Well, any time, any place, any where that I go
All the people seem to stop and stare;
They say, "Why are you dressed like it's Halloween?
"You look so absurd, you look so obscene!"
O! Why can't I live a life for me?
Why should I take the abuse that's served?
Why can't they see they're just like me?
It's the same, it's the same, it's the same in the whole wide world.
Well, I let their teeny minds think
That they're dealing with someone who is over the brink!
And I dress this way just to keep them at bay
'Cause Halloween is every day...
Yep, that's me. I spent my teens and early 20s swathed in black and listening to bands a shade over the alternative edge, taking a fiendish delight in mystifying people with the names of the more obscure bands I listened to. It seems comical now, because so many of them have actually gone completely mainstream, but back in the early '80s it was impressive to casually list bands like Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Dead Can Dance, Depeche Mode and The Cure as favorites. Back then, they were dark and alienated, resonating with pain and anguish that I felt, melodramatically, reflected my own. Both their music and their lyrics exhibited an intelligence and sensitivity light years beyond anything mainstream music could muster.
The tragi-comic Goth ethos appealed to the angst-ridden teenager in me (and don't we all have our share of angst?). I loved (and still do) the dramatic look of black drapery contrasting starkly against a pale visage, black-limned eyes gazing mournfully upon a world that "just couldn't understand". I loved messing with people's minds, looking so damned scary and warped, hiding behind a facade that concealed nothing but a little Catholic school girl who didn't even drink or smoke, let alone engage in things more demonic. Unlike most teenage rebels, I was never rebelling against my parents or authority or "the establishment"; nope, not me. My nemesis consisted of my so-called peers (a misnomer if ever there was one), experts in the art of alienation.
But on the other hand, being a tragic romantic never prevented a Goth from enjoying good synth pop! Anything with a beat and a melody (note that the melody is NOT optional) that seemed just a little beyond the grasp of top-40 comprehension could send me flying to the dance floor to thrash and skank and slam with the best of 'em. My creepers and buckle shoes were all well-worn on the floors of establishments like One Step Beyond, Das Klub, Holy Cow, and the Goth capital of San Francisco, The Underground. Some nights I'd be out with my best friend until 3 or 4 in the morning, dancing non-stop to spritely little tunes by the Vandals, the Smiths, Sisters of Mercy, the Violent Femmes, and Tones on Tail.
So now what do I listen to? It scares me to contemplate the fact that some of my favorite music is 10 to 15 years old! But I haven't yet achieved full old-fart status; a few new bands still make the cut. There isn't a whole lot that's as good and as consistent as the '80s stuff, but there's still good new music to be found. It's just that there are so many more flash-in-the-pan bands, and far fewer consistent bands with staying power. My favorite band of the '90s (October Project) doesn't even exist any more, having been together only 3 or 4 years (they would not have been a flash in the pan had they been "discovered" by the mainstream; they were incredible).
So, for anyone who cares, here's a list of the music I love, in alphabetical order up to the things I forgot in my first attempt at compiling this list! I include some bands that I may not generally like all that much, but who do at least one song that I love. Enjoy!
|Alphaville||And Also the Trees|
|Big Country||The Blue Nile|
|Book of Love||Chameleons UK|
|The Church||Cocteau Twins|
|Collective Soul||Counting Crows|
|The Cure||Dali's Car|
|The Damned||Dead Can Dance|
|Depeche Mode (pre-1987)||Dramarama|
|Echo & the Bunnymen||The Essence|
|Everything But the Girl||Fuzzbox|
|The Glove||Hayzi Fantayzi|
|Icicle Works||INXS (pre-1992)|
|Level 42||Love & Rockets|
|Love Spirals Downward||Lush|
|The Moon Seven Times||New Order|
|Nitzer Ebb||October Project|
|Psychedelic Furs||The Replacements|
|Siouxsie and the Banshees||Sisters of Mercy|
|Smashing Pumpkins||The Smiths|
|David Sylvian||Tears for Fears|
|Sarah MacLaglan||10,000 Maniacs|
|This Mortal Coil||Tones on Tail|
|Aztec Camera (Knife)||Dominatrix|
|Nine Inch Nails||The The (Uncertain Smile)|