To most listeners every Beefheart song would apply as terrifying noise. But sometimes even his fans can shudder:
Safe as Milk
- "Autumn's Child" — a very haunting ending for an otherwise (mostly) accessible album.
- "Trust Us" has whispers of the title while Vliet bellows Let the dying die and let the lying lie.
- The album cover is a Nightmare Face you wouldn't want to see near your window at night!
- "Well" conjuring up images of crows and bugs devouring the dead and the dying.
- "Dachau Blues": Dancing skeletons in a Nazi concentration camp! And the small audio snippet near the end of a guy talking about exterminating rats ("You got one fellow down there and he's ssssssssssstaring!") is equally disturbing.
- Pena. Oh, God, Pena. Trust me, this is a Last Note Nightmare that goes on for 2 and a half minutes.
- "Bills Corpse" is ostensibly about a dead goldfish but was apparently intended to make band member Bill Harkleroad feel uncomfortable.
- "There Ain't No Santa Claus On That Evening Stage" is a lurching song that is as far removed from Christmas as you might expect.
- The outtake "Funeral Hill" in which Beefheart imagines what it's like to be dead and have people attend your funeral. When helping Rhino put together the outtakes disc for the "Sun Zoom Spark" box set, his widow Jan Van Vliet personally asked for this song to not be included. Three versions are available on bootlegs, however.
- "Apes-Ma", a very claustrophobic track with no music, just Beefheart's voice talking to a mother ape living inside a very small cage. Apparently Apes-Ma "is eating too much and going to the bathroom too much", which is awful, since "her cage isn't getting any bigger."
- Also horrifying about this song is that Beefheart informs "Apes-Ma" that "the little girl that named you years ago has died now." So this poor animal has been stuck in this tiny little cage for so long that the original owner, a little child, apparently passed away by now, presumably of old age!
- Beefheart mentions that Apes-Ma is "not strong enough" to "break out her cage anymore." So there is nothing to do except waiting for her eventual death.
- As if the poem wasn't creepy enough, it's rumored that Beefheart could also have been describing himself going through the early symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
- "Ashtray Heart"
Make invalids out of supermen
- "Sue Egypt":
I think of all of those people that ride on my bones!
- "The Thousand And Tenth Day Of The Human Totempole". A disturbing song about a human totempole apparently starving from hunger. Those terrifying lyrics:
"The man at the top was starving.The pole was a horrible looking thingWith all of those eyes and earsAnd waving hands for balance.There was no way to get a copter in closeSo everybody was starving together.The man at the top had long ago given upBut didn't have nerve enough to climb down.At night the pole would talk to itself and the chatter wasn't too good."
- "Tiger Roach", a late 60s collab with Frank Zappa, originally unreleased though appeared on his compilation "The Lost Episodes". Features Don performing some unearthly Harsh Vocals that are far more reminiscent of early System of a Down than anything that was going on at the time.