It’s that time of the year again where pumpkins become (almost) everyone’s food of choice and dressing to look like blood sucking ghouls or the undead is the thing of the season. Oddly enough, it’s almost as if people prefer impersonating some of the most execrable fictional personalities to ever grace the earth with heinous witches and despicable clowns being notable favourites — and who could blame them?
The greatest things in life often take two to tango and superhero movies are no exception. The best superhero film classics require the presence of an equally compelling villain to leave an indelible mark of fear within our hearts — after all, without a good antagonist, our heroes would have no reason to exist. To mark the spookiest time of the year, we asked you for songs/soundtracks that elicited the villainous feeling within and compiled a playlist featuring our favourites of the bunch! Strap your seatbelts on, and let’s dive into a world of ‘tyrannical’ music!
5. Icct Hedral – Aphex Twin
The song certainly felt like a welcoming introduction to the dark side. Icct Hedral was released as part of an EP titled ‘Donkey Rhubarb’ by Richard D. James under the alias Aphex Twin back in 1995. Its disconcerting melody is still mindblowingly resonant even some 26 years later. To put it simply, this song exudes palpitations that cling to your bones like black tar, leaving its mark for the years to come . Chasmic groans and a muffled melody appears in spades throughout this haunting track, backed by a pulsing groove that’s simply impossible to ignore.
In my opinion, this song reminds me of the 1st movement in Ludwig von Beethoven’s Symphony in C minor titled ‘Allegro con brio’ — with a menacing edge that pierces the heart of even the bravest of souls. There is also a version of this song featuring a spine-tingling orchestration from legendary American composer Philip Glass; a true masterpiece befitting dark rituals which is a must-listen!
4. Red Lights – Stray Kids
When a song starts with the lyric ‘I cannot breathe…’, it’s a prognostication of things to come. Indeed, the likelihood of one being entrapped by the lyrics of this song is a very real possibility. Red Lights is an alternative R&B track sung in both Korean and English by Stray Kids’ members Bang Chan and Hyunjin as part of their second studio album titled NOEASY released on the 23th of August 2021.
The song speaks about an obsession and how great desire can blind an individual, with lyrics like “I’m going crazy now, out of control” and “All I see is red lights” — the red lights striking an eerie resemblance to danger signals. The breathy notes extravasate sensuality that amplifies the romance within you, whilst the brazen electric guitar notes oozes confidence in abundance.
An outstanding showpiece that travels through uncharted waters with incredible guile and finesse, and thoroughly delivers in laying the foundation for a sleek atmosphere. Equal parts captivating and artistic, Stray Kids have outdone themselves with this release and it deserves a place in your play queue on Spotify.
3. Control – Halsey
Halsey’s debut studio album ‘Badlands’ featured some rousing hits that have withstood the passage of time, with the track ‘Control’ being one of my personal favourites. According to Halsey back in 2015, this song was the most emotionally challenging song for her to write due to its dark nature — after all, it’s an encapsulation of Halsey’s battle with her bipolar disorder.
The haunting lyrics of “God damn right, you should be scared of me. Who is in control?” and “I’m meaner than my demons” provides a glimpse into Halsey’s mind as she questions who is in control within the depths of her mind. It provides a deeply estranged feeling and an unwanted glance into what it is like to be trapped within the dark confinements of your mind. An emotional jewel of a song, Control capsulizes the feelings of sadness, depression, anxiety and insanity in an impactful package that truly hits home with anyone walking along the same path.
2. No Church in the Wild – Jay Z & Kanye West (feat. Frank Ocean)
This song won the award for “Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards back in 2013, and it’s not difficult to see why. Mendacious vibes flow from this song at the very first second, with the song exploring religious survivalist themes as it actively abstains from the thought of traditional religious worship. Frank Ocean’s opening hook was particularly interesting, as he sings:
“Human beings in a mob.
What’s a mob to a king? What’s a king to a god?
What’s a god to a non-believer who don’t believe in anything?
Will he make it out alive? Alright, alright, no church in the wild.”
A striking tune, it also touches on other themes pertaining to topics including bombast and love, as the lyric “The other said ‘Love is Cursed by Monogamy’” touches on the nature of love in the present day. Safe to say, this timeless track, littered with throbbing guitar riffs and a heart pounding bass was ahead of its time and still showcases its relevance a decade after its release.
1. Bela Lugosi’s Dead – Bauhaus
Now, we have arrived at the top of our list — and it’s none other than the metonym for goth music itself. Easily Bauhaus’ most iconic song despite being somewhat of an outlier in the British’s band discography, the song features nearly 10 minutes of building tension walking precariously over a ticking rhythm that provides a brilliant haunting quality as if the song was formulated in a graveyard.
Whilst I’m no fan of the gothic genre in general, this 40-year old masterpiece has truly stood the test of time and it’s impossible to ignore the sheer brilliance of this song. With Halloween fast approaching, there’s no better time to ruminate “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” — do approach with a hint of caution though, its sepulchral element may just take over your soul.
Well, that’s a wrap! Our audience members have suggested a bunch of outstanding songs that truly embodies the Halloween spirit. If you’re feeling villainous, we have compiled all the songs suggested by our audience into a playlist that’s bound to bring out the villain within. Just click on the link below and you’ll be well on your way!
Have songs you would like featured in our next Echo-Pella playlist? Head on over to our Instagram to find out how!
By: Chris Phang