Boo! It being the season for ‘things that go bump in the night’ – I started to look into a general Halloween themed list. As is often the case when putting these things together it quickly became apparent that the focus needed to be narrowed – besides which the last list was Myths which has a few scary beasties included. As such, this list is exclusively about ghosts. Although I’ve a great fondness for ghost stories and creepy tales in general I am also a rational 21st century person who doesn’t believe in such nonsense. I have stayed overnight in supposedly haunted places, however… and I did hurry along the darkened corridors a little faster than usual.
If you’re looking for a Halloween party playlist, this probably isn’t going to cut the mustard – a few of these songs will get a crowd going, but some might send them into a deep fugue from which they may not return. If that’s your intention for the party, you may be taking the whole season of the witch thing a bit too seriously.
Not all of the tunes selected are actually about ghosts either, I mean who’s to say what some modern piece of dance music is actually about – but the ambience that’s created is what matters. Wooo, ooooh, eeeeek etc.
Hope you enjoy it all and if you happen to have any creepy suggestions yourself, don’t be frightened, please let us all know. I feel I must be missing some obvious ones here.
1. Robyn Hitchcock – My Wife and My Dead Wife
If you ever find yourself making coffee for both your wife and your dead wife, you’re in trouble. Still Robyn Hitchcock (real name I wonder?) manages to keep looking on the bright side. As he points out – if you do happen to have a ‘pale smiling ghost’ following you about, you won’t be short of company.
2. Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights
Practically the perfect pop song that features a ghost – in this case it’s Catherine from the Wuthering Heights turning up at Heathcliff’s window. If Hollywood has taught us anything, it’s that dead people turning up at your window late at night is never a good thing. Even early morning or afternoon is off-limits for that sort of thing, really. Back in the grave with you!
3. Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters
Okay so it’s a pretty obvious one, but it had to be included. It is totally about ghosts, mentions the word ‘ghost’ about 100 times and it is the theme tune to a film about ghosts. In short, it’s a ghosty ghostathon of ghosts getting all ghosty. Oh and one more thing… the video has Columbo in it. Case closed.
4. Sabres Of Paradise – Haunted Dancehall
Probably my favourite track from this classic post-dancefloor album (somehow ‘chill-out’ doesn’t quite match the tone here, I doubt they play this at Cafe Del Mar). Classic Andrew Weatherall atmospherics are combined with a Mike Oldfield influenced lead synth to give a nice eerie sense of dread and horror. Just what the doctor ordered.
5. Band of Horses – Is There a Ghost
Dublin Indie radio station, Phantom FM play this to death, so I hear it practically every time I get in my wife’s car. I’m guessing that the Ghost (as is often the case) is purely metaphorical. It’s a catchy number though and has a er… haunting feel to it.
6. Doc Scott – The Unofficial Ghost
The creepy atmospherics of this tune would nearly be enough to get it on the list. But then Mr Scott went and included ‘Ghost’ in the title – presumably as a reference to the Ghostface Killah sample – so I had to include it. Irish readers may remember this tune as the soundtrack to a Ritz advert back in the mid 90s – it was the hippest that pear cider ever got, and many Irish people’s first introduction to the darker sounds of drum and bass.
7. Mr Hudson & The Library – Ghosts
Before he hooked up with Kanye West and went all celebrity, Mr Hudson and his pals created a lovely romantic album A Tale of Two Cities, of which this song is one of the highlights. It’s just a simple ballad, and not at all scary. Ghosts as metaphor again.
If you’d like to listen to all the tunes consecutively – you know, like an old mixtape – check out the spooktacular (sorry) youtube playlist.