Community Connections #1: October

Community Connections is a brand-new column, dedicated to thoughts and stories related to music. On Tuesday, Oct. 4, WRBB’s Annika Eske tabled in the library quad and heard from Huskies on childhood memories, first Halloweens, the controversial idea of a Halloween genre (?!), and more.

Coffee cup in hand, Nupur was the first person to come talk to WRBB about music this month. 

Asked for a Halloween music recommendation, Nupur responded with “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. Nupur first introduced some of her friends to the song by showing them the music video. “All of them got spooked with the last few seconds of the video,” she recalled, laughing. Others later backed up Nupur’s classic song recommendation. 

Hunter came to chat about music while holding scallions and coffee from a last minute Whole Foods run. Sure, why not?

“I… don’t really associate Halloween with a music category,” answered Hunter. After giving it a little more thought, he concluded that there are a few Halloween songs, after all — “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and The Crypt-Kickers as well as “Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix, to name two. Hunter decided that The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack falls under the elusive Halloween music genre, too. Although he still has not gotten around to seeing Rocky Horror in Boston, he promises to make some music-filled memories and tell WRBB about them next month!

Roommates Diego and Andrew ran into each other by chance in front of the WRBB table at the library courtyard.

Andrew told WRBB that he always thinks of “Dragula” by Rob Zombie when he thinks of Halloween music. He remembers finding the song through Spotify’s Discover Weekly while driving around during his first Halloween with his own car. “That’s a core memory,” he explained.

“But what is Halloween music?” pondered Diego, “Like, metal in the nightmare sense?” “Yeah, kind of like Die Hard’s a Christmas movie, you know?” offered Andrew. Diego laughed and said, “I don’t know where I stand in that debate.”

Nick’s genre of choice for the Halloween time of year is metal.

Nick recommended metal bands like Iron Maiden or Black Sabbath “just for that devilish, spooky vibe.” He is not a fan of the more commercial Halloween music out there. That is, no “Monster Mash”-ing for Nick. Years ago, 11-year-old Nick dressed up as the monster from an Iron Maiden album cover for Halloween. Nick also explained that he and his uncle both happen to be Iron Maiden fans, and that this music is something the two of them bond over.

Vandya, Megan, and Emily gave us recommendations ranging from Chairlift to The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Emily, who is on the LMA board, recommended Chairlift. This group, which includes Caroline Polachek, originally formed with the intention of making music for haunted houses. Although the group has since gone beyond their original goal, the music still serves as an interesting blend of grim, ethereal sounds with upbeat basslines. Vandya then recommended The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, and the three friends quickly fell into an enthusiastic conversation about their planned Halloween costumes.

Vicky was possibly the most avid Halloween music fan to stop by and asked that her picture be this (obviously) unbranded coffee cup.

Some people that came by were committed fans of Halloween music. Vicky, for instance, has a whole playlist dedicated to the genre. She would recommend listening to Scary Bitches or Brian David Gilbert’s ABBA-themed Halloween covers (see AAAH!BBA). Vicky told WRBB that she wrote a review of the soundtrack for Over the Garden Wall in sixth grade, and has loved its slightly spooky soundtrack ever since. “That might have started my Halloween fandom… which just has me in it,” she laughed.

Matan and Lux gave us some thoughts on the existing Halloween music “scene.”

Matan commented that although he liked Playboi Carti’s “Vamp Anthem,” he wouldn’t mind seeing a departure from the cliche organs and Dracula themes. The old trope is a good one, Matan admitted, but the Halloween scene is in need of some innovation. “It’s just fun to be festive for whatever reason,” Lux said matter-of-factly. “Like, if there was Thanksgiving music, I’d be down for Thanksgiving music.” Lux then told WRBB that they look forward to the Grateful Dead’s annual version of “Werewolves of London.” In fact, Lux had the exact date of their favorite live recording pinned down: Red Rocks Amphitheater July 8th, 1978. 

Jake was late to class, all so he could share a fun music story with us.

Jake listens to an EDM remix of “Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley, but not necessarily for Halloween. “It’s a great song, but it’s not a good song, you know what I mean? You have to play it at the right time, and it just works… It’s a spontaneous thing.” The real back story, Jake revealed, came from a mission to explore the New England coast. “My friend and I, we walked from… Revere Beach along the coast, all the way to Salem… We had to find music to occupy us, and so, we listened to ‘Purple People Eater’ – a lot.” Jake would not recommend the 10-hour trek but admitted it was fun in hindsight.

Eli approached us eager to “spread the gospel.” 

When Eli came by to chat with WRBB about music, he made it clear that he wasn’t there for the candy, but rather, to “spread the gospel.” He told WRBB to be on the lookout for Detroit rapper BabyTron’s third edition of the album series, Bin Reaper, set to drop later this month. Eli emphasized that the album is expected to be very Halloween-centric, and predicted that this album may end up being one of the best of 2022. Bin Reaper 3 out on October 28th, folks!

Keerthi gave us a song recommendation and told us about her makeshift Halloween in Sri Lanka.

Keerthi recommended the classic “Thriller” by Michael Jackson as well as “Zombie” by the Cranberries. She told us that, growing up in Sri Lanka, Halloween wasn’t as big. Hence, she and her friends would create their own Halloween by having a horror movie marathon. Be sure to take a pointer from Keerthi and listen to some Halloween soundtrack music this year alongside your yearly dose of “Thriller.”

Friends Sarah and Grace debated over genre differences.

Grace and Sarah had given Halloween music a lot of thought already. “We literally just had a roommate argument about this last night,” they joked. Grace decided, “I think Halloween music is a genre. Now, it is not the best holiday genre, for sure, by far. However, ‘Thriller’, ‘Ghostbusters’…the ‘Monster Mash’ — those are some good faves that really get me in the Halloween spirit.” For Sarah, the fall season is associated with more acoustic and folksy albums like Taylor Swift’s folklore and evermore. “If we can generalize it to just more, like, the season, then I like those kinds of songs,” she explained.

Jesse, who has a WRBB show on Thursdays at 7 AM, stopped by.

“I don’t know if there’s a lot of good Halloween-specific music, but there’s a lot of music that works for Halloween… I think we need more Halloween music,” figured Jesse. Jesse mostly associates cheesy 50’s songs and sludgy metal with Halloween. “Anything with minor sus chords,” he concluded. Jesse also recommended “Purple People Eater.”

Brunda, Erika, and Aayush stopped by to exchange thoughts on Halloween music.

Aayush, an international student, explained that this will be his first Halloween, so he’s still getting a hang of the whole Halloween concept. Similarly, Brunda wasn’t too familiar with music specifically for the holiday, and told WRBB that she enjoys listening to Bollywood music year round. Meanwhile, Erika is a big fan of Halloween music. She recommended the song “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” by Jeff Richmond and Tracy Morgan, from the sitcom 30 Rock.

Writers and photographers are welcome (and needed!) to help out with future articles for Community Connections. The time commitment is whatever you choose it to be. Fill out the Google form here if interested!

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