Alibi V.20 No.43 • Oct 27-Nov 2, 2011 

Aural Fixation

Trick or Treatise

Tracks that go boo

Halloween may be the second most soundtracked holiday. Out-obsessed only by Christmas music collectors, connoisseurs of creepy and kooky music have culled compilations from all genres–especially novelty music, rockabilly, punk and classic rock.

What's the heuristic for determining whether a song is a Halloween song? Must it directly reference ghosts, goblins, werewolves, witches and the like? Or can it simply be spooky? Can context influence a tune's eek factor? The Cramps, The Misfits, The Residents and the horror punk/psychobilly vanguard arguably have entire Halloween catalogs.

The below playlist runs the genre gamut—from novelty to art-punk to disco—and covers topics like fashion, death, monsters, Satanism, superstition and technology.

1) "Eleven Moustachioed Daughters" • BiG GrunT • Peel Sessions: 16/03/1970

And wolf-like things and toads with wings whisper wetly, “Come with us.”

2) "My Girlfriend is a Witch" • October Country • October Country

Psych rock that ponders a potential flaw.

3) "The Witch" • Rattles • “The Witch / Get Away” 7-inch

Bewitching run-for-your-life German rock hit from 1970.

4) "The Wobblin' Goblin" • Rosemary Clooney • “Punky Punkin (The Happy Pumpkin) / The Wobblin' Goblin” 7-inch

Holiday Muzak queen's superstitious ode to the techno-fix.

5) “The Hearse Song" • The Marshmallow Ghosts • The Marshmallow Ghosts

Graveface's house band never laughs when the hearse goes by.

6) "Wolf Like Me" • TV On The Radio • Return to Cookie Mountain

Devil-may-care jam will “blow your mongrel mind”—lycanthrope or not.

7) "Soul Dracula" • Hot Blood • Disco Dracula

German disco that's perfect for posing in polyester.

8) "Vampire Bat" • Wesley Willis • Greatest Hits

“The lake of fire tore his ass up.”

9) "Skeletons" • Inflatable Boy Clams • Inflatable Boy Clams

All-girl art-punk from the early ’80s, replete with creepy-cute vox.

10) "IxC999" • White Ring • “The Black Earth That Made Me”

Witch house is so 2010, but who cares? Embrace retro.

11) "(Every Day Is) Halloween" • Ministry • “All Day / (Every Day Is) Halloween” 12-inch

Goth club anthem that dresses down haters.

12) "Dinner With Drac—Part 1" • John Zacherle • “Dinner With Drac—Part 1 / Dinner With Drac—Part 2” 7-inch

Horror host as entrée at a seaside vamp soirée.

13) "Monster Mash" • The Bonzo Dog Band • Tadpoles

Viv Stanshall supersedes Bobby “Boris” Pickett.

14) "Halloween on the Barbary Coast" • The Flaming Lips • Hit to Death in the Future Head

Pre-Steven Drozd darkness from Wayne Coyne's unsettled brain.

15) "Funeral for a Friend (Love Lies Bleeding)" • Elton John • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

Glam rock spectacular fit for a rock star's funeral—or Halloween party.