Halloween is my favorite holiday, and my house reflects the aesthetic year-round. From my love to horror films and books to my obsession with decorative skulls, I am evidently drawn by the darkness around us. So, it is only fitting that I had the honor to review LVCRFT’s latest album, V. Just like the spooky holiday, the group only returns once a year to release an album themed around horror, death, and all things creepy. The twelve-track project is everything I have been looking for. Every year, my husband and I set up our decorations and play Halloween playlists. Unfortunately, we always get the basics, such as The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack and Michael Myers’ theme song from the classic horror-movie, Halloween. Now, I have an entire discography dedicated to my Halloween obsession and every fan of the holiday can join me as I celebrate the band’s creative ambitions.
1. Everyday is Halloween
3. Bad Witches
4. Purgatory feat. Monte Revolta
6. Scream! (For Halloween) feat. The Remains
8. Sound of Running
9. Never Be Alone
10. Late Night Rider
11. Feeling Like Halloween
12. Fare Thee Well
Behind LVCRFT are three talented artists: Grammy Award winning songwriters, Evan “Kidd” Bogart and Amanda “MNDR” Warner, and Grammy Award winning producer, Peter Wade. Regarding the background of the group, “LVCRFT maintains anonymity with spooky pseudonyms like Lil Punkin, DeepKutz, Norman Crates, Scary Ana Grande to name a few,” while “their ‘day jobs’ have seen them concoct iconic records for Katy Perry, Dua Lipa, Madonna, Lizzo, Charli XCX, Mariah Carey, Amy Winehouse, Kylie Minogue, and Killer Mike.” In other words, the collaborators of these songs have worked with the biggest names in music, but still come together to make spooky and horror themed songs to feed listeners during the Halloween season. In 2019, they released their first album, This Is Halloween Volume 1, which featured their hit single, “Skeleton Sam.” Thus, began the lore of this fictional character that continues to make appearances in each of their releases. The group has been featured in prominent Halloween and horror media through partnerships, such as Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Season 3, Adam Sandler’s Hubie Halloween, Anna Paquin’s Flack, and Freeform’s annual 31 Nights of Halloween. Furthermore, “Skeleton Sam” was the lead track from the Hocus Pocus 2 soundtrack. They have even partnered with Spirit Halloween, the nation’s most renowned Halloween store. Their partnerships with well-known Horror tastemakers and creators continue to build each year, showing that they are the holiday’s most notable musical curator.
Before I dive into each individual track, let me provide you with some history. LVCRFT has a specific “lore” that surrounds each album. This started with their first single, “Skeleton Sam.” Since then, they have continued the story of Samuel St. Skelevoie’s adventures through his life, or rather his afterlife. A major aspect of his story is Skeleton Sam’s “desperate quest to rescue his lost love, Seraphina.” Through multiple tracks, including one named after his lover, LVCRFT shares this captivating journey. Beyond this album, the group is also set to release a “found footage” short film on social media, providing fans with a visual representation of this story. Check out their socials and their previous albums to emerge yourself into this immersive experience and to see if you can connect the dots along the way!
“Everyday is Halloween”
Starting off strong, “Everyday is Halloween” immediately sets the tone for the album. A deep synth sound effect introduces the song, before it slowly starts breaking down and fading out, paired with eerie owl hoots. The instrumentation halts for a moment, before a deep bass and steady beat kicks back up, and the eerie sound effects continue. A sweet, but powerful voice kicks off the first verse with spooky lyrics that perfectly describe the feeling of Halloween. As the song builds, electric guitar riffs and creepy sound effects are heard, providing a greater dynamic to the production. As the lead vocalist sings the chorus, “There’s nowhere to run, there’s nowhere to hide// It’s comin’ to find you// Everyday is Halloween,” the listener is instantly transported into a Halloween fright zone, like Universal Horror Nights or Knott’s Scary Farm. The track is the perfect theme song to every Halloween party and effortlessly gets the listener in the mood for Spooky Season.
While “Burnin’” contains an electrifying production that emulates the power of Halloween, the track is less explicitly about the holiday. Rather, it shares the tale of an all-consuming love story—an overwhelming obsession. One filled with passion and longing, and maybe even a little danger. This makes me believe it is the first track on the album to dive into the Skeleton Sam and Seraphina love story. The song contains dark synth beats and sound effects that brings out this unrelenting desire that the lover feels. In the chorus, they sing: “I just keep burnin’ through the night// And I’ll keep comin’ til I make you mine// You belong to me for forever// We were meant to be together// Burnin’ til I make you mine.” Just like our main characters, the narrator is completely infatuated with their lover. In the end, they will be together forever and into death.
“Bad Witches” is a lively track that is a perfect mix of bluesy-rock and alt-pop. The deep bassline and energetic percussion in the first verse instantly boost the energy of the album, going from a darker production to a more carefree one. Back to lyrics that are more blatantly Halloween, the song is about embracing one’s dark side. The cheeky lines throughout the track describe the protagonist as a witch that is fully aware of their bad behavior and loves it. In the pre-chorus, the lead singer chants: “Ooh, where my witches at?” This provides a very upbeat, lighthearted vibe to the song. Before going into the infectious chorus, they proudly announce that it “feels so good to be this bad.” This song is the perfect soundtrack to every person that feels happy to let go and be free, and it would be another great addition to the Hocus Pocus franchise.
“Purgatory” feat. Monte Revolta
The fourth track changes the pace of the album, providing the first comedy song of the project. “Purgatory” featuring Monte Revolta closely resembles Halloween classics like “Monster Mash” and “This Is Halloween” from The Nightmare Before Christmas. With its unique vocal style and bouncy production, it feels straight out of a Halloween musical. The lyrics share a story, like a musical monologue, sung by Monte Revolta. The catchy beat and the haunting production guide the listener, while his animated vocals describe purgatory and what it is like being stuck in the unknown. This song directly connects to the overarching storyline of the album, as the outro includes Monte Revolta saying: “Only thing good about bein’ down here is I don’t have to deal with Skeleton Sam. What do you mean he’s moving in? There’s nothing to sublet!” In my mind, this song plays out perfectly like an entertaining film scene. One that I would not hesitate to see a movie adaptation of with this detailed storyline.
From the moment I read the background of LVCRFT’s lore, and saw the track list, I instantly anticipated the song. Titled after Skeleton Sam’s love interest, “Seraphina” piqued my interest as I wondered whose perspective it would be from and what the lyrics would discuss. As the lead singer goes through the track, it provides an outsider’s perspective of the infamous character. Rather than being from Skeleton Sam or the woman herself, the song shares a third-party tale of Seraphina’s reputation. She is the type of woman that enthralls men with her radiant personality and her mysterious aura. The second verse holds the line that perfectly wraps up this idea: “Everybody’s fallin’ under her spell// And even the devil seems to know her well.” Seraphina is otherworldly, able to mesmerize anyone who crosses her path, making it no surprise that our main protagonist has dedicated his life to saving her. Alongside the sassy lyrics, the song contains an electrifying, jazzy rock production that highlights the singer’s raspy, yet soft vocals. Within just a few notes, the production captivates the audience and lulls them into the same trance that Seraphina emits.
“Scream! (For Halloween)” feat. The Remains
Once again, the album embodies the atmosphere of musical theater with “Scream! (For Halloween).” The track features The Remains, another special guest on the album that provides a new energy to the project. A heavy bass and steady beat guide the track, as both a male and a female voice sing the detailed lyrics that describes the perfect Halloween town. From mentions of vampires and zombies to the “blood scene” in their “ghoulish town,” the song evokes a deep feeling of horror nights in the listener. Furthermore, despite the fact that it is not explicitly stated, it is my interpretation that the two singers represent our two main characters: Skeleton Sam and Seraphina. This makes this track even that more interesting, as perhaps it is the two characters singing about their favorite holiday in the spooky village. Similar to “Purgatory,” this song paints a vivid picture in my mind of a fun, lighthearted Halloween movie.
“Vendetta” is another track that caught my attention from the title, as I always loved the meaning of this word. It is different than “revenge” or “grudge.” It is much more intense; more passionate; more fearsome. From the eerie intro to the dark-pop verse, I naturally gravitated to this song. It is a track that is not explicitly related to Halloween and would feed the darkness year-round. The ominous lyrics throughout the song details the narrator’s insatiable mission to carry out a dark vendetta. Through morbid lyrics such as “A knife to your neck is the kiss that you get” and “You should be afraid, there is no escape. You better run,” LVCRFT illustrates a gruesome storyline that instinctively intrigues every fan of the macabre.
“Sound of Running”
Immediately following a song with the hook, “you better run,” the eighth track continues with the theme. “Sound of Running” appears to be told from the perspective of the subject from “Vendetta,” as they narrate their attempt to escape the clutches of their villain. In the post-chorus, the lead singer proclaims: “Run, run, run, run, run, run, run, runnin’// Heart beatin’ like the sound of runnin.” This transports the audience into the headspace of the narrator, as they imagine themselves in their shoes. Perhaps, this storyteller is Skeleton Sam himself as he is fighting to save his long-lost love. Furthermore, “Sound of Running” contains an infectious melody that plays on repeat in the listener’s mind. The vocals provide a classic pop-punk vibe, similar to Panic! At the Disco and Fall Out Boy. While the instrumentation contains a more pop production, it still gives a nod to the genre, making it another track that can be listened to year-round.
“Never Be Alone”
With another bouncy, energetic track containing a jazz-like vibe, “Never Be Alone” is an instant mood booster. Once again, the listener is met with the sweet, powerful vocals heard on previous tracks. However, to match the bluesy vibe, the singer conveys a soulful tone behind her voice. This enhances the lively energy of the production, making it a song the audience will never forget. It contains a very catchy melody, reminiscent of the bubbly pop of Meaghan Trainor, while still maintaining the spooky elements through unique sound effects. Furthermore, the lyrics contain a similar message to “Burnin’”, sharing the idea that the subject belongs to the narrator, and they will do anything to ensure it stays that way forever. Utilizing the metaphor of things that go bump in the night, the protagonist tells their lover that they are always watching, and they will “never be alone.” From first glance, “Never Be Alone” seems to be a normal pop song, but upon further inspection, it is revealed to tell a more sinister story that is perfect for this Halloween album.
“Late Night Rider”
Just from the title alone, “Late Night Rider” made me think of the infamous Ghost Rider. From the moment the track began, this theory only intensified. The song kicks off with the unmistakable sound of a motorcycle revving, before a steady beat kicks in as the motorcycle speeds away. This quickly cuts out, before the male vocalist kicks off with the hook: “Late night rider// Feeding of the souls in the fire// Flames on the tires// Gas tank full of your darkest desires.” This is followed by captivating vocalizations that are met with vocals utilizing a deep lo-fi effect, emulating the sound of a demonic voice often found in horror pop-culture. This enhances the eerie atmosphere of not only the song itself, but also for the entire album. Then, the lead vocals return alongside an alt-rock production that slowly builds into the infectious keyboard solo. The sinister lyrics paint the story of an otherworldly creature coming out from the depths of Hell to bring terror into the hearts of his enemies. This perhaps indicates that the song is about our main protagonist, Skeleton Sam, and he is singing to anyone that has wronged him and his lover, Seraphina. Further building on the extensive lore of LVCRFT, “Late Night Rider” showcases the lengths he has gone through to be reunited with his one true love.
“Feeling Like Halloween”
Switching genres once again, “Feeling Like Halloween,” steps away from the rock vibe of the previous track, and fully embraces the sound of electro-pop. The song kicks off with a xylophone descending through all the notes before a synth beat hits, transitioning the song to the infectious production. The lead female singer introduces the verse with lyrics that fully encapsulate the essence of Halloween. The production with her pop-friendly vocals makes the song the perfect track to play at a Halloween dance party. At the end of the second verse, a male voice sneaks in to provide a short vocal riff that matches the vibe of “Purgatory” and “Scream! (For Halloween).” Our lead singer returns for another run through of the chorus, before the male artist raps in the bridge. The lyrics bring out the energy of the holiday, evoking emotions of both terror and amusement. “Feeling Like Halloween” takes the title literally and truly makes the audience feel like it is finally Spooky Season.
“Fare Thee Well”
LVCRFT ends the album with a song that is entirely unique from the rest of the project. “Fare Thee Well” kicks off with an old-timey production reminiscent of the 1940s. Even the vocals are slightly muffled, emulating the sound quality of the era. The female singer’s captivating vocals flawlessly capture the style of the era with her beautiful falsettos and impeccable vocal control. The background contains the effect of a soft crowd talking, like the singer is performing at a classy restaurant or an old hotel bar. This may tie back to “Seraphina,” indicating that she is the one singing this song. In the first verse of the fifth track, the lyrics read: “Mighta heard her in a church cathedral//In the ballroom at the Hotel Cecil// French Quarter, in the club.” With the effects and production of “Fare Thee Well,” LVCRFT ends the album on an eerie note. At the 2:28 mark, a loud bang interrupts the song followed by the crowd muffled screams. The sound immediately cuts out, while the song continues through with silence. It is difficult to tell, but it sounds like the venue was disrupted by shots being fired. Was it the villain that took Seraphina or did Skeleton Sam finally break-in and find his lover? With this open-ended conclusion, dedicated fans are left waiting on the edge of their seats while they anticipate the next chapter to LVCRFT’s detailed and fascinating lore.
Throughout the twelve tracks, LVCRFT paints a cohesive story that brings out the spirit of Halloween. With tracks such as “Burnin’” and “Vendetta,” they crafted spooky songs that can be placed on dark-pop playlists year-round. Meanwhile, songs like “Purgatory” feat Monte Revolta and “Scream! (For Halloween)” feat. The Remains are cheeky Halloween tracks that epitomize the holiday and are perfect for a themed-musical. With each of these unique songs, crafted by an incredible team of co-writers, producers, and singers, LVCRFT has once again proved that they are the leading artist for Halloween music. Check out their socials for updates for the inevitable 2024 album, and make sure you take a deep dive into their past discography to get the full insight on Skeleton Sam!
Written By Karlee Skipper
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