Sunday, 26 July 2015

My Top Ten Songs About Wearing Black

Black is slimming. Black is flattering. Black is mysterious. Black is sexy. Everything is the new black.

Here's ten songs about wearing black... with, surprisingly, not a goth in sight.

10. Everclear - White Men in Black Suits

I was a huge Everclear fan back in the late 90s, around the time they ditched their grunge roots and went power pop with the album this came from: So Much For The Afterglow. Yes, I liked them when they became popular... not a very muso thing to admit, is it?

No idea who the White Men in Black Suits are in this song... however, part of me hopes they're alien investigators... or just your basic, bog standard aliens. That'd make me happy. Like the imminent return of Mulder & Scully has made me happy.

9. The Hollies - Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress)

Rocks a lot harder than most Hollies songs - largely because they were doing their best to imitate Creedence when they recorded it. John Fogerty was, apparently, not impressed.

8. Juliet Turner - Burn The Black Suit

A wonderfully sarcastic lyric from this Irish singer-songwriter...
I found out how to keep you keen, I read it in a magazine.
One of those expensive ones, so it must be true, it must be true.
Seems large amounts of alcohol is all it takes to make you fall.
If I stroke your ego through the night, it'll be all right, it'll be all right.
7. Alannah Myles - Black Velvet

Creeping southern blues rock classic (though Alannah herself was Canadian), this still drips sweat and sex all over the turntable. It would have been a little less steamy had she kept her real name... Alannah Byles.

6. Warren Zevon - Angel Dressed In Black

With typically cynical paint, Warren daubs the image of a paranoid, crack-smoking loser whose girl has left and not come back. He's starting to worry terrible things may have happened to her...but we suspect the truth might be a little more obvious.

5. Suzanne Vega - I Never Wear White

One of the stand out tracks from Suzanne's eight studio album, Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles, released just last year. Conclusive proof... she's still got it.
My colour is black black black
For the crone, and the bastard
The schoolgirl in uniform
The servant in the hall.

Black is the truth
Of my situation,
And for those of my station
In life. All other colors
4. The Shangri-Las - Dressed In Black

Melodrama never came classier than the Shangri-Las. Here, a forbidden love affair leads to teenage heartbreak on a Wagnerian scale, (over-)produced with Spector-esque glee by George Francis "Shadow" Morton - the man who brought the shadows to many of the Shangri-Las greatest musical moments.

3. AC/DC - Back In Black

When AC/DC front-man Bon Scott died in 1980, the band almost called it a day. Instead they decided he would have wanted them to carry on, so they offered the job to Geordie's Brian Johnson... and gave him the unenviable task of writing a lyric paying tribute to his predecessor. This is what he came up with... the title track from an album that stills ranks as one of the Top Ten highest selling records of all time.

2. Johnny Cash - The Man In Black

He WAS the Man in Black. And here's why...
Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day
And tell the world that everything's okay
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back
Until things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black
(Though, in truth, it was just easier to keep black shirts clean when JC was on long tours.)

1. The Smiths - Unlovable

Another example of Morrissey and Marr throwing away classics on b-sides. The ultimate maudlin-Moz lyric... he wears black on the outside because black is how he feels on the inside. And if he seems a little strange... well, that's because he is.
Message received - loud and clear!

Which is your little black dress?


  1. Classic from XCNN - "Looking Forward":

    Real nice
    In black
    To remind
    That I won't be coming back

    1. Yeah, well done on finding a band that doesn't even have a wikipedia entry. Cool song, though.

  2. Ben Vaughn - Dressed in Black


    2. Thanks, Giorgos, not heard that before: liked it.

  3. Depeche Mode Dressed in Black? Surely worth a mention....

    1. If I knew it... sadly, my Mode collection let me down on this occasion.

  4. I must cast a vote for my favourite Beautiful South song - They Used To Wear Black

    1. Really - that's your favourite? It was in contention, but I couldn't find room for it in the final ten.

    2. Yes, but circumstantially - it's one of those songs where the time, place and people I heard it with are more important than the song itself.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...