Danger, Miss Robinson!
March 21, 2007 11:49 AM   Subscribe

I need suggestions for songs that evoke a sense of 'danger' or a dangerous situation.

I'm putting together a short 'montage video' of sorts for a friend who teaches a women's self-defense course. He has provided me with some video clips (mainly women being grabbed, attacked, etc - all fake of course) to put together and has asked that I overlay some music tracks that evoke a sense of danger and would help get people's adrenaline pumping. The goal is to motivate women for the self defense course they are about to take.

The only thing we came up with is "Highway to the Danger Zone". I could use that but for me it evokes images of Tom Cruise. I think there may be something better out there, I'm just coming up with blanks. Have any suggestions?

The song doesn't necessarily have to mention danger or have danger in the title. It just needs to evoke a sense of 'danger'. Ie, someone being grabbed and thrown into the back of a car or being grabbed in a dark alley, etc.

Thanks in advance -
posted by MarkLark to Media & Arts (46 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Anything by Ghostface Killah or Insane Clown Posse.
posted by Dizzy at 11:54 AM on March 21, 2007

This is a dangerous place...
posted by bink at 12:00 PM on March 21, 2007

Mack the Knife.
posted by paulsc at 12:00 PM on March 21, 2007

Godspeed You Black Emperor
posted by matildaben at 12:02 PM on March 21, 2007

Nirvana's "Rape Me"
posted by Tasanova at 12:06 PM on March 21, 2007

I'd say explore the soundtracks of David Lynch movies.
posted by Sara Anne at 12:10 PM on March 21, 2007

Anything by White Zombie or Rob Zombie?

Can be pretty menacing..

Also, how about the beginning of "Bad Habit" by The Offspring?
posted by davey_darling at 12:18 PM on March 21, 2007

Two Jam songs from All Mod Cons fit the bill:

"Down in the Tube Station at Midnight" is about an immigrant being attacked by right-wing thugs while waiting for the train; in the last verse, they it's implied that they're going to his home to attack his wife ("I glanced back on my life / And thought about my wife / 'cause they took the keys -- and she'll think it's me"). Musically, it also works well for your purposes -- very ominous bassline, echoing train effects, etc.

"A-Bomb in Wardour Street" is about fighting at clubs and violence in general ("I'm stranded on the Vortex floor / My head's been kicked in and blood's starting to pour / Through the haze I can see my girl / Fifteen geezers got her pinned to the door / I try to reach her but fall back to the floor"). It ends with him yelling "A-P-O-C-A-L-Y-P-S-E, Apocalypse!"
posted by scody at 12:18 PM on March 21, 2007

"Graveyard Chamber" - Gravediggaz. (This actually has "danger danger! danger danger! danger danger! in the lyrics)

Terrible Lie - NIN
Hunted Child - Ice-T
Fight Fire with Fire - Metallica
posted by cashman at 12:21 PM on March 21, 2007

"The Gloaming" is a Radiohead song that always makes me feel tense and in danger.
posted by muddgirl at 12:23 PM on March 21, 2007

Interesting. One caveat: music that is supposed to evoke a sense of danger can have the opposite effect, depending on the context of the video.
posted by malaprohibita at 12:23 PM on March 21, 2007

"Gimme Shelter" and "Monkey Man," both by the Stones, are pretty menacing. Although Martin Scorcese has worked pretty hard to single-handedly beat "Gimme Shelter" into the ground.
posted by COBRA! at 12:38 PM on March 21, 2007

Okay, this is embarrassing, but how about "Twilight Zone" by Golden Earring?
posted by Evangeline at 12:39 PM on March 21, 2007

I don't know the name of the song (I bet someone here does), but in season 6 of E.R. some guy stabs John Carter and med student Lucy Knight. I don't know if it was the scene, the music they used, or the combination but I had a low-level feeling of freak-out for weeks afterwards, especially when outside at night alone, and I still have a flashback if I hear the song in passing.

It was a repetitive, throbbing sort of thing so it would work well to run over a bunch of clips.

posted by mikepop at 1:17 PM on March 21, 2007

I feel like any of Eno's ambient records (i.e. Music for Airports) run over menacing video could be really creepy.
posted by one_bean at 1:24 PM on March 21, 2007

John Williams "Duel of the Fates" might work.
posted by blaneyphoto at 1:30 PM on March 21, 2007

Evangeline: I thought of that song too.

Parts of Beastie Boys' "Sabotage"?

Mikepop: The song is "Battleflag", by Lo Fidelity Allstars.
posted by gnomeloaf at 1:36 PM on March 21, 2007

"The Ambitions Are", Golden Palominos (might be a bit over the top)
posted by vers at 1:40 PM on March 21, 2007

Anything by the band Cinematic Orchestra. You don't want recognizable pop songs or songs with actual riffs or hooks - the structure makes it comfortable and not threatening. You want orchestral or sound collage type stuff that is meant to convey mood. Suggestions:

Maybe John Zorn's Naked City album

Big Black's Songs for Fucking

Ministry - Thieves and Liars

Anything by the Revolting Cocks or Throbbing Gristle
posted by spicynuts at 1:40 PM on March 21, 2007

Faith No More - "Midlife Crisis"

AC/DC - "Thunderstruck" - just the introduction
posted by mrmojoflying at 1:41 PM on March 21, 2007

Inexplicably missing: Peter Gunn theme, Mission Impossible theme.
posted by chairface at 1:42 PM on March 21, 2007

Strawpeople: Neon
Hybrid: If I Survive
posted by jet_silver at 1:44 PM on March 21, 2007

Concrete Blonde - God Is a Bullet
posted by dilettante at 1:48 PM on March 21, 2007

More ass-kicking than danger, but how about "Battle Without Honor Or Humanity" by Tomoyasu Hotei (it's on the Kill Bill soundtrack)?
posted by AV at 1:55 PM on March 21, 2007

Any of the music or sound effects centering around the shower scene in Psycho.

A very old song, but The Leader of the Pack by The Shangri-Las has a great part where they yell Look Out Look Out Look Out Look Out!
posted by iconomy at 1:59 PM on March 21, 2007

Anything by the band Cinematic Orchestra. You don't want recognizable pop songs or songs with actual riffs or hooks - the structure makes it comfortable and not threatening. You want orchestral or sound collage type stuff that is meant to convey mood.

Agree with spicynuts, but not so much the cinematic orchestra. While I love em to pieces, they do melancholy better than they do creepy/grim/dangerous.

You may benefit from some of the suggestions here or here.
posted by juv3nal at 2:03 PM on March 21, 2007

This thread of songs about obsession might have something that fits the bill. "Run for Your Life" by the Beatles?
posted by hydrophonic at 2:08 PM on March 21, 2007

Deltron 3030's "Virus" and "Turbulence"
posted by SBMike at 2:10 PM on March 21, 2007

Would scary movie soundtrack tracks work? Jaws comes to mind.
posted by n'muakolo at 2:15 PM on March 21, 2007

Quite a few of Social Distortion's songs, including "1945" and "Sick Boy."
posted by Forktine at 2:16 PM on March 21, 2007

Songs by The Police: "Don't stand so close to me", "I'll be watching you", etc. Romantic? I think not.
posted by B-squared at 2:19 PM on March 21, 2007

Zeromancer - God bless the models
posted by martinrebas at 2:28 PM on March 21, 2007

Philip Glass/Kronos Quartet - "Dracula" or "Carriage without a Driver" from Dracula. Actually, most of Dracula.

But for adreneline pumping, use something with a fast bpm. The first three minutes or so of The Postal Service's "Natural Anthem" sounds pretty eerie.

Or how about something from the soundtrack to Run Lola Run? (Ack, did I just recommend techno? I'm going to listen to nothing but Hank Williams for the rest of the day.)
posted by hydrophonic at 2:48 PM on March 21, 2007

Sonic Youth's cover of "Superstar" is about the creepiest song I've ever heard. It's maybe not a visceral, shock-in-the-silence type of danger... more like a "Silence of the Lambs" trapped-in-the-pit type of danger. But it's nonetheless creepy as all get-out.
"It Takes Time" off the Glen Phillips album "Abulum" sounds a little more immediate and menacing, but the lyrics employ more drowning imagery than kidnapping.
Other than that, I'm going to second the idea of movie soundtracks. Unless the lyrics fully match the situation, instrumental music will generally be more evocative. Also, if people recognize the song from the radio, they might not be as affected by it.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 2:49 PM on March 21, 2007

Just a thought but: I would be reeeally annoyed if I went to a self-defense class that started out with a "women are constantly in danger, boogeda boogeda" video. I know we're fucking in danger - that's why I'm in the class, to feel more powerful, not to be reminded that I'm vulnerable.

It would be much better (IMO) to end your video with some "After A Self-Defense Class" clips of women kicking ass, defeating attackers, etc with some uplifting ass-kicking music (with female vocalists if possible) over it.

That way the video won't just leave the students with ominous images and mood, feeling freaked out and vulnerable. Images and mood music can have incredible power - be sure you're not undercutting the message of the class. Combine the adrenaline with positive visuals.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:54 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

If you're interested in avant-garde classical music, I'd suggest virtually anything by Arnold Schoenberg. I love his compositions, and perhaps, to a large degree, it's because they totally freak me out!
posted by numinous at 3:04 PM on March 21, 2007

What spicynuts said, but too, you might want to think about montaging several different clips, and throwing in some interesting reverb (like maybe a reverse gate?)

posted by baylink at 3:14 PM on March 21, 2007

A few mefi threads to check out for inspiring music. (A lot of the stuff in that last thread will be too slow tempo/gentle - but there's some ass kickery in there too, and it's mostly female vocalists)
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:27 PM on March 21, 2007

Ghost Town by The Specials, always leaves me with a sense of foreboding.
posted by gergtreble at 3:40 PM on March 21, 2007

A bit clich├ęd but Angel by Massive Attack
posted by TwoWordReview at 5:25 PM on March 21, 2007

I would be reeeally annoyed if I went to a self-defense class that started out with a "women are constantly in danger, boogeda boogeda" video.

Yeah, I think people are ignoring this whole aspect and just trying to come up with scary songs, or... something. I mean, "Rape Me"? God, not even... that's not... ugh. You could maybe put in a bit of "Negative Creep" or whatever. But really for something like this I think you need pretty loud songs by female vocalists, ideally about this sort of thing. Slant 6/ What Kind of Monster Are You? would be perfect though it's a little obscure these days and hard to find. Maybe Le Tigre or something. Something defiant. After all, you are trying to motivate women for a self-defense course, right? You can probably even set the thing to Aretha Franklin's "Respect." You don't have to have song and image communicating the same emotion.

It just doesn't seem like a lot of this discussion is taking the right angle.
posted by furiousthought at 5:31 PM on March 21, 2007

Barbara Manning's 'Someone Wants You Dead' (from 'Lately I Keep Scissors/ One Perfect Green Blanket') fulfills the threat and menace quotient, but it won't get your adrenaline pumping.

My partner reading over my shoulder suggests some of Bernard Herrmann's old movie scores -- 'Psycho' and 'Vertigo' are obvious, but some of his sci-fi work is probably more effective.

And oh yeah -- nearly anything by Jim Thirlwell would fulfill all your needs.
posted by ardgedee at 6:26 PM on March 21, 2007

Pink Floyd has some great examples:

One of These Days (I'm going to cut you into little pieces)
One of My Turns
posted by grateful at 6:30 PM on March 21, 2007

"Every Breath You Take" by The Police.

"Secret Agent Man" by Johnny Rivers. "There's a man who leads a life of danger."

The Beatles' "Cry Baby Cry" is spooky.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:05 PM on March 21, 2007

Man, what the hell? The obvious, best choice would be Pylon's "Danger." It's on both Gyrate and Hits, albums that everyone should own, and has a taut, slithering bassline over which most of the vocals are a woman sneering "Danger!" It's both invigorating and creepy and asskicking all at once. It's about five and a half minutes long, so is just right for about the length of time you need to show women being scared.
In that vein, if you need more, go for Bush Tetras' "Too Many Creeps," which is funky, female, taut and about the creeps on the streets.
posted by klangklangston at 9:08 AM on March 22, 2007

"Red Right Hand" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds always seemed quite sinister to me.
posted by Rangeboy at 9:42 PM on March 22, 2007

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