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The Top Ten Halloween Albums you Need to Hear This October

Let Spooky Season get underway with these dark and thrilling musical journeys.

Mackenzie Dineen

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Editor’s Note: As part of CMN’s music journalism program, we asked our team of music writers to come up with a list of some of their favorite (music) things. 

The welcome crunch of leaves underfoot and a chill in the air ushered in Autumn. Four days later, we were graced with a luminous Harvest moon.

For many, the preparations are underway for All Hallow’s Eve. Whether you’re busy stitching up costumes, purchasing mountains of candy, or dragging out dusty decorations, a playlist is imperative for spooky season.

Here are my top 10 Halloween albums:

1. Danny Elfman: Nightmare Revisited

The Halloween classic “The Nightmare Before Christmas  takes on new life through the voices of a diverse array of rock and punk artists. The compilation boasts Marilyn Manson’s iconic performance of “This is Halloween,” and Amy Lee of Evanescence’s cover of “Sally’s Lament.” Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy evokes your deepest curiosities with his lilting riffs on their cover of “What’s This?”

2. My Chemical Romance: Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge

Jam-packed with tales of shoot outs and cemeteries, this record follows the journey of “A man, a woman and the corpses of 1,000 evil men.” Enjoy heart-pounding guitar shredding, sharp-tongued vocals, and endless drama fit for a ghoulish celebration.

3. Marilyn Manson: Mechanical Animals

“Mechanical Animals” offers a varied array of funky bops, like “I Don’t Like the Drugs,” hardcore anthems, “Rock is Dead,” and a slew of existential ballads that put a dark twist on the classic slow-dance song.

4. Panic at the Disco Vices and Virtues

“Vices and Virtues,” Panic at the Disco’s arguably most complex album, provides some lighter content for a monsterly mix. “Let’s Kill Tonight,” and “Hurricane,” are just the mood-boosters that the creepy nurse called for.

5. In This Moment Black Widow/ Ritual

Speaking of creepy nurses, it’s impossible to just pick one record when it comes to In This Moment. “Black Widow” offers a grimy, industrial, adrenaline rush, complete with retro samples to get you into the Halloween Spirit. “Ritual” is a rustic and bewitching collection that draws inspiration from other spell-casting icons, like Stevie Nicks. Both albums are simultaneously empowering and nightmare-worthy.

6. Motionless in White: Reincarnate

Motionless in White are notorious for their dark and gothic appearance, and aggressive, razor-sharp industrial aesthetic. Not a song is wasted on this album, from the title track, to “Dead as F***,” a tongue-in-cheek tribute to The Bride of Frankenstein, to “Dark Passenger,” an homage to the TV show Dexter.

7. Michael Jackson: Scream

MJ doesn’t require an explanation. He and Halloween go way back, and Scream captures all of his most haunting hits. (Yes, it includes “Thriller.”)

8. Original Soundtrack: Rocky Horror Picture Show 

It was groundbreaking when released in the 70’s, and still stirring today. Tim Curry’s monumental portrayal of Dr. Frankenfurter carries through his performance on the soundtrack, and the same can be said for the rest of the cast as well. Organize your own Time-Warp and lose yourself in the spirit of Halloween.

9. Ice Nine Kills: Safe is just a Shadow/ Every Trick in the Book

Ice Nine Kills is yet another artist that incites indecision. “Safe is Just a Shadow” is an underrated, intricate masterpiece that transports listeners directly to the open sea during a shipwreck, the locked basement of a torturer, or into the split mind of a man hunting down his love’s murderer: himself. Be sure to select the original version, as the second recording lacks the original’s edge.

“Every Trick In The Book” retells Horror Classics with visits from Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Dracula, Carrie, and “The Exorcist.”

10. The Pretty Reckless Going to Hell

“Going to Hell” is a gem, it covers a wide span of topics, themes, and aesthetics. Lead singer Taylor Momsen’s, glamorous bad-girl attitude leaves listeners ready to stir up their own trouble. The deluxe version includes acoustic sessions that compete with their full band counterparts.

Bonus:
11. Ice Nine Kills The Silver Scream

Fans of Ice Nine Kills await the release of The Silver Scream’s release on October 5. It is the horror film equivalent of the band’s previous, literature-based, record. Singles “The American Nightmare,” “Thank God it’s Friday,” and “A Grave Mistake,” out now, have us itching with antici…pation!

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Mackenzie Dineen is a Boston-based student writer in her senior year, working towards a degree in Entertainment Media at Lasell College. She is a firm believer that live music is life's greatest pleasure, and prefers anything heavy. She is a proud cat mother of a 2 year old black Mainecoone with thumbs, named Scarlett. If she had it her way, every day would be Halloween.

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