Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Halloween Mix Tape

A good compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do. You've got to kick off with a corker, to hold the attention[...]and then you've got to up it a notch, or cool it a notch, and you can't have white music and black music together, unless the white music sounds like black music, and you can't have two tracks by the same artist side by side, unless you've done the whole thing in pairs, and...oh, there are loads of rules.
--Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

I'm dating myself by even using the term, but since our car only has a tape deck, and my husband has had his iPod surgically attached, I still use tapes. Every October I listen to this mix I made back in 2002. It's like having Halloween carols.

Anyway, here it is, recorded in reverse alphabetical order by artist:

"Dragula (Hot Rod Herman Mix)" - Rob Zombie
From the Matrix soundtrack. The day this song doesn't get my blood pumping, just start shoveling the dirt over me.

"Introduction" - Tom Twycker
From the soundtrack to Run Lola Run, a cool German movie about a woman who relives the same twenty minutes three times in an effort to save her boyfriend's life.

"O Death" - Ralph Stanley
From the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack, from the scene where they're about to lynch Tommy Johnson (aka, the Wizard of Oz homage scene).

"Hell" - Squirrel Nut Zippers
Not from a soundtrack!

"Tragic Kingdom" - No Doubt
Back before Gwen Stefani became a bubbleheaded sellout. A song about the darker side of Disneyland.

"Polly" - Nirvana
Off Unplugged in New York. Rob, if you think Nirvana is all noise, you should give this album a listen. Beautiful vocals and guitar playing, and a huge dose of self-effacting humor from Kurt Cobain. Painfully good.

"Heresy" - Nine Inch Nails
Trent is uncharacteristically angry in this song.

"Sharks" - Morphine
Because every mix tape of mine must have a Morphine song. It's the law.

"Skinwalkers" - Robert Mirabal
Taos Pueblo tribe member mixes traditional Native American music with rock 'n' roll.

"Lake of Fire" - Meat Puppets
Yay, cowpunk! Who says Texas has no edge?

"Vampires of New York" - Marcy Playground
Ah, Marcy Playground. Geek Meets Grunge. On their second album, they did a song ("Wave Motion Gun") that used the 1970s Japanese animated TV show Starblazers to illuminate heroin addiction.

"Crawling" - Linkin Park
Widely regarded by me as the weak link (ha! get it?) on this mix tape. I thought they were pretty cool back in '02, but now I'm over them. Still, it's there.

"Monster" - L7
Riot grrrls extraordinaire. In Requiem, I modeled Gianna's punk band, Public Humiliation, after L7.

"Falling Away from Me" - Korn
Though they are the mentors to the mentors of Linkin Park (Limp Bizkit), they're still cool in my book, because they don't take themselves seriously. I had to put this on a Halloween tape because it debuted on the second South Park Halloween episode. The band members played themselves in a brilliant Scooby Doo spoof. When they changed into various forms of corn to "fight" the pirate ghosts (or was it ghost pirates?), I laughed so hard I couldn't breathe.

"Voodoo" - Godsmack
One of the tape's highlights.

"People Are Strange" - The Doors
My favorite part of this song is Ray Manzarek's cute little keyboard interlude. I have this vision of a bunch of eerie old people prancing around wearing zombie-like smiles at a David Lynch-esque firehall dance. There's this one lady in a pale blue print dress with big glasses and her hair in a bun. She's creepy. But happy. And that's all that matters.

SIDE 2 (it's a tape, after all)

"Halloween" - Dave Matthews Band
A lyric from this deliciously evil song gives us the mix tape's title: Shadows on the Window

"Burn" - The Cure
From The Crow soundtrack. As I was listening to this last week, I came up with the perfect ending to Voice of Crow. If you haven't seen the movie (or read the comic) The Crow, it's about a guy who comes back from the dead to wreak vengeance upon the people who killed him and his fiancee. Hearing the song reminded me that Crow, like all the Spirits, isn't always benevolent. Hee-hee.

"Bloodletting" - Concrete Blonde
One of several songs (along with Sting's "Moon Over Bourbon Street") inspired by Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire.

"The Future" - Leonard Cohen
I knew Kurt Cobain and I shared a brain when he wrote in "Pennyroyal Tea": Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld/so I can sigh eternally. Cohen makes me sigh, heavily. However, this song once made me burst into tears, as I was driving home on Election Day 2000. Because I could see the future, brother. It is murder.

"Creepy Crawling" - Chumbawamba
They were most famous for "Tubthumping" (the I get knocked down, but I get up again song), but the whole album was wonderful. Anarchy you can dance to.

"Dr. Bones" - Cherry Poppin' Daddies
Even more than the aforementioned Squirrel Nut Zippers, the CPDs somehow made swing sound sinister.

"Comfort Eagle" - Cake
We are building a religion/We are making it bigger/We are widening the corridors and adding more lanes/We are building a religion, a limited edition/We are now accepting callers for these pendant keychains.
They don't come any more sardonic than Cake.

"Mouth" - Bush
This is a remix off Deconstructed, but I think it also appeared in the American Werewolf in Paris soundtrack. I say "I think" because like all but 13 or 14 people, I never got closer to watching that movie than seeing the commercial.

"Big Brother/Chant of the Ever-Circling Skeletal Family" - David Bowie
Another good Election Day song.

"Low Red Moon" - Belly
No special comments, just a great song.

"In the Flat Fields" - Bauhaus
Because you can't have a Halloween mix tape without a Bauhaus song. Another law.

"The Pink Room" - Angelo Badalamenti
From the Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me soundtrack, which could be an entire Halloween tape on its own. "Black Dog Runs at Night" gives me the hibbie-gibbies every time.

"Happy Phantom" - Tori Amos
Baby, don't fear the Reaper. It might be fun to be a ghost.

Happy Halloween, everyone. Now go get your creep on.

Labels: ,


You're probably right, I might like that Nirvana unplugged album. If I ever get the opportunity to, I'll give it a chance. It's just -- well radio was already crap when it happened, but all of a sudden it became downright unlistenable for me, and everyone tells me it's their fault.

Can't fault the man for likeing Leonard Coen, though. Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Posted by: Blogger Rob S. at 10/26/2006 2:55 AM

arrgh.. "liking"

friggin 3 in the morning....

Posted by: Blogger Rob S. at 10/26/2006 2:56 AM

You don't like Linkin Park anymore? I'm devestated. But Morphine is still a great choice!


Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 10/26/2006 8:35 AM

I still like Linkin Park, Cecilia, just not as much as I used to. When their followup to Hybrid Theory came out, I was like, eh, more of the same. Bored now.

For some reason, they don't stand up well on this mix. Maybe because the song before it, "Vampires of New York," is so laid-back, it makes "Crawling" sound pretentious and overwrought. That's always the risk when you order songs in a fixed manner like alphabetical or chronological, rather than thematically (see Hornby quote above).

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 10/26/2006 9:38 AM

(Comment deleted and reposted without the "idiots" comment, for which I apologize. I realize it might not be taken in the over-the-top, rock-snob-critic spirit in which it was intended.)

radio was already crap when it happened, but all of a sudden it became downright unlistenable for me, and everyone tells me it's their fault.

Yes, radio was crap when Nirvana came along. That's the whole point.
They freaking saved rock 'n' roll for at least another five years or so (until the Telecommunications Act of 1996 turned radio into a permanent wasteland of vanilla-soaked mediocrity).

It's well-established almost to the point of cliche that "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was one of the great revolutions/turning points in rock history, along with Elvis, the British Invasion, the Sex Pistols, etc.

Long after those singer-songwriter eunuchs of the 90s have been forgotten (oh wait, they already are), Nirvana will live on.

And Leonard Cohen is a god. We can all agree on that.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 10/27/2006 8:11 AM

No, the idiots things was fine.

But then you go and say pretty much what I (and those "idiots") were saying, which is that Nirvana changed/saved rock n’ roll.

The only difference is, whether they saved it or not, I didn’t like what I heard. Not from them, god knows not from Pearl Jam (I’ll shut that Jeremy up myself if I have to), and not for any of the hundred other bands that were aping them. Which is beyond their control, I know, but it nonetheless drove me away from music radio almost completely. I listened to XPN for a while, and then nothing.

I know I’m in the minority about this. And I know I shouldn’t blame them for being talented enough to pretty singlehandedly change music. But since they changed it into something I didn’t like, well, I’ve gotta blame somebody. And every music critic seems to point the finger at them.

Posted by: Blogger Rob S. at 10/27/2006 3:02 PM

By the way, for some reason my comments don't register on the main comments page as soon as I post them, but instead can only be seen (by me, anyway) on the "Post a Comment" page (which is, in my browser at least, still the old design)? I'm using Netscape on a Mac running OS 9, if that's relevant. And my blogger account is beta, which might make a difference, but might not.

Posted by: Blogger Rob S. at 10/27/2006 4:35 PM

By the way, for some reason my comments don't register on the main comments page as soon as I post them, but instead can only be seen (by me, anyway) on the "Post a Comment" page (which is, in my browser at least, still the old design)? I'm using Netscape on a Mac running OS 9, if that's relevant. And my blogger account is beta, which might make a difference, but might not.

Posted by: Blogger Rob S. at 10/27/2006 4:35 PM

And now they're there, and I've double-posted. Oh, I don't understand this at all.

Posted by: Blogger Rob S. at 10/27/2006 4:37 PM

Double comments are fine. It makes me look more popular! :-)

I get what you're saying, Rob, and it's cool, just a matter of taste. I think I missed your point in my original response, but when I reread your comment later, I realized we were saying the same thing, just disagreed on whether it was a good change or not.

I will say, however, that I never really appreciated Nirvana until I heard Unplugged (their cover of Leadbelly's "In the Pines," which they call "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?" is seriously one of the most sublime moments in music history). Actually, I didn't even like them until I heard Tori Amos's cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit." The noise masked the talent for me at first.

Now I love them, noise and all. Underneath the feedback loops, they have a goofy, raunchy sense of humor that I find totally lacking in Pearl Jam, etc. It comes from their punk/indie background and the bands they worshiped. Pearl Jam is really just latter-day arena rock, whereas Nirvana is a direct descendant of the Stooges, NY Dolls and the like.

And I'll save the rest of that pedantic lecture for an entirely different blog, to be launched in '07. More details later.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 10/27/2006 4:53 PM

Post a Comment


This Side of Salvation

This Side of Salvation, Jeri's new contemporary YA novel!

Now available in hardcover and ebook.

“A smart, well-rounded, and unpredictable tale...bringing to light issues of belief versus free will, spirit versus body, and family versus self.” —Booklist, **Starred Review**


Order from Indie Bound, Barnes & Noble, or



"Shattered," a Shade novella!

Available here on this website as a free download in all major ebook formats, as well as a printable PDF (now with photos!).

More about "Shattered"

About the author

Jeri Smith-Ready

Jeri Smith-Ready is a Maryland author of books for teens and adults.

Learn more about Jeri...

Photo © Geoffrey C. Baker

Sign up for Jeri's newsletter

  • First draft of secret new project

Current Reads