For twenty-five years Ministry’s “Everyday Is Halloween” has taken a holiday of costumes and candy and replaced it with black boots and dry ice.
Recorded in 1984 and then remixed to over ten and a half minutes in 1985, the song became an instant smash on dancefloors around the world in the mid 80s and early 90s. It arguably rivals New Order’s “Blue Monday” as the most influential 12″ single of all time.
Not really a Goth record, it was nonetheless embraced by the Goth subculture as a call to arms. It’s also not really a new wave pop record either. For one thing it’s lyrical derision made it stick out like a sore thumb. Also, very few 12″ records clocked in at ten minutes. Despite all of this “Everyday Is Halloween” oftentimes tore up dancefloors by getting the entire mix played in its entirety.
[ad#longpost]This is because the record does so many things. It opens with an uncoiling knocking and banging that moves into a cacophony of pounding percussion with searing guitars. Then this knockabout beat emerges with a synth undercoat. The banging and pounding unfurls deeper. Then come the vocals, Al Jourgensen singing like a man eating glass, snarling and sneering. There is a sense of melodic rage afoot which complemented interesting but seemingly inexplicable scratching. Halfway through the remix the beat stops to take a breath and then restarts with an arrogance not seen on previous remixes.
Everything about the record was different. It was gorgeous and appalling. It was hunchbacked but erect. It was loud but also oddly melodic. The vocals, muddled, metallic and mean fit perfectly when back dropped in an epic, faceless, esoteric and metallic foreground. It was and still is a record made for dark spaces and grimy rooms. “Everyday Is Halloween” the records that followed in its wake, like industrial music in general, was a reaction to the conventional and trite.
Forged from Chicago’s middle class economic downturn of the 1980s, Ministry’s brutal reaction to the banal pop music of that time was a ghoulish nightmare well suited for the isolated and independent. While the band’s previous 12″ singles and their album Twitch are also brilliant, it was “Everyday Is Halloween” that put them on the map until they turned left and transformed themselves into the quasi-metal thrash band responsible for menacing records like “Stigmata,” “Jesus Built My Hot Rod” and “Breathe.”
More so then other crappy Halloween records, “Everyday Is Halloween” is the real deal. Think of it as a musical costume. A twisted, fierce beast that is relentless, cruel and harsh but somehow still alluring. Or a horror film with keyboards and kick drums that swoops down and sinks its fangs into the unsuspecting victim. It also goes bump in the night and conjures up images of darkness that not even “Thriller” can match.
The 12″ version of “Everyday Is Halloween” is a trick and a treat. It is a trick because it defied convention and became a dance floor staple in clubs the world over. For a over a decade it managed to lay waste to anything in its path, infecting an entire generation that has grown up with the song. “Everyday Is Halloween” is not just a pop record or dance track but a cutting edge 12″ single that bridges the gap from synth pop and house music to a harder more brutal industrial sound. It’s a treat because it purges your soul of life and replaces it with darkness and despair.
- The song appears on the Early Trax collection. Click here to buy it on CD from Amazon.
- Click here to buy to buy an MP3 of the song from Amazon.