In previous posts on this blog, I offered recommendations of some of the best of goth music, based on years of listening and experience.
Of course no matter how tasteful and well informed my views may or may not be, all I have to offer is my own perspective.
There’s a world of different views out there… and this is an election year. What would happen if artists were chosen by popular vote?
I’m not going to run a poll, as it’s difficult to do well and get meaningful results. One platform that does attempt to do this is a site called The Top Tens, a free site that allows anybody with an email address to vote on various items in categories. Lacking a better source, let’s see what they’ve found out.
For the category of Best Goth Rock Bands, 5,000 user votes have apparently been collected for 200 artists, as of August 2016.
Here are the results. The Top 10 Best Goth Rock bands are:
2. The Cure
4. Sisters of Mercy
5. Siouxsie and the Banshees
7. Christian Death
9. Joy Division
10. Type O Negative
So, what’s your reaction? For some people I know it might involve laughter, anger, or cutting down of babybats.
“Evanescence and Nightwish? HIM and Type O? Those aren’t even goth rock, they’re Hot Topic pop metal! Stupid kids these days.”
Maybe, maybe not.
I’m going to surprise readers by playing Devil’s Advocate here. Let’s see if we can suspend judgment for a minute and think this through.
There are two definitions of ‘goth’ or ‘gothic’ as it applies to music:
1. It can used be a noun, that refers a specific style of post-punk rock music from the early 80’s.
2. It can be used as an adjective applied to any style that carries a gothic aesthetic.
Gothic itself is of course larger than one scene from the 1980’s. It’s been expressed in architecture, literature, fashion, and music for decades. Just as there are rock and metal bands we describe as gothic, there is also Classical music that can be described as gothic.
Today, we apparently have people appreciating Evanescence as a kind of ‘goth rock,’ alongside bands such as HIM, Nightwish, and Within Temptation.
By the initial definition above, this might seem a mistake, but by the second definition it surely rings true.
These artists have the gothic aesthetic to my eyes and ears, no question about it. In fact I would like to say, they have far more of it than the sterile synthpop regularly showcased in goth clubs.
The only thing these artists lack is linaege to the original scene from the 80’s. Does this matter? Apparently to fewer and fewer people it does. These kind of bands regularly headline large gothic festivals in Europe. Perhaps over there they have the right, all-inclusive approach.
Some may object, but who can really say goth is to forever hold to a narrow musical definition? Recall that most of the original goth bands never accepted the term anyway.
My prediction is the aesthetic itself will continue in music in one form or another, and won’t stay confined. The post-punk era was surely one high point, but there are others to come.
For fun and to see how well these artists go together or not, I made a playlist of this Top 10 List.
Do Evanescence et al deserve to be considered goth rock or not? Reactions welcome below.