The Halloween season is upon us, which means that the powers that be have let Gothtopia run amuck just a bit in bringing you music of a darker persuasion.
Usually, Gothtopia and the Wife With One F would be at Numbers on Halloween vaccinating ourselves for snakebites with vodka and cranberry and doing the Stomp the Bat Dance, but the unfortunate truth is that a lot of goths just don't take Halloween as seriously as we'd like. They tend to wear the same clothes they always wear rather than actual costumes, and usually use October as a chance to stock up on skull decorations and cheap spider shirts from Target.
So we'll be partying with the normals this year, and in preparation, Gothtopia has thoughtfully put together a party mix of spooky covers of mainstream songs in order to get the gathering in the properly pagan mood.
Emilie Autumn, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun":
Not for when the guests start arriving, but, you know, when the party freakin' starts? That's when you need to bust out Ms. Autumn's half Baroque, half Gaga cover of Cyndi's Lauper's classic pop hit. It's got just the right mix of weird and regular weekend fare to set the mood for some Halloween shenanigans.
Granted, depending on the quality of your guests, there might some grumbling over a harpsichord. No one gets drunk or herpes when a harpsichord is playing, but if you have better-bred acquaintances they'll love this track.
Inkubus Sukkubas, "Paint It, Black":
Fresh from the polite company of Emilie Autumn, we move into the more abrasive conversation of Inkubus Sukkubus and their orchestral, metallic rendition of The Rolling Stones' "Paint it Black." Since everyone who listens to the Stones is already going to hell, there is absolutely no reason not to goth up some of their songs as long as it's done with style and panache. We doubt anyone could doubt that Inkubus Sukkubus has both on loan from the devil himself.
If you're going to turn a Bee Gees tune into a goth cover, "Tragedy" is definitely where you should start. The original song already sounds like a collaboration between Ex-Voto and Europe with its bittersweet synths and enthusiastic sadness. Covering "Tragedy" is one of the most sensible moves in pop music.
When Steps did it in 1998, the single sold more than all three of their previous singles combined. Detroit industrial group Celldweller hasn't reached that level yet, but only good things come from summoning the awesome powers of the Bee Gees.
Dope, "You Spin me Round":
See, this one is right on the line. While Dope's angry Midwest industrial take on the song is undeniable dark and spooky, Dead or Alive's original version was already treading the line between pop and goth, sort of like Depeche Mode. It's also a song that has been done thoroughly to death, but if you need some filler for that spooky party mix, you could do a lot worse. [Ed. Note: We like this version better than Adam Sandler's in The Wedding Singer.]
Lords of the New Church, "Like a Virgin":
One of the lost arts these days is the art of the ironic cover. When the hulking manbeast that was Type O Negative's Peter Steele busted out the transsexual rock opera anthem "The Angry Inch," we can be assured from the victims of his sexual circus act that is was done very ironically. Likewise, when a band like Lords of the New Church takes on Madonna's "Like a Virgin," you can be assured their intentions are the polar opposite of pure.
Love Like Blood, ""Heroes"":
Like "You Spin me Round," this one is debatable as a goth crossover cover. While David Bowie is not goth in and of himself, Gothtopia has yet to find a single goth who wasn't a fan of the Thin White Duke, especially the three albums that make up his Berlin Trilogy. What self-respecting vampire wouldn't want to live off cocaine and milk in Germany while recording iconically bizarre music? Still, kudos to Love Like Blood for not mucking it up like The Wallflowers.
Faces of Sarah,
A good cover is good, An ironic cover is better, but it's when you take a mindless pop tune and turn it into an ustoppaable juggernaut of complete non-suck that you know that the art of playing other people's music has been taken to its absolute apex. Nowhere is this better show than in Faces of Sarah's absolutely showstopping goth metal version of Britney Spears's biggest hit. No other cover brings so unlistenable song to such dizzying heights.
The Mission, "Dream On":
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In a just world, Wayne Hussey would be where Bono is, and Bono would be singing in a pub in Dublin for free drinks. The former Sisters of Mercy guitarist and leader of the criminally underrated Mission has been laying down what should have been some of the greatest goth-crossover rock and roll ever done. Anyone denying that has never heard The Mission do "Deliverance." We're gonna end this playlist with The Mission's incredible version of Aerosmith's "Dream On."
Eat it Steven Tyler, you American Idol prostitution whore.
Jef With One F is the author of The Bible Spelled Backwards Does Not Change the Fact That You Cannot Kill David Arquette and Other Things I Learned In the Black Math Experiment, available now.