Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “The Masochism Tango” — Tom Lehrer (1959)

Let our love be a flame not an ember
Say it’s me that you want to dis-member
Blacken my eye, set fire to my tie
As we dance to the Masochim Tango…

OK it’s been getting a bit too HEAVY with the Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs of late, Total Eclipse of the Heart notwithstanding. So as much as I adore the dark, dreary, oppressive, and terrifying, I thought I’d lighten the mood a smidge.

And who better to lighten the mood than the legendary Tom Lehrer, the masterful wordsmith and performer behind such brilliant songs as “The Vatican Rag”, “Poisoning Pigeons In The Park”, “National Brotherhood Week”, and, for us Gen-X nerds, the “L-Y” song from The Electric Company. That last song could have been a contender for our list of Halloween songs, as it does feature an entire verse dedicated to Count Dracula himself.

But no, I’m gonna go with my gut instinct and stick with The Masochism Tango. Yes, strictly speaking, The Masochism Tango is not really a Halloween song, or even a particularly scary song. What it is, however, is a damned hilarious song about a lovestruck dude belting out a testimonial to his object of affection, who beats the crap out of him regularly with whips, chains, lit cigarettes, hey whatever’s around. It’s wonderfully cheerful, a tad disturbing, maybe not entirely one you might want to play for your Tante Helen, but it has just enough cheer and creep factor to make your Halloween playlist explode with perverse joyfulness… all set to an unforgettable South American melody!

Plus this song makes for a great warm-up before any Rocky Horror floorshow. Heck, Rocky Horror warm-up songs could be a playlist in and of itself…