Type O Negative “Black No. 1”

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This is my first post in quite a few months. I’ve taken a break from working on this sort of thing to study for my qualifying exams. I’m happy to say that I passed all of them, which means I have time to write about heavy metal again!

Another unfortunate consequence of studying for my exams was that I had to miss the wedding of the two loveliest goths in the whole world, N and R. N introduced me to what is now one of my favorite bands, Type O Negative, by playing their song “Black No. 1” for me several years ago. Apparently it’s one of her favorite songs–inside sources tell me this song was played on the dance floor at the end of the wedding–so I thought it would be fitting to dedicate this post to N and R and their marriage, may it be long-lived and happy and shrouded in spooky cobwebs.

Type O Negative had released two albums before 1993’s Bloody Kisses, but this third album was the one that marked the band really coming into their own. It was the first of their albums to chart on the Billboard 200, and though all of their subsequent albums charted higher, Bloody Kisses has been the one which has sold most consistently. Bloody Kisses is the only Type O Negative to receive a Platinum rating from the RIAA (for selling over a million copies), and according to Rolling Stone, it was actually the first album released by Roadrunner records to be certified Platinum.1 The flagship single for the album, “Black No. 1,” is a gothic anthem to gloomy vampire queens everywhere. The music video for this song is full of the dark horror-film-inspired tropes that have become the standard visual language of gothic rock. But what about the music? What makes the music “gothic” and “rock,” what does it mean to blend those two, and what significance does that have beyond reinforcing the video’s visual references to gothic culture?

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  1. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/type-o-negative-singer-peter-steele-dead-at-48-20100415 []