The 10 Best Goth Anthems, by The 69 Eyes’ Jyrki 69

The 69 Eyes singer Jyrki 69 holding Halloween pumpkins
Jyrki 69 of The 69 Eyes: \u2018The gothic look is a beautiful one\u2019

Few bands are as dedicated to the cause of modern goth as Finland’s The 69 Eyes. These former glam rockers reinvented themselves self-style Helsinki vampires around the turn of the millennium, and they’ve spent the ensuing years spreading the goth gospel far and wide, working with the likes of Jackass star Bam Margera, tattoo artist Kat Von D and fellow Finn (and kindred spirit) Ville Valo along the way. But which classic songs make their dark hearts beat faster? We asked singer – and occasional DJ – Jyrki 69 for his top 10 goth anthems. “All these songs should be on your playlist for a successful goth night,” he says. He’s not wrong…

Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi’s Dead (1979)

“This is such an obvious song, but it never gets old. It captures the very essence of what I like about gothic culture and was so different from anything else at the time. The lyrics are so simple but they’re also very visual; they paint a picture of black and white movies and bell towers and Dracula climbing the castle walls like a bat. It’s such an original song.”

Alien Sex Fiend - Dead And Buried (1984)

“I remember taping this off Finnish radio when it came out. It’s scary music, very weird and it sounds like it was recorded in a catacomb - the drums sound like someone hitting a metal barrel with bones. Alien Sex Fiend were my favourite band around the time of Acid Bath. I used to write to them and send them money for their live cassettes and fanzines.”

The Cult – Rain (1985)

“These days, The Cult player harder rock, but back in the 80s, they were more into the mystic, hippie stuff. She Sells Sanctuary is the more commercial song, but this one is fantastic too. Once again, this is a perfect song to play at a goth club, and rain is such gothic weather too.”

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Your Funeral My Trial (1986)

“I’ve been following Nick Cave since The Birthday Party, and this is my favourite song of his. It was also the turning point where his music suddenly became beautiful. He’s had bursts of energy and twisted elements, but this song immediately caught my attention. There’s something magical about the opening piano – it’s really haunting and eerie.”

The Mission – Wasteland (1986)

“I never get tired of the bass lines in this song – they’re fantastic and it’s no secret that Wayne Hussey, Peter Murphy and Andrew Eldritch have all influenced my singing style. I remember the first time I saw this video as well – I’d never seen fans throwing rose petals at a band, or sitting on each other’s shoulders before.”

Sisters Of Mercy - This Corrosion (1987)

“You can really sing along to this song and, again, it’s so original. I remember the first time I saw the video on cable TV in Finland and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. The 69 Eyes have spent years trying to work out how to recreate that massive sound in the chorus – how many vocals does it have, how many layers are there? What’s going on? We still haven’t worked it out.”

Fields Of the Nephilim – Moonchild (1988)

“This is another gothic classic and it’s interesting because it bridges the gap between metal and goth. Everything from vocals to how the music sounds is so original; I don’t even know how they created that sound. Their second album, The Nephilim, was the first CD I ever bought and I thought the cover was really beautiful. The inside inlay has the words ‘Blessed Be’ in an elegant script and that’s where the title of The 69 Eyes album came from.”

The Cure - Lullaby (1989)

“This is another cool song and a guaranteed floor-filler. I think it’s fantastic and it makes me really happy, even though it’s dark and gothic music. I’ve always been into the happier side of gothic rock; I like the more romantic side. I think that Disintegration was The Cure’s best album. It was released when they were at their peak.”

Type O Negative - Black No.1 (Little Miss Scare All) (1993)

“Type O Negative brought life back to gothic rock in the early 90s. They brought their own vision and their sense of humour to the music. I think this was the first song of theirs that I heard and it’s so anthemic. I really wish Type O Negative were still around – I miss hearing new music from them.”

Marilyn Manson - Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) (1995)

“I know it’s a cover version but it’s better than the original. This is such a cool song and it never gets old. By the time this came out, grunge was already over, but Marilyn Manson’s vision meant that anyone could be cool. The gothic look is a beautiful one, but he opened it up so that everyone could become one of the beautiful people.”

The Goth Rock Quiz: how well do you remember the golden age of goth?

The 69 Eyes’ UK tour begins on November 3 in Leeds

Natasha Scharf
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.