Songs that make you go "eee!"
September 28, 2007 2:58 PM   Subscribe

Know any creepy songs?

I'm looking for songs that creep people out. This thread is close, but i don't need Halloween-themed songs, just songs that make you very uneasy. I'd prefer songs that (1). Don't require really listening to the lyrics to get creeped out, (2.) At least somewhat resemble rock/pop/electronic songs (as opposed to classical or experimental noise) and (3.) isn't just campy (Monster Mash, goofy metal).
posted by Bookhouse to Media & Arts (134 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
Pyschedelic Terrorist by Total Eclipse, on the Tsunami compilation .
posted by sciurus at 3:01 PM on September 28, 2007

Nerves by Bauhaus is quite creepy.

Hollow Hills is, too.
posted by The World Famous at 3:04 PM on September 28, 2007

Tatu's cover of "How Soon is Now".
posted by four panels at 3:06 PM on September 28, 2007

Almost anything by Marilyn Manson.
posted by SisterHavana at 3:06 PM on September 28, 2007

Lullaby Lyrics by The Cure
Boris the Spider by The Who
posted by Bruce H. at 3:08 PM on September 28, 2007

I'll be watching you... Every move you make, every step you take... I"LL BE WATCHING YOU!

ooohhh can't you SEE you BELONG to ME! And my poor heart BREAKS with every BREATH youuuuu take!
posted by crewshell at 3:09 PM on September 28, 2007

Anything by Aphex Twin.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 3:09 PM on September 28, 2007

Polly by Nirvana.
posted by Bruce H. at 3:09 PM on September 28, 2007

'Battleflag", by LoFidelity Allstars, always creeps me out, ever since they used it on 'ER' in the scene where some schizophrenic kid knifes two of the docs and leaves them for dead.
posted by docpops at 3:10 PM on September 28, 2007

Also, I think it's 'Through Hollow Lands" off Another Green World, by Eno.
posted by docpops at 3:10 PM on September 28, 2007

Skinny Puppy - Cleanse Fold and Manipulate. I call it their "spooky" album.
posted by neckro23 at 3:12 PM on September 28, 2007

"The Boy Who Never Cried" by Steve Earle always creeps me out. I always skip it.
posted by essexjan at 3:14 PM on September 28, 2007

Nope - It's 'In Dark Trees' off Another Green World. Sorry. But it is creepy sounding.
posted by docpops at 3:16 PM on September 28, 2007

"Possum Kingdom" (YouTube) and "Tyler" (YouTube) by the Toadies. Both are really, really catchy (and could be misconstrued as love songs, for a little bonus creep factor). Creepy ... sumptuously creepy.

Of Possum Kingdom: "In their own explanation, it is about an older camp counselor luring a young female camper down to the lake for what he believes will be a little vis a vis "bonding", but things go wrong."

Of Tyler: "This song is about a rapist in Tyler Texas. The police caught him in the act because she called 9-1-1 and put the phone down just before he came in her room and raped her."
posted by chocolate_butch at 3:20 PM on September 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

The album Sheet One by plastikman can be kinda creepy.
The songs korridor and packard off the album Artifakts by plastikman are definitely creepy.
The album Hell on Earth by Mobb Deep is creepy too, but for totally different reasons.
posted by milarepa at 3:23 PM on September 28, 2007

It sort of requires listening to the lyrics--even though the music alone gives me chills--but Shellac's "Prayer to God" can sort of be regarded as creepy? Regardless, it's amazing for about 413 reasons.
posted by mwachs at 3:24 PM on September 28, 2007

Look for some recent stuff by Scott Walker. Very creepy IMNSHO.
posted by sveskemus at 3:27 PM on September 28, 2007

I Want You by Elvis Costello. You have to listen to the lyrics a little but I think it's pretty creepy in general.

When I was Cruel by the same is pretty good too.
posted by sully75 at 3:29 PM on September 28, 2007

Docpops, agreed, I have that song on my "Strange/Atmospheric" ipod playlist. Brian Eno's a good go-to for creepy music.

I also have a list called "for a horror movie". One of the songs on there is Nobukazu Takemura's "Let My Fish Loose". Beautiful but terrifying. Actually, go ahead and buy a couple of his albums.

Also on my creepy music list:
"Blood on the Motorway" by DJ Shadow.
"Where the Wild Rose Grows" by Nick Cave and KYLIE MINOGUE
posted by Lieber Frau at 3:29 PM on September 28, 2007

The song You Painted Your Teeth by Jandek (from his Telegraph Melts album) is one of the more creepy songs you're ever likely to come across.

If that song pushes the right 'spooky' buttons you were looking for, email me... He's got a good baker's dozen or so other creepy songs in the same vein.
posted by cadastral at 3:31 PM on September 28, 2007

"The Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)" by the Zombies.

"Sycamore Trees" by Jimmy Scott, from the Twin Peaks soundtrack
posted by hermitosis at 3:33 PM on September 28, 2007

"God's Away on Business" by Tom Waits
posted by hermitosis at 3:34 PM on September 28, 2007

"That joke isn't funny anymore" by The Smiths. Creepy and atmospheric in music, production and lyrics.
posted by fire&wings at 3:38 PM on September 28, 2007

"Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down)" by WEEN.
posted by Charlie Lesoine at 3:38 PM on September 28, 2007


"Hamburger Lady" by Throbbing Gristle is a perennial.
Some of Galaxie 500's more stalker'ish cuts, also.
posted by rhizome at 3:39 PM on September 28, 2007

"Song of Joy" or "Red Right Hand" (and many others) by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds for sure.

"Angel" by Massive Attack, too.
posted by synecdoche at 3:43 PM on September 28, 2007

What's He Building in There? (fails the "not-experimental-noise" test, but got airplay on MTV, so...)
posted by hades at 3:45 PM on September 28, 2007

Word to the guy who mentioned a Twin Peaks track, add almost all Angelo Badalamenti music for David Lynch to this.

And Julee Cruise, for that matter.
posted by Lieber Frau at 3:48 PM on September 28, 2007

Dead Inside by The Golden Palominoes. In fact, the whole album (of the same name).
posted by klangklangston at 3:49 PM on September 28, 2007

Violent Femmes - Country Death Song

(doesn't precisely fit your first requirement, but worth a listen I think)
posted by davey_darling at 3:50 PM on September 28, 2007

John Wayne Gacy, Jr. (youtube) by Sufjan Stevens gives me the willies.
posted by cior at 3:50 PM on September 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

"Good Morning Captain," by Slint, off Spiderland. The lyrics have a sort of ghost-story feel to them, but the song is very creepy even when you're not listening to the lyrics.
posted by hyperfascinated at 3:52 PM on September 28, 2007

"Climbing Up The Walls" by Radiohead, off of OK Computer.
posted by Diskeater at 3:57 PM on September 28, 2007

The Beatles, "Cry Baby Cry"
posted by kirkaracha at 3:58 PM on September 28, 2007

Most of Radiohead's Amnesiac does this for me, but especially "Knives Out."
posted by jacobm at 4:05 PM on September 28, 2007

Seasons In The Sun, Terry Jacks, those opening guitar chords are the harbingers of dooooooooom!
posted by merocet at 4:07 PM on September 28, 2007

A lot of the Violent Femmes album Hallowed Ground (that has Country Death Song in it) pretty creepy, it's like all death and Christianity songs, and you can get a weird vibe off of it even without the lyrics. Here's I Hear the Rain.

Husker Du's Diane is creepy even if you don't really listen to the lyrics seriously.

I find a lot of songs from She Wants Revenge (tear you apart, these things) seem oddly disturbing even though I don't know the lyrics although I used to feel that way about Sliver by Nirvana and the lyrics are totally innocuous.
posted by jessamyn at 4:08 PM on September 28, 2007

The Ghost of The Girl in The Well by Willard Grant Conspiracy (Regard the End). Kristen Hersh does the female vocals. Gives me shivers every time.
posted by elendil71 at 4:08 PM on September 28, 2007

Anything by Aphex Twin.

a lot of his stuff is not actually creepy at all, but Come to Daddy certainly is (and not just because of the video).
posted by Who_Am_I at 4:11 PM on September 28, 2007

Pogues - Worms:
The worms crawl in and the worms crawl out
The ones that crawl in are lean and thin
The ones that crawl out are fat and stout
Your eyes fall in and your teeth fall out
Your brains come tumbling down your snout

Be merry my friends
Be merry
And it sounds creepy too!
posted by Chuckles at 4:14 PM on September 28, 2007

sveskemus pretty thoroughly won the thread. If you don't think so you haven't heard "Drift"
posted by moift at 4:16 PM on September 28, 2007

++Skinny Puppy (anything before The Process)

Almost anything from Coil's earlier catalog. Their cover of Tainted Love has made friends mildly panic.
posted by onedarkride at 4:25 PM on September 28, 2007

Here. Turn out the lights and listen to Webern's 6 Pieces for Orchestra, and by the time the percussion cataclysm arives at the end of the funeral march you will be thoroughly creeped out. Brrrrrr.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:25 PM on September 28, 2007

Oh, balls, I missed, or misread, the "not classical" caveat.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:26 PM on September 28, 2007

"Creepin' Up the Backstairs" by the Fratellis creeps me out a little bit and I'm not too sure why.
posted by sian at 4:26 PM on September 28, 2007

"Last of Joy" by Chris Connelly is a really haunting, ghostly song.

"Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down" by Nancy Sinatra is also a good one.

"Rabbit in Your Headlights" by UNKLE (Thom Yorke on vocals) also does me in. The video has a lot to do with that.

And I second Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, especially his album The Murder Ballads. Nick Cave is my favorite, but I have a hard time listening to that one all the way through on headphones. So much bloodshed...
posted by faunafrailty at 4:29 PM on September 28, 2007

Billie Holiday's Strange Fruit, a song about lynchings in the South.
posted by RussHy at 4:40 PM on September 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

Anything by The National Lights. Delicate and lovely folk music about murdering people.
posted by version control at 4:41 PM on September 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Couple others that may require listening to the lyrics;

Down By The Water by PJ Harvey (To Bring You My Love)

Poor, Poor Lenore and/or My Beautiful Bride by The Handsome Family (In The Air) - actually about half of everything they do on any album is really creep
posted by elendil71 at 4:49 PM on September 28, 2007

"Outside" by David Bowie.
posted by snap_dragon at 5:00 PM on September 28, 2007

Oh and "Kimberly Austin" by Jane's Addiction (or Porno for Pyros)
posted by snap_dragon at 5:01 PM on September 28, 2007

Black Moth Super Rainbow kind of freak me out. "Sun Lips" on their myspace page gives me the willies. As far as I can tell, it's not supposed to be a scary song, but that vocoder voice and sickly keyboard sound just.......yeah.....
posted by otolith at 5:03 PM on September 28, 2007

2nd Scott Walker, both Tilt and The Drift. His earlier stuff still features his fairly creepy voice, but those two albums...I can't even listen to them in the dark. Also, Tindersticks. The male singer of that band has a velvety, evil voice.

Oh, and the Residents have made some pretty creepy albums. I have listened to "Gingerbread Man" exactly once because it made me so uncomfortable...and that's definitely not the creepiest they've ever done. I hesitate to recommend specifics because I think they're in the business of making at least one album that will make every person's skin crawl but your creepy may be my pop as far as they're concerned. For example, one of my favorite songs by them is "Blue Rosebuds" and my friend actually GAVE BACK a mixtape it was on because she hated it so much.
posted by crinklebat at 5:14 PM on September 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

"We Suck Young Blood" by Radiohead off Hail to the Thief.
posted by erikgrande at 5:15 PM on September 28, 2007

All creepy, to me, for very different reasons:

They're Coming to Take Me Away by Napoleon XIV. I know it's supposed to be funny, but if you're driving alone at night, and you put on the oldies station for the exact purpose to not feel creepy, well, it's creepy.

One by Metallica

Time in a Bottle by Jim Croce. Sad and creepy.

Some Tori Amos songs come to mind. Her cover of Eminem's '97 Bonnie and Clyde for sure. Also, Me and a Gun.

A lot of Decemberists songs are creepy for varying reasons. I think A Cautionary Song is supposed to be funny-creepy, but it succeeds in the creepy side quite well. The Mariner's Revenge Song is a really wonderful story song, and creepy as well. Many more--if you go to Amazon and just listen to the quick samples you can get a sense of which ones are creepy. I think these are actually MORE creepy if you don't listen to the lyrics, despite the intentional creepiness of subject matters, because if you're just listening casually you'll get the creepiness of the melodies and a few lyrics, but may miss the irony.
posted by lampoil at 5:18 PM on September 28, 2007

Soundgarden - 4th of July.
posted by sociolibrarian at 5:19 PM on September 28, 2007

Well, obviously anything goth: Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, The Cure, Swans, Sex Gang Children, Cocteau Twins, and so on.

Bowie's Low album.

And I'll go ahead and 2nd "Country Death Song" by the Violent Femmes, and maybe suggest most of their Hallowed Ground and 3 albums.

Coil is the only band that has actually freaked me out, so that's probably a pretty good suggestion too.

And, of course, for a completely different kind of creepy, you can throw on "Little Girls" by Oingo Boingo.
posted by Reggie Digest at 5:33 PM on September 28, 2007

Crash Test Dummies, "MMM MMM MMM MMM".
posted by wafaa at 5:35 PM on September 28, 2007

Three Mile Pilot is one of the most consistently creepy bands that I can think of. Check out "Jadulistan Requiem," "X..Miner" and "The Urquan Destroyer," for instance.
posted by saladin at 5:37 PM on September 28, 2007

Music Box by Philip Glass. It takes the sound a little wind-up music box and twists it ever so slightly into something truly disturbing.
posted by itstheclamsname at 5:44 PM on September 28, 2007

Anything from Aphex Twin and Skinny Puppy's "Too Dark Park"
posted by JaySunSee at 5:51 PM on September 28, 2007

I always found Soul Coughing's "Bus to Beelzebub" (from Ruby Vroom) to be intensely creepy, especially the beginning.
posted by weatherworn at 6:01 PM on September 28, 2007

People are Strange by The Doors is pretty creepy.
posted by msbaby at 6:11 PM on September 28, 2007

Got a secret
Can you keep it?
Swear this one you'll save
Better lock it, in your pocket
Taking this one to the grave
If I show you then I know you
Won't tell what I said
'Cause two can keep a secret
If one of them is dead…

The Pierces
posted by geekyguy at 6:12 PM on September 28, 2007

Janie's Got a Gun--Aerosmith

Que Sera Sera--Pink Martini's has a great dark version!
posted by 6:1 at 6:14 PM on September 28, 2007

I heard people say "please turn it off" if they heard "California girls" played by the Leningrad Cowboys and the Red Army Orchestra.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 6:24 PM on September 28, 2007

A lot of Skip Spence's music (especially on the amazing album, Oar) fits the bill, but if you want extra-creepy, "Land of the Sun," which is on an X-Files soundtrack and also appears as a bonus track on the tribute album "More Oar" is incredibly creepy. It all becomes even more creepy if you know his story.

I couldn't even explain how it's creepy. It's just very unsettling.
posted by JMOZ at 6:28 PM on September 28, 2007

I find Bat for Lashes stuff to be a bit creepy. Heck, `Horse and I' even has a theremin in it. `What's a girl to do' is a bit creepy and has a creepy video as well.

`Mr Punch' by Future Bible Heroes is darkly cheery like some sort of fairground nightmare, particularly the creepy puppet voice.

"Everybody gets it sometime, sorry.
Virus, fire, gryoscope, lear jet, lorry.
Choking on a chicken bone lurking in lunch;
And you're dead, dead, dead!
But not Mr. Punch"
posted by tomble at 6:37 PM on September 28, 2007

The song "My Name is Trouble" by Nightmare of You is just about the creepiest song I've ever heard. I guess it's the lyrics that make it seem creepy, since it took me a couple listens before it creeped me out, but I think it really fits the bill. I think "Tonight is the Night I Fell Asleep at the Wheel" by Barenaked Ladies is also kind of creepy, if only for the juxtaposition between the music & the lyrics.

For just music alone, I think the score of Donnie Darko is pretty bad. I can't listen to it even in the middle of the day.
posted by lilac girl at 6:40 PM on September 28, 2007

I'm thinking "Dead Flag Blues" by Godspeed You! Black Emperor (really, the whole F#A#(infinity) album). Also, "Can You Hear Me" by Genesis, although that does require some lyrical awareness.
posted by leapfrog at 6:44 PM on September 28, 2007

This list might be a bit more on the harsh and/or experimental side in general than what you're after, but here are some that came to mind, in no particular order...

"Twilight Twilight Nihil Nihil" by Current 93 (that one in particular might be a little too much on the experimental side, but it is extremely creepy)

Most songs by The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath a Cloud, several off the album The Smell of Blood But Victory in particular

"Behind The Rose (Fields Of Rape)" by Death In June (in which creepy folk music meets creepy industrial)

"12 Souls" by Sigh (jazz meets horror movie soundtrack meets black metal- yes, it's a metal song, but it's far more successful at sounding creepy and scary than any other metal song I've heard, and I've heard quite a lot of them)

"Day" by Katatonia (a metal band, but not a metal song- more like an unusually dark and fucked up shoegaze song)

"Pink Cigarette" by Mr. Bungle (starts off sounding like an innocuous love ballad, and then takes a much darker turn lyrically and musically)

"Vedergällningen" or "Vengeance" by Garmarna (lyrics based on a traditional and especially gruesome Swedish folk story, with appropriately dark and creepy music to match)

Pretty much anything by the Italian band Devil Doll

"Cowboys" by Portishead (that one in particular, but the whole second album from them is pretty dark, actually)

"Eye-Shaking King" by Amon Düül II (the name of the song probably influences it somewhat, but to me this one sounds downright Lovecraftian)
posted by a louis wain cat at 6:46 PM on September 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Whoops. That's "Driving the Last Spike," by Genesis. And "Dreaming While You Sleep," too.
posted by leapfrog at 6:46 PM on September 28, 2007

I'm still taking a crack at this topic, hoping to eventually come up with the ultimate list, but it's slow going. I been at it a few years. Feels like I barely scratch the surface. My findings are currently over at Everything2. It's a work in progress.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:49 PM on September 28, 2007

...but admittedly, Monster Mash DOES creep me out, so it's a matter of taste I suppose.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:50 PM on September 28, 2007

Kate Bush, "Wuthering Heights"
posted by kirkaracha at 6:57 PM on September 28, 2007

Anything by Coil. Up the Anal Staircase era. ICK!
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 7:06 PM on September 28, 2007

"I'm Coming Home" - The Deviants
"Ain't It Fun" - Rocket from The Tombs
posted by jonmc at 7:06 PM on September 28, 2007

Anything on Jim White's "Wrong-Eyed Jesus!". Try this track.
posted by tfmm at 7:11 PM on September 28, 2007

Following up on the Residents, there is indeed a lot to choose from. I think their later stuff is more hammy (and tries too hard) versus their pioneering electro-acoustic '70s work, but in a pinch, I'd choose Duck Stab, which is indeed fairly "pop" by their standards but has both "Hello Skinny" [video] and "Blue Rosebuds" to recommend it in the creeps department. From a later period, their song "Happy Home" gave me the willies for years just thinking about it.

Swedish singer/songwriter Stina Nordenstam's album Dynamite is harrowing stuff - feedback-sharded, minimalist guitar pulses backing lyrics about airports, diving bells, and child murderers, all recited in her tiny, monotonous voice. "Mary Bell" and "This Time, John" win the honors.

Circling back to Brian Eno, I nominate "Alternative 3" from his phenomenal Music for Films. Also "The Jezebel Spirit" and "Solo Guitar with Tin Foil," both found on the Nonesuch reissue of his pivotal David Byrne collaboration, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.

Going further back: "Chelsea Girls" by Nico gains some of its power from setting such a despairing tale against a seriously genteel Greenwich Village arrangement, but the haunted melody doesn't help. There's probably a lot of other Nico stuff that belongs on this list - some would nominate The Marble Index, but I find it as shimmering and gorgeous ("Frozen Warnings") as it is claustrophobic and unsettling ("Ari's Song"). Also from the post-psych era: Robert Wyatt. Explore him broadly.

If I had to choose one, though, "A Psychopath" by Lisa Germano (from her album Geek the Girl) probably wins the all-time prize, though. I will never listen to it again.
posted by mykescipark at 7:18 PM on September 28, 2007

Someone already mentioned Aphex Twin - Come to Daddy, but the Dillinger Escape Plan cover is, in my opinion, much more creepy.
posted by heavenstobetsy at 7:25 PM on September 28, 2007

the cover of "Stagger Lee" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. (or is it Nick Cave and the Dirty Three? I don't remember)

Also, Phillip Glass' "Koyaanisqatsi" from the movie title of the same.
posted by jimmyhutch at 7:30 PM on September 28, 2007

Many, many songs by Tom Waits. The aforementioned God's Away on Business, but also songs like Don't Go Into That Barn, Watch Her Disappear, Earth Died Screaming, or the perennially skeevy Poor Edward.
posted by Hildago at 7:39 PM on September 28, 2007

Devendra Banhart - Little Boys
I see so many little boys I want to marry
I see plenty little kids I've yet to have
Even when the moon goes out
Even when the sea dries out
I still see so many little boys I want to marry
I see plenty little kids I've yet to have now
Even when the sea's all free
And everything's lying on me
Even when the sun ceases to shine
I won't care, I'll still have on my mind
So many little boys I want to marry yeah yeah
I see plenty little kids I've yet to have
posted by ludwig_van at 7:46 PM on September 28, 2007

Black Sabbath: Black Sabbath
Led Zeppelin: Immigrant Song

It helps if you are relatively youngish. What can I say, I'm a traditionalist.
posted by Nabubrush at 8:07 PM on September 28, 2007

Response by poster: Wow, this is going very well. Thanks everybody, and keep 'em coming.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:46 PM on September 28, 2007

Intruder, by Peter Gabriel. Creeeeepy.

I know something about opening windows and doors
I know how to move quietly to creep across creaky wooden floors
I know where to find precious things in all your cupboards and drawers
Slipping the clippers
Slipping the clippers through the telephone wires
The sense of isolation inspires
Inspires me
I like to feel the suspense when I'm certain you know I am there
I like you lying awake, your baited breath charging the air
I like the touch and the smell of all the pretty dresses you wear
Intruder's happy in the dark
Intruder come
Intruder come and leave his mark, leave his mark

Also, his Family Snapshot, sung from an assassin's point of view, is pretty excellent.

And nothing beats Jim Morrison screaming to his mother on The End.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:25 PM on September 28, 2007

Psycho Killer - Talking Heads
posted by davey_darling at 9:36 PM on September 28, 2007

A couple more by the Pogues: "Sit Down by the Fire" and "Turkish Song of the Damned".
posted by Flunkie at 9:40 PM on September 28, 2007

Oh, and even a couple more by the Pogues, plus links to the other two I mentioned:
posted by Flunkie at 9:44 PM on September 28, 2007

Nick Cave's "The Mercy Seat", although I prefer the cover by Johnny Cash. More understatedly creepy.
posted by Flunkie at 9:48 PM on September 28, 2007

"Dirge" from the Death in Vegas album "The Contino Sessions".

"Dream Song", the last song on Ministry's "The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste".

"Rhymer's Only Room" from the cLOUDDEAD album "Ten".

"Superman on Ice" from the self titled 13 & God album.

"War is Hell" from DJ Shadow's soundtrack to "Dark Days".

"Easy to Remember" from Erik Sanko's "Past Imperfect, Present Tense".

"You Might Drown" from Skeleton Key's self-titled EP.

"Lucky You" from the self titled Deftones album.

"Avant Hard" from the Add N to (X) album by the same name. (Might be too electro-experimental.) (Also contains long feedback sound in the middle.)

"Vletrmx21" from Autechre's "Tri Repetae++". (Not very menacing, if that's what you're looking for.)

Another Skinny Puppy suggestion: "Killing Game" from "Last Rights". Pretty much anything from "Last Rights" or "Too Dark Park", really.

Clint Mansell and Kronos Quartet's soundtrack to "Requiem for a Dream" has some really good tension-building pieces in it. "Hope Overture" is an excellent one.

Marilyn Manson does some pretty successful creepy covers on the pre-"Antichrist Superstar" album "Smells Like Children": everyone knows "Sweet Dreams", but "I Put a Spell On You" and "Down in the Park" fit the bill as well.

Mike Patton (with Faith No More) does a great cover of Portishead's "Glory Box" that strikes a strange but excellent balance between funny and disturbing. [Live on Youtube, but there's a growl-ier version out there]

Email me (address is in profile) if you need mp3, uh, samples of any/all of these.
posted by churl at 9:57 PM on September 28, 2007

Poe. Five and a half minute hallway. Especially after having read, or in conjunction with reading House of Leaves.
posted by exlotuseater at 10:18 PM on September 28, 2007

"The Gift" by the Velvet Underground.
posted by brujita at 10:18 PM on September 28, 2007

House of the Rising Sun, especially the cover by Bob Dylan.
Neath the Pines. (you know, the Nirvana version from MTV unplugged)
Billie Holliday's Strange Fruit.
And for what it's worth, the Ani DiFranco/Jackie Chan cover of Unforgettable that is posted to MeFi's front page right now. Gah. My ears!
posted by onlyconnect at 10:49 PM on September 28, 2007

Creepy Doll by Jonathan Coulton

Free download

posted by kdern at 10:58 PM on September 28, 2007

Boards of Canada creeps me out for some reason. (They are somewhat experimental, but I saw other people recommending aphex twin, so that line has been crossed.)
posted by blenderfish at 11:21 PM on September 28, 2007

Response by poster: Oh, I'm not too serious about the lines -- especially now that I have enough suggestions to choke a thing with a very large neck.

And Boards of Canada has always creeped me out, blenderfish. Especially the song 1969.

(as a thanks to everyone, here's two songs that give me the jeebies)
posted by Bookhouse at 11:46 PM on September 28, 2007

Aqualung--Jethro Tull
Hell is for Children--Pat Benatar
posted by 6:1 at 12:02 AM on September 29, 2007

White Rabbit- Jefferson Airplane

Creepiest song ever. Ever.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 1:19 AM on September 29, 2007

I also thought of Aphex Twin when I saw this question.

Seconding Tori Amos' "97 Bonnie & Clyde"

Also, I always get creeped out by "Smack My Bitch Up" by Prodigy but that may be because of the video.
posted by triggerfinger at 2:55 AM on September 29, 2007

The Beatles "Run for your life".
posted by iviken at 3:22 AM on September 29, 2007

Seconding "A Psychopath" by Lisa Germano and "Dirge" by Death in Vegas (especially when paired with its original video).

Some that haven't been mentioned: first, the Paul Dye remix of Bjork's "Pluto." It's an "amateur" remix that used to be listed on the Bjork Remix Web before the site died in 2001-ish, never to return. Luckily you can still download it from his site.

Second, this may be too close to "experimental noise" for you, but Mira Calix's "Sparrow" fits the bill otherwise. Full of glitchy clicky ominous electronic goodness.

Finally, a lot of Tara Jane O'Neil's work might fit the bill. She's a folky singer-songwriter who leans towards beautifully twisted and ominous melodies. You may not find it creepy enough for your tastes, though; they're not particularly threatening songs, more of a low-level American Gothic kind of creepy. "Bullhorn Moon" from Peregrine and "Take the Waking" and "Howl" from You Sound, Reflect are good first bets.

P.S. Depending on your definition of creepy, you may get a kick out of "Tina, This is Matthew Stone" by Prolapse. The setting: a couple shouts abuse at each other for six minutes. The first time you're going to wonder just how much of it is real, and it'll probably be a bit unsettling. I absolutely adore this track.
posted by chrominance at 3:22 AM on September 29, 2007

Thom Yorke's "Skip Divided". Not only are the lyrics creepy, the song is filled with strange, creepy clickings and humming other assorted shiver-worthy moments.
posted by Windigo at 5:03 AM on September 29, 2007

Girlfriend in a Coma, by the Smiths. Makes you wonder just how she got in that coma in the first place.
posted by JanetLand at 5:14 AM on September 29, 2007

As a kid, "Riders on the Storm" terrified me.

"There's a killer on the road..." We'd be driving somewhere in the car at night and that song would come on and I'd spaz out.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 5:17 AM on September 29, 2007

And this thread shouldn't go too much further without mention of Laurie Anderson's "O Superman" and "Radar."
posted by mykescipark at 5:38 AM on September 29, 2007

"Sycamore Trees" by Jimmy Scott off the Fire Walk With Me soundtrack.
posted by Jess the Mess at 5:52 AM on September 29, 2007

'22 Going On 23' - Butthole Surfers

'You Better Run' - Junior Kimbrough
posted by BigSky at 5:54 AM on September 29, 2007

I've always thought "Hurdy Gurdy Man" by Donovan was creepy, and I was pleased to see David Fincher thought the same thing.
posted by Lucinda at 6:03 AM on September 29, 2007

Paul Anka's "She's Having My Baby." Aaarrghhh, eeeeee!
posted by Smalltown Girl at 8:20 AM on September 29, 2007

"Pleasant Smell" by "Twelve Rounds." The lead singer's voice has a sort of Jennifer Tilly quality to it which makes it rather odd. The whole song is just... off (in a good way).
posted by mjbraun at 8:54 AM on September 29, 2007

Going out on a limb, but there was a 'tribute' album done of Disney music in the late 80's called Stay Awake, that has a couple of tracks on it that still give me the willies - Tom Waits doing 'Heigh Ho' sounding like you're headed off to a priosn chain gang, Sinead O'Connor's 'Someday My Prince Will Come' coming off almost like a suicide note, and to me the creepiest of them all is Aaron Neville's downtempo turn on 'Mickey Mouse Club March'. One of those CDs that sounds like it would be hideous, but in the end comes off as something really beautiful.
posted by pupdog at 9:42 AM on September 29, 2007

Oh my wow.
in 100-something comments, no one has mentioned xiu xiu?
anything by xiu xiu makes many many people uncomfortable.
I reccomend checking out Fabulous Muscles (NSFW),
or their ever creepy cover of Fast Car, if you can find it.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 10:36 AM on September 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

Any of the Silent Hill soundtracks by Akira Yamaoka.
posted by squidlarkin at 11:36 AM on September 29, 2007

Another recommendation for Scott Walker.

In addition to the incredible Tilt and The Drift, the first four tracks on The Walker Brothers' Nite Flights are Scott classics ("The Electrician," about South African torture, is a genuinely creepy masterpiece).

Scott's 1984 LP Climate of Hunter is also recommended, fretless bass and all. Bits of this record sound like a warm-up for Tilt.
posted by porn in the woods at 12:01 PM on September 29, 2007

Red Red Red by Fiona Apple (the leaked, Jon Brion version, not the official retail one). You can (legally as far as I know) get it using your bittorrent skillz.

(more info)
posted by howiamdifferent at 12:51 PM on September 29, 2007

Alice Cooper, "I Love the Dead" is a bit creepy.

As for stuff with no lyrics, quite a lot of the recordings of Nurse With Wound can make people queasy.
posted by sfenders at 1:11 PM on September 29, 2007

Wonderful, Wonderful by Johnny Mathis
posted by Jawn at 1:49 PM on September 29, 2007

Nthing nearly anything Coil. Their cover of Tainted Love is just scratching the surface (check out the video featuring Marc Almond on YouTube, by the way)! Yikes! Some of the songs on Scatology just make my skin crawl. It's all so well put together, too. They even do dance music! ("The Snow" from "Love's Secret Domain")

Kronos Quartet and Clint Mansell's Requiem for a Dream soundtrack is great too. That's some jarring shit. (My favorite movie, too!)

The sampled choral music at the end of "Choralone" by Skinny Puppy is very creepy. "Tin Omen" freaked me out when I first heard it - it sounds like a monster is singing the song.

The weird cackling and scratching noises on some recordings by Nurse With Wound is definitely creepy. A lot of their cover artwork (done by the guy who runs the band) are complete mind-fucks to look at.

"Frankie Teardrop" by Suicide is like the soundtrack of the worst nightmare I've ever had - I recommend you listen to it from start to finish (it's like eight minutes long or something). (And it's on Yahoo! Music! Yay!)

I heard a song by a band called The Braindead Soundmachine, it's the last track on "Give Me Something Hard I Can Take To My Grave." It sounds realistic enough, it's this weird atmospheric track with a bunch of answering machine messages left by an apparently disturbed and/or drunk guy talking about all kinds of bizarre things, like reading blurbs for porno movies, talking nonchalantly about how he beat up ("I just kicked the shit out of him--no remorse") the guy's friend ("a rocker type"), about how he has cash now and he can operate. He also tells some weird version of the fable of the scorpion and the frog (scorpion offers ride across river, then stings frog because it's in his nature). The description sounds super-corny, but when you hear it you just think, "WTF??!?"

Nearly anything by Dead Voices On Air or Zoviet France is creepworthy.

The Residents have a whole album of creepiness - The Commercial Album.

BTW onlyconnect, Cocteau Twins has a great cover of Strange Fruit.

There's just tons and tons and tons of this stuff. Google any of these bands and you'll come up with all sorts of recommendations of music that's designed to screw with your head. Good luck!
posted by ostranenie at 5:59 PM on September 29, 2007

"Needle in the Hay" by Elliott Smith. <shudder/>
posted by ostranenie at 6:06 PM on September 29, 2007

Snakefinger - "Man in the Dark Sedan." Or "Death Collage"
posted by ostranenie at 6:11 PM on September 29, 2007

D.O.A. (sample) by Bloodrock (lyrics) has been creeping me out since it hit the charts in 1971!
posted by MiamiDave at 6:29 PM on September 29, 2007

Tom Waits has been mentioned, but holy crapdoodles, the entirety of his album "Alice" (YouTube) is extremely, extremely ominous. It really, really plays up the dynamics of obsession.

I know that you don't want electronica, but The Conet Project is creepy in a historical way! The shortwave crackle, the tinny synthed up folk songs, the call numbers in foreign languages repetitively recited by women and children (extremely freaking creepy for some reason), and the whole atmosphere of impending nuclear death -- seriously keeps me on edge.

So much of game music is excellently creepy -- the soundtrack to American McGee's Alice (by Chris Vrenna), the recent "Love Suicide" song in Rule of Rose (I love the dark cabaret style).

I've also recently liked Kronos Quartet's rendition of "Bloodstone" (for Amon Tobin's "Foley Room").
posted by ntartifex at 8:15 PM on September 29, 2007

PS. Venetian Snare's remix of BIlly Sunday's cover of"Gloomy Sunday." Especially creepy, given the purported story of the song.
posted by ntartifex at 8:28 PM on September 29, 2007

Speaking of creepy Tom Waits songs, here's Temptation. I swear he looks like the semi-subliminal face in The Exorcist at the very end of the video with that grin. Again, <shudder/>.
posted by ostranenie at 11:53 PM on September 29, 2007

Coil - The Unreleased Themes from Hellraiser. You probably won't sleep for a while after you listen to that. (Good luck finding it though.)

Clive Barker on Coil: "The only group I've heard on disc whose records I've taken off because they made my bowels churn."
posted by ostranenie at 12:00 AM on September 30, 2007

Helium "Ghost Car"
The Knife "We Share Our Mother's Health"
PJ Harvey "The Mountain"
Suicide "Frankie Teardrop"
Primus "Mr Krinkle" (but you must see the video.. eep)
posted by citron at 1:11 AM on September 30, 2007

Seconding the recommend for "Hamburger Lady" which I think is the creepiest of them all (google for the album liner notes and read them) and for Coil, a close runner up, I would say "The Sleeper" in particular.. or "Love's Secret Domain" but anything really..

Gang Gang Dance "Nomad for Love" & some other tracks off "God's Money"
Low "Murderer"
Liars "We Fenced Other Gardens with the Bones of Our Own"
the Birthday Party anything off Mutiny/The Bad Seed is genius - "Jennifer's Veil," "Wildworld," "Deep in the Woods"
and Swans - they are so over the top, I couldn't pick anything in particular, but plenty creepy
posted by citron at 2:07 AM on September 30, 2007

I think Voltaire's Brains! is hilarious, but it creeps out everyone I send it to.

Seconding Rabbit in Your Headlights. Heck, Thom Yorke is really good at creepy, in general.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 5:06 PM on September 30, 2007

Devendra Banhart -- Lend me your teeth
posted by Soulbee at 8:32 AM on October 1, 2007

I highly recommend Swans' Young God EP from 1984. Also known as the "Raping a Slave" EP, this marks a new direction for the band. The material is slower and much more abstract compared to Filth or Cop.

Until Skullflower came around in the late 1980s, this was the meanest, heaviest music I had ever heard.
posted by porn in the woods at 11:19 AM on October 1, 2007

Marianne Faithfull - Why d'ya do it

The Velvet Underground - Heroin

The Rolling Stones - Sympathy For The Devil

Joan Armatrading: Tall In The Saddle

Janis Joplin - Mercedes Benz

Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter

The Velvet Underground - I'll Be Your Mirror

Rolling Stones - Get Off My Cloud

The Rolling Stones - Under My Thumb

Bobbie Gentry - Ode To Billy Joe

Origin of the yodel

posted by nickyskye at 10:40 PM on October 3, 2007

Tom Dooley

Marlene Dietrich : Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Chevalier (pedophile, singing) Thank Heaven for the little girls

Little Boxes
posted by nickyskye at 10:55 PM on October 3, 2007

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