Autobiographical Order No. 547: Bauhaus – Burning from the Inside

If pressed to name my favorite Bauhaus album, I’d probably be torn. On the one hand, In the Flat Field is the very ideal of a gothic rock album, dark and weird and arty and intense, and loaded with staples, like the title track and “St. Vitus Dance,” which is where I got the name of the goth night I hosted for a couple years. On the other hand, Mask is just wall-to-wall great songs, like “The Man With the X-Ray Eyes,” “Kick in the Eye” and “The Passion of Lovers.” Plus it has a couple examples of what I like to call goth funk, “In Fear of Fear” and “Muscle in Plastic.” Hard to choose, both absolute slappers of albums.

I wouldn’t necessarily name Burning from the Inside, but it’s not because it’s not an outstanding album. It’s a little more all over the place, and you can kind of tell it’s their last album—there’s a kind of White Album vibe about it, with David J and Daniel Ash each briefly taking the reins from Peter Murphy on it. And there a lot of different ideas, some of which (like “Slice of Life”) can be traced to later projects like Love and Rockets. But even if all the puzzle pieces don’t quite fit, they’re interesting pieces in and of themselves. And let’s give it up for “She’s in Parties,” the best goth-dub track.

But the album, even if not the runaway best of the bunch, has strangely stuck with me for a long time for various reasons. Back when I was in high school, every Sunday night I’d listen to a show called the Chris Carter Mess on Y107 (RIP), which was the former bassist from Dramarama playing mostly power pop stuff like You Am I or The Wondermints. And I honestly can’t remember why, but on several occasions he’d drop Bauhaus’ “Slice of Life” into the mix, which seemed a little out of phase with the rest of his setlists, but it kind of worked. (My guess is because Love and Rockets had a new album out at the time?)

When I saw Bauhaus play a reunion show in 2005, they opened the show with “Burning from the Inside,” the 9-minute standout from the album, and it was a pretty killer way to start the show. Years later, I made my DJing debut at a Vinyl Junkies Record Swap at the Casbah, and before I started, that same song was spinning on one of the turntables. And then the DJ lined up right after me? David J. There’s a picture of us together somewhere, on a phone or hard drive. Wherever I go, it seems, this album follows. So I decided I’d finally get a proper copy (probably from Discogs?) and make it official.

Rating: 9.2

Sound Quality: Great

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