The Shit Playlist: Friday The 13th Edition!


When another "Friday The 13th" rolls around, like it has today, I think of Jason in his hockey mask and all those half-assed sequels that drove the whole franchise into the ground.  Making it worse, enough time has passed that the hipsters are  now looking back for nosalgic reasons and finding that what truly crappy twenty years ago is downright genius by today's standards.  Come back, you hockey-mask-wearing freak, all is forgiven.

Not so fast.

Since a lot of radio stations and rock clubs view Friday the 13th as  "Halloween"-lite, be prepared to hear all of the usual "scary" Alice Cooper, Kiss, Rob Zombie, and Black Sabbath tunes.  All of those tunes are fine, but I truly resent that metal is the go-to music for every scary movie from "Friday the 13th" on.  Naturally, any kids cavorting at a lake with beers stolen from Daddy's fridge is gonna be jamming Krokus, right?

Wrong.



The next time you see Jason lurking behind a tree, ready to rip the arms off of the star quarterback and his cheerleader girlfriend, mute the flick, and play Joy Division's "She's Lost Control".  The brutal, unvarnished growl of Peter Hook's bass against Stephen Morris's robotic thrash will have the hairs on the back of your neck on full-alert.  Bernard Sumner's guitar traces the jagged grooves, cutting jagged lines into a once pristine canvas now ravaged by the unspeakable darkness of man.

And then comes The Voice.

My first thought when I hear Ian Curtis sing is "This guy saw something deeply unsettling and he was trying to warn us."  Having witnessed something first-hand that would turn the hair white, his voice shivers with fear and bravery and determination.  Scares the shit out of me because it's not a "slasher flick" kind of fear, it's deeper.  You can't see this one and it's on you before you can react.   Add in some subtle nuances of deceit and misdirection, where nothing can be taken at face value, and you have a complete mind-fuck going on here.


Gary Numan's "Are 'Friends' Electric?" is the next logical step in redefining the stigma surrounding Friday the 13th.  I find it funny that the song begins with the line "It's cold outside" because listening to Gary Numan albums has always made me feel cold, as if the temperature of the entire room just dipped.  Numan's merely talking to himself, noticing the man outside smoking the cigarette.  Hey, what;'s so scary ablout that, we think?  Uh, what would you be feeling if you noticed a strange man waiting outside your home smoking a cigarette.  You chalk it up as a coincidence, but, for crying out loud, he's staring right at you.

Brrrr.



If a few friends are bound and determined to get together in celebration of the day, again, resist the urge to watch a "Friday The 13th" movie.  Try a slyly genius flick like "Blow Up" instead and prepare for those who've never seen it to have their minds blown, if for no other scene than where the Yardbirds (with Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page) are tearing into "Stroll On" in front of a zombified audience while David Hemmings wanders among them.  Having unwittingly photographed a murder and afraid for his life, director Michelangelo Antonioni's ability to create a further sense of alienation and disconnection is unsettling in its genius.


Speaking of unsettling, remember when Split Enz played the short-lived sketch comedy show "Fridays"?  Of course you don't.  Thanks to YouTube, we can now watch Neil Finn and Company's alien country band as if performing on "Hee Haw".  Would that have been freaky or what?



It's that odd juxtaposition of "one of these things is not like the other" that drives the song "Dirge" by Death In Vegas, with an almost alien female "la la la" set on an infinite loop adding a superior counterwight to the fittingly dirge-like groove that fills the mind with a sense of unease only to recede.  In that moment, you exhale, take in new oxygen because you know it's coming again to take you.



And then comes Julee Cruise's masterful "Rockin' Back Inside My Heart", with its porcelain refrain gliding effortlessly over ice that would crack beneath the weight of anything else.  Written by David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti for the Twin Peaks TV series, the song invites you in with the lightness of a hushed kiss.  You want to trust that the ice will hold your weight, eager to touch the beautiful apparition reaching out to yoiu.  You know you shouldn't go, but then you realize you're already halfway there, standing in the middle of a frozen lake and she is gone.

Is it Saturday the 14th yet?

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