Dead Man’s Bones (2009)
A Sci-Fi Honey ‘Happy Hexmas’ Album Review by Katie

Most people are familiar with this Ryan Gosling:

Handsome, charismatic, charming, blah blah blah.  But did you know there’s another side to Ryan Gosling… a SPOOKY side?  You wouldn’t think it, but this guy is just as much enamored of the macabre as you and I.  Along with bandmate Zach Shields, Gosling put out a single album in 2009 under the pseudonym “Dead Man’s Bones” – and has made one of the most ingeniously creepy, fun, and haunting Hexmas albums in existence.

Featuring track titles such as "Dead Hearts," "Buried in Water, "Young & Tragic," and "Flowers Grow Out of My Grave," Dead Man’s Bones the album is a beautiful collective of richly gothic sounds featuring organ, claps, snaps, whistles, howling, and other eerie aural flourishes.  Each song tells a story firmly rooted in the supernatural: ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and death in general permeate the lyrics, sung by Gosling and Shields in the lead with the occasional appearance by members of the Silverlake Conservatory of Music's children's choir. 

The album works well from beginning to end in building a tapestry of gloom, but here are a few of the best tracks to get you started:

Track 3 / “In the Room Where You Sleep”

This organ-laden rocker is sure to get your Hexmas party hopping, with a frenetic drum beat that’ll have you checking behind you for something lusting after your soul.

Eerie lyric: I saw something sitting on you bed / I saw something touching your head / In the room where you sleep / Where you... sleep. / You better run.

Track 5 / “My Body’s a Zombie For You”

The Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir, founded by Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers and bass-shredding fame, has never been used in a creepier and cooler way, moaning their way through a track about being enslaved to love.

Eerie lyric:   Oh I hold my soul / From the lands unknown  / So I can play the strings of your death / My body's a zombie for you

Track 9 / “Lose Your Soul”

The kids are back to sing background to Gosling’s lamenting wail, with a clapping beat that flows into a pounding melancholic piano underscoring the sorrow of the song’s world-weary narrator.

Eerie lyric:  Oh, you're gonna lose your soul / tonight, tonight / oh, you're gonna lose control / tonight, tonight.

Track 10 / “Werewolf Heart”

This gentle but unnerving song features a female voice narrating poetry throughout, with background sounds from the graveyard and increasingly thunderous howling elevating the track to a spookily cacophonous climax.

Eerie lyric:  You'd look nice in a grave / I smile at the moon; death is on my face / And if you wait too long, / Then you'll never see the dawn again.

Track 11 / “Dead Man’s Bones”

The title track of the album (and the name of the band) says everything you need to know about what kind of musicians Gosling and Shields are: messy, raucous, and morbid in the best possible way.

Eerie lyric:  Wherever you go / Take a look at your feet / And down six feet deep / There's dead man's bones!

Happy listening, my demented darlings!