Listen to 405 Radio
The Five Best Songs About Satan (That Aren't By The Rolling Stones)

The Five Best Songs About Satan (That Aren't By The Rolling Stones)

by Tom Baker, 20 September 2012

That Satan eh? He's inspired more rock songs than he's had hot dinners. Although, every meal he has is probably hot. Hmm. Anyway, old pointy head has been the subject of music since Robert Johnson hung around a crossroads with a crappy six string, and with such a large catalogue of Lucifer-inspired music on offer, you could probably do with a Dante to help you travail these flame-licked compositions. Right?

So, without further ado - and putting aside the likes of The Rolling Stones, Screamin' Jay Hawkins and (regrettably) The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, are the five best songs about the Devil. In my humble, blasphemous opinion.

1. Os Mutantes - Ave Lucifer

Starting at the obscure end of things: Os Mutantes were (and are again) a sort of DIY psychedelic rock band from Brazil who, lacking the resources for such psychedelic necessities like proper instruments and effects pedals, improvised with sewing machines and bug spray (I'm not sure if they employed any home-made alternatives to other psychedelic necessities). Being decidedly not-Brazilian, I don't know exactly what Rita Lee is singing in that bewitching manner of hers, but I'm pretty sure it's about the Dark Lord (the song is from the band's third album, A Divina Comédia ou Ando Meio Desligado, or, The Divine Comedy or I Am a Bit Disconnected).

****

2. Beck - Devil's Haircut

I'm even less certain that this one's definitely about our chosen subject, and it's sung in English. In interviews the mysterious Beckster has explained this song from 1995's Odelay to be about selling out, but then he also once spun out a pretty great story about getting his haircut in a weird strip mall which had disappeared when he tried to go back, and that being the inspiration. The lyrics are pretty hellish, in their way, as Hansen dead pans his way through descriptions of "discount orgies" and "stealing kisses from the leprous faces." Either way, it's got "devil" in the title, and it's good song - typically weird, veering between distortion-heavy guitar and near-muzak - so here it is.

****

3. Wilco - Hell Is Chrome

Jeff Tweedy has a bit of a Robert Johnson moment himself, except "When the devil came / He was not red / He was chrome." The song unfolds in a slow, relaxed, piano-lead manner (as does the majority of A Ghost Is Born), without even a sense of creeping dread you'd expect from a song about meeting the personification of evil. Instead, it sounds like the Wilco singer has been brainwashed by a cult, urging us to join him.

****

4. Camper Van Beethoven - Devil Song

Weirdly of no relation to Go-Kart Mozart, Camper van Beethoven's under-two-minutes lo-fi indie-rock romp updates the star of 'Sympathy For The Devil', turning him from the evil puppet master behind blood-splattered moments in history into a bored suburban teen turning to destruction and arson; the devil makes work for idle hands.

****

5. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Red Right Hand

Saving the best for last. Is there anyone more qualified for singing about Satan than Antipodean misanthrope Nick Cave? The man has been giving fire-and-brimstone Old Testament sermons, backed by his Bad Seeds. 'Red Right Hand' has some Universal Horror Film-organs to make proceedings creepier. See also: 'Up Jumped The Devil'.

Related Posts

  • Top 5 Guitar Solos It's Okay To Like

    Top 5 Guitar Solos It's Okay To Like

    by Tom Baker

    We are civilised folk, you and I (I'm making this assumption based solely on the fact that you're reading this feature, on this website; hopefully I'm making an ass neither of myself or, er, mption). We see classic rock guitar solos for what they are – masturbatory displays by boring old people who think showing how quickly they can move their fingers up and down a length of wood is more exciting to watch than actually getting on with a song. [read more]

  • Big Pun: Top 5 Pun-Based Bands

    Big Pun: Top 5 Pun-Based Bands

    by Jack McKenna

    We all love a good pun. Ok, maybe not all of us, but some of us at least. Well I can only actually vouch for myself on this, so at least 0.00000001% of the world's population love a good pun. Every week my fellow HMVers and I are tasked with coming up with puns for new releases, with the latest example for The Hunger Games being "Battle Royale with Cheese," so I'm hoping that this gives me some kind of valid opinion on what a good pun is. [read more]

  • Top 5 Future Genres

    Top 5 Future Genres

    by Nathan Wood

    If Jedward isn't overwhelming proof that ridiculous compound words ought not to be plucked from thin air, used in everyday parlance and accepted by society, I don't know what is. Par exemple, I've no problems with the Catholic faith, nor with popular guitar music originating from 1950's America; but meld 'Christian' and 'Rock' and I'm likely to manifest the form of Satan before your very eyes. [read more]

  • 5 Actors Who Are Pretty Good Musicians

    5 Actors Who Are Pretty Good Musicians

    by Tom Baker

    It's all too easy to find actors who try their hand at making music and fall flat on their perfectly sculpted/surgeryed faces - hence why I wrote a list of five of the worst just the other day - but how about sifting through all those vanity projects and attempts at earnestness and those fibs about how "music means just as much to me as acting" to find some actual good music? Well, that's a little harder. Which is why I put it off. [read more]

Comments

Follow Us

Recommended Posts

Popular Posts

Mailing List

Sign up to our weekly mailing list.

Around The Web