TIME Music

The 22 Best Halloween Songs, From Michael Jackson to Skrillex

Don't be scared — it's just our playlist of perfect music for the spooky holiday

Taylor Swift trying to find her way “Out of the Woods” isn’t scary enough for you? Don’t worry. TIME has got you covered on spooky music for your Halloween bash — with a few liberties on the theme. Savor it with someone who frightens you.

This story was originally posted on Oct. 31, 2012.

  • Rocky Horror Cast, “Time Warp”

    Our triptych of cinematic Halloween songs concludes with a jump to the left and then a step to the right. Richard O’Brien’s timeless “Time Warp” is the most fun one can have in Frankenfurter’s abode.

  • Donovan, “Season of the Witch”

    Scottish troubadour Donovan isn’t usually associated with Halloween, or even any other holiday, but a spooky sense of poisonous foreboding imbues his “Season of the Witch.”

  • The Fifth Estate, “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead”

    More witch business, this one a bubblegum-pop revival of a Wizard of Oz slice of Munchkin mirth. Lest you think this is too lighthearted for a ghoulish playlist, note this old Rick Polito Oz film review: “Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets and then teams up with three strangers to kill again.”

  • Michael Jackson, “Thriller”

    We close with the finest Halloween song ever concocted. What more needs to be said about one of MJ’s most enduring moments both visually and musically? Grab some popcorn, put on the video, and let the thrills commence.

  • Listen to TIME’s Halloween playlist on Spotify

TIME Music

Watch Sam Smith Surprise Everyone by Bringing Ed Sheeran on Stage to Sing ‘Stay With Me’

Seriously, the ladies in the crowd can NOT contain their excitement

Prepare to get so emotional, because this is a video of Ed Sheeran unexpectedly strolling onstage to join Sam Smith in a duet of his hit “Stay With Me.”

Smith was performing in the U.K. Wednesday night at Manchester’s Albert Hall when he launched into the popular tune. About 45 seconds in, Sheeran walked out and everyone totally lost it, which is understandable, because they were expecting just Sam Smith and then they got Ed Sheeran as a bonus.

The duet was, of course, lovely. Sheeran has had practice singing this song, as he recently covered it:

Anyway, after the show, Smith got all lovey-dovey and posted a photo of the pair on Instagram, with the comment: “So amazing to have this KING @teddysphotos on stage with me tonight. Such a wise and true friend to have. Love ya brother x”

So. Emotional.

Read next: T-Pain Singing Without Auto-Tune Is the Most Confusing Thing You’ll Hear Today

TIME Music

Meet Young Fathers, the Band That Won the 2014 Mercury Prize

East End Social 'The Last Big Weekend' - Day 1
GLASGOW, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 30: Kayus Bankole, Graham Hastings and Alloysious Massaquoi of Young Fathers performs on stage at The Last Big Weekend at Richmond Park on August 30, 2014 in Glasgow, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ross Gilmore/Redferns via Getty Images) Ross Gilmore—Redferns via Getty Images

This up-and-coming hip hop group just won Britain's big music prize

FKA twigs — the avant garde R&B artist who may or may not be dating Robert Pattinson — was the favorite to win this year’s prestigious Mercury Prize, but her victory was upset by an up-and-coming hip-hop group called Young Fathers.

The Edinburgh-based group of Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and Graham Hastings plays a version of hip-hop that incorporates the members’ Liberian and Nigerian roots with ’70s punk and American rap. It’s an intriguing combination: distinctive, challenging and listenable.

While many music fans may be scratching their heads at the win, the group is well-respected by critics, including The Guardian‘s Alexis Petridis, who calls their album “the work of misfits, as all the greatest music tends to be.” He goes on to say about their album, “Dead never feels forced, or as if it’s trying too hard to prove a point. It just works.”

“Young Fathers have a unique take on urban British music, brimming with ideas – forceful, unexpected and moving,” said Simon Frith, who chaired the committee of judges.

Another reason some are mystified by the group’s win is that their album, Dead, hasn’t performed commercially. Even in the era of declining album sales (we’re not talking about you, Taylor), the numbers are surprisingly low. According to the BBC, Young Fathers’s album not only failed to chart, but sold just over 2,000 albums. As the Press Association noted, they “could have bought the lot with their £20,000 prize money — and still have change left over.” It’s now the lowest-selling record to win the £20,000 prize. According to The Guardian, the band has only sold 561 copies since their nomination for the Mercury Prize was announced.

However, just because their album hasn’t sold many units yet doesn’t mean it won’t eventually. As The Guardian points out, “If the Mercury Prize has a worthwhile purpose, it’s to shine a light on music that a wider audience might well like if they heard it, and Dead fits the bill perfectly.”

Their win comes on the heels of James Blake’s 2013 award for his second album, Overgrown, and Alt-J’s 2012 prize for their debut, An Awesome Wave. Both acts have continued on to great success.

Familiarize yourself with Young Fathers:

“I Heard”

“Get Up”


TIME Music

T-Pain Singing Without Auto-Tune Is the Most Confusing Thing You’ll Hear Today

T-Pain backstage before performing during the 'Drankin Patna Tour' with support from Bando Jonez and Snootie Wild at Revolution on Aug. 12, 2014 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
T-Pain backstage before performing during the 'Drankin Patna Tour' with support from Bando Jonez and Snootie Wild at Revolution on Aug. 12, 2014 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Johnny Louis—FilmMagic/Getty Images

"This is weird as hell for me," T-Pain says. Us, too

Remember T-Pain? In the mid-2000s, he was one of the biggest names in popular culture. His hit songs included the use of auto-tune, which synthesized and distorted his voice for a futuristic sound that led him to the top of the charts. But some time around 2010, he fell off. Looking back, he blames the exact thing that made him popular for the masses souring on his music—“People felt like I was using it to sound good,” he says in an upcoming interview on All Things Considered. “But I was just using it to sound different.”

Yet to the average listener, a “different” T-Pain would be more like his recent Tiny Desk Concert for NPR. In the 13-minute video, the now 30-year-old singer performs some of his greatest and latest hits—get this—without auto-tune. His actual voice will surprise you. Before starting up, the singer says, “this is weird as hell for me.” That pretty much sums up how you’ll feel once the 13-minutes are up. If this isn’t your ideal T-Pain, NPR says he’s got a greatest hits coming out soon.


Read next: We Love This Beyoncé/Taylor Swift Mashup Like XO

TIME Music

Taylor Swift Silences “Welcome to New York” Critics, Donates to Public Schools

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift performs on stage at CBS Radio's second annual We Can Survive concert at the Hollywood Bowl on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision/AP) Todd Williamson—Todd Williamson/Invision/AP

She may not be a native New Yorker, but Swift's already giving back to her adopted city

“Welcome to New York,” the first track on Taylor Swift’s new album 1989, has gotten some blowback from those who’ve lived in New York for longer, and under less luxurious circumstances, than Swift herself (who bought an apartment in Manhattan earlier this year). The Village Voice described the city of Swift’s song as “generic, flat, and lifeless a New York as has ever existed in pop culture,” saying the song could as easily be titled “Welcome to Des Moines.” That the tourism department of New York City named Swift a “global welcome ambassador” this week only added to the mockery: Who was Swift to be singing about a city in which she’d just arrived?

But those who thought Swift would be silenced forgot how good she is at shaking things off. Swift announced, in an appearance on The View today, that she would be donating all of the proceeds from sales of “Welcome to New York” to the city’s public schools. It’s both generous and a canny P.R. move, immediately obviating the first significant criticism she’s faced in the 1989 roll-out.

This will likely do nothing to assuage the critics of Swift’s aesthetics or the role she’s taken on as a spokesperson for city tourism. (The haters, as they say, gonna hate.) But it’s a declaration of her citizenship that would seem to solve the conundrum of how Swift has the gall to sing about New York. She may not know the ins and outs of ordering sandwiches at bodegas and may not have a MetroCard, but Swift has committed what is likely to be a huge amount of money to bettering the lives of those who have lived for years in her adopted city; for all Swift can be critiqued as making New York seem dull and safe to outsiders and potential tourists, she’s also set to do more than most of her critics in changing life in the city.

Swift’s long taken inspiration from her life in writing her songs. She’s now putting her lyrics to work in her day-to-day life as, yes, a New Yorker.

TIME Music

Calvin Harris and Haim Team Up on “Pray to God”: Listen

The pop trio ventures into the world of electronic dance music

Calvin Harris’ forthcoming album, Motion, will feature several big names on its list of collaborators, from Gwen Stefani to Ellie Goulding. But perhaps most exciting is the DJ’s decision to team up with Haim, the Los Angeles-based trio of sisters behind the highly praised 2013 album Days Are Gone.

On “Pray to God,” Haim lends its poppy vocals and three-part harmonies to Harris’ synth-heavy beats, reprising the polished, refreshing melodies that made Days Are Gone so listenable — only this time, it’s prime for the dance floor.

Haim is no stranger to collaboration: In recent months, the sisters have sung alongside Stevie Nicks, A$AP Ferg, and Mumford and Sons. Now they can add electronic dance music to their ever-expanding repertoire.

Motion comes out on Nov. 4., and it’s available to stream on iTunes Radio this week.

TIME Television

Watch Blood Orange’s Beautiful, Choreographed Performance on Jimmy Kimmel

The singer (real name: Dev Hynes) made his network TV debut

Last night, singer and producer Dev Hynes — best known as Blood Orange — dropped by Jimmy Kimmel Live! to perform on network TV for the first time. First, he performed “It Is What It Is,” from his 2013 album Cupid Deluxe, surrounded by choreographed dancers. About a minute in, he’s joined by Samantha Urbani, his girlfriend, on vocals.

Later, Hynes returned to the stage to perform a soulful, solo rendition of “Time Will Tell,” from the same album. Make sure to watch all the way through the end so you can enjoy his dance moves:

TIME Music

Watch Taylor Swift Perform ‘Welcome to New York’ on Late Show with David Letterman

“If the world doesn’t need a little enthusiasm, what does it need?”

It’s been a big week for Taylor Swift. Since Monday, she’s released a new album, 1989, announced her new position as Global Welcome Ambassador for New York City, and served as a guest coach on The Voice. She continued the streak last night with a performance of “Welcome to New York” on Late Show with David Letterman.

In her interview with Letterman, Swift discussed her enthusiasm for New York, the genesis of her friendship with Lena Dunham, and why she invited several hundred fans to listening parties in the living rooms of all three of her abodes. Of her appointment as the face of New York City tourism, she imagined how the powers-that-be decided to choose her. “She’s the most enthusiastic, obnoxious person to ever love New York,” she said of herself. “She loves it with, like, 18 exclamation points after it, underlined.”

Watching these two sharing a stage is the very picture of old New York meets new New York. Letterman’s been an institution for decades, whereas Swift moved into her downtown apartment just last winter. But as he congratulated her on her performance, he caught their image in a monitor and gushed, “Look at what a lovely couple we make.” Let’s assume he meant, “What a lovely couple of New Yorkers.”

Swift’s week should end on an even better note than it started on: Her album is expected to sell more than 1 million copies by the time we turn the clocks back this weekend. Hopefully we won’t wake up Sunday morning to find that it’s 1989.

TIME celebrities

Phil Collins Brings Alamo Artifact Collection Back to Texas

British music legend, Phil Collins donates what is considered the biggest collection of Alamo artifacts to the people of Texas on Oct. 28, 2014.
British music legend, Phil Collins donates what is considered the biggest collection of Alamo artifacts to the people of Texas on Oct. 28, 2014. Bob Daemmrich—Corbis

The singer has remembered the Alamo since he was a child

Phil Collins recently brought his Alamo artifact collection back to its original San Antonio home, a site the 63-year-old has been fascinated by since he was young.

The In the Air Tonight singer said he became fascinated by the U.S. historical site ever since he saw the 1955 film Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier as a child in London, according to Reuters. The British rocker has since amassed a large collection of artifacts from the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, when Mexican troops attacked the Alamo Mission, a chapel built to spread Christianity to those living in the region. The Alamo’s defenders sought revenge, and later defeated the Mexican Army to establish the Republic of Texas, which would be later become a U.S. state.

Collins’ collection will be housed temporarily at a building near the Alamo before they are moved into a $100 million museum called the Phil Alamo Collins Collection.

“This completes the journey for me,” Collins told Reuters. “These artifacts are coming home.”

The artifacts include a leather pouch that Davy Crockett, who died at the Battle of the Alamo, brought from his home state of Tennessee to Texas during the Texas Revolution. Collins also owned one of only four remaining rifles that were owned by Crockett, and an original Bowie knife owned by Jim Bowie during the Battle of the Alamo, where he also died.



TIME Music

Taylor Swift’s 1989 Expected to Hit 1 Million Sales in Debut Week

Taylor Swift performs during her 1989 Secret Session with iHeartRadio on Oct. 27, 2014 in New York City.
Taylor Swift performs during her 1989 Secret Session with iHeartRadio on Oct. 27, 2014 in New York City. Kevin Mazur—Getty Images for TAS

The singer would be the first to have three albums that sold 1 million copies in their first weeks

Taylor Swift’s latest album, released Monday, is on track to hit 1 million in sales during its first week, according to Billboard. That would make 1989 the first album in 2014 to reach that watermark, and it would make the 24-year-old the only singer ever to have three albums achieve the one-million-in-one-week feat.

Taylor’s last million-selling debut week was Red, which was released in 2012 and sold 1.21 million copies. (Red was also the last million-selling debut week, period.) Before that, the singer had released Speak Now in 2010, which promptly sold 1.05 million copies.


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