5 Definitive Goth Albums You Need to Listen To

5 Definitive Goth Albums You Need to Listen To

Are you looking for the best goth albums to add to your music collection? Goth music has been around for decades, offering a unique blend of dark and poetic lyrics, post-punk guitar riffs, and an overall spooky atmosphere. If you’re looking to explore the depths of goth culture and its music, this list of five definitive goth albums is the perfect place to start. From iconic ‘80s classics to modern goth rock, these albums will give you a comprehensive overview of the genre and its many styles.

One of the deepest, darkest, most mysterious, most diverse and most intriguing alternative subcultures of all time, goth is still alive today in many contemporary forms.

Throughout the decades, the world of goth has given the world a host subversive, innovative and head-turning musical arrangements that have the power to stop you dead in your tracks and send you on a journey deep into the realms of the unknown.

Gothic music has the power to move even the most square of souls and even if you're not heavily into your goth, we're certain that there is a goth band, album or song that you cherish.

That said, we're going to dig deep and offer you our very own rundown of our five most definitive goth albums ' musical masterpiece that you should listen to today, if not sooner.

Let's go...

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Tender Prey (1988)

In his contemporary form, you might not necessarily associate Nick Cave with goth, but his intense take on the musical form embodies true gothic spirit in all of its darkened glory - and Tender Prey is a testament of that.

An album that transcends the gothic label, Tender Prey borrows elements of experimental blues, psychobilly, post-punk and bittersweet piano balladry to build an atmosphere that's steeped in cobwebs, melancholic charm and nightmarish beauty.

And here's a clip of album track 'The Mercy Seat' for your listening pleasure:

"I don't write happy songs. Who does? I don't know anybody who writes happy songs, really." - Nick Cave

Bauhaus – In the Flat Field (1980)

Goth, as a musical genre, can prove tricky when you're trying to explain it to a complete novice. But, Bauhaus convey the message perfectly in this seminal album that puts you on the edge of your seat, keeping you on tenterhooks from the first bar of the record right through to the sonic echoes that haunt that space between your ears long after its finished.

The uneasy, prowling rhythms on 'Small Talk Stinks' makes for intense listening - and if you want to get lost in gothic mayhem for 40 minutes or so, you put this on as soon as humanly possible.

"Yes. I guess it's the foolish romantic in me, but you see, I don't think that sex is my muse." - Peter Murphy, Bauhaus

The Cure – Pornography (1982)

Perhaps one of the most widely known gothic groups of all time (in terms of popular culture, anyway), we couldn't have a definitive goth album rundown without including The Cure.

In the very first track of the album, 'One Hundred Years', Robert Smith bellows the line "So what if we all die," setting the deeply gothic tone of the record.

This timeless classic of doom and gloom offers a masterclass in desperate poetry and surreal sonic experimentation - and although many of the musical parts seem incongruous to one another during most of the album's big tracks, everything (strangely enough) fits together in sonic majesty, glued together by Smith's unmistakable vocals.

Treat yourself to a listen to 'One Hundred Years', then feel free to listen to the rest of the album - you won't regret it, trust us.

"I lose myself in music because I can't be bothered explaining what I feel to anyone else around me." - Robert Smith

Joy Division – Closer (1980)

Aesthetically, Joy Division may not have looked especially gothic, but their music, attitude and the very heart and soul of frontman, Ian Curtis, says otherwise.

Produced by the Manchester's experimental genius 'Mad' Martin Hannett, Closer is the eerie conclusion of Ian Curtis' short, vital and tragic legacy.

Two months after the release of Closer, Curtis took his own life - shrouding the album is sorrowful darkness. But, despite the tragedy, this album is as cutting-edge and out there as it is unnerving and beautiful; the whole piece is a juxtaposition for the ears, and you must listen to it to believe it.

As a taster, here is track two from the album, titled 'Isolation':

“All my lyrics are open to interpretation by the individual and imply many different meanings; therefore their relevance is purely subjective.” - Ian Curtis

The Horrors - Strange House (2007)

Adding an element of youthful gothic delight to the list, The Horrors made a name for themselves by playing the dank and dimly lit pubs and clubs of London in the early noughties - and their breakthrough album, Strange House packs a real gothic punch.

Inspired by the very best elements of the above albums, The Horrors brought their influences together to create their very own brand of shouting, screaming, kicking, chanting and bellowing goth to the modern day masses.

Powered by ball kicking bass rumblings couple with ear-splitting synth stabs and propelled into another dimension by Faris Badwan's disturbing melodies, Strange House is jam-packed with gothic pleasures from beginning to end.

Get yourself started on The Horrors by feasting your ears on 'Count in Fives':

"It's just what we love doing. I don't feel like we have some kind of obligation's really just a natural thing." - Faris Horror

These five definitive albums make for essential goth listening and will no doubt send you on a long, prosperous and rewarding journey to the dark side.

If you have any of your own gothic album suggestions, please share them with us by leaving a comment.

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About the Author

Daniel Hughes