By Hubert Hwang
Answer: SOUNDS

The audio tracks consist of vowel sounds—mostly screaming. Each is a clip from a song whose title has something to do with fear, and that has been in the Billboard Hot 100 at some point. The comments provide additional clues towards the identities of the artists involved, and the date gives the week that the song hit its peak on the Billboard Hot 100 weekly chart.

In each clip, one word is left out. Identify those words, and index into those missing words using the star rating. (Solvers may also notice that all of the missing words are five letters long, as an additional confirmation.)

Song Artist Lyrics (missing word in caps) Star Rating Letter
“Don’t Fear the Reaper” Blue Öyster Cult

All our TIMES have come

Here but now they’re gone

Seasons don’t fear the reaper

Nor do the wind, the sun, or the rain

★★★★★ S
“I’m Afraid of Americans” David Bowie

I’m afraid of Americans

I’m afraid of the WORLD

I’m afraid I can’t help it

I’m afraid I can’t

★★☆☆☆ O
“Not Afraid” Eminem

We’ll walk this road together, through the storm

Whatever weather, cold or warm

Just lettin’ you know that you’re not alone

Holler if you feel like YOU’VE been down the same road

★★★☆☆ U
“The Fear” Lily Allen

And when do you think it will all become clear?

’Cause I’m BEING taken over by the fear

★★★★☆ N
“Not Afraid Anymore” Halsey

I am not afraid anymore

Standing in the eye of the storm

Ready to face this

DYING to taste this sick sweet warmth

★☆☆☆☆ D
“Fearless” Taylor Swift

And I don’t know why but with you I’d dance

In a storm in my best DRESS, fearless

★★★★☆ S

Reading the letters in order yields the answer, SOUNDS.