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The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for at least two minutes—preferably three—twice a day. That doesn't even include time spent rinsing with mouthwash or flossing (or oil-pulling for homeopathic folks!) if you are extra meticulous when it comes to oral health. In a world where we struggle to balance a 40-hour work week on top of family, social activity, and our personal lives, such simple tasks may seem strenuous.
Without pause, we find the time to binge-watch our favorites on Netflix or similar streaming services. The average adult spends several hours scrolling through social media every day. Surely, we can mandate a minimum of six minutes out of 24 hours to ensure that our enamel is enforced, gums a pale pink, and grills glimmering white.
With Halloween upon us in the coming week, I've compiled a list of 10 tracks (around three minutes in length) to make your oral ordeal more measurable as well as enjoyable. Note: These songs are timeless and can electrify your eardrums no matter the season. Whether you are an avid listener of pop, rap, R&B, EDM, musicals, or folk, I have a track for you.
1. "Poltergeist" by Banks (3:32)
Jillian Rose Banks, known mononymously as Banks, has earned her spot into the place of my favorite musical artist of all time. Such a cutting lyricist and powerful vocalist, it comes at no surprise that this spooky strain from her sophomore album would make its way onto this list. She continually pays homage to the roots of traditional R&B while making use of modern beats that give her music a unique blend of voluminous soul with this generation's gravel.
2. "House of the Rising Sun" by Lauren O'Connell (3:05)
From what I've gathered online, Miss O'Connell is a completely independent artist. I discovered her thanks to her widely publicized cover of the well-known classic "House of the Rising Sun" from the promo of American Horror Story: Coven. If you do not know the original anthem, you either aren't from the southern U.S. or you quite possibly live under a rock. Regardless, this cover brings a supernatural feel to the tune that is both witchy and wondrous, and worthy of a listen—a prime example of a new-age artist beautifully rebirthing the blues.
3. "My Boy Builds Coffins" by Florence + the Machine (2:56)
Just shy of three minutes, this next track magnificently mixes melody and melancholy to tug at the heartstrings in ways only Florence knows how. Welch's works wander from incredible inspirations of hope to messages of mystical morbidities that speak deeply to my emo Scorpio soul, and this piece ranks highly among them. A song that touches on the "memento mori" idea of my Catholic upbringing, reminding us that all humans—with little regards to the worldly whims of wealth and status—are equal in mortality, is one I find very befitting of this list.
4. "Teeth" by Lady Gaga (3:40)
Ignoring the obvious pun, I felt that this curation would be remiss without a number by Mother Monster. Especially considering that it comes from an album artistically articulating the Aries goddess's war with her inner demons in tandem with the evils of fame and the music industry. Her early work is nothing short of scandalous, as Gaga details in an interview with MTV the dual-meaning behind it, "the first one kind of juvenile sexual provocative connotation is about oral sex, but also the monster in the song is fear of the truth. 'Show me your teeth' means 'tell me the truth,' and I think for a long time in my life that I replaced sex with the truth." Same, Gaga. Same.
5. "Killer" by Kali Uchis (2:52)
All of us mortals, with a beating chest-organ and blood coursing through our veins, have experienced the near-death emotion of heartbreak. Kali captures the feeling quite eloquently on this ballad for broken bodies, as she makes her ex-man out to be a murderer. The Colombiana Kween of Neo-Soul has gained a fair share of recognition from her feature on Tyler the Creator's latest album and touring with Lana Del Rey, but she deserves far more in my humble and honest opinion. I had the distinct privilege of seeing her live last month at the House of Blues in Houston, as a treat for my sister's birthday--and I can attest, without a shred of doubt, that Miss Uchis will become one of the greats of our generation.
6. "Sally's Song" by Amy Lee (3:02)
Breaking away from the mortal coil, we enter the fantasyland of Halloweentown and what is perhaps Tim Burton's greatest animated film, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Who better to cover "Sally's Song" from the cult classic than Amy Lee, frontwoman of the band Evanescence. Maybe not as renowned as Manson's cover of "This is Halloween," Amy's somber serenade gives us all we want and more, casting shadows of suspicion on a seemingly unrequited love that many can relate to, from a cartoon that we long-time adore.
7. "Mothercreep" by FKA Twigs (3:36)
Where do I begin to describe the all-encompassing culmination of creativity that Twigs espouses? First and foremost, she is a visual artist. Do not mistake my words, however. Her vocals on this song stray short from anything less than haunting, and her entire discography will give you chills. Though it cannot be adequately appreciated apart from a visit to her YouTube channel, as she is a choreographer by nature and singer/songwriter by careful choice. Give the video for "M3LL155X" a view, and your horror-loving heart will not be disappointed.
8. "Cannibal" by Kesha (3:14)
Allow me to venture back to electropop, as I journey to my oh-so edgy teen years of my friends and my fascination with serial killers and anything that pushed boundaries during our early phases in high school. We adored the dance anthems Kesha (still using the dollar sign) created, while resonating with the trash-queen persona she exemplified as we fared to break societal molds, demolish closet doors, and become the proud queers we are today. Also, it stands to reason that if one were to chow down on carnivorous/cannibalistic cuisine, that could require Crest or Colgate coated canines.
9. "Bone Collector" by Ho99o9 (2:54)
Rap fans do not fret, because I have not left you out; Ho99o9 (pronounced Horror or Triple 9 Death Kult) are next on the list. The group genre-bends between a style of industrialized hip-hop and hardcore punk. Aptly named, "horror" is a major theme of theirs and resides in the titles of both an older EP and their most recent studio album. I'll keep this review short but sweet, to allow their music to shriek for itself. It might not appeal to everyone, but those who gravitate to a certain groove of gratuitous grunge and gore will grovel in it.
10. "TRANSylvania" by Kim Petras (2:59)
Rounding out this dectet of devilish ditties is the bop that inspired it all, when I noticed its length and was brushing my teeth to it earlier this month. Kim Petras released Turn Off the Light Vol. 1 this past October 1, with All Hallows' Eve in mind and the aesthetic of the album artwork and promo resembling that of a Monster High doll. The entire EP is a gem, but this particular selection made the cut due to its almost-perfect three-minute duration. This is for the EDM aficionados out there, as her German heritage honed a heavy house-beat-laden record. It's super spooky, features a soundbite from Elvira "Mistress of the Dark," and everything you could ask for in a new-age electronic pop piece. Also, Miss Petras just so happens to be trans. (She does not wish for that to be the defining headline of her success—but yay for queer representation!)
All in all, I think there's a track for music lovers of every genre on this playlist. I hope that you made some new discoveries and found something to add to your ever-growing audio library. And I hope even more that incorporating the power of song into your daily oral care routines will leave you with a sparkling photo-ready smile come Halloween night.
*Album artwork is fairly used for review purposes only. Ownership resides with the respective record label(s) or independent artists cited beneath each image. No copyright infringement is intended.