The Best of 120 Minutes – Goth Lite

The best thing about 120 Minutes was the anticipation.  You never knew what they were going to play next.  Three out of four times, it was a dud.  But that one time out of four, you could count on either seeing a video you liked or getting turned on to something new.  Now, don’t tell anyone, but I was a kind of closet goth.  I didn’t fully embrace the aesthetic, but I liked a lot of the music.  And even though they didn’t play a lot of Real Deal goth music, they did play quite a bit of what I like to call “Goth Lite.”  Like The Bolshoi.

I bought the Bolshoi’s first album Friends because of this song and it’s actually quite a good little pop record.  It leans toward the black light of Goth, with dark subject matter, pretentious lyricism, and frilly shirts.  But when I bought the album, I liked every song on it.  And though it has it’s flaws, for what it is, it’s held up remarkably well.  I wish I could say the same for The Mission U.K.

I bought the Mission U.K.’s album, God’s Own Medicine, on the strength of the first single, “Wasteland.”  And what a waste it was.  I think I listened to the whole thing twice. But “Wasteland” made it on to more than a few mix tapes.

Now we’re talking.  The first time I saw the video for “Preacher Man” by Fields of the Nephilim, it as though I stumbled into completely new terrain.  None of my friends had Dawnrazor when it came out, so I experienced that rush of discovery followed by the rush of sharing it with my comrades which has evaporated in today’s music listening environment.  The cool thing about Fields of the Nephilim was that they actually got better, evolving into a sort of psychedelic-goth phantasmagoria which came to full bloom on their 1991 album, Elizium.  In fact, Dawnrazor was probably their weakest record

The Damned were already damned near a classic rock band by the time they released Anything in 1986.  My first exposure to The Damned was on a cassette someone made for me with The Black Album on one side and Bad Music For Bad People by The Cramps on the other.  But the first time I saw The Damned was on a little British show MTV had the wisdom to air just before 120 Minutes called The Young Ones.  The Young Ones changed my life.  I had watched Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Dr. Who on the local PBS affiliate when I was younger, but I could actually relate to The Young Ones.  And the musical guests were great.  I also have to credit The Damned’s Anything for turning me on to the band Love with their near-perfect cover of “Alone Again Or.”

Ahh…Does it get any more Goth Lite than Dave Vanian in a handlebar mustache and Zorro mask?  They even let the final guitar chord resolve itself in the way you wish the original did.  They don’t make ’em like that anymore.  To think that was actually on MCA Records makes my head spin.

Don’t touch that dial.  Stay tuned for more Best Of 120 Minutes.  Coming up– Deep Cuts and Pre-Grunge.

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Filed under 120 Minutes, Music, Sound + Vision

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