The lovely Kimberley G. Giarratano, author of Grunge, Gods, and Graveyards was nice enough to make us a spooky playlist to while away these dark, october evenings. In the words of my favourite Kevin, ‘don’t get scared now’.
When the 90s Come Back to Haunt You by Kimberly G. Giarratano
My debut novel, Grunge Gods and Graveyards, is a YA paranormal mystery set in 1996. It stars 17-year-old Lainey Bloom, an outcast who is given the impossible task of finding her crush’s killer. It’s atmospheric and twisty and full of references to awesome 90s music.
So I thought in honor of October, the creepiest month of the year, I would put together a 90s playlist celebrating both Halloween and the angstiest decade there ever was. Some of these tunes are creepy and some are flat-out haunting. And most of them are on this list because they had wicked videos that I wouldn’t watch home alone.
In fact, so much music in the 90s was intense and crazy. And it was mainstream. I remember all these song being played on the radio or MTV. You can’t find angst like this now.
A haunting soundtrack
- Sweet Dreams — Marilyn Manson: This remake of the Annie Lennox hit was my introduction to Marilyn Manson’s twisted art. I still shudder when I watch this video. The headgear. His red lips and pale eyes. I think calling this video “freaky” is an understatement.
- Living Dead Girl — Zombie: I think the title alone qualifies this song for the list. The tune doesn’t creep me out so much, but Rob Zombie’s voice is villainous. I wouldn’t want him chasing me through an abandoned house.
- Shame — Stabbing Westward: I remember this video on MTV. The obsessive, crazy boyfriend and his ex-girlfriend. Listen to how the song picks up as it goes. It starts off quiet, like the boyfriend’s machinations are just rumbling under the surface until he loses control. My pulse quickens when I watch this. It’s like a mini movie.
- Heart Shaped Box — Nirvana: I’m rewatching the video as I type this. There’s so much imagery here: the half-naked old man, the cross, the blood red poppies.
- Doll Parts — Hole: Courtney Love’s tattered little girl dresses (which she made popular), the vintage doll and the childlike hands, Courtney rolling around in the dirt. With more time, I could get all meta about this song and video.
- Blood Roses — Tori Amos: This song is off the Boys for Pele album. The liner notes defy creepy (Tori’s nursing a pig). But this sound stands out because of the harpsicord and the way Tori sings “blood.” I can’t help but picture a zombie minuet.
- Joga — Bjork: Whenever I hear the violin in this song, I imagine being lost in the woods and that just creeps me out.
- Sober — Tool (Vitamin String Quartet): This instrumental version of Sober is more haunting than the original.
I could include a myriad of other tunes, but I’d run out of space and time. I want to know what songs you’d add to this playlist. I’m dying to know.
Huge thanks to Kim for putting this together. I LOVE her choices. I think I’d also have to add Northern Star by Hole – that song is so haunting too, Stay by Shakespears Sister (OK so it’s not actually grunge, but it is awesome), and Placebo’s My Sweet Prince.
If you liked this, but sure to check out her novel…
Grunge, Gods and Graveyards
Parted by death. Tethered by love.
Lainey Bloom’s high school senior year is a complete disaster. The popular clique, led by mean girl Wynter Woods, bullies her constantly. The principal threatens not to let her graduate with the class of 1997 unless she completes a major research project. And everyone blames her for the death of Wynter’s boyfriend, Danny Obregon.
Danny, a gorgeous musician, stole Lainey’s heart when he stole a kiss at a concert. But a week later, he was run down on a dangerous stretch of road. When he dies in her arms, she fears she’ll never know if he really would have broken up with Wynter to be with her.
Then his ghost shows up, begging her to solve his murder. Horrified by the dismal fate that awaits him if he never crosses over, Lainey seeks the dark truth amidst small town secrets, family strife, and divided loyalties. But every step she takes toward discovering what really happened the night Danny died pulls her further away from the beautiful boy she can never touch again.