So my husband is a giant fan of Your Mom’s House, an awesome podcast by two comedians who are married to each other. He started texting me like a crazy person the other day and couldn’t wait for me to listen to Christina Pazsitzky’s Ode to Goth. I did, and I was touched by my dude’s ability to realize that other people sharing their SuperSadGothLove would make me incredibly happy. She was very cute about how embarrassed she was to admit that she grew up with a skull bought at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland to signify her teenage idolatry of heroin-soaked lyrical gods, especially The Great Peter Murphy of Bauhaus. Her brief analysis of their rise to glory and the musical offspring of Tones on Tail was, in a word, comforting. Even though she was embarrassed, I felt a direct kinship due to the fact that she confesses that she still loves to blast what my husband labels “sad bastard music” in her car.
We were not called “goth” in the 80’s, though. I think my school called us “wavers.” Not as catchy, and it sounds kind of dumb. I might have been a few years late to the depressing-as-shit party, but when I got there I was kind of sucked in for life. I had misspent my youth on Prince and The Go-Go’s, which, while totally defensible, was just too poppy and not how I felt DEEP DOWN INSIDE. In the depths of my soul’s inner sanctum lay a treasure trove of tragedy (BAM! Alliteration all over your fucking face). It was manifested in ethereal bands like Cocteau Twins (thank you Eric Wright from the 5th period debate war room. Without your boombox and that very first Cocteau Twins tape, there might not be me) and later, The Cranes, Curve, My Bloody Valentine…as well as the guttural wastelands of Siouxsie Sioux and her many Banshees, the wailing heartbreak of The Smiths, the screaming anger-balanced-by-sweetness of Pixies. Naturally, the Titans of Goth pervaded my very existence – Bauhaus, Joy Division, The Cure. All of it courses through my blood like a warm, syrupy contagion of misery. I LOVE EVERY BLESSED NOTE.
I’ll even forgive Siouxsie for Superstition, that’s how much I love her. Yes, “Kiss Them for Me” was awesome but a single does not an album make. I will never forget hearing Peter Murphy’s solo stuff for the first time, seeing Morrissey while my head was used as a trampoline for other concert-goers, and I’ll never be able to count up the numbers of times I have played Disintegration the song the album FOR THE LOVE OF GOD ALL OF IT over and over and over until I felt like Robert Smith was breathing inside my eustachian tubes. I could ruminate for hours on so many songs and albums that I felt the same woozy dreamy way about that you would be bored. SO bored, in fact, that you’d be forced to join our ranks of depression due to my droning. We might be getting close to that right now.
If you didn’t grow up with this music, I understand. It’s not everyone who’s drawn to this dark shit. Some people wanna just kick out the jamz, and trust, in our little world, we have songs that do that for us – “Dark Entries” by Bauhaus, “Spellbound” by Siouxsie and the Banshees…etc etc etc. While none of this really substitutes the mood you feel when you listen to, say, Cake or LL Cool J, it’s still SO INTENSE OMFG YOU MIGHT DIE.
So here’s a song to go out on, one of my absolute favorites. Dig deep, little Wavers. Stoney loves you, but Jesus Christ ease up on the pretentiousness. Most of us are 40+ now. There’s STILL nothing to be happy about except the fact that wearing black is now a necessity. Go forth in sadness. Long live 4AD.