My favorite kind of holiday songs—and this goes for Christmas, too—are songs that I would listen to anyway, but just so happen to be about the holiday in question. I don’t really want to go “ugh” when a song pops up on a playlist out of season.
With that requirement in mind, here are my favorite songs about werewolves that are suitable for year-round listening.
“She Wolf” by Shakira
Let’s get this out of the way: Shakira has a pathetic she-wolf howl. It is half-assed at best. And I can’t tell if the idea of a she-wolf hiding in the closet is hilarious or, you know, heteronormative. But she does get points for sneaking the word “lycanthropy” into a pop song.
“Wolf Like Me” by TV on the Radio
True story: We saw TV on the Radio at this year’s Governor’s Ball. We got there right before they started, so we were about halfway back in the crowd. We figured it wasn’t worth pushing our way to the very front, because we were going to leave halfway through to see another band, and the front was kind of muddy. The crowd was into it, but not too exuberant. Right before we left, the band played “Wolf Like Me,” and everybody went crazy. A pit developed all around us. It was nuts. But the people in the front? They stayed subdued—to avoid the mud puddles! (Pudddles of Muddd?) “Wolf Like Me”: The song for people who want to be crazy and sweaty, but who don’t want to get dirty.
The only reason this isn’t higher on the list is because I’m not 100 percent sure it’s about werewolves. It could just be about the wolf inside us all. But I’m inclined to believe that it is because of the part that says: “When the moon is round and full/Gonna teach you tricks that’ll blow your mongrel mind.”
“She Said” by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Now, here’s a song that’s definitely about werewolves. How can I tell? In true JSBX fashion, he just starts yelling “Werewolf! Werewolf!” at the end. There’s a she-wolf in this song, but she’s way more effective than Shakira’s. (No hiding in the closet, let me tell you!) And Jon Spencer’s growling, howling voice is stronger, too. This is probably my favorite Jon Spencer Blues Explosion song, but it could use some more Theremin.
“Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” by Tracy Jordan
Hey, in the end, lyncathropy is all about transformation, right? And “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” has two layers of metamorphosis: Boys becoming men, men becoming wolves. I love how this song doesn’t sell out either premise—it is equally about the bar mitzvah as it is about monsters—and take them both to their (sweaty) conclusion. Plus, the bar mitzvah side of things makes it so you can listen to it
No. 1: “Heads Will Roll” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Not about werewolves, but the video is.
No. 2: “I’ll Believe in Anything” by Wolf Parade
Best song by a band with the word “wolf” in the name. (Thy are legion.)