Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “The Killing Moon” — Echo & the Bunnymen (1984)

Under a blue moon I saw you
So soon you’ll take me
Up in your arms
Too late to beg you or cancel it
Though I know it must be the killing time
Unwillingly mine…

I’m not sure Echo & the Bunnymen know wat The Killing Moon  is about. According to vocalist Ian McCulloch, the chorus came to him in a moment of sudden inspiration whilst sleeping, and the band wrote a magnificently creepy song around it. I mean, the this is a total post-punk classic if there ever was one.

And honestly, it’s a bit of a cop-out for me to include it here. I mean, it’s by far their most popular song; at least among those who aren’t deep fans of the band, who I’m sure roll their eyes a bit at its inclusion here. Look I’m a huge Thin Lizzy fan and if someone was showcasing The Boys Are Back In Town for some Buttkickin’ St. Patrick’s Day playlist, I’d probably roll mine so intensely they’d disrupt the moon’s gravitational effect on the tides.

So as I’m typing these words, I’m doing an album dive into Ocean Rain so we’ll see where we go from there. In the meantime, let’s talk about The Killing Moon. Almost immediately it feels completely otherworldly and somewhat dangerous; its minor key drive is complemented by creepy echoing keyboards, punches of reverbed guitars drifting in and out of the verses, and those spectral strings during the chorus. Even without the words, it works as a perfect Halloween tune.

The lyrics are of course what you make of them, but honestly you could just say the whole thing is a snapshot of a vampiric transformation moment. “Fate up against your will” pretty much sums that up perfectly, although you could apply that line to almost any situation in which you’re left helpless to the capricious whims of something larger than yourself. Like when you’re lying in bed trying to go to sleep but then your bladder has other plans.

Whatever. The Killing Moon is a stone classic, period. It just happens to work for Halloween just as easily.

Up against your will
Through the thick and thin
He will wait until
You give yourself to him…

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