13 Beats: Halloween Night

13 Beats: Halloween Night

With spooky season just around the corner, these songs are sure to brighten up your Halloween party or scare some trick-or-treaters. From Halloween classics to songs about monsters, this week has it all.

1. “The Monster Mash,” Bobby Picket (1962)

This iconic Halloween track is the epitome of a fun song for the spooky season. Despite being sixty years old, this song is timeless in nature. It was inspired by a popular dance move at the time, the Mashed Potato, and describes a monster performing its own take on the move, the titular “Monster Mash.”

2. “Frankenstein,” Swedish House Mafia, A$AP Rocky (2022)

“Frankenstein” is a recent collaboration between legendary producer Swedish House Mafia and A$AP Rocky. The song includes deep bass and vocal effects that layer to create eerie vibes evocative of the song’s title. About halfway through the track, a beat switch occurs, changing the pace of the song, but keeping the same creepy undertones.

3. “Thriller,” Michael Jackson (1982)

Perhaps the most well-known and most celebrated song by the King of Pop, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is essential to any Halloween playlist. Channeling elements from horror films and sounds of animals, Jackson seamlessly blends spooky elements with 80’s pop to make one of the most timeless tracks of the 20th century. The corresponding video revolutionized and stretched the boundaries of what was possible in music videos. 

4. “Werewolves of London,” Warren Zevon (1978)

This song takes an interesting view of werewolves that departs from the typical nature of the beast. Zevon opens the song by saying the werewolf is simply looking for some Chinese food, menu in hand, lacking the typical aggressive behavior nature that often accompanies descriptions of the creature. Featuring a performance by members of Fleetwood Mac, this song went on to be sampled in Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long.”

5. “Feel Good Inc.,” Gorillaz (2001)

Starting with ominous laughter and eerie vocals, the introduction to “Feel Good Inc.” is one of the most recognizable and distinct of any contemporary piece of music. The bass line heard throughout the whole track ties the song together and is another key element in cementing its iconic status. Dull and filtered vocals add to the ambiance of the track and, when accompanied by the chorus, they complete the full picture of the song.

6. “Ghostbusters,” Ray Parker Jr. (1984)

Hailing from the soundtrack of the movie “Ghostbusters,” it is impossible to picture the iconic film without the theme song popping into your head. This track encompasses many elements of the movie and includes many memorable lines. The horn riff after the chorus is one that is hard to forget and never fails to disappoint. 

7. “Halloween,” Phoebe Bridgers (2020)

Over a haunting backing of guitar-picking, Bridgers asserts a bitter admission on the track titular of the October holiday. “Halloween” is Bridgers’ commentary on the ability of drugs to turn someone into a different person, as a costume would. “I can count on you to tell me the truth,” says Bridgers, “When you’ve been drinking and you’re wearing a mask.” On Halloween, Bridgers begs, you can “be anything.”

8. “Somebody’s Watching Me,” Rockwell (1984)

He may be a one-hit-wonder, but Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me” is nonetheless quite a stunning track. The 1984 song has an instantly recognizable chorus that features vocals from Michael Jackson. Once again encapsulating the sound of the 1980’s, this song never fails to satisfy.

9. “Enter Sandman,” Metallica (1991)

“Enter Sandman” is one of the most commercially successful releases by the band, which went platinum and solidified the band as a household name. The song outlines a child having nightmares and struggling to sleep — fitting for the Halloween season. The creepy drums and distorted guitar further enforce the scary nature of the song, and Metallica’s heavy rock and metal influence help solidify the track’s creepy theme.

10. “I Put a Spell on You,” Nina Simone (1965)

Despite it being a cover of Jalacy J. “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins’s 1956 song, “I Put a Spell on You” will make any listener immediately think of Nina Simone. This song has been covered countless times, but the version by Simone is iconic in its own right — her autobiography is even named after the song. Unfortunately, Simone passed away in 2003, but her legacy lives on as one of the most influential artists of her time and a key artist in the civil rights movement. 

11. “Superstition,” Stevie Wonder (1972)

Halloween is definitely fearful time for the superstitious, and, as Stevie Wonder outlines, there are many things out there for people to worry about. Although the bright horns and thick bass line are quite the opposite of scary, the subject of the lyrics might bring out the inner superstition in the audience. 

12. “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” Blue Öyster Cult (1976)

Blue Öyster Cult uses soft vocals, rhythmic guitar and vibrant harmonies to dissuade the audience from being afraid of the Grim Reaper. Despite the grim and dark tone of the song, Saturday Night Live performed a very popular skit that made fun of the use of cowbell in the track by having the likes of Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken needing more cowbell in the song. Despite SNL’s skit parodying the track, the dark tones and beautiful melodies make the track unforgettable.

13. “Creep,” Radiohead (1992)

This song depicts the members of the band as self-labeled creeps and talks about their loneliness and desire for someone to be with. While not scary like a zombie or werewolf, this song depicts people scaring themselves and feeling like they don’t belong. These lyrics are accompanied by heavy guitar at the chorus and an otherwise mellow rhythm — a mellow song for your Halloween season.