Updated: Oct 13, 2020
Light some candles or incense, watch the sunset, and beckon the spirits of Halloween with our witchy, spellbinding Spotify playlist.
This Spotify playlist features 75 tracks of whimsical eeriness, ranging from Grimes to Kanye to Alejandro Jodorowsky to The Yardbirds. The vibes of this playlist are that of coventry, spellbooks, mysterious elixirs, foggy streets, dark psychedelia, whispering woodlands and paganic rituals in mossy fields and quiet beaches.
Here are my top 10 favorite tracks:
La Niña Blanca - Vienna Ditto
This track makes me want to light candles and dance in the woods. Vienna Ditto are a duo group from Oxford, England that describe their music as "voodoo sci-fi blues". The ominous, psychedelic, soulful sound on this track hypnotizes you with subtle and strange time changes and lyrics that seem to wander in crop circles: "And I don't know what the answer is". Hatty Taylor's (singer) whispery, soulful, indie voice eerily and beautifully fills the ambiance. The grainy sound makes you feel like you're in a small room with this song, dancing with dark psychedelia.
Yoda's Theme - John Williams
This beautiful song encompasses the magic and genius of John Williams. It is a classic theme from the Star Wars saga, particularly the 1980 film, The Empire Strikes Back. The track begins delicately and then builds up a powerful strength, the strings and brass section having a back and forth conversation as they build one another up, then come together in perfect unison. Yoda is a magical, wise creature who is a Jedi master, someone who is one with the Force. Yoda's teachings are to never give up, and to believe in yourself and the Force within you that connects you to the universe. This song encompasses his message beautifully.
Crystal Ball - Grimes
This trippy, upbeat electro-pop track will have you vibing with your own heartbeat as you are enveloped into tunnel noises and Grimes's iconic echoey, angelic vocals. The multiple layers of faery sounds and beats create a ethereal ambience experience...as if you're gazing into a crystal ball that begins changing forms and showing you visions.
I Put A Spell on You - Screamin' Jay Hawkins
This track is on fire. Screamin' Jay Hawkins is a legend in his own right. The enticing, sly sax opening lures you in right away and leads you into a drunken dance with Screamin' Jay. Literally--this track was meant to be slow and romantic but Jay got drunk pre recording session, showed up and performed the song as it is. His performance is kooky, raw, and maniacal. Screamin' Jay Hawkins puts a spell on you.
Ashes to Ashes - David Bowie
Like in many of Bowie's jewels, the vocal line never really ends, as it is a free flowing conversational poem. It feels like Bowie is talking to you nonstop, telling you a story that goes on and on....you start to get lost in his whispers and inner thoughts, followed by the bouncy, eerie piano and guitar riff in unison. This new wave, avant-garde track sends you off into the land of the full length album, Scary Monsters.
She's A Rainbow - The Rolling Stones
This glittering 60s track off of the Stones's psychedelic trip album Their Satanic Majesties Request tells the simple story of a beautiful, colorful girl. She's a Rainbow. Let this song take you away on your own dream with its rolling, pretty piano lines and rainbow visions.
Monster - Kanye West (ft. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, Bon Iver)
This hyped classic Kanye track is a hardcore hip-hop masterpiece. The heavy beat combined with the grainy vocal effects and brilliant, adrenaline-pumped lyrics keep you hooked and vibing hard. Nicki Minaj's rap in this track is, in my opinion, her best performance.
The Wondrous Boat Ride - Gene Wilder (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory)
If you have seen the masterpiece film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory:
Remember the scary boat scene? Welcome back.
If you haven't seen the film:
First off, please do. It's a beautiful experience.
Comedic genius Gene Wilder chants a Roald Dahl poem in an intense build up from dazzling, magical candyland to inner-soul, psychedelic hell--simply wondrous. That's as best as I can describe it without giving too much away.
The orchestration in this piece is lush and brilliant. The string section and indescribable sound effects creates a manic tension, following the rapidly increasing speed of the journey. This track literally takes you on a mind-bending boat ride.
Babooshka - Kate Bush
Kate Bush is the queen of avant-garde, fairytale-like storytelling through indie and new wave sounds. Kate tells us a story, through simple, storybook-like lyrics, about a woman who chases a man through tears, letters and mysterious eye gazing. It's really very romantic.
Blue Jay Way - The Beatles
George Harrison sings in a trance state, asking you to not be long before he falls asleep.
This track uses three incredible studio techniques that were, at the time, totally innovative: reversed tapes (noises played backwards), flanging (an audio delay effect), and sound-signal rotation. Heavy delays create a sense of confusion, as if you're wandering lost in a field or wood, and George is calling out to you in a daze. The organ beautifully wraps all of these features together with long, humming chords.
Let us know if you'd like to add any tracks to the playlist! We'd love to hear what tunes you have in mind...
All Photos and Video by Emily Dosal