Voltaire the Magical, Tolerable Goth
Children of the glade, I have a confession to make. When I was a teenager, I had suicidal tendencies. The reason for this was because of middle school. If anybody reading this is in middle school, I weep for you. And I want you to know that it gets better.
That said, I did not become an emo kid or a goth. Because fuck those guys. Emos weren’t appealing, because I wanted to kill myself, I wouldn’t just cut my wrists in non-fatal ways, I’d go and actually try to fucking end it. I’m not just saying that, either. I tried once. As you can tell, it didn’t work. Incidentally, kids, don’t kill yourself. It’s a shitty fucking thing to do, and everybody will hate you for it.
The goths weren’t appealing either, because while I certainly like black, I don’t’ like it that much, and I don’t like their music. Really, it’s funny, because being a member of either subculture is basically the most passive-aggressive cry for attention imaginable. You intentionally distance yourself from everybody while wanting to be loved and accepted, even if you won’t admit it yourself. The delicious irony of this all is that while I saw goths and emos doing this, I didn’t recognize it in myself, and I was doing the same thing, just under the banner of being a unique weirdo instead.
So kids, the point is, there’s nothing wrong with being different. But if you try to make yourself different on purpose for no other reason than being different, you’re setting yourself up for misery. See ya later!
Wait, fuck, that’s right, I was going somewhere with this. While I never sought out trying to be part of an alternative culture, I love Voltaire. No, not the classical composer (my roommate “violently and justly” informs me that he’s an actually an author, but as my older brother is fond of saying, “details”) the goth musician. Like most people of my generation, I was introduced to Voltaire on the genius cartoon The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, in which he was the sung the “BRAINS!” song in the episode Little Rock of Horrors as an evil meteor from outer space. It’s ok, go ahead and watch it. I’ll still be here when you get back.
Man, I love that episode. Anyway, the point I’m making here is that Voltaire is pretty much the only part of goth subculture that I actually like. Or rather, many of his songs are representative of it. The horror elements. The stuff about skeletons and the like. In fact, I’d say Voltaire’s best work are the songs about monsters, zombies, devils, and other creepy stuff. Honestly, if you censored a bit of it, I could see it being performed on The Muppet Show. And honestly, how fucking awesome would that be? It’s not like if the Muppet Show were running, they wouldn’t have him either. They had Alice Cooper on it, and that’s one of my favorite episodes, even though I didn’t know who Alice Cooper was beforehand.
But another thing about Voltaire’s songs is that, in general, they have an element that I think most mainstream music doesn’t have; storytelling. And no, I’m not saying mainstream songs don’t tell stories. I’m saying that most of those stories are just shallow generic love bullshit, or songs about getting drunk and going to parties, or songs about life in the hood and being a badass. None of them tell stories just for the sake of telling a story, or being funny, or just exploring a theme that hasn’t been manufactured and sold a thousand times for corporate interests and is indistinguishable from every other Tom, Dick, and Ke$ha making albums right now.
That said, he’s also got the whiny, boring, goth bullshit, like the song “Bomb New Jersey”. But, you take the good with the bad, and I’d say Voltaire is about 70% good. And even more astonishingly, he’s fun. His songs are “Dark Macabre”, and some of them are a real blast to listen to. Just goes to show that you can find a diamond in pretty much any rough, even if that rough wears lots of black makeup.