4. A Carnival Ride
The drums roll with the urgency of a car crash leading straight into Blondie’s ska flavored “Screaming Skin” a lyrically clever song about a vampire going to feed. The song is found on the groups’ 1999 CD “No Exit” which is full of the most eclectic and enjoyable music of its career. Debbie Harry’s voice is able to pull off breathy and ethereal, as well as straight up cocky. Known for mainstream hits like “Heart of Glass” and “Call Me” the group has been around since the mid-70s and its music has remained elastic, alternating between edgy punk and danceable pop always with a challenge to take it or leave it.
“Screaming Skin” possesses creative lyrics as it describes a vampire who perhaps waited a bit too long to feed. “Swallowing my pride no longer/I take the forbidden sun/If I’ve been sculpted by hunger/I’m not the only.” The song has a sort of carnival feel to it with its energetic beat and flowing guitar though Harry’s deep-voiced vocal leaves no question of her intent when she sings, “My skin cries/My blood sighs/I still owe some dread on this hide of mine.” There is no secret to what she’s after.
3. Bourbon Street Blues
There was a rumor decades ago, when talk of a movie version of Interview with a Vampire was first bandied about, that Sting was being considered for the part of Lestat. In those early days of The Police he certainly exuded the sort of poetic conceit that Rice’s most famous vampire possessed. Whether the rumors were true or not, it’s now a matter of record that the movie took quite some time to finally be made. In 1985, Sting released his first solo album “The Dream of the Blue Turtles” when it seemed as if The Police had been put to rest. A jazz aficionado, he assembled some of the rising stars in jazz at the time including Branford Marsalis and Omar Hakim to spice up an album that explored all sorts of musical styles.
“Moon Over Bourbon Street,” inspired by Interview with a Vampire, is a song that seems perfect for a stage musical. In it, Sting tells the story of a reluctant predator as he cruises the streets of New Orleans, considering fate of endless night, forever an outsider “Oh you’ll never see my shade/or hear the sound of my feet/while there’s a moon over Bourbon Street.” After explaining himself, his longing, his loneliness, at last, as if the confession were ripped out of him, he cries out “I must love what I destroy and destroy the thing I love.” Sting captures the lonely melancholy projected by Louis the heartbroken vampire who can never reconcile what he must to do to survive. Lestat may have the flash but were it not for the quiet soul of Louis, there would have been no Interview.
Next up, a bloodletting and a creepy ode to Bela Lugosi.