Halloween is supposed to be scary, but given the state of the world in 2018, it’s hard to find anything more scary than reality. Part 1 of this year’s Halloween playlist is a bit of a journey through the state of mind many of us currently find ourselves in. Few of these songs might even qualify as real Halloween songs, but if the holiday is ultimately meant to be about facing our fears, then these are our monsters. Most of these songs are dark and moody, but I tried to include a glimmer of hope, particularly near the end, because it’s also about catharsis.
Kicking things off with Fantomas‘ cover of “The Omen (Ave Satan)” should create enough of a mood of unease to last several playlists. We’ve had many omens to warn us of the slippery slope we have been on politically, socially and environmentally over the years. We ignored them all and now, “This Is America,” land of danger and terror from every angle.
You know what’s scary? Curtis Mayfield released “(Don’t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below, We’re All Going to Go” in 1970 as a warning of what was brewing in inner cities—and the whole country, really—regarding race relations and poverty and well, everything. Yet, you listen closely to these lyrics now and, with the exception of directly mentioning Richard Nixon, it is still relevant 48 fucking years later. Insert chilling scream here.
Overall, these songs may not tell a linear story or literally be about current events, but the mood and themes will resonate in sequence. It’s meant to be listened to closely and thought about. It’s probably better not to say too much about it and just let the tunes burrow their way into your consciousness in a context you may not have thought of before.
In the end, although we may all have many reasons to agree with David Bowie‘s “I’m Afraid of Americans” and can relate to Janelle Monae‘s “So Afraid,” I hope that the connection can somehow lead to our collective strength. We have to keep dancing and face our fears if we intend to keep sane.