Songs About the Devil

Songs About the Devil & Opinions on Joanna Newsom

With the spooky season creeping in, Jim and Greg are beginning to feel a little diabolical. In honor of Halloween, they share their favorite Songs About the Devil. Then, a more angelic sound from singer/songwriter and harpist Joanna Newsom.

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Devil Songs for Halloween

Whether or not you agree rock ‘n’ roll is the devil's music, Lucifer sure is a major player in pop. From Robert Johnson to "Sympathy for the Devil," beelzebub gets name dropped as much as the latest hip-hop sensation. Here are Jim and Greg's favorites to get you in the Halloween mood:

reviewDiversDivers available on iTunes

Joanna Newsom Divers

Performing on a huge orchestral harp, singer/songwriter Joanna Newsom has stood out since she arrived on the scene in the early 2000s. Divers is the fourth album of her career, and the first since the 2010 triple album Have One On Me. Greg has always been intrigued by Newsom's work, viewing her as a complete original. But although he admired the musicianship on Have One On Me, he found it an exhausting listen. Divers, by contrast, is relatively accessible. She still peppers in obscure literary references, but lyrically she is much more direct in creating an emotional connection for the listener. For Greg, this is the album that Newsom's skeptics should dive into – he gives it a Buy It. Jim, however, is baffled. He scoffs at Newsom's faux-Shakespearean sentence constructions. He finds the album's lyrical concept, in which Newsom reflects on mortality after marrying comedian Andy Samberg, to be bloated. Jim is usually a big fan of pretentious prog rock, but musically he thinks Divers is sodden and lacking hooks. And he's extremely irritated by Newsom's voice, hearing it as the affected voice of an eleven-year-old girl. According to Jim, there's nothing at all to like here, so Divers gets a Trash It.


Featured Songs

  1. The Rolling Stones, Sympathy for the Devil, Beggars Banquet, Decca, 1968
  2. Iron Maiden, The Number of the Beast, The Number of the Beast, EMI, 1982
  3. Chuck Berry, Down Bound Train, After School Session, Chess, 1957
  4. Charlie Daniels, The Devil Went Down to Georgia, Million Mile Reflections, Epic, 1979
  5. Laibach, Sympathy for the Devil, Sympathy for the Devil, Restless, 1988
  6. The Louvin Brothers, Satan Is Real, Satan Is Real, Capitol Records Nashville, 1959
  7. Van Halen, Runnin' With the Devil, Van Halen, Warner Bros., 1978
  8. Lee“Scratch”Perry & Full Experience, Disco Devil, The Best Of Lee Perry, Sanctuary, 1988
  9. Beth Orton, Devil Song, Central Reservation, Arista, 1999
  10. Diamanda Galás, Let My People Go, You Must Be Certain Of The Devil, Mute, 1988
  11. Cliff Richard, Devil Woman, Dressed For The Occasion, EMI, 1983 (1:02)
  12. Fleetwood Mac, The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown), Then Play On, Reprise, 1969
  13. Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, Devil With a Blue Dress On, Breakout…!!!, New Voice, 1966
  14. Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell, Heaven and Hell, Warner Bros., 1980
  15. Joanna Newsom, Anecdotes, Divers, Drag City, 2015
  16. Joanna Newsom, Sapokanikan, Divers, Drag City, 2015
  17. Drake, Hotline Bling, Hotline Bling (Single), Cash Money, 2015
  18. Meri Wilson, Telephone Man, First Take, GRT, 1977
  19. Fetty Wap, Again, Fetty Wap, 300 Entertainment, 2015
  20. Devo, Whip It, Freedom Of Choice, Warner Bros., 1980
  21. Wendy Carlos, What's New Pussycat, By Request, East Side Digital, 2003
  22. Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Button My Lip, The Delivery Man, Lost Highway, 2004
  23. Fetty Wap feat. Monty, My Way, Fetty Wap, 300 Entertainment, 2015

Footnotes Lee“Scratch”Perry's incantations Tenacious D featuring Ronnie James Dio Devil Went Down to Georgia covers More Halloween on Sound Opinions Joanna Newsom Greg's“Divers”review More Prog Rock on Sound Opinions