Nightmare Fuel / Styx

  • 'Castle Walls' from "The Grand Illusion," has a bleak, eerie mood not heard in many Styx songs. When Dennis De Young begins singing, he sounds like he's whispering in a large damp vacant basement or if he's trying to avoid being caught by someone pursuing him. The lyrics, reminiscent of the Pied Piper tale in which the minstrel enchants people to wander and lose their will is foreboding. Then comes the instrumental solo, with a synthesizer BPM (beats per minute) that rivals John Carpenter's "Halloween" music theme (which would be released a little over a year following "The Grand Illusion.") Furthermore the instrumental amplifies the the mood from eerie to scary.
  • The ups and downs of "Snowblind".
  • The Roboto masks in "Mr. Roboto".
  • Because of his voice, appearance and on-stage persona, songs sung by JY in general seem to lend themselves to this trope. A few good examples are "Miss America" from The Grand Illusion album, and "Heavy Metal Poisoning" from Kilroy Was Here.
  • "Queen of Spades", from Pieces of Eight, is basically about being tormented by a particularly twisted version of Luck (the eponymous Queen of Spades). The reworked version of the first few verses right after the chorus ("The first time is free, you know/ but from now on, pay me") almost parallel drug addiction....and that's before the maniacal laughter of the singer/narrator, right before their utterly chilling declaration of ''YOU LOSE!''.
  • Also from Pieces of Eight is the hit single "Renegade", a deceptively upbeat song about a common criminal who has just been captured and is awaiting his execution. The entire song delves into Adult Fear territory, but this line stands out: "Oh Mama, I can hear you crying, you're so scared and all alone; hangman is coming down from the gallows and I don't have very long."
  • Most of the video is fun, but the very end of "Too Much Time On My Hands" is... unnerving.