PDA

View Full Version : Songwriters as gloomy gothic poets


Julian Karswell
06-30-2009, 08:05 PM
I've long held the opinion that were Byron, Shelly and Coleridge to have lived today, they would have formed introspective and moody indie bands. When you examine the lyrics of some contemporary songsmiths [I use the word 'contemporary' in a broader sense, applicable from the sixties onwards] it is astonishing just how good some singer-songwriters are, beyond the visual artifice of their image.

Peter Murphy from 'Bauhaus' has always appealed to me. Not only are his lyrics deep, ambiguous and intellectual, they reveal a very sound knowledge of classic occult literature. Beyond the obvious vampire classic 'Bela Lugosi's Dead' he references 'Hollow Hills' which house supernatural elementals of the Machen and Lovecraft variety, and also Robert Aickman, in his cacophonic anticipation of thrash metal, 'Dark Entries'. This, when he was in his late teens and early 20s.

Robert Smith of The Cure was deeply influenced by Nick Drake, a songwriter who studied the romantic poets at Cambridge before penning a series of beautiful melancholic songs such as 'River Man' and 'Three Hours From Sundown'. Smith's own lyrics are wonderfully unique, sometimes gentle and wistful, sometimes spiteful and malicious. Who else could write a sentimental love song which starts with the words 'You want to know why I hate you? Well, I'll try to explain. Remember that weekend we spent in Paris when it rained." Then in earlier stuff like 'Killing An Arab' he seemed to express an interest in existential nihilistic literature - Salinger, Kafka, Camus etc - alongside Terry Hall style songs like '10.15 On A Saturday Night'.

Portishead, with their eerie, echolic mantras; Radiohead, discordant noise, experimentation and transcendentally sublime 'pop' songs (compare The Beatles 'She's Leaving' to their 'Exit Music'); Pete Doherty singing about 'gin in tea cups, leaves on the lawn'; etc etc.

These are two of my favourites:

YouTube - radiohead street spirit

"Rows of houses, all bearing down on me."

YouTube - Hollow Hills

[Sorry, tried to embed the vids, but the TLO wouldn't display them properly.]

Ancient earth work fort and barrow
Discreetly hide their secret abodes
The most fearful hide deep inside
And venture not there upon Yuletide

For invasion of their hollow hills
That music hold and Oberon fill
Is surely recommended not
For fear of death, in fear of rot

Hollow hills
Hollow hills
Hollow hills
Hollow hills

Baleful sounds and wild voices ignored
Ill luck disaster the one reward
Violated sanctity of supermen's hills
So sad, love lies there still
So sad
So sad

Hollow hills
Hollow hills

Witches too and goblin too and speckled sills
Lament repent oh mortal you

So sad
So sad

Spotbowserfido2
07-01-2009, 04:56 AM
I've long held the opinion that were Byron, Shelly and Coleridge to have lived today, they would have formed introspective and moody indie bands.
If they had a band they'd name it The Ozymandians.

G. S. Carnivals
07-01-2009, 05:40 AM
I've long held the opinion that were Byron, Shelly and Coleridge to have lived today, they would have formed introspective and moody indie bands.
If they had a band they'd name it The Ozymandians.
Or Jefferson Albatross.

MorganScorpion
07-01-2009, 06:44 PM
I've long held the opinion that were Byron, Shelly and Coleridge to have lived today, they would have formed introspective and moody indie bands.
If they had a band they'd name it The Ozymandians.
Or Jefferson Albatross.

I'd go for Percy and the Poets myself.

Julian Karswell
07-01-2009, 08:04 PM
I've long held the opinion that were Byron, Shelly and Coleridge to have lived today, they would have formed introspective and moody indie bands.
If they had a band they'd name it The Ozymandians.
Or Jefferson Albatross.

I'd go for Percy and the Poets myself.

My suggestions:

'The Morbid Trees'
Featuring Count Eric Stenbock on vocals and Leonard "Ink Finger" Smithers on lead guitar. The group fell apart after their manager David Tablet renounced his belief in flowers and joined the mysterious sect known as the Purple Yawn. Incensed, Stenbock threw himself into a fireplace and set fire to his trousers, and then choked to death on his own smoke.

'The Opiators'
Featuring the notorious singer-songwriter team Byron and Shelley. Their key work was produced by John 'The Dispenser' Polidori. Their live performances were notable for the presence of the celebrated dancing 'hippy chick' Mary Shelley, who stood in front of the band naked, painted from head to toe in rainbow colours, gyrating to the music. Their landmark album 'The Villa Diodati' featured a young John Cale on electric flageleot. Their song 'Look Out There's A Monster Coming' has been covered by artists as diverse as The Libertines, Bucks Fizz and William Shatner.

JK

gveranon
07-01-2009, 08:51 PM
I've long held the opinion that were Byron, Shelly and Coleridge to have lived today, they would have formed introspective and moody indie bands.
If they had a band they'd name it The Ozymandians.
Or Jefferson Albatross.

That's hilarious. I really wish that a band called Jefferson Albatross actually existed, playing music that lived up (or down) to the name. I feel an urgent need for this band.

MorganScorpion
07-01-2009, 09:28 PM
If those three were alive today, Byron would be a Goth, Keats would be an emo, and Shelley would be a punk.

Viva June
07-02-2009, 07:01 AM
If those three were alive today, Byron would be a Goth, Keats would be an emo, and Shelley would be a punk.
What a nightmare.

Joel
07-02-2009, 09:14 AM
And something of a temporal paradox, as gloomy, introspective young rock musicians invariably cite the Romantic poets as their primary influence. If Byron, Keats, Shelley and Coleridge were present-day Goths and emo kids, would they be inspired by their past selves? Or if those past selves didn't exist, would we have Goths and emo kids at all?

MorganScorpion
07-02-2009, 10:29 AM
If those three were alive today, Byron would be a Goth, Keats would be an emo, and Shelley would be a punk.
What a nightmare.

One man's nightmare is another woman's vision of heaven.
;)

LadyLovecraft
07-02-2009, 11:35 PM
If those three were alive today, Byron would be a Goth, Keats would be an emo, and Shelley would be a punk.
What a nightmare.

One man's nightmare is another woman's vision of heaven.
;)

Would you mind sharing your heaven? *sighs*

And something of a temporal paradox, as gloomy, introspective young rock musicians invariably cite the Romantic poets as their primary influence. If Byron, Keats, Shelley and Coleridge were present-day Goths and emo kids, would they be inspired by their past selves? Or if those past selves didn't exist, would we have Goths and emo kids at all?

I guess we'd experience a pretty bad time-space-I-can't-be-here-can-I paradoxon ...

As for the Children of the Dark: I dare say that a gothic lifestyle would've sprung up sooner or later, only the name might have been different :].
Would that have saved us (Goths) from the Emos? With some luck, yes - but I doubt that these Emo-Kids have read Byron or Shelley anyway and they just might get a decent view of the world by having the beautiful poems changed into song.
Add a bit of Trent Reznor or Martin Lee Gore and you've got the best of all possible worlds.

SwansSoilMe/SwansSaveMe
07-04-2009, 04:20 PM
Check out Damien Youth, in Louisiana. One of the best songwriters ever -- since Dylan, and I kiddeth you not. THE best unknown.

MorganScorpion
07-04-2009, 05:09 PM
If those three were alive today, Byron would be a Goth, Keats would be an emo, and Shelley would be a punk.
What a nightmare.

One man's nightmare is another woman's vision of heaven.
;)

Would you mind sharing your heaven? *sighs*




Of course not. Always room for one more inside.
:)

Daisy
07-07-2009, 06:42 PM
Peter Murphy from 'Bauhaus' has always appealed to me. Not only are his lyrics deep, ambiguous and intellectual, they reveal a very sound knowledge of classic occult literature. Beyond the obvious vampire classic 'Bela Lugosi's Dead' he references 'Hollow Hills' which house supernatural elementals of the Machen and Lovecraft variety, and also Robert Aickman, in his cacophonic anticipation of thrash metal, 'Dark Entries'. This, when he was in his late teens and early 20s.

Last night, I had the opportunity to see Peter Murphy live onstage at the Highline Ballroom in Manhattan. His voice is incredibly powerful – rich and resounding. When he sings, his hands shake and his lips tauten, leaving his teeth bared in a masklike rictus; he is as captivating to watch as he is to hear. The setlist included his new solo material, a smattering of Bauhaus songs, and remarkable covers of John Lennon’s “Instant Karma,” Joy Division’s ‘Transmission,” and David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” My only complaint is that he didn’t perform this cover of “Severance” by Dead Can Dance, which he recorded with Bauhaus several years ago:

YouTube - Bauhaus - Severance (Studio Version)

I hope those of you who love Peter’s music will get a chance to catch him on his current tour. He’s doing a second show in NYC tonight . . . Can't wait!