Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “Fallen Angel” — Alphaville (1984)

I said, I want you baby, I said, I want some more
I said, I never ever felt it like that moment before
She’s an assassin, she’s melting steel in my heart
But I long for more

She said, I want your body, she said, I want your soul
She said, a fallen angel takes it but she’ll never let go
She’s an invader, she’s from another world
But I beg for more and more…

This is one of those “Strictly-Speaking Not Quite A Halloween Song” songs…

But before I get to that, allow me a moment of self-indulgence, if you will.

There is something so unmistakably isolating yet profoundly resonant about Alphaville’s 1984 album Forever Young (and especially the title track) that you had to have been a teen of the 1980s to fully understand.

There is a gloomy, wistful remoteness to that record, where catchy 80s synthpop meets Reagan-era Cold War paranoia in a screaming, desperate yearn to make an analog connection in an increasingly digital world. The music is catchy but melancholy, driving with a momentum that emotionally propels the listener while also cementing them firmly in place. The compulsion is inescapable: have one genuine freakin’ feeling despite the coldness of an ever-darkening universe.

Forever Young is the soundtrack to a last-ditch effort to find meaningful, lasting empathy… right before the USA and USSR launch ICBMS at each other.

Which brings us to Fallen Angel, an undeniably catchy yet haunting album track that, on the surface, is simply about your basic femme fatale. Time after time we’ve seen this motif: the temptress, the succubus, the siren, the woman who, with barely a glance, has the staunchest of man-folk signing away their very lifeblood. To one bidder.

She’s described as an alien, an invader, the titular “fallen angel” little more than a euphemism for a demoness. Paging Simone Simon… anyway, you could take this to some creepy extreme and compare her to a virus, a parasite, a cancer, but that’s getting into a little too much misogyny for my blood. Your mileage may vary.

Fallen Angel is a wondrous slice of 80s European synthpop, but it retains those elements I brought up before: the isolation, paranoia, a bleak, mournful desolation and even sublimation of the soul that is somehow delivered with a patina of melodic beauty. It’s a delicate balancing act between hope and despair, and Alphaville masterfully pulled it off.

She’s raising feelings cutting like a knife
She’s pouring fire into my liquid life
There’s no escaping from her mysteries
She gives me kisses of the strangest kind, she says

I know you’ll like it, so come over here, she says
And let that rhythm filter through your body, dear
And then she
She always did it and she always will
She’ll stay a hunter till the end of time…

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