconic '80s theme song.

"Monster Mash" by Bobby Pickett

That one children's party favorite that just can't seem to die.

"Time Warp" from The Rocky Horror Picture Show

You can't do Halloween without Rocky Horror, especially if it includes its own dance. Whether you do know all the moves or not, this one's an essential Halloween track.

"She Wolf" by Shakira

On this howling pop anthem, Shakira puts her own seductive spin on moonlit folklore.

"Pet Sematary" by Ramones

One of the Ramones biggest commercial hits, “Pet Sematary” originally belonged to the 1989 cult classic film.

"Scarecrow" by Beck

Throw on “Scarecrow” to cool things down a bit. It’s a softer take on everyone’s favorite fall festivity, but it still carries a looming sense of something spooky.

"Bury a Friend" by Billie Eilish

To add something a bit more modern to the list, Billie Eilish’s “Bury a Friend” is the experimental pop star’s take on nightmares and night terrors.

"Nightmare" by Tyler, the Creator

Anything on the rapper’s 2011 release, Goblin , is fitting for the holiday, but this self-deprecating cut over chilling piano keys is especially spooky.

"Psycho Killer" by Talking Heads

Before its bass line was interpolated by Selena Gomez , this was a perfectly eerie '70s rock classic.

"A Nightmare on My Street" by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince

For that very niche and narrow intersection where Halloween and '90s hip-hop meet.

"Superstition" by Stevie Wonder

Once that funky opening riff comes in, it's impossible not to dance—even if you're in costume.

"This Is Halloween" from The Nightmare Before Christmas

This one's for you, Tim Burton fans.

"Haunted" by Beyoncé

Only Queen Bey can scare and slay this much at the same time.

"Monster" by Kanye West

The scariest part of this song? How good Nicki Minaj's verse is.

"Zombie" by The Cranberries

Nothing says spooky like '90s alternative rock, and Dolores O'Riordan's versatile pipes really drive that point home.

"Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones

Mick Jagger steps into Satan's shoes for this devilish track, which was deeply inspired by Mikhail Bulgakov's book The Master and Margarita .

"Creep" by Radiohead

For the weirdos and misfits celebrating the creepiest night of the year.

"Ghost" by Jack Harlow

Yes, Halloween is all about ghosts, but Harlow is rapping about a modern dating phenomenon that's even scarier: being ghosted.

"Heads Will Roll" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

"Dance 'til you're dead," indeed.

"Disturbia" by Rihanna

Kids these days might be using a few lines from this Rihanna banger to soundtrack TikToks about their weird crushes, but real fans know to appreciate the 2000s hit in its entirety. Despite its catchy riff, RiRi captures the mental and emotional stress that, unlike Halloween, may come more than once a year.

"Monster" by Lady Gaga

Gaga has the dance-inspired anthem for anyone who's been wronged by heartless men.

"Gods & Monsters" by Lana Del Rey

The list is not complete without the witchy Del Rey herself, who performs actual spells and hexes in real life.

"Somebody's Watching Me" by Rockwell

An '80s pop classic with just the right amount of creep.

"Witchcraft" by Frank Sinatra

Break up with the eerie vibes on this list with some big band and Sinatra.

"Burn the Witch" by Radiohead

This track from the rock band A Moon Shaped Pool album is haunting in more ways than one. In addition to containing chilling sonic devices, its startling music video literally references a horror movie : The Wicker Man (1973).

"Black Magic Woman" by Santana

The guitar legend's cover of Fleetwood Mac's original is the smooth antidote for a scary night.

"Sorcerer" by Stevie Nicks

Get witchy with a true Coven queen.

"Grave" by Summer Walker

A smooth addition to the lineup is this jazzy Summer Walker release from 2019, offering a soothing break amid the creep- and creature-inspired tracks.

"Murder" by Justin Timberlake featuring Jay-Z

JT and Hov detail falling for a femme fatale over a big, brassy track.

"Killer Queen" by Queen

Guaranteed to blow your mind, this belt-worthy song was one of the band's first breakthrough hits.

"The Addams Family" by Vic Mizzy

You know you can't help snapping along.

"Kids See Ghosts" by Kids See Ghosts featuring Yasiin Bey

At the very least, this Kanye West–Kid Cudi collab is a clever reference to The Sixth Sense . But the phantoms they rap about aren't just physical; they manifest through internal struggle and societal pressure.

"Creep" by TLC

The iconic R&B group suggests getting back at your man's infidelity with a taste of his own medicine.

"Hells Bell" by AC/DC

Feel free to scream along into the night.

"Kill v. Maim" by Grimes

You can count on Grimes to deliver bops that are equal parts entertaining and terrifying. This Art Angels track boasts squeaky vocals and an occasional shriek, making it perfect for Halloween—or whenever you're just in that mood.

"Perhaps Vampires Is a Bit Strong But…" by Arctic Monkeys

For when you run out of insults.

"Which Witch" by Florence + The Machine

Florence Welch explained that this song was inspired by an idea where a young witch falls in love with a boy, he dies from a tragic accident, and she inevitably gets blamed.

"Scary" by Stormzy

The standout grime rapper goes hard on a haunting beat.

"Goosebumps" by Travis Scott featuring Kendrick Lamar

The title sums up what happens on the night of October 31, and the feeling when Lamar's verse floats in.

"Howlin' for You" by The Black Keys

Despite the fact that it's been in nearly every commercial possible, this famous Black Keys hit is an essential addition.

"The Hills" by The Weeknd

A moody narrative track with an obvious reference to an iconic horror movie? Yes, please.

"Close Your Eyes" by Kim Petras

The pop up-and-comer chills on her eight-track EP of Halloween-inspired songs. This one is especially catchy (and creepy).

"Come to Daddy (Pappy Mix)" by Aphex Twin

Aphex Twin's 1997 Come to Daddy album comes with three renditions of the track, the opening version being the most perverse, seemingly unhinged copy, complete with a tripped-out, creepy-kids video.

"The Beautiful People" by Marilyn Manson

A distorted masterpiece from the king of goth.

"Reverend's Walk" by Philip Glass

One of this century's most famed composers has been the mastermind behind the jolting thrills, screeches, and high-pitched jabs associated with some of movies' most lasting murder scenes. And he composed the music for the '90s Candyman films using this menacing, carnival-themed cut.

"Living Dead Girl" by Rob Zombie

"Living Dead Girl" is a screeching metal track from Zombie, who has made a career as part horror movie maker, part horror music maker.

"Skeletons" by Travis Scott

On a quick but unskippable cut from Astroworld , Scott imagines life—and sexual escapades—in slow motion for a spine-chilling effect.

"Maxwell's Silver Hammer" by The Beatles

In an eerily cheerful tone, "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" delivers a fantastical nursery rhyme about mass murder.

"Halloween" by Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth's Bad Moon Rising record has "Satan Is Boring," "Ghost Bitch," and "Death Valley '69," but there's something especially standout about "Halloween"—a rambling yet seductive monologue from a woman who is seemingly in the process of becoming possessed.

"Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac

Stevie Nicks comes through with a song about the power and grace of a Welsh witch.

"The Twilight Zone" by Bernard Herrmann

Originally the soundtrack to one of the most cutting-edge sci-fi shows of all time, "The Twilight Zone" has become the omnipresent jingle for anything that seems to be on the edge of something spooky.

"Bath Salt" by A$AP Mob featuring Flatbush Zombies

In 2012, bath salts had a stint in the headlines, including for this incident in Miami . What came with it was folklore of zombielike symptoms and news stories of shocking cannibalism. A$AP Mob teamed with fellow New York heavy hitters Flatbush Zombies to capitalize on the chaos.

"Dracula's Wedding" by OutKast featuring Kelis

"You're all I ever wanted, but I'm terrified of you," André 3000 pleads to his soon-to-be wife.

"Red Right Hand" by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Cave's menacingly deep baritone narrates the story of the "Red Right Hand," an ominous metaphor for the wrathful hand of God, per Paradise Lost .

"Dead!" by My Chemical Romance

An underrated Black Parade track, "Dead!" tells of a hospital patient receiving bad news through shredding guitars and Gerard Way's stinging vocals.

"(Don't Fear) The Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult

Immortalized by one of Will Ferrell's most famous SNL sketches (cue the cowbell), this classic is an obvious and easily recognizable addition to your Halloween party playlist.

"We're All Gonna Die" by Slash featuring Iggy Pop

Really leaning into the inevitable, "We're All Gonna Die" is a hard-core classic that addresses the bottom line at the epicenter of all our worst fears.

"Scary Nights" by G-Eazy

Ahead of Halloween '19, the Oakland-based rapper dropped an eight-song EP to mark the season. The title track works on any scary playlist.

Listen to the whole collection in the playlist below. And make sure you follow Harper's BAZAAR on Spotify.

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Erica Gonzales is the Senior Culture Editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage on TV, movies, music, books, and more. She was previously an editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com. There is a 75 percent chance she's listening to Lorde right now. 

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Natalie Maher is a contributor to BAZAAR.com's music section. She's also covered similar topics for sites like COMPLEX and Billboard. Aside from writing, Natalie enjoys reading Sixers’ conspiracy theories on Twitter, adding exorbitantly expensive sneakers to make-believe online shopping carts, and watching slime videos on Instagram.

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It's A Dead Man's Party: The ultimate Halloween playlist

It's a dead man's party: the ultimate halloween playlist, from ac/dc's "highway to hell" to warren zevon's "werewolves of london," these 40 tracks would make killer additions to your spooky shindig playlist.

From left to right: David Bowie (Photo: Lester Cohen/WireImage); Michael Jackson (Screenshot: Official “Thriller” music video/YouTube); The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Photo: 20th Century Fox); Siouxsie Sioux (Photo: Peter Noble/Redferns); Bauhaus (Photo: Fin Costello/Redferns)

They called rock and roll the Devil’s music when it first hit the scene in the 1950s. Ever since, all popular music—whether it’s metal, hip-hop, or techno—has occasionally been seen through that spectrum, often because musicians have danced with the devil himself. Sometimes, it’s done as a lark, sometimes it’s deadly serious, but in either case the end result is the same: killer music for a Halloween playlist.

Halloween songs roughly fall into two camps, both equally appealing: they’re either songs that sound frightening, or they’re ridiculous romps. Blending the terrifying with the campy is part of the appeal of the season, of course. The novelties take the edge off the terror, while the truly frightening songs offer a reminder that evil can lurk in the heart of man. For your Halloween party playlist consideration, The A.V. Club has rounded up 40 songs that touch upon both of these emotions: choose whatever flavor you like for your own outrageous, spooky bash.

This article originally published on October 20, 2022.

1. AC/DC, “Highway to Hell”

If Halloween is a celebration of dionysian decadence, “Highway To Hell” is the season’s rallying call: Bon Scott sounds absolutely delighted to be indulging in every excess he can imagine, along with a few he has yet to conjure. Satan himself doesn’t surface in “Highway To Hell,” at least not in the biblical sense. This is all about sins of the flesh, transgressions manifested by an irresistible Angus Young riff. Eternal damnation never sounded so good.

2. Aphex Twin, “Come To Daddy”

“Come To Daddy” is hardly the apotheosis of the work of Richard D. James, the electronic composer and DJ who pioneered IDM under his stage name the Aphex Twin. It’s almost the flipside of his quietly thoughtful records, a grotesque, gnarled near-parody of big beat delivered at a breakneck speed. The Chris Cunningham video containing a cavalcade of children wearing James’ face emphasizes the unease that lurks underneath the cacophony, but even as an audio track “Come To Daddy” sounds unhinged: it’s uncut paranoia.

3. Bauhaus, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”

The cornerstone of goth, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” manages to sound as vampiric as the song’s namesake: it’s a song that’s difficult to imagine being played at dawn. Much of this is due to the ominous rumble of Peter Murphy, whose voice gets swallowed with its own reverb, yet the skeletal guitar of Daniel Ash creates its own graveyard chill, while the rhythm section of David J and Kevin Haskins maintain a dramatic tension that remains unresolved over the length of nearly 10 minutes.

4. Burt Bacharach/The Five Blobs, “Theme from The Blob”

Jaunty and insouciant, Burt Bacharach’s theme to the cheapo drive-in staple The Blob —a 1958 sci-fi flick about space invaders starring a young Steve McQueen—reduces the existential extraterrestrial threat to something as dangerous as a temporary interruption to a frat party. The wailing sax, bossa nova beat, handclaps, collegiate harmonies, and flamenco guitar place this firmly within the late 1950s. But all those period signifiers are also why it’s such a good time: it’s the sound of a B-movie incarnate.

5. Bobby Bare, “Marie Laveau”

Shel Silverstein updated the legend of the New Orleans voodoo priestess to suit the 1970s, maintaining the witchery and adding a good dose of hippie freak humor. It was an ideal combination for Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, but country maverick Bobby Bare bettered their version in his loose-limbed, swampy take. Recorded live in the studio, this is funny and funky, highlighted by the banshee wail of Marie Laveau performed by none other than Silverstein himself.

6. Black Sabbath, “Black Sabbath”

Black Sabbath, the fathers of heavy metal, essentially invented the genre with this eponymous early song. Drenched in occult imagery, the song is filled with blackness and fire, all presided over by a smiling Satan. Ozzy Osbourne wails like he’s been damned to hell but it’s the slow, heavy sludge of Sabbath that conveys a sense of overwhelming, suffocating gloom.

7. Blue Oyster Cult, “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper”

The message Blue Oyster Cult intends to deliver with “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” is an acceptance of mortality, a coming of terms with the idea that death comes to all living things. What they wound up with is a record that conveys an enormous sense of dread. Maybe it’s because “Buck Dharma” Roeser is a chillingly impassive singer, maybe it’s because their minor-key 12-string guitars chime like the bells at the gateway to hell, but “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” creeps like death itself at your doorway.

8. David Bowie, “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)“

Many of his peers delivered monster songs that verged on the fringe of camp. Not David Bowie. “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)” is a cacophonic rush of cloistered energy brought down to Earth by a heavy, ominous backbeat. Bowie sings of frights and horrors, spooky images turned truly nightmarish by the careening guitar of Robert Fripp, whose atonal squalls sound like a killer on a rampage.

9. Alice Cooper, “I Love the Dead”

Alice Cooper—aka Vincent Furnier—presented himself as a refugee from old horror movies, a stance which allowed him to create something as absurdly grotesque as “I Love The Dead.” He’s not singing about zombies, he’s not singing in the abstract: he’s created an anthem for necrophiliacs. Thanks to the pomp of Bob Ezrin’s production, it becomes clear that Alice intends “I Love The Dead” as a joke but thanks to his ghoulish delivery, it still sounds plenty creepy.

10. The Cramps, “I Was A Teenage Werewolf”

Raised on the dregs of junk culture, spending as much time listening to trashy rockabilly records as they did flipping through old EC comic books, the Cramps personified rock and roll sleaze. In other words, they were fated to cut a record like “I Was A Teenage Werewolf,” a scuzzy 45 that seems to stem from the idea of “what if Elvis howled at the moon?” The primitive thud dressed in fuzz and echo has a kinetic kick, the kind of record that only seems to come alive at the stroke of midnight.

11. Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Bad Moon Rising”

On the surface level, “Bad Moon Rising” appears buoyant, thanks in large part to the rockabilly swing Creedence Clearwater Revival effortlessly achieves. The bright sound disguises the dread John Fogerty places at the heart of the song. Fogerty lists all manners of ominous bad weather—hurricanes, earthquakes, floods—all suggesting the end is coming soon. That apocalyptic note is what lingers long after all the chicken-picking guitars have been plucked.

12. Bo Diddley, “Bo Meets The Monster”

Never one to pass up clever ideas, Bo Diddley heard Sheb Wooley’s “The Purple People Eater” and decided to recast it as some kind of Abbott & Costello meeting of the stars. Here, Bo encounters the Purple People Eater and gives chase, eventually getting spooked by the monster so he heads back home only to find the creatures took his baby. It’s a riotous tale delivered as an easy-rolling blues-shuffle, grabbing all its energy from Bo’s vigorous delivery.

13. DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, “A Nightmare On My Street”

Will Smith always manages to avoid rapping either the name Freddy Krueger or the title A Nightmare On Elm Street in “A Nightmare On My Street,” but there’s no denying that the 1988 track is a send-up of the horror film series. New Line Cinema certainly thought so, suing DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince in a matter that was settled out of court. Set that unpleasantness aside and “A Nightmare On My Street” is an unabashedly goofy time capsule capturing the brightly-colored pop-rap of the late ’80s and the gloomier horror that functioned as a counterpoint.

14. Donovan, “Season Of The Witch”

Perched at the precipice of psychedelia, “Season Of The Witch” is a slow-burning folk-rock masterpiece, one that may or may not feature instrumental contributions from Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, musicians who would later indulge in the occult during their time in Led Zeppelin. Certainly, this deliberate, creeping song conveys a feeling of impending doom, one that’s drifting like a mist over the hillside. As Donovan piles up bad omens, the song’s swirl encompasses circular guitars, howling organs and galloping bass, all creating a spookiness that doesn’t quickly dissipate once the song is finished playing.

15. Duran Duran, “Night Boat”

An early example of Duran Duran’s mastery of mood (not to mention evidence of their debt to Roxy Music), “Night Boat” creeps into focus slowly. Once it takes shape, it’s hazy and ominous. Nick Rhodes’ synthesizers tangle Simon Le Bon’s keening loneliness, tension cascading as the wait for the conclusion stretches out. It’s a tense, cinematic affair, qualities that are emphasized in its accompanying video, which capitalizes on that sense of dread by effectively turning it into a zombie movie.

16. Roky Erickson, “I Walked With A Zombie”

Ever since he fronted the psychedelic legends the 13th Floor Elevators, Roky Erickson sounded otherworldly. He either sounded possessed or seemed to exist on another astral plane, one that suggested that it wasn’t beyond the realm of reason that he could wander with the undead. On “I Walked With A Zombie,” Erickson sounds neither frenzied nor contemplative: he presents the unknown as a matter of fact, which winds up as unnerving as a more impassioned treatment.

17. Golden Earring, “Twilight Zone”

Dutch hard rockers with a penchant for the tasteless, Golden Earring delivered something truly garish with “Twilight Zone”: a midnight ride through the heart of darkness, all set to a thumping Eurodisco beat and dressed in tacky arena-rock guitar. The minor-key riff meshes with the overwrought delivery, each emphasizing the ugliness of the other, a combination that should be repulsive but winds up intoxicating. It indeed is a passport to another dimension of sorts.

18. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, “I Put A Spell On You”

“I Put A Spell On You” is the cornerstone of horror rock and roll, although Screamin’ Jay Hawkins didn’t initially intend it to be a goth classic. Hawkins wanted to make a ballad but in a drunken session, he and the band turned it into a guttural, spooky epic. Soon afterward, he tailored his image to suit the record, becoming famous for popping out of a coffin in concerts, and others flocked to the song, turning it into a modern standard. Still, this original reigns supreme, as it captures Screamin’ Jay Hawkins sounding utterly possessed, as if he’s in the midst of conducting a voodoo ceremony.

19. Michael Jackson, “Thriller”

Michael Jackson designed “Thriller” as a lightweight epic, a song designed to turn nightmares into dreams, or at least an appealing diversion. “Thriller” spins familiar horror movie tropes—it’s midnight, filled with evil monsters lurking in the dark—into floor-filling fun, its campy aspects highlighted by a knowing monologue from Vincent Prince. If familiarity has somewhat dampened its appeal, there’s no denying that it’s the blockbuster among Halloween songs, the one designed to crush all the other creatures.

20. Mike Oldfield, “Tubular Bells”

Mike Oldfield created the musical themes for “Tubular Bells” independent of William Friedkin’s adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist . The filmmakers distilled refrains that kept circling through Oldfield’s 1973 debut album, narrowing on the essence of the music: it’s inherently unsettling and spooky, a spectral melody to haunt your very bones. That quality is evident on either side of Oldfield’s album yet it becomes almost unbearable when edited to a tight four-minute single.

21. Ministry, “Every Day Is Halloween”

The apex of early Ministry, “Every Day Is Halloween” found Al Jourgensen turning to Wax Trax! to deliver a track pitched halfway between synth-pop and goth. Jourgensen sings about all manners of goth life—wherever he goes, people ask him “Why are you dressed like it’s Halloween?”—but the sound of the record is unexpectedly buoyant, the drum machines and synthesizers battling the minor key hooks and ultimately winning.

21. “ The Munsters Theme”

Through the kind of serendipity that only happens in show business, The Munsters and The Addams Family both somehow debuted within a week of each other in September 1964, so it’s difficult to view one without the other. Where the Addams Family was steeped in the gothic sensibility of Charles Addams, The Munsters was a very Hollywood creation, a deliberate satire of family sitcoms that played to conventional beats. It also had a theme song that rocked, capturing the hot rod energy of Southern California in a way that still resonates today.

23. New York Dolls, “Frankenstein”

David Johansen sings “something must’ve happened/over Manhattan” at the start of “Frankenstein,” the heaviest and scariest song on the eponymous debut from New York Dolls. The wall of noise and sleaze doesn’t suggest the titular monster. In the hands of the New York Dolls, “Frankenstein” sounds like Godzilla: big menacing sludge ready to consume the east coast.

24. Oingo Boingo, “Dead Man’s Party”

A New Wave staple, “Dead Man’s Party” is bright and garish, the clattering percussion vying for attention with blares of horns and chicken-scratch guitar. As the record stretches out over six minutes, Oingo Boingo introduces new freakish elements to the mix, each exaggerated vocal or synth accentuating the strangeness of the zombie bash. “Dead Man’s Party” can be intense but its length is also part of the point: you’re trapped in a party and can’t get out.

25. Ozzy Osbourne, “Mr. Crowley”

Ozzy Osbourne may not have been as immersed in the occult as his Black Sabbath bandmate Tony Iommi, yet he had a flair for bringing the dark arts to life. “Mr. Crowley,” an ode to notorious English occultist Aleister Crowley, isn’t as mired in murk as Sabbath; it opens with a synthesized fanfare straight out of a slasher film. That comic book flair, ratcheted up by a ripping Randy Rhoads guitar solo, is the key to its appeal: he’s embracing the outlandish aspects of the occult, turning into something of an oversized legend himself in the process.

26. Ray Parker Jr., “Ghostbusters”

Writing a theme song to a movie as silly as Ghostbusters is a tricky assignment, so no wonder rockers Lindsey Buckingham and Huey Lewis passed on the task. Enter Ray Parker Jr. The slick funkster came up with the ingenious idea of crafting the song as an advertisement for the Ghostbusters business, devising the indelible hook of “Who you gonna call.” The chorus is a clever callback to the film but, more importantly, it’s a joyously goofy rallying cry ideal for parties.

27. Bobby “Boris” Pickett, “Monster Mash”

The granddaddy of all rock and roll Halloween records, “Monster Mash” wasn’t the first ghoulish rock novelty, nor was it the last, yet it was the quintessential entry in this subgenre. Credit should go not to Bobby “Boris” Pickett—an actor who also could do a killer Boris Karloff impression—but to producer Gary S. Paxton, who gave this silly song a crack studio band featuring pianist Leon Russell and slathered it with spooky sound effects that make it not just an enduring seasonal classic but the record that defines its own realm.

28. Pink Floyd, “Careful with That Axe, Eugene”

Originally released as a B-side in 1968, “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” came to life when Pink Floyd played it in concert, which allowed the group to stretch out its ominous soundscape. The version they released on the appealingly indulgent Ummagumma double-LP eclipses the original version by building up the drama slowly, then shifting in intensity after the titular is whispered then followed by a blood-curdling scream, all leading to a shape-shifting swirl that’s among the most nightmarish music they made.

29. Ramones, “Pet Sematary”

Raised on trash, the Ramones were destined to create a B-level tune for a B-movie, so we have “Pet Sematary,” a goofy song for a goofy movie. It’s a bit too heavy, slow and clean to be prime Ramones, but in this context the overproduction is kind of endearing. The big sound highlights how silly a song built upon the line “I don’t want to be buried/In a pet sematary” is and also showcases Joey Ramone doing his best ghoulish oversinging on the long fade, a piece of flair well-suited to a film based on a pulpy Stephen King book.

30. The Rocky Horror Picture Show , “Time Warp”

Arriving early on in The Rocky Horror Picture Show , Time Warp essentially serves as the song that gives away Richard O’Brien’s game. He’s created a rock opera out of detritus of pre-British Invasion pop culture, marrying sci-fi fantasies with dance crazes. The step-by-step instructions on how to dance the “Time Warp” make it ideal for parties but it’s the parade of creatures embracing their inner freakiness that still makes the record sound so potent.

31. The Rolling Stones, “Sympathy For The Devil”

Cut at the peak of the Rolling Stones’ fascination with the occult and Satanism, “Sympathy For The Devil ‘’ does the impossible: it manages to avoid descending into silliness or caricature. Some of that is certainly due to the bustling rhythms and busy piano from Nicky Hopkins, an arrangement that builds tension that’s released by a razor-like solo from Keith Richards. Much of the credit belongs to Mick Jagger, who lists a cavalcade of evil across the years in his lyrics in a way that creates a sense of foreboding. This isn’t a celebration, it’s a bubbling cauldron of paranoia.

32. Jumpin’ Gene Simmons, “Haunted House”

Jumpin Gene Simmons—not to be confused with the Gene Simmons from Kiss, who indeed took his stage name from this Mississippi singer—delivered something of a marvel with “Haunted House”: a novelty song with an R&B swing so big that the lyrics about aliens and ghouls could almost seem incidental. The fact that “Haunted House” works as its own jumping little number doesn’t erase that it’s the best of the post-”Monster Mash” creature rockers: it’s as funny as it is infectious.

33. Siouxsie & the Banshees, “Halloween”

There’s a manic, unnerving energy to “Halloween,” an early masterwork from Siouxsie & the Banshees. The nervy, relentless beat tangles with live-wire guitar, a sound that’s infectious and spooky enough even without Siouxsie’s spirited wail commanding all the attention. The Banshees create such a visceral rush that it’s easy to excuse the perhaps overly literal “Trick or Treat” chorus: the group has wound up conjuring the darkest elements of the holiday.

34. The Sonics, “The Witch”

Proto-punk garage rockers from the Pacific Northwest, the Sonics were rougher and tougher than such peers as the Kingsmen. Everything about them sounded wilder: the rhythms were manic, Gerry Roslie shredded his vocals, guitarist Larry Parypa seemed on the verge of breaking his strings, and saxophonist Rob Lind added another level of nervous energy. All of this is captured on “The Witch,” their 1964 debut single that sounds so frenzied, it seems dangerous. This isn’t a cartoon witch, it’s one that sounds like it’s ready to cast a spell to wreck your life.

35. Sonic Youth, “Death Valley 69"

All the more frightening due to its cloistered incoherence, “Death Valley 69" is an early Sonic Youth cut—they’d yet to be anchored by their rock, drummer Steve Shelley—showcasing Lydia Lunch, one of the linchpins of No Wave. Together, the pair sketch a horrifying, messy and electrifying impressionistic portrait of Southern Californian nihlism, pegging the treacherous landscape to the year of the Charles Manson murders. It’s a high concept but it scars because it hits the gut, not the head.

36. The Specials, “Ghost Town”

Jerry Dammers wrote “Ghost Town” as the Specials’ protest song against Thatcherite policies: it conveys the doomy wasteland of Britain in the early 1980s. “Ghost Town” may be inextricably tied to its era but its gloom floats outside of time, suggesting an eternal sense of dread and decay. All these years later, it still sounds haunted and spectral, as scary a record as ever produced in the rock and roll era.

37. Screaming Lord Sutch, “Til the Following Night”

Something of a proto-goth, British rocker Screaming Lord Sutch was an oddity in the time before the Beatles. Styling himself as Jack the Ripper and often performing after rising out of a coffin onstage, Sutch embraced horror movie tropes way before Alice Cooper. Thanks to troubled genius Joe Meek, he also created one of the great horror rock and roll records with “Til The Following Night,” a single filled with burbling beakers, howling winds, screams and creaking doors—all setting the stage for Sutch’s vampiric routine. It’s a scream, as it were.

38. Talking Heads, “Psycho Killer”

David Byrne doesn’t need to sing that he’s tense and nervous. The itch guitar of Jerry Harrison and Byrne’s vocals play off of the tight funk created by Chris Frantz’s drums and Tina Weymouth’s roaming bass to convey a sense of internal anxiety, suggesting that this early Talking Heads number is peek into an unsettled mind. Years later, the combination has lost none of its potency.

39. John Zacherle, “Dinner With Drac”

A precursor to “Monster Mash,” “Dinner With Drac” rocketed into the Top 10 in 1958. A rock and roll novelty in a time rife with them, “Dinner With Drac” played upon the “Cool Ghoul” persona John Zacherle adopted as a DJ and television host of Shock Theater. All that, along with a friendship with Dick Clark, explains why Zacherle got a shot at having a record on Cameo Records, but “Dinner With Drac” is a hoot on its own terms: an over-the-top collection of corny, gory jokes that still can earn a ghoulish chuckle.

40. Warren Zevon, “Werewolves Of London”

Phil Everly planted the idea of a dance craze called the “Werewolves Of London” inside the head of his bandleader Warren Zevon, who let the notion simmer until it became this gloriously absurd shuffle. Here, the changelings aren’t scruffy beasts: they’re smooth swingers enjoying a pina colada at Trader Vic’s, flaunting their perfect hair at the classic Los Angeles watering hole. This sense of humor gives the slick L.A. groove an enduring kick.

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89 Best Halloween Songs EVER

Best Halloween Songs EVER

No Halloween is complete without a spooky soundtrack setting the morbid mood.

There is no shortage of terrifying tunes, from novelty songs to film scores, to help you turn up the terror.

Whether you're looking for tricks or treats, our list of the best Halloween songs of all time is sure to haunt you.

“The Monster Mash” by Bobby “Borris” Pickett

Song year: 1962

“The Monster Mash” is the quintessential Halloween song. Using spooky sound effects, Bobby “Borris” Pickett sings about a mad scientist that stumbles upon a new dance while working late into the night.

The song was a chart-topper in 1962 and continues to spook young and old every year.

“Thriller” by Michael Jackson

Song year: 1984

Michael Jackson had taken over the world by 1984. “Thriller” was the seventh top-ten single from its eponymous album, a nearly impossible feat.

The lyrics and production of the song are evocative of horror films, but it's the classic music video that pushes the Halloween theme over the top.

“(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult

Song year: 1976

Blue Oyster Cult's “Don't Fear the Reaper” is about not fearing death. But the Grim Reaper imagery and muscular guitar work of the song have made it a Halloween classic.

If you like cowbell with your cobwebs, look no further than this prog-rock ode to death.

“Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo

Song year: 1986

Before Danny Elfman became an in-demand Hollywood composer, he fronted the quirky new wave band Oingo Boingo.

In “Dead Man's Party,” Elfman flexes the macabre impulses he would employ in greater detail for his work on The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack.

“A Nightmare on My Street” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

Song year: 1988

Will Smith imagines a run-in with Freddy Krueger, the classic villain of Nightmare on Elm Street , on his hip hop Halloween classic, “A Nightmare on My Street.”

Freddy Krueger terrified audiences throughout the '80s with his metal claws and dream inhabiting powers.

“This Is Halloween” by Danny Elfman

Song year:  1993

Arguments over whether The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Christmas or Halloween movie aside, “This is Halloween” is a spooky song.

Danny Elfman of Oingo Boingo wrote the song. It's clear his career as a new wave songwriter helped him balance the cheer and terror of this classic track.

“I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

Song year: 1956

Screamin' Jay Hawkins used to pull up to gigs in a hearse with a snake in tow. His dedication to the voodoo character he played onstage was eerily impressive.

“I Put a Spell On You” is a classic blending of horror and love. The song is synonymous with Halloween and rock and roll.

“Halloween Theme” by John Carpenter

Song year: 1978

Film director John Carpenter was never planning to be a professional musician. But out of necessity, he wrote the theme to his movie Halloween .

The terrifyingly sparse synthesizer theme sent chills down the audience's spines as they watched villain Michael Meyers stalk the screen.

“Halloween” by Misfits

Song year: 1981

The Misfits' combination of horror and hardcore punk makes them a favorite of alternative fans every Halloween.

Their song “Halloween” isn't just spooky – it's part of the punk rock canon. The song's howling guitars boil to the surface of the mainstream's cauldron every October.

“Feed My Frankenstein” by Alice Cooper

Song year: 1992

For glam shock rocker Alice Cooper, every performance looks like Halloween. Cooper's stage show is a cacophony of horror imagery, with horror-themed props tied together by his hard-rocking songs.

“Feed My Frankenstein” is full of rock and roll double entendres and fits right along with the hair metal of the early '90s.

“I Think of Demons” by Roky Erickson

Song year: 1987

Roky Erickson, former frontman for the iconic psychedelic rock band 13th Floor Elevators, would expand his trippy garage rock style in the '80s with his horror-tinged solo work.

“I Think of Demons” is a mega-dose of Halloween imagery. Backed by the punkishly ragged guitars and vocals, the song sounds as scary as its lyrics suggest.

“Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell

Rockwell's new-wave-inspired R&B hit “Somebody's Watching Me” will turn your Halloween into a dance party.

With Michael Jackson's iconic hook and a slew of slithering synthesizers, this song could have only happened in the wildly weird world of the '80s. Thankfully, we can bring it back from the dead every October.

“Stranger Things Theme” by Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein

Song year: 2016

Netflix's Stranger Things has masterfully captured the tone of '80s horror films and combined it with Spielberg-esque childhood nostalgia.

The show creators tapped composers Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein to create the score. Their textured, arpeggiated synthesizers are the sounds of nightmares.

“Black Magic Woman” by Santana

Song year: 1970

Fleetwood Mac wrote “Black Magic Woman,” but the way Santana plays it, you'd think it was their autobiography.

The Latin-inspired rhythms of Santana, and the deft guitar playing of Carlos Santana, help the song straddle the line between hippie and Halloween.

“Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon

Song year: 1977

“Werewolves of London” is such a jaunty little piano number that you almost forget that it's about a terrifying werewolf.

Warren Zevon was as literate and wry as songwriters come. The singer ends his story of a werewolf running amok in England by mentioning how good his hair looked.

“Season of the Witch” by Donovan

Song year: 1966

Donovan started his career as a Dylan-inspired folk artist that sang gentle songs about love. But as most folks in the '60s, he got into mysticism and drugs.

His song “Season of the Witch” blends the ghoulish with the groovy and makes any Halloween party cooler the second it starts playing.

“Heads Will Roll” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Song year: 2009

New York City rockers Yeah Yeah Yeahs take decapitation to the dancefloor with their synth-pop hit “Heads Will Roll.”

By twisting Alice in Wonderland references into drug references, the song creates an eery feeling of being too young and too old for its age.

“Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads

“Psycho Killer” is art-rock pioneers Talking Heads' signature Halloween song. The song's wiry guitar work is wrapped tightly around its plodding rhythms, making the serial killer lyrics sound even more maniacal.

The song is a classic Halloween track, whether you're throwing a Halloween dance party or setting a spooky mood for trick-or-treaters.

“She Wolf” by Shakira

Anyone looking to spice up their Halloween needs Shakira's “She Wolf” on their playlist.

This horror-tinged electropop single is Shakira's appeal to let her freak flag fly – a perfect sentiment for Halloween. Turn it up and howl at the moon – or the disco ball above the dancefloor.

“Monster” by Kanye West ft. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver

Song year: 2010

Kanye West invited the entire crew along for his single, “Monster.” With every rapper taking a horror-inspired verse, this song's composition acts as a rogue's gallery of hip hop demons.

The song is a standout on West's classic My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy . It's also notable for Nicki Minaj's incredible verse.

“Freaks Come Out at Night” by Whodini

The '80s R&B group Whodini's “Freaks Come Out at Night” isn't about monster-ish freaks but the freaky lovers of nightlife.

Ironically, using horror imagery to describe the excesses of partying makes this song perfect for partying on Halloween. Light up the dancefloor with Whodini and your fellow freaks.

“Runnin’ With the Devil” by Van Halen

Van Halen's “Runnin' with the Devil” is a metalhead's Halloween dream. With demonic lyrics and ripping guitar riffs, the song is pure devil horns in the air rock and roll.

David Lee Roth insists the lyrics aren't satanic, but that doesn't take away from the evil sounds of Roth's shrieks.

“Zombie” by The Cranberries

Song year: 1994

The Cranberries use the analogy of a Zombie in their alternative rock antiwar protest song “Zombie.”

The song became an international hit and is now synonymous with alternative rock. Due to its imagery, it's also become a Halloween playlist favorite.

“Spooky” by Dusty Springfield

Song year: 1968

British songstress Dusty Springfield makes love sound equal parts scary and groovy in her soulful single “Spooky.”

The song was initially only an instrumental but has become well known for its dozens of vocal covers. If you want your grooves spooky, stick to Springfield's version.

“Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.

Ray Parker Jr.'s “Ghostbusters” was a chart-topping movie theme song that seemed to take on a life of its own. It has become woven into the fabric of '80s pop culture.

Whether you're nostalgic for pop or just light-hearted horror, Ray Parker Jr.'s fun-loving single is sure to please.

“In the Room Where You Sleep” by Dead Man’s Bones

Actor Ryan Gosling's band, Dead Man's Bones, utilizes children's choirs and morbid imagery for their indie-goth sound.

The track “In the Room Where You Sleep” finds the band describing a haunted room – a child's greatest nightmare. Using a children's to sing along adds to the song's sheer creepiness.

“The Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley

Song year: 1958

1950s pop singer Sheb Wooley scored a number one hit with his sci-fi novelty song “The Purple People Eater.”

The song tells the story of an alien that comes to Earth not to terrorize humans but to join a rock and roll band. Its light-hearted kitsch and ambiguously defined aliens are tailor-made for Halloween.

“Howlin’ For You” by The Black Keys

Song year: 2011

The Black Keys' “Howlin' For You” is a lean and mean Halloween song.

The lyric's story of a love so strong that it makes the singer howl feels deeply resonated when sung over their swamp blues stomp. Maybe they're werewolves. Or just lovestruck fools. Either way, I'd stay out of their way.

“Living Dead Girl” by Rob Zombie

Song year: 1999

Some Halloween songs are light-hearted novelties or dancefloor anthems. And then, there's Rob Zombie and “Living Dead Girl.”

This song is scary. This song will give you the chills with its buzzsaw guitars and blood-curdling screams. It's no surprise that Rob Zombie has gone on to a successful career as a horror film director.

“Falling” by Julee Cruise

Song year: 1990

Out of context, “Falling” by Julee Cruise might sound like an adult contemporary ballad. But for fans of the TV show Twin Peaks , the song immediately calls to mind the mysteriously dark and psychically twisted story of a small town possessed by murder.

The eerie calm of the song's instrumentation only adds to the show's surreal nature. Fans of Twin Peaks will love hearing this on Halloween.

“Jesus I Was Evil” by Darcy Clay

New Zealand singer-songwriter Darcy Clay was the quintessential outsider musician. The DIY artist's brand of off-the-cuff punk takes a turn for the devilish on “Jesus I Was Evil.”

The song's ragged guitars underscore Clay's offbeat wordplay. As the track was a home recording, the song was a surprise hit in New Zealand.

“Ghost Town” by The Specials

While many Halloween songs are explicitly spooky, The Specials' “Ghost Town” serves as social commentary on the condition of Britain's cities in the '80s.

That doesn't mean the song isn't spooky, though. Taking their traditional ska rhythms and slowing them down, the band hits a deep groove that's as ghostly as their lyrics.

“Time Warp” by Rocky Horror Picture Show Cast

Song year: 1975

Every night is Halloween at a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show . This beloved glam rock musical is notorious for raucous crowds acting out the movie in the theatre.

The song “Time Warp” is one of the high musical points of the show, with the whole cast singing the instructions for this made-up dance.

“Bullet With Butterfly Wings” by Smashing Pumpkins

Song year: 1995

Nobody does brooding alt-rock like the Smashing Pumpkins, making their entire catalog a go-to for Halloween.

But of all these songs, “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” represents the best of the batch. From its iconic opening lyric to its final frenzied screams, the song is a favorite for a moody October.

“Enter Sandman” by Metallica

Song year: 1991

“Enter Sandman” is terrifying from its first ominous notes. Metallica's dark tale of nightmares is one of the band's signature songs, capturing their musical prowess while still pummeling the listener with intensity.

The band's imagery and riffs make this song perfect for a heavy metal Halloween.

“Red Right Hand” by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' “Red Right Hand” is a creepy tale of demons and revenge. By using bells and staccato organs, the song sounds like a tumbleweed of evil is blowing through a church.

“Red Right Hand” has become the de facto theme song of the Scream horror franchise.

“Oh Klahoma” by Jack Stauber

Song year: 2017

Jack Stauber's lo-fi, keyboard-driven “Oh Klahoma” became a viral sensation on TikTok. Users film themselves dressed as ghosts over the song's quirky synthesizers and drum machine.

Whether you've done it yourself or merely enjoy watching them, these videos have imbued the track “Oh Klahoma” with the Halloween spirit.

“Bat Out of Hell” by Meat Loaf

Song year: 1979

Meat Loaf's epic “Bat Out of Hell” is an eight-minute blast of rock opera that fits Halloween like a glove.

The song is a science fiction-inspired version of Peter Pan. But its imagery is pure fantasy, with Meat Loaf wailing about demons and damnation.

“Halloween” by Phoebe Bridgers

Song year: 2020

Phoebe Bridgers uses dressing up for Halloween as a metaphor for identity and relationships in her song “Halloween.”

This song isn't the traditional goofy or spooky seasonal fare, which makes it a unique palette cleanser on a day filled with sweet candy and novelty pop songs.

“Black Sabbath” by Black Sabbath

Nothing is darker than Black Sabbath. The band's eponymous single, “Black Sabbath,” is a plodding heavy metal tale of the occult and satanism.

Singer Ozzy Osbourne would go on to a wild career that included biting the head off of a bat on stage.

“Spellbound” by Siouxsie and the Banshees

Using a spell as a metaphor is a well-worn territory in pop music, but Siouxsie and the Banshees breathe new life into the trope with their goth-punk single “Spellbound.”

The song's manically strummed acoustic guitars swirl alongside Siouxsie Sioux's haunting vocals. The resulting sound casts a spell all its own.

“Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” by Tracy Morgan and Donald Glover

Novelty pop songs aren't as popular as they once were, making 30 Rock ‘s “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” feel simultaneously nostalgic and fresh.

The track is a parody of songs like “The Monster Mash” and “The Purple People Eater” and is a hilarious addition to any Halloween playlist.

“Are You Ready for Freddy” by The Fat Boys

The Fat Boys' “Are You Ready for Freddy” is the theme song for A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master .

While Will Smith would also release a Freddy Kreuger-themed rap in 1988, The Fat Boys' version boasts a verse from the Dream Master himself.

“Baby You’re a Haunted House” by Gerard Way

Song year: 2018

My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way goes solo for his Halloween-themed single, “Baby You're a Haunted House.”

The song's chorus is instantly catchy, juxtaposing horror imagery with bubble gum pop melodies. The combination of horror and fuzzed-out guitar work makes this song is a treat for powerpop lovers on Halloween.

“I’m Wicked” by Twin Temple

Scary songs for Halloween

Twin Temple is tailor-made for Halloween. The band describes themselves as satanic doo-wop, and they perform their songs like rituals.

“I'm Wicked” is a clever play on the rock and roll trope of a sexually empowered woman being evil. Only this time around, Twin Temple is being literal.

“Pet Sematary” by Ramones

Song year: 1989

Punk pioneers the Ramones wrote “Pet Sematary” for the film adaptation of Stephen King's book of the same name.

The Ramones' style compliments the movie well. Both are kitschy fun that references the dark side with a light touch.

“Hells Bells” by AC/DC

Song year: 1980

After AC/DC's frontman, Bon Scott, died of drug abuse, it seemed the hard rock group had met its demise. Instead, they came back with their classic album Back in Black .

“Hells Bells” is one of several tracks on the album that takes on a darker tone given the context of their recording.

“The X-Files” by Mark Snow

Song year: 1993

The mysteriously catchy theme to The X-Files is instantly recognizable to anyone that lived through the '90s.

The echoing synthesizers and lilting melody of the whistling will remind everyone that the truth is out there. I want to believe, especially on Halloween.

“I Was a Teenage Werewolf” by The Cramps

Horror punk pioneers The Cramps' “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” is a menacing romp inspired by a 1957 horror film.

The song's slinky guitar work and howling vocals sound downright dangerous. If it weren't so catchy, it would actually be terrifying.

“Spaceship to Mars” by Gene Vincent

Gene Vincent might not be a household name, but he is a towering figure in the world of rockabilly. His high-energy performances and eccentricities are legendary in rock circles.

Vincent recorded “Spaceship to Mars” for the rock and roll film Ring-a-Ding Rhythm .

“Haunted” by Beyonce

Song year: 2013

Beyonce took a minimalist approach on her single “Haunted.” Instead of bombastic R&B production, keyboards and atmosphere frame the singer's lusty lyrics.

The music video serves to highlight the song's allusions to horror. Here, Beyonce encounters terrifying visions while walking through a mansion.

“Sympathy for the Devil” by The Rolling Stones

Considered by many to be one of the greatest rock and roll songs ever, some critics believed the Rolling Stones worshipped Satan upon hearing “Sympathy for the Devil.”

The Prince of Darkness himself narrates this groovy '60s rock song, making it a match made in Hell for Halloween.

“Dracula’s Wedding” by Outkast

Song year: 2003

Atlanta hip hop duo Outkast was always a little different than the rest of the acts in the rap game. But “Dracula's Wedding” stands out, even for them.

With bright acoustic guitars and buzzing synthesizers, this tale of a vampire afraid of love is a catchy addition to the canon of Halloween hip hop.

“Monstrance Clock” by Ghost

Given the ghoulish appearance of the metal band Ghost, you would imagine that their song “Monstrance Clock” had a sinister background.

In reality, this song is about two people consummating a relationship, albeit with all the bells and whistles of a demonic celebration.

“Shout at the Devil” by Motley Crue

Song year: 1983

Motley Crue loved stirring up controversy, and the hyper-conservative Christian groups of the '80s were more than willing to take the bait. These groups believed that due to songs like “Shout at the Devil,” Motley Crue was worshipping Satan.

“Unsolved Mysteries Theme” by Gary Malkin and Michael Boy

Whether it was highlighting missing persons, alien lifeforms, or the occult, the theme song for the television series Unsolved Mysteries always set a creepy tone.

There's no way to hear this creepily cold '80s synthesizer composition without feeling an ominous chill.

“Bark at the Moon” by Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne plays into his image as a wildman on the single “Bark at the Moon.” The song tells a quintessentially Halloween tale of a beast out for revenge, with the chorus evoking werewolf imagery.

The song is considered one of Osbourne's best solo tracks and turns up the volume on any Halloween celebration.

“You’re Dead” by Norma Tanega

Norma Tanega's “You're Dead” was an obscure folk track for nearly fifty years before becoming the theme song for the vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows.

The song's lyrics are spot-on for a show about the undead, making them bone-chilling outside of a comedic context.

“Halloweenhead” by Ryan Adams

Song year: 2007

Ryan Adams' “Halloweenhead” is a haunting slice of power-pop. The song's lyrics use the surreal experience of walking around on Halloween night to frame the feeling of wanting to get into trouble.

Considering Adams' well-publicized fight with addiction, the song feels like an anxious admission that destructive urges are always around the corner.

“Sweet Dreams” by Marilyn Manson

Song year: 1998

Marilyn Manson's horrifying brand of shock-rock broke into the mainstream with a cover of '80s new wave hit “Sweet Dreams.”

Manson would go on to even greater success later in the '90s, but “Sweet Dreams” is still one of the scariest songs he ever put to tape.

“Walking With a Ghost” by Tegan and Sara

Song year: 2004

Identical twin indie-pop duo Tegan and Sara's “Walking with a Ghost” is a ghoulish metaphor for lost love.

The song's tight start/stop guitar rhythms create an uneasy feeling as the lyrics recall being haunted by a former lover, making it essential Halloween listening for the lovesick.

“Dearly Departed” by Shakey Graves ft. Esme Patterson

Song year: 2014

Indie-folk group Shake Graves' “Dearly Departed” makes a haunted house sound like a whiskey-drenched hootenanny.

The song's infectious melody and clap-along rhythm are such fun that even if you saw a ghost in your house, you might just offer them a sip of your moonshine.

“The Mummy” by Benji Hughes

Song year: 2008

Benji Hughes' “The Mummy” is a shaggy dog story revolving around famous monster characters and a beer-drinking mummy.

The song is a short blast of pop-rock that's as sweet as any candy you could bring home from trick-or-treating.

“U.F.O.” by Jim Sullivan

Song year: 1969

That Jim Sullivan mysteriously disappeared in New Mexico in 1975 adds a mysterious layer to his psychedelic pop song “U.F.O.”

Whether the groovy sound of “U.F.O.” is Sullivan foreshadowing his disappearance or just a coincidence is up to you to decide as you sway along to this Halloween deep cut.

“Halloween Parade” by Lou Reed

Punk progenitor Lou Reed uses the annual New York City Halloween Parade as the backdrop for his character study of those living in the margins on his song “Halloween Parade.”

Reed always had a taste for the underground, but this reflective song deals with the fallout of excess and the AIDS crisis.

“Bloodletting” by Concrete Blonde

Concrete Blonde wrote their version of a vampire story, “Bloodletting,” after reading Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire .

The song's gothic rock sound is uniquely '90s, especially its guitar tones and group sing chorus. The result is equal parts nostalgia and creepy.

“Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)” by David Bowie

David Bowie's “Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps),” a tale of a woman succumbing to madness, takes an edgy, punkish approach to his typically fanciful songwriting.

The song is notable for lead guitar work from Robert Fripp of King Crimson, which is wildly masterful and deserving of any Halloween shindig.

“Wolves” by Selena Gomez and Marshmello

Selena Gomez uses werewolf imagery to describe her uncontrollable urges in the EDM-influenced pop song “Wolves.”

Producer Marshmello lends his trap-inflected beats to the song, adding grit and urgency to Gomez's hair-raising desires.

“Tubular Bells” by Mike Oldfield

Song year: 1974

Mike Oldfield's song “Tubular Bells” is a 49-minute long composition that takes up both sides of his debut album. The prog-rock tune didn't catch on with the general public until its inclusion in the classic horror film The Exorcist . It is now inextricably linked with Halloween.

“Burn the Witch” by Queens of the Stone Age

Song year: 2006

Modern rock outfit Queens of the Stone Age's “Burn the Witch” was written by singer Josh Homme after facing scrutiny for personnel decisions in the group.

The song is a spooky-sounding blues stomper that uses the terrifying story of the witch trials and society's need for a scapegoat at all costs.

“The Great Pumpkin Waltz” by The Vince Guaraldi Sextet

Vince Guaraldi's jazz lilt lent the Peanuts characters an intellectual whimsy for their '60s television specials.

Charlie Brown and the gang's Halloween special It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown benefits from Guaraldi's treatment again, particularly with “The Great Pumpkin Waltz.”

“Evil Woman” by Electric Light Orchestra

Electric Light Orchestra's blend of power-pop and prog-rock finally came together to bring them their first bonafide hit with “Evil Woman.”

The band's songwriter Jeff Lynne wrote the song without much thought, considering it filler. Instead, it's become one of ELO's signature songs.

“Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus

Goth rock pioneers Bauhaus recorded “Bela Lugosi's Dead” as a tribute to the actor that played Dracula in the 1931 film.

Many critics consider the song the first goth rock record ever, making it required Halloween listening.

“The Witch” by The Sonics

Song year: 1964

Often lost in the story of rock is the influence of Tacoma, Washington's The Sonics. Their track “The Witch” is a blistering take on rock and roll. Its exceptionally dark lyrics were uncommon in the early '60s and a forebearer of punk.

“The Munsters Theme” by Los Straitjackets

The '60s sitcom The Munsters satirized prototypical suburban life by casting monsters in the role of average Americans.

The show amassed a cult following over the years, and its spooky surf theme song became iconic. Luchador-themed surf rock band Los Straitjackets' cover is quintessentially Halloween.

“Devil Inside” by INXS

Australian alternative rock band INXS scored a massive hit with their ode to bad behavior, “Devil Inside.”

Whether you're getting ready for a Halloween party or getting hyped up for trick-or-treating, this song will get you in touch with your inner demons.

“The Vampires of New York” by Marcy Playground

Song year: 1997

Marcy Playground uses vampires as a metaphor for the nightcrawlers of a depraved city in “The Vampires of New York.”

This acoustic-based alternative song is a wry tale that sounds perfectly '90s but has managed to age well – much like an actual vampire.

“The Killing Moon” by Echo & the Bunnymen

Echo & the Bunnymen singer Ian McCulloch sang words he heard in a dream to compose their hit, “The Killing Moon.” The creepy imagery combined with the song's orchestral flourishes is arresting.

The song is a standard of October and one of the best of the new wave era.

“Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Creedence Clearwater Revival's “Bad Moon Rising” is about impending doom – namely, the apocalypse.

Written by John Fogerty after watching a scene in a movie with a hurricane, Rolling Stone called it one of the greatest songs of all time. It's certainly one of the best for Halloween, too.

“Wolf Like Me” by TV On the Radio

New York art-rock group TV on the Radio scored their biggest hit with “Wolf Like Me,” catapulting them from the underground to the Billboard charts.

The song's blend of synthesizers and guitars creates a spooky texture while the singer's lusty desire overtakes him like a monster.

“The Ghost Inside” by Broken Bells

Danger Mouse and Shins frontman James Mercer combined forces to form the indie-pop super duo Broken Bells.

Their electronically laced indie-pop single “The Ghost Inside” examines the darker corners of humanity and the price people will pay to sell their souls.

“I Will Possess Your Heart” by Death Cab for Cutie

In the spirit of The Police's “Every Breath You Take” or Phil Collins' “In the Air Tonight,” Death Cab for Cutie uses the framework of a love song to explore the depths of obsession on “I Will Possess Your Heart.”

“Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” by The White Stripes

Song year: 2002

The White Stripes' single “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” evokes a cold fall afternoon when the heart's longing feels especially icy.

Between blasts of blues-punk guitar, singer Jack White extols the virtues of his lover and his desperation without them. He's coming home to them, but the listener wonders if that's a good idea.

“Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran

Song year: 1982

Duran Duran's “Hungry Like the Wolf” is about a voraciously lustful beast hunting for love. This new wave classic's monstrous metaphor for romance is a staple on Halloween due to the horrific tale and the song's disco-inspired drum machine beat.

“Vampire” by Dr. Dog

Song year: 2012

Dr. Dog filters '70s rock and roll influences through their indie-rock sensibilities on the Halloween-worthy tale of bloodsucking heartbreak, “Vampire.”

The song's vampire imagery is the stuff of classic Halloween songs, and its tale of an evil ex is relatable regardless of the time of year.

“Cemetry Gates” by The Smiths

It quickly becomes apparent that The Smiths aren't having any fun on the gloomy brit-pop single “Cemetry Gates.”

Though the acoustic guitars give the song a bright lift, we soon realize that the band is trying to escape a beautiful day for a macabre stroll through a graveyard.

“Devil Town” by Bright Eyes

Bright Eyes cover of outsider musician Daniel Johnston's “Devil Town” combines all the nervous energy of Johnston's acapella original while sweetening the deal with ragged electric guitars and plaintive piano accompaniment.

The song is a fully realized version of the rough sketch of painful torment that Johnston's original mapped out.

“The Twilight Zone” by The Ventures

The Ventures' are one of the most famous surf bands of all time, which makes their song “The Twilight Zone” a bewildering but fun Halloween listen.

The song utilizes the classic surf rock aesthetic to build a structure around the iconic Twilight Zone melody, and the result sounds like surfing on Mars.

“The Devil” by PJ Harvey

PJ Harvey sings as a woman possessed in her song “The Devil.” We soon realize that Harvey enjoys the possession, even going so far as to call it upon herself. 

The song's stomping percussion, stabbing piano, and haunting melody will sufficiently spook any listener on Halloween.

Top Halloween Songs Of All Time, Final Thoughts

Halloween is one of the best times of the year. From adults acting like kids playing dress-up to kids acting like monsters trying to get candy, everyone is in on the fun.

Sometimes, the only thing the Month of Macabre needs more than fake cobwebs hanging from the ceiling is a great playlist. Playing songs from this list of the best Halloween songs will surely keep you in the spirit of Halloween.

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The 20 best r&b songs of 2023.

Frank Ocean once said, "the best song wasn't the single," but sometimes it is.

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Graphic of 20 Best R&B songs 2023

At the 2023 Soul Train Awards, Nick Cannon summarized this year of R&B in the most succinct manner. He boldly declared, “R&B is the healthiest it’s ever been.” 

With the help of Usher , Victoria Monét , SZA , and several others, the beloved genre has reclaimed its throne as a force to be reckoned with. The mainstream “argument” that R&B is dead is finally null and void and yes, R&B is the healthiest it’s ever been. The top two nominees for the 2024 Grammys are Monét and SZA, representing R&B on both the traditional and the alternative sides. Even records that came out well over a decade ago like Miguel ’s “Sure Thing” have found new life on platforms like TikTok—further cementing the point that R&B is superior once again.

After its dominating resurgence in recent years, the momentum of R&B has not slowed down in the slightest. If anything, there’s been an overwhelming albeit refreshing display of newer talent and veterans with solidified longevity who have gifted fans with captivating offerings of love, lust, and vulnerability. Though albums and their compact sequence of storytelling remain top tier, there are select singles that have shifted the way music is consumed. Whether it’s a sleeper track you missed or a hit that was loved across the globe, get into our curated list of the best R&B songs from 2023.

“Think of Me” - The Shindellas

the shindellas singing group on Black Music Honors red carpet

The Shindellas once declared their brand of music “ New American Soul ,”  a mix of classic R&B elements with a soulful contemporary sound. “Think of Me,” written and produced by musical duo Louis York, encapsulates that interpretation perfectly with a new-age ballad that feels reminiscent of the golden age of R&B, when begging and pleading over heartfelt tracks were at their peaks. Throughout the 4-minute serenade, the emerging girl group — made up of members Tamara Chauniece, Stacy Johnson, and Kasi Jones — belts out passionate pleas to an often-away significant other, emphasizing that although distance keeps them apart, their love should always be top of mind. “Everyday that we’re apart/ Know that I’m loving you (Loving you)/ Baby you’ll always be in my heart/ There’s nowhere in the world I’d rather be,” they sing sweetly with heavenly harmonies. For all the R&B purists out there, let this song be a reminder that the genre’s soul-sational roots are still alive and well. The Shindellas are making sure of that. — Njera Perkins

"Jeans" - Jessie Reyez, Miguel

Jessie Reyez feat. Miguel 'Jeans'

Jessie Reyez and 6LACK can easily be considered musical soulmates, but that pairing got challenged once Reyez released “Jeans” with Miguel . 

This may have been their first time collaborating, but their talents and spirits were clearly entangled in a previous life. “ Jeans ” is foreplay defined as Reyez’s innate sensuality permeates through the acoustic guitar and soft bass while the crooner’s amorous and tantalizing ways follow suit. 

Goosebumps arise as she sings, “You fit/ better than a pair of jeans, baby/ Fill me up better than a feast, baby […] Stroke makin’ me forget to breathe, baby/ That face lookin’ like a seat, baby.”

Not to discount her duets with 6LACK, but Reyez and Miguel’s chemistry is seductive, inviting, and contagious. Every version of the “Jeans” music video— “ESCAPE,” “JAIL,” “STORE,” and “MUGSHOT”— showcases that as we all become voyeurs watching these two get lost in one another in the varying elements. Being able to entice someone while fully-clothed is an artform that these two have mastered sonically and visually. — M.A.

“To Summer, From Cole (Audio Hug)” - Summer Walker ft. J. Cole

Summer Walker J Cole

While the bulk of “To Summer, From Cole” is filled with Cole’s heartfelt lyrics, the track is anchored in Summer Walker ’s vulnerable, repetitive lyric “Call me when you need some love.” A love letter from the Fayetteville, North Carolina native to the R&B star, the song not only showcases the mutual respect between the two musicians but also serves as an honest effort from J. Cole to offer unwavering support for Walker in her public and private battles. 

As the opening track on the Grammy-nominated Clear 2: Soft Life, “To Summer, From Cole” set the tone for the remainder of the EP to explore the complex emotions shared by Summer Walker through personal lyrics and heartfelt delivery.

“I cried when I heard it [J.Cole’s Verse],” shared the Atlanta native during an episode of Caresha Please . “ He was just like, being hella sweet and just saying that he sees all the sh*t that I went through, and if I ever need to call him for anything… it was just cool.” — DeMicia Inman

"That's You" - Lucky Daye

Lucky Daye performing

Lucky Daye had a relatively quiet year of new music releases, but that changed when he decided to give fans a cuffing-season treat in November. “That’s You,” co-produced by longtime collaborator D’Mile and Bruno Mars, finds the New Orleans native yearning for something real. 

On “That’s You,” the 38-year-old is no longer satisfied with the endless choice of “baddies” and the abundance of money, diamonds, and multiple residences. Lucky Daye realizes the only way to escape the empty feeling is through real love. On the other hand, the one he desires may have moved on for good. 

“I sang my heart out on ‘That’s You.’ I felt like I was on the moon,” detailed the Grammy Award-winning performer in the song’s press release. “I want people to think about that one person they just can’t be without when they listen. Hopefully, that person is a good person.”

“That’s You” delivers the nostalgic element of begging R&B without being over the top in demands. Daye croons soulfully over the mid-tempo melody, showcasing the range in his pitch-perfect delivery. — D.I.

“Girls Like You” - Tone Stith

Tone Stith Girls Like You

We don’t often hear a man’s perspective on getting played by a woman he’s all in for. Tone Stith ’s “Girls Like You” paints a picture of what it looks like when a deceitful woman ruins a man’s outlook on love with anyone who comes after her. The track captures the true essence of early 2000s R&B with its slow-tempo beat, and Stith hits sultry runs as he sings about the effects of loving the wrong person. But the singer/songwriter keeps it raw when he sings, “Say you would leave me before you would do me bad/ Bi**h still did me dirty and ain’t cover up her tracks/ It’s okay, ’cause I still know I’m that ni**a.”

“Girls Like You” is a breakout record for the New Jersey native who rose to significant prominence after he penned and produced Chris Brown’s “Liquor.” Stith’s “Girls Like You” debuted at No. 6. on Billboard’s R&B Digital Song Sales chart and climbed to No. 1 on iTunes’ R&B Songs chart. — Amber Corrine

"Waterfall (I Adore You)" - Yebba

Cover artwork for Yebba's "Waterfall" single.

What began as a teaser on Drake’s “Polar Opposites” has become one of the year’s best songs. Yebba ‘s “Waterfall” was released in full in October at Drizzy’s request. The Arkansas native produced the ambient track alongside John Rooney. Yebba enters the cut with a smoky reverb coating her vocals, riding atop a minimalistic Rhodes piano composition.  

The piano played in the key of C-sharp/D-flat accentuates Yebba’s lyrics through tone painting. Like a waterfall, the singer controls the track’s tone with ascending and descending notes. The subtle technique reflects the songbird’s recollection of love’s ups and downs. At its lowest, her voice embodies heartbreak, and her vocals are euphoric at its peak.  

“Mirrors break, they multiply/F**k what they say/These feelings don’t subside/Obsessions fade over time/But what remains, love is whatever we make it tonight,” she hauntingly descants. Like the concept of an intricate love, “Waterfall” is timeless.  — Marc Antonio “Spidey” Griffin

"Losing You" - FLO

FLO 'Losing You'

R&B trio FLO (Jorja Douglas, Stella Quaresma, and Renée Downer) released “Losing You” in the final weeks of 2022, but the slow jam reverberated through the hearts of fans all year. “Losing You” isn’t to be mistaken for a grieved loss of love, but a reminder of loving one’s self. It’s that confident essence  alongside their harmonious chemistry that has made the UK-based group stand out since the release of their debut single, “Cardboard Box,” in March 2022. 

Since then, the ladies have worked with the likes of Missy Elliott, sold out their debut US tour, and made history as the first girl group to take home the Brit Awards’ Rising Star award. “Losing You” has allowed the ladies to dive deep into their Y2K R&B bag, with the visuals taking place in the same multiverse as Destiny’s Child’s early aughts classic “Emotions.” But it’s their riveting live vocal arrangement in the bridge that takes us over the edge. Their mics stay on and R&B lovers are better because of it.  — Desire Thompson

"ego talkin'" - Saint Harison

Saint Harison "ego talkin'"

Being able to acknowledge and “own” your ego is powerful. We fell in love with Saint Harison earlier this year with his gutting duet, “homies” featuring Tiana Major9, but then came “ego talkin’,” a dynamic standout from his EP, lost a friend . 

The Deputy production has Saint aware that his ego was the driving force behind his hostile “sh*t-talking” in the midst of conflict. Unable to hide behind inebriation, he, Deputy, and Boy Matthews got together to string together discord into song. 

“Admittance is the key to start the healin’ right,” Harison questions before declaring that he doesn’t want a slice of “humble pie.” This allows him to be aware of his arrogant desires before becoming apologetic. One may want to be vexed by the story being told on “ego talkin’,” but the chilling reflection emotes a harsh truth that shouldn’t be shielded, contained, or ignored. The record was such a force that it became Harison’s debut on COLORS and that live rendition has surpassed the studio version on digital streaming platforms by roughly 7 million streams on Spotify alone. — M. A.

"Spend The Night" - BJ The Chicago Kid, Coco Jones

coco jones and bj the chicago kid at soul train awards 2023

BJ The Chicago Kid and Coco Jones are known for their soulful offerings about love and heartbreak. But on “Spend the Night,” the vocalists team up for an unexpected pop-infused R&B groove that makes a night of hot passion sound like a party extravaganza. Produced by Yeti Beats, the feel-good bop oozes the kind of lively energy you’d find under the warm, colorful lights of a dance floor, followed by a string of sweet nothings in your ear. The song is flirtatious in spirit, evidenced by its romantic Tajana Tokyo-directed visual , as Jones and BJ the Chicago Kid trade smitten thoughts about their hearts’ — and bodies’ — desires. The pair’s record — the third single off BJ The Chicago Kid’s Gravy album — has spent six weeks on Billboard ’s Adult R&B airplay chart so far, peaking at No. 23. And for the first time at the 2023 Soul Train Awards , the dynamic duo performed their intoxicating duet live. Though a departure from what you’d normally expect from Jones and BJ The Chicago Kid, the single is a welcome delight that proves why we may need more energetic collaborations like this in the future. — Njera Perkins

"Doctor, My Eyes" - Khamari

khamari doctor my eyes cover art

The euphoric highs and unimaginable lows that come with navigating one’s 20s is an experience that is all too relatable. For R&B newcomer Khamari, he would have rather felt nothing at all at one point. He beautifully captured what it feels like to run from numbness in his incredibly vulnerable record “Doctor, My Eyes.”

Faced with the brutal realities of entering adulthood, Khamari asks himself “Ain’t these supposed to be my glory days? Late nights that I can’t even feel my face,” as the stripped-down guitar strums affirm his introspection. He ponders for three-and-a-half minutes about how to make the pain of doubt go away. His soulful voice is intimate and emotional, inviting listeners to figure out this chapter with him. 

The ribbon on this gift of a record is its delicate outro, which is a recording of Khamari’s grandfather sharing words of encouragement. The wise relative ensures his grandson that he’s being too hard on himself and reminds him to “take time to live,” because “tomorrow’s not promised.” While listeners can relate to Khamari’s struggles throughout the song, they are left with a sense of hope by the end. They’re reminded that we’re doing the best we can, and that’s okay. — Regina Cho

"2000s R&B" - Kenyon Dixon ft. RL

Kenyon Dixon RL '2000s R&B'

Kenyon Dixon attacks the critiques about modern R&B head-on with “2000s R&B.” The smooth ballad pays homage to the records fans loved from the beginning of that new century when men would sing in the rain and beg for their women back. While the message here is one of heartbreak and wishing he never met the girl who left him behind, the vintage feel bridges the past and present. Dixon flips Ray J’s classic “One Wish” chorus seamlessly and RL of ‘90s R&B trio Next pops in for an added boost to the record, passionately riffing about how he thought a lost lover would be his “wifey.” The true gem here is a strong bridge that builds back up into the chorus. It is a full, layered record with powerful vocals, tangible emotion, and a relatable narrative. Nothing about it feels contrived or gimmicky. This is the R&B people miss.  — Armon Sadler

"Snooze" - SZA

SZA Snooze

SZA has a penchant for penning songs that already sound timeless before they have barely had the chance to age, and “Snooze” is yet another stunning jewel in her collection of ever-lasting ballads. 

The SOS fan-favorite’s hypnotic opening riff, daring lyrics, and comforting sonic ambiance create a perfect storm that ensures it will withstand the test of time. Its dreamy production is a masterful collaboration between Babyface, Leon Thomas , BLK, and Khris Riddick-Tynes, the last of whom described the session as “pure magic.”

The instrumental makes you want to gaze up to the sky and fall into the sweetest daydream. At the same time, the punch of the potent lyrics bring you back to reality. It’s a poetic declaration of an earnest, nearly delusional love, as SZA shamelessly croons about how there’s no length she wouldn’t go to prove her loyalty to her lover. “I’ll touch that fire for you, I do that three, four times again, I testify for you/ I told that lie, I’d kill that b**ch/ I do what all of them around you scared to do, I’m not,” she sings. 

The perfect nail in the coffin was the song’s accompanying music video, a fever dream-esque montage of SZA getting cozy with multiple love interests: Justin Bieber, Woody McClain, Young Mazino, and Benny Blanco. It’s safe to say that even with already having 637 million Spotify streams and 35 million YouTube views, the perennial record will never stop spinning.  — R.C.

"Breaking Point (Remix)" - Leon Thomas ft. Victoria Monét

Leon Thomas Victoria Monet

Leon Thomas and Victoria Monét have long found success behind the scenes as songwriters in pop and R&B, and 2023 served as a breakout for them as solo acts with bright futures. On “Breaking Point Remix,” the two rising stars soar on a soulful journey exploring a fragile romance with an inevitable fate. The duet highlights their vocal abilities with Monét’s warm tone amplified by Thomas’ smooth delivery.

Thomas’ solo version of “Breaking Point” is produced by Don Mills and was released on Dec. 12, 2022.  On his single, the singer provided insight and shared his experience in the once-promising love affair. On the remix, Victoria Monét’s undeniable pen adds a woman’s perspective to the guitar-laden instrumental. Both tracks are featured on Thomas’ debut album Electric Dusk , released in August 2023.

“Electric Dusk is definitely different scenes of my love life for the past four years, all put together in a compilation of records. And I think that’s really challenging to do, especially in R&B,” the 30-year-old told VIBE .  — D.I.

"This Is" - Ella Mai

Ella Mai 'This Is'

Every great love story should have a soundtrack and Ella Mai ’s “This Is” needs to be on the tracklist considering it’s love encapsulated. The modern reimagining of Shalamar’s “This Is For The Lover In You” has romance, desire, passion, trust, and yearning bottled up in one. 

Produced by Mustard and FATBOI, the record has those aforementioned, foundational elements that the original tune sang of. Plus, the contemporary nature of Mai’s lyrics lures you in from its opening line: “Just wanna love you for my whole life/ Do it for you, I’ma make time.” She sings of an intentional love, but not a naive one. 

Though current relationship trends lean more towards stints of delusion and toxicity, Mai eliminates those notions by being assertive and sure. Despite not receiving the mainstream push it deserved this year, “This Is” is easily one of Mai’s best songs in her discography. Her team missed the mark by not having a music video to back it, but the love story being told is front and center on the hypnotizing ballad. — M. A.

"Good Good" - Usher ft. 21 Savage, Summer Walker

Usher 21 Savage Summer Walker Good Good

“Good Good” was a summer heater from Usher . The track delivered on what fans came to know and love from an Ursher radio single—sexy, empathetic, and smooth. Yet, it carries a modern sensibility, making the track feel at home in 2023. Mel & Mus’ production offers a southern bounce with modern trap-tinged R&B. The singer moves on the song like the roller-skating savant he is—weaving in and out of inflections and grooves.  

Usher laments a failed relationship’s lousy timing and ponders the potential love of what could’ve been. Summer Walker and 21 Savage fall in line on the cut, playing to the song’s bounce and theme. In a way, the featured artists fill out the song like additional instruments. Walker, a high woodwind, contrasts 21, a brass instrument, perfectly reflecting a failed love’s masculine and feminine energy and perspectives.  

“Good Good” was Usher’s first top 30 hit  on  Billboard’s  Hot 100 in a decade. The track peaked at No. 25 on the coveted chart. His single also peaked at No. 7 on  Billboard’s  Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Song and No. 2 on the pub’s Rhythmic chart. — M.A.G.

“Water” - Tyla

Tyla Water

Chris Brown was one of the first major stars to co-sign South African sensation Tyla by adding her to his international Under The Influence Tour earlier this year. The 21-year-old’s music remained within the borders of South Africa until her super sultry single “Water” went viral on TikTok, thanks to its addictive dance created by choreographer Litchi. The Sammy Soso-produced track is a sensually irresistible mixture of R&B, amapiano, afrobeats, and pop that easily gets anyone to wind their hips, hit a two-step with a drink in hand, and dance like no one’s watching. 

The song’s popularity inspired a plethora of vocalists like Vedo, Trevor Jackson, Tank, and Capella Gray to create their own covers of the catchy song. Eventually, Tyla tapped Travis $cott for the official remix. Besides seeing chart success internationally, “Water” debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, a historical first for the blossoming star. Tyla has become the youngest South African and first South African soloist to enter the Hot 100 in 55 years, according to BBC . — A.C.

"Kill Bill" - SZA

SZA Kill Bill

A murder mid-tempo ballad, SZA ’s “Kill Bill” intertwined youth recklessness with cinematic narrative through evocative songwriting. It’s a vengeful messy love story that plays upon the thematic structure of Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 classic film of the same name. SZA’s story of a jealousy soaked ex who would rather be in hell than be alone has her going to escalating lengths to justify her ego. The S.O.S. single’s massive success was further fueled by a dynamic remix featuring Doja Cat. It added a fresh layer to the already captivating production, handled by Rob Bisel and Carter Lang, that’s reminiscent of “Twisted Nerve” featured in Tarantino’s Kill Bill and its original soundtrack. Lyrics such as “I just killed my ex, not the best idea” and “I did it all for love, I did all of this sober, don’t you know I did it all for love?” showcase SZA’s exploration of violent emotions. The song spent 50 weeks on Billboard ‘s Hot 100 and peaked at #1 for 21 weeks. Currently up for three Grammy awards including Record of The Year, Song of The Year and Best R&B Performance, “Kill Bill” solidified 2023 as R&B’s year and was a compelling and impactful addition to contemporary music. — Kia Turner

"On My Mama" - Victoria Monét

Victoria Monét On My Mama

When Black women transform their pain into prose, something magical happens. Since the term “rhythm and blues” was coined, we’ve seen it with Tina Turner, Mary J. Blige, Jazmine Sullivan, and now, Victoria Monét . The acclaimed singer-songwriter wrote “On My Mama” as an empowering anthem while battling postpartum depression. Though she didn’t believe in the lyrics at the time, she understood the power of manifestation—causing her to write the song she needed . 

The song itself is infectious with its sampling of Chalie Boy’s 2009 rap classic, “I Look Good” and the modern production from Deputy, Jeff “Gitty” Gitelman, and D’Mile adds a familiar element that strings Monét’s catalog together. Not only that, but “On My Mama” became a cultural statement once the video was released. Monét channeled the best of nostalgia by giving fans an Access Granted peek into the making of the visual that celebrated Blackness, HBCU culture, the South, and Black pop culture in a very direct way. 

For the song’s music video, Sean Bankhead took things up a notch with his vibrant choreography, which led to Monét’s second viral dance challenge on TikTok. Arguably, the most beautiful line of the now Grammy-nominated single is when she sings, “Done bein’ the humble type.” After years of allowing others to rule the mainstream, it’s Monét’s moment to shine and she knows it. She has every right to add the subtle flex in the midst of honoring her body; that’s on her mama and her hood. — M.A.

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10 Scary & Creepy Songs to Get You Ready for Halloween

Here's a list of really scary and creepy music for your listening pleasure.

By Kat Bein

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Michael Myers

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, Mysterious and spooky. They’re all together ooky – sorry, it’s not the Addam’s Family this time. It’s a list of shockingly scary songs for your next haunted house party.

A lot of these murderous melodies do come from soundtracks. Classic horror films and television shows knew how to work up a fright, though there are some truly terrifying modern cuts on our list. Whether it’s Halloween season, or you just need a good hour of unnerving noise, give this scary music playlist a spin.

Cher Files for Conservatorship of Son Elijah Blue Allman

10 Songs About Sailing  |  20 Songs About Trains  |  20 Songs About Diamonds  |  20 Songs About Blue Eyes  |  15 Celebration Songs  |    10 Songs About Kissing  |  10 Songs About Dogs  | 10 Songs About Cats

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A Spooky Rap Playlist For Your Halloween Function

Who said Halloween and rap don't go together? Check out our list of the best Halloween songs to play at your spooky celebration.

Image via YouTube

tyler the creator who dat boy

Each year, we debate about when we’re allowed to start playing Christmas music . Some believe you have to wait until after Thanksgiving, while others will crank up “All I Want For Christmas (Is You)” the second the temperature drops below 60 degrees. No disrespect to Mariah Carey , a.k.a. the Queen of Festive , but these heathens are skipping over a very important time of year and its corresponding music genre: Halloween.

What is a Halloween song, you might ask? Save for “Monster Mash” and the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, the genre doesn't  technically  exist. But thankfully, rap music has a plethora of spine-chilling songs that are perfect for any Halloween function, and actually bang. Whether it's via twisted lyrics or chilling production, some rap songs just sound like they could fit into a scary movie soundtrack.

While nowhere near as popular as Christmas songs, there are a number of spooky tracks out there perfect for any Halloween party playlist. So as you prepare to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve, check out our list of the best Halloween songs, which are sure to keep things both terrifying and trill.

Eminem, “3 a.m.”

spooky r&b songs

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This first one should come as no surprise, since Eminem has stated that he “had to go into the mindset of a serial killer” to write it. He also said that doing so was “easy” for him, so that’s, uh, something. Over a relatively standard Dr. Dre beat, Em recounts tales of blacking out and committing mass murder. The video lives up to the song’s thrills, too—good on him for not acting out that Hannah Montana line, though.

Travis Scott, “5% TINT”

spooky r&b songs

Tragically, “5% TINT” has been outshined in the mainstream by other standout tracks from ASTROWORLD , but it’s an undeniably eerie song that belongs in any collection of Halloween rap songs (yes, I just made that genre up). It’s rowdy and mischievous from the get, immediately invoking a bone-rattling bass with the opening line, “Who’s that creepin’ in my window?” Goodie Mob homage couldn’t be more holiday-appropriate.

Whodini, “Freaks Come Out at Night”

spooky r&b songs

Though rap music and Halloween culture have very different definitions of the word “freak,” Whodini’s 1984 hit is applicable here. A synth-heavy, Larry Smith-produced dance track, “Freaks Come Out at Night” is, of course, about the New York City nightlife scene of the ‘80s, which was crawling with freaks (rap definition). The song gets bonus points for Jalil’s allusion to the werewolf lifestyle: “But then again, you could know someone all their life/ But might not know they're a freak unless you see them at night.” Representation matters!

Kanye West, “Freestyle 4”

spooky r&b songs

Present-day Kanye is scarier than just about anything the human brain could come up with, but the creepiness of Pablo ’s “Freestyle 4” is more fun than fear-inducing. The tinny strings are reminiscent of a black and white horror film, sans dialogue, with only music to help the viewer empathize with the damsel in distress. Plus, you get to hear Kanye literally growl, even if it’s technically a horny growl. Still counts.

Tyler, The Creator, “IFHY”

spooky r&b songs

Much of Tyler, The Creator’s pre- Flower Boy catalogue technically qualifies for this list, but most of it for disturbing reasons ( Goblin ’s “She” and “Transylvania” immediately come to mind, among plenty of others). “IFHY” has all of the crazed intimidation of those days, with only a fraction of the misogyny (though it is still present here). It’s hard not to draw an immediate connection between “IFHY”’s opening organ and Count Dracula, and the manic synths perfectly encapsulate the dichotomy of “I fuckin’ hate you/ But I love you.”

Lil Yachty f/ Offset & Lil Baby, “MICKEY”

spooky r&b songs

Unsurprisingly, trap music, named for places where drug deals take place, contains a wealth of spooky elements, from haunting production to dark lyrics. On “MICKEY,” Yachty’s voice, at once deep and breathy, sounds like he’s just finished outrunning a monster—or maybe he is the monster. Offset, for his part, threatens the offending “rats” with pistols and an automatic, and Lil Baby sounds like rap game Vito Corleone. I know that’s not technically a horror reference, but it’s villainous nonetheless.

Geto Boys, “Mind Playing Tricks On Me”

spooky r&b songs

This song is particularly relatable to anyone who has seen 2016’s It Follows , or identifies as a certified gangster. Bushwick Bill even talks about Halloween, spitting bars about a particularly brutal assault on a cop, until he awakes from his hallucination and realizes, “It wasn't even close to Halloween/ It was dark as fuck on the streets/ My hands were all bloody from punchin' on the concrete/ Goddamn, homie!/ My mind is playin' tricks on me.” The paranoia jumped out.

Kanye West f/ JAY-Z, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver, “Monster”

spooky r&b songs

Say what you will about JAY-Z verse-turned-meme, but maybe he just really loves Halloween and wanted to shout out as many of its most beloved figures as possible, okay? Kanye might be the ringleader, but Bon Iver and Nicki Minaj bring the most monstrous (pun intended) vibes here, from Justin Vernon’s, “Are you willing to sacrifice your life?” to Nicki threatening to get all Walking Dead on us, and of course that blood-curdling scream at the end of her verse.

Tierra Whack, “MUMBO JUMBO”

spooky r&b songs

Anyone who’s seen the “MUMBO JUMBO” video understands why the song is on this list (TW for the dentist), but the track is lowkey spine-chilling even without the visuals. The metronomic instrumental is a perfectly flat complement to Tierra’s hectic, mumbling flow, and once you find out that she actually went to the dentist the same week she recorded the freaky song, you’ll finally follow through on your promises to start flossing.

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, "A Nightmare On My Street"

spooky r&b songs

Perhaps the only evidence that the "Halloween rap songs" genre actually  does  exist, "A Nightmare On My Street" is, to this day, the best sequel we've gotten to the original Freddy Krueger tale (all disrespect to  Freddy vs. Jason ). The Fresh Prince's recount of his run-in with the slasher, whom he refers to (fondly?) as "Fred," and his attempts to appeal to him with logic ("Look, I'll be honest, man, this team won't work/ The girls won't be on you, Fred, your face is all burnt!"), bring a light-hearted energy to the otherwise petrifying character. And who knew dream-demons loved Letterman so much?

Vince Staples, “Norf Norf”

spooky r&b songs

The first eight seconds of “Norf Norf” could just as easily open a horror movie. Picture it: a black screen slowly fades to reveal a rural village, a cabin in the woods, or some other equally conspicuous place. That Clams Casino production, stewing under Staples’ references to the Crips, AKs, and of course his menacing, “I ain’t never ran from nothin’ but the police,” makes for an unsettling affair.

DMX f/ Marilyn Manson, “The Omen”

spooky r&b songs

Rappers often spit about battling their own demons, but DMX’s “Damien” trilogy dives into his encounters with the actual devil, taking things to another level. The second song in the series, “The Omen” goes beyond spooky and is downright scary, thanks to X’s performances as both his own conflicted self and the (literally) Hell-bent Damien, and shock rock icon Marilyn Manson’s take on the chorus, which it shares with the first installment. Though the specific subject matter is (hopefully) not relatable to most, we’ve all leaned into the devil on our shoulder before, especially when there’s mischief in the air.

50 Cent f/ Eminem, “Psycho”

spooky r&b songs

Before there was “SICKO MODE” (cool, good), there was 50 Cent referring to himself as “a psycho, a sicko” (scary, bad). The first verse is a laundry list of threats from 50—not the least of which is the flagrant, “'Cause I come into ICU to see you off to Heaven”—while Em’s verses feature enough misogyny to get him welcomed into the GOP, and enough dead baby imagery to get him kicked out. He also throws in a Michael Myers reference for good measure. 

ScHoolboy Q f/ Tyler, The Creator & Kurupt, “The Purge”

spooky r&b songs

A song that a) is presumably named after a movie about a society in which all crime is legal one day a year, and b) features Tyler-produced, siren-centered instrumentation is essentially ready-made for this list. ScHoolboy Q’s voice always tends to sound like that of a crazed serial killer calling in to taunt the detectives on his case, and shout out to Kurupt, because even though I know he doesn’t mean it this way, I literally can’t think of anything more uncomfortable than the concept of “squeezing pussies.”

Playboi Carti, “R.I.P.”

spooky r&b songs

I actually didn’t realize how creepy this beat is until Denzel Curry released his freestyle over it, along with the accompanying video, in which he cosplays as that one terrifying ghost from Courage, The Cowardly Dog —you know the one. Carti’s domestic violence references are, in a word, awful—especially in a song that calls a woman “Rihanna bad”—but aside from that (or in addition to it), the production and the layered vocals make this a true hair-raiser.

21 Savage f/ Metro Boomin, “Real N***a”

spooky r&b songs

What starts as a relatively innocuous Metro Boomin track, 21 Savage’s “Real N***a” becomes unnerving at the 37-second mark, when a lone horn comes in to break things up like a sudden gust of wind on an otherwise still evening. Meanwhile, 21, who in the last three years has used his platform to promote positive change in his community, remains a convincing supervillain—lyrically, at least.

Brockhampton, “SISTER/NATION”

spooky r&b songs

Saturation III ’s “SISTER/NATION” opens with a frantic, synth-y beat and some signature yelling from Merlyn Wood, before a Joba verse about mental illness and antidepressants. Brags from Kevin Abstract and Dom take us into the second half, where the production calms down but the lyrics remain dark, as each rapper, along with former member Ameer Vann, reflects on their childhood trauma. Each member of the band sounds one step away from getting revenge on everyone who’s wronged them.

OG Maco, “U Guessed It”

spooky r&b songs

Not sure what’s scarier: the fact that “U Guessed It” was ruined by a number of God awful Vines that played off of the enthusiastic chorus, or the song itself. That piano sounds like something a ghost would start playing in the middle of the night when they know you’re home alone, and the ease with which OG Maco transitions from throaty shouting to the softer, “You was right” and back again is bone-chilling.

Tyler, The Creator f/ A$AP Rocky, “Who Dat Boy”

spooky r&b songs

Since day one, Tyler has been determined to intimidate us with his antics, pushing the envelope further and further. His shock tactics have evolved from standard horrorcore to something more complex, and it’s most apparent here. Lyrically, this song isn’t too spooky—save for Tyler’s sinister flow and Rocky’s never-ending flexes—but the production is petrifying. The opening notes, which Tyler has said are inspired by the woman in the foreground of Jonas Bendiksen ’s photo “Sukhumi beach, 2015” (“she’s looking back like something is coming”), should officially replace the Jaws theme as our society’s token “ominous” music. The strings that come in at 28 seconds sound like the climax of any thriller—the protagonist confronting the serial killer, the poltergeist snatching the newborn baby, someone realizing that their loved one is dangerous, et cetera—and the bass drop feels like all of the action that follows.

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60 Best Halloween Songs to Play At Your Monster Mash

You'll be dancing in your costumes all night long!

Headshot of Erin Cavoto

You'll definitely know some of songs on this list, while others may come as spine-chilling surprises. Either way, their eerie lyrics can double as fun Halloween quotes or Halloween Instagram captions . (Hint: Just about every line in "This Is Halloween" will work!) You'll also find dance-pop hits like "Heads Will Roll" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and "Monster" by Lady Gaga, as well as tracks from rock bands like The Eagles. Once you've queued up this Halloween playlist on Spotify, all you'll need is a big bowl of sweets and some Halloween drinks , and you'll be ready for October 31!

"Halloween Theme" by John Carpenter

This song might not have any words, but the minute the sinister beats starts, it becomes instantly recognizable! Don't worry, playing it won't summon Michael Myers at your doorstep.

"Heffalumps and Woozles" by The Disney Studio Chorus

Throwing a kid-friendly Halloween function? This song from Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day is a perfect choice to add in! Even adults will find the song pretty catchy.

"Witchy Woman" by the Eagles

Looking to feel spellbound? This song will do just the trick! You'll find it hard not to tap your feet at this groovy tune.

"Bark at the Moon" by Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne's entire style of music encompasses all things Halloween, especially this eerie hit. With that in mind, anyone choosing a werewolf as their costume?

"Friends on the Other Side" by Randy Newman

If someone tells you that they have friends on the other side, it's probably best to leave them alone. This soulful melody from The Princess and the Frog is always a good choice.

"Zombie" by The Cranberries

Did you know that this classic has over 1 billion views on YouTube? Throwing this on at your monster mash will have just about anyone singing along!

"Spooky" by the Classics IV

It's all in the title! The lyrics to this one are rather lovey-dovey, so if anyone loves Halloween and plans on proposing on October 31—this is a perfect song to have playing!

"Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)," by David Bowie

Nothing is better than a creepy sounding song from the '80s, especially one that is from David Bowie. What else is spookier than some scary monsters and super creeps?!

"Bloody Mary," by Lady Gaga

From the melody, to the lyrics, to the electronic sounds—this one just screams Halloween! You'll need to immediately add this to your playlist this year.

"All My Ghosts" by Lizzy McAlpine

This one is more on the angsty-romance side of things, but honestly, that can be just as frightening! We can already see this one in the background of any teen-horror flick.

"Anthem" by Michael Abels

The creepy words sung by seemingly upset children gives us all the chills and thrills. It's no wonder why it was included in the horror-movie, Us .

"Wolves" by Selena Gomez and Marshmello

Anything wolf or werewolf related screams "Halloween" to us! (Oh, and who remembers when Selena dated that werewolf on Wizards of Waverly Place ?! 😱 That was definitely something else!

"Halloween" by Phoebe Bridgers

Phoebe Bridgers makes enough spooky-styled music to fill an entire playlist, but this one does just the trick. It may not be spine chilling, but the lyrics are enough to set the vibe.

"Stranger Things" Theme Song by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein

Stranger Things as a whole is a spooky enough show to be watched during Halloween. Which is exactly why its' theme song made the list!

"Haunted" by Beyoncé

A haunted love is the scariest type of love, according to Beyoncé! We'd agree, especially since she sings about it in the eeriest way possible! This one belongs to her self-titled album, "Beyoncé."

"I Got 5 On It" by Luniz ft. Michael Marshall

The classic Luniz's '90s hit is transformed into something completely sinister in this reimagining of the tune. This is another from the movie Us , just proving why you should give it a watch if you haven't already!

"Haunted" by Taylor Swift

Honestly, Taylor Swift writing a breakup song about you can already be daunting enough. But she took it to a whole new level with her song " Haunted," which sees the songtress compare a heartbreak to a scary story.

"The Skeleton in the Closet" by Louis Armstrong

Yeah, Louis Armstrong is known for his soothing Jazz hits—but he created something a bit more gloomy with his song " The Skeleton in the Closet." You'll feel at ease by the melody, but the lyrics will make you want to sleep with one eye open.

"Midnight City" by M83

The music video is what really gives this song its' dark edge. Play this song at your Halloween party (bonus points if it's at midnight!), and dance your skeleton legs off!

"Thriller" by Michael Jackson

Including this hit by Michael Jackson did not take even a second thought. It's essentially the anthem of Halloween if it were to have one! Warning: You may or may not break out in dance once the chorus comes on.

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Erin Cavoto is the Editorial Assistant at ThePioneerWoman.com, covering food, holidays, home decor, and more.

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Den of Geek

31 Killer Halloween Rock Songs

Trick or treat...or rock n' roll? Why choose? If you need some of the best Halloween rock songs, we're your ghouls.

spooky r&b songs

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If you’re looking for the “Monster Mash” you may look elsewhere. Halloween is handily the most rock n’ roll friendly holiday, as the music that initially frightened parents and authority figures can always take particular inspiration from the vibes that are generally put forth on this most unholy of nights.

We’ve compiled 31 appropriate (or inappropriate) tunes for the holiday, focusing either specifically on horror movies , the supernatural, or that just have a spooky hook somewhere in there.

We’ve tried to arrange this like a double LP (four sides) of music for your listening pleasure. Crank ’em up, and make your own suggestions in the comments! You can also enjoy this as a Spotify playlist!

Burt Bacharach “Theme from The Blob”

For the record, this tune is credited to imaginary vocal group “The Five Blobs” which kinda speaks for itself. I’ve included the actual film’s opening credits for this, so you can get sucked into that acoustic guitar bit over the Paramount logo before the hypnotic spiral comes in to make you sufficiently stoned to get the most out of the rest of this list.

I defy you not to sing this to yourself for the rest of the day as the tune “creeps and leaps and glides and slides” its way into your brain. In fact, here’s a TEN HOUR LOOP of it for the more adventurous among you . Happy Halloween.

The Sonics “The Witch”

This may be blasphemy, but if not for this one song, The Sonics would probably be considered a fairly tame, forgettable early-’60s garage band. So thank god for this primitive, staccato wonderment which predated all those witch songs that would come along a decade later with it’s cautionary tale of the new girl in town, the one with the long black hair and long black car who may or may not be a witch.

Kristin Hersh “Your Ghost”

The Misfits “Night of the Living Dead” 

This list could literally be just a list of Misfits’ songs, so this was a hard choice. In the early days, these boys from New Jersey wrote almost exclusively about the horror business but this catchy gem sticks out as one of the best of their catalog.

Sprites “George Romero”

You probably have never heard of this indie rock tribute to the King of the Zombies, and that’s okay. Just knowing that it exists out there in the world is reason enough to celebrate. Name-checking horror greats like Romero cohort Tom Savini and Dario Argento, this track is a delightful sing-songy celebration of the horror movies that makes the season so unforgettably spooky.

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read more: George A. Romero and the Meaning of his Zombies

And the “attention all shoppers…” Dawn of the Dead sample that kicks off the tune is absolutely inspired.

The Arctic Monkeys “Pretty Visitors”

The Arctic Monkey’s finally reached US superstardom with last year’s slinky, sexy album  AM , but the bands back catalog features much more snarly, hard-rocking fare. No song gets much more viciously plodding then the ferocious “Pretty Visitors,” from the band’s dark, psychedelic third record,  Humbug .

“Pretty Visitors,” has a sinister Hammond organ and lead singer Alex Turner almost rapping scathing lyrics and talking about the titular visitors waving their arms, projecting “the shadow of a snake pit on the wall.”

Joy Division “Dead Souls”

The poster boys for Post-Punk existentialism, Joy Division practically invented the goth subculture thanks to their gloomy lyrics and disconnected, often otherworldly melodies. That you could dance to their music too is something of a minor miracle. The 1980 hanging suicide of Ian Curtis is still a subject so raw that the group’s enduring legions of fans continue to mourn him, yet the music he left behind — richly textured and filled with the genuine pain that hopefully few of us will have to endure in our lives — has actually brought considerable light to the world.

read more: The Best Modern Horror Movies

We wish that Curtis stayed with us longer, but are also thankful that he shared his considerable gifts while he was here. “Dead Souls” is a typically extraordinary tune from the group that examines the sublime discontent that Joy Division made their calling card.

“A duel of personalities that stretch all true realities” indeed.

Goblin “Zombi”

Tim Curry “Sweet Transvestite”

Regardless of your thoughts on The Rocky Horror Picture Show and its attendant subculture , we are certain of one thing: if you don’t like “Sweet Transvestite” you don’t like rock n’ roll.

That guitar kicks in at 52 seconds into this clip, and what follows is one of the most perfectly arranged, muscular tunes of its kind, capped off by Tim Curry’s raised eyebrow “zero fucks given” vocal.

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Honorable mention goes to the similary perfect “Science Fiction Double Feature” which we wrote about in detail right here.

Lon Chaney Jr. “Spider Baby Theme”

It’s one of the top five Greatest Movie Theme Songs of All Time. The credits sequence of Jack Hill’s low-budget 1967 cannibal comedy are accompanied by star Lon Chaney Jr. himself growling and cackling his way through a musical Halloween poem that calls up all the usual suspects, vampires, mummies, spiders, ghouls, werewolves, and Frankensteins, and invites them all to a “cannibal orgy.”

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While the song is intentionally goofy and sets the perfect tone for the film to come, it’s also (unintentionally) a stand-alone Halloween novelty song that could give Bobby “Boris” Pickett a run for his money.

Luna “Season of the Witch”

For their remake of 1960s Donovan freakout favorite “Season of the Witch,” Luna decided to heighten the already pretty damn greatness factor of the original. How? By having the vocalization’s of lead singer Dean Wareham (the cooler among you may remember his previous band, Galaxie 500) walk a tightrope between cool detachment and soaring enthusiasm. And with that, your Halloween bash just turned into a rad makeout party.

Franz Ferdinand “Evil Eye”

Franz Ferdinand roared back to life last year with new album Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action , with all their stomp, sass, and grooves still punching with full-force. “Evil Eye,” a campy, organ laced, dance-punk standout from the record is the band’s “Take Me Out,” by the way of Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me,” with singer Alex Kapranos delivering paranoid freak-outs, desperately trying to be the coolest cat on your Halloween playlist, and mostly succeeding. 

Bauhaus “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”

Bauhaus were just so damnably if unintentionally silly in their deadly serious Goth kings pose, and their big Goth disco hit so over the top in its hamfisted obviousness, how could it not make everyone’s Halloween song top 10 (or worm it’s way onto The Hunger soundtrack for that matter)? It was a song ready-made and pre-packaged for the teen vampire renaissance that would come along 25 years after it was released.

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Gotta admit, for all it’s cartoon imagery, it’s still pretty catchy.

Morrissey “Satan Rejected My Soul”

The joke here being that Morrissey is so evil that even Satan wants nothing to do with his shenanigans. Given his recent behavior, we can believe it.

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For more Morrissey/Smiths potential Halloween playlist jams, check out “Handsome Devil,” “Suffer Little Children,” “Cemetery Gates,” “Jack the Ripper,” and “Oujia Board, Ouija Board,” whose music video is an occult-packed laugh fest.

Siouxsie and the Banshees “Halloween”

The Magnetic Fields’ “No One Will Ever Love You” is the band’s attempt to sum up the listening experience of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album in one three minute and thirteen second pop song. If someone tried a similiar experiment to condense the entire goth scene into a song, the resulting melody would almost certainly sound like Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Halloween.”

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This one has everything. Evocative imagery? Uh huh. “The carefree days are distant now, I wear my emotions like a shroud” croons Siouxsie Sioux like a precious snowflake left to melt away to nothingness in the sunlight. Provocative/pretentious imagery? Check! (I want to get the lyric “I wander through your sadness” tattooed across my forehead). Put this one on at your Halloween party this year and dance. Dance like it’s already too late. Dance like there’s no tomorrow. Dance like you are already dead.

Larry and the Blue Notes “Night of the Sadist”

Re-recorded as “Night of the Phantom” and released wide, Texas’ Larry and the Blue Notes created a chilling and controversial tale of a serial killer coming for his teenage victims. The original “Sadist” became somewhat of a legend amongst garage rock aficionados and was eventually released.

Ministry “Everyday is Halloween”

Ministry is one of the most respected industrial acts ever. But before they achieved acclaim from the 120 Minutes set, the group released some music that could conceivably be mistaken for acts like Celebrate the Nun (at best) or Anything Box (at worst). It is silly and stupid and is absolutely wonderful.

Case in point, “Everyday Is Halloween.” Opening with the words “well I live with lizards” and just getting more absurd from there, this dance floor favorite lets listeners get in touch with their inner Jack Skellington by envisioning a world where each moment is full of witches and darkness and other Hot Topic-approved nonsense that melts away once you realize that life is actually about paying rent, maintaining your crappy relationship and making a slow trek towards oblivion.

Fact: Every day is not Halloween. 

The Cramps “What’s Behind the Mask?”

If you’re born into this world looking like zombie Elvis, what choice do you have but to perform psychobilly inspired by B horror films? Still, of all those great, great Cramps songs to choose from, “What’s Behind the Mask?,” a question a lot of people will be asking at drunken Halloween parties the world over, seemed the most appropriate.

And Lux Interior’s closing line (“Sorry I ever asked”) is probably the same response all those people will be feeling when they find out.

Phantom Planet “The Living Dead”

Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse was an Xbox game, using the Halo Engine, which allowed players to play as a zombie hell-bent on devouring some of those delicious brains. The game featured a killer soundtrack of modern alternative bands covering ‘50s and ‘60s pop songs, but Phantom Planet supplied an original track, “The Living Dead,” that starts slow and menacing, with singer Alex Greenwald setting the post-apocalyptic scene before the band bursts out into jangly-guitar driven verses and a big shout-sing chorus.

The Woggles “Dracula’s Daughter”

A fairly self-explanatory title masks a surefire party starter and some thoroughly primal rock n’ roll. Sure, it shares a name with a kinda lifeless 1936 Universal flick, but if this tune doesn’t get the blood flowing, someone needs to check your pulse.

Also, if The Woggles ever come to your town, do not miss them. 

Roky Erickson “If You Have Ghosts” 

Though a touch more psychedelic than horrific, the legendary Erickson has often dabbled in songs about the unseen. Here, his haunted mind is let loose, perhaps literally.

The Ramones “Pet Sematary”

Aside from the obvious tie in to the Stephen King novel and film of the same name, “Pet Sematary” is just one of the countless examples of why The Ramones should have been the biggest band in the world. A perfectly crafted pop song with more layered guitar and production than some of their more familiar tunes, and those lyrics…nothing is more perfect for Halloween night.

The moon is full, the air is still, All of a sudden I feel a chill, Victor is grinning, flesh rotting away, Skeletons dance, I curse this day, And the night when the wolves cry out, Listen close and you can hear me shout.

.45 Grave “Partytime” (Zombie Version)

The anthem of Return of the Living Dead and its many followers plays in minds on loop for most of October. In case you were wondering, there is a non-zombie verison, and its quite terrifying in its own right. 

Pink Floyd “Careful With That Axe, Eugene”                                                                       

Before there was a Texas Chainsaw Massacre , Pink Floyd plumbed the dark side of British psychedelics with this atmospheric almost instrumental. A voice soars along with the guitars as the song reaches its climax. The simple rhythmic bass and echoed drum fills bring as much tension as Joan Crawford did when she played an axe-murderer. But it’s that one line of lyric. Breathtaking in its simplicity. Maybe the best lyrics written by Pink Floyd and they are great lyricists. The whispered “careful with that axe, Eugene” is followed by screams and an explosion of chords.

read more: The Doctor Strange and Pink Floyd Connection

I was driving with my daughters listening to this and one said, “I don’t know who’s screaming, Eugene or the guy who told him to be careful,” but either way. Nothing and everything is left to the imagination. A very cinematic song.

The New York Dolls “Frankenstein”

“Frankenstein” isn’t the best New York Dolls song. It’s a little monotonous and, at six minutes, it’s longer than most of their output. But one of the biggest names in horror is underrepresented on this list, and this still has plenty of actual vampire Johnny Thunders blazing lead guitar licks on it.

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But the lyrics are really what mark this for inclusion, which touch on the loneliness of the monter (recently played to perfection on Penny Dreadful ), and some perfectly David Johansen observations like “Oh, who’s shoes are too big? And oh, who’s jacket’s too small?” It’s right on the money.

The Nomads “Where the Wolf Bane Blooms” 

This one has all the hallmarks of the genre, from the loud-ass drums to the swirling organ in the background. The guitar solo that starts howling at 1:02 is an appropriately lupine touch.

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But it’s the lyrics here that really stand out, all about “the pale light of the moon” and “ancient voices” capped off with a reworking of The Wolf Man ’s famous poem about lycanthropy to suit the tune, “you may be pure of heart, and pure of soul, but you’ll become a wolf when the moon is full.” 

213 “Nightmare”

Never let anyone tell you its just a dream. 213 existed only to bring us this song, thank you 213.

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins “Little Demon”

Screamin’ Jay has a way of making it onto Halloween-themed compilation albums, usually with tired old standards like “I Put a Spell on You” or “Feast of the Mau-Mau,” but this wild-eyed early rock’n’roll screamer puts them both to shame. What nakes this story of a demon trapped on earth trying to find his way home so perfect is that in the song’s chorus (if you could call it that) Screamin’ Jay, swear to god, is literally channeling a demon’s voice.

It’s hilarious and scary as hell all at the same time.

Mick Smiley “Magic”

Don’t get confused by the first two minutes of this song, which sounds like any other overproduced ’80s ballad. The fun starts at 2:19 when you realize this actually transitions into that haunting Peter Murphy-sounding tune from  Ghostbusters …the one from the scene where all the supernatural shit has just hit the fan.

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There’s something sinister about how this song simply transitions into something else entirely, and while it’s a little off-putting out of context, just remind yourself  it comes from this scene , and everything will be alright.

David Bowie “We Are the Dead”

What could be more horrifying than anti-sex goons coming up the stairs while you’re in your best fuck me pumps? This is the probably the only song ever written about federal performus interruptus. The menacing guitar lines go down before they ascend.

read more: Exploring David Bowie’s Sci-Fi Fascination

Bowie’s imagery is frightening, sexy and touching. His delivery is controlled mania, fearful and rebellious and so vulnerable.

Lou Reed “Halloween Parade”

Taken from his 1989 album  New York , “Halloween Parade” is a thoughtful reflection on how the world loses a bit of its magic each time a loved one dies. While viewing NYC’s annual Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village, Reed points out that “you’ll never see those faces again” of such colorful Chelsea staples as Andy Warhol’s Factory staple Rotten Rita. “The past keeps knock, knock, knocking on my door, and I don’t want to hear it anymore” he sings, illustrating how a once joyous celebration has lost some of its shine and transformed itself into a funeral procession of memories of colorful figures from his life who aren’t there anymore.

read more: 31 Best Streaming Horror Movies

Although originally written about the AIDS crisis, the song has taken on an added layer of sadness following Reed’s own death (just try not to get emotional when he says “See you next year at the Halloween parade” at the end of the song). This is a downer to be sure, but perfect to put at the end of your Halloween playlist as a subtle reminder that the party ends for all of us sooner or later. 

The Meaning Behind The Song: Long Time Friends (Spooky Mix) by The Living Tombstone

Music has a unique ability to evoke emotions and capture moments in our lives that we may struggle to express ourselves. One such song that has resonated with many is “Long Time Friends (Spooky Mix)” by The Living Tombstone. This haunting and powerful track dives deep into themes of betrayal, self-discovery, and outgrowing toxic relationships.

Table of Contents

Personally, this song holds a special place in my heart as it reminds me of a time when I felt lost and misunderstood. It served as a form of catharsis during a period of my life when I was struggling to find my own identity and navigate through complex emotions.

“Another little abuse, another pointless excuse Another day, feeling like I don’t belong I really don’t, belong”

These opening lines capture the sense of alienation and emotional abuse that the songwriter experiences. It reflects the feelings of being misunderstood and not fitting in, which can be a deeply isolating experience.

“So, I end another day, feeling totally betrayed Say hello to anger, did you miss me? I know it so well, like a long time friend Who smiles while poisoning me”

Here, the artist describes the toxic nature of a long-standing friendship. They acknowledge the anger that comes as a result of being let down repeatedly, comparing it to a familiar presence that brings both comfort and harm. This juxtaposition highlights the complicated emotions associated with toxic relationships.

“I’m alone and I’m free! There’s nothing really wrong with me And I know it doesn’t matter Done living for someone else’s time On someone else’s dime I’m drawing my line in the sand ‘Cause I know it doesn’t matter”

This powerful chorus represents a turning point in the artist’s journey, where they choose to break free from the constraints and expectations placed upon them. They embrace their solitude and reclaim their own identity, stating that it no longer matters what others think or say.

The Spooky Mix

The “Spooky Mix” adds an extra layer of intensity to the song’s already gripping lyrics. The eerie instrumentals and haunting melodies heighten the sense of unease and inner turmoil expressed in the lyrics. It creates a chilling atmosphere that perfectly complements the emotional depth of the song.

The Meaning

At its core, “Long Time Friends (Spooky Mix)” is a song about self-discovery, breaking free from toxic relationships, and reclaiming one’s own identity. It serves as a reminder that it’s okay to let go of friendships that no longer serve us and to prioritize our own well-being and personal growth.

This song can resonate with anyone who has experienced the pain of betrayal, felt trapped in toxic relationships, or struggled to find their own voice. It empowers individuals to stand up for themselves, embrace their independence, and find solace in their own company.

Overall, “Long Time Friends (Spooky Mix)” by The Living Tombstone is a powerful anthem that explores complex emotions and encourages listeners to prioritize their own happiness and growth. Its haunting melodies and introspective lyrics make it a captivating and relatable piece of music that speaks to the depths of our souls.

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Skeletons, evil sorceresses, snakes, and witches are among the characters responsible for some of Disney’s most frightening tracks.

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spooky r&b songs

Skeletons, evil sorceresses, snakes, and witches are among the characters responsible for some of Disney’s most frightening tracks. Read on to check out our picks for the spookiest songs of the season!

Listen to Disney’s Halloween playlist now.

11. The World Es Mi Familia, Coco (2017)

What could be spookier than a concert held in the Land Of The Dead? Miguel, the 12-year-old hero of Coco , finds himself at the Sunrise Spectacular, the annual concert organized by his hero, the singer Ernesto de la Cruz. In a bid to catch the attention of his idol, he breaks into one of Ernesto’s old songs… surrounded by skeletons. His hero joins him in the dramatic mariachi song “The World Es Mi Familia” before Miguel falls into a pool, after which the dead singer learns that the boy is his great-great-grandson.

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Anthony Gonzalez, Antonio Sol - The World Es Mi Familia (From "Coco")

10. Jack’s Lament, The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Danny Elfman’s soundtrack to Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is, of course, a Halloween classic. Jack Skellington, the King of Halloween Town (voiced by Elfman himself), is introduced with the haunting “Jack’s Lament.” Jack begins by boasting of his ability to strike fear into the hearts of mortals (“With the slightest little effort of my ghost-like charms, I have seen grown men give out a shriek”), before revealing his secret yearning to escape the confines of Halloween Town and see the world.

Jack's Lament

9. Pink Elephants On Parade, Dumbo (1941)

Disney’s 1941 animated movie about a flying elephant’s life in the circus might not seem like the scariest of propositions at first. But that all changes with “Pink Elephants On Parade.” When Dumbo and his mouse pal Timothy accidentally drink the clowns’ moonshine, they experience vivid hallucinations of pink elephants that quickly become trippy and nightmarish. It remains among the weirdest four-and-a-half minutes in Disney history. Fittingly, the psychedelic march was later covered by jazz maverick Sun Ra & His Arkestra.

8. Once Upon A Dream, Maleficent (2014)

The 2014 live-action movie Maleficent flipped the story of Disney’s 1959 animated classic Sleeping Beauty on its head, telling the story from the perspective of the evil sorceress. Fittingly, one of Sleeping Beauty ’s stand-out songs was given a spooked and spaced-out overhaul by Lana Del Rey. The singer was apparently hand-picked by Maleficent star Angelina Jolie and proved the perfect choice to turn the lovelorn and devotional song into something altogether more spectral.

7. Friends On The Other Side, The Princess And The Frog (2009)

For The Princess And The Frog , Disney relocated The Brothers Grimm fairytale The Frog Prince to New Orleans in the Roaring Twenties. Having grown up in the city and worked his magic on Pixar’s Toy Story and Monsters Inc. movies, singer-songwriter Randy Newman was a natural choice to write the soundtrack. “Friends On The Other Side” is sung by Doctor Facillier, the movie’s villain. Facillier attempts to deceive the newly arrived member of foreign royalty, Prince Naveen at a Tarot reading. When he earns Naveen’s trust, Facillier summons his friends from the other side – voodoo masks and impish ghouls – and surreptitiously pricks the prince’s finger, thus beginning his transformation into a frog.

Friends on the Other Side

6. Trust In Me, The Jungle Book (1967)

There are few Disney songs as creepy as The Jungle Book ’s “Trust In Me.” Performed by Sterling Holloway playing the part of Kaa the snake, it’s a slinky soundtrack to the scene in which Kaa hypnotizes Mowgli the man-cub. As Mowgli falls under Kaa’s trance, the snake prepares to claim his reward before being interrupted by Shere Khan the tiger. It was performed by Scarlett Johannson in the 2016 live-action remake of The Jungle Book , but for Halloween, only the original will do. Extra goth credit is due too, as the song was covered by Siouxsie & The Banshees on their 1987 album, Through The Looking Glass .

5. Night On Bald Mountain, Fantasia (1940)

“Night On Bald Mountain” – Modest Mussorgsky’s symphonic tone-poem, arranged here by Leopold Stokowski – is the first part of the seventh and final segment of Disney’s masterful Fantasia . The intense music soundtracks one of Disney’s most frightening sequences – we see a village seemingly in the shadow of huge and foreboding mountains. The highest peak is revealed to be a gigantic black-winged demon, who then summons a host of evil entities – ghosts, skeletons, witches – to wreak havoc upon the village.

A Night on Bald Mountain

4. I Put A Spell On You, Hocus Pocus (1993)

Disney’s 1993 live-action hit, Hocus Pocus , told the story of a Halloween-hating teenager who accidentally resurrects three witches. The show-stopping moment comes when Winifred Sanderson (played by Bette Midler) belts out a version of rock’n’roll coffin dweller Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ 1956 hit “I Put A Spell On You” backed up by her sisters Mary (Kathy Najimy) and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker). Midler’s in her element here, ramping up the showbiz razzmatazz as the sisters perform the song at a Halloween ball.

3. Hellfire, The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1996)

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame remains one of Disney’s darkest animated movies and it’s never more terrifying than during the “Hellfire” sequence. Stephen Schwartz and Alan Menken’s song speaks of villain Judge Claude Frollo’s lust for Esmeralda. “Hellfire” begins with a chanted Latin confession before Frollo attempts to convince himself that Esmeralda is to blame for his sinful feelings, set to dramatic, fire and brimstone-evoking music.

2. Poor Unfortunate Souls, The Little Mermaid (1989)

The “Poor Unfortunate Souls” sequence of The Little Mermaid finds Ariel, the heroine of the hit movie, in grave danger. The evil sea witch Ursula uses the song to seduce Ariel into trading her voice for the chance to temporarily become human and make Prince Eric fall in love with her. Pat Carroll steals the show as Ursula, cackling and crooning her way through Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s Broadway and Burlesque-influenced number.

1. This Is Halloween, The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

The creepiest classic from the creepiest classic. “This Is Halloween” introduces the residents of Halloween (the town), in suitably sinister fashion. Set to a skeletal march resembling something from Tom Waits’ Swordfishtrombones , a cast of monsters, terrifying clowns, hanged men, witches, and werewolves tell of the town’s reputation for frightening thrills. Your Halloween party isn’t complete without it.

This Is Halloween (From Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas")

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Victoria Monét Has ‘Already’ Made a Classic Love Song Anita Baker Is ‘Proud of’

By Charisma Madarang

Charisma Madarang

Victoria Monét , who garnered seven nominations for the 2024 Grammys, has received the ultimate nod from R&B legend Anita Baker .

In February 2022 — prior to the release of Monét’s debut studio album, Jaguar II , this summer — the singer took to X (formerly Twitter) to write, “I wanna make a classic love song that Anita Baker would be proud of.”

On Thursday, a year and half later, Baker replied to the post and told Monét, “You’ve Already Done it.” The “Sweet Love” icon added, “By Using *ALL of Your Gifts. *How does it feel* is A Melodic Masterpiece. CONGRATULATIONS on ALL your, well deserved Nominations & Accolades & Keeping R&B in Your World/Your Generation.”

In response to Baker’s words of support, Monét said her post was “an honor and a dream come true.” The Grammy-nominee added, “My gratitude for you and your art has always been immense and now to speak to you through mine feels so golden!! I love you to the stars and I thank you for these flowers! I’m in awe hope to hug you soon.”

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“This project is not, like, a playlist for a certain mood,” she continued. “It jumps from me talking about shaking ass and being outside to being completely in love. It’s a new version of Victoria. And my voice has changed since having (her daughter) Hazel.”

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Victoria Monét Has 'Already' Created a Love Song Anita Baker 'Would Be Proud of,' Says R&B Legend

"CONGRATULATIONS on ALL your, well deserved Nominations & Accolades," Baker wrote in response to a 2022 post by the "On My Mama" singer

Paras Griffin/Getty

Victoria Monét has Anita Baker ’s stamp of approval!

On Thursday, the “Caught Up in the Rapture” legend, 64, responded to a 2022 post by the “On My Mama” singer, 34, who shared her dream to record a love song that would make Baker proud.

“I wanna make a classic love song that Anita Baker would be proud of,” the songstress wrote in a February 2022 tweet .

“You've Already Done it. @VictoriaMonet By Using *ALL of Your Gifts. *How does it feel* is A Melodic Masterpiece. CONGRATULATIONS on ALL your, well deserved Nominations & Accolades & Keeping R&B in Your World/Your Generation,” Baker wrote in a retweet, signing, “ABXO.”

“How Does It Make You Feel” is a song on Monét’s latest album, Jaguar II , which was released last August. She earned seven Grammy nominations , making her the second-most nominated artist at the Feb. 4 ceremony.

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Last month, the “Coastin’” singer spoke to PEOPLE exclusively after learning that her 2½-year-old daughter Hazel is the youngest person ever to be nominated for a Grammy for her involvement in her mother’s music. 

"It's a really big deal. I think it's another full circle moment for me because during pregnancy, everything was really scary," she told PEOPLE . "People were telling me how bad of a career move it could be, how detrimental to everything it could be."

Victoria Monet/ Instagram

“Pregnancy, it's going into unknown territory and no one's story is the same. So, to have one of the more fearful moments career-wise turn into one of the best moments ever of my career is really magical. I'm honored to have the accolade for her."

The mother-daughter duo collaborated on Monét’s track "Hollywood," which earned Hazel a nomination for best traditional R&B performance.

Before she welcomed her first child with her fitness trainer boyfriend John Gaines in February 2021 and before blossoming into a mainstream performer, Monét was a songwriter to stars such as Kendrick Lamar , Kanye West and Fifth Harmony . She has also written songs for Ariana Grande .

In 2019, as a token of her appreciation, Monét was one of six women the “thank u, next” singer, 30, famously gifted a matching ring to, alluding to her hit song "7 Rings."

"I have two of them, because at one point I had lost one , and I was so devastated because I'm sometimes a bit irresponsible. That was the old me, this is the new me, but Ariana felt so bad she got another one," Monét told PEOPLE last month.

She added, "Then I found the other one. So she's like, 'Just keep both,' so I have two, and I wear them stacked."

Speaking about the inspiration for naming her album, Monét said, "I correlated the music industry to the jungle... The jungle is a jaguar’s environment, but it’s not always the first thing you see. I felt that way about being behind the scenes in music.”

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