The future of music

25 Songs That Are Truly Terrifying

May 22, 2023
truly terrifying songs

Creepy, haunting, and overwhelming.

That’s the best way to describe some songs. 

Some tracks even take it to a new level with stomach-churning lyrics that leave everyone terrified, sick, and confused. 

From The Doors’ haunting psychedelic rock with an insane end to Eminem’s murder mystery involving his ex-wife, here are 25 songs that are truly terrifying. 

1. “The End” by The Doors

The Doors’ psychedelic rock song has always been viewed to be about Jim Morrison’s parents. 

But the wild verses give it an unusual, scary edge. 

Before the narration ends, the narrator recounts the tale of Oedipus.

He talks about killing the father and having sex with the mother. 

And it just doesn’t get any scarier than that. 

2. “Careful With That Axe Eugene” by Pink Floyd

This 60s song is filled with horrifying fantasies we all dread. 

It recounts one of those bad trips we’ve all imagined.

The narration welcomes the listener to interpret the lyrics how they want.

But it’s impossible to ignore Nick Mason’s distant moans that set the tone for a dreadful experience.

Listening to this song to the end could be the longest 12 minutes of your life. 

3. “I Love The Dead” by Alice Cooper

Dramatic, creepy, and haunting, “I Love The Dead” has to be one of the scariest songs ever recorded.

Alice Cooper proclaims his love for fresh corpses. 

He doesn’t just love them.

He “loves the dead before they are cold.”

The tongue-in-cheek composition leaves the listeners with a lot to ponder.

“While friends and lovers mourn your silly grave/I have other uses for you, darling.”

It doesn’t get any scarier than that. 

There are many creepy songs.

But none shocks the fans as much as Alice Cooper’s shot at necrophilia. 

Perhaps that’s what to expect from “The Godfather of Shock Rock,” anyway. 

4. “Dead Joe” by The Birthday Party

The Birthday Party’s take on a car smash subject has some sick lyrics.

It begins with Nick Cave’s “Oh-ho-ho-ho-ho” sound that instantly creates an eerie effect.

The subsequent lines only get scarier.

“You can’t tell the girls from the boys anymore.”

5. “Frankie Teardrop” by Suicide

Suicide’s “Frankie Teardrop” describes a factory worker’s catastrophic downfall.

He drowns into insanity and kills his wife and child before taking his own life.

Rolling Stone magazine labeled the song “the most terrifying ever,” and it’s easy to see why. 

6. “One” by Metallica

What happens when you lose your limbs and jaw in a war and can’t speak, hear, walk, or see?

Many would ask to be executed.

That’s the scary subject matter in Metallica’s song based on Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun novel.  

The lyrics are just as scary as it gets. 

7. “Farmer In The City” by Scott Walker

If you thought Scott Walker’s life wasn’t dramatic enough, his 1995 hit is even scarier. 

The song’s haunting lyrics reflect the concept of civilization. 

The chorus is a call and a response, expressing the singer’s conflicting thoughts. 

The song climaxes with the singer’s desperate wail, much like someone choked up during a conversation. 

He also mourns the Italian poet, writer, and film director, Pier Paolo Pasolini, who was murdered in 1975.

8. “25 Minutes to Go” by Diamanda Galas

There are few scarier experiences in life than waiting patiently for your execution.

That’s the subject of Diamanda Galas’ song, which tells the tale of a man facing execution by hanging. 

All he can do is count down one minute after another before facing his biggest fear. 

“One more minute to go/And now I’m swinging, and here I go!”

“25 Minutes to Go” is one of those terrifying songs that instantly sends a shiver down the listener’s spine.

9. “Kim” by Eminem

One of the scariest rap songs came from Slim Shady in the form of “Kim.”

Eminem describes his abusive relationship with his ex-wife Kim Scott, which takes a quick turn when it becomes deadly. 

The rapper makes it even scarier when he imitates Kim’s voice and raps about murdering her ex-wife’s husband.

10. “Miste” by The Haxan Cloak

Nobody expresses the concept of a tortured soul better than The Haxan Cloak.

That’s clear in “Miste,” packed with screams and waves that send shivers up the listener’s spine. 

11. “What’s He Building” by Tom Waits

The primary theme of Tom Waits’ song was the nosy neighbors who will never mind their business. 

But the spooky sound and disturbing theme gave it a scary edge.

A curious neighbor constantly speculating about what’s happening next door could be worse than an enemy. 

“He has no friends, and his lawn’s dying/what’s he building in there?”

12. “Chemical Bomb” by The Aquabats

“I was at the supermarket/Watching people cut in line/I started to think/What would you do if there was no food?”

“Chemical Bomb” is unlike other songs by the American rock band and takes a disturbing look at the effects of war, lack of resources, and greed.

The narrator imagines a world destroyed by a chemical bomb, with every new line sounding scarier than the previous.

13. “Werewolves Of London” by Warren Zevon

Everybody would dread the thought of werewolves on rage in a city as big as London. 

That makes up the subject in Warren Zevon’s scary song, despite being the biggest hit of his career.

You could bet on the lyrics to make many people nervous every time they listen to the song.

14. “Nebraska” by Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen’s song is about the infamous American spree killer Charles Starkweather. 

Charles murdered 11 people in 8 days, along with his 14-year-old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, sending fear into the local community. 

The harmonica and acoustic guitar set the tone for those scary moments everybody dreads. 

Many artists, including Chrissie Hynde and Steve Earle, have covered it. 

15. “Asbestos Youth” by Wolf Eyes

Wolf Eyes is an American music group known for contributing to contemporary noise music.

But they took it to a whole new level in “Asbestos Youth,” a haunting song that unsettles anyone who listens to it. 

16. “I Put a Spell on You” by Screaming Jay Hawkins 

Screams, hoots, and snarls are a terrifying combination in Jay Hawkins’ 1956 shock rock song. 

One could argue that the singer put an actual spell on his fans with this song because many can’t get enough of it, despite the scary subject matter. 

17. “Come To Daddy” by Aphex Twin

Aphex Twin is famed for his pranksterish nature, but he’s never sounded any scarier as he did in his 1997 dance song

As if the singer’s growling in the song wasn’t enough, the music video took it to a new level. 

From the marauding children in scary masks to haunting lyrics, this one still scares many people. 

18. “Nine Inch Nails” by The Becoming 

Under normal circumstances, a man sinking deeper and deeper into depression would never sound scary.

But for some reason, The Becoming’s song is many listeners’ nightmare.

And that reason is the non-linear instrumental that instantly connects with your spine. 

The screaming vocals are just as unsettling as the lyrics.

When you finish listening to it, you will understand why it is one of the scariest songs of all time. 

19. “Angel Of Death” by Slayer

“Angel Of Death” set the tone for the rest of Slayer’s 1986 album, Reign in Blood.

The lyrics were written by Jeff Hanneman and described events inside the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp at the height of the Second World War. 

The landmark thrash classic was criticized by a section of fans but has remained one of Slayer’s best-ever songs. 

20. “Black Sabbath” by Black Sabbath

For some, this is one of the best songs by the English rock band.

But that doesn’t eliminate its spooky aspect with events inspired by Geezer Butler’s experience in his room. 

After listening to the song’s lyrics, you won’t want to mess around with the occult. 

21. “Oily Night” by Tom Waits

Tom Waits’ “Oily Night” is four and a half minutes of pure terror. 

The American musician’s grunting throughout the song is why many consider it one of the scariest songs.

If that doesn’t send you to the bathroom in fear, the percussion sounds will.

Waits’ The Black Rider studio album that contained this hit is one of the scariest albums ever.

22. “The Escape” by Scott Walker

“The Escape” was part of Scott Walker’s The Drift album and is widely regarded as one of the scariest songs.

The song will always be scary, no matter how many times you play it.  

From Scott Walker’s hushed crooning to the shrieking noise, everybody has something to worry about when listening to the song to the end. 

23. “Good Morning, Captain” by Slint

Creepy, scary, overwhelming. 

That’s the perfect way to describe Slint’s terrifying song from the group’s Spiderland album. 

The song’s creepy lyrics will get you even more frightened when whispered.

24. “Hello Skinny” by The Residents

This one is a pure nightmare right from the opening. 

The opening line, “Skinny was born in a bathtub, and he grew so incredibly thin,” prepares you for what’s yet to come. 

When the scary imagery kicks in, you will be completely immersed in fear. 

If there’s one rock band that excelled with pure art, it has to be The Residents. 

25. “Hamburger Lady” by Throbbing Gristle

Completing our list is the epitome of paranoia describing the troubles of a suffering lady burnt on one side. 

Genesis P-Orridge’s scary metallic voice resonates with everybody’s spine. 

You will struggle to listen to the lyrics to the end. 

Songs That Are Truly Terrifying – Final Thoughts

Who knew haunting lyrics could blend well with screams and grunting when creating the ultimate spooky playlist?

But that’s the story of scary songs, composed to stimulate, entertain, and arouse curiosity. 

Perhaps you won’t fear the ghosts anymore after listening to a few hits from our list of 25 songs that are truly terrifying. 

You may also like: Best Songs About Ghosts

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

view profile

sad chord progressions
Previous Story

10 Sad Chord Progressions (Top Picks)

Best Rolling Stones songs
Next Story

12 Best Rolling Stones Songs of All Time

Latest from Entertainment & Playlists