Category Archives: Horror Music
Anyone ever heard the song “Poor Edward” by Tom Waits? If you have, then you know just how eerie it is. The song is about a man with a woman’s face growing out of the back of his head. He can’t remove it, for it would kill him. So, in the end…
…Finally the bell tolled his doom
He took a suite of rooms
And hung himself and her from the balcony irons
Some still believe he was freed from her
But I knew her too well
I say she drove him to suicide
And took poor Edward to hell
If you don’t believe me when I say this is some spooky shit, then just listen to the song. Poor Edward by Tom Waits
Whats He Building is another of Waits’ excursion into the realm of the eerie and the creepy. Just what is he building in there? Whatever it is, it can’t be good…
…Now what’s that sound from underneath the door?
He’s pounding nails into a hardwood floor
And I swear to God I heard someone moaning low…
We’re really not sure what he’s doing. Even the music clangles and clatters and makes odd sorts of sounds as if even it is unsure and unknowledgeable about what’s going on. What the hell is he building in there?
Of course, you can’t write about horror in song without mentioning Alice Cooper. All you have to do is listen to his album “Welcome to My Nightmare” to know the guy deserves a spot in the Horror Hall of Fame. The album is about a child named Steven and the nightmares he experiences. The nightmares drive him insane; the songs are a guide on his journey into madness.
Welcome to my nightmare, I think you’re gonna like it, I think you’re gonna feel you belong.
A nocturnal vacation, unnecessary sedation, you want to feel at home ’cause you belong.
Welcome to my nightmare whoa, ho, ho, ho…
The title song sets the pace for the rest of the album…Welcome to My Nightmare by Alice Cooper
“Black Widow”, “Cold Ethyl” and “Only Women Bleed” are standout tracks that guide us ever further into the journey through Steven’s mind. Black Widow features a spoken word segment by none other than Mr. Vincent Price. How’s that for horror?
Sometimes horror in song takes an even more humorous bent. Warren Zevon‘s classic Werewolves of London is a gleeful song about a lycanthropic individual ‘with a Chinese menu in his hand’ as he’s howling around your kitchen door’. When Zevon sings that a ‘little old lady got mutilated late last night’ there is a slightly uncomfortable enthusiasm in his voice. What’s interesting is that the song is a metaphor for addiction and the effects it has on the life of the addict and his loved ones. Zevon himself suffered from alcoholism off and on throughout his adult life, so the werewolf he sings about is probably him.
Speaking of werewolves. how about
Mama knows there’s something strange about her boy, Billy. Papa doesn’t want to listen at first; but when Mama tells him about the farmer losing a few of his sheep and seeing Billy on the hill ‘just screaming at the moonlight’, Papa knows he better get off his ass and take action. Mama is torn between her husband’s safety and the eternal destiny of Billy’s soul as she says ‘Papa, I beg you don’t kill him. ‘Cause I just can’t stand to think about my baby in hell.’ Luckily Papa has more sense than to let this monstrosity live to kill another night.
These songs are just one decapitated head in the basket. There are hundred of songs out there that have that element of eerie and that cadence of creepy:
A Night With The Jersey Devil by Bruce Springsteen-who else but Jersey’s greatest rock and roller to sing about Jersey’s favorite urban legend.
Timothy by The Buoys. I remember this song growing up. Timothy makes it out of the mine, only it’s within the belly of the narrator and Joe. Yep, they ate him.
Angie Baby by Helen Reddy-If you thought this song was a safe little piece of AM radio fluff, listen again. What exactly happens to that ‘neighbor boy with evil on his mind.’? The singer Helen Reddy and the songwriter Alan O’Day aren’t telling.
Last but not least, I leave you with the tale of Frankie Teardrop by Suicide. Put on your earphones, turn off the lights and turn up the volume and prepare yourself for a trip into despair, madness and finally into hell itself. Poor Frankie.
Take care and stay scared, everybody!!