Saturday, 15 February 2014

Caught in the Shadow of Love

Eep, a day late... I meant to post this yesterday as a Valentine's Day version of the Friday Night to do the Goth thing and... avoid the subject completely (I kid, I kid).

Anyway, let's do it this morning instead.

The problem is that most Goth bands don't sing love songs in a conventional sense. They sing about love or about obsession. Sometimes there are songs about love from beyond the grave but there are precious few songs, as far as I know, that do the whole 'ooh I like you and want to be yours'. That might be because Punk didn't go in for that sort of thing very much either, and also, let's be honest, the mainstream has that sort of song has it covered pretty well. Where the more lovey dovey songs exist, they tend to be covers.

A lot of bands don't really get close to the L word at all, I think the closest Fields of the Nephilim get is on the Elysium where they sing 'Come in from the cold, I'll owe you my heart, Be my shelter, Be my refuge tonight'. Even that is more full of terrible longing and unadulterated need, rather than puppies, hearts and fluffy handcuffs.

The Sisters of Mercy get a bit closer but their most famous song (arguably), Temple of Love is hardly the most loved up song and of the big 80s band, only the Mission and All About Eve ever really got close to the conventional ideas of love and romance (and even then it was bittersweet).

New Model Army: Queen of my Heart



It was a toss up between this and Love Song and this one feels far more appropriate to my life... Take of that what you will. Anyway, this does sort of prove my point, there are tones of the conventional ballad here but there's also a sense that this is not a new relationship, but one that's existed for a long time (something we'll come back to later with the Bad Seeds). It's a bitter sweet song, grounded in knowledge and perhaps even failure...

The Mission: Sea of Love




Ah, horny Wayne Hussey. Perhaps its not surprise that he's one of the main long song creators in the Goth scene. The man has, after all, written songs with lyrics about how he's tired of masturbation and playing with himself.

Regardless, this track has energy and poise. It shows a mixture of longing and love whilst being very much a Goth track, wrapped up in images from legend and mythology.

The Damned: The Shadow of Love



Well, it had to be here didn't it? Again, this isn't really a love song and love is presented as a dark, difficult thing rather than a cause of jubilation.

All About Eve: She Moved Through the Fair



A traditional Irish air, She Moved through the Fair is one of those 'love from beyond the grave' songs. It's a haunting affair both in its subject and in the way it sounds.

Voltaire: Caught a Lite Sneeze



Voltaire has actually recorded a couple of conventional love songs, but the vast majority of his output in this area tends to be sarcastic. This cover is the most mainstream thing that comes to mind.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Bring it On... erm Sorrowful Wife



Well I was going to post the video for Bring it On, which is a beautiful song about dedication and the desire to overcome obstacles in an already existing relationship, which is a neglected part of the song market (since the 12th Century when love songs and Romance became a thing because Muslim ideas came north from Moorish Spain, love songs have been about new love not the dedication to keep a relationship going). But I remembered the video has a girls in gold lame hot pants and frankly I chickened out.

Instead I've gone with the Sorrowful Wife, a song about love and failure and the ability to admit you were wrong... which is a pretty big thing in any relationship...

This isn't an exhaustive list by any means and it's possibly a touch eclectic (and there are people who'd argue that three of the bands aren't actually Goth - I think they are or at least they're close enough to count).

What would you choose?