Spooky Track Series 1: Is There Anybody Out There?

With Halloween approaching, I’ve decided to make a spooky track series of posts. “What is that?” you ask. Well simply, I will write about a scary song a day for 31 days, and give my reasons why it’s creepy. Is it an original idea? No. Do I care? also no. I’m trying to bring a little joy to myself as well as to anyone who reads this. And I am talking about people readers, not the bots.

The image shows Pink Floyd's the Wall, the album which this first spooky series track is from

Without further ado, my spooky track series kicks off with Pink Floyd’s “Is There Anybody Out There?” from their album The Wall. At first glance, this might seem like an odd choice for this series. Especially, when one considers it’s a song from a commercial band. How can it possibly be unnerving?

From the very beginning it is easy to hear why this song deserves a spot on my list, even if you don’t know its context on the album. It opens with a click and some chatter from a television. Then, gradually, an oppressive bass cloud rises and holds while the vocals come in with the title lyrics. These vocals do not screech or scream, but rather come off as sedate., at least on the ‘Is there anybody” portion. However, when vocalist Waters hits the “out there” is voice rises. Which, sure, it’s a question, and questions tend to raise the inflection of our voice. Additionally, though, this uptick at the end illustrates fear and uncertainty.

Spooky Track Series Is There Anybody Out There Is an Unheard Cry for Help

This man is obviously in trouble and needs help. He’s calling for help from anyone who might be out there? Out where? Where is this man that he is calling for people who are out of his sight? Is he in a box, a dungeon, holed up in the walls like some victim of Poe’s devising? Why else would he repeat the same refrain over and over, wondering if someone will save him?

We don’t know the answers to these questions, (well we do if we’ve listened to the album) and that makes it scarier. All we know is that the vocalist is somewhere that seems dark, damp, and oppressive. Enhancing the oppressive mood of this entry into the spooky track series is the music. It starts with that heavy sound, and continues to drag the listener to the ground. When the guitar enters with a flighty bit of chord progression, there is a moment of short lived optimism. But, by the end of the song, the oppressive noise returns, crushing that little ray of hopeful guitar.

And it’s that oppression and the trap of isolation that makes this a scary song. It’s an existential crisis in 2:41.

So there’s the first entry of my 31 day spooky track series. Let me know what you think, and if you have any suggestions for the series, let me know that, too.

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