Goth girl What are you wearing today Black again Goth girl It's such a fine day in May But you think it's raining One day I'm gonna kiss the lipstick off your mouth

If you have ever listened to John Wesley Harding's album The Confessions of St Ace, a bouncy beat is playing behind those lyrics. You will not be able to get it out of your head for quite some time. If it has been years since you have heard it, the tune will instantly come back. The next time you see a girl wearing a certain amount of black clothing and lipstick, you will be overcome with the desire to sing it.

Goth girl Why so afraid of the sun Do you hate the light Goth girl You should be out having fun And home by midnight

The first time you hear it, there may be very little that is sinister. If you are listening to an album by an obscure British singer-songwriter who is often compared (favorably) to Elvis Costello, then there is a rather large chance that you have sat in the corner of the school cafeteria and watched a girl sitting alone, sipping juice from purple painted lips, wondering what poetry is in her journal and how you can help her loneliness. You may harbor a fondness for goths. It may be limited it certain goths, or it may extend to people who shop at Hot Topic and enjoy Limp Bizkit. There's always something irresistible about lace, corsets, and poetry, and it is easy to assume the narrator of the song, a young man of a similar age and tempremant, shares your fascination.

Goth girl Who is the guy on the leash Does he wash dishes Goth girl He looks like Pete Murphy to me Oh yeah he wishes I know he's appropriately frail But I bet he can't afford to take you to Nine Inch Nails I've got two tickets

Nine Inch Nails tickets were expensive, and an economic element is introduced in the song. Doubt is cast on the singer's identity: why does he mock the girl's boyfriend? He is a rival, yes, but if he enjoys watching goths why mock men's goth fashion? Doubt. Uneasiness. The narrator is not young, perhaps. He is offering something of value to a younger girl because he is attracted to her. He starts to move from your spot in the corner of the room to a car outside the entrance, waiting there every day, watching. Perhaps he has binoculars. He is frightening, and now you want to protect the imagined object of your affection (for this song has created one out of whole cloth, reality, or memory) from him.

Goth girl I know you're supersmart You've turned your bad habits into art Your fake black magic accessories Have cast a real spell on me

The song reaches a crescendo. Ambiguity is forgotten as you play air drums and karaoke the last two lines at the mirror; at a girl; at a friend. You pout, your accent turns British, the drums turn into an air guitar, and later you wonder just how bad her bad habits are, whether they are sexy bad or scary bad or self-destructive bad, whether the lines are critical or amused. Later. Right now, its too tempting to forget everybody else in the room and just yell out to your GOTH GIRL!

Goth girl When will I see you again It's been two weeks Goth girl I asked the rest of your friends But they don't speak to me

You can, again, relate. You have spoken to her friend. She has one. She shyer then her, with freckles and a small blue hat. You know that, were you not so infatuated with the girl, you would have a crush on her. Both are too shy, too gentle, to say anything. They rebuff you carefully. In the song, there is a group of friends. They perch together, young, ripe, sexual. They recognize a creep. They tell him they'll scream, they'll kick him, they'll call the cops. After two weeks, they almost made good on their threats, and he left.

One day I'm gonna kiss the lipstick off your mouth I'm gonna wipe the lipstick off your mouth

He slinks back further. He is a parental figure; he will have her tied up; he will wipe the lipstick off her mouth and do bad things; he will punish her; he is hypersexulized lustful America, stories like Shopgirls and The Collector, dangerous. You're still singing along. The tune is still catchy. You're creeped out and enchanted, and you realize why a man who named himself after a Bob Dylan album gets so many comparisons to Elvis Costello. The subject matter is closer to your experience, but the pop recalls Paul's contribution to things. Its not as twisty as Veronica, but it doesn't need to be. It's in your head like she was in your head, and it'll be there long before high school goth girls and their pervo groupies are sweet, sweet memories.