Paranormal frights to autumnal nostalgia: your October Press-Playlist

Sarah Bergin, Arts Editor

The breeze is getting cooler and the leaves are turning brown, which only means one thing: Halloween is coming. This time of year brings around a sense of nostalgia as the holiday’s approach and the seasons change. There are many feelings and events to associate with this month, so let’s explore the variety that the month of October has to offer.

While trying to decide which trope you would be in a slasher film or which apple to pick, sit back, relax and listen to this month’s Press-Playlist.

“Dance of the Clairvoyants” – Pearl Jam

What’s more encompassing of Halloween than the idea of clairvoyants? In this single from “Gigaton,” Pearl Jam explored post-punk and playful musicianship while leaning into paranormal aspects. Even though their work in this song was experimental, they are well-versed in the heavy synth and bass used throughout the track. Pearl Jam’s background in rock and grunge is not lost, though; if anything, it forces listeners to reexamine their previous albums and long for the 90s. This starting track on the Press-Playlist will definitely put you in the mood for October.

“bury a friend” – Billie Eilish

The haunting tone of “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?” by Billie Eilish remains consistent throughout the whole album, but “bury a friend” is particularly daunting. Its constant questioning and hard-hitting instrumentals stir up familiar emotions of fear and panic. With almost 500 million views at the time of writing this, the music video is a fantastic accompaniment to the song itself. Give “bury a friend” a listen, even if it’s to revisit it. Right when the track starts, it’ll make you feel ready for Halloween.

“Hell’s Itch” – King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s recent release “Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms and Lava” traverses listeners through the major scale, with each song representing a different mode. “Hell’s Itch,” a 13-minute track, is an immersive jam session with individuality shown through each member of the band. With its nauseating yet comedic lyrics, “Hell’s Itch” is indicative of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s essence. This track has both the dynamics of fright and amusement, which is perfectly associated with this month. There’s always plenty of content coming from this Australian band, with three albums being released throughout October 2022.

“Halloween” – Phoebe Bridgers

Halloween is a time for get-togethers and dressing up, but it can also bring feelings of sorrow. “Halloween” by Phoebe Bridgers shows how far people go when they’re in love, for better or for worse. Bridger’s album, “Punisher,” explored these topics in a desolate and harrowing manner. This song, off of her second album, is no exception as it piloted the saddening story forward and even consisted of forbidding chords, which gave it a spot on this month’s Press-Playlist.

“Ghost of You” – 5 Seconds of Summer

Speaking of nostalgia, track 13 off of 5 Seconds of Summer’s album “Youngblood” is sure to put you back in your childhood bedroom. “Ghost of You” is one of the slower songs on the album with themes of broken relationships and longing for the past. If you’re feeling particularly emotional, turn on the live version for a captivating experience with their audience singing along. Grab your hairbrush and belt your heart out with this ballad from 5 Seconds of Summer’s third album.

“Scorpio” – Hippo Campus

The end of October calls for pumpkin spice lattes, sweater vests and Scorpio season. “Scorpio,” from Hippo Campus’ album “LP3,” has a chill vibe that emits sincere lyrics. Hippo Campus has been a band for almost 10 years, but they still stay true to their musical identity. While they happen to be frequent attendees at music festivals, their indie background and alternative sound shines through. This song shows all of this and more through the catchy rhythm that listeners can’t get out of their head. Whether or not you’re a Scorpio, you’re sure to love this track.

“Witches” – Alice Phoebe Lou

While Alice Phoebe Lou’s “Witches” follows the Halloween theme, it also adds to the autumnal feelings that “Scorpio” brings to this playlist. Her four albums contribute to indie pop in a way that evokes raw emotion. Her work received immense praise, as she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story,” a 2017 documentary that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Lou is honest with herself, and that comes through when listening to her music. The folk-based synth throughout her music is representative of October in every way.

“I Put A Spell On You” – Nina Simone

Nina Simone’s work in jazz and R&B continues to stun listeners to this day, even though her music career was mostly during the mid-to-late 1900s. “I Put A Spell On You,” one of her more popular tracks, is repeatedly played throughout October and has become a classic since its release. Because of this, “I Put A Spell On You” even ended up being the title of her autobiography. She inspired many musicians and continues to do so in contemporary art. The instrumentals in this track along with her powerful voice created an irresistible song that fits perfectly into this month’s playlist.

“Black Cat” – Gentle Giant

Gentle Giant, a progressive rock band that originated in London, had an intriguing approach to musicianship that’s difficult to put a finger on. “Black Cat,” off of their second album, “Acquiring The Taste,” incorporates discordant sounds from a vibraphone, maracas and even a donkey’s jawbone. Black cats are associated with this time of year due to the superstitions behind their lore in witchcraft. Even then, nothing is as scary as utilizing a donkey’s jawbone in a song–give it a listen to find out.

“Frankenstein” – Rina Sawayama

Rina Sawayama’s highly anticipated album “Hold The Girl” brings “Frankenstein,” a danceable pop hit that’s destined for the charts. In an interview with Apple Music, Sawayama said, “I was writing about realizing that it’s not okay to give one person in your life all this baggage to deal with—whether it’s a lover or a best friend or someone else close to you—and asking them to put you back together when that’s not their job.” While alluding to a popular fictional character, “Frankenstein” gave us an inside look into the artist’s mind. This is the closing track on the album’s playlist due to its upbeat nature and inescapable melody–also to calm you down from your frights.