This is another list that I’m surprised I haven’t gotten to sooner, and I already know there’s gonna be a Part II because there are so many different ways to tackle it. My first was to go after individual albums, but that seemed the most difficult of my options.
Next I considered a list of individual songs. I was in the car at the time, and by the time I got half way to my destination, the list was up to about 75 songs.
Ultimately for the first iteration of this list, I decided to go with artists. I tried to stick to artists that have at least several tracks I could point to as having some kind of horror content or relationship, so off we go.
#7 Violent Femmes
These guys are an interesting case because, on one hand, not all that many of their songs are really all that horror forward although “Country Death Song,” god damn. But man, almost every note out of Gordon Gano’s mouth sounds sininster. The best example has to be “Gimme The Car,” but we can tack on “Blister In The Sun,” “Kiss Off,” and “To The Kill.” Movie appearances: “Blister In The Sun” (Grosse Point Blank), “Color Me Once” (The Crow)
#6 Tom Waits
Man I love this guy. My kids can’t stand him. Every single writer I know loves at least something by Tom Waits. By and large not a strong association with horror, but the man has some dark stuff scattered here and there. “November,” “The Earth Died Screaming,” and “Temptation” are all just eerie sounding. But then you get to stuff like “The Black Rider” and “What’s He Building?” where he really tunes in to some more obvious horror content. Waits himself has appeared in lotsa stuff: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mystery Men, Down By Law, Coffee And Cigarettes
#5 Oingo Boingo
Before Danny Elfman was Danny Elfman, he was singing, playing guitar, and writing songs as the leader of Oingo Boingo. My personal favorite album is definitely Nothing To Fear. They often get classified as Geek Rock, but I’m nout sure how much I agree with that. Definitely what I might calle Genre Rock, in this case with a pretty clear horror/sci-fi leanings. It occurs to me, however, that this explanation itself is pretty damn nerdy. The Danny Elfman/Tim Burton team is a mainstay, but there’s also Weird Science, and “No One Lives Forever” appears in Texas Chainsaw Massacre II.
Possibly a little more sci-fi than horror stuff, but either way, these guys are weeeeeeeeiiiirrrrrrd. “Workin’ In A Coal Mine” and “Through Being Cool” are neither horror nor sci-fi, but they were featured in 1981’s Heavy Metal. To get the full weirdness effect, though, you really have to check out the videos. “Freedom Of Choice” is a good start, and “Peek-A-Boo” is straight up creepy as fuck.
#3 Jonathan Coulton
Ah Nerd Folk. These are my people, especially Garfunkel And Oates, The Roches, and this guy. The reason he makes this list is, like Oingo Boingo, he has a good corpus of horror/sci-fi material only from a perspective of humor. Some of the best examples of this are “The Future Soon,” “Chiron Beta Prime,” “Re: Your Brains,” and my very most favoritest, “Skullcrusher Mountain.” A good exception is the decidedly not funny “Creepy Doll.” Oh, he also wrote the Portal songs “Still Alive” and “You Wouldn’t Know.”
#2 The Cramps
Almost as much as Nerd Folk, I enjoy some good Psychobilly, The Cramps being my first Psychobilly band as well as one of the first punk bands I started following religiously. Songs The Lord Taught Us was their first studio album as well as the first one I bought and still my fave. Highlights include “TV Set,” “Mad Daddy,” “Zombie Dance,” “Mystery Plane,” and “What’s Behind The Mask.” It’s a tough call whether my favorite is “I Was A Teenage Werewolf” or “Strychnine.” Probably the former as “Strychnine” has been around a while, and there are kickass versions by both The Sonics and The Fuzztones. I coulda sworn a Cramps song was in Fear No Evil, but I can’t find any evidence of that right now.
#1 Rob Zombie
I love everything about Rob Zombie’s entire career, musically and cinematically. But what I love most is that, at the heart of it all, he’s just another horror nerd who wears his love for the genre right there on his bloody sleeve. Don’t believe me? Check out his house tour. In terms of tune-age, I’ve been known to actually sing “Dragula” when the circumstances are just right (or just wrong). Other perennial go-to’s are “Living Dead Girl,” “Spookshow Baby,” “Foxy, Foxy,” “Everything Is Boring,” and “Sick Bubblegum.”
And that, kids, is today’s playlist. What horror tunes/bands do you listen to? Let me know in the Comments.