An estimated 92% of us experience earworms. Despite the annoying times we can’t get a chorus or a hook of an overplayed pop song out of our heads, getting a really good earworm stuck can be one of the best things, ever. We here at Nerdist are dead set on bringing you those types of songs—even if only for the weekend. So shove this into your grey matter!
Hey there, you big ol’ Nerdoweeners! Man, there has seriously got to be a better term to go with than that. I suppose we have about a year to figure it out, though, since Nerdoween is almost over. This weekend is likely the time most people spent dressing up, going to parties, and (of course) trick or treating. By the time you’re reading this, chances are you’ll already be in the throes of a full-on candy coma or recovering from a party-filled weekend while you scour Facebook trying to figure out what that goblin you danced with really looks like. In the spirit of the season and for the sake of candy/party related hangovers, I decided to go with some Halloween-related standby classics.
We’re going to start off with (read: get it over with) the granddaddy of all Halloween songs because it just has to be done.
Bobby Pickett “Monster Mash”
I know. I know. This song is on every list and is entirely overplayed but it’s essential to this time of year. I can safely say that before a few days ago, I had never actually listened to the song in its entirety or given the lyrics any thought whatsoever. After doing so, I don’t think people give it the credit it deserves. After many viewings, I’m certain that Pickett’s facial contortions in every performance of the song deserve an some sort of award and that the tale he tells in the tune isn’t so bad. It’s even substantially less horrific that other songs from the 1960s, if you think about Little Peggy March’s stalker anthem of “I Will Follow Him” and The Angels’ jovial promise of a severe beatdown in “My Boyfriend’s Back“. Despite it being somewhat annoying, “Monster Mash” really is the only strictly Halloween anthem there is.
Dusty Springfield “Spooky”
Granted, this version is a cover of Classics IV’s (what a grammatically terrible band name) 1967 song, but I’m willing to fight anyone who thinks any other version is better than Dusty Springfield’s. [Note: Please don’t fight me. I’m all talk.] Is it a reach to include “Spooky,” a tune that’s ostensibly a love song, on a Halloween themed article? Maybe, but after all is said and done with the Halloween season, is there anything more spooky than the idea of being in love? [Note: I have no idea. I’m all talk]
Alright, back to legitimately spooky songs.
Donovan “Season of the Witch”
Maybe it’s the psychedelic rock aspects of the haunting reverberated guitar. Maybe it’s that the verses start calmly but build into what feels like a panic in the chorus. Or maybe it’s the fact this song has been featured in countless movies and TV shows when creepy or stressful things happen that makes me associate it with the Halloween season. Whatever the reason, if “Monster Mash” didn’t exist, Donovan’s “Season of the Witch” would likely be on the top of every Halloween playlist. Well, maybe not the top, since this next song will always be a part of the season.
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins “I Put a Spell on You”
I am well aware that the audience of Nerdist is vastly more familiar with the Hocus Pocus version of this song but, if we’re all honest with ourselves, the Jay Hawkins original is just flat-out better. Creepier and more sinister in every way, the original version will always be my favorite. Nothing against Hocus Pocus, but this version does something to me on a molecular level. Try listening to it on a decent sound system with the volume turned up a bit more than it should be and tell me the horns and Hawkins’ vocals don’t continually pump terror into your veins. I’m sure it has something to do with human beings’ reaction to low frequencies and infrasound (despite this song being completely audible).
Oh, who am I kidding? It’s Halloween and you deserve a treat! Here’s the version everyone was expecting!
Happy Nerdoween! Share your favorite Halloween songs in the comments below!
Image: Walt Disney Pictures
Blake Rodgers writes for Nerdist from Chicago, IL where he lives happily with his Guinness World Record for High Fives. You can be his pal by following him on Twitter (@TheBlakeRodgers)