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Welcome back to SeeDarkly Sunday DisCOVERies, a section of my blog devoted entirely to goth/industrial cover songs and their origins! First time here? Click here for the first entry.

Second Sunday Slowly is when I present something downtempo. A few weeks ago I almost chose a very different synthpop cover of this track. I'm so glad I waited long enough to discover this to share instead!:

Death in Rome - What Is Love
In 1992, a Trinidadian music artist based in Germany released his first album titled, "The Album."
Yep. That was Haddaway.
As uninspired as that title was, it's equally unsurprising that it was a one hit wonder with the single release, What Is Love. And even though it was a "wonder" that hit #1 in 13 countries, none of them were the U.S. or his home at the time, Germany (where it peaked at #2.) But the song's influence didn't end when it finally left the charts.

In 1996, Saturday Night Live debuted a sketch featuring characters that would breathe new life into the song as a head-bobbing anthem to their awkward club-life. The "Roxbury Guys," a couple of social misfit brothers (played by Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell,) would appear on SNL nine times before the 1998 feature film based on the gag, A Night At The Roxbury. Every appearance of the Roxbury Guys was coupled to the soundtrack of What Is Love by Haddaway.

Also of note about the euro-dance-pop song was its video. Set in a candle-lit cathedral, the scene is besieged with lightning, wind, and three scantily attired female dancers that might be witches, vampires, or perhaps just European. With no linear storyline, and between bits of dance choreography, we see Haddaway transformed from garishly dressed super model to some kind of leather-clad dark lord over his coven of dancers. The video might be described as "gothic" through the lens of a popular strip mall party costume store. And perhaps it added to the reasons why Death In Rome choose to cover the song.

Death In Rome, named after a 1957 Robert Katz book, is a Neo-Folk cover project also out of Germany. They appear to have manifested into being in 2013, when they released their cover of Miley Cyrus's Wrecking Ball. It was then they may found their calling and since have released covers of WHAM!, Rhianna, Technotronic, Aqua, and others while simultaneously inspired by acts like Sisters of Mercy, The Cure, & Liabach. But why, with those gothic influences, cover so many pop acts? In a recent interview they explain, "When we were young, and later as well, songs like What is Love annoyed us so much and so intensely, that it reached a deeper level of our personality. We set matters straight. We perform an exorcism to heal our poisoned souls. It’s really serious and that’s why it’s a good joke."

In stripping away its euro-dance core and transforming the track into this dirge-like march, Death In Rome channels something to which many fans of gothic and dark underground music can relate and reveals the torment inherent in a question like, "What is Love?"

The Cover:


The Original:

Brave the Original Video Here

Next week:
A Third Sunday Throwback and just in time for a "blessed [ahem] virgin" to come to town!

Comments, suggestions, discussions, etc... welcome!

I'll be spinning in Boston tomorrow night! Find links and more details about my schedule from my website. ^_^

Explore the darkness,
-Xero

Previous DisCOVERies

Sep 06 - En Esch - Work For Love (Ministry)
Aug 30 - Drachenhaus - Behind the Wheel (Depeche Mode)
Aug 23 - Laibach - Warme Lederhaut (Warm Leatherette) (The Normal)
Aug 16 - The Cramps - Fever (Little Willie John)
Aug 09 - Moon Talk - Our Lips Are Sealed (The Go-Gos)

Directory of All DisCOVERies

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seedarklyxero: SDXeroEye with glow (Default)
DJ Xero, Operative of SeeDarkly™

May 2017

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