Don’t mind the creaky floorboards, the howling wind, and the thing that goes bump in the night. It’s just our latest Spire on Spotify playlist taking a spin for this spooky season.
If you’re in search of dancing skellies and groovy ghouls doing fancy footwork, then you’re in the right place. Here we take a hearse ride back through the gates of time to experience the season with a fun and whimsical take on songs that bring us spooks and jukes.
Senior Designer Alex Flores has gone into his lyrical laboratory to concoct some musical melodies to blow the cobwebs off your dancing shoes. It’s our newest playlist called Vol. 49: Haunted Harmonies. Your hair will curl, a black cat’s back will arch, and a menacing shadow might catch you unawares when you listen to these classic Halloween thrills. You’ll hear a little of Louis Armstrong, The White Stripes, Trap City, Harry Belafonte, and so many others in what will be this month’s beastly beats.
Alex, what is the name of your album?
The name of this album is Haunted Harmonies. It takes inspiration from the golden era of cartoons in the first half of the 20th century. The animated series “Silly Symphonies,” produced by Walt Disney Productions, introduced musical short films, such as The Skeleton Dance, which is still played today. This theme sets the tone of the album with a spooky and nostalgic feeling in every listen.
How would you describe this mix?
This mix has a heavy dose of whimsy-nostalgia peppered with contemporary takes on spooky classics that feel right up this season’s alley. It’s a ghoulish ride that you can turn on at a Halloween party, or for those who simply love a little jump-scare, wolf howl, and menacing laugh in the night.
What was the inspiration behind it?
Take a peek behind the wonderful curtain of Technicolor television and puppet-filled educational programming. Behold the eerie and hair-raising early 20th-century animated cartoons. Great producers like Walt Disney and Max Fleischer, who took advantage of music, sound, and the novelty of rotoscoping, created animated short films full of personality and charm. The darker-themed cartoons especially are a source of inspiration for this album.
What is your favorite song, and why?
“St. James Infirmary Blues” covered by The White Stripes is at the top for me. The White Stripes do a great job at preserving the overall feel that Cab Calloway brought to the original while still adding in their signature sound. The original song was also showcased in a 1933 Betty Boop animated short film where Calloway lent both vocals and physical dance modeling for the animators to reference and rotoscope in. St. James Infirmary Blues has all the right elements to make it a proper haunted harmony.
If your playlist was a brand, what would it be and why?
This playlist is inspired by the younger, yet innovative, Walt Disney Productions—a time before Disney Plus and streaming services in general. A time when television was a big colorless tube. The short films were all hand-drawn and the characters were larger than life. That era of Disney is what this playlist represents.
Any specific memory that comes to mind when you listen?
While I wasn’t a huge fan of the Disney films coming out around the time that I was a child, I did have an appreciation for the bygone era of cartoons and animated shorts. Couple that with Halloween and how iconic that time of the year tends to be brings back many nostalgic feelings.
What makes your playlist unique?
There are many classics that are quick go-tos around this time of year. Hits like “Thriller,” “Monster Mash,” and “Ghostbusters” are great, but a little been there done that. While the Haunted Harmonies’ spine-tingling tunes are throwbacks, some of these you might have never heard before and are hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Because quite a few of these are covers, you will get a nice mix of old and new.
Alex Flores is a Senior Designer at Spire, named the 2023 Agency of the Year by the D/FW chapter of the American Marketing Association. He is also a 2023 Ad 2 Dallas “32 Under 32” recipient.