Welcome to my list of “10 Great Vampire Songs.” Lists like these are always subjective, and I’ll be the first to admit that most songs literally about vampires are kinda cheesy. I initially wanted to avoid “the usual suspects” that you see on lists like these. But while
paring my song choices down, I realized that some of those “old chestnuts” are iconic for a reason. For me, a great “vampire song” is one that evokes a similar mood or touches on some of the themes that you’d find in a great vampire tale. The point is, not all of these songs are necessarily “about” vampires, but they all have a vampiric ambience.
“Closer,” by Nine Inch Nails
Album: “The Downward Spiral”
I seriously doubt that Trent Reznor was thinking about the undead when he wrote “Closer,” but, nevertheless, it’s the most vampiric song I have ever heard. Despite the erotic throb of the music, a sinister pall hangs over the entire thing, creating a palpable sense of unease. Bonus points go to the excellent video, which combines religious iconography, freakshow imagery, and fetishism into what I imagine that the world looks like from a vampire’s point of view.
[Link to video is 18+ so did not post video here.]
“Moon Over Bourbon Street,” by Sting
Album: “Dream of the Blue Turtles”
Directly inspired by Anne Rice’s “Interview with the Vampire,” “Moon Over Bourbon Street” is a case study on how to create a classy song that actually is about a vampire. Sting keeps it subtle, and the result is a successful use of vampirism as something other than cheap
“Cry Little Sister,” by Gerard McMann
Album: “The Lost Boys” soundtrack
I don’t think you could create a list of great vampire songs without this one. Obviously used to great effect during the opening sequence to “The Lost Boys,” “Cry Little Sister” is a great example of a song that sets an appropriate mood without resorting to lyrical clichés (though what the lyrics are actually about is anyone’s guess!).
“Suspended in Dusk,” by Type O Negative
Album: “Blood Kisses” (digipack re-release)
While I love Type O Negative, this song is so overwrought that isborders on farce. Who knows, that might have been the band’s intent -it’s not like they ever hid their satirical streak (look at some ofthe other songs on the album for proof). Regardless, the song featuresgreat imagery, and does a good job of depicting the suffocation ofbeing a reluctant vampire. Peter Steele, RIP.
“Darkening of the Light,” by Concrete Blonde
Hey look, I faked you out! Bet you thought I was going to pick
“Bloodletting (The Vampire Song),” didn’t you? While that song introduced me to Concrete Blonde, this one has more staying power with me. Great stuff.
“The Lost Boys,” by The 69 Eyes
The 69 Eyes love vampires so much that their album “Back in Blood” was entirely about the subject. And while I would recommend that release, my favorite vampire song by them is this one. No subtlety here; “The Lost Boys” is a fun tribute to the movie of the same name, and even re-uses a couple of lines from “Cry Little Sister.” No matter how you look at it, you can’t get away from Gerard McMann.
“Wrapped Around Your Finger,” by The Police
I didn’t plan on featuring two songs sung by Sting on this list, it just worked out that way. While the song is about a reversal of power (possibly in a relationship), I find it thematically similar to stories of vampire progeny overtaking their makers. Again, not really about vampires per se, but Sting never hid his appreciation for Anne Rice’s early works, either.
“Passion of Lovers,” by Bauhaus
I could have included the old standby “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” and maybe I should have, but I wanted to go with this song instead. Bauhaus is one of my favorite bands, and this is one of my favorite songs by them. I am including this for the mood it evokes as much as anything, but the line “the passion of lovers is for death” isn’t hurting its standing here.
“Day of the Lords,” by Joy Division
Album: “Unknown Pleasures”
A writer for “White Wolf” magazine back in the ‘90’s said that he imagined that this is what a vampire apocalypse would sound like. I am hard pressed to disagree. Grim, lurching, and full of finality.
“London,” by Queensryche
Album: “Rage For Order”
Merely being inspired by vampires doesn’t always make for a great vampire song, but “Rage For Order” is a landmark progressive metal album regardless of its subject matter. Luckily for our purposes, vampiric imagery rears its head throughout this album. I was trying to choose between “London” and “The Whisper,” and went with the former. Check ‘em both out if you like this style of music.
Bonus song! “Wicked Game,” by HIM
Album: “Greatest Love Songs 666”
I’ll offer this one as a bonus, simply because when I first heard HIM in 2000 or thereabouts, I thought, “so that’s what The Vampire Lestat band would sound like.”
- Derek -
[VampChix chose the videos to go along with the songs (which may not necessarily fit with Derek's idea of the song), but we tried for the vamp look.]