Thursday, August 23, 2012

Self-Indulgent Top 10 Post: Sisters of Mercy Songs

About a week or so ago, Miss Polly asked members the Socks faithful to pick one of our favorite bands/artists and throw together a list of our ten favorite songs by that band/artist. Ordinarily I wouldn't waste readers' time with a Top 10 list (Top 20 lists are a different case entirely) -- but lately I've been busy writing short stories, reading Pierre and thinking of things to say about it, trying to figure out exciting and effective ways to pimp my goddamned book (which you should probably read if you haven't already because it's actually quite good), and still having a day job, so I haven't had much opportunity to brew up any adequately frothy blogthoughts.

SO! Today we'll be looking at my ten favorite Sisters of Mercy songs.

10.) Adrenochrome

They have much better songs than this, but I'm inordinately fond of "Adrenochrome's" roughness. I'm not certain of the timeline, but this must have been one of the first songs they ever recorded. It sounds like a bunch of kids playing instruments in a basement in the early 1980s -- which, yeah, is pretty much what the Sisters were at this point. Listening to it without knowing that the band would eventually become international goth superstars, you'd think it was some forgotten band recorded on an unlabeled cassette tape found in a box at a garage sale.

9.) Long Train

Like its namesake, this song just keeps on chugging along. And chugging along. And chugging along. And chugging along. There's an abridged version of the song (which seems to just be called "Train") that gets right to the point, but for some reason it just doesn't satisfy me. Perfect for zoning out to during long drives down the highway at night.

8.) Gimme Shelter

I'm curious to know how much incense, opium, and T.S. Eliot poetry it would take to get the Rolling Stones to sound like this.

7.) More

For all the goths' whining about Vision Thing, the album's centerpiece remains inescapable at goth clubs. This song still gets the dance floor moving, and unlike the rest of the Sisters catalog, you don't even have to wander into the cramped little "old school" room with all the overweight weirdos in The Cure T-shirts to hear it. (Of course, why would you be at a club on goth night anyway?)

6.) Flood 1

If there's one thing Andrew Eldritch (the main man of the Sisters) hates, it's being called "goth." The Sisters of Mercy is not and never was a goth band, he fumes. "Modernist rock," he calls it, and we'll take him for his word. The Sisters really don't sound anything at all like the bands who actually label themselves as goth, anyhow.

Modernist rock. So why does Flood make my goth receptors tingle so fiercely? (It also makes me feel wet. Not in a sexual way or anything. More like a phantom sense of immersion in cold water.)

Okay, totally sexual.

5.) Nine While Nine

This is the perfect song to listen to during a painful breakup in the middle of winter in that it's the last thing that'll cheer you up during a painful breakup in the middle of winter. It will carry your melancholy to such lofty frontiers that you will actually go into a hibernative state and not thaw out until late May. That's been my experience, anyhow.

4.) Temple of Love

A lot of people were turned off by the Sisters' third album. After the smokey and sonorous First and Last and Always and the synth-heavy Floodland, fans complained that the rock-n'-roll guitars of 1990's Vision Thing were too drastic and inappropriate a departure. Actually, it was rather a return to form for the Sisters. Exhibit A: 1983's "Temple of Love." THE DEFENSE RESTS. (The defense, however, admits its preference for the original recording over the 1992 reprise.)

3.) Black Planet

I had no idea what to expect when I picked up First and Last and Always on the advice of some older kid at Hot Topic who emphatically recommended the Sisters on the basis of my professed fondness for "goth" music. At the time, I took goth to mean stuff like Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, and various industrial acts I heard on a couple of Cleopatra Records compilations. "Black Planet" was the first Sisters song I listened to and definitely wasn't what I expected to hear. It took one more listen after the first to acquire the taste, and one more after that to develop a craving.

Fourteen years ago. Half a lifetime back. Good god damn!

2.) When You Don't See Me

I finished the rough draft of a short second novel something like four, five months ago. During its composition I must have listened to this song on repeat at least a hundred times. It's a very old favorite and I doubt I'll ever outgrow it.

1.) Lucretia My Reflection

This song is my jam. I don't know what more to say about it.

I shouldn't have to explain myself! It's just so obviously excellent. Two plus two is four. Parallel lines never meet. "Lucretia My Reflection" is great and should be listened to all the time. It's practically axiomatic!


  1. I'm a 'This Corrosion' fan myself, I always liked the big choir that Jim Steinman brought to the table, really gave Mr. Eldritch's mopey anthems a sense of grandiosity that he had always wanted. It's too bad Jim didn't produce the whole album.

    Also, I wrote you a long, LONG, rambling email about yer book when I had finished it. No clue if you ever read it, but I can tell you at least one person out there dug your words.

    1. I definitely read it <3

      This Corrosion missed the list by juuust a hair -- along with Dominion, Heartland, Emma, etc.