Goth trap? Seems kinda like they predicted the current moment But real goths know how to goth as they suffer in sunshine—and no one did it better than the brooding Christian Death from Los Angeles. I was never goth, but punks are, I believe, goth adjacent so I would often find my teen self listening to some shit and liking it without realizing it was kind of goth. I would see older dudes wearing Sisters of Mercy t-shirts at shows so I bought Floodland. Horror punk is not good. AFI is not good.
“I Put a Spell on You”
The overlap between goth love songs and goth breakup songs is large to the point of being a perfect circle. Goths make each other mixes with the expectation that the music will serve to woo one another, soundtrack their coitus, and then, inevitably, be cried over. In the 80s, it saved crazy money on Maxell tapes—money that could be better spent on lace, candles, and creepers. Nowadays, regardless the platform, certain tropes remain. Every good goth song is a high-wire act; too dumb or too smart or too arch or too precious and it falls flat and is just minor chord emo or, worse, an Amanda Palmer poem. A good goth song should be too many candles in the boudoir but only because the electricity has been turned off.
After it blazed through England and New York in the s, the first wave of punk rock left a whole lot of darkness in its wake. Their songs were marked by echoes, distortion, minimal guitar lines, and an arch taste for the macabre; their electroshocked hair, smears of black eyeliner, and dark clothes only reinforced the vibe. Goth offered music what horror had given movies: a chance to lean into the void without quite falling in, to sneak close to death while still very much alive. Soon after their frontman Peter Murphy sang about the undead over an uneasy, descending bassline, fellow Brits Joy Division found transcendent melancholy in simple chord progressions and staccato baritone vocals, and Killing Joke reveled in menacing drum fills and overdriven guitars. Up in Scotland, Cocteau Twins started etching out songs that sounded like initiation rituals to arcane death cults. Goth lay mostly below ground during the s grunge movement, in which anger and sarcasm were the fashion instead of despondency; it burst back up into the mainstream with a fury by the mids, when My Chemical Romance and Panic! At the Disco threw a pop spin on the melodrama of their forebears.
But which classic songs make their dark hearts beat faster? We asked singer — and occasional DJ — Jyrki 69 for his top 10 goth anthems. It captures the very essence of what I like about gothic culture and was so different from anything else at the time. Alien Sex Fiend were my favourite band around the time of Acid Bath. I used to write to them and send them money for their live cassettes and fanzines. She Sells Sanctuary is the more commercial song, but this one is fantastic too. Once again, this is a perfect song to play at a goth club, and rain is such gothic weather too.