This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song #500 and going until I reach Song #1. When you see the song title listed as something like: Song #XXX (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song #xxx (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #315: Cities in Dust by Siouxsie and the Banshees.
In the annals of modern music, Siouxsie Sioux (pronounced Susie-Sue) cuts quite a figure. She, along with her band, the Banshees, were one of the original bands that helped launch the Punk Rock scene in the UK back in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Siouxsie and the Banshees were every bit the equal to bands such as The Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, The Clash and others. The fact that she did so as a female, fronting her own band, earning the respect of those around her for the quality of her songwriting and musicianship, makes her particularly noteworthy and relevant. Siouxsie Sioux helped pave the way for a legion of female rockers to follow and, all who did, owe her an enormous debt of gratitude.
One of the things about Siouxsie and the Banshees that makes them special is their ability to adapt and change as the times dictated. While Punk Rock roared out of the gate, wearing outrage and disdain as fashion, that sort of emotional energy is hard to sustain. Anger is tiresome over time. So, while some Punk Bands disbanded, Siouxsie and the Banshees evolved and thrived; first, as a Goth band and then, as a more electronic dance-oriented band. The song, “Cities in Dust” is from the latter period in this band’s transformation. There are many valid comparisons with this song to songs by bands such as “The Cure”. There are, also, those who feel that this comparison actually flatters “The Cure”.
“Cities in Dust” is a well-written historical song based upon the obliteration of the cities of Pompeii and Herculeum in 76 AD by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Siouxsie Sioux was fortunate to be able to tour the ruins. She was struck by the way in which people were immortalized in the midst of everyday acts, such as working or at play. She was, also, touched by scenes of families huddled together for protection and of lovers entwined in embrace as the end came. The lives of people, frozen, immortalized, in a spasm of violence from the Earth. “Cities in Dust” chronicles what she saw that day and how it affected her. The lyrics tell the story of the eruption but, more, they tell the story of the fragility of life.
“Siouxsie and the Banshees” remain as one of the most impactful and influential bands of all-time. As a songwriter, singer, musician and performer, Siouxsie Sioux, has fans among her peers and among ordinary people, alike. I hope that you will give this song a chance and have a good listen. “Cities in Dust” is a peppy, upbeat song with a definite 80s vibe to it. I am going to post the “lyrics” version of the song so you can appreciate the quality of Siouxsie Sioux’s lyrics. I will, also, post a live version so you can see the band in action. So, without further delay, here are “Siouxsie and the Banshees” with the story of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, as told in the song called, “Cities in Dust”. Enjoy.
The link to the video for the lyrics-version of the song, “Cities in Dust” by Siouxsie and the Banshees, can be found here.
The link to the video for the live version of the song, “Cities in Dust” by Siouxsie and the Banshees, can be found here.
The link to the official website for Siouxsie and the Banshees, can be found here.
Thanks to KEXP for supporting all music, regardless of genre. The link to their website can be found here.