So here’s the thing about vampires: I always thought they had terrible taste in music.
This is mostly because the only vampires I knew were the kids in drama club who wore ruffled shirts and crushed-velvet capes and smoked clove cigarettes behind the 7-Eleven off Wekiva Springs Road. They were very pale and smelled like patchouli and listened to Fields of the Nephilim and “dark cabaret” and “ethereal wave” and crap like that. There were goblets. Weathered copies of “Call of Cthulhu.” Ankhs. I seem to remember the occasional Alien Sex Fiend T-shirt too.
Anyway, I always thought they were pretty ridiculous (something about black PVC dresses and Slurpees doesn’t seem right), and that went doubly for their music, which seemed downright cartoonish to me. And though today, I realize that, A) those kids were not actually vampires but goths — or some suburbanized, Central Florida approximation thereof — and B) Bauhaus actually made a good record or two, I still can’t shake my initial prejudices. I hate vampires, and I hate vampire music.
Stephenie Meyer and Alexandra Patsavas are trying to change that. I think they might actually succeed too.
You are probably familiar with both of them. Meyer is, of course, the author of the fang-tastic “Twilight” series. Patsavas is the music supervisor responsible for putting most of your favorite bands on TV shows over the past decade. They have joined forces on the soundtrack for “New Moon,” which might be the best collection of vampire music ever released — mostly because none of it is actually vampire music.
Rather, the “New Moon” soundtrack (which will be released on Friday ) is made up almost entirely of indie-rock acts , including songs by [artist id=”1834745″]Grizzly Bear[/artist], Bon Iver, Lykke Li and Thom-Freaking-Yorke (and [artist id=”1244299″]the Killers[/artist] too). There is nary a cape or clove in site. Sure, some of the stuff — OK, most — is still dark (perhaps Patsavas’ instructions were to “tone it down” or “up the murk”), but the Sisters of Mercy it ain’t. This is scruffy, beard-scratching music. The kind of stuff I would actually listen to!
I am not sure how vampires are taking this, but I can imagine there is much displeasure in sepulchers and 7-Eleven parking lots around the world. Whether they intended or not, Meyer and Patsavas have forever changed the game. They have brought vampire music to the masses — or at least the masses who wear glasses and own record players and bought tickets to the Pavement reunion.
And, yes, I know “New Moon” has about as much to do with vampire noir as “90210” has to do with the city of Beverly Hills (and I mean that in whatever way you want to take it), but clearly, something has happened here. I’m not sure if it’s even a good thing, but for the first time in my life, there is a chance that I will be listening to the same thing on my iPod as my (not so) friendly neighborhood goth. The “New Moon” soundtrack has bridged the divide. It has ended prejudices by reinventing vampire rock as the kind of stuff you’d read about on music blogs.
Does it matter that nothing on the soundtrack could even charitably be described as “vampirish” or “gothic” or even “spooky?” (Aside from OK Go — those dudes are evil.) I don’t think so. We live in fractured times, where authenticity is akin to distressed denim and musical genres are as wobbly as Jenga towers. If I want to consider myself a vampire, who’s to say I’m wrong? I may be allergic to patchouli, and I do not possess an unslakable thirst for blood, but according to Meyer and Patsavas, I am now officially a member of the undead. Or at least we have the same record collections.
And that’s pretty spooky, when you think about it. Vampire rock is accessible now, which should do wonders for Slurpee sales — and another Bauhaus reunion. Dracula is psyched. You should be too.
Questions? Concerns? Hit me up at BTTS@MTVStaff.com.