Thursday, May 17, 2012

Top 20 songs from Bauhaus

Bauhaus is an extremely influential postpunk band formed in 1978. The band was one of the first bands to be labeled "goth" by the press along with Joy Division. Bauhaus consisted of singer Peter Murphy (who has an extensive solo career), guitarist Daniel Ash, bassist David J, and drummer Kevin Haskins. Bauhaus lasted from 1978 until their first breakup in 1983.During this time they released 4 studio albums, In The Flat Field, Mask, The Sky's Gone Out and Burning From The Inside.Afterwards Peter Murphy started his solo career and the rest of the band continued on as Love and Rockets and later Tones on Tail. With many bands including Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and others, primarily in the gothic rock scene. Bauhaus was unique in the sense. Their musical style was not just confined to postpunk, or later goth rock, they also included elements of glam rock, punk, Krautrock, dub, even funk. Bauhaus reunited in 1998 on their Gotham tour and then later on in 2005 headlined that year's Coachella music festival and later on toured with Nine Inch Nails the following year. In 2008, Love and Rockets reunited to play at Coachella and Bauhaus released their last album, Go Away White. Bauhaus in on indefinite hiatus with no plans to reunite again, although Peter Murphy does continue to perform a few Bauhaus songs every time he tours so you never know. Here are 20 of Bauhaus' best songs as chosen by me. Let me start by saying Bela Lugosi's Dead is NOT on this list. I do appreciate the song and it's influence and all, especially the connection to the film The Hunger starring David Bowie, but I feel the song is a tad too meandering and long. Another thing that it's just way to cliche in my opinion. The whole vampire/Dracula goth thing. Anyways let's start!

#20 King Volcano from the album Burning From The Inside (1983)
I always thought this song was a reference to the David Bowie song Velvet Goldmine. In the song, Velvet Goldmine, Bowie says "I'll be your king volcano, rise for you again and again." I think this song is about lonely people overcoming that empty feeling and eventually burning like giant volcanos instead of just burning like candles. This also reminds me of Jack Kerouac's quote in all the road. "The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

#19 St. Vitus Dance from the album In The Flat Field (1980)
Sydenham's chorea or chorea minor (historically referred to as Saint Vitus Dance) is a disease characterized by rapid, uncoordinated jerking movements affecting primarily the face, feet and hands. This song always reminded me of really uncontrolled dancing. Peter Murphy's vocals are really good in this song.

#18 Lagartija Nick from the album Burning From The Inside (1983)
About the infamous Marquis de Sade and BDSM. Bauhaus was a very sexy band! They performed this on Top of The Pops of all places!

#17 Dancing from the album Mask (1981)
Overcoming adversity, being on top. Great bass and a great message! This song is so inspiring!

#16 In The Night from the album The Sky's Gone Out (1982)
A person who feels lonely, depressed, empty. At the end of the song he offs himself. There are some really strange voices toward the end of the song. This song always leaves me feeling slightly haunted.

#15 Too Much 21st Century from the album Go Away White (2008)

The first song off their last album, Go Away White. This song has a strong Bowie/T. Rex sound, which were very influential to Bauhaus.  The song seems to be about rejecting modern technology. Bauhaus themselves recorded this album very lo-fi so it has a retro sound to it. Very cool.

#14  Stigmata Martyr from the album In The Flat Field (1980)
This song references the wounds Jesus had while being crucified. Peter Murphy had a Catholic upbringing so this inspired this song and I always felt it was about exorcising that Catholic guilt. Many think Peter is speaking in tongues toward the end but "In nomine patri et filli et spiriti sanctum" is Latin for "in the name of the father, son, and holy ghost, which is said by priests during baptism. Awesome song and Peter's vocals are insane here!

#13 Exquisite Corpse from the album The Sky's Gone Out (1982)
A very weird song. Exquisite corpse is a game involving three people. A paper is folded into thirds. The first person draws the head, the second draws the torso (without seeing the first part) and the third draws the legs. This song is divided into 3 parts, each sung by a different member of the band. The first part describes just going through the motions of life, then the second concerns aging or a broken heart and the third is about a soldier. Very surreal song.

#12 All We Ever Wanted Was Everything from the album Burning From The Inside (1983)
The drudgery of modern life. I love how Peter Murphy sounds when he sings the line "all to be the cream", just perfect. Another simple song with not many lyrics but it says so much.

#11 Double Dare from the album In The Flat Field (1980)
A very punkish song. It's about being yourself, standing up for yourself despite the odds. I DARE YOU!

#10 Dark Entries from the album In The Flat Field (1980)

One of Bauhaus best songs. I love the live version especially. It seems to be a sexual song about prostitutes. The lyrics make it obvious. It could also be about BDSM, either way a song about carnal pleasures.

#09 Kick In The Eye from the album Mask (1981)
Satori means enlightenment. This song seems to be about searching for that. It could be about drugs. This song sounds most like 70s Bowie with its funk bassline. Love it.

#08 Crowds from the album In The Flat Field (1980)
I love this song because it is completely over the top and you could tell the band was having a blast recording it. Love the lyrics, the simple piano melody and just the anger running through this song.

#07 Slice of Life from the album Burning From The Inside (1983)
Daniel Ash sings this. An underrated song on the Burning From The Inside album. Slice of life is a phrase describing the use of mundane realism depicting everyday experiences in art and entertainment. Love the guitar here, very soothing.

#06 Silent Hedges from the album The Sky's Gone Out (1982)
A very atmospheric song. I love the guitar in this song, so simple. Seems to be about the downfall of success? I'm not really sure. Great song and one of the first songs I remember hearing from them.

#05 The Sanity Assassin from the album Burning From The Inside (1983)
A song about slowly going insane. A person or thing taking a hold on you. A person who confirms all your paranoid thoughts. This song still gets played at goth clubs today. One of their best.

#04 Who Killed Mr. Moonlight? from the album Burning From The Inside (1983)

Another simple song with David J on lead vocals this time. Basically about the death of innocence with some reference to Douglas Fairbanks. I really don't know what this is about but I think it has to do with the myth that the moon helps inspire creativity.

#03 She's In Parties from the album Burning From The Inside (1983)

The band has said in some interview that the song is inspired by Marilyn Monroe, or any other tragic actress. This makes sense, "in the can" means it is finished, it could be referring to a movie scene being done or someone's last scene, i.e. death.

#2 The Passion Of Lovers from the album Mask (1981)

The sixth single from the band. This has the most amazing drums. Intense song. This song is about how passion can lead to death. Obsessive love. This song is a great example of true goth rock from the early 80s. If someone wants to know what goth music is, play this song. Passion kills.

#1 In The Flat Field from the album In The Flat Field (1980)

looking for adventure, looking for life in a boring place. This song always reminds me of Miami and my old house, there was a flat field right by there and I just remember how painfully boring my neighborhood was. Several Bauhaus songs talk about how boring they were living in Northhampton, England. This is by far their best song and one I constantly go back to. I'm so in love with this song!

Added bonus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Youtube has the full live video Shadow of Life!!! You can watch it right here!


  1. This is a great list! thanks for posting :D

  2. Solid list. I would have had "All We Ever Wanted..." higher, and included "Spirit/We Love Our Audience" and "Mask" on this list

  3. I would have also included "Spirit" as well as "Bela Lugosi's Dead" I think that it is an amazing song. Hoping "Dark Entries would have been higher.