In honor of Halloween, you may find yourself desperate for the perfect playlist of creepy, sinister songs for the special night. This week’s playlist is titled “The Midnight Hour is Close at Hand…,” which draws from the lyrics of Michael Jackson’s hit song, “Thriller.” Without further ado, here is the definitive playlist for any Halloween get-together.

  1. “Thriller” (1982) – Michael Jackson: If you couldn’t tell by the title of the playlist, this song is essential for any Halloween party. The King of Pop’s crown gem is horrific in its own majesty. Jackson’s vocals on this track are indicative of why “Thriller” is one of the best-selling albums ever produced.
  2. “Hellhound On My Trail” (1937) – Robert Johnson: Known as the man who sold his soul for the blues, Robert Johnson is dark in his own respect and creates a sense of doom with his early style of the Delta Blues. The lyrics are simplistic yet tell a story that makes one wonder if Johnson himself is the protagonist.
  3. “Ouija Board Ouija Board” (1989) – Morrissey: Moz is an extraordinary musician and I firmly believe his post-Smiths’ material is his strongest. The vocal harmonies in the chorus are haunting and that lead guitar adds a new dimension to an already devious number.
  4. “Hallowed Be Thy Name” (1982) – Iron Maiden: OK, so metal might seem a little out of place but trust me, Maiden isn’t one of my favorite bands for no reason. This piece shows off Bruce Dickinson’s intimidating vocals as Steve Harris’ popping bass line cements this song as a career staple.
  5. “My Body is a Cage” (2007) – Arcade Fire: Will Butler and Regine Cassagne followed up their massively successful debut album with 2007’s “Neon Bible,” boasting this extraordinary track. The organ slowly evolves into a symphonic revolution, creating a sonic masterpiece that is both beautiful and chilling.
  6. “Werewolves of London” (1978) – Warren Zevon: While sharing the same progression as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” this song is an entirely different demon. Zevon’s howl is addictive and the storytelling makes me want to sip some pina coladas with the werewolves of London.
  7. “Howlin’ For You” (2010) – The Black Keys: Dan Auerbach knows how to play a mean guitar and I can never get enough of that delay-tinged goodness. This track off “Brothers” got me into The Black Keys and I’ve stayed with them since.
  8. “Psycho Killer” (1977) – Talking Heads: One of my absolute favorite songs is also one of the most frightening numbers on this list (considering it pertains to the thoughts of a serial killer). I also recommend taking a listen to Phish’s cover, which attempts to capture the sheer epicness, but God only knows David Lynch has the style to pull it off.
  9. “Lullaby” (1989) – The Cure: Robert Smith is at it again with his shivering lyrics that could  make goosebumps line anyone’s arms. Hopefully, I won’t be eaten by the same giant spider that consumes Smith.
  10. “Brian Eno” (2010) – MGMT: A testament to the legendary British producer, the song builds up to a psychedelic progression that is as catchy as it is chilling. Aimed as tongue-in-cheek to Eno’s cryptic nature, MGMT perfectly captures the oddity of the man behind the music.
  11. “Wolf Like Me” (2006) – TV on the Radio: Known for their DIY attitude for indie rock, the synth masters over at TV on the Radio concoct magic that breathes life into this beastly track. The track presents itself almost as a painting, covering a canvas of vast musical innovations.
  12. “Monster Mash” (1962) – Bobby Pickett: A quintessential Halloween song, this track reminds me of fond childhood memories and adventurous nights trick-or-treating. I dare you to try and not dance to this song — it’s too infectious.
  13. “Welcome to My Nightmare” (1975) – Alice Cooper: The godfather of shock rock calls upon the elements of The Doors to create a psychedelic nightmare that surrounds one’s ears as they delve deeper into Cooper’s self-conscious. Those horns are also a great touch to an already jam-packed song.
  14. “Feel Like a Stranger” (1980) – Grateful Dead: I promised the Dead every week and I found this piece poignant, as this Weir-led track features one of the grooviest leads courtesy of Garcia and an overly-distorted bassline from Lesh. It creates a sense of impending doom, yet stylistically encapsulates the uniqueness of the Dead.

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