For those who dream of orange, black, and red, it’s finally the most wonderful time of the year: Halloween! October brings the official start of the Halloween season, with four weeks of gleeful gore, fiendish frights, clever and creepy costumes, and more fun than you can shake a broomstick at. Yet, as October raises a few spirits, it also raises a question: what do we listen to? That’s where HollywoodLife is handing out full-sized candy bars for musical treats, thanks to The Sound Of Halloween.
Throughout October, HollywoodLife will ask some of the biggest and rising stars hailing from the other side of midnight for what they think should be on your Halloween 2022 playlist. As the days count down to the 31st, we’ll update this with links to all the interviews, so you can find out who they picked – and more. The playlist will also grow as the month goes on, so subscribe to it on Spotify and Tidal.
Originating some 2,000 years ago – give or take – Halloween was first a festival marking the end of the harvest and the start of a new year (click here for a quick rundown of how Samhain turned into a night where you can dress up as a sexy version of Freddy Kreuger.) In modern times, it’s a chance to celebrate your freaky side, to embrace the inner monster before letting them run loose in a world that turned creepy. The spooky season has been soundtracked by many sinister songs, more than just Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s “The Monster Mash.”
Since there was popular music, there have been songs that flirted with the supernatural — early jazz and R&B songs laid the foundation for this spooky empire. “The Monster Mash” arrived in 1962, six years after Screamin’ Jay Hawkins released “I Put A Spell On You” (which would be famously covered by Nina Simone in 1965.) As Dino Stamatopoulos covered in “Rahr! Rahr! Rahr! (Backed With Surf Guitar),” the mixture of 1950s surf culture and the rise of the monster movie resulted in a lot of music that melded rock and roll and creatures from the crypt. The Horror Hop and Monster Bop from Buffalo Bop collect some of those splatter platters.
Screaming Lord Sutch released “Jack The Ripper in 1963, as he was one of the many acts that took the Love Generation and covered them in blood. Alice Cooper‘s debut album, Pretties For You, closed out the sixties, and the group cemented its place in the horror hall of fame with Love It To Death. The seventies brought metal, which embraced all things dark and horrifying (Black Sabbath, anyone?) and continues to do so today (Ghost, GWAR, and more.) The decade also brought punk, with The Ramones singing about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on their debut album. Deathrock and horror punk bands like 45 Grave, The Misfits, The Cramps, Screaming Dead, and TSOL were just a few who embraced the dark sound in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Horror punk developed into its own genre in the late 80s/early 90s, the same time hip-hop began its rise to prominence.
While DJ Jazzy Jef & The Fresh Prince’s “A Nightmare On My Street” and The Bad Boys’ “Are You Ready For Freddy?” mixed horror themes and early rap, more point to The Geto Boys and Doctor Octagon as planting the seeds for the horrorcore hip-hop subgenre.
As of this decade, horror is more mainstream than ever, allowing more artists – from pop to hip-hop to even Ryan Gosling’s rock-duo Dead Man’s Bones – to embrace the dark side. The Weeknd spent his most successful year (so far) performing in a mask.
So, who will wind up on this year’s playlist? Feel free to tick or treat this post throughout the month to find out.