Shakespeare Sound Trip
We all need something new to listen to every now and then, so I decided to scour the magical kingdom of Google for some Shakespeare-inspired-slash-related songs and bands. Google, indeed, never fails to provide me with what I ask for, as it showed several popular, artsy, dark, and downright weird music by several bands, some of which I have never even dreamed of existing.
Filling this entry with a bunch of Romeo and Juliet-inspired music would be a little too easy considering the inordinate number of songs with references to the tragic lovers, some of these being cute but rather missing the tragic elements of the play. But still, Romeo and Juliet are perhaps the most popular and stereotypical pair of young lovers with unconditional love. I presume most of you are already familiar with Taylor Swift’s “Love Story”, hence I have here Dire Straits’ 1980’s version of “Romeo and Juliet.”
Shakespeare also inspired numerous artists to write songs about his characters. I have learned that a number of bands even named themselves after Shakespeare’s most popular tragic heroes, particularly Hamlet (a Spanish heavy metal band), Macbeth (an Italian gothic metal band), and Titus Andronicus (a punk rock band from New Jersey, USA). These bands do not particularly sing about Shakespeare or his plays. The band Titus Andronicus for instance, describes music as follows: “Titus Andronicus never sing about love, only hate. Titus Andronicus have no hope for the future. Titus Andronicus believe only in nothingness. Everyone in Titus Andronicus was born to die. Titus Andronicus crave your approval but will settle for your utter disdain.”
A band called Abney Park wrote a song titled “Dear Ophelia”, which roughly summarizes what Ophelia experienced and suffered in the play.
Lana Lane, a singer from the United States, wrote a concept album revolving around the character of Lady Macbeth. Here is a song from the said album:
Folger Shakespeare’s Library also has its own playlist of music inspired by Shakespeare’s plays. I took two songs from the said list which I think would probably match the general theme of this playlist, so far. Metallica’s “King Nothing”, from their 1996 album Load, though it does not name any particular character, mentions several similarities to the characters King Lear and Macbeth. Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row” includes Romeo and Ophelia, and other literary figures in a sort of gloomy pastiche.
For our exit music, here is a band made up of some hard-core theater nerds wearing 16th Century-England threads, who call themselves The Metal Shakespeare Company. According to their front man, “The music is original; the words are the Bard’s”.
Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxfjSnMN88U
Hamlet band: http://www.last.fm/music/Hamlet,
Hamlet band photo: http://www.last.fm/music/Hamlet/+images/19459651
Macbeth band: http://www.macbeth.it/
Macbeth band photo: http://www.macbeth.it/pics/band/2007/MACBETH01.jpg
Titus Andronicus band photo: http://www.last.fm/music/Titus+Andronicus/+images/64602887
Folger Shakespeare Library. “Play On” page 2. 9 February 2012. <http://www.folger.edu/template.cfm?cid=3204>
The Metal Shakespeare Company video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imCaiS9C2Dk&list=UUMjX6n5cbQrJK1aR-ziFpiQ&index=5&feature=plcp, Info: https://www.facebook.com/metalshakespeare