Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Spooky songs for Halloween

A Halloween mood playlist for the upcoming season
Collegian File Photo

1. “Come Along” by Cosmo Sheldrake

Any song from Cosmo Sheldrake’s extensive discography could have been placed at the start of this list. Though as the title suggests, “Come Along” has the allure of something big transpiring and steadily approaching. The folk instrumentals of the song, along with the lyrics, make for a playful warning. In addition, the chorus does an excellent job building and flooding the listener with a need to act on an unknown and startling feeling. Many of his songs have instrumental versions that are great for studying if you’re still in the mood for something spooky.

If you like this song, you might enjoy: “Birthday Suit” by Cosmo Sheldrake, “Something Good” by alt-J and “Sick On Seventh Street” by Sarah and the Safe Word.

2. “Devil’s Advocate” by The Neighbourhood

From the group’s latest album, “Devil’s Advocate” first gives the impression of a leisurely walk down a local street. However, as the song progresses, the listener will pick up on the chorus and intricate verses. Some lines mock things like the artificial nature of celebrities or the internal struggle of pleasing a wide group of people. The hollow electric backing of the track adds to the feeling of unease, tempting you to listen to the devil on your shoulder, thus making you what the title suggests. It ultimately ends with a crescendo of high pitches and blaring instruments, until you are left yet again with yourself and the ever so present silence.

If you like this song, you might enjoy: “Honest” by The Neighbourhood, “Eighth Wonder” by Lemon Demon and “Heartless” by The Weeknd.

3. “mercy” by KiNG MALA

A new artist with a steady upwards trajectory, KiNG MALA’s song highlights the twisted nature that this season often brings. The tone and language throughout make one feel like they are hearing the inner monologue of a villain or opening scene to a horror film. The track is haunted by a persistent echo mixed with the clarity of backing chimes. This results in a conflicted tone, as the listener is left unsure if they should side with the narrator or not. The lyrics don’t help with this decision either; The narrator expresses their sincerest apologies yet backtracks and reveals that they still want to create more havoc.

If you like this song, you might enjoy: “Turbulent” by Waterparks, “Paper Planes” by M.I.A. and “Animal” by MISSIO.

4. “Lights Go Down” by I Don’t Know How But They Found Me

Though this duo has a small discography, all of their songs have a strong theme and place in fans’ hearts, with “Lights Go Downbeing no exception. The early 2000s and 1980s style perfectly blend together to create an enjoyably sinister ambience. The scene is set with a big party and the implications that something can, and will, go askew when said lights start to dim. Despite that fact, the music continues to boost throughout this infectious tune, inviting the audience to attend the festivities.

If you like this song, you might enjoy: “The Wolf” by SIAMES, “Blame” by Bastille and “Dr. Suess” by Ski Mask The Slump God.

5. “Cops and Robbers” by The Hoosiers

Trick or Treat? How about “Cops and Robbers! One element to Halloween that can often be forgotten as generations grow older is how playful and simple this holiday is at face value. With the whimsical flair that most of The Hoosier’s discography has, listeners can get blasted with the sense of nostalgia this time brings about. School dances, scaring siblings and family with costumes and getting far too sick on fun-sized candy all come to mind. Not to mention that this song was released in 2008, so it was influenced by the time period that many current college students grew up in.

If you like this song, you might enjoy: “Goodbye Mr A” by The Hoosiers, “Wine Red” by The Hush Sound and “Immaculate Deception” by 35mm: A Musical Exhibition (Original Cast Recording).

6. “Bloody Mary by Lady Gaga

An underrated hit by the accomplished singer, this song from her 2011 album “Born This Way” still holds up a decade later. The chilling backing vocals are almost hidden on the first listen, making you want to hit repeat again and again. In addition, she throws in references to well-known figures as well as sentences in French, which could be overlooked or misinterpreted by casual listeners. Of course, the early 2010s can clearly be heard and recognized throughout the song’s production style, making it fun despite its eerie lyrics.

If you like this song, you might enjoy: “Monster” by Lady Gaga, “The Mighty Fall” by Fall Out Boy ft. Big Sean and “Valley of the Dolls” by MARINA.

7. “Zombieby DAY6

With the constant changes that come with a season like autumn, the song “Zombie” perfectly reflects the experience of seeing improvement in the world while you yourself feel stagnant. A smooth backing with heart wrenching lyrics mesh excellently with one another to conjure a sense of comforting dread for the listener. Although you might not have had the same experiences as the band DAY6, the low bass and synth can help you manifest a picture of yourself in a similar scenario. The song comes in both the original (Korean) and an English version.

If you like this song, you might enjoy: “MY FACE” by VERIVERY, “Moscow Moscow” by ONF and “Twilight” by ONEUS.

8. “Cirqueby Sub Urban

If you like “American Horror Story: Freak Show” or just the idea of corrupt circuses, Sub Urban has you covered from their debut EP. There is a good chance many people know of this uprising name due to their well-deserved fame from TikTok. By choosing the perspective of a ringleader, you get to see the inner workings of how this establishment operate throughout the song. All of this is done while incorporating an infectious tune that both worms into your skull and gives you goosebumps by the time it concludes.

If you like this song, you might enjoy: “Evelyn Evelyn” by Evelyn Evelyn, “Circus” by Britney Spears and “Freak” by Sub Urban ft. REI AMI.

9. “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper by Keep Shelly In Athens

In recent years there’s been a rise in covers and re-imaginings of songs. In some instances, they are subpar compared to the original track. The Greek duo Keep Shelly In Athens, however, contorts the Blue Öyster Cult classic in all the right places. This interpretation has both chilling backings and an ambiance unlike any other, especially toward the song’s conclusion where a perfect concoction of traditional instruments and electronic waves weave together. To boot, the vocals give the impression of a siren, being hauntingly beautiful and alluring to a listener.

If you like this song, you might enjoy: “People Are Strange” by The Doors, “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone and “Zombie” by The Cranberries.

10. “My Boy Builds Coffins by Florence + The Machine

From her debut album, Florence Welch sculps a whole world in under three minutes. The song feels cozy and chilling at once, much like the days surrounding Halloween. The instrumentals are outstanding, though the real outlier is her attention to detail with lyrics. She describes the story of this fictional character in a way that is both layered and oddly familiar. “My Boy Builds Coffins” is a diamond in the rough, or a king-sized candy bar in a sea of dental treats while trick-or-treating.

If you like this song, you might enjoy: “Halloween” by Phoebe Bridgers, “Hard To Love” by The Drums and “Stay Behind” by Mother Mother.


Sierra Thornton can be reached at [email protected].

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