Song of the Week: “All We Ever Wanted Was Everything” by Bauhaus

Bauhaus: a terrible band, but when I was fifteen they sounded dark, dangerous, deep. Daniel Ash’s razoring guitars on The Sky’s Gone Out dismantled me when a friend dubbed suicide anthem “In the Night” on a mix-tape. I’ve long since sold most of my Bauhaus records—hopefully to misunderstood teens—but still own this LP. The only song I can now bear is the record’s quietest: its lyrics, and its unassuming, inoffensive acoustic guitar and plucked bass—unlike the rest of the record, this song almost wants to be overlooked—typify the postindustrial “factory town” where I was raised. “All we ever wanted was everything”: sure, but we knew that asking rarely led to getting. We didn’t ask because we were unwilling, or because we believed our requests excessive, or because we understood already that the favor wouldn’t be granted, but because the only way to success, we’d been told, was work. Our working-class aspirations conflicted with vague, mostly-unspoken desires to “shoot out of darkness”: we were socialized to define ourselves according to occupation rather than what legitimately occupied us. I escaped in the pages of an outdated yard-sale Encyclopedia Britannica World Atlas, the leatherette spine of which finally disintegrated, and sustained myself with a secondhand stereo those years I hoped to elude the notice of others, while also secretly craving their acclaim more than I dared—and dare—admit: “Oh, to be the cream…,” Peter Murphy croons, and the song winds down to a sigh.

-Joshua Harmon

Joshua Harmon‘s The Annotated Mixtape will be published by Dzanc Books next year. He is also the author of two books of poems, Le Spleen de Poughkeepsie and Scape; a novel, Quinnehtukqut; and a collection of short fiction, History of Cold Seasons, also forthcoming from Dzanc.

Questions, compliments, (hopefully not) complaints?

Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.

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