2. BloodlettingJohnette Napolitano’s biker chick voice is perfectly suited to Concrete Blonde’s hard driving introspective sound. Formed in 1982 and recording off and on over the decades, the band had a minor hit with the song “Joey” off the album “Bloodletting” which also contained “Bloodletting (the Vampire Song)” another song influenced by Anne Rice’s vampires. The song has a sauntering swagger to it with evocatively cryptic lyrics that seem to elude to the singer’s run in with a vampire that may have changed her life forever “Oh, you were a vampire/ and I may never see the light.” The encounter leaves her with much to ponder, “I got the ways and means/to New Orleans…I’m gonna have a drink/and walk around/I got a lot to think about.” Another allusion to vampires is made in the chorus of “The Beast” when she sings, “Love is the vampire, drunk on your blood.” The band’s sound is not pure gothic rock, but, fast or slow, the melodies are haunting, the lyrics poetic often times speaking to themes of loss and longing. All the while, however, Napolitano’s fierce vocals are charged with defiant independence. Even after a run in with a vampire, she would be nobody’s victim.
1. Bela Lugosi's Dead
This song is straight from the crypt. Over nine minutes long it comes off as sort of an undead jam session. It’s minimalist, guided by simple, bone dry percussion sounding in parts as if someone were scratching on a coffin lid. The guitar licks are striking, the voice, with the drone of Jim Morrison, is deep, ladened with reverb. The lyrics come to the point quickly “The bats have left the bell tower/the victims have been bled/Red velvet lines the black box/Bela Lugosi’s dead.”
Formed in 1978 in Northampton, England, the Bauhaus are credited with being at the forefront of the gothic rock movement which combined the anger and disillusionment of the fading punk rock movement with the musical exploration of New Wave. There was also an element of glam rock to the band’s music and style. The group took its name from the 1920s German Bauhaus movement and in some respects the band’s music could be a match for the German impressionist films of the time.
The song opens the 1983 Tony Scott film “The Hunger” as scenes of the band performing are intercut with scenes of the vampire Miriam and her paramour David enticing two club goers to go home with them for the night. The band less then two months old, they recorded five songs and in an audacious move, released “Bela Lugosi…” as their debut single in 1979. Never a hit on the U.K. charts, the song none the less remains a classic in the gothic movement.
There you have it. Hope you enjoyed it. As I stated when I began, I don't claim these to be the ten best. Everyone has their own opinion. They were among the best though. If you have any songs you'd like to suggest, drop them in a comment.