" Deadlight holiday
Killing time to make us stay
Hollow as the promises of yesterday
On and on the music plays
Memories in paraphrase
Falling past my window like the morning rain "
The Birthday Massacre are a Canadian synth-rock band formed in 1999. I only got into them in 2018, but they are one of my favorite bands. I have never experienced any other art that has aesthetically resonated with me as much as their music.
Although I don't believe they define themselves as goth, their music is often labeled as gothic rock. They create beautiful melodies with their keyboards that go along with the lead singer Chibi's voice, and contrast with the electric guitars. It often sounds very airy, like a wide open space filled with sound. They aren't unique based on things like song structure, but the atmosphere their music creates is like no other.
Pure poetry. Their lyrics are my favorite part. I have entire albums of their lyrics memorized >:3 They often revolve around dark or sad themes like death, loneliness, failed love, and even murder.
However, they don't convey them in a way that's very angsty, and they don't convey sad themes like cheesy modern pop music going I'M SADDDDD BECAUSEEEE I BROKE UP WITH MY GIRLFRIENDDDD or some stupid shit like that. They present them in a very poetic way, using lots of imagery and metaphor instead to create a sense of magic.
In addition to their sound and their lyrics, they have also stayed very consistent with their visual style. Every one of their studio albums exclusively uses only black and shades of purple. Their mascot is a bunny rabbit. Many people on their covers can be seen wearing bunny ears. They frequently depict silhouettes, skeletons, and children as well. All of these elements tie in very well with the music.
I have never heard any other music that sounds like The Birthday Massacre. What I like most about them is their ability to take the darkest themes and turn them into things that are beautiful. They treat loneliness, darkness, the night, not as things to fear, but to find solace in. With their common theme of childhood, I feel as if I'm a little girl playing with monsters at midnight and couldn't be happier while listening to the music. The sense of innocence to being a child. Having no need to be afraid.
While they could always choose to have vocals in which the singer is doing something like screaming or shouting, they very rarely do. The Birthday Massacre have a very big focus on melody to give their songs a feeling of beauty. The contrast between this feeling and the dark tone really, really appeals to my pastel goth self. They also have so many absolutely stand out lyrics it's insane. I love singing their songs and I could talk for hours about how pretty and poetic the words are.
So yeah, I have a very personal connection to this band's music that I don't think will ever go away. I hope if you read this you decide to check them out a bit! Thanks for reading!!
I have every CD they have ever released >:3 (except like, their extremely early demo ones I guess but those don't count!!)
" With the threat of dawn approaching and our interest quickly fading
We will stumble home together as we did the night before "
Nothing and Nowhere is the first studio album by The Birthday Massacre. It was originally released in 2002, but was rereleased in 2004 with new album artwork.
This album is their first studio album, but it almost feels like a demo album. The production quality is not quite there. I never really listen to Nothing and Nowhere all the way through.
As for tracks, there are only four of them that weren't rereleased later on in subsequent studio albums: Promise Me, Under the Stairs, Over, and Broken. I really love Promise Me and Under the Stairs. These two really define early TBM to me. In this album, Chibi's voice is quiet compared to the other instruments, to the point where it almost sounds like she's whispering (and she is, sometimes).
And there's some sort of certain magic I get from listening to these two tracks, especially Promise Me. It's a strong sense of nostalgia for a time I never lived. It sounds somber and dark. More atmospheric than a lot of later stuff, I would say.
Over is a good song, don't love it. But it's solid. And Broken, ehhhhh. Song is fine but to me it doesn't quite fit. Nothing wrong with it being different! I don't know, it just doesn't really sound like a song from them to me, so it doesn't give me that same feel that I like. The chorus, specifically.
Overall, I don't listen to Nothing and Nowhere, but it has some good picks on there. I don't think this is a good place to start. In my opinion, you should listen after you've already gotten to know the band's music and you want to know how they sounded in the past.
" Blood runs cold beyond the violet prison
For violent visions
And so the broken record plays
As you throw us away "
Violet is the second studio album by The Birthday Massacre. It was released originally in 2004 as an EP, but was rereleased in 2005 as an album with remastered tracks from their previous record, Nothing and Nowhere.
Original EP track list:
Studio Album track list:
This is the album I feel that the band sort of came into their own. Like, they figured out their sound and what they were doing. Production quality massively improves from their first release and their sound is solidified.
I may be biased, since this is the first one I listened to, but I do think this is probably the best place to start for new listeners of The Birthday Massacre. It has many of their quintessential songs-- Happy Birthday, Blue, Video Kid-- that give context for the rest of their discography.
It starts with Prologue, which is the only instrumental intro track the band has done. I think it sets the tone nicely, but it could just as easily be the first section of the song Lovers End. Lovers End is a great song that I think really gives you an idea of what the band is all about.
Happy Birthday is pretty much the most quintessential song for the band. It is where they got their name from. The song used to be called The Birthday Massacre. The version on this album is the most polished one, and it's quite good. I like Horror Show, the song that comes after, a bit more. It's just classic TBM.
Violet is my favorite song by them. From the first instant, this song creates a mood that is not quite the same as any other for me. It sounds so bittersweet and the melodies are just so beautiful.
Red is once again a nice instrumental piece, better than Prologue. I really wish they made more stuff like this. It's very dark and gloomy sounding. This leads into Play Dead, which doesn't really match the feel much of Red and I don't love this song.
Blue is I would say one of their most popular songs. They made a music video for it and released a DVD I think. It's definitely the heaviest song on the album, with a cool heavy riff and stuff. But this is juxtaposed with the innocent, dreamy-sounding verses and it creates a really nice effect. They also switch time signatures in the song between the verses and the choruses, which they pretty much never do, and that's cool. Not one of my favorite songs by them but I see why it's popular.
Video Kid is one of their most classic songs. This one was on Nothing and Nowhere. Don't like this one as much. It's not bad, it just doesn't quite fit their style for me and feels out of place. Similar to The Dream, which comes after. This one was also on Nothing and Nowhere, but unlike Happy Birthday and Horror Show, this song just feels like it was written for something different. They are both better versions of the songs, but some of my least favorites from the band.
And then there is Black, which is the third and final instrumental piece. Similar to Red, and I really like both of them as interludes. The screaming in Black is a very nice touch, and it leads in very well to the song Holiday.
Holiday was my favorite song by the band for quite a while, and still is one of my favorites. The synth melodies are absolutely beautiful and the lyrics are some of the best that TBM has to offer I think. They're so sad and melancholy and great.
And then the album ends with Nevermind, which is such a strange song. The subject matter of the lyrics is so totally different from anything else they've put out. Not a bad song, and I like the outro, but it's just so strange and has a totally different vibe and I don't like it much. Also not a great song.
Overall, as a whole I don't think this album is with their best, but it definitely does have some songs that I will forever cherish.
" Every story's a waiting game
A flower for every name
Their colors are paling in the falling rain "
Walking With Strangers is the third studio album by The Birthday Massacre, released in 2007.
Walking With Strangers is where the band began to receive a lot more popularity. This is arguably their most well-known and "classic" album.
Kill the Lights is a fantastic opener that uses their style of starting with a melody to form the backbone of the song. It's quite beautiful and this is just a really solid track. This song feels like home to me.
Goodnight uses a melody and then applies it to many different chords which makes a pretty cool effect. The verses see Chibi singing lower in pitch than she usually would. Overall, good song, don't love it.
But this leads into Falling Down which, although it has a trash title, is brilliant. Falling Down starts off with the guitar and then adds in the synth which mirrors the melody and it gives me a very nostalgic feel. This song also has one of my favorite bridges from the band (although that isn't saying much, since they're usually not good).
Unfamiliar is fine, nothing special really. Red Stars is certainly one of the band's most popular and well-known songs, again leading in with a heavy riff. I don't like this one as much as Blue, and I don't find it to be a great song. It's all right. Once you're used to the heavy parts, they don't hit as hard.
Then there is Looking Glass, which spawned a whole EP. I don't love this song either. Not much to say about it. The song that follows, Science, I find is very lackluster. Mostly lame lyrics that sound almost meaningless, boring music, nothing about the song to really like. I think Science is one of their worst songs. I'm not sure why they included it.
Then we have Remember Me. This is actually a song they made a demo for years prior, but this version is sooooooo vastly improved. The production gives this song a very, very dark tone. (I actually recreated this song pretty well using a DAW so I know the parts that make it up! And I like all of them.) This is a brilliant song that gives off such a sad and beautiful mood.
To Die For is one they released on Nothing and Nowhere. Out of the ones they rereleased, this is the only one to not be on Violet and is the last one. After this album, each one has been filled with only new material. I think this is one of the best songs to show someone new to the band. It defines classic, early TBM and their ethereal, mystical sound. I think that the both the older and newer versions of this song have strengths, but I prefer this one.
Then comes the title track, Walking With Strangers, which I feel is one of the weakest songs by the band. I get a more positive and bright feel from it, which may come from Chibi's higher than usual pitch. I don't know, I don't like it. Or the lyrics. Weekend is a good song, but damn it is hard to sing without mixing up the verses with each other.
Movie is, ehhhh one of their weakest ending tracks. I get what they were trying to do, but I don't feel like it fits. It honestly feels sappy and kind of lame. Like it's trying too hard. It's too long and it drags on. Not a big fan.
Overall, probably one of my least favorite albums from them honestly. I just think it has many weak and below average songs. It does have some great ones too though.
" Fall to the floor, we're watching sideways
As day turns to night
Ghosts in the walls, through empty doorways
Like we've always been here "
Pins and Needles is the fourth studio album by The Birthday Massacre, released in 2010.
This album saw them shift toward a heavier sound. I joke with myself that every Birthday Massacre album must have a token "heavy" song, but that this album is just filled with them. And by heavy, I don't really mean HEAVY, but like, they've got more forceful electric guitar riffs mostly.
Pins and Needles starts with In The Dark. I like how forceful this one is right away compared to most of the band's other songs. It's more intense, but still nicely melodic. I like the lyrics for it. The guitar riffs are cool, because if you pay attention, they actually alternate, and switch order each time.
At this point in the album, I like the songs a little less. Always is a nice song, but the lyrics are not as cool for me. I like Pale better--it's got one of their best bridges, with beautiful vocal harmonies. "Pale as a street light, pure white, washing the color away." And the verses have got a nice rhythm.
Control is my least favorite. Never really got the lyrics much. The song is okay. Does have an interesting bridge. Shallow Grave used to be my favorite, at one point, but I don't like it as much anymore. It's okay too.
Sideways is where the album really picks up for me. This song is slower by comparison, and has a beautiful long buildup to the lyrics. I find myself singing this all the time. Something about the song feels so mystical.
Midnight is also amazing. The main melody is really nice and I like how it transitions into the guitar riff. The drums in the verses are so good. The lyrics are so beautiful. "I can't decide which one of us is dreaming tonight. I'm just a shadow in the light you leave behind." UGH. So dark and poetic.
The title track has perhaps the most headbandable riff of all. This is a great one! Love the verses with "it's always a nightmare, it's never a dream", transforming in the wistful bridge into "it's never a whisper, it's always a scream", and the chorus where Chibi cries that she can feel it tearing her apart. Good stuff.
Two Hearts is a small dip, but still a solid song. I enjoy "the danger's in the subtlety between the evening and the night" and "the promise just a shade of grey between the darkness and the light".
Sleepwalking is great. My favorite part of this song is the chorus. The verse transitions into it well because the verse ends on the first syllable of a word, and the first beat of the chorus section begins with the last syllable of the word. The visuals in this song are cool.
Secret is such a beautiful song. The melody is gorgeous, as is the production. The main thing about this though is the VOCALS IN THE CHORUS oh my gosh. They always give me goosebumps. The melody and the harmony along with the chord structure all combine to create an absolutely haunting display, especially at the ending with "whispering hope away", on that minor chord.
This is a good album, too! I think this is one of their more consistent ones, since even the songs that don't hit me as hard are still very good songs. So, it's consistent, but it doesn't contain any of my absolute top favorite songs.
" There is a shadow here, but there's no light behind me
The stains of blood on the floor serve to remind me
The time is drawing near, turns like a knife inside me
I've never wanted it more, come stand beside me "
Hide and Seek is the fifth studio album by The Birthday Massacre, released in 2012.
I have a weird relationship with this album. I believe this is their most inconsistent one. For me, it has some of their best songs, and some of their worst, to the point where I don't even listen to them. I have my own order for the album, which includes Forever, from their Imaginary Monsters EP. I have also formed a headcanon story for this version of the album that I connect to very strongly. But, for the sake of this review, I won't go into detail here about that, and I'll go in regular album order. Maybe I will talk about my story some other night.
Leaving Tonight is brilliant. I am in love with this song. It's a perfect opener for the album. I could talk about every lyric and how amazing it is, but instead I will say that the song builds such a great progression, with its lyrics, and its instruments, and everything. There is such a sense of mystery, and wonder, and terror. "Do you wanna go home?" UGHH. So beautiful.
Down is the heavy riff song of the album, and one of the very few in which you can hear Chibi prominently SHOUT instead of sing. She sounds angry, about what I interpret to be a failed relationship. Usually, I don't like lyrics that use "nursery rhymes", as it often comes off as cheesy, but I don't think it does here. "We all fall down, into the fire."
Play With Fire is a very interesting song. This is the very first song I heard by them that I didn't fall in love with. (I listened to all the albums chronologically.) That is mostly to do with the disappointment of the lyrics. The chorus is just "we will play with fire." And that's repeated over and over. The other lyrics aren't very good either. The atmosphere of the song is there, but because of the words, it just ends up feeling very different.
I consider Need to be the band's worst song. It has this awkward sort of playful and dancey feel that I don't really vibe with. The song has three verses that all go the exact same way. The chorus is similarly disappointing and it goes "bleed me form the heart. Need me for my heart." Not very, uh. Not a very great rhyme there. And doesn't make me feel anything emotionally. And she sings it in this weird, almost whiney sounding way that puts me off. Let me clarify that I don't hate this song, just compared to every other song the band has released, this one's flaws stand out hard.
Calling is a great song. This definitely has one of their best rhythms, if not the best. It's so easy to move to. Love the lyrics of this one. They're so lonely. And they have what I think is a subtle callback to the song "Under the Stairs": "Look underneath the stairs. What's broken is repaired. Now there's nothing left behind. Nothing left of you."
Alibis is such a hauntingly beautiful, solid, well-made song. The lyrics are all great, but that chorus. The rhyme scheme is done very well and doesn't feel forced at all. There is so much emotion behind those words, and they're so poetic. In particular, "there is a shadow here, but there's no light behind me" has to be one of my favorite lyrics in all of music. I can feel pain and sadness when she begs, "come stand beside me", and the voices whisper in the background.
Then, the song One Promise takes me right out of that. This song is okay. I have no real problem with the song itself. I just don't like it here. I don't think it fits.
In This Moment is also a very good song. It starts with this very nice dreary fade in. The lyrics are about childhood, and how darkness and death can seem so terrifying. So they lie about being immortal as a way to deal with it. It's very bittersweet and lovely, and quite dramatic.
Cover My Eyes is a good song. I like it as an end to the album, but it could be better. It has a slightly different vibe to the songs that come before, I guess. I enjoy the sense of hopelessness, and completely giving in to darkness.
The Long Way Home, however, is completely redundant. Cover My Eyes should end the album. I honestly don't understand why this is here. It starts in the same key and is very similar, except it's shorter, and not as good, and doesn't end as well. It feels like an weird extension of the last song that has no reason to be there.
Given my reviews on all of the songs, you can clearly see why I would want to listen to the album in a different way than was intended. The songs that are good here are very good, sometimes amazing. But I hardly ever listen to the whole thing like this, which is a shame.
" Out into the dark I stared out here at the edge of the world
I made a promise to never grow up and forget all the days here when I was so young "
Superstition is the sixth studio album released by The Birthday Massacre, released in 2014.
After, in my opinion, their least consistent album, comes their most consistent. Supersition is just super solid. It has no super weak songs, and plenty of strong ones.
Divide is yet another brilliant beginning song. I really enjoy the main melody. The lyrics really stand out. "In the dawn, we follow the path away from the sun." "Reaching out, into the dark, and out of the light." It's very dramatic and just feels quite special to me somehow.
Diaries is wonderful. This song has a very mystical feel with how it glides from one chord to another. "You're dreaming and so am I." Really enjoy the drums in the middle of the verses. Yeah! Just great song.
Superstition, the title track, is a strange one. It feels a lot slower and longer than most others, so the vibe is different. Really like the verses and their imagery. The choruses have an interesting rhythm to them. And the parts in between have got sweet beats and nice chords. Good song.
Destroyer is definitely my least favorite on the album, but it's not bad. It does start off boring as hell with the simplest beat possible. But the verses are cool, with the seldom-heard whisper/growl thing going on. The chorus is kind of simple too and not very good. And the bridge is also boring. It's an all right song.
Surrender is better. It's got the whole breathing thing, which is cool. Like the topic of the lyrics, it's interesting. One thing in the verses that's so cool is how like, on the first beat, it bangs, and then a bit after, it's like you're hearing an aftershock, or something, whatever. Like it pulses out. It's a cool effect. Bridge is better too. Like how the first chorus is short, and then the next ones add to it.
Oceania is beautiful. It's so romantic and magical. You don't know who or where you are, all you can do is keep going and stay by those you're with. Something pretty about that. The way Chibi sings these lyrics is so cute and, like, really nice. It's got that sort of "childish" tone.
Rain is a good song. It feels like a wave of sound. Like the rain is just washing you away. But the verses go super quiet, which I think is cool. Not many lyrics that aren't "falling like the rain", but they're good. The song is repetitive definitely, but it doesn't bother me. It's a vibe. And you can faintly hear screams at the end which is cool.
Beyond ughhhhhhhh. One of my favorite songs by the band. This is everything I love about The Birthday Massacre. Sooo so beautiful. Whole song is perfect. Probably my favorite bridge out of any of their songs. Not much to say, it's just a perfect song, and makes my body go cold.
The Other Side is cool because it's actually NOT 4/4. (Imagine that!?) It's actually 7/4!!! Well... at least during the riff parts. The rest is common time. This song has an otherwordly quality to it. Honestly, I think the riffs don't quite fit the rest of the song. Both because they're different time signatures (which can work, just don't think it does particularly well here) and because it's tonally very different. The verses and chorus feel very ghostly and sad, but the riff is sort of angry-sounding? Idk, whatever. Love the lyrics for the verses.
Trinity is a great, great ending track. As of now, this is the last instrumental track they have released. And they have not released many. It doesn't overstay, it just feels like a solid closer with very nice melody. And the way it ends is really cool too.
Mostly just great stuff! There are many common themes in this album. Water especially, and the three children. Could make some sort of headcanon for this one in the future as well. I think this is overall their most solid album, love it.
" Caught up in the waves, in death of the day
Sing like sirens in shadows
As blue turns to grey, in youth and decay
Turning oceans to shallows "
Under Your Spell is the seventh studio album by The Birthday Massacre, released in 2017.
This album was the most recent one released when I first got into the band. As for how much I like it, it is definitely one of the weaker ones, in my opinion. The lyrical themes are much more about love, and so overall they're less dark and cool to me.
One is a great song. I really like the main melody and chord progression. It does a great job of portraying the feeling of loneliness and fading away. It's quite beautiful. One of my favorites on the album.
The title track is quite a different one from the band. This one is very clearly about a failed relationship. The first verse is very quiet and barren, putting all the focus on the lyrics. This builds up into a much louder and dramatic chorus, which bleeds into the next verse. But this song actually follows verse-chorus-verse-chorus-verse-chorus, although the final verse is actually just the pre-chorus and contains a small bridge. The pre-chorus lyrics are all different, but contain the same rhyming scheme, so it can be difficult to remember which is which ahaha. This isn't one of my favorite songs from the band, but it is good, and has a unique vibe.
All Of Nothing starts out with like... a very interesting sound. The rhythm isn't immediately established but then it is, and it's good like, really cool noises!! Idk, just go listen to it and you'll know what I mean. As for this song, I like the drawn out way she sings the word "you", leading into these forceful crashes. And then it's verse-chorus-verse-chorus, but after that, it's just got this cool instrumental section that ends really nicely, without the need for a third chorus. I like it.
Without You, to be honest, is probably one of the most average songs they have ever made. It's like... yep, it sure is a Birthday Massacre song. It's not particularly good or bad. But I still like it, because the average Birthday Massacre song is good. Nothing else to really say about it.
Counterpane rules. It's the heaver riff song on the album, and the riff rocks. Again, the verses are quieter while the choruses are louder. They both do really cool rhythmic stuff that I love. The bridge is one of the better ones the band has ever done. Not to the level of Beyond's, but it's actually unique and has lyrics and builds tension. Sick song.
Unkind is an interesting song for me. I used to think it was pretty generic as well, but now it gives me very different vibes. For me personally, it always makes me picture a dark grey, cloudy, rainy day. The lyrics are nothing special, apart from "A gentle poison to calm my soul, we dance in the halls of our twilight." There's something so dreamy and dreary about this song that I dig.
Games is one song I skip on this album. It's not a terrible song. My main problems with it are the chorus and the chord structure. The verse and chorus have the same chord structure, which means you're kind of listening to the same thing over and over again, and it gets repetitive. And the chorus' lyrics consist of "I want the stars in your eyes, I'll take the stars from your eyes," and that's it. The bridge does a cool thing for a second. I'm also not a big fan of using the word "again" to rhyme with words like "name" and "game", because that's not how the word is actually pronounced. So for a lot of reasons, I just pass on this one.
Hex is a song that I like a lot more. It's got a pretty good rhythm. It's another song of love, which is whatever. But I do like the lyrics of the chorus: "Binds of hex and magic. A sight to blur your open eyes. Blinding love, so tragic. Tonight your heart is broken." And especially the second part that enters in later, which is sung really well: "Supernatural~ I'll be the one that you let behind the wall. Supernatural~ I'll be the one that will watch you as you fall." Good stuff.
No Tomorrow is the other one I skip. This one's.... okayy, but I never really get much from it. The verses are good, but the chorus doesn't really work for me. And then the bridge is honestly kinda silly? Like everything after the second chorus doesn't do it for me :/ just don't like the song very much.
The Lowest Low comes next, and I always felt that this should be the final song instead. It's much slower, and its ending is more satisfying, than the actual ending song of the album. It just feels more like an ending song to me. This one is okay. I don't love it either. I like the lyric "When you collapse, all the colors change. Like a hexagon storm." That's some cool imagery.
And finally, there is Endless. This is a good one. For me, the main melody shines here, and the chorus: "All rivers lead into a dark and endless sea. Memories bleed into a cold and dreamless sleep." That's some classic dark Birthday Massacre poetry. Once again, I feel that this song should be the penultimate one, and The Lowest Low should be the final one, as this song's ending feels like something comes after, in my opinion.
So, overall, I feel like this album has a couple of duds and only a few ones I really like. I don't dislike Under Your Spell, but it definitely comes off as one of the weaker ones to me. Sometimes I'll get a craving to listen to it though.
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