Black is slimming. Black is flattering. Black is mysterious. Black is sexy. Everything is the new black.
Here's ten songs about wearing black... with, surprisingly, not a goth in sight.
10. Everclear - White Men in Black Suits
I was a huge Everclear fan back in the late 90s, around the time they ditched their grunge roots and went power pop with the album this came from: So Much For The Afterglow. Yes, I liked them when they became popular... not a very muso thing to admit, is it?
No idea who the White Men in Black Suits are in this song... however, part of me hopes they're alien investigators... or just your basic, bog standard aliens. That'd make me happy. Like the imminent return of Mulder & Scully has made me happy.
9. The Hollies - Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress)
Rocks a lot harder than most Hollies songs - largely because they were doing their best to imitate Creedence when they recorded it. John Fogerty was, apparently, not impressed.
8. Juliet Turner - Burn The Black Suit
A wonderfully sarcastic lyric from this Irish singer-songwriter...
I found out how to keep you keen, I read it in a magazine.7. Alannah Myles - Black Velvet
One of those expensive ones, so it must be true, it must be true.
Seems large amounts of alcohol is all it takes to make you fall.
If I stroke your ego through the night, it'll be all right, it'll be all right.
Creeping southern blues rock classic (though Alannah herself was Canadian), this still drips sweat and sex all over the turntable. It would have been a little less steamy had she kept her real name... Alannah Byles.
6. Warren Zevon - Angel Dressed In Black
With typically cynical paint, Warren daubs the image of a paranoid, crack-smoking loser whose girl has left and not come back. He's starting to worry terrible things may have happened to her...but we suspect the truth might be a little more obvious.
5. Suzanne Vega - I Never Wear White
One of the stand out tracks from Suzanne's eight studio album, Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles, released just last year. Conclusive proof... she's still got it.
My colour is black black black4. The Shangri-Las - Dressed In Black
For the crone, and the bastard
The schoolgirl in uniform
The servant in the hall.
Black is the truth
Of my situation,
And for those of my station
In life. All other colors
Melodrama never came classier than the Shangri-Las. Here, a forbidden love affair leads to teenage heartbreak on a Wagnerian scale, (over-)produced with Spector-esque glee by George Francis "Shadow" Morton - the man who brought the shadows to many of the Shangri-Las greatest musical moments.
3. AC/DC - Back In Black
When AC/DC front-man Bon Scott died in 1980, the band almost called it a day. Instead they decided he would have wanted them to carry on, so they offered the job to Geordie's Brian Johnson... and gave him the unenviable task of writing a lyric paying tribute to his predecessor. This is what he came up with... the title track from an album that stills ranks as one of the Top Ten highest selling records of all time.
2. Johnny Cash - The Man In Black
He WAS the Man in Black. And here's why...
Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day(Though, in truth, it was just easier to keep black shirts clean when JC was on long tours.)
And tell the world that everything's okay
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back
Until things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black
1. The Smiths - Unlovable
Another example of Morrissey and Marr throwing away classics on b-sides. The ultimate maudlin-Moz lyric... he wears black on the outside because black is how he feels on the inside. And if he seems a little strange... well, that's because he is.
Message received - loud and clear!
Which is your little black dress?