F'd Up Fairy Tales and Other Dark and Twisted Pop Stories
by Rachel Devitt | August 17, 2011
Like baby dolls (so easily creepified!) and nursery rhymes (so easily zombified!), fairy tales are like super-duper strong catnip (like, you could bake brownies with it) to tortured artist types. And why not? There's so much fodder there for impressing upon one's audience just how tortured and artsy you are: dark and twisty paths. Gothic architecture. Brutal morals. Childhood-perverting plots. And those are just the Disney versions. The originals, which were traditionally told as warnings to children who had to protect themselves in a less sheltered world, are even more terrifying.
For many pop stars, a Brothers Grimm story or a princess parable provides the perfect allegorical raw material for their own lyrical, visual or sonic narratives of disillusionment, disgruntlement or rock 'n' roll dystopianism: Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs took "Lil' Red Riding Hood" to its predatory pinnacle; Marilyn Manson and Eminem have long delighted in crafting their own psychopathic singsong stories of warped childhoods; and Evanescence and Kate Bush can make legends and kids' stories from any tradition sound über-eerie with just one haunted wail.
The most recent example comes from British upstart Natalia Kills, whose darkly theatrical dance-pop will appeal to fans of Lady Gaga and Rihanna. In the captivating single "Wonderland" (from her just-released debut, Perfectionist), Kills, like many an artist before her (even, perhaps, Lewis Carroll himself), uses Alice's story of an upside-down world where curious and sometimes downright crazy things happen to children as a kind of meta-fairy tale metaphor for just how messed up the actual world is. Kills and her twisted, tortured ilk are all here. So listen up and don't forget to live happily ever after (mwa ha ha!).