Music Geek-Out #14: Peter Murphy’s “Cuts You Up”

The next two songs in the playlist are my brief, brief nod to pre-90s goth.

First is Peter Murphy’s “Cuts You Up,” off is 1990 album Deep. Murphy used to be the singer of iconic 80s goth band Bauhaus, which is most well-known for their “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” This track is featured at the beginning of lesbian-vampire-film classic The Hunger. (Seriously, watch the linked video. In the first few minutes, Murphy manages to out-act everyone else in the film, including and especially David Bowie…and then you should compare the Bauhaus cover of Ziggy Stardust to Bowie’s original…and voila, you can thank me for sending you down that YouTube hole.) But anyway, the track:

Back before Nirvanna, this song is what indie music–then called “Modern Rock”–sounded like.  The timbre of this song (especially the warm, warm bass timbre), the tone colors, the arrangement, and particularly the mixing–all this is just quintessentially late-80s/early-90s Modern Rock. I also really like Murphy’s approach to the vocals in the bridge: here, he sets the rhythm and accents of the vocals against and in tension with the rhythm of the instrumentals. This is similar to, for example, what he does in Bauhaus’s “Dark Entries.”

After Murphy left Bauhaus for a solo career, the remaining members formed the group Love and Rockets; Daniel Ash had a side project, Tones on Tail. I particularly like ToT’s track “Go!”

Murphy has a really great back catalog of covers. I recommend his version of Pere Ubu’s “Final Solution,” and Joy Division’s “Transmission.”