Is there ever a bad time for pop-rock nostalgia? As Halloween sneaks up on us, we can’t help but bat away the cobwebs to revisit our favourite atmospheric, weird and nonsensical tracks from the past couple of decades to get in the spirit. Here are our top ten picks to get you in a howling mood before October 31.
Song: The Feel Good Drag
Album: Never Take Friendship Personal (2005)
There’s something unnerving and treacherous about The Feel Good Drag, a loud-mouthed song about betrayal and the forces behind it.
Favourite lyric: “Was this over before it ever began?”
Song: All Around Me
Album: Flyleaf (2005)
Flyleaf’s former frontwoman Lacey Mosley delivers the perfect push-and-pull track with top-notch vocals and ghostly desperation.
Favourite lyric: “I can feel you all around me, thickening the air I breathe.”
My Chemical Romance
Song: The Sharpest Lives
Album: The Black Parade (2006)
A perturbingly visual and theatrical trip through all the terrors of spiralling out of control.
Favourite lyric: “Drop the dagger and lather the blood on your hands, Romeo.”
Song: The Bird and the Worm
Album: Lies for the Liars (2007)
You could spin a wheel and land on any track from The Used and it would be perfectly suitable for Halloween. But the Bird and the Worm is deliberately creepy, complete with the sound of a door creaking open at the start.
Favourite lyric: “To save his life, he crawls like a worm from a bird.”
We Were Promised Jetpacks
Song: Quiet Little Voices
Album: These Four Walls (2009)
On this criminally underappreciated album, Quiet Little Voices is up for interpretation. Is it about reliving childhood trauma? Is it about feeling nostalgic over your own youth? Either way, it’s hard not to hit the repeat button.
Favourite lyric: “Quiet little monsters creep into my head, I’ll fall for you.”
Song: (One of Those) Crazy Girls
Album: Paramore (2013)
Hayley Williams reimagines herself as a jilted lover turned creepy stalker in this unsettling little tune, one of the band’s lesser known songs from their self-titled album.
Favourite lyric: “You’re not here when I break in, I’m gonna go into your closet.”
Panic! At the Disco
Song: Emperor’s New Clothes
Album: Death of a Bachelor (2016)
If you’ve seen the video for this one, you’ll understand why it made the list. Though it’s mostly an autobiographical song about frontman Brendon Urie owning his own success, it’s also couched in a spooky-fun melody and menacing metaphors.
Favourite lyric: “Heroes always get remembered. But you know legends never die.”
The Pretty Reckless
Song: My Medicine
Album: Light Me Up (2010)
The most unsettling part of this song is probably frontwoman Taylor Momsen clearing her throat between delivering The Hangover-esque lines.
Favourite lyric: “There’s a tiger in the room and a baby in the closet.”
Song: Fear the Future
Album: Masseducation (2017)
There is a thread of frantic doom that runs through this track, another one that doesn’t tell you explicitly what it’s about. The less you know, the better.
Favourite lyric: “Come on, sir, just give me an answer.”
Song: Get Out
Album: Love is Dead (2018)
Though there’s something dreamy and upbeat about Get Out, it teeters between hope and hopelessness, never quite landing on one.
Favourite lyric: “Talked ourselves to death, never saying what I wanted.”