Track of the Day: 'Friday the 13th'

A triskaidekaphobe's anthem by Thelonious Monk

Past Tracks

There are plenty of songs—and plenty of bad songs—that try to capture the kitsch creepiness of Halloween. But no tune captures the feeling of the uncanny quite like this triskaidekaphobe's anthem by Thelonious Monk. On this 1954 track, Sonny Rollins’s corkscrewing tenor saxophone weaves around and frequently clashes the pianist, whose shambling, vertiginous rhythmic feel gives the impression he's about to lose the beat, though of course he never does. Meanwhile, Percy Heath’s bass lurks ominously beneath them. It’s enough to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

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David A. Graham is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Politics Channel. He previously reported for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The National.

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