27 October 2006

8+

“Frankie Teardrop" by Suicide which clocks in at 10:26

A scary song for Halloween?

As much attention as Alan Vega and Martin Rev have gotten in the past 10 years or so (okay, not tons but serious music fans like you guys know them at least, which is more than when they were very active 25 years ago) I'm consistently surprised at how many people have never heard of Suicide. Their impact on the New York scene, not to mention on the world of music as a whole, is undeniable and their ability to confront, amaze, and often terrify listeners was the stuff of legend. We're after the scary, it is that time of the year after all.

From the ages of seven to eleven, each year a few days before Halloween, my friends and I started talking. Started discussing Halloween plans and candy gathering strategy. Wait, it wasn't as nerdy as it might sound. I swear. This was more like a brief mention, here or there, in between games of River Raid. See, there were things to figure out like who was going to be rolling in our posse that year and if we were going to be going by that house. Maybe everyone had a house like this in their neighborhood, I'm not sure. Frankly, I've never really talked about it to anyone. It's better that way, keeps the ghost of Halloween past at bay. Be brave.

Okay - back to 1984. So there was this house, right. It was big, seemed big, with dark brown wood siding. It was a contemporary and hadn't weathered very well in its few years of existence. Something about it made it the perfect target of the fear of every kid in the neighborhood. Maybe it was that we never saw anybody ever go in or come out. Or that there was only one room that ever seem to have a light on. Maybe, probably, it was the fact that each year for Halloween this house turned into spooksville central. The people who lived there would turn off all (one) of their lights and open the windows. They'd then set the candy outside in two large serving bowls on the front porch. I know what you're thinking, "that candy didn't last more than five minutes because the first kid took all of it, right?" Wrong. See they also played scary music from inside the house. Some spooky "sounds of the season" kinda nonsense mixed with who knows what kind of abstract scary noise garbage. I don't even think it was really music per se; not Halloween music or the "Monster Mash" or anything. It was monsters and avant garde and creepy as shit. And so the candy never diminished at all. That's not for lack of children braving the sonic threats and the darkness... No, it was more like there was someone in there watching the creeped out kids come up, grab candy, and run away screaming to each other "I saw someone inside, I saw a man sitting in there!!!"

The whole thing must've made quite an impression on me because when I finally got my own apartment alone, in an area where I assumed there would be trick-or-treaters, I used that dark wooden contemporary house scareus-majorus as an inspiration. I turned off all of the lights, opened my window, set a bowl of candy outside, and put on some scary ass music. The music was mostly songs by Bauhaus, Joy Division, and Suicide but I found that this particular song (“Frankie Teardrop") got the most scares. Yes, I was out to scare some kids that year. Thinking back now, that must've been pretty f'ing scary for kids to walk up to my place with this song cranked up. I didn't sit there like a creepy weirdo and watch them react to my setup but I did hear some little ones telling their parent that they didn't want to have to go get candy from my place. Awww. No, actually - I love scaring people and I love Halloween.

Other than that, I'm not really going to tell you a specific story about this song. The song is the story. Listen to it if you dare, let it wash over you. Let Suicide become you, let yourself become Frankie. And...beware.

Buy Suicide HERE on Amazon.

EAR FARM's 8+ is a weekly feature that showcases songs longer than 8 minutes. In the recent past these songs were featured on EF's 8+:
Explosions In The Sky - "Memorial"
Rush - “2112"
Love and Rockets - “Haunted When the Minutes Drag"
Suede - “The Asphalt World"
!!! - “Me and Giuliani Down by the Schoolyard (a true story)"
Bark Psychosis - “All Different Things"
Deodato - “Also Sprach Zarathustra"
Grateful Dead - “Terrapin Station"

To see a full list of every song featured in EAR FARM's 8+ click HERE.

6 comments:

Taylor said...

gooood choice!

d said...

secret sadist!

harriet said...

bad choice. this song sucks butt.

beef said...

I too have had a scary encounter with this song - except I was 25 not 10.
At the time I had only heard bits of suicide, so I decided to get the album and see what it was all about. It seemd like a good idea to toss the album into the mix I listen to while I run, that way I could get a new song in every so often. Here's the thing: I run very early in the morning, before dawn, and there is one stretch of road about that follows for about a mile and half along a creek that has no streetlights or any other type of civilization to light it. It is so dark that sometimes you can't even see other runners coming at you until they are a few feet away. (Not so safe, but I was listening to Suicide so who needs safety)
I am on this dark road, and Frankie Teardrop comes on. I start to realize that this is good, but not really good running music - and then that part of the song where he screams that awful scream comes on really loud into my ear. I ripped my headphones off and ran the rest of that stretch faster than I have probably ever run in my life. I am incredibly embarrased to admit it, but I was scared out of my mind. i almnost started crying - but I didn't, because then I thought about it and understood that it was only a song that there was no death and agony in my immmediate radius.
Frankie Teardrop: I do it with the lights on.

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