A music list by Richard Bleil
So among my adventures, I was, once, a DJ if you can believe that. It was a little college web station, so, no, it didn’t get broadcast, but I used to enjoy making lists of songs for special occasions. Well, this is Rocktober, so it has me thinking of Halloween. I’m sure there are many lists of this sort, but, let’s have a little bit of fun today.
Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett is the classic Halloween song. An odd little number complete with sound effects follows a party of monsters including all of the traditional ones, including a guest voice by Dracula himself asking about the Transylvania Twist. In fact, I think it might have been in his castle. The band was the Crypt Keeper Six in the song.
Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon is of course a classic. A fun and upbeat ditty is good ghoulish fun any time of year. I’m not sure how this is such a fun song with lyrics like “a little old lady got mutilated late last night”, but even that line is fun to sing. It invokes Lon Chaney and his son, and British Royalty. How twisted is that?
A friend of mine suggested Thriller, but with the evidence that the singer was a pedophile, I’ll skip that one.
You can argue if it belongs in the list or not, but “Spider Web” by Joan Osborne is a marvelous song that discusses fate and how our trials and tribulations make us who we are. It suggests that Ray Charles’ talent derives from his blindness, and gives a warning, “showed my own spider webs, said ‘Honey, you best take care. The World is made of spider webs. The threads are stuck to me and you. Be careful what you’re wishing for ’cause when you gain you just might lose.'”
Joan Osborne did another marvelous song called “Dracula Moon”. The slow, mournful song has lyrics that ask “don’t feel sorry for me, I hate that look on your face. You say just let go, you say come back home, I say I’m just fallin’ from grace.” I guess we all decline from time to time, but pity doesn’t really help. Very sad song. I love listening to it when I’m blue.
The Beatles did a couple of evil songs. “Run for your Life” is one that stands out to me. The premise of the song is a man who says plainly “you know that I’m a jealous guy, and I can’t spend my whole life trying to get you to tow the line.” The chorus is telling her, “if I catch you with another man, that’s the end of ‘little girl'”. Very dark for a love song. I’ve always interpreted this as a song threatening death to his girlfriend, but now that I think about it, maybe he’s threatening to break up with her. But, for this list, the former interpretation is more appropriate, and far too frightening considering the all-too-real war on women.
Of COURSE Ozzy Osbourne makes the list. “No More Tears” invokes images of random murder and violence, and speaks of seeing a man hiding in the dark (from the hotel room as I recall) and waiting for the scream. Dark song with dark music makes for a powerful and marvelous piece of music. Gotta love it.
The Pretty Reckless does MANY songs that invoke murder and Hell. As I listen to their music, it’s clear that the lead singer Taylor Momsen (who used to be on “Gossip Girl”, and played “Cindy Lou Who” in the 2000 rendition of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas (I may have to re-watch that now). One of the most obvious songs is “I’m Going to Hell”, with a chorus of “For the lives that I take, I’m going to Hell. For the love that I make, I’m going to Hell.” I hope she’s okay. As much as I love her music, I do worry about her.
There are many more songs that would be appropriate for this list, but I think I’m going to wrap up with “Zombie”, but the Cranberries. It is a protest song against war, opening up with “Another head hangs lowly, Child is slowly taken, and the violence, caused such silence.” It goes on to lament “their tanks and their bombs and their bombs and their guns”. And we…we just accept it, you and I. The government cuts more social programs to support our health, our weak and downtrodden, our arts so they can spend more and more on the war machine and we…say nothing.
Happy Halloween, America.