The Record Room

Reviews

Halloween Music is Scary Good…

Welcome back to The Record Room, the monthly column in which I attempt to get a better handle on the music that the KO community is listening to. This month, however, I’m going to be a bit selfish and focus on a specific genre of music that I find fitting for this time of year. 

If you’re a returning follower of this column, you’ll remember the infamous “Easter Songs” incident of 2022, in which I shined a spotlight on the wonders of The New Fangles, The Laurie Berkner Band, and, most horrifically, the lovely “Fast And Slow (The Rabbit And The Turtle)” song. Speaking of horrific, I began to stretch this idea of holiday music to the more currently relevant Halloween. 

While my previous article in the same fashion led me down a rabbit hole (pun intended) of Spotify playlists and artist compilations, this time I took a much simpler approach. Thanks to the combined genius of seniors Faith Potter and Mckenzie Campbell, my world was opened up to the number of Halloween songs out there, through their rattling off of hits like “Monster Mash” and “Spooky Scary Skeletons.” So, with these songs and many more representing my personal favorite holiday, I dove into the genre to find out whether Halloween music is the pick of the patch or hauntingly bad.

Beginning with the song I most recently mentioned, “Spooky Scary Skeletons” by Andrew Gold is a staple Halloween song that has been adapted and edited sufficiently since its original release in 1996. The song features the typical harpsichord, piano, and spooky sound effects that mark a Halloween tune, along with some charming lyrics about the complex relationships between skeletons and the rest of the general public. Lines like “We’re so sorry skeletons, you’re so misunderstood” hint at some emotional intensity in this piece, but generally, it’s a light and fun spooky soundtrack that audiences have known and loved for 20 years now. 

Moving on to the next song on this list, which just so happens to be one that I personally am a bit biased towards, I introduce “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. If you know me, you know about my annual Michael Jackson phase, so I would say that I am quite familiar with this entry already. Apart from the logistics and ethics surrounding separating Jackson’s music from his very questionable actions, this song is fun and creepy! “Thriller’s” 1982 release provided a reimagined depiction of the true frights of Halloween, reinforced by the song’s odd accompanying music video that clocks in at a whopping 13 minutes. With narrative-style lyrics and heavy minor synths, “Thriller” remains at the top of Jackson’s musical legacy as well as the limited list of Halloween hits today.

Finally, the last song that I will be covering, though not the single remaining song of the Halloween genre, is “This Is Halloween” from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Debuting along with the movie’s release in 1993, this song features a deeper set of chords and spookier lyrics, as the movie’s characters detail the creepy Halloween-like world that they live in. According to lyricist Danny Elfman, the song was once considered “too scary for kids” (thank goodness we’re all legal adults here, right?), which, if you’re a horror fanatic like me, makes it just that much more enticing. 

While “This Is Halloween” concludes my Halloween features for this edition of The Record Room, I would like to drop honorable mentions: “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell and “Boris the Spider” by The Who, in case you’re deeply invested in the sounds of this spooky season and want to explore more. For now, though, I will leave you all to get spooked, wear questionable costumes, and move on to the inevitable Christmas season because what even is Thanksgiving anyway? As always, if you have any suggestions for future articles, email me with anything. Thank you all for reading this month’s issue, and I’ll see you for the next one.