Is this the scariest song of all time?
It’s been 37 years since industrial music pioneers Throbbing Gristle released Hamburger Lady and try as Aphex Twin might, no song since has quite matched the same levels of sickly terror. So in the spirit of Halloween, we’re digging up the track Redditors have crowned “probably the single most unsettling song ever written” – are you game enough to give it a listen?
If the song itself wasn’t uncomfortable enough – between the murky drones and clammy, spoken word vocals – the subject matter certainly is. The Hamburger Lady lyrics are taken from a letter written by pulp fiction connoisseur Blaster Al Ackerman, purporting to be a doctor treating a woman with disfiguring third degree burns. It’s fiction, but that doesn’t make it any less stomach-turning – just have a read of the original letter:
”…By far the worst is the hamburger lady, and because of shortage right now of ‘qualified technicians’, e.g. technicians who can work with her and keep their last meal down, Screwloose Lauritzen and I have been alternating nights with her, unrelievedly. If you put a 250-lb meatloaf in the oven and then burned it and then followed that by propping it up on a potty-chair to greet you at 11pm each night, you would have some description of these past two weeks. Which is to say the worst I seen since viet napalms. When somebody tells you that there is a level of pain beyond which the human mind cannot retain consciousness, please tell them to write me.
In point of fact this lady has not slept more than 3-5 minutes at a stretch since she came to us – that was over two weeks ago and, thanks to medical advances, there is no end in sight; from the waist (waste?) up everything is burned off, ears, nose etc – lower half is untouched and that, I guess, is what keeps her alive. I took one guy in to help me change tubes and he did alright, that is alright till he came out, then he spotted one of the burn nurses (pleasant smiling zombies) eating a can of chile-mac at the desk, and that did it: he flashed on the carpet. It is fucking insane is what it is.”
Make it the whole way through Hamburger Lady and you’ll understand why one YouTube commenter described the song as sounding like it was “composed by some kind of demon”. Hit play below, if you dare – but don’t say we didn’t warn you.