Haunting music

I seem to categorize some songs as being what I call “haunting”. These songs have a certain sound and wistful tone that lingers in my head for awhile after listening to them. However, apart from a certain sadness or longing to the lyrics, I can’t put my finger on what these songs have in common. Some examples are :

The Boys of Summer by Don Henley
Here Comes the Rain Again by The Eurhythmics
The Chauffeur by Duran Duran (anyone remember that one?)
Drive by The Cars (I think)
A Twist in My Sobriety by Tanita Tikaram
Sour Times by Portishead
(Most of my examples seem to come from the 80s…Maybe it’s something particular to my adolescence?)

Apart from my personal feelings and associations about these songs, what makes them “haunting”? There’s a certain quality to the music that I can’t put my finger on. What other songs fit this category? Is it just me?

I also love the 80s and some of those kinds of songs.

How about “Welcome To The Boomtown”, David and David(?)
or “Valotte”, Julian Lennon?

I know exactly what you mean! I always think the same thing when I hear “with or without you” by U2. I’m sure I’ll think of some more but that one immediately springs to mind.:cool:

The Phannnnnnnntom of the Op-er-a.

Memory from CATS when it’s sung right. Unfortunately, there are about 5,000 wrong ways to sing it, and most of the recordings aren’t good. Go with the Original London Cast CD.

For “haunting” music, you really can’t beat J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

That tune is playing on a pipe organ in damn near every haunted house.

tracer, that’s a great one. Night on Bald Mountain is one that always spooked me (I can’t recall the composer, but it’s in Fantasia).

I’ve always thought that “Ashes” by Rufus Wainwright had a haunting melody. Beautiful song.


The Boys of Summer by Don Henley

This song and especially the video fills me with great melancholy and sadness that it so disturbing I am not right for days. I don’t know why.

I really like Neptun der Mystiker from The Planets byGustav Holst. Actually I find the whole CD very haunting.

It’s by Mussorgsky.

Dave Gahan - A Little Piece
Dead Can Dance - I Am Stretched On Your Grave (Live)
Recoil - Black Box (pts 1 & 2)
Depeche Mode - Sibeling

Just a couple off-hand.

Pet Shop Boys - West End Girls
Depeche Mode - Behind The Wheel / Route 66
Berlin Take my breath away
Double Captain of her heart
Lionel Ritchie Love will conquer all

Oh, and I almost forgot
Cardigans - Erase / Rewind

Some more that I just thought of:

In the air tonight by Phil Collins
Mama by Genesis (or is it Phil Collins alone?) - cheesy but effective
Life in a northern town by The Dream Academy
Smalltown boy by Bronski Beat
Promenade by U2 (from The unforgettable fire)
Many, many Cure songs (almost all of the Disintegration album, in particular)
Jackie by Sinead O’Connor
I’m on fire by Bruce Springsteen
Fairground by Simply Red
Hotel California by The Eagles

“The Scientist” by Coldplay is a recent one that sticks out for me. I’m sure it’s at least partially the video, but the song is quite pretty, in a melancholy way.

I’m also partial to Portishead’s “Sour Times,” but I find that “Wandering Stars” upsets me more.

There’s a Porishead song on their extended second album that I’ve been listening too lately, dunno the title, but the chorus is sometihng like “I can hardly see the sky somedays.”

Possession, Sarah McLachlan
1979, Smashing Pumpkins
Dying, Hole
Hands, Jewel
November Rain, Guns 'n Roses
Loser, 3 doors down
mmm mmm mmm, Crash Test Dummies
People are Strange, Riders on the Storm, Doors
Losing my Religion, Everybody Hurts, REM
Don’t Fear the Reaper, Blue Oyster Cult
Uninvited, Alanis Moriset (misspelled sorry)
Runaway Train, Soul Asylum
Cats in the Cradle, Old or newer version
Paint it Black, Rolling Stones
Black Hole Sun, Soundgarden
Everlong, FooFighters
Hurt, NIN (the ultimate)

On the same Don Henley album as “Boys of Summer” is “Sunset Grill.” Which I find even more haunting, with the eerie horns. I remember when I first heard it, back in 1984. I was nicely stoned about 4 in the morning playing cards. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out it was Don Henley.

“Sally Go Round the Roses” by the Jayenettes

I defy anyone to find something more spooky than that.

“Who Will Take Your Dreams Away” sung by Marianne Faithful

It’s that song from the end of CITY OF LOST CHILDREN. Faithful’s voice (present voice) is haunting enough. Tie it with this song and you have, um, haunting squared! Yeah, that’s the ticket.

I’d say “Me and a Gun” by Tori Amos pretty well qualifies.
Velvet Chain, “Treason”
Righteous Brothers, “Unchained Melody”
Goo Goo Dolls, “Iris”
Evanescence, “Hello”
Bif Naked, “Lucky”
Angie Hart, “Blue”