Anne Rice, Annie Lennox, Bela Lugosi, Bram Stoker, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Depeche Mode, Dolls, Dracula, Draculaura, feminism, Francis Ford Coppola, Fright Night, Jay-Z, Monster High, Musical A to Z, Richelle Mead, Talking Heads, Twilight, Vampire A to Z, Vampire Academy, Vampire Diaries
So today we’re doing something sort of special here at Baby Gates Down on our Musical A to Z.
Moody Blythe, my musical Dolly Co-Host, has invited Draculaura, my All-Things-Vampire Dolly Co-Host, to join us for the Letter V.
Because what else could the Letter V really be for here other than Vampire?
Here they are playing together nicely in that same creepy way Disney Princesses do in those promo group pics where they pose together without ever really looking at each other:
But I swear, having spent time with both individually and now as a group as we, you know, spit-balled and threw shit up on white boards and flip charts and stuff as we tossed ideas around for this post, I can attest to them actually getting along.
So vampire music…
Here’s the thing.
I’ve kind of done this already. Heck, it’s one of my most popular posts EVER.
Then I went and used most of my other favourites through my Vampire A to Z week back in October.
So that left the three of us with the challenge of … stretching ourselves and finding new – or new to us stuff.
They’re forever young and all (doubly so for a vampire dolly) so they’re good with that.
But I’m 37 and struggling with not being set in my “nothing will ever top Anne Rice and Buffy” comfort zone.*
That said, with their support, I make a valiant effort here to broaden my horizons and discover the new within a genre that I (re)newly (re)adore.
1. Love Song for a Vampire – Annie Lennox (1992)
Okay, so I lied in regards to this one. But I’ve never posted it before so here it is. Because it’s awesome and completely links to the birth of my love of all things vampire.
This isn’t the song I first identify with Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 film adaptation of Dracula, but it’s beautiful, and played with the end credits (so, like, IMPORTANT).
I saw this movie and went forth and read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and to this day, my love of the movie is also partially reinforced by memory of Oprah Winfrey saying she left at the “draining rat into a wine glass” bit. Oprah’s distaste was a selling point to 15-year-old me. That memory still kinda makes me smile despite years later discovering and loving her magazine.
But back to me at 15 and the undead.
I read up on and found documentaries on Vlad. And once done with that otherwise flailed in relative darkness until Interview with the Vampire hit big in 1995 and I realized the book wasn’t a total campy joke and worth a read.
So my vampire story after that? I read and watched everything I could.
Twilight killed it for me.
There are so many things I hate about that series. In very short form:
- That the author gave the world a female protagonist who was in no way exceptional because she was: clumsy, not that bright (school-wise), not that attractive, wasn’t sporty, and had a horrible attitude about life in general … and then:
- That the author then made it clear THAT female got the attention of every desirable hot guy at the high school (the vampire; the werewolf and the normal guy she should have chosen). That’s a fairytale. And sort of nice for awkward book-wormy girls everywhere until:
- That female then chose the abusive male (Edward), and proceeds to make excuses for him for the rest of the series. I waver on the responsibility of fiction towards its audience, but I think THIS tale has done damage re: moving the bar on what (very) young women should accept as okay/desirable in relationships as they struggle through those key years of understanding how men and women should relate.
So for a bit, Twilight ruined my appreciation for other vampire teen-themed fiction. I figured, if this was the way of that world, I was all grown up and out, thanks very much.
But then the Vampire Diaries came along (TV series, not original books) and gave the current generation’s young women with a fang fetish something beyond Bella to align with. All told, the plot is altogether respectful of female choice.
Of course my video clip is the start of a clip to lure Elena to New York City, but this is really with the longer goal of finding her humanity again, so being big picture “of the good” rather than the manipulative:
So Wikipedia (God Bless!) reports this was first done by Talking Heads predecessor The Artistics in 1974. In a bit of random trivia, I think it is the first song I’ve ever posted to this blog that was on the Billboard Top 100 (92 Baby!) the year I was born – 1977 – (but certain lists contradict this claim, and so I’m confused).
Either way, I love how Vampire Diaries used this song to set the scene. It works for New York City; it works for throwback to Damon last being there in the 1970s and giving a musical “feel” for when he was there. It’s a great use of music. That’s why I noticed it while watching the show.
As a passing comment, I’ve just finished binge watching Season 1 of The Strain. That show, combined with this video, and memories of Mr. Stay Puft from Ghostbusters tell me that if you are scared of things that go bump in the night? Steer clear of the Big Apple.
But moving right along, I must admit I was beyond excited when my Google search of vampire music collided two of my obsessions and I discovered that Depeche Mode sang a tune for a vampire tale:
3. Soothe My Soul – Depeche Mode (2013)
This show is every reason I no longer invest in television. I watched this series last year, all hope and enjoyment and expectation and … yeah: NBC announced they cancelled it in May 2014. If you haven’t seen it, the first season is more than entirely watchable and a fun retelling of Dracula. And Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who I first fell in love with in his portrayal of the forever awful Henry VIII in The Tudors, is Dracula. I admit, I watched mainly for him at first. Because, even as a vampire fan I have to wonder how many ways can you retell Dracula? But I liked. And not just him.
Oooh – and in keeping with 1977-retro theme here, Jonathan Rhys Meyers was also born in 1977!
But we should aim to stay current. So here’s another fun cover:
I first heard the song in my late teens, so I know it’s been around for a while, but never searched the origins until now. It’s a 1979 gothic rock song written by Bauhaus, and that album is apparently considered the first gothic rock album recorded.
Okay – so fast forward to 2014, and it’s the closing credits for the (admittedly pretty awful) movie version of Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy (but closing credits, so, like, IMPORTANT).
Movie aside, the books renewed my faith in vampire teen fiction and how the genre can use that fantastical safe space to speak about complex, coming of age issues and make points worth making.
I’m not sure where to start with my love of a bluegrass cover of a rap song used for a vampire movie…
I love hearing established hits in other genres, and I love the use of this song to drive home how much “girls” ain’t the problem driving the plot in Fright Night.
In my opinion, if you need a reason to watch the 2011 remake of Fright Night beyond the fact that both Colin Farrell and David Tennant feature, this is the third nail in the coffin to commit you to viewing. Pure horror fun.
So that’s our five.
But Draculaura wanted to give you a bonus feature before giving up the DJ reins. She wanted to give a shout out to one of her friends. So here’s an amazing video of Monster High Classmate Venus McFlytrap – a fan video in stop motion of Pink’s F*cking Perfect.
What struck me is that, on quick search, these stop motion videos with Monster High dolls seem to be a “thing” on You Tube. I’m slightly intrigued and will surf about some more. Anyone who knows more please let me know!
So that’s our musical post for this week – a bit long in the telling, but hope we kept you with us. Until next time may none of your 99 problems have anything to do with issues discussed here!
But if so? Let me know!
*[Note: For the record? I’m still sorta convinced nothing will ever top Anne Rice and Buffy.]