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If I had to choose one song that I found extremely haunting, I would go with "Only Talking Sense". I imagine others might choose "Try Whistling This" but that one at least ends with transcendence (maybe defiance against the odds), but "Only Talking Sense" has that line "you won't deny it when your child is messed up in the head", which I find extremely pointed and upsetting. It's truly a gifted songwriter who can meld truly great melodic inspiration which these kinds of themes and ideas.
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I'll second "Log Cabin Fever" as a really spooky song.

Downstairs in the cellar drums are beating
Wounded no discomfort emotions bleeding
In the river alone always alone out of my depth
Headlong to the ocean with I sink or swim

Heard them tell the story of mad old Jim
Found him in his cabin with his head caved in
Waiting out the winter was a little too much for him

It's cold out hear the wind howl down the chimney
Wish I could just cry out to someone, help
but we live in isolation of the cruelest kind
Scared to show our colours to the world

Time to break away from my condition
Rejoin the human race, see what I'm missing
Try to face the day my private passion
Is eating me away

Log cabin fever (x3)
It's a remote possibility
Log cabin fever
It's an impossible delivery
Log cabin fever
It's not an impossibility
[repeat til fade]
"Something So Strong!"

I've been
feeling so much older
frame me
and hang me on the wall
I've seen
you fall into the same trap
this thing
is happening to us all

It's like some house of horrors, humans stuck into paintings, trapdoors in the floor we're all falling into, then the "something" of the title - looming in the chorus like some ogre! Something so strong - it could carry us away! Just pick us up, like we were kindling. Carry us away.

It's more than a little chilling.

The video almost gets it across.

(the horror)
The hangman's in the noose
The prisoner is loose
The wheel has come around
And the velvet curtain coming down
I left it there
A suitcase on a chair
I feel my weight
And something tells me
There's a river underground
In a place where there's no one to be found
And no one came to see
The oldest show in town (x3)
Santa's on the cross
Innocence is lost
The music's in your mind
And the windscreen wipers move in time
No one came to see
The oldest show in town (x2)
And the stranger was a ghost
The killer was a priest
Took the first excuse
Made the madness seem cute lipped
On your own you'll find your own escape
There are many ways to choose
And I don't know which one you should take
A home is all you want
On the back of a truck driving down the street
It doesn't seem so much
But it's all you need to make your life complete
No one came to see
The oldest show in town (x3)
No one came to see
I lean the slightest bit towards you
White turns into brown, light goes to black
Your eyes danced in my reflection
And the horse ate my trousers ...

Twisty Bass is a perfect storm of a mesmerizing nightmare -- until the appearance of those "trousers" at the end. There's something about the word "trousers" that just sucks the horror out of any scary scenario, no matter how blood-curdlingly spooky it might be. Dracula in Trousers. The Blair Trousers Project. Bela Lugosi is Dead But Sporting Well Creased Trousers. Dick Trousers Cheney. Works every time.
Say, kudos to Jim B. for a thought-provoking topic! I've always sort of noted in Neil a dark tendency, but now I'm trying to come up with good examples and coming up blank.

"Twisty Bass" - good one, Watney S.!

"In The Lowlands" is certainly dark, haunted and hectic but I'm not sure it's disturbing.

"In My Command" is a bit freaky! "I would love to trouble you in your time of need"? Yeah, I'd say that's a disturbed/disturbing line.

"I Feel Possessed", definitely some disturbing uneasiness going on there.

I think a lot of the time there will be a few lines in a song that make the whole thing seem a bit more unseemly, even though the song as a whole ends up ringing positive - there's more to it than that.
Years Go By always strikes me as quite unsettling (but I love it)

The melody/tune is quite haunting. And the lyrics are out there

When the twilight comes. The magic one, will gaze on you. Seconds last for hours all evening. This purple room is breathing. To the milky way I turn my gaze. It's a mystery.

It sure is Neil!

And this ..

Fear and doubt no longer harbour lies. Love not grow old where we reside. `tis enough for now to set you down. And gaze on you

... is a little creepy. Like something someone would say to you after they've entrapped you in their secret attic hidey-hole, while they tenderly stroke and caress your cheek.

But I love the song.
I will second 'In My Command' not as disturbing, but as dark. It just has that feel about it that's kind of mysterious/makes me feel as though there is an underlying message.

Another song I find to be quite disturbing is Catherine Wheels, while it has to be one of my favourite Finn songs, the narrative is quite dark and because the story is rather unclear and somewhat confusing it adds to the darkness. The music also sums that up really well.

Thought I'd throw my 5 cents in the ring.
Originally posted by Finngirl:
The Blair Trousers Project

Mawhhhhhaaaaaaaaaa ha ha ha

Scare the pants off you that would ('pants' in the Aussie sense of the word that is)

oooh where is that rolling around on the floor smiley icon when you need it

Thanks for that laugh Big Grin

How about "Harry Potter and the Deathly Trousers"?
Originally posted by Watney Sideburns:
Twisty Bass is a perfect storm of a mesmerizing nightmare -- until the appearance of those "trousers" at the end. There's something about the word "trousers" that just sucks the horror out of any scary scenario, no matter how blood-curdlingly spooky it might be. Dracula in Trousers. The Blair Trousers Project. Bela Lugosi is Dead But Sporting Well Creased Trousers. Dick Trousers Cheney. Works every time.

The Texas Trousers Massacre. The Silence Of The Trousers. Octo-Trousers.
Hey you're right Watney! Big Grin
I know this doesn't add much to the conversation, but the more I muse on this, the more I feel that almost ALL of Neil's output is dark/disturbing.

He has the habit of taking these dark thoughts and hiding them away in beautifully seductive melodies that make you blind to the thoughts he's considering.

Apart from, perhaps, the handful of songs he wrote with Tim for the aborted first Brothers album, I struggle to think of a Finn song with a genuinely happy lyrical tone.

What's odd is that this dychotomy is obviously attractive to me and yet, in its most manifest form - She Called Up - I recoil in horror. I can't abide that song's jolly feel as it jars against the desperately sad lyric. DO THE BLINKIN' SONG AS A BALLAD, NEIL.
I'd have to pretty much agree with you regarding Neil's songs in general, Paul H.

Regarding She Called Up, though, I have a different perspective. The song itself, recording and arrangement aside, is undoubtably very sad.....very dark. I think, though, that putting it to upbeat music makes it down right disturbing. Suicide is, afterall, disturbing.

It sort of reminds of the movie Natural Born Killers, of which I only able to get through maybe 20 minutes. I found it too disturbing. What pushed it too far for me was the odd and ironic, yet far too effective, laugh track to what was most definitely not comedy.

I sort of feel like She Called Up is the same sort of thing. The mismatched music to lyrics/subject matter makes the song all that more disturbing. If I don't listen to the words and just sing along, I can almost forget what it is really about. Wouldn't it be easy to just disappear to that happy place when reality is too much to take? But, the message plus the music equals something too disturbing to even want to consider.

Maybe they just couldn't bring themselves to approach the matter directly, and felt the need to water it down with happy music. Maybe.

On the other hand, I'd hate to think that something so effectively distrubing was just a happy.......or not so happy......accident. I find the final result VERY disturbing indeed.
I think quite a lot of Neil's songs are disturbing. I Feel Possessed and In The Lowlands from TOLM...I love the threat of violence from all envloping emotion in I Feel Possessed. Same with Catherine Wheels - that is also a disturbing one.

And if I could mention Tim (yes, I know this is about Neil) but "Charlie" - need I say more?

Also a number of songs on the Try Whistling This album. Twisty Bass I love - I find it a very dark song. And Sinner too, although I find that more evocative of fallen angels roaming the earth (sorry, read too many John Connolly books!)
I like the journey in Nails in My Feet. Ultimately redemptive, it's obvious that there's some disturbing stuff leading to salvation. And this is the case of the music following that journey. The music is unsettling (in an enjoyable way) and slightly unhinged, especially during the guitar solo, when it's clear that the solo doesn't quite resolve itself the way you'd expect (I also really like Nick's basswork in this song because it adds tension to the song). Even the end of the solo builds to an intense stop. Throughtout the song, the music has a sense of dread, unease and suspense that's underpinned by the imagery (a break-in, a ghostly presence, "a strange hypnotic state", "a conversation I can't face", "cast me off", etc.) but finally resolves into an uplifting feel. The imagery now transforms into healing metaphors and the music develops a sense of calm.

So, while this isn't the most disturbing song because of the sense that the protagonist ultimately is saved by his "companion", the steps leading to this salvation are quite unnerving. I especially like the imagery of someone drunkedly stumbling into a surprise party that somehow might end up being an intervention when all is said and done.

There's also a hint of submission in the image of a lapdog sitting at the matron's knee. This is also a subtheme of I Feel Possessed, a song that's not dissimilar to Nails In My Feet in an oblique way. I also like the "house" imagery of both songs. A neat tie in to the name of the band.

PS, I don't mean submission in a necessarily sexual sense.
I first of all am shocked that anyone finds anything disturbing about Something So Strong or Walking on the Spot. However, I've got to agree about Only Talking Sense and Twisty Bass (right down to the fact that the trousers make it less so. I'd also like to add some inductees:

How Will You Go- Something about this song makes it very unnerving. It reminds me of the eerie stillness that comes after you begin to calm down from something terrible or the feeling you get when you take a nap early on Sunday afternoon and wake up groggily as the sun is setting and the day is almost over. If it wasn't for I'm Still Here, Woodface would be the only Crowded House Album to truly end on a sad note.

Kill Eye- This is a scary song!

Learn to Crawl- The bridge is the spooky part where the song switches to a minor key and eerie sound effects take hold.
Walking on the Spot is disturbing. It sounds like a musical advertisement for Agoraphobia.

Some songs might be overwhelmingly dark but they don't have any effect on the listener because they are too detached. Others may have a positive veneer or resolve but are innately disturbing because they may strike a raw nerve and the 'resolve' that is ostensibly innate to the song may not be shared by the listener.

I generally like the songs that are dark but with a polite veneer.
Some more:

There Goes God- The irreverence in this is very disturbing to me.

King Tide- Great song but the keyboards and drums at the beginning are pretty haunting. The next bit has some of the eeriest guitars I have ever heard.

(I still respectfully disagree about Walking on the Spot. I see where you're coming from but that soothing melody fixes its problems just like the word trousers.)
I wouldn't even call it a disagreement. You just react to that song in a different way to me. No disagreement involved. I wouldn't dream of implying that your reaction is wrong or inappropriate. It's how you feel and feelings are never wrong, just different.

So, maybe we just agree to be different and variety, as they say, is the spice of life *cheers*

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