“My Favorite Album” is a new weekly column, which will see us ask a musician exactly what the title suggests — to name their favorite album of all time. This week, it's Maxine Murder, singer with local punks Death on the Radio.
Siouxsie & the Banshees' Juju is my top favorite album of all time. This was released in 1981 — way before I was brought into the world — yet I felt a deep connection to every single track … each lyric … raw and vulnerable descriptions of the dark world I also knew of, the intricate wild, minor-sounding chords — from the moment I ever listened to it as a youngster.
It’s not easy picking an album out of my whole existence to call my favorite — of all time! The mix between the pounding, tribal feel of drums from Budgie, John McGeoch’s amazing melodies on guitar, Steve Severin on bass along with Siouxsie’s enchanting magic she brought not only in her performance and recording but in the beauty found in her vocals. They take me on a journey — out of the reality of my world. I had fallen in love with the dissonant, trippy, deep and hard ethereal sound of each song, having me feel as though any misery, pain or emotion I was feeling at the time was already mended and especially important to embrace — only because Siouxsie and the guys had made it so.
“Spellbound” (of course), “Night Shift”, “Arabian Nights” and “Halloween” right away take me to different lives I dream of every day. Fantasy was the very first drug I ever tried as a kid, and when I was randomly introduced to gothic rock and post-punk in this album, I felt forever changed. The mix of romantic feelings in fantasyland that I get a million miles an hour, surrounded by dark and witchy elements showing me a different persona, a different energy and warmth — this album makes the world right no matter what I am doing or feeling today.
Songs like “Voodoo Dolly,” relating to every lyric such as, “Are you listening to your fear, the beat is coming nearer, like that little drum in your ear, transfixing you to your fear” … “And you’re anemic from her sucking, And when you're dead she’ll find another” feels like she’s talking about every one of us — that ego and pride, or our demons, that come to haunt us ever so often and suck the souls or light out of us, not allowing us to live or love ourselves or another. Only paralyzed as the song talks about, always stuck. “Sin in My Heart” has such a simplicity yet an absolutely lovely story interchanging with rushing guitar and bass, warming this deviant, ripe but sweet old soul, romantic heart I’ve always had. “Head Cut” also gave me permission from a young age to let myself be me music — go scream, yell, shout, moan, rawr like a fierce lion or kitty cat, wail in agony — whatever it is, Siouxie shows me what the definition of elegant and vulnerable truth in music means.
I’m accepting and seeing even today how important it is to unleash this — and what I’ve listened to since I was young. So Siouxsie and your Banshees — thank you tremendously for paving the way … teaching me so much, and still sharing and giving your magic, inspiration, mysterious enchantment through each song, in all depths of joy and pain.
Death on the Radio play with Tarah Who? at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 9, at the Redwood Bar.