The Brooklyn-based DJ embraces the delirium of the holiday in this 12-song playlist for Document
This year, Harrison Patrick Smith—better known as The Dare—urges you to embrace the sardonic spirit of Halloween with a freakish playlist fit for a psychological thriller. And if there’s anyone to romanticize the feeling of spiraling into your own inner savagery, it’s the Brooklyn-based DJ, whose latest single “Girls” has been heralded as an anthem for the revival of New York’s early-2000s music and fashion scenes. With its hedonic lyrics and unabashed, throbbing base, “Girls” is a form of capsulized, confessional nostalgia that’s easy to swallow.
In celebration of the more mordant, rated-R side of Halloween, The Dare’s musical recommendations will make you feel like Megan Fox in Jennifer’s Body, or maybe even Isabelle Adjani in Possession. The songs seize and jolt like a hysteric episode, and I wouldn’t be surprised to catch him playing them for a frenzied crowd during his regular Thursday night DJ sets at Home Sweet Home, located in Downtown Manhattan. The playlist has everything from synth-punk to electropop, beginning with “Frankie Teardrop” by Suicide—a nervy, modulating track punctuated with reverberating shrieks and screams in between its muddied, trance-like lyrics. It’s an edgy compilation of songs that embodies the essence of Halloween—which is to say, pure, unadulterated lunacy.
“Frankie Teardrop” by Suicide
“Doesn’t get freakier than this. Nearly 11 minutes of pulsing drum machines and looping organs create a feeling of razor-sharp anxiety. Alan Vega’s haunting stories of murder and suicide—combined with his visceral screams of desperation—express an intensity of feeling rarely achieved in pop music.”
“Hit” by Section 25
“Famously sampled in Kanye’s ‘FML,’ it’s a dissonant, post-punk classic that aims to convince the listener to ‘forget all their cares.’ This sounds like a fairly chilled-out proposition, until you hear the actual song.”
“Don, Aman” by Slint
“Could be renamed ‘The Downsides of Being a Wallflower.’ An extremely raw and dark document of alienation and loneliness at a party. The gremlins who annotate Genius lyrics interpret the ending of the song as optimistic, but to me, it implies the opposite: a disturbing break with reality.”
“Stay Out Here” by The Knife
“Another 11-minute freakfest. Olof Dreijer’s synths bend and lurch like a turning stomach, and Karen Elisabeth Dreijer’s vocals warn, ‘Stay out here, it is happening.’ Danceable, but probably only to the 1% of the population who’s like me.”
“Persuasion” by Throbbing Gristle
“Pretty much any song with the word ‘panties’ in it is guaranteed to be freaky in my book. Especially if they specify, ‘Soiled panties, white panties, school panties.’ The processing on the backing vocals is especially horrid, turning screams and moans into metallic, gruesome sounds.”
“Die You Fuck” by Brainbombs
“Ironically one of the more upbeat and fun songs on this playlist, “Die You Fuck” is as if a Swedish guy stabbed someone to death, learned two chords on guitar, and then wrote a song about it. The repetition of chords is freaky as fuck, and it goes on for three minutes longer than any sane person would let it.”
“State Trooper” by Bruce Springsteen
“Obviously, Frankie Teardrop also had an impact on our all-American hero, and it inspired one of Bruce’s most tortured road songs.
“The Gift” by The Velvet Underground
“ I was so freaked out by this song that I decided to write a sequel to it in college. (That song will never come out.) In a way, the original is a big red herring—a bluesy and noisy instrumental with John Cale that ends with a twist: the violent and accidental murder of the protagonist.”
“Past Majesty” by Demdike Stare
“Groaning, blown-out synths. Repetitive and mid-tempo drums. Slightly off-kilter bass rhythms. You think it’s climaxed, and then it gets more distorted. Not a song for your coffee shop playlists.”
“Platformalism” by Matmos
“Samples the Netflix sound, and then punishes you with a sickening torrent of buzzwords, Twitter concepts, and nihilistic sentiments. ‘We met on Tinder / We died soon after / A poison dinner / No more laughter / I quit smoking / I quit vaping / I quit everything.’”
“The Pure and the Damned” by Oneohtrix Point Never, Iggy Pop
“Hits hard in the context of the film (the Safdies’ Good Time), but even harder on its own. Iggy’s hopeful and melodic verse morphs into a bleak monologue: ‘Every day I think about untwisting and untangling these strings I’m in / And to lead a pure life / I look ahead at a clear sky / Ain’t gonna get there / But it’s a nice dream, it’s a nice dream.’”
“Poptones” by Public Image Ltd.
“The film Angst (1983) could’ve been based on these lyrics: ‘Standing naked in the back of the woods / The cassette played poptones / I can’t forget the impression you made / You left a hole in the back of my head.’ It impresses upon you how real death is, and how unreal pop music is. Freaky!”