Every Friday night on KEXP I do a show called Nite Life at 9pm. Then in the midnight hour I choose one of the world’s greatest albums and bring you tracks and stories on the record.
Cinematic post-punk masters Bauhaus put out their 3rd album, The Sky’s Gone Out, in October of 1982. It was recorded in Rockfield Studios in England and reached number 4 on the album charts. Here’s a vid of track 4, “Swing the Heartache”:
There is absolutely nothing like Bauhaus. Their songs are trippy, echoing, dark — as if you’re in a cave and death is impending… but you’re enjoying it. This album was introduced to me by my college friend Tiffany Brown at UC Berkeley. One sunny afternoon we were in a really boring class, one of those epic 4-hour torture-ramas where it seems like it will never end. And at one particularly boring jag from the teacher, Tiffany and I just looked at each other and escaped out into the eucalyptus grove. Through it and then to her house, she kept talking about Bauhaus. She couldn’t believe I didn’t know them. They were central to her life. They were a gothic rock band, and so she put on this record and it simply blew my mind.
One particular aspect of this album that appealed to me were the references in the lyrics, such as to the trials of fame. The song “Third Uncle” goes: “There were lips, there were legs, there were (all these body parts) – and then there was you”. The song seems to trace the difference between having all these sensory things thrown at you on one plane, and then on the other side there is substance, that recognition of those people that you love and really mean something to you and are real with you no matter what your fame level is. The last song, “All We Ever Wanted Was Everything,” has that theme again, he says “oh to be the cream …” sung in a voice that is tired, but also full of desire. The last song is a departure, it’s acoustic and has this innocence about it. Here’s a vid of it performed live:
There are just so many layers, in Bauhaus and in their album The Sky’s Gone Out.
Bauhaus is Peter Murphy on vocals, Daniel Ash on guitar, David J on bass and Kevin Haskins on drums, and this is our Midnight Album Feature on KEXP.