Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dark on the inside

I like to refer to myself as the most vanilla goth you'll ever meet. No make-up, no aversion to light and bright colors, no obvious fashion indicators, no lurking. But I have a great appreciation for digging around in ugliness to find the beauty it conceals, and that's the truest definition of the goth aesthetic I've ever been able to formulate. I am suspicious, though, of people who seem to feel that all their strangeness must be displayed on the outside; it's a sign of maturity to realize that the strangeness within is more important. [That's what I think Rene Char means in his quote I posted some weeks back.]

That said, I never seem to go too long without returning to some of my goth mainstays, musically. As with any matter of taste, there is ultimately no explanation why this music appeals to me. I enjoy a broad spectrum of music (much broader, I like to think, than the range of music I address here) but few other genres seem to require confessions and justifications the way goth does. I don't feel the need to write about my enjoyment of the recent girl group/Motown/Phil Spector sound revival; it doesn't seem to require a defense.

But to be goth, or to be goth-identified, is to turn some aesthetic assumptions on their heads. Truth does not always equal beauty, nor does beauty equal truth. Both ugly truth and duplicitous beauty have legitimate and significant contributions to make. To exclude them is to narrow one's experience unnecessarily.

Perhaps this has come to mind because of the big transitions I am undertaking in my own life these days; life changes involve reflection, and reflection often leads one back to one's own fundamentals, one's own sources of security.

While I don't consider most of these songs to be candidates for scrutiny on the order of Strangers In Open Cars, they are personal favorites, and if I stumbled across a goth club that had these tracks on steady rotation (as I have a few times in the past) it would be a happy night, indeed. Some hard core goths will fault me for not including seminal bands like Fields Of The Nephilim, Christian Death, Southern Death Cult, Alien Sex Fiend, or March Violets, and I'm okay with that; no judgment, only respect. That said, here are my twenty all-time favorite goth tracks.

20. Love & Rockets - Seventh dream of teenage heaven
19. Skinny Puppy - Assimilate
18. Specimen - Kiss kiss bang bang
17. Virgin Prunes - Baby turns blue
16. Bauhaus - The passion of lovers
15. Kommunity FK - Something inside me has died
14. Clan Of Xymox - Stranger
13. Heart Throbs - Dreamtime
12. All About Eve - Flowers in our hair
11. Gene Loves Jezebel - Heartache
10. Tones On Tail - Christian says
9. Ministry - Over the shoulder
8. Sisters Of Mercy - Temple of love
7. Peter Murphy - All night long
6. Concrete Blonde - Caroline
5. Bolshoi - Away II
4. Mission UK - Wasteland
3. Cocteau Twins - My love paramour
2. Cure - All cats are grey
1. Siouxsie & The Banshees - Christine