The Scariest Non-Scary Songs

For this week’s blog entry, I thought I’d focus on songs that are unintentionally scary. Not “Monster Mash”, tunes from the ‘Doom-Metal’ genre, music that’s overtly ghoulish in the title, or anything by the Black Eyed Peas; I’m talking about songs that weren’t written to freak you out at first, but pretty much leave you running for the door when you sit down and think about them lyrically.

 

The Eagles – Hotel California
Ok, so starting out you probably thought that the logical Eagles choice was “Witchy Woman”, but, no, I decided to go with the epic Eagles tune “Hotel California” for this list. Why’s that? Mostly because, though the song is written as a rant about the LA music business scene in the 70s, it wreaks of haunting imagery. For example, the line “You can checkout anytime you like, but you can’t never leave” is very reminiscent of The Shining. And to that point, lyrically the whole song is fairly unsettling. Add in the fact that it has a spanish-style vibe and you have a recipe for a chilling tune. Before I move on, another lyrical example is “they stab it with their steely knives, but they just can’t kill the beast.” Even after understanding the intention of the song, that line still Freaks. Me. Out. As an aside, in addition to the fantastically great guitar solo, the bass line is as near perfect as they come.

 

Blondie – One Way or Another
Just take a moment and think about the lyrics. There are obviously creepy lines like “One way or another I’m gonna find ya”, but there’s also this gem “I’ll walk down the mall, stand over by the wall where I can see it all, find out who you call.” That’s just kind of crazy. No further explanation needed. Albeit, I’m taking some liberties with the intended tune’s context, but for this list, I couldn’t resist.

 

Sting – Every Breath You Take
Similar to the Blondie tune, when taken out of context, this one can be a bit freaky. Truly, I don’t think that the prolific songwriter Sting went into the studio knowing that he wrote a song that may, to some, insinuate stalking, but after he laid down the tune, one would think a producer or somebody would have said something to him on the subject. Regardless, this is a fantastic song.

 

Michael Jackson – Thriller
I wasn’t going to include this Michael Jackson classic because it pretty much meets one of the above criteria for rejection, but how could I resist? I mean, who can forget this 12 minute music video? Seriously, because I can’t get it out of my head. On that note, because I don’t want to give anybody any unintended nightmares, here’s a friendlier take on the classic “Thriller” video. It’s computer animated with cute stuffed animals. Warning though, the stuffed animals though cute, do become zombies. Still, it’s pretty great around the 8:30 mark when they all dance in unison.

 

There are plenty more tunes from world famous acts that are musically scary – Pink Floyd’s “On the Run” comes to mind, as does Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter”, “Helter Skelter” by The Beatles, and some more modern tunes by Radiohead have a scary vibe in them.

 

What do you think?- What song makes you turn on the creeps upon listening?

Mike Rathfon is a member of American Music Theatre’s Marketing department. He can be reached on Twitter @MikeRathfon.