20 Best Songs About Monsters – Hauntingly Beautiful Tracks

the best songs about monsters

Music has always been an instrument of storytelling, and tales of monstrous creatures have made their way into song lyrics across many different genres. There is something enduringly fascinating about creatures of the night, the unknown, and the supernatural. Below, we delve into 20 of the most outstanding tracks that embrace the theme of monsters.

1. “Thriller” – Michael Jackson

Perhaps the most iconic monster-themed song ever released, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is a celebration of horror, driven by a mesmerizing bassline and an unforgettable chorus. Its imagery, inspired by zombie films and classic monster movies, has permeated pop culture since its release in 1982. The 14-minute accompanying music video, directed by John Landis, further cements this track’s monstrous legacy, with its infamous dance sequence being recreated by fans worldwide.

“Thriller” epitomizes the fun side of horror, tapping into the thrill of being scared without straying into the truly terrifying. It’s a testament to Jackson’s versatility and creativity as an artist, successfully marrying pop music and horror themes, a union that wasn’t so common in the early 1980s.

2. “Monster” – Kanye West ft. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, Bon Iver

Kanye West’s “Monster,” from his 2010 album ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,’ is a powerhouse track featuring an impressive array of artists. Each verse in the song explores the concept of being a ‘monster,’ not in the literal sense, but as an exploration of fame’s monstrous effect. The term ‘monster’ is often used as a metaphor to reflect inner demons and the potential for self-destruction.

Nicki Minaj’s verse, in particular, has been praised for its ferocity and character-switching flow, demonstrating her skill as a lyricist. By the time the track concludes, listeners are left contemplating the darker sides of fame and the monstrous transformations it can induce in individuals.

3. “Monster Mash” – Bobby “Boris” Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers

The “Monster Mash” is an enduring classic that continues to enjoy heavy rotation every Halloween season. Released in 1962 by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers, the song presents a playful take on classic horror movie tropes with a catchy tune that belies its spooky theme. It’s a fun, lighthearted entry in the genre of monster songs, speaking more to the campy fun of old horror movies than to any genuine fright.

“Monster Mash” makes use of Pickett’s impersonation skills, particularly his take on the famous horror actor Boris Karloff. The song’s charm comes from its commitment to the monster theme, complete with sound effects that wouldn’t feel out of place in a 1950s B-movie. The result is a monster-themed song that’s as entertaining as it is memorable.

4. “Godzilla” – Blue Öyster Cult

Blue Öyster Cult’s 1977 song “Godzilla” takes inspiration from the classic kaiju, Godzilla, who has been a part of global pop culture since the 1950s. The song, like its titular beast, is massive in scale and sound, reflecting the enormity and destructive power of Godzilla.

Despite the dark and monstrous theme, the song is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, with a catchy rhythm that keeps listeners engaged. The lyrics even offer a wry observation about the futility of fighting such an immense force: “History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man.” “Godzilla” remains a high point of Blue Öyster Cult’s career and a must-listen for any monster music enthusiast.

5. “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” – Bauhaus

“Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus is an eerie homage to the actor best known for playing Count Dracula in the 1931 film. Released in 1979, the song is often considered the first gothic rock record. Its brooding post-punk sound and haunting lyrics perfectly encapsulate the gloomy, supernatural subject matter.

The track features minimal instrumentation and relies heavily on the atmospheric vocals of Peter Murphy. Its lyrics present Lugosi’s character of Dracula as a lingering specter, emphasizing the endurance of the horror icon long after Lugosi himself had passed away. It’s a haunting, unforgettable entry in the canon of monster-inspired music.

6. “Feed My Frankenstein” – Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper’s “Feed My Frankenstein” embraces the darker, more grotesque aspects of the monster theme. Released in 1991, the song is a tribute to the classic tale of Frankenstein’s monster, complete with appropriately gruesome and suggestive lyrics. Cooper is renowned for his theatrical rock performances, and this track showcases his ability to imbue songs with a distinct sense of character and narrative.

The song’s lyrics hint at the monstrous appetites of the titular Frankenstein, paralleling the character’s insatiable hunger for life with more carnal desires. Cooper’s iconic shock-rock style is on full display here, making “Feed My Frankenstein” a delightfully macabre addition to any monster-themed playlist.

7. “Iron Man” – Black Sabbath

“Iron Man” by Black Sabbath is a staple of the heavy metal genre. Released in 1970, it tells the tragic story of a man who, while trying to save humanity, becomes a misunderstood monster himself. This monstrous transformation is reflected in the track’s powerful, pounding riff and Ozzy Osbourne’s distinctive vocals.

Despite its title, the song doesn’t reference the Marvel character; instead, ‘Iron Man’ is a symbol of the dehumanizing and monstrous effects of power and isolation. “Iron Man” offers a layered interpretation of the monster theme, demonstrating how monsters are sometimes created from good intentions gone awry.

8. “Werewolves of London” – Warren Zevon

Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London,” released in 1978, is a humorous and quirky exploration of the monster theme. The lyrics depict a werewolf who haunts the high-society locales of London, undercutting the stereotypically violent image of werewolves with dry wit and levity.

The song’s catchy piano riff and Zevon’s wry delivery make it a favorite among listeners. Despite the monster theme, it is not a terrifying track; instead, it uses humor and satire to offer a unique perspective on the figure of the werewolf, showing that songs about monsters can be just as fun as they are frightening.

9. “Disturbia” – Rihanna

Rihanna’s “Disturbia,” from her 2008 album ‘Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded,’ is a pop anthem with a monstrous theme. The song explores feelings of anxiety, fear, and confusion – a kind of emotional monster haunting the singer. The track’s energetic beat and catchy chorus contrast sharply with the dark subject matter, creating a compelling dynamic.

“Disturbia” stands out for its seamless blending of dance-pop elements with eerie, unsettling lyrics. Rihanna’s powerful vocals lend an extra layer of urgency to the song, making it a standout track in her discography and a notable entry in the genre of monster-themed music.

10. “People are Strange” – The Doors

The Doors’ “People are Strange,” released in 1967, taps into the monster theme on a psychological level. Instead of focusing on the physical creatures of the night, the song portrays alienation and the feeling of being an outsider – effectively, the ‘monster’ within society.

The haunting melody and Jim Morrison’s evocative vocals create a chilling atmosphere that enhances the song’s theme. The lyrics delve into the human psyche, exploring how isolation and rejection can create metaphorical monsters. It’s a thought-provoking take on the monster theme, proving that such songs aren’t always about the supernatural or the horrific.

11. “Superbeast” – Rob Zombie

Rob Zombie’s “Superbeast,” released in 1998, is an industrial metal behemoth that blends elements of horror and sci-fi. Zombie, a fan of B-horror movies, infuses this song with cinematic monster imagery, creating a chilling sonic landscape that engages the listener’s imagination.

“Superbeast” showcases Zombie’s penchant for combining heavy music with horror themes. The pounding drums, distorted guitars, and Zombie’s guttural vocals give the song an intimidating presence, embodying the monstrous power implied in the title. The fusion of horror themes and music has rarely been as effective or as captivating as it is here.

12. “Running with the Devil” – Van Halen

“Running with the Devil,” one of Van Halen’s signature songs, offers a more abstract interpretation of the monster theme. Released in 1978, it depicts the band’s experiences in the music industry and the inherent dangers of living a life of excess – essentially, running with the devil.

While the song doesn’t directly reference monsters, its title and lyrics suggest a dance with dark forces, making it a fitting inclusion on this list. The song’s energetic guitar riffs and David Lee Roth’s powerful vocals create a compelling soundscape, showcasing Van Halen’s distinctive brand of hard rock.

13. “Ghostbusters” – Ray Parker Jr.

“Ghostbusters,” by Ray Parker Jr., is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable theme songs of all time. Released in 1984 for the eponymous film, it’s a pop culture staple that transforms the monster-hunting business into a catchy, danceable tune.

While “Ghostbusters” is undeniably upbeat and fun, it’s rooted in the idea of facing and overcoming our fears – in this case, supernatural entities or ‘monsters.’ The song’s legacy extends beyond its catchy hook; its jovial approach to the monster theme makes it a classic, and its central message remains relatable and enduring.

14. “Welcome to My Nightmare” – Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper returns to our list with “Welcome to My Nightmare,” the title track from his 1975 album. The song is a perfect example of Cooper’s brand of theatrical rock, describing a dreamscape filled with terrifying creatures and bizarre scenarios – essentially, a journey through a nightmare.

“Welcome to My Nightmare” shows that the realm of monsters isn’t limited to the physical world. By delving into the realm of dreams, Cooper extends the monster theme to psychological and abstract spaces, providing a rich, eerie landscape for the imagination to explore.

15. “She Wolf” – Shakira

Shakira’s “She Wolf,” released in 2009, is a pop-infused exploration of the monstrous theme. The song is about a woman expressing her independence and hidden desires – the ‘She Wolf’ inside her that emerges at night. It’s a fresh and modern twist on the werewolf motif, proving that monster songs can be empowering and danceable at the same time.

“She Wolf” is unique for its blend of disco-pop and a monster theme, illustrating that pop music can have depth and complexity beneath its catchy exterior. Shakira’s compelling vocals and infectious beat make this a standout track, transforming the monster into a symbol of liberation and self-expression.

16. “Pet Sematary” – Ramones

“Pet Sematary” by the Ramones was written for the 1989 movie adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name. It captures the book’s creepy atmosphere, telling the tale of a cemetery where buried pets return as menacing, zombie-like creatures.

The song encapsulates the Ramones’ knack for catchy melodies and concise storytelling, packing a surprisingly poignant tale of love, loss, and the desire for resurrection into a punk rock framework. The song stands as a testament to the band’s versatility and their ability to incorporate unconventional themes into their music.

17. “Clap for the Wolfman” – The Guess Who

The Guess Who’s “Clap for the Wolfman,” released in 1974, pays tribute to the famous radio DJ Wolfman Jack. While not directly about monsters, the song uses the iconic werewolf character as a metaphor for the charismatic and mysterious DJ.

The song’s rock and roll rhythm, coupled with Wolfman Jack’s unique vocal contributions, create an entertaining homage to an iconic figure. It’s a testament to how the monster theme can be incorporated into music in unexpected and creative ways.

18. “Nightmare on My Street” – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s “Nightmare on My Street” taps into the popularity of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise. The song describes a nightmare scenario where the film’s terrifying villain, Freddy Krueger, haunts the Fresh Prince in his dreams.

Although the song wasn’t officially part of the movie’s soundtrack, it’s a perfect example of how monster themes can permeate hip-hop. Its blend of storytelling and humor, coupled with the terrifying imagery of Freddy Krueger, make it a memorable track and a fun tribute to one of horror cinema’s most terrifying monsters.

19. “Monster” – Skillet

Skillet’s “Monster” is a powerful rock track that explores internal struggle and the fear of the monster within. Released in 2009, it captures the dark emotions of wrestling with inner demons, using the monster metaphor to depict a struggle with personal identity.

The aggressive guitar riffs and passionate vocals in “Monster” complement the song’s introspective theme, making it a hit among rock fans. Its portrayal of personal battles as a monstrous transformation provides a more introspective take on the monster theme, underscoring the concept’s versatility.

20. “Sympathy for the Devil” – The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil,” released in 1968, is a thought-provoking song that presents the devil as a sophisticated social figure. It challenges the listener’s preconceived notions about good and evil, suggesting that the ‘monster’ might be more familiar than we think.

Despite its controversial theme, the song’s captivating lyrics, samba rhythm, and Mick Jagger’s charismatic performance have made it one of the band’s most popular songs. Its exploration of the ‘devil’ character from a new perspective makes it a fitting conclusion to our list, illustrating the depth and breadth of the monster theme in music.

Final Words

If you’re looking for a different kind of musical experience, don’t miss out on exploring this collection of songs about freedom, which offers a powerful contrast to the hauntingly beautiful tracks featured in the list above.

Monsters in music often serve as metaphors for our fears, desires, and struggles, offering a means for artists to explore complex themes in a captivating and imaginative way. From pop and rock to hip-hop and metal, these 20 songs offer diverse interpretations of the monster theme, demonstrating its timeless appeal and versatility across various musical landscapes.