Gothtopia

The Top 20 Greatest Goth Albums of All Time, Nos. 10-1

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6. Nine Inch Nails The Downward Spiral (Interscope, 1994)

By leaving the question of who he hated more -- himself or everybody else -- as a toss-up, Trent Reznor made his masterpiece. Feral and damaged, but shockingly tender at times, The Downward Spiral uses every industrial/electronic weapon in Reznor's arsenal to tackle the themes of dehumanization, objectification and abuse of power. When he was done, even before Johnny Cash's autumnal version of "Hurt" took on a life of its own, he had made one of the most important records both of the '90s and in alternative-rock history. CHRIS GRAY

5. Christian Death Catastrophe Ballet (Cleopatra, 1984)

Only Theatre of Pain was a great album, don't get me wrong, but Catastrophe Ballet is where Rozz Williams stopped trying to be some kind of beat poet and showed that he really could do some awesome singing. He was also doing a lot of mushrooms and getting in Dada when he wrote it, so it's deliciously surreal. Warning, this album is basically a gothic aphrodisiac. Don't put it on if you don't want to knock boots. JEF WITH ONE F

4. Siouxsie & the Banshees Kaleidoscope (Geffen, 1980)

Like Closer, released the same year, the aptly named Kaleidoscope helped set goth apart as something different besides strictly post-punk rock, with the added benefit of being a lot more fun to listen to. Singles "Happy House" and "Christine" showed the Banshees' growing command of popcraft, but with plenty of darker nooks and crannies ("Tenant") and odd instrumental touches -- the clicking camera shutter of "Red Light," wheezing accordion of "Skin" -- to go along with it. Elegant and mysterious. CHRIS GRAY

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