Once upon a time, horror and pop songs never really played nice together. One liked blood, gore, monsters, and darkness. The other liked to spread joy, catchy choruses and synchronized boy band dance moves. For the longest time, neither really wanted to play together.
Until one day, a young man decided he would try to get them in the same room. After some time and a lot of work, the young man was able to convince them to find common ground and work together. The outcome of the compromise was a very famous and popular pop/dance song that included the word “thriller,” and featured dancing zombies and a werewolf in the video.
Ever since then, every now and then, a music artist convinces these two frienemies to come together and make beautiful music.
You obviously can’t talk about “horror pop” without mentioning Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” The record is the best selling of all time and for just reason. Not only is it catchy and danceable, the song features some creepy beats and Vincent Price’s eerie voice. The video for the song was created into a mini horror movie. It played on all of the popular horror scenarios at the time.
A young couple are on a date (as they usually are in many instances) when the young man transforms into a zombie and proceeds to dance with his zombie cohorts. There was nothing like this at the time so the song and video brought something new and fresh to the music scene. It also incorporated horror in a way that had yet to come forth. It was smart and creative and instantly became a top hit.
In 2008, Rihanna released the dark toned “Disturbia.” With lyrics like “It’s like the darkness is the light,” and “It can creep up on inside you and consume you,” the song resonates like a horror movie. The lyrics encompass a scary feel and replace what should be a happy atmosphere with a dark and creepy one. The video is also a little on the horror side. Rihanna boasts along in black leather and some rather scary eye contacts at times. The other dancers bust out moves in some creepy costumes as well. The video takes place in a dungeon-esque building and filmed with a dark filter. The overall feel to the video works into horror perfectly and may surprise fans from both sides of the fence.
Lady Gaga is synonymous with eclectic outfits and the term “Pokerface.” But horror? No way would anyone ever put those two in the same sentence but it has happened. Her latest album, “The Fame Monster” is composed of quite a few daunting and creepy songs. According to a press release from Interscope Records featured on the PR Newswire Web site, Lady Gaga stated,” While traveling the world for two years, I’ve encountered several monsters, each represented by a different song on the new record: my ‘Fear of Sex Monster,’ my ‘Fear of Alcohol Monster,’ my ‘Fear of Love Monster,’ my ‘Fear of Death Monster,’ my ‘Fear of Loneliness Monster,’ etc.” The dark tone to the album was intentionally created by Gaga. “Monster” tells the story of a girl whose heart is eaten by a boy. Of course, you take it figuratively, but it also fits well into the horror mold. “He ate my heart and then he ate my brain.”
When hasn’t that happened in a horror story? “Teeth” is another song that sounds pop but the lyrics tell a different tale. “Show me your teeth,” she sings. The song may actually be the theme song for vampires. Dracula, the Lost Boys, and even Edward Cullen may want to blast this song while courting their damsels/victims.
In mentioning Gaga, one can’t neglect the bloody (literally) performance for “Paparazzi” at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. Murder, blood, and dance; what a trio for a horror pop performance.
Horror pop has continued to get along through the years. It brought forth many songs that fans can be proud of. It may be back in hibernation but soon another artist will knock on each of their doors and ask, “Will you come and play?”