Before Bauhaus: How Goth Became Goth

Goth is many things. It's a Germanic tribe, a style of archi­tec­ture, a type of lit­er­at­ure, of film. It's a youth move­ment. What ties most of these togeth­er is a sense of dark roman­ti­cism. But des­pite Marilyn Manson and My Chemical Romance being infam­ous for their adop­tion of goth­ic fash­ion, their music isn't what would tra­di­tion­ally be clas­si­fied as goth. To quote Sasha Geffen of Pitchfork: “[Goth] songs were marked by echoes, dis­tor­tion, min­im­al gui­tar lines, and an arch taste for the macabre; their elec­troshocked hair, smears of black eye­liner, and dark clothes only rein­forced the vibe.”

So while any youth dressed in black with a fond­ness for obvi­ous make-up can be dubbed “goth”, it doesn't mean they listen to goth music. That is a sep­ar­ate thing with its own son­ic tem­plate. So as the nights grow increas­ingly cold and dark, join me in dis­cov­er­ing how we got to the point where goth became a defined genre with a look, sound and lyr­ic­al pref­er­ences, from the early delves into dark­ness of "I Put a Spell on You" by Screamin Jay Hawkins, "The End" by The Doors and "All Tomorrow's Parties" by Velvet Underground, through "Dead Babies" by Alice Cooper, "In Every Dreamhome, a Heartache" by Roxy Music, "Third Uncle" by Brian Eno, "Human Fly" by the Cramps, Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division, end­ing with "A Forest" by The Cure and "Bela Lugosi's Dead" by Bauhaus This is "How Goth Became Goth".

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