I want it bad

The Mother Monster has any number of creepy songs that would fit with this month’s theme (“Monster” and “Teeth” and “Judas” come to mind), but this one I think takes the cake.  The delicious, cyanide-laced cake.  We hear stories all the time about women who correspond with, and even marry, incarcerated serial killers. And while that may be the extreme, I think there are a lot more of us who are in fact drawn by “bad boys” (or girls.)  The people whose darkness speak to the darkness within us.  It’s a bad choice, but one that is often made freely, a surrender to temptation, needing the bad and accepting the corruption that comes with it.

Here’s Lady Gaga with “Bad Romance.”

Look beneath the floorboards for the secrets I have hid

Many people find serial killers fascinating. I think one of the things that draws us in is the appearance of normalcy that hides the violence and depravity below the surface.  We are brought to wonder how well we really know our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers, even our relatives. In today’s song, “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.,” Sufjan Stevens meditated on this, and takes it one step further: how well do our neighbors know us? And how well do we know ourselves? What would be revealed if someone were to enter our own lives and pry up our floorboards?

Where you gonna run to?

For today I give you Nina Simone and her classic “Sinnerman.” This is a song that I will often put on repeat while I’m writing dark stories.  Every part is brilliant, from Simone’s flawless vocals to that driving high hat giving it a sense of urgency and anxiety. This is another apocalypse song, and what can be more frightening that to search desperately for shelter, only to have the very rocks reject you, and the rivers and seas running with blood?  All 10 minutes and 21 seconds is worth your time.

In 3D!

There are two kinds of awesome horror movies: the ones that have you screaming, and the ones that have you laughing. The 80’s in particular was full of the latter kind, flicks that were so over-the-top and horrible that audiences couldn’t breathe because they were laughing too hard.  Stupid teenagers! Murders with fake and excessive gore! OH MY GOD SHE’S A DUDE! Hilarious. And of course Weird Al Yankovic, the prime purveyor of the hilarious, does his own homage.  Here’s Weird Al with “Nature Trail to Hell!!!’

Please allow me to introduce myself…

For this Friday’s song that will get you moving, I offer The Rolling Stones and “Sympathy for the Devil.” Recently there have been a lot of movies, books, Broadway shows, etc, that have sought to portray villains as people who are just misunderstood, who are really good people forced to go bad by circumstance.  Personally, I think this is a dodge.  I think we don’t want to admit that there’s something attractive about villains.  We find them compelling, admirable, sexy, and so we want to nerf them as a way to deny those emotions, , to make us feel better about ourselves, because really, aren’t we all good people?

Me, I prefer my bad guys bad. Not because I want to deny that I am like they are, but the exact opposite; when we tell ourselves we are good people, we make it possible to excuse our evil actions, both those we have already committed, and, more importantly, those we have yet to commit.

Come have sympathy for the devil. And dance your heart out.

Everything is different now

Don Henley is no stranger to the dark side of humanity.  Consider “Hotel California,” or “Dirty Laundry.”  But, true to the title, his song “Everything Is Different Now” is different, not because it doesn’t address the grittiness of the hell of vice and addiction, but because there is an escape, through faith and in both giving and receiving the unconditional, committed love of another human being.  This is a horror story with a happy ending.  I fully recommend watching the video, because it is a work of art in and of itself.  It skillfully portrays personal hell, as well as personal salvation.


It’s like a book elegantly bound, but in a language that you can’t read…just yet

You reject my advances and desperate pleas, I won’t let you let me down so easily…

We can relate to the victims of stalking, to the terror of being hounded by someone, or something, that you can’t see, that hangs in the shadows, that follows you relentlessly and may attack without warning.  Yet, as horrifying as it may be, and as much as we want to deny it, we can relate to the stalkers. We all have obsessions, of varying types and degrees, so we can see in stalkers the extreme of the sort of compulsion we ourselves may have experienced. The familiarity doesn’t excuse their actions, but rather terrifies us with the knowledge of what things we as human beings hold in common, and how those things can go so terribly wrong.

We are predator, and we are prey, and we can feel today’s song from both sides.

Here’s Deathcab For Cutie, with “I Will Possess Your Heart.”

The Return of The Walking Dead!

Tonight is the premiere of season 6 of The Walking Dead.  I love this show. I love how it’s gritty and realistic, how we come to care about the good guys and then watch them go bad, like watching a loved one turn into a walker, but in slow motion.  Oh, and I totally ship Rick/Michonne. THIS MUST HAPPEN.

In honor of the return of the walkers, today’s song is a little different, and the video a lot disturbing.  Some of you might be familiar with Cyriak. If you are not, and wish to be, go look him up on YouTube. I particularly recommend “Kitty City.”  I warn you, though, his stuff is totally mind-bendy and will make you question reality. I personally am simultaneously attracted and repelled, but that’s just me.  Your mileage may vary, and that mileage may blow your mind, in an unpleasant way, so beware.

This video is different from most of Cyriak’s stuff, mainly because while the music is his, the animation is by someone else, and doesn’t have the surreal mathematical imagery of your typical Cyriak work. It shows a zombie apocalypse. Of kittens. Adorable animated kittens. You’d think it’d be cute. And it is! Which makes the violence and gore (and there’s a LOT of violence and gore) all the more disturbing!

So, be warned, and enjoy!

Lend me your ear

Some songs are scary only to people who know them in a particular context.  There are two types of people in this world: those who listen to Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck in the Middle with You” and wonder what’s so scary about it, and those who are groaning right now at the title of this post.