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October '22 Playlist

by Lucinda Daniel

“Season of the Witch” - Donovan

  • This song has a groovy, spooky-surreal sound, perfect for the month of October. Donovan did a great job incorporating the classic psychedelic sound of the 60s into this song of paranoia and mystery. Though the obvious repetitions of “cat,” “witch,” and “strange” in the song do evoke the thought of Halloween, the song also follows a sort of paranoid narrator, worried and constantly looking over his shoulder. This creepy notion of being watched combined with the cool and rhythmic instrumental makes this track a perfect song for this time of year.

“Black Magic Woman” - Santana

  • Santana has a groovy, Latin sound with elements of jazz, blues, and Afro-Cuban rhythm. I think that this song especially fits into the October mix, with the theme of “black magic” and him being “under a spell” by this enchanting woman. I’d also like to specifically note the opening guitar riff of the song and how it sets the mysterious, bewitching, almost seductive scene.

“Big Empty” - Stone Temple Pilots

  • “Big Empty” consists of twangy blues guitar, soft vocals, and a sort of bittersweet feeling. The song has a hard edge, and the song builds and releases with a big sweeping hook which is what impressed me when I first heard it. Nothing specific compelled me to add this song to the playlist, but I think it deserves a spot. Give it a listen!

“September Rain” - Makoto Matsushita

  • Yes, this song has September in the name, but it still fits into the October mix just as well. It is a turn from the first few songs in the lineup, but it serves as a wonderful median and predecessor for the rest of the playlist. “September Rain” is a dreamy, smooth melody which talks about a lazy night and an easy pain. This theme of pain but the acceptance of such is essential as we reach the fall months, infamous for its representation of change, especially melancholic.

“A Forest” - The Cure

  • This one is just obvious. The Cure does an amazing job creating a perfectly haunting and catchy song, which encapsulates the months of fall flawlessly. Listening to “A Forest,” you hear the story of a man following a woman into the woods only to find she’s disappeared. There are many interpretations to what the lyrics of the song mean, but we can come to the general consensus that it has ghostly themes of abandonment. “A Forest” evokes feelings of being adrift & lost, yet he continues on his journey “Into the trees.”

“Human Fly” - The Cramps

  • The songs prior are songs that I just enjoy and think fit into the early fall energy of October, but this song really brings out the punk, dark, almost rebellious nature of Halloween. The “deranged mess” of buzzing and wailing are held together by an effortless drum beat, covered by vocals with an edgy sound.

“Ghost Town” - The Specials

  • Of course I had to throw in some adaptation of reggae into this playlist, no playlist is complete without some form of it. It has a perfect, spooky and groovy instrumental as well as perfectly on-theme lyrics, and the singer’s voice captures the perfect “Halloween story narrator” sound.

“The Man Who Sold the World” - David Bowie

  • Bowie is an extremely unique artist, and I found it difficult finding a perfect song for this mix. Although this song doesn’t capture the “spookiness” of the Halloween month, Bowie uses many techniques such as echoing, phasing, and other effects on his voice which helps achieve a weird, surreal, and supernatural tone.

“Here In My Room” - Incubus

  • What is a playlist without Incubus? This song is everything October: gloom, enchantment, and almost weeping. This song opens up with stirring, emotional piano with a perfectly dramatic violin joining in soon after the first verse. The deep, romantic, and evocative energy of this song just flawlessly reflects the other side of October; angst.

“Mayonaise” - The Smashing Pumpkins

  • It was hard to choose just a few songs from the Smashing Pumpkins, but this one stuck out to me. What made me choose this song was majorly the instrumental aspect. I don’t believe that the lyrics fit as ideally as other songs in this playlist, but when played along these other song choices it proves to be a great addition to the mix.

“Like A Stone” - Audioslave

  • Similar to the song above, I chose this song particularly for the instrumental and overall sound of the song rather than the lyrics. “Like A Stone” is moody, which is the theme I went for this October. There is a clear theme of loneliness and stillness- just “like a stone.” What really convinced me to add this song was the guitar solo towards the end of the song. It is just so perfectly eerie, haunting, malefic and made this a must for this mix.

“People are Strange” - The Doors

  • “Strange” is a very common theme in Halloween/October, I couldn’t not add it. Both the lyrics and instrumental of this song are superbly “Halloween.” “People are Strange” is upbeat, but manages to keep the peculiar theme/energy of this month.. The Doors have a unique ability to make a very dark subject sort of uplifting, and their use of an upbeat tune combined with darker lyrics/meaning captures October in an interesting light. October is interpreted in many ways, and has elements of both the celebration and party aspect and the angsty, spooky, unnerving piece as well

“Tainted Love” - Soft Cell

  • As the most upbeat song in this playlist, its melody is still very soulful considering it is a synth song. The bridge “Once I ran to you/Now I run from you” builds up the song and creates a sort of suspense, and captures the betrayal of the toxic relationship that Soft Cell sings about. I added this song not for the message, but for the sound. The snare drum is responsible for creating that iconic “bink bink” that is immediately recognizable, and I think it is great in making the upbeat song have a dark feeling to it.

“Clint Eastwood” - Gorillaz

  • “Clint Eastwood” has a howling that reminds me of “Ghost Town” by the Specials (also on this playlist,) and also similarly moves along with a serene, addictive tempo. I wanted this playlist to have more of a variety, andClint Eastwood” definitely mixes it up a bit.

“Never Could Have Been Worse” - Everything But The Girl

  • This song has a constant, deep, chiming sound which is constant throughout the whole track. It has the classic 80s sound, but doesn’t have the upbeat, carefree sound/feeling that the majority of the songs from this era had. Accompanying the gloomy instrumental of this song, there is an evident concept of pain, and exploring personal politics which is sung from a deceptively safe third-person distance.

“How Soon is Now?” - The Smiths

  • My favorite part of this song is the main wailing guitar line, which uses both distortion and a fairly aggressive, pulsating rhythm. I just think it has a very powerful energy and is one of The Smith’s most enduring songs. “How Soon is Now?” Is emotional, captivating, intelligent, and heart breaking. It must be obvious to you now that I think October is a time of change, which provokes intense emotion; which can be under any category from fear to ebullience. That said, this song is flawless for any range of fierce sentiment.

Extra: Psycho Killer - Talking Heads

  • Obviously.


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