After wrapping the previous instalment, five songs didn’t seem enough. Too brisk for my liking. So, I immediately began plotting a sequel. This one. Before I continue with the list, I’ll discuss criticisms of the entries and the methodology I used for selecting them the first time:
I determined the most popular vampire songs through a highly scientific method: typing “vampire” into YouTube and sorting the results by “view count” in the filter. So, apologies in advance to any “obliquely vampiric” or “allegedly vampiric” songs out there. I probably missed you. Next time, choose an overt title or description.
Some confused “popular vampire songs on YouTube by view count” with “popular vampire songs in general.” Why wasn’t such-and-such on there? Why that one? And so on. For instance, Dracula—or the Facebook page named after him—lamented, “No ” Love song for a Vampire ” OR ” A moon over Bourbon Street “.SIGH!!!”
Meanwhile, others found flaws in my methodology. James Lyon said: “I fear the list may be inaccurate or suffer from inadequate scientific methodology. Bobby Pickett’s “Monster Mash” mentions vampires, as well as Dracula and his son.” Good point. Uwe Sommerland echoed James’s concerns:
Probably I’m simply old-fashioned, Anthony. Apart from just knowing and remembering a few (“Dracula Cha-Cha” anyone?), I would do a bit of research outside of YouTube first. But I see what you point at – that it’s about “The Most Popular Vampire Songs on YouTube”. And there you have to limit yourself to just one word to find out. I do wonder, though, that Lennox’ “Love Song for a Vampire” obviously wasn’t popular enough.¹
Fair cop. So, my method wasn’t perfect and my rationales probably not defined properly. So, I’ll clarify: I defined “popular vampire songs on YouTube” as individual music videos (“songs”)—not necessarily official music videos—which had high view counts in a basic search. But that’d make an awfully convoluted title, wouldn’t it?
Nonetheless, the suggestions prompted me to try another search method for this follow-up: Boolean search operators, baby! I used the “Search for either word” option. In this case, “vampire OR vampires”. Thankfully, the original results weren’t compromised: the top 5 results stayed the same. Try it yourself. So, technically, “The 5 Most Popular Vampire Songs on YouTube” are just that.
Two items on this list will probably be disputed, but for the sake of consistency, I’ll defer back to Susan R. Kagan’s definition of vampire songs. On the plus side, “Love Song for a Vampire” made the cut this time (Sting didn’t, though). Hope that cheers you up, Drac!
[su_dropcap style=”flat” size=”5″]10[/su_dropcap] My Chemical Romance, “Vampires Will Never Hurt You”
I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love (2002)
I’m sure most of you know “don’t call us emo” emo band, My Chemical Romance. As it happens, “Vampies Will Never Hurt You” was their first single. It sounds like they’re trying to jumpstart a chainsaw. Nonetheless, I’ll give it points for not shying away from heavy vampire imagery in its lyrics. “And if the sun comes up will it tear the skin right off our bones / And then as razor sharp white teeth rip out our necks I saw you there / Someone get me to the doctor, someone get me to a church / Where they can pump this venom gaping hole.” Good stuff.
It’s not the only time the band dabbled with vampire music. “Vampire Money” featured on their 2010 album, Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. It was apparently written in response to an interviewer asking if they hoped to see any “vampire money” generated from the Twilight saga movie soundtracks, after they’d knocked back offers to contribute—which might make it the lamest “protest” song I’ve ever heard of.
Lead singer, Gerard Way, was later asked to clarify the distinction between their previous vampire track and the newer one by The Village Voice‘s Dan Weiss, obviously fishing for a response to the “controversy.” “The band on “Vampire Money” sounds very different from the band that made “Vampires Will Never Hurt You.” Are you bored with the oversaturation of vampire culture in general, or just Twilight?” Way responded:
You know, it’s interesting because I really have no problem with the Twilight franchise, it’s just not for me. And I think I’m mature enough now to realize when something’s not for me, as opposed to attacking it. But the interesting thing about “Vampire Money” is it’s about anything you don’t want to do, like anything people assume you’re going to do for the money and you don’t want to do it. It’s about saying no over and over and over again. Basically, saying no with a song. But you’re right, when we started out as a band we very much used that horror-movie imagery. To me it was different imagery though, it was drawing upon bands like the Damned and the Misfits and the classic horror films.
True to their word, the band didn’t record any songs for the Twilight saga soundtracks. But I’m left wondering whether their artistic integrity was also responsible for recording Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” for Kevin & Bean’s Christmastime in the 909 (2004).
Either way, way to go guys. You didn’t record any Twilight soundtrack songs. The last soundtrack came out in 2012. Ha ha ha! You made it! Great job, guys! Awesom—Oh, wait. You split about five months after that. Nevermind.
Still, It’s a shame the band missed out on all that “vampire money.” After all, they helped conceive the franchise. Stephenie Meyer discussed the creative process behind writing the first Twilight book on her website. “I can’t write without music. This, combined with the fact that writing Twilight was a very visual, movie-like experience, prompted me to collect my favorite Twilight songs into a sort of soundtrack for the book.”
She then lists the songs that inspired her. The fourth track is My Chemical Romance’s “I’m Not Okay (I Promise) (Video Edit).” Her other books feature their own inspirational playlists, too. Other songs from the band keep popping up on them. “This Is How I Disappear” and “Sleep” feature in the third book’s playlist and “The Sharpest Lives”” is on the fourth book’s playlist.
You know what that means, right? If the band was a person, it’d be a deadbeat dad wanting nothing to do with his kids. Anyway, here’s “Vampires Will Never Hurt You”!
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[su_dropcap style=”flat” size=”5″]9[/su_dropcap] Alex Band, “Only One”
We’ve All Been There (2010)
Look, I struggled with this entry—and the next one. I really did. So blame the Vampire Diaries viewers. It featured in “Bloodlines” S1 E10 (2010) and “Daddy Issues” S2 E13 (2011). Despite what you might think with highly-viewed fan video’s title, it’s not on the show’s official soundtrack. Folks, this is what happens when you follow a definition to the letter. It’d be a real stretch to call this a vampire song in another other circumstances, but I must defer to Susan R. Kagan’s definition of vampire music, which kicked off this bloody thing. On soundtracks, she notes: “Most vampire movie soundtracks consist of loosely connected mood pieces, sometimes extremely tongue-in-cheek. For the most part, moviemakers relied on classical music performed by studio orchestras.” The example she gave?
“Swan Lake” for Dracula (1931) was the first such instance. The most widely known impression of the vampire-formally attired in evening clothes and elegant cape-arose from theater and movie producers’ need to explain the music. Filmmakers thought that audiences would not understand the rationale for the music unless they either showed or alluded to where it came from. Hence, when Tod Browning made Dracula (1931), “Swan Lake” was established as the main song when Dracula and several of the other main characters spent a night at the ballet .
If “Swan” fucking “Lake” counts as vampire music, so does this. But does it at least have any relevance to the show’s vampire characters? I tried finding out by reading through the video’s comments section—but the sheer inanity displayed by contributors made me drop several IQ points, so I stopped looking.
The song itself is generic pop ballad. I don’t see much special in it. But something did interest me while researching this entry: I was surprised to find out Alex Band was The Calling’s lead singer, the band best-known for their 2001 post-grunge hit, “Wherever You Will Go.” I like that tune. Didn’t realise he’d re-invented himself as an Adam Ant/Adam Lambert hybrid, though.
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[su_dropcap style=”flat” size=”5″]8[/su_dropcap] Ross Copperman, “Holding on and Letting Go”
Holding on and Letting Go (2012)
Yep. Vampire Diaries strikes again. Be thankful I didn’t stick to my original method, because there would’ve been more Vampire Diaries entries on this list.² Buy hey, at least it’s not more Fred Figglehorn. Ugh. Anyway, this track doesn’t appear on the show’s official soundtrack, either. But unlike the previous entry, this song only appeared once in the series: “The New Deal,” S3 E10 (2012). This time, I didn’t have to wade too far through the video’s comment section to find out the relevance of this song to the characters in the show. YouTube commentator, Jose Armando, said: “This is the stelena [sic] break up song !! Season 3…Damn you Klaus!” Thanks, Jose.
Just to clarify for those who don’t watch the show (like me), Elena Gilbert, played by Nina Dobrev, is the show’s main protagonist—someone who finds herself caught in a love triangle with two vampire brothers, Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder). “Stelena” is a portmanteau for Elena and Stefan—like “Brangelina” for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Meanwhile, Klaus (Joseph Morgan) is the main vampire bad guy of seasons 2 and 3. If you want to know more about the episode this song appears in, read about it here, because writing about what’s pretty much Dawson’s Creek meets Dracula, is giving me a headache. Fortunately, the song itself has more of a pulse than the previous entrant. Give it a listen.
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[su_dropcap style=”flat” size=”5″]7[/su_dropcap] Annie Lennox, “Love Song for a Vampire”
Bram Stoker’s Dracula: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1992)
I’m as pleased as you are to see this song on the list. Finally, a vampire fan favourite everyone knows. A song about vampires—from a vampire movie soundtrack, no less. Hell, it’s even the song’s official music video, and not some fan thing stitched together from random scenes and pictures. It’s also the only vocal track on the album, popping up at the end of Wojciech Kilar’s score. You might remember it as the song playing over the movie’s end credits. Interestingly, Lennox wasn’t inspired directly by the source material, but by another well-known vampire writer. On discussing “Love Song for a Vampire” in her 2009 compilation, The Annie Lennox Collection, she said:
Francis Ford Coppola was going to make a film about vampires taken from “Dracula” by Bram Stoker, but then I went and read Anne Rice, and really discovered a whole other side to the mythology. I was fascinated by the vampire in psychic and psychological terms, and I wanted to write a song which could contain something of the essence of that dark place. The vampire is the ultimate metaphor for compulsive addictive behavior. Vampire and victim are the ultimate co-dependents, doomed for eternity.
The vampire element runs deeper with the music video, too. I suspect it might’ve been influenced by another vampire movie. I mean, is it just me or does Lennox looks suspiciously similar to Ellen Hutter (Greta Schröder) in Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1992)?
Either way, this is without doubt my favourite song on the list. Favourite clip, too. Fantastic, ethereal vocals; sinuous, lithe movements—and some freaky eye mojo. I don’t know if it’s a special effect, trick lighting, contacts or whatever, but her eyes look enchanting. She didn’t need those white-tipped “claws” though.
I’ll conclude with a little trivia. You probably know this one, but Annie Lennox was half of the Eurythmics. The other half was David A. Stewart. If you don’t know them, their 1983 song “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” will jog your memory.
But did you know “Love Song for a Vampire” was released as a single in 1993? According to Wikipedia, “It reached number three on the UK Singles Chart in early 1993, while in the US, it reached number 24 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.” Not bad for a vampire song.
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[su_dropcap style=”flat” size=”5″]6[/su_dropcap] The Wombats, “Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves)”
This Modern Glitch (2011)
Bet you didn’t see this coming. I would’ve preferred “Love Song for a Vampire” to make this spot, but I’m not totally displeased by The Wombats’ ranking, either. I like “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” (2007) and I’ve heard them do a killer cover of Taylor Dayne’s “Tell It to My Heart.” This track was released as a single in 2010—the highly-viewed clip is actually its official music video. As it happens, it was also the first single from their 2011 album, This Modern Glitch. I’ll confess you’ll have to dig hard to get a meaty vampire component from this song. The best you’ll get is from the chorus: “I’ll be animating every night / The grace will be greener on the other side / And the vampires and wolves / Won’t sink their teeth / (ah ah ah ah)”. Ok, guys. Can it.
Despite the explicit use of “Vampires” in the song’s title and lyrics, we’ll file this one under Kagan’s “Vampire Music with Oblique Lyrics” category. It certainly left BBC Radio 1’s Fraser McAlpine confused:
We all know that [lead singer] Matt Murphy is a smart man, with an keen eye for the wry, so it’s a toss-up as to whether this is supposed to be a parody of all the songs bands write about the existential horrors of life on the road, or actually one of those songs bands write about the existential horrors of life on the road, only one with a keener-than-usual sense of self-awareness, written by a man with a knack for jamming up happy pop tunes with sad lyrics.
Or it could just be a genuine song about feeling dehumanised by the rigours of life in a touring pop band, and wanting to return to the one great night out that made it all seem worthwhile.
Or all of these things. Or none of these things.
Helpful. Allmusic’s Matt Collar seems to have a clearer idea:
Similarly, tracks like the driving post-punk disco cut “Tokyo (Vampires and Werewolves)” and deliciously bleak “Jump into the Fog” are grand statements of Pyrrhic, drunken escape from the pressures of modern life, with Murphy crooning on “Tokyo,” “Finally! I know what it takes/It takes money and aeroplanes.”
Or, it’s “all of these things. Or none of these things.” I dunno, man. I’m just a writer for a vampire website. As to the song itself, the best I can say is “Meh.” But it still beats Fred Figglehorn. And that’s a good thing.
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I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who read the previous article and gave feedback. Your contributions were invaluable for this follow-up. Click on the second page if you want to read my notes on this article. I’ve also turned the songs into a YouTube playlist for your listening pleasure. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts.