So now we begin the breakdown, analysis, poring over details, clues and condecensions. Three entries, more than fifty bands, at least.
It's something to do.
Let's start first with The Fall. I'm going to take another stand here, and rule out electric guitars, for the most part. Not entirely--songs with electric fiddle and modified electric instruments may well sound steampunk enough to fit in. But songs where the guitar is obviously played, and obviously comes, from our modern world as it exists now--I have to say no.
The song Spoilt Victorian Child seems to fall easily and naturally into the latter category.
The Fall as they have been classified, is British post-punk to start with--that sort of 'we've seen the Sex Pistols but we like a bit of melody' group, which in their case formed in 1976. Their sound thrives on the nearly mumbled growl of vocalist Mark E Smith, the constant thudding beat that reminds one more of uniformed feet in sequence than drumwork, and an overdriven, scraped-across-the-raw-nerve guitar sound.
They were John Peel's favorite band, which I suppose says something, but they are in largest measure the full sound and fury of the post-punk movement--grating guitars, jackboot percussion, and a sum and feeling that seeps into our skins with how worthless, how temporary, how utterly dull and spiritless the life of the flesh is.
I have my own sources of ennui, thanks. I don't need anyone else's.
So what puts them on the list? Ultimately, I have to conclude, they are on the list because they're on the list. And if that isn't recursive enough, what got them on someone's list of steampunk songs is their song "Spoilt Victorian Child":
Sugar and cakes appear mean
Sitting at the table
Tigers pop-up from books
Spoilt Victorian Child
Let`s take it ten years on
You`re looking back from then
Under rough grey blankets
Thread loose stained grey blanket
Spoilt Victorian Child
This entire band merits inclusion on the basis of those three words? Hells, no. If we are worth anything in this examination and exhumation of steampunk style and meaning, then we have to be clear on what is, what isn't, and what might be influenced by--or sourced as influence of--steampunk music.
The Fall is out.