Happy Halloween everyone! It's pop culture's favourite holiday (we're using holiday loosely) and a playground for pop's purveyors of spooky. Every year there are a handful of releases tailor-made for Halloween but a particularly turbulent few years seems to have led to some very dark music all year round.
From Charli XCX's party at a funeral on Good Ones to CHVRCHES' haunting new album Screen Violence, we've been summoning ghosts, witches and wolves all year it seems. Here are some of the best songs from this year to add to your Halloween playlists.
daine - Cemetery Dreams
You only have to look at daine's possessed Spotify profile picture to know that she's one for the spooky season but this one is particularly haunting. The stripped cut that mixes trap and acoustic guitar puts you under a dizzying spell with some particularly chill-worthy lyrics like, "blood in my mouth." It's a snapshot and rework of a song daine wrote a few years ago, that she's releasing now to "honour" who she was.
Charli XCX - Good Ones
Charli XCX is dancing with the devil on her latest release Good Ones. It's a dark, '80s-tinged pop banger with a video clip that is basically summoning the devil. She attends the funeral of a lover and goes rogue in the twisted visual which is the perfect accompaniment for the song. Spooky but keep it sexy this Halloween season.
Megan Thee Stallion, Maluma and Rock Mafia - Crazy Family
When it's a song for the theme track of The Adams Family 2 you better make sure you're bringing the creeps. Crazy Family is actually a Latin-tinged banger that is just as fun as it is spooky. Megan Thee Stallion delivers her trademark bounce on the verses while Maluma lures you in one an intoxicating chorus.
Halsey - Bells In Sante Fe
Halsey's whole 2021 album If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power is dark and haunting but there's something that lingers on Bells In Sante Fe. "All of this is temporary," she sings as a haunting beat flickers in the background like it's the only light keeping you from darkness. "I reckon I'm heading to hell instead," she sings in the chorus in one of her darkest vocal performances to date.
Ashnikko - Halloweenie IV: Innards
Ashnikko is no stranger to Halloween bops. She's been expanding upon the Halloweenie series since 2018 so it's somewhat unsurprising that Innards nails the aesthetics. This one is twisted more than it is dark, turning Halloween into a dance for crazy as she sings, "I'm freaky, I'm a fetishist, I really like the toes." Righto.
Billie Eilish - NDA
Billie Eilish is the queen of dark pop so it's no surprise that even when she's Happier Than Ever she's able to meet with Satan. NDA is the creepiest moment on the album, spooking with its slowly building beat that turns into a menacing chorus of strobing beats. "Got a stalker walking up and down the street / Says he's Satan and he'd like to meet," she sings, immediately giving us chills.
Lana Del Rey - Chemtrails Over The Country Club
Speaking of dark pop queens, Lana Del Rey created the aesthetic. There's nothing particularly spooky about the lyrics of Chemtrails On The Country Club but it's a haunting, noir ballad that is accompanied by a menacing video. In it, she descends into the woods with the wolves, howling at the moon in her finery. It's twisted and deranged which is exactly how we like our Lana visuals.
Evie Irie - BLEED
The title gives away why this song is perfect for Halloween but Evie Irie brings even more in the delivery. The latest single from the Australian pop newcomer is a rowdy and cocky tune that is out for blood. With a raucous vocal delivery she sings, "You only get what you bleed." The pre-chorus is particularly creepy with Irie acting like she's unable to breathe.
AURORA - Cure For Me
This is actually one of AURORA's sunnier releases but she still manages to bring the spooks. The cult-like video is enough to keep you awake at night but there's something about the beat drop in the chorus that sticks with you. It's like a deranged circus in the best way and we can't stop repeating it.
Slayyyter - Serial Killer
Hyperpop can be both saccharine and damning. Serial Killer sits in the latter category, twisting the emo rock formula by taking it over to the pop side. Here, Slayyyter ponders whether she truly knows the person sleeping in her bed. "Why in the kitchen are we missing all our sharpest knives," she sings as she starts to twig about her partner's double life.
CHVRCHES - Nightmares
CHVRCHES latest album Screen Violence is their spookiest to date but nothing beats the terror of Nightmares. Ushered in by a gentle verse it leads towards a furious chorus that has Lauren Mayberry signing, "Now I'm living the nightmare again and it won't end." It's one of the best moments of their career and it only sounds better when played in spooky season.