There are at least three varieties of scary songs — novelty numbers, done for laughs; songs that have dark lyrics but aren’t all that scary; and songs (“compositions” is a better word) that actually sound scary and give you the creeps. Here are some that fit in the latter category, at least for me:
“Moonlight In Glory,” Brian Eno and David Byrne, My Life In the Bush of Ghosts. First there’s the retarded preacher’s sermon, then the young guy knocks on the old lady’s door…
“Bat Chain Puller,” Captain Beefheart, Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller). In case you want to hear what an army of zombies marching in lockstep sounds like.
“Farewell Ride,” Beck, Guero. A master of postmodern pop writes and sings a 12-bar dirge as spooky and sincere as something by Robert Johnson or Son House. Go figure.
“Clap Hands,” Tom Waits, Rain Dogs. “They all went to heaven in the little rowboat.”
“Rebel Music,” Bob Marley and the Wailers, Burnin’. Sounds like horrible things would be happening if everybody wasn’t so stoned.
“Broken English,” Marianne Faithfull, Broken English. The lyrics are troubling, the melody stark, but Faithfull’s broken voice is what’s scary.
“Always Crashing In the Same Car,” David Bowie, Low. World-weary, fatalistic, dreamy, chilling.
“O Superman,” Laurie Anderson, Big Science. This one scared the hell out of my best friend’s young son many years ago. Scared me, too.
“I Put a Spell on You,” Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Frenzy. Yeah, it’s a novelty tune, but Screamin’ Jay was authentically, undeniably demented.