Scratching the Darkness

A joke about England's hottest metal revivalists is highly contagious

Cue the Bee Gees: "I started a joke/ oh if I'd only seen, that the wart was on me. . ." News of the unfortunate result of venery in the Darkness is catching:

"Simple lyrics about what can go wrong in love and life, including genital warts. . ." declared The New York Times this past Sunday, in an article on the heavy metal band. So precious was the line, capable of sending shivers down the spine, editors deemed it worthy of a breakout box.

It's a family newspaper; children, avert your eyes!

The same day, a coast away, the Los Angeles Times, speaking of the Darkness said, "...they sing about, well, love by all means, but with reference to topics such as masturbation ('Holding My Own') and genital warts ('Growing on Me'). . ." Adding, "Actually, some suggest the subject on the latter is really lice, but neither interpretation could be described as edifying."

Other than showing two journalists sipping too enthusiastically from the cup of a big record company junket-both stories are datelined London and look like they've come from a cattle-call roundup of writers summoned to peddle the band on an American tour—it also shows how everyone shares nonsense, true or not, if it's catchy.

On August 13, 2003, The Village Voice published a review of the Darkness's debut album, then only available as a pricey import. "[the Darkness's 'Growing on Me'] would be perfect if I didn't faintly suspect the writer of making a stealthy joke—he could just as well be singing about a genital wart as a lover." Yup, it was a gibe that took about five minutes to come up with. I wrote it, but I would be surprised if some like-minded wiseacre hadn't made a similar joke in England or somewhere sometime; it's such an inviting shot.

Prior to this review, the Darkness were not accused of writing about irritating penile flesh buttons, but ugly PR is good PR and so what if the story's not true as long as it gives music journalists a cliché they can beat to death?

"The happiest song about genital warts ever!" rejoiced some guy at Maxim earlier this month.

Actually, "Growing on Me" contains no references to STDs: It is, said one of the Darkness boys to VH1 online in January, about "a sweet lady woman that you will never fully fathom or understand, but you love her so much that after a while it doesn't matter."

Too late, you're sexually diseased toast—the meme's the reality now.

The Associated Press liked the meme so much it wrote that the Darkness's Permission to Land "features a peculiar mix of songs, about a mythological hellhound, a lover's spat and genital warts." Being a product of AP, it was republished numerous times.

Here's a suggestion for the Darkness: Do a heavy metal cover of Dion's "Drip Drop." Mumble the lyrics slightly except for the "drip-drip-drip" parts. Enjoy reading infected critics going on about how you went from warts to gonorrhea for the follow-up.

 
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