Today I have been trying to compile songs for my forthcoming Halloween-themed Indie Disco. As I was looking in my hard disk for songs about zombies and vampires, I recalled the spookiest and most disturbing song I have ever listened to. It’s Suicide’s Frankie Teardrop, a song that is probably the most harrowing ten minutes in music, as well as the most under-noticed anti-war message ever. It depicts the utter desperation and despair of a Vietnam vet (and family man) quite effectively and even 31 years later it remains relevant – all you have to do is substitute Vietnam for Iraq and combine it with the current global economic recession. Frankie Teardrop is the quintessential song about nihilism. If you have the guts to listen to it, wait until it gets dark and just lie in bed with the stereo cranked, or better yet head phones cranked. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Suicide emerged alongside the early punk scene in New York City in 1971 and composed of Alan Vega (vocals) and Martin Rev (synthesizers, drum machines). Never widely popular amongst the general public, Suicide’s albums and performances in the late 1970s and early 1980s are regarded as some of the most influential post-punk recordings and helped shape the direction of indie rock, industrial, and dance music. Among others, The Jesus & Mary Chain, The Sisters of Mercy, Henry Rollins, Joy Division, She Wants Revenge, New Order, Soft Cell, Nick Cave, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Radiohead, Spacemen 3, Spiritualized, R.E.M., and The Kills have listed Suicide as one of their influences. That’s quite an impressive list of bands, isn’t it?