Most Halloween playlists suck, especially the ones that feature “Monster Mash.” And there's nothing too spooky about Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” It’s just a great song. So we tasked ourselves with finding 20 quality spooky songs by North Texas artists that will fit in on any creepy Halloween playlist.
20. “Hellhound on my Trail” by Robert Johnson
Robert Johnson was a Mississippi Delta bluesman, but he has major ties to Dallas. Half of his known catalog was recorded in Dallas at 508 Park Ave. in 1937. Not only is the song “Hellhound on my Trail” haunting, but when it’s considered with the myth that Johnson sold his soul to the devil for his talents and the mystery surrounding his death, there’s enough spookiness to last an eternity.
Sudie’s “Heartattack” is a beautiful song, but the music video and lyric “I had a heart attack when I was sleeping” give us chills.
18. “Distant Dreamer” by Daniel Markham and Claire Morales
Daniel Markham and Claire Morales complement each other perfectly. Together they’ve released enough spooky material for a Halloween playlist of their own. “Distant Dreamer” is the first track off their joint albumNeighborhood Creeps
17. “Key and Peel” by Blue, The Misfit
The opening minor keys to this track from Blue, The Misfit instantly establish a creepy mood. Nothing about the lyrics is scary, but Blue has always had a knack for developing grand, gothic sonics, and that's evident here. The combo of Blue's and Danny Cainco’s hums make it worthy of inclusion on your all-Dallas Halloween playlist.
16. “I Won’t Tell” by Blackstone Rangers
“I Won’t Tell,” Blackstone Rangers’ slow burn of a track, features dreary, layered vocals that create a haunting tone. The repetition of the lyric “I won’t tell,” coupled with the distorted outro, make it a perfect addition to this list.
15. “Bodies” by Drowning Pool
No explanation needed here. “Let the bodies hit the floor” is about as creepy as a hook can get, and it helps that this song has become an anthem for zombie flicks and haunted houses everywhere.
14. “Highs and Lows” by The Outfit, TX
If the imagery doesn’t get you, the beat to this song certainly will. Its slow pace, minor keys, choir notes and snapping snare set the perfect tone for Mel’s exasperated vocals. “High and Lows” comes from The Outfit, TX’s albumDown By The Trinity,
one of our favorite albums of 2015.
13. “Cemetery Gates” by Pantera
Pantera’s classic power ballad is about the death of a significant other and the thought of dying to be with him or her. Vocalist Phil Anselmo shows off his full range on the track, and Dimebag Darrell’s screeching guitar is just right for this list.
12. “The Natural” by Ignatius
Ignatius’ falsetto on "The Natural" is unsettling, to say the least. The scratchy gothic beat and lyrics like “Don’t you be fucking with the natural” set the perfect tone for your playlist.
11. “The Strangers” by St. Vincent
The '50s aesthetic of the song is what makes it spooky. Annie Clark has said this song is about a person who is wealthy but unhappy, which conjures thoughts of The Stepford Wives.
10. “Unidentifed” by Cujo
Clocking in at just a minute and 21 seconds, “Unidentified” is a quick-hitting track, but it leaves an impact. The minimal beat is a callback to the horrorcore stylings of Three 6 Mafia’s early work. Cujo’s vocals are deep, nearly growling, and they hit like a sledgehammer.
9. “Larry Legion II” by Larry Legion
Daniel Markham’s second appearance on this list comes from his alter ego project Larry Legion, demonstrating the artist's range. This black metal-inspired song is long, winding and somewhat demented.
8. “Pig” by Catslash
Honestly, everything about Catslash is creepy. His name, the EP’s bloody artwork and this song in particular are all very creepy. “Pig” features everything from the clanging of chains to stressed falsettos, distorted vocals and harsh drops.
7. “Return of Da Livin’ Dead” by The D.O.C.
The story surrounding The D.O.C.’s 1996 Helter Skelter album is one of the most tragic in the music industry. In 1989, the rapper from Dallas was driving home after some late-night partying and fell asleep at the wheel. His car veered off the highway, and The D.O.C. wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. When the car crashed, he was ejected from the vehicle and suffered life-threatening injuries that included severe damage to his vocal chords. His promising rap career under the tutelage of Dr. Dre was shelved.
6. “Crook For Life” by Mr. Pookie
Not only is “Crook For Life” one of Dallas’ greatest rap songs of all time, it’s also one of its creepiest. The blunt violence depicted in the song is tough to swallow, and the song borders on plain horrorcore with its menacing, piano-driven beat and absurd lines like “Ask me why did I killed that bitch, my pit bull needed some fucking meat!”
5. “Who Was In My Room Last Night” by Butthole Surfers
This is one of Butthole Surfers' creepier songs. The protagonist tries to figure out who pounded on his window, ran fingers down his chest and eventually abducted him while he was sleeping.
4. “The New School Shooter” by Analog Rebellion
Analog Rebellion’s slow, disturbing track about a high school student planning a school shooting is very disturbing, especially given its twee tone.
3. “Maniac” by Mega Drive
Mega Drive’s entire catalog is built upon horror-themed electronica, but this opening track to his 2013Maniac
EP is the eeriest of them all. You could fill a playlist for a Halloween party with material from this anonymous producer alone. His catalog is available on Bandcamp.
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2. “I Get Overwhelmed” by Dark Rooms
From the opening reverberated note to the finale, this track is beautiful, haunting and impactful. It’s also the lead track for David Lowery’s 2017 film A Ghost Story, which was shot in and around Irving and Dallas. Daniel Hart's emotional falsetto sets this song apart from a lot of the songs on this list, and it’s a frontrunner for best song of the year from a Dallas artist.
1. “DOA” by Bloodrock
This song by DOA is a first-person account of someone dying in a car crash. The creepy-ass song was a Top 40 hit and received heavy radio play until the FCC banned it, mostly because of the sirens in the song, which were causing people to pull over, thinking an ambulance was behind them.