Monday, 21 January 2008

Was 'Uninvited' the Covert Crossover Goth Hit of 2007?

Despite the fact, that somewhere in the bags of CDs and even cassettes (remember them?) that lurk in corners of my house because I have moved so often there is a copy of 'Jagged Little Pill' by Alanis Morisette (1995) and the builders working opposite the last house I lived in played it repeatedly (I will say nothing bad about builders, but their musical tastes were a little suprising), somehow I had not managed to encounter the track, 'Uninvited' which was released by Morisette in 1998. It was on her fourth album, 'Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie' (1998) which seems to have been far less successful than its predecessor. Maybe it was too long coming and Alanis's window had closed. Maybe I did encounter single and perhaps it just made no lasting impression. She gets a lot of radio coverage still, but this one does not seem to crop up wherever I drive. Thus, when I heard the cover by The Freemasons released in 2007, it was as if I was coming to the track for the first time. It was sung by Bailey Tzuke, probably haunted by the fact that everyone says she is daughter of 1970s ballard singer-songwriter Judie Tzuke (who had a wonderful voice and amazing big hair and may still have, but I have not heard or seen her since a greatest hits collection in the late 1980s). Her voice is similarly suited for wistful tracks as her mother's was, though maybe with maturity (she is only 20) it will gain Judie's strength.

The Freemasons' original cover version was cut down to 3.08 minutes, perfect for radio and yet so edited that it seems to be a natural length. Despite the electro/house backbeat, it is a ballard with the woman concerned analysing the romantic interest of the 'uninvited' person and gradually her feelings towards them, (I assume it is a him), altering from suspicion to consideration. It is nice that it does not move to consummation, but in the space of three minutes with quite a lot of lyrics for a house track, has shown a development in a relationship. The reason that I view it as a crossover Goth hit, is that aside from one track from Evanesence, in the UK nothing from the Goth scene has managed to peak into the mainstream charts even now they have mutated with the impact of downloads allowing album tracks and oldies to come back into the ratings. It managed to reach Number 8 in the UK charts.

Why do I view it as a Goth track? Well, a number of reasons. Goth music tends to be put in the rock category but there is a clear electro/house/dance sub-category of it anyway. Soaring, passionate, female-voiced lyrics with a tendency for introspection but also strength is a basis of a lot of Goth music. This song has that. In addition, the supernatural is a bread-and-butter theme in Goth songs and the 'uninvited' reminds you of a haunting or even vampires who supposedly cannot enter a house uninvited. The lyrics (see below) give a sense of someone from a different culture speaking about love and the 'love like mine before' suggests a timeless or enduring nature of whoever she is addressing, again fitting the ghost/vampire explanation. The words 'stoic' and 'unworthy' hint at the literate language used by Goths with Victorian overtones. Goth songs also are about love and passion in both a physical and a mental/emotional way and this tune emphasises the latter. The story is unresolved by the end of the song, allowing the listener to write their own, probably positive ending, but not doing all the work for you. So, on these bases whether Morisette or the Freemasons envisaged it, they have created a good Goth song that I am pleased to hear and we could do more with.

Like anyone would be
I am flattered by your fascination with me
And like any hot-blooded woman
I have simply wanted an object to crave

But you, you're not allowed
You're uninvited

An unfortunate slight
Must be strangely exciting
To watch the stoic squirm
Must be somewhat heartening
To watch shepherd meet shepherd

But you you're not allowed
You're uninvited

An unfortunate slight
Like any uncharted territory
I must seem greatly intriguing
You speak of my love like
You have experienced love like mine before

But this is not allowed
You're uninvited

An unfortunate slight
I don't think you unworthy
I need a moment to deliberate

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