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Eat a Monster

by Gerard DiLeo 2 months ago in playlist · updated 2 months ago

Good to the Last Drop

Eat a Monster
Photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash

We are all spinal animals, reflexic and epinephric--suprarenal. That wave of panic from the sacral segments to the cervical nerves bathes the brainstem perched at the precarious precipice that separates fight from flight. Fight or flight helped us survive; languishing in indecision betwixt the two and you don't survive.

Music enters the brainstem first and then explodes throughout the mind, plucks the spine, but the timing must buoy the message. Music will do that with just the right plucks and strums. As in

Open your ears, open your minds, and open your spine to the tinglings that follow the clef:

1. The Other Side by Tiny Tim. It's supposed to be a party, so begin with the least scary person who ever lived, and you'll be surprised at this little gem, from its opening a cappella laughing to the apocalyptic refrain:

"The ice caps are melting/The tide is rushing in/All the world is drowning/To wash away the sin."

2. Bloodletting by Concrete Blonde. Soulfully haunting via a new status quo for the singer, eerie and regretful and in ol' New Orleans, to boot:

"There's a crack in the mirror/And a bloodstain on the bed/There's a crack in the mirror/And a bloodstain on the bed/Oh, you were a vampire/And baby, I'm the walking dead/Oh, you were a vampire/And baby, I'm the walking dead."

3. Return of the Dead Man by Oingo Boingo. Disturbing instrumental take on Dead Man's Party [see below].

4. White Wedding by Billy Idol. Finally some rock to get the juices flowing, even if they're your cerebral spinal fluid. These two are out of sorts, because

"There is nothin' fair in this world, baby/There is nothin' safe in this world/And there's nothin' sure in this world/And there's nothin' pure in this world/Look for something left in this world/Start again."

5. Dead Man's Party by Oingo Boingo. From the album of the same name, this is the seminal collection of songs that define Danny Elfman's macabre musical talents. If this playlist is for THE Halloween party, now we're getting serious!

"Waiting for an invitation to arrive/Goin' to a party where no one's still alive/Waiting for an invitation to arrive/I was struck by lighting, walkin' down the street/I was hit by something last night in my sleep/It's a dead man's party who could ask for more/Everybody's comin', leave your body at the door/Leave your body and soul at the door."

6. Ghostbusters by Walk the Moon. Not Ray Parker, but the same song minus the silliness. Deathfunk.

7. The Gnome by Mussorgsky from "Pictures at an Exhibition." Gnomes are scary, right? This is the brooding approach of otherworldly entities who follow you into the dark. Don't just look back; look down.

8. Tomorrow Never Knows by the Beatles. This was the song that introduced an entirely new group to the world. Its catchphrase is Timothy Learyesque, but it's the production value that seems to hit you from several directions--sound loops and altered vocalizations/chants from another place altogether, and it's not from anywhere around here. And while we're at it, remember that

"Ignorance and hate...mourn the dead."

9. Cello Concerto #1 by Shostakovich. The cello, the surly big brother to the flighty violin, broods, and Shostakovich wrote the perfect brooding score for the perfect brooding instrument.

10. Flying by Secret Machines. Take an easy-flowing Beatles instrumental and muddy up the cadence and timbre throughout, and the result is being carried to a dreamscape that is menacing but seducing.

11. and 12. These two songs are disastrous--in theme, not in execution. When the Levee Breaks by Led Zeppelin, and In The River, by the Call.

In When the Levee Breaks, catastrophe is introduced by a John Bonham drum beat that sums up the whole song, which seems to explain things only sung with lyrics as an afterthought:

"If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break/If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break/When the levee breaks, I'll have no place to stay."

You can see the water rising in the music!

In In The River, there is a monster brewing for all to see, and we are helpless, at the ravaging of a whole world coming down on us: a metaphor that says,

"Now the world is hard/And the cowards lie/And the fool loves war/And the gentle die."

13. The Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family by David Bowie. This was the climax to his Diamond Dogs album in which the chant itself is slave to sampling and echo.

14. Lullaby by the Cure. The Spiderman is always hungry, and this very frightening song of dread for him is a perfect mixture of terror and its spooky melody of imminent doom. Trapped in bed, frozen in terror, like a fly caught in the devourer's web.

"A movement in the corner of the room/And there is nothing I can do/When I realize with fright/That the Spiderman is having me for dinner tonight."

15. No One Lives Forever by Oingo Boingo. From the Dead Man's Party album [see above]. Seize the day today, for tomorrow you die. That's a fact, Jack!

"So celebrate why you still can/Cause any second it may end/And when it's all been said and done/Better that you had some fun/Instead of hiding in a shell/Why make your life a living hell?/Have a toast, down the cup/Drink to bones that turn to dust."

16. Jezebel Spirit by David Byrne and Brian Eno. Samples of an actual exorcism put into a groove. The rhythm is driving your spine [see above], but it's the sound clips that will scare the very soul out of you.

Ok sister/You have a Jezebel spirit within you/You have a spirit of grief/You have a spirit of destruction/Jezebel, Spirit of destruction/Spirit of grief/I bind you with chains of iron/I bind you out of that bounded heaven/Loosen your hold and come out of her now. Out! Out Jezebel! Come out now/Go ahead/Out in the name of Jesus/Come out destruction/Come out grief/Jezebel you are going to listen to me Jezebel.

17. Psycho Killer by Talking Heads. An incessant bass that is a vehicle for lyrics that let you into a killer's head--and the truncated logic that sets him off.

"I can't seem to face up to the facts/I'm tense and nervous and I can't relax/I can't sleep 'cause my bed's on fire/Don't touch me I'm a real live wire. You start a conversation you can't even finish it/You're talking a lot, but you're not saying anything/When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed/Say something once, why say it again?"

Then, in French, he confesses (translated),

What I did, that evening/What she said, that evening/Fulfilling my hope/Headlong I go towards glory..."

18. I Put a Spell on You by Screaming Jay Hawkins. A nice pause in a troubling Halloween playlist. Hawkins sings with the "gutteral-utteral." He's a goner.

"I put a spell on you/Because you're mine/You better stop the things you do/I tell you, I ain't lying/You know I can't stand it/You're running around/You know better daddy/I can't stand it 'cause you put me down/Oh, no/I put a spell on you/Because you're mine.

This is what Voodoo sounds like in music.

The party's not over. Yes, more songs follow for those who haven't passed on yet. Wear all black, turn out the lights, and leave your body and soul at the door by going to


Gerard DiLeo

Retired doctor writing full time now in Phase II of his life.

email: [email protected]

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Gerard DiLeo
Read next: Dance It Out - 2020.

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