The Rocky Horror Music Show: Stylus Magazine’s Guide To The Scariest Music You’ll Ever Hear

By: Stylus Staff

Posted 10/31/2005 - 08:11:32 AM by KissMyGrits:
  would also put Wire's "Practice makes perfect" on this list as well. It just sounds like a march song for some unholy army inhabiting your basement, waiting for you to come down for the xmas decorations that will invariably begin popping up on Tuesday. BOO!
Posted 10/31/2005 - 08:29:35 AM by jackfeerick:
 Very, very good call on the Gainsbourg. For all that "Melody Nelson" has this reputation as a hot-sheets record, it's pretty damned creepy start to finish. Gainsbourg's image later softened somewhat to that of "lovable old perv," but there's nothing much lovable about him on "Melody." Subtle and disturbing.
Posted 10/31/2005 - 08:44:01 AM by Bertson:
 Good call on the Suicide track, I was going to raise hell if that was omitted from the list. And by "raise hell", I mean post a comment here pointing out that it was missing. Yeah.
Posted 10/31/2005 - 10:49:25 AM by evanw60:
 I would also put Hasil Adkin's I Need Your Head (... This Ain't No Rock and Roll Show) on this list. Nothing scarier than a country freak singing about decapitation, realllly loudly, with plenty of dissonant chords. "I need your head, and I got room on my wall."
Posted 10/31/2005 - 10:53:17 AM by bassman08:
 If you're going to go through all the different punk songs called "Halloween", how can you forget the Dead Kennedys' one? It has a pulsating bassline, scratching guitar, and Jello Biafra screaming and whining over the top of it about how he's "Feeling like dancing" on Halloween. Gotta love it.
Posted 10/31/2005 - 11:38:45 AM by foolsgold13:
 No Branca? The Ascension's got some spooky moments. And Slint's Spiderland at least deserves some mention. Then there's stuff like Birthday Party and Jesus Lizard which may not be terrifying, but is Halloween worthy
Posted 10/31/2005 - 11:42:48 AM by cwperry:
 "The Night Chicago Died" by Paper Lace scared the shit out of me when I was kid. I mean, those sirens?? I really though the city had died.
Posted 10/31/2005 - 11:57:26 AM by wilde-thang:
 as a wee small boy i used to scare the living beejesus outta myself by playing Black Sabbaths 'E5150' at full tilt on my headphones late at night!!! 2mins 54sec's of quite enough spookyness for your average 11 year old.... good call on Slint - Nosferatu Man's last quarter is exceptional taut and spooky.
Posted 10/31/2005 - 12:18:00 PM by dskuja:
 Good stuff! I'll be researching much of it. I had to make a scary tape for some Halloween event years ago. I just slapped on some Merzbow. Hahaha. Xenakis Persepolis is scary as hell.
Posted 10/31/2005 - 12:35:45 PM by J_R_K_:
 no Unicorns "do they know it's halloween?" kinda scary.
Posted 10/31/2005 - 12:37:29 PM by cwperry:
 You know, Robert Johnson's music is spooky as hell, too. I've talked to a few people who say they can only handle one or two cuts of his if it's nighttime.
Posted 10/31/2005 - 12:47:54 PM by IanMathers:
 Uh, foolsgold, you did notice that "The Ascension" is included in this article, right?

KissMyGrits has the right idea, assuming I'm remembering it correctly and "Practice Makes Perfect" is the one about Sarah Bernhardt's hand, it's a really creepy song.

Posted 10/31/2005 - 01:14:36 PM by dougrokakis:
 the last Liars album as a whole is more terrifying than any of this stuff.
Posted 10/31/2005 - 02:15:35 PM by KissMyGrits:
 the last liars album was terrifying in how quickly a moderately promising band turned into a soggy turd sandwich. BOO!
Posted 10/31/2005 - 02:22:31 PM by Ferg_OR:
 The V/VM version of "Deep In The Woods" by the Birthday Party is one of the most unpleasant things I've ever heard.
Posted 10/31/2005 - 02:46:48 PM by J_R_K_:
 maybe the Shaggs "It's Halloween" as well.
Posted 10/31/2005 - 02:54:22 PM by jed666:
 the shaggs are pretty damn creepy I'll give you that, but you guys aren't mentioning any boards of canada... Geogaddi is full creepy ones, like gyroscope and dawn chorus...the sound effects and texture is just bizarre and eerie... also in a beautiful place out in the country, the title track has some creepy vocodered voice telling you to go out and join a religious community in a beautfiul place out in the country
Posted 10/31/2005 - 03:05:31 PM by bassman08:
 Mogwai may have some Haloween-worthy shit. I remember once I was playing "Like Herod" as I was sleeping and when it got the the loud parts it totally woke me up and freaked the shit out of me.
Posted 10/31/2005 - 03:23:34 PM by bassman08:
 Oh yeah, one more thing I forgot to think of (this is all, I swear): Sonic Youth's song "Death Valley '69" could be quite frightening as well, if you think about it. And its on the same album as "Halloween".
Posted 10/31/2005 - 03:46:38 PM by cameron1979:
 bassman - nevermind about "Death Valley" - what about "Lee is Free"? I looped that songs for two hours to scare trick-or-treaters one Halloween.
Posted 10/31/2005 - 05:29:26 PM by darinfic:
 i played the olivia tremor control alter ego black swan network's 'the late music' at my halloween party friday. definitely creepy.
Posted 10/31/2005 - 08:21:14 PM by busstop:
 The string decrescendo at the end of Bobbie Gentry´s Ode to Billie Joe gave me gooseshivers late one graveshift night. The whole song qualifies, actually.
Posted 10/31/2005 - 09:11:06 PM by dskuja:
 OMG busstop, I swear this is the honest to god truth: I was going to mention Ode To Billy Joe, but I thought I'd be mocked. It definitely IS a haunting piece of music. Thank you.
Posted 10/31/2005 - 10:09:40 PM by :
 Laurie Anderson - Bright Red. Check this man. This is some scary shit. But only after you`ve listened to it every morning for a month and realised you`ve been hypnotised. Track 2 is direct listener hypnosis. A track "Poison" basically tries to poison you, via language, mainlined straight to your subconscious. Most of the other tracks use language in ever decreasing circles of hypnotic suggestion to get you caught up in its inescapable loop. It`s all about circles. This is produced by Eno and the sounds are so deeply disturbing that when Anderson speak-sings you realised she`s gotten inside your head and is screwing you up man, big time. How brilliant is that? A record that actually tries to screw you up without you realising until it`s too late. & It was there in the title all along. "Bright Red" The colour of danger. A warning.
Posted 10/31/2005 - 11:20:19 PM by dougrokakis:
 Jay Munly's song "Amen Corner" signals the oncoming of the apocalypse in my mind. His vocal layerings are otherworldly.
Posted 11/01/2005 - 01:59:07 AM by tonybricker:
 there is nothing scary about that Radar Bros album, I have no idea where this pick came from also I am a little dissappointed about the ditinct lack of Gravediggaz
Posted 11/01/2005 - 03:57:53 AM by skuter666:
 I Put a Spell on You by Nina Simone. Cuz Nina can put the fear up in you, and she shares a name (almost twice) with Simone Simon of Val Lewton’s 1942 classic, Cat People. So it’s got that goin’ for it, yeah.
Posted 11/01/2005 - 09:31:08 AM by foolsgold13:
 oops i didn't even see ascension... but this should've had the first This Heat album
Posted 11/01/2005 - 11:40:59 AM by Zarklephaser:
 The latest Liars album is the greatest thing they've ever done. Perfect album from start to finish, in my eyes at least. And I'd like to suggest Fantomas "Delirium Cordia" to this list. Very creepy track/album.
Posted 11/02/2005 - 12:31:48 AM by dougrokakis:
 It was the best album of 2004 I think. I was shocked when so many wrote it off as garbage.
Posted 11/02/2005 - 09:50:31 AM by jhitting:
 Fantomas is a poor omission. Any track off of The Director's Cut would be outscarify the one's selected. I didn't dig Delirium Cordera as much, and Suspended Animation isn't scary, more like watching cartoons. But "Cape Fear" off of DC is perhaps the SCARIEST GUITAR RIFF OF ALL TIME.
Posted 11/02/2005 - 10:49:12 AM by cwperry:
 I'm all for sharing what songs scare us. But calling something a "poor omission" or deriding the Stylus list is ridiculous. What do you suggest, that the list be eighteen-thousand songs long to accommodate ALL of our whims of what we think is halfway scary?
Posted 11/02/2005 - 03:41:32 PM by jhitting:
 No. Not all semi-scary songs should be on the list automatically, but to not include Fantomas is a poor omission. That's the first band I think of when I think of scary. The Director's Cut has a dozen songs on it that make everything on this list look like Peter Paul and Mary. And Mike Patton has made a career out of the strange, suspenseful, and downright frightening. Listen to any of his Mr. Bungle stuff. He samples fucking knives being sharpened.
Posted 11/02/2005 - 04:36:18 PM by cameron1979:
 Jhitting: I'm a huge Mike Patton fan but I don't find a lot of his work to be "scary." It's more creepy than anything as best heard on his "Adult Themes for Voice" solo CD - but that's kid's stuff compared to RHY Yau, Whitehouse or Lil' Markie for God's sake.
Posted 11/03/2005 - 01:30:59 AM by TheBrad:
 Who said Laurie Anderson? That's one I need to know more about.
Posted 11/03/2005 - 01:33:02 AM by TheBrad:
 Speaking of Gainsbourg... I just learned he made a for the album. Holy crickets.
Posted 11/03/2005 - 01:33:19 AM by TheBrad:
Posted 11/03/2005 - 12:08:48 PM by emptycylinder:
 I find the recordings on the Conet Project to be incredibly disturbing - for a multitude of reasons. Also, can I get some love for the Geto Boys' "Mind Playin' Tricks on Me" from a few years back? It's great, even if only for the end, where it turns out to not be Halloween, and that fool's been beating up the concrete. Scary stuff.
Posted 11/03/2005 - 12:23:58 PM by cameron1979:
 Good call, Empty. The Issac Hayes sample and the line, "It wasn't even close to Halloween..." are the best.
Posted 11/03/2005 - 01:27:49 PM by jhitting:
 OK. Fair enough. How about The Swans, then, or the Ween track "Spinal Meningitis" or Xiu Xiu's "Support Our Troops"...though I guess if you think about it, "Spinal Meningitis" is more fucked up than scary. Same with "Support Our Troops". But there's no denying the Swans ability to make twisted lyrics and sludging tunes that are downright scary.
Posted 11/03/2005 - 02:21:27 PM by cwperry:
 jhitting: There are no "poor omissions." Fantomas may be the first thing you think of when you think of scary music, but you did not write the list. I could easily claim "The Night Chicago Died" by Paper Lace was a "poor omission," but it's not because I didn't write the list. I hope that someday you become comfortable with objectivity.
Posted 11/03/2005 - 03:01:22 PM by Zarklephaser:
 I can also think of a Melvins track or two for this list . . .
Posted 11/03/2005 - 03:20:43 PM by J_R_K_:
 Clay Aiken, William Hung, K-Fed, MC Skat Cat and Marky Mark should all fall into the "so bad it's scary" category.
Posted 11/03/2005 - 08:59:35 PM by TheBrad:
 Yeah, I could've sworn somebody on staff suggested "The Night Chicago Died". Seriously.

The Jim Jones Guyana recordings are good listening too, from what I remember.
Posted 11/03/2005 - 09:38:16 PM by clem_bastow:
 I'd add "the whole first side of The Residents 'Third Reich N' Roll'".
Posted 11/04/2005 - 12:02:29 PM by J_R_K_:
 Papa M - Crowd of One
Posted 11/04/2005 - 03:08:43 PM by gM.Ed.:
 I agree that Mogwai - Like Herod has the scarriest moment in music that i've ever heard, that quiet lull to explosion moment scared me so bad I jumped, and now when I listen to that track (infrequently) I have to turn the volume down to nothing or fast forward through because you just can't anticipate where its coming. Anyways, yay Animal Collective and the BoC mention :D