In honor of the Spirit issue and all things creepy, we picked ghostly songs for this month’s playlist. Warning! Listening to this playlist may make you feel like you’re being haunted by a troubled spirit.
“La Llorona” by Ángela Aguilar
With mysterious origins, numerous versions, and breathtaking performances by big-name ranchera singers, “La Llorona” is one of Mexico’s most famous folk songs. The song is often associated with the spooky Mexican legend of La Llorona, the vengeful spirit of a woman that drowned her own children. In reality, the folk song is believed to have its roots in a dying soldier’s final letter to his true love. “La Llorona” is a song of love, heartbreak, and melancholy, and Ángela Aguilar’s siren-like vocals truly make for a haunting rendition.
“Ghost Town” by Kanye West
I consider myself to be a reformed Kanye fan. That being said, I never really delved into any of his recent albums. “Ghost Town” seems to be an exception though. I really enjoy this song and besides the title, it really does have a spooky quality. Maybe it’s the existential questions it asks and the sense of emptiness about growing up it inflicts. Listening to this song almost feels like you’re watching a ghost being freed.
“2042” by Japanese Breakfast
Sometimes the scariest thing is missing someone. “2042” captures this perfectly. Calling out to the ghost of someone, your head fills up with sounds. I imagine listening to this while you’re watching someone live their life without you, unaware that you’re even missing in the first place. Maybe you’re the ghost.
“R.I.P. 2 My Youth” by The Neighbourhood
To me, this song symbolizes your old self dying. Mostly, I remember that everyone would post glo-up fancams to this song. The first time I listened, which was in middle school, I remember feeling really sad about the lyrics. Even though, I don’t think that’s what the Neighbourhood intended. It’s about the death of the past you but also the birth of the future you.
“Killer Cars” by Radiohead
I can’t really defend myself against liking Radiohead- but at least it isn’t “Creep.” This track is not only peak 90’s rock, but it’s also perfect for getting into the Halloween spirit. The song as a whole invokes the anxiety of not knowing what could happen to someone you care about, using the imagery of a violent car crash just waiting to happen. To me, though, “Killer Cars” sounds a bit like a ghost telling a story: “Wrap me up in the back of the trunk / Packed with foam and blind and drunk / They won’t ever take me alive / ‘Cause they all drive killer cars…”
“Ghost” by Machine Girl
Ghost by Machine Girl comes from the album Wlfgrl (2014) and you could argue that the whole album itself ties into the spooky and haunted theme for this month’s playlist. The song itself gives this particular ominous feeling but one that could be heard during an intense chase scene but you can’t see what is chasing you.
“Two Ghosts” by Harry Styles
I don’t think this playlist would be complete without this song. Yes, it explicitly talks about ghosts, but I believe the song perfectly encapsulates the haunted feeling you experience when you realize that things have drastically changed and will never go back to how they were before. The repeated “We’re not who we used to be” in a somber tone emphasizes the loneliness and regret that these changes have brought on.
“Haunted” by Taylor Swift
This song takes on a different view of being haunted by a past relationship. Rather than the melancholic regret Harry describes in “Two Ghosts,” Swift is more fearful and frustrated in her track. She frantically begs her lover not to leave her, fearing the despair she will feel when her lover leaves.
“Once Upon A Dream” by Lana Del Rey
I think this song is perfect for this playlist. Del Rey sings in a haunting tone, despite singing a classic Disney love song. Because of her tone and the instrumentals, the song sounds rather creepy. She sounds like an obsessed lover, claiming “I know you” and “you’ll love me at once.” Rather than being haunted, it sounds like she’s doing the haunting. This is why it has a permanent spot on my Halloween playlist.