Monday, October 28, 2013

Trick or treat, the bitter and the sweet...

...and in the case of "Halloween" by Siouxsie and the Banshees, mostly bitter. She wears her silence like a mask, her memories like a shroud, and murmurs like a ghost--oh 1981 goth, how gloriously brooding you were!

"Halloween" comes from one of Siouxsie and the Banshees' masterwork albums, Ju Ju, which helped define goth as a genre. At the same time, the band denied the goth label: "Gothic in its purest sense is actually a very powerful, twisted genre," Siouxsie Sioux said, "but the way it was being used by jouralists--'goff' with a double 'f'--always seemed to me to be about tacky harum scarum horror, and I find that anything but scary. That wasn't what we were about at all."

Well, I'm all for tacky harum scarum horror, but certainly the haunting memory the band presents in this song is scarier than red devils or dancing undead. The band's artistry and seriousness have stood the test of time--they stayed together for twenty years, from 1976 to 1996, and have been a major influence on a vast array of musicians, from Morrissey to the Scissor Sisters. Much of the reason for that is Siouxsie Sioux herself, whose art punk style and vocals have made her one of the most iconic frontwomen in all of rock. Here she is gazing at you with her scorpion eyes:

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