10. “Reformer” – Darkstar ft. Empress Of
Beginning with some undeniably ominous chopped and looped violin samples, the gloomy atmosphere of this Garagey Electro-Pop track only heightens when Empress Of joins the fray with a suspiciously tantalising performance. Empress glides along the dissonant beat with supernatural ease, showing off impressive pitch control while the instrumental crushes together strings, percussion and synth into an unholy yet somehow tempting mixture.
- “Ain’t it Funny” – Danny Brown
The unrelenting horns and crushing percussion on this track conjure up visions of a carnival from hell. Armed with an aggressive flow, Danny spits about the highs and lows of his erratic lifestyle, perfectly mirroring the chaos of the song. The dark humour at play here is undeniable as Danny sees fit to laugh off his impending, drug-induced, doom.
- “Black Din” – Street Sects
While every track on Street Sects debut album “End Position” fits perfectly on this list, Black Din edges out the others on the tracklist thanks to that haunting gothic refrain on the chorus “we’re all the same kind of murders here”. The instrumentation is comprised of rotating samples, stinging keys and rapid-fire drums which culminate into everything that makes Industrial Noise great with a heavy helping of self-aware Horror campiness.
- “Sadist” – Crystal Castles
Honestly, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Crystal Castles track that isn’t a little bit creepy but “Sadist” has it all. Alice Glass V 2.0 Edith Frances softly mumbles her vague lines (“you’ll be fine, you’ll be fine”) over the swirling synth onslaught. The uncomfortably slow beat is punctuated by shifts in the distortion and synth tones making the overall sound of the track difficult to pin down.
- “Harambe” – Young Thug
Now I bet you weren’t expecting to see both Young Thug and Harambe mentioned on this list were you? It’s easy to write off Harambe as just more ridiculousness from the constantly ridiculous Young Thug, especially with his comical grunting voice, dig a little deeper though and this song is properly messed up. Threats to murder your children and parents, casually inferences to committing domestic violence and suggestions of Satanic possession make this banger a bit more than an ode to a dated meme.
- “Radio Silence” – James Blake
On the surface, Radio Silence emulates very human themes of heartbreak and emotional turmoil without any trace of sinister intent. Both Blake’s production and performance suggest something darker though. His distant cries of “I don’t know how you feel” seem to manifest from a place of frustration rather than sadness and his increasingly deadpan and disembodied delivery clashes with the heartfelt sentiment of the lyrics.
- “Wriggle” – clipping.
Throughout all of Clipping’s Wriggle EP you are filled with this unsettling feeling that you are experiencing something you shouldn’t be. The title track acknowledges this feeling and calls you out on it, “Probably shoulda hollered if it wasn’t what you wanted but you got the world waiting”, leaving you trapped in its vicious Industrial Hip-Hop headlights like a terrified deer. Wriggle maintains the grimy bondage theme of the EP coupled with a dissonant, hypnotic and strangely danceable beat.
- “Starboy” – The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk
While it pales in comparison to last year’s “The Hills”, Starboy is still seeping with The Weeknd’s distinct brand of hedonism and moodiness. The song is rife with the grandiose production style you’d expect from a Pop behemoth with Daft Punk lending it some retro flavour, yet Abel still comes off as lonely and jaded. Starboy is a grim rejection The Weeknd’s mainstream status and Abel’s blatant anger and confident sarcastic swagger is somewhat unnerving.
- “Secret Scream” – The Black Queen
Greg Puciato’s 80’s worshipping side-project The Black Queen has no shortage of unsettling songs, but Secret Scream might just be the most simultaneously eerie and enjoyable. While the up-tempo beat and rousing synths on the chorus call to the dancefloor, Greg’s sinister croons and slippery lyricism give the song a much darker edge. The song has a creepy, serpent-like quality to it, emanating from its pulsating beat and the malicious intent of the lyrics.
- “Square Hammer” – Ghost
Rather than being a spooky tune I feel like Square Hammer and Ghost’s sound in general perfectly encapsulates the culture of Halloween in the modern age. Ghost’s old-school campy Horror-Rock sound is perfect for the one day a year where we celebrate all the evil Ghoulies from the past and present. The opening synth line and riff sounds as if it was ripped straight from a creepy 90’s kids cartoon and things only get campier and more excellent as we reach the massive hook. A catchy Horror-Rock epic that asks you to swear before the devil, what more could you want for you Halloween playlist?