Some Goth Songs That We Like


It’s World Goth Day, and because goth is one of the greatest musical subgenres of the late 20th century, the Jezebel staff is here to honor goth with a playlist of some goth songs that we like.

Infamous Menagerie, “Immediate Impound Zone”

This early ‘90s jam from long-running Seattle band Infamous Menagerie sounds like it was made by smashing crystal vases in a dusty basement and kicking the drum machine with a scudded winklepicker. It was a bit of an anomaly on the 1991 Kill Rock Stars compilation, which also included Nirvana, Bikini Kill, and Bratmobile, but for decades I’ve woken up in the night and thought about this spidery little pop song. IT’S ALL… INSINUATION!!!!—Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Azar Swan, “Bugatti”

New York City band Azar Swan has released loads of excellent material in recent years, including last year’s political exegesis Savage Exile, which draws in part on singer Zohra Atash’s response to the Trump Administration as the child of Afghan refugees. But I still treasure this 2012 cover of Ace Hood’s trap banger “Bugatti,” in part because it’s how I first really heard the band, and also because they really push the goth form to its most interesting outer reaches. Goth trap? Seems kinda like they predicted the current moment… —JES

Josef K, “Sorry for Laughing”

Purists might argue with the notion that early-’80s Glaswegian post-punk is even close to goth, but if they can claim Joy Division, I can claim Josef K, which is named after a fucking Kafka character, good god. “Sorry for Laughing” is a perfectly dark little pop song, and singer Paul Haig sounds and looks like The Corinthian from Sandman. He’s gonna take off his glasses and have teeth for eyes. —JES

M Lamar, “Negro Antichrist”

Profoundly heavy musician and performer M Lamar’s growls, snarls, dirges, and warnings act as political protest and interrogations as well as abstract commentary; “Negro Antichrist” indicts the American history of lynching while fucking with structure and time signatures in a mesmerizingly jarring fashion.—JES

Christian Death, “Figurative Theater”

Ask any music fan to name a canonical goth band, and they’ll give you the British greats: Bauhaus, the Cure, the Sisters of Mercy. But real goths know how to goth as they suffer in sunshine—and no one did it better than the brooding Christian Death from Los Angeles. Their 1982 track “Figurative Theater” makes it known—distorted guitars, vocals that manage to sound both incredibly horny and devotedly despondent, and a bass line I hope they play at my funeral. It’s almost as if you can hear them sweating in leather. —Maria Sherman

Rule of Thirds, “Mouthful”

There are a lot of great contemporary goth bands, contrary to those who view the four-letter genre as an ’80s phenomenon co-opted by the Hot Topic crowd in the ’00s. There are also a lot of great contemporary goth bands that aren’t, just, like, a bunch of morose motherfuckin’ dudes. Enter Adelaide, Australia’s Rule of Thirds. Everything the band records feels like a dirge you can dance too, made memorable by Freya Zaknich’s reverbed vocals placed high in the mix. “Mouthful” is probably the best example of this, and it’s my favorite, so check it out already!—MS

Sisters of Mercy, Neverland

I was never goth, but punks are, I believe, goth adjacent so I would often find my teen self listening to some shit and liking it without realizing it was kind of goth. I would see older dudes wearing Sisters of Mercy t-shirts at shows so I bought Floodland. “Neverland” in particular is a perfect soundtrack to lying on your back, extremely stoned, and thinking about how 11th grade sucks. —Katie McDonough

Misfits, “Hybrid Moments”

Horror punk is not good. AFI is not good. Misfits are good, though. —KM

Nick Cave and PJ Harvey, “Henry Lee”

Goth adjacent and horny as fuck. Damn!!!!!!!—KS

Tori Amos, “Precious Things”

Heavy overlap in the goth-Tori venn diagram. Tell me I’m wrong! Fight me! —KM

Pink, “Don’t Let Me Get Me”

When Pink’s Missundaztood album came out in 2001, I was transitioning into formal adulthood and out of my hyper-emotional teen shell. And I felt TOTALLY understood by Pink. I was not goth but “Don’t Let Me Get Me” seems like a perfect goth record. “It’s bad when you annoy yourself, so irritating” is the soundtrack to teenage bedroom brooding, as is “I wanna be somebody else.” This is darkness exemplified! —Clover Hope

Underrated Bauhaus banger with a style-inspo heavy music video to match. Better than “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” and I don’t care if that take some notches off my goth-adjacent cred. —Ashley Reese

The Cure, “One Hundred Years”

This is the opening track for The Cure’s 1982 album Pornography, and the first line is, “It doesn’t matter if we all die.” I mean, case fucking closed, this song deserves to be a goth classic. Also, Pornography could easily go head to head with Disintegration in a battle over best The Cure album, but it doesn’t have any of their most popular hits on it, so it’s woefully overlooked part of the band’s discography. —AR

Siouxsie & the Banshees, “Cities in Dust”

Can I understand a single thing Siouxsie Sioux is saying in “Cities in Dust”? No. Will I dance my ass off to it when it plays at an ‘80s goth/new wave/post punk dance night? Yes.—AR

Message, “Derniere Nuit”

I stumbled upon this song by an ’80s French cold wave band called Message years ago and I’m really in love with it. The haunting intro creeps into a fast-paced synth-centric track, and the droning vocals are just melodic enough to be accessible. —AR

Seether f. Amy Lee, “Broken”

Sometimes I’ll be grocery shopping at Fairway and a song will come on that totally gives away my age: Usually it’s like, a TERRIBLE Creed or Nickelback song that somehow played all the time on the alt-rock radio station when I was in middle school, and I know all the words and find myself singing along under my breath and it’s embarrassing. “Broken,” by Seether featuring Evanescence’s Amy Lee, is one of those songs, but I still kinda love it. The music video features Amy Lee—who I also loved as a pre-teen, because she was from Arkansas and my family lived there at the time—looking despondent and walking in an anonymous, barren landscape wearing BLACK ANGEL WINGS. Angel of death, ever heard of it? She rocks, she’s also wearing flip-flops in this video because she does not GIVE A FUCK. Why is there a scarecrow being burned in this music video? Why didn’t Seether wash his hair before shooting? What does the song mean? It literally doesn’t have to mean anything, you initiate—just listen and let the beautiful goth harmonies wash over you. —Frida Garza

Peter Murphy, “A Strange Kind of Love”

I dedicate this song to my goth friend Anna Merlan and her efforts to stay glamorous in the woods. —JES

Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Cascade”

A Kiss in the Dreamhouse might not be the most classically “Goth” Siouxsie record (that probably goes to The Scream) but it’s absolutely my favorite and, in my opinion, the best! Also how terrifing is a lyric like “my chest was full of eels?” —Hazel Cills

Xiu Xiu, “Crank Heart”

Xiu Xiu proves you don’t have to wear three inches of white pancake makeup and wear inverted crosses all the time to be truly Goth, though repping your life’s colors as “black and light black” certainly helps. Screaming all the time also helps. —HC

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