Dark Albums and Their Disturbing Backstories

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The spookiest season of the year is here and there’s nothing more I like to do then spook myself with the scariest stories I can get my hands on. Television, movies, and books are the more common form we know to get our hearts pumping, but little-known albums are also great resources for disturbing storytelling. 

The following are the creepiest albums I could find where artists express their musical talent through terrifying tales both fictional and true. 

 

 

John Lennon & Yoko Ono: Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With the Lions 

John Lennon and Yoko are known for their bizarre antics, but nothing comes close to one of their final albums made together, Life With the Lions. Side one is relatively tame if a bit ear-piercing with a live recording of Lennon on guitar, Ono on vocal, and an unknown saxophonist. 

Side 2 is when things become ominous, as the pieces were produced after Ono’s miscarriage in the hospital. The album expresses the raw despair of the couple, featuring chantings of newspaper clippings announcing the news, minutes of their unborn child’s heartbeat, a full two minutes of plain silence, and soft mutterings by Lennon.

 

 

Patty Waters: Patty Waters Sings 

Side 1 of this album is interpreted by many to be a suicide note sung by Patty Waters. Waters then on side 2 seems to be carrying out the suicide. The song “Black Is The Color of My True Love’s Hair” ranges in emotions from solemn disorientation to furious rages in an unpredictable and intimidating manner.

 

 

Throbbing Gristle: The First Annual Report of Throbbing Gristle

The first track of this album entitled “Very Friendly” chronicles the 1960s Moors Murders which took place in Manchester. Over a minimal beat, Genesis P-Orridge narrates the story of Ian Bradley and Myra Hindley as they drug their mother, find a victim, and bring him back to their house to execute him. The couple then invites their neighbor over to see the carnage and the neighbor screams in horror.  

 

 

The Peoples’ Temple: Jonestown FBI tape #Q59

By far the most disturbing album on this list is the recording produced by the Peoples’ Temple, a cult most known for its mass suicide and massacre back in 1978. The cult’s leader Jim Jones recorded several of their meetings and in this recording, the members describe in graphic detail how they would like to torture and kill non-members, including their relatives.

Another special mention is the infamous Death Tape, in which one can hear the actual screams of members being forced to kill themselves and Jones’ sermons that fateful day in Guyana. I do not recommend listening to this recording due to its disturbing content, but it is available for those with strong minds and stomachs. 

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