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Songs That Scare the Shit Out of Us

Sounds of Horror

A STILL FROM THE VIDEO Kelly O says, “Whenever the shit’s about to hit the fan in my life, ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ is playing somewhere, at a creepy low volume, whether I can hear it or not.”

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"EMOTIONAL RESCUE" BY THE ROLLING STONES

"Emotional Rescue" starts out so innocently. It's vintage Rolling Stones white-boy soul, the hi-hat tinging, the bass deep, Mick Jagger's harmless falsetto chiming in—it's catchy, and you can't quite understand the words, and you're ready to dance, aren't you? When I heard it on the radio as a child, it always fooled me with its innocuous beginning: "I was dreaming... last night..." Dreams are nice. Not like nightmares. I'm just a little girl, living life, listening to some rock and roll while playing paper dolls or whatever. No problem. "You could be mine, mine, mine, mine, all mine," the man in the song says. Okay, like "Be mine" on a valentine... okay.

Things that are horribly creepy are all the more creepy when you're not expecting them. Children are forgetful. "Mmmmmm," the man on the radio says with monstery relish, and the happy bounce of the bass falls away. "Yeeessssssss, you could be mine. Tonight and EVERRRRY night. I will be your KNIGHT in SHINING ARMOR, coming to your eeeeee-MO-tional rescue." Nooooo. Incantatory, casting a spell, now: "You will be mine you will be mine all mine..." over and over and over. The saxophone here sounds terrorized, like it's bleating a warning before it gets slashed with this monster-man's claws. Now, wait—no, stop—"I will be your knight in shining armor, riding across the desert, on a fine Arab CHARRRRGER." He inhales with a hisssss. NO NO NO NO NO. Run across the room, turn off the radio, heart beating fast. Even a girl can see that this is not a rescue, emotional or otherwise. This is a demon looking for a host.

The rest of the song, should one be able to stand it, is more saxophone bleats and disturbing slipped beats, as the universe falls apart.

Only now, today, do I know the rest of the lyrics, including:

I come to you, so silent in the night
So stealthy, so animal quiet
I'll be your savior, steadfast and true
I'll come to your emotional rescue
I'll come to your emotional rescue

According to a Stones biography, Mick Jagger said "Emotional Rescue" was about "a girl who's in some sort of manhood problems," one who's "just a little bit screwed up and he wants to be the one to help her out." You're not making things any less creepy there, Mick. Can you even ride a horse?

Shudder. BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT

"DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY" BY BOBBY McFERRIN

Sometimes the happiest songs are also the most sinister. Filmmakers know this all too well. Remember how creepy "Singing in the Rain" was in A Clockwork Orange? Or "Stuck in the Middle with You" in Reservoir Dogs, "Mr. Sandman" in Halloween II, "Sussudio" in American Psycho, and "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" in the horror flick Insidious? When something innocent turns evil, it packs a pretty hellish punch. For me, this evil song will always be the cheery late-1980s reggae a-cappella radio hit "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin. On the album cover, McFerrin is grinning with every single one of his upper teeth, and the title is written in all caps, with an exclamation point, and is centered between two yellow smiley faces. It demands that you BE HAPPY. In the MTV video, he played two people—himself (always HAPPY) wearing a white tux and no shoes, and another very UNHAPPY man in a brown business suit and round glasses. There's a quick close-up of this businessman's face over a blurry background, his tongue protruding a bit, the whole scene washed in red light, right before he jumps off a window ledge in a post-stock-market-crash suicide.

It was the song that was quietly playing on the radio the night I stumbled, barefoot, wearing only blood-soaked pajamas, into a 7-Eleven looking for a police officer to help my boyfriend after he'd slit both of his wrists. It was eerily playing in the waiting room at my Friday the 13th appointment with an oral surgeon in Ann Arbor, Michigan, named Dr. Fear (google him if you don't believe me) on the day I had to get all four of my wisdom teeth pulled before my health insurance ran out. I kicked a clock radio across my college dorm, smashing it to bits, when the song came on as an alarm one morning—the morning I was about to call my mom and tell her that, even though she did an excellent job of making birth control 100 percent accessible to me, even in my early teens, I'd fucked up and was pregnant in only the first semester at an expensive college we both worked really hard to get me into. I fully believe that whenever the shit's about to hit the fan in my life, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" is playing SOMEWHERE, at a creepy low volume, whether I can hear it or not. And even though the song is now older than dirt (and not a classic or even "classic rock") and has pretty much vanished from most of the world's playlists, I fully expect it to pop up somehow on the day of my funeral. Oh yes, ol' Bobby McFerrin will try to take one last jab at me, I just know it. "Hey, Kelll-leeeeeee... here's a little song I wrote, you might want to sing it, note for note?" KELLY O

ANY RADIO HIT BY JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP

John Cougar Mellencamp's shaggy brand of blue-skies-blue-jeans-blue-collar-red-white-and-also-blue Heartland, USA, rock is so disturbing, so claustrophobia-inducing, that if it comes on the radio while I'm in the car, I will pull over, heart racing, and mash my hand against the console until it shuts off. You realize how terrifying his songs are, right?

"Small Town" is about being born in a small, middle-American town that secretly feeds sedatives into the water supply to ensure you work there, go to school there, and visit your parents every day there—your whole entire life—until you die and are then subsequently buried there. I'm sweating just typing that. "Jack & Diane" is a little ditty about peaking at the age of 16, somewhere in the Bible Belt, when your high-school boyfriend knocks you up after eating a chili dog. "I Need a Lover" is about the world's worst one-night stand with a sociopath. And "Pink Houses" isn't even a real song, it's a prop song played on an hourly loop in the aforementioned Small Town to further instill complacency by (a) vaguely naming two kinds of men you might find in America, and (b) reminding you that you are, in fact, "free," but that (c) leaving Small Town will end in bills and pills that kill (because you went after—you guessed it—thrills).

The most sinister element of the Coug's music is the bright, strumming, hot-apple-pie way it's delivered. The minute you sense anything creepy, a shrill harmonica tases you until you're screaming the pledge of allegiance from the top of your pickup truck made of Styrofoam, red meat, cigarettes, and incandescent lightbulbs.

Okay wait, the actual scariest thing about the Cougster has to be the hair-raising occasion when a loved one or respected peer turns out to be under his breadbaskety spell. Imagine: You're in the car. Your buddy turns on the radio. "Small Town" is playing. You instinctually reach your hand out to mash to another station. Your pal stops you: "I love this song!" they exclaim. You look up in horror. They're smiling, eyes glazed over. You're trapped. They sing along. Gonna die in this small town! AHHHHHHHHHH! EMILY NOKES

"OLD MAN JACOB'S WELL" BY BOOGIEMONSTERS

What is it about wells—stony, dark, deep reservoirs of terror—that creep me the fuck out? See, I'm a city (as in inner-) boy, and I've always gotten my fluoridated fix from a tap, whether it was the rusty LA vintage of my youth or Seattle's clean, bright brand. Wells, which I always associate with farms, conjure images of the usual countrified horror we all know—bloodthirsty rednecks, sharp pitchforks, endless silent woods—but also have a certain elemental creep-out that's hard to pin down. It's a fucking hole in the ground, deep as shit. Does it go to the center of the earth, where undiscovered creatures and evolutionary throwbacks still flourish—and occasionally feast on a hapless spill-taking drunk—or is it a flume straight to hell? Visions straight out of pre-censorship EC Comics dance in my head, even though the only encounter I've had with a well was the slimy, filmy-feeling water-softened shower I took in Wisconsin at my girl's dad's place.

Violent Femmes did it first with the blood-freezing "Country Death Song" (allegedly based on a real incident from 1862, when a man threw his daughter down a well before hanging himself), but it was the New York–based rappers Boogiemonsters (once obscure and now mostly, sadly, forgotten) that perfectly crystallized the creeping dread inherent in this man-made abyss. "Old Man Jacob's Well" is told (in chilling voice-altered verses) from the perspective of the titular child-killer, Jacob ("I kill to forget, the devil doesn't even dare me anymore"), and from that of his latest victim, who before his capture declares himself "the fastest kid around." It's the kid's verse that makes my chest the most tight—he goes from strong and quick to running, tripping, caught; he fears rape as Jacob sticks a sock in his mouth. Jesus. The hook chants, "14 souls dwell, in Old Man Jacob's well," but by the end, Jacob will "wipe the blood off [his] knife and drop the 15th body down into the well." After I first heard this song, every time I played The Underwater Album (underappreciated, natch), I always skipped track nine. LARRY MIZELL JR.

"HOW MUCH LONGER" BY THE POP GROUP

The Pop Group's For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? came out in 1980, and it hit me like machine-gun fire when I heard it as an 18-year-old. Led by the hysteria-prone vocalist/provocateur Mark Stewart, this British post-punk band thrust a hardcore left-wing ethos during Margaret Thatcher's reign, buttressed by some of the most savage funk, avant-jazz, dub, and noise rock ever laid down. The track "How Much Longer" especially sent a chill down my spine—and every other bone—upon initial contact during that summer before my freshman year of college. In it, Stewart makes indignant accusations against the world's corrupt, greedy, warmongering forces ("There's a hell of a lot of money to be made from wars," "Why let sadistic mass murderers control our world?" "Nixon and Kissinger should be tried for war crimes"). He really seems to be at the end of his tether. Meanwhile, the scathing guitar echoes that from James Brown's "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," but tightened up with battlefield urgency, and the bass and drums agitate into militant dub maneuvers. Because of those dub influences, there's a lot of space in this piece, and in those lacunae, tension and menace thrive. Near the end, a calamitous noise-rock/free-jazz clamor bursts forth, signifying apocalypse and/or the Pop Group's infernal rage at the state of things. Then everything drops out except a deep, bubbling cauldron sound. That is the final straw, the element that pushes things into nightmare realms. It always makes me think of human bodies boiling, of unspeakable agony. Stewart whispers, "They're planning the holocaust," and you feel an urge to yank the needle off the record/hit pause. But instead, masochistically, you play it again. Because might as well admit it, you're addicted to horror. DAVE SEGAL

"BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO" BY NEIL SEDAKA

This song has always given me the willies, like the family friend who encourages you to call him "uncle" even though there is no relation. Something about the dissonance between the lyrics, rife with pleading and blatant emotional manipulation ("I beg of you, don't say good-bye,"), and the jaunty doo-wop has always conjured images of a blank-faced ventriloquist dummy, with no puppeteer in sight, singing from inside a darkened closet. The verbiage of the carpet doesn't match the audible drapes! Sedaka's signature lilting falsetto only adds insult to injury as far as the stalkerish, flowerbed Peeping Tom vibe is concerned. This is the song Marky Mark would have crooned through the keyhole to Reese Witherspoon in Fear, had it been a musical. I appreciate that it's an attempt at sweetening a particularly somber topic usually fraught with mascara-laced tears and the rupturing of a shared record collection (breaking up sucks, y'know?), but a world in which folks don't make the necessary changes in their life just because it would be a bummer is far more terrifying to me than any potentially lonely singledom. There are other more outwardly disturbing songs from this same era, like "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)" by the Crystals and "Wishin' and Hopin'" by Dusty Springfield ("Do the things he likes to do/Wear your hair just for him"). But every time I hear the sniveling yet chipper shoop-bop-bop of "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do," I can't help but picture Sedaka, pomaded hair all a mess, wielding a kitchen knife: "Don't take your love away from me, don't you leave my heart in misery!" KATIE MARTIN

"LAND OF CONFUSION" BY GENESIS

I blame goddamn Genesis and their goddamn "Land of Confusion" video for a reoccurring nightmare I've suffered since I was at least 8 years old. Is the song itself scary? No. But the video damaged me. Even today, in my 30s, I can't hear "Land of Confusion" without seeing flashes of the video, with its lumpy, freaky puppets, the heads being plucked out of the swamp, the tongue sandwich. Oh god! The TONGUE SANDWICH!

"Land of Confusion" was the first time I remember a song pointing out that we are fucked. Hearing Phil Collins sing, "There's too many men, too many people, making too many problems," it made my adolescent brain face man's inevitable destruction and It... Was... Terrifying.

It was too much for my little mind to comprehend, in fact, and it has haunted me ever since. My nightmare picks up where the video leaves off (after Ronald Reagan accidentally nukes everyone): I'm at my parents' house, in the backyard, and I'm just realizing that everyone else in the world has ceased to exist. I hear something, though—tiny giggling. It's coming from under the cars parked in the driveway. It's coming from inside the house. I'm frozen, petrified. I see a flash of a creature run through my peripheral vision. I turn around. Another one! IT'S ONE OF THE LAND OF CONFUSION HEADS. They're surrounding me, bouncing around, bodyless and giggling horrible high-pitched giggles, darting up into trees and under porches. And then I wake up, screaming. MEGAN SELING

 

Comments (50) RSS

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1
@Emily Nokes

I can understand your visceral reaction to John Cougar Mellencamp's music, his radio hits especially, but I think your characterizations of his music and it's message are incorrect.

I might point you towards the "Politics and activism" section of his wikipedia page.

The guy has written songs against Reagan, Bush and the Iraq war. His camp has rebuked both the McCain Campaign and NOM for both [mis]using and misunderstanding his songs.

I'll leave you with his publicist's statement, regarding John Cougar Mellencamp's 2008 performances for the Clinton and Obama campaigns but lack of endorsement for either in the primaries, "Neither candidate is as liberal as he would prefer, but he's happy to contribute what he can."
Posted by Scarecrow On A Wooden Cross, Blackbird In The Barn on October 23, 2013 at 10:40 AM · Report this
Paul Pearson 2
"Frankie Teardrop" by Suicide.
Posted by Paul Pearson on October 23, 2013 at 3:15 PM · Report this
chinaski 3
Aaron Copland - Fanfare for the Common Man
Posted by chinaski on October 23, 2013 at 3:20 PM · Report this
4
"Every breath you take" by the Police...
the ultimate stalker song...
Posted by Leif_in_seattle on October 23, 2013 at 3:22 PM · Report this
Anne18 5
Why isn't this article accompanied by a handy playlist?
Posted by Anne18 on October 23, 2013 at 3:40 PM · Report this
Anne18 6
Also: Hiroshima - This Mortal Coil
Posted by Anne18 on October 23, 2013 at 3:43 PM · Report this
Anne18 7
Ack. Why can't we delete comments?!

I Come and Stand at Every Door - This Mortal Coil
Posted by Anne18 on October 23, 2013 at 3:47 PM · Report this
8 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
Gern Blanston 9
"Come to Daddy" by Aphex Twin, especially when coupled with the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWDAtMPoB…
Posted by Gern Blanston on October 23, 2013 at 3:51 PM · Report this
stirwise 10
Hurdy Gurdy Man by Donovan. I mean, it's kind of creepy on its own, but ever since Zodiac a few years ago it makes the hair stand up on my neck.

then when the hurdy gurdy man
came singing songs of love
hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, gurdy he sang.


Shudder.
Posted by stirwise on October 23, 2013 at 4:08 PM · Report this
11
#9 FTW. #SCURRY!!!
Posted by Adrian Ryan on October 23, 2013 at 4:10 PM · Report this
Estey 12
This is easily my favorite Halloween music article I've read this year hands down. From the final heart-stabbing paragraph of Kelly O's real suffering entwined with the noxious ubiquity of "Don't Worry" (good Lord, universe, give the gal a break and erase that tune from existence!), to the claustrophobic trauma I share with Ms. Nokes for the Coug (such great lines in that assessment -- "The most sinister element of the Coug's music is the bright, strumming, hot-apple-pie way it's delivered") this is aces! Also, I would have mentioned "Country Death Song" but Lar already did, and tipped me to a hip-hop horror I have to hear! Kudos!
Posted by Estey on October 23, 2013 at 4:22 PM · Report this
crap bag 13
Dream Weaver (especially the scary intro noise) used to scare the shit out of me when I was a kid.
Posted by crap bag on October 23, 2013 at 4:59 PM · Report this
14
John Wayne Gacy Jr. by Sufjan Stevens

The weight she fell under by Parenthetical Girls

Main Theme to Nightbreed by Danny Elfman

Most anything by Set Fire To Flames on the headphones in the dark
Posted by Foonken2 on October 23, 2013 at 6:20 PM · Report this
15
oooh, and Archives of Pain by the Manic Street Preachers.
Posted by Foonken2 on October 23, 2013 at 6:34 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 16

I bet you didn't know that I could treat you right
that underneath the armor
there's another girl
she's standing with a suitcase
ready to run


Ladyfingers
by Luscious Jackson
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on October 23, 2013 at 6:54 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 17
Cop by Swans.
Posted by Matt from Denver on October 23, 2013 at 7:02 PM · Report this
sirkowski 18
Woman in Love by Barbra Streisand scared me as a child. Also anything by Pink Floyd.
Posted by sirkowski http://www.missdynamite.com on October 23, 2013 at 7:46 PM · Report this
19
lolllllll @ yr genesis story- love it!
Posted by chewy123 on October 23, 2013 at 7:52 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 20
I creep around because I need attention
Don't mess around with my affection


-TLC

Ooooo...Crazy on ya
Crazy on you
Let me go crazy, crazy on you


-Heart
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on October 23, 2013 at 9:41 PM · Report this
mr. herriman 21
The John Wayne Gacy song mentioned @14, yes, but I hadn't thought of it until I saw it written there. I came here to say Jethro Tull.
Posted by mr. herriman on October 23, 2013 at 10:45 PM · Report this
22
The The, "This is the Day". It's one of those happy-sounding sad songs that, in my case, was rendered so much worse by the fact that it happened to wind up in one of my iTunes playlists while I was stuck in an absolutely terrible job that culminated in a case of clinical depression and a total change of careers for me, and throughout it all Matt Johnson was crooning "This is the day ... your life is gonna change" in a tone that mocked me for even thinking that might be so.

Anyways. Yeah. Fuck that song.
Posted by Morosoph on October 23, 2013 at 10:46 PM · Report this
Quincy 23
But Megan, our generation will put it right!
Posted by Quincy on October 23, 2013 at 11:10 PM · Report this
--MC 24
Not a song per se, but the Paramount "Closet Killer" music by Dominic Frontiere used to scare the whiz out of me when it came on at the end of shows in 1970, and got into my nightmares as well. Still does.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLo_7e5G…
Posted by --MC on October 24, 2013 at 7:19 AM · Report this
Estey 25
Holy shit, this is one of my favorite comments threads ever -- so many of my favorite songs here! Yeah, @14, @17, and I always felt that way about the innocuous-sounding @22 too (though I still dig it). This is actually something really important to think about -- a song that arrives when your world is falling apart, maybe again and again, as Kelly O so accurately nails. I don't have one, but my mom would look pale and terrified a la a Lynchian "Blue Velvet" moment whenever Sinatra's "What's New?", from the 50s came on her oldies radio. Then Linda Ronstadt covered it in the 80s, and freaked her out completely all over again. I never found out why, and she wouldn't tell me.
Posted by Estey on October 24, 2013 at 9:01 AM · Report this
Jeffrey in Chicago 26
"Silent Running" by Mike & the Mechanics terrified me as a child and still has the power to scare the shit out of me.
Posted by Jeffrey in Chicago http://www.somethingawful.com/flash/shmorky/babby.swf on October 24, 2013 at 10:41 AM · Report this
mr. herriman 27
oooh, good one, @26. i associate that song with laying awake in my bed with the radio, too scared to sleep. not because of the song itself, really, it was just in heavy rotation at the time.

before that i had only a little am radio to keep me company. 'heartache tonight' by the eagles and 'don't stop thinking about tomorrow' by fleetwood mac can still carry me right back to that terrified place in my child-mind.
Posted by mr. herriman on October 24, 2013 at 11:15 AM · Report this
28
Body Count - Momma's Gotta Die Tonight
Posted by Vinsanity on October 24, 2013 at 11:22 AM · Report this
Emily Nokes 29
@2 - AHHH seriously! That breathless weird singing and thumping.
Posted by Emily Nokes on October 24, 2013 at 11:40 AM · Report this
Travis Ritter 30
Eli Anderson, Light in the Attic's Jon Treneff, Corey Brewer and I are DJing at Linda's on Tuesday, Oct. 29 and we're playing nothing but songs that are intended to send chills up your spine and gash you with a hatchet. OH THE AGONY.
Posted by Travis Ritter http://nuglifer.wordpress.com on October 24, 2013 at 12:28 PM · Report this
Arsfrisco 31
Phil Collins 'Another Day in Paradise'. It's ostensibly about having compassion for the poor but I realized you can read the exact opposite into it: the words also work as a Social-Darwinist manifesto. Scared me shitless thinking pop music might actually be full of anti-humanist messages designed to support the Reagan agenda.
Posted by Arsfrisco on October 24, 2013 at 12:45 PM · Report this
32
"This is the Law of the Plague" by Diamanda Galas
Posted by els2000 on October 24, 2013 at 12:51 PM · Report this
33
'Timothy' by the Buoys - still don't know how an ode to cannibalism became a pop hit.
Posted by Orbit on October 24, 2013 at 4:43 PM · Report this
34
"The Pope Held Upside Down" by Sickness of Snakes.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuO6o5hIj…
Posted by DamonCreed on October 24, 2013 at 9:41 PM · Report this
35
@4: You beat me to it. Agreed!

My vote for the absolute creepiest music (at least for a string section!) isn't technically a radio pop song, so maybe it wouldn't qualify for the Stranger Staff's Sounds of Horror blogger survey here.
But for those who have seen the 1980 Stanley Kubrick film, The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson, and have heard Krystof Penderecki's unnerving full nine minutes of "Polymorphia for 48 Strings" (used toward the end of the film inside the snow-buried hedge maze), THAT gets my vote!
Redrum!.. Redrum!... Redrum!!

Posted by auntie grizelda on October 25, 2013 at 12:08 AM · Report this
Madge 36
"I Scare Myself", Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks. A tasty ghoul-ash of creepy, sexy, unsettling, and exciting.
Posted by Madge on October 25, 2013 at 4:19 PM · Report this
Texas10R 37
This article is a load of steaming shit. It's the kind of "reoccurring [sic] nightmare" that seeps out of its crypt when the staff can't come up with anything coherent.
Posted by Texas10R on October 25, 2013 at 4:45 PM · Report this
38
@33 - I always knew that I had a twin out there, cruelly separated from me at birth! Timothy is the worst song ever. It is so awful most people don't even know about it.
Posted by lakreitz on October 25, 2013 at 10:29 PM · Report this
39
@37: Bullshit. It sounds more like you just can't come up with a song title or music (c'mon--you're a tenor saxophone player and / or singer?!) that ever scared the steaming shit out of you.
If you don't like this column, don't play.
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 26, 2013 at 6:03 AM · Report this
40
"In the Pines", Knoxville Girl" and "Me and My Uncle." A sonic trifecta of crime. Nobody does creepy quite like the hillbillies can. "There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza -- a hole."
Posted by the shirtcocker on October 26, 2013 at 1:15 PM · Report this
41
"Every Breath You Take" by the Police is a pretty damned scary song about possessiveness and obsession.

"Midnight Rambler" by the Rolling Stones--a psycho killer song, without the tongue-in-cheek weirdness of the Talking Heads song by that name.

Most any song from "Cure for Pain" by Morphine.

And surely something sung by Nico--her vocals have a creepy, flat quality that makes me think of someone with borderline personality disorder.

And Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell. Something about their trilling high notes makes my inner canine want to howl in pain and fear.
Posted by Functional Atheist on October 26, 2013 at 9:34 PM · Report this
42
Hey, Kelly O, I had a dentist as a child named Dr Fear! He was a bastard. He'd gouge your gums with that metal pick and yell "Keep still!" when you flinched. Apparently, we couldn't afford the nice dentist--the only other toof doc in town. Dr. Fear is forever linked in my mind with the elevator version of The Girl from Ipanema, piped through his office.
Posted by portland scribe on October 27, 2013 at 2:16 PM · Report this
43
"Silent Lucidity" by Queensryche scared the bejeezus out of me as a kid. Also anything by Yes, King Crimson...prog rock in general gives me the heebie-jeebies.

And "Comfortably Numb" is some seriously freaky shit, but that might be too obvious a choice.
Posted by the_spiral on October 27, 2013 at 2:20 PM · Report this
44
Oh crap, how could I have forgotten "Hamburger Lady" by Throbbing Gristle?
Posted by the_spiral on October 27, 2013 at 2:26 PM · Report this
45
I cant believe I read all 44 comments and NOT ONE person pointed out that "Don't Worry, Be Happy" is a freakin BOB MARLEY SONG!!! It is not
a bad song that has "fallen off playlists". OK,
maybe not KJR, but it's a mainstay on any reaggae (how do you spell that?) playlists. Its also one of the few songs I can listen to that really DOES make me happy! (sorry everyone's so dumb, Bob- RIP)
Posted by Derelect St. Homo on October 27, 2013 at 3:44 PM · Report this
46
This may be the very first comments section I have ever enjoyed. Great songs! Although it was featured prominently in some Nickelodeon-style movie about a ghost, it still creeps me out...I Only Have Eyes For You - The Flamingos. In addition, Shankhill Butchers - The Decemberists.

Anybody remember a song from the 80s where a stalker is talking about following someone? It ends with: "And then I strike!"

Another question: anybody heard a song that is song by a whispering woman with mellow/creepy music that talks about a woman or witch walking through the forest and peeling off the skin from the bottom of her feet? Scary as hell even in the middle of the day in L.A.
Posted by brane on October 27, 2013 at 5:56 PM · Report this
47
@45 I'm afraid the reason no one pegged 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' as a Bob Marley song is because it isn't. Not in any way. It's a Bobby McFerrin song, based on something Meher Baba used to say. It's less 'all of us are dumb' and more 'you're laboring under an easily disprovable misconception.'

I can't speak to whatever 'reggae playlists' you're referring to, but I don't think there's anything reggae about the song beyond the faux-Jamaican accent McFerrin uses for comic effect.
Posted by Orbit on October 28, 2013 at 2:59 AM · Report this
48
Sorry Icelandic music fans out there, but Hyperballad (or anything by Bjork, for that matter) gives me the creeps. What is this mountain she keeps talking about on the song? Must be that eerie one covered in fog, in eternal darkness, leafless trees and howling coyotes. Yikes!
Posted by webalien on October 30, 2013 at 1:50 PM · Report this
49
Tim Buckley's "Starsailor" works for me:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9obCFstSR…
Posted by ligeti on October 30, 2013 at 4:03 PM · Report this
50
I'm a Stones Fan but Emotional Rescue always scared the bejesus outta me. I remember telling someone your going to need more than an emotional rescue if due catches you. Finally some agrees.
Posted by Yeshelong on November 2, 2013 at 3:19 PM · Report this

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