BROKEN PEACH – “Tainted Love (Halloween Special)” [2022]

BROKEN PEACH are known for their outlandish, specialized Halloween-centric videos, and last year they chose to cover “Tainted Love” and it’s goddamn brilliant. Of all of the videos I’ll be posting in this series, it’s my favorite because it’s so goth.

Most covers of the song submit to being relatively demure, but this? This is all wild-eyes and abandon, and I cannot get enough of it. It has a crazed energy and sensuality and theatrics, and the video is fascinating as it posits the song as folks who are trying to heal (or pleasantly hurt) in a mental hospital.

It’s perfectly choreographed for an indie ensemble video, and the spiral kickdrum is the cherry on the top. It’s a video that leaves me feeling as delightfully exhausted as it appears they are, and what more could you want from that?

(There’s also a brief switch to “Sweet Dreams” and goddamn, it’s perfection. They fucking nailed what they wanted to do in every which way.)


DEATHLINE INT’L – “Tainted Love”

As an old-school goth/rivethead, this is my personal favorite cover of “Tainted Love”, possibly because it was on of the earliest covers of “Tainted Love” I heard. It captures the essence while amplifying the percussive aspects, which is all I ever want out of a cover. When I was a DJ, I worked it into my playlist any which way I could, and I never apologized for it.

GLORIA JONES – “Tainted Love” (1964)

I know most folks know the covers instead of the original, so I wanted to single out Gloria Jones, as she does not get enough credit for fronting this song. Her vocals come across as percussive whip-snaps, and the orchestration is incredible. Perfectly Motown. It’s her delivery that has made this song a mainstay to cover in the best way.

I’ll note that she revisited it in 1976, serving up a huskier, more disco-esque version that, while fun, lacks the verve of the original.

“Tainted Love” Week

Welcome to “Tainted Love” week! “Tainted Love” is one of those few perfect pop songs that are amazingly specific, but at the same time can be construed in multi-faceted ways; it could be about a bad break-up, or could be about abuse or a traumatic relationship. There’s no wrong way to listen to it!

If you were/are a youth clubbing, this song — in one of its many variations — is an absolute staple. I can’t feature all of the covers — there are so many — but I can pinpoint my favorites, so buckle up!


I know COCAINE BEAR — the “inspired by true events” film — sounds like a straight-to-SyFy production. It is exactly what the title is: it’s about a bear in the woods, jacked up on cocaine, and matters escalate.

However, director Elizabeth Banks — a relentless actor/director — goes for fucking broke with it. The script is whip-smart, it’s perfectly paced, it’s hilarious but also strangely sensitive both in tone, character approach, and its visual approach — it has gore, but it doesn’t luxuriate in it — and oddly it reminds me of both THE GOONIES and ALIEN3. To say why might spoil matters, but: it’s a brilliant combination.

Also, Banks must have called in all of her favors, because this cast — Keri Russel, Ray Liotta, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Margo Martindale, Ayoola Smart! (Also a barely present Matthew Rhys, so they got all of THE AMERICANS!) — would seem to be above what sounds like schlock. (Well, maybe not Ray Liotta [R.I.P.]) However, they all commit and give commanding performances!

This is a small note, but Banks really captures the essence of exploring a forest trail. There were a few shots where I said to myself: “Wow, this unnervingly feels like my backwoods.” (Because of course, having previously lived in Vermont, our backyard was basically one big forest, and also had guideposts and maps and signs to help navigate.)

I went into it expecting the film to be a lark, but I was shocked by how well-executed it was. This is an exceptional genre picture, and I’m slightly upset that there were only three other people in the audience with me — for a 4:20 Friday screening, nonetheless — which indicates … it’s under-appreciated. Hopefully it’ll find its audience in the future, because it deserves proper cult status.

One ding: I really wish they didn’t lean so hard into the “inspired by true events” bit. The events that happen here are outlandish enough that I don’t want to think about them happening to actual folks, and I imagine that there’s a lot of imagination and exaggeration going on. It feels completely unnecessary.


The Vic, a Chicago-based music venue, used to host film screenings whenever bands weren’t playing there, sometimes even indulging in triple-screenings that would extend well-beyond midnight. It was called ‘Brew & View’ and I still rave about what I can’t remember about the strangest triple-feature I’ve ever seen screened: THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, LORD OF THE RINGS: TWO TOWERS, and JASON X.

If I had my way, I’d totally delight in screening a triple-feature of this, ROAR, and ALIEN3. But that’s just me.


(PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox) One of my favorite things about LIFE IS STRANGE is its episodic fragmentation because it allows me to detail specific things I love about the series without having to write everything into one long post.

So, yes, I’m totally using the remastered version — which includes the first game and BEFORE THE STORM — to summarize everything I wasn’t able to shoehorn in before about the first game. (There will be one last post about the BEFORE THE STORE remaster!)

[Slight spoilers below!]

The fourth episode of the initial game is absolutely brutal, but also very memorable. Max’s time use inadvertently affecting her best friend is heart-rending, and the two of them reconnecting — a second time — is extremely emotional in a way that I’ve never felt in another game.

At the end, well, I’ve witnessed others going through what Max is tasked to do, and — the way I played it — goddamn, in real life I was just an observer, there for comfort, but holy hell. My face gets wet just thinking about it.

I’ve said it before: this is just life. Life is hard. Nothing and no one can prepare you for what you’re going to live through, because everyone’s journey is different. But if you can find folks that can help navigate you through, you’re very lucky, and that’s why the fourth episode is so tough for me, because of the loss, and because of the changes.

While I absolutely love this series — it’s certainly one of my all-time favorites — this remaster? It kinda sucks. Visually, sure, it’s slightly glossier — oddly, Rachel seems to have the best glow-up — but doesn’t add much except for major loading times and overly severe and distracting lighting. (I’ll note that I played it via Switch — loading times may be faster via your Xbox.) While the original was slightly janky, this feels terribly unpolished and I encountered a number of bugs and crashes, which is weird for a remaster. Frankly, I’m pleased I played the original digital copies when initially writing about this series, because that felt more natural and playable. It certainly doesn’t look as crisp or play as well as TRUE COLORS.

Nonetheless, I was very happy to see Chloe and Max together again, although watching Chloe and knowing what will happen made me constantly well-up. I kept thinking: “This isn’t fair. I just want the best for them!” Granted, that’s the sort of emotional response any writer wants to hear when they pen something, but goddamnit, as someone playing the game, it’s rough. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I did try to lighten her load.

I hope I’ve convinced you to at least try the series, no matter which way you can. It’s absolutely something special and evocative and overly emotional and I love it. This is a series of games that will most certainly inspire and influence future game designers and developers, and it’s extremely rare to know that upon initially playing a game. It’s so raw and heartfelt and, as I’ve said before, it’s hard to believe it even exists. It was a huge swing on behalf of Don’t Nod and they knocked it out of the park, and it’s something that will live with me always.


In case you weren’t aware, I’m an old-school goth, firmly aware that early ROSETTA STONE was basically SISTERS OF MERCY mimicry.

But with -The Tyranny of Inaction- and the -nothing- E.P. they turned the corner and merged their sound with a more electro-infused sensibility and remixed some of their older work into far more invigorating pieces, such as -Adrenaline-.

I’m stupidly physically hyper-sensitive to a debilitating extent, but extremely percussive songs really help me cope for some reason, and I absolutely thrill to not just this song, but this very succinct remix. I visibly glow while listening to it and just want to launch myself around. It’s a very fun time.

GRIS (2019) [REDUX]

I feel like I did this game dirty in my initial write-up, so I wanted to revisit it. Granted, I extolled the game in my first write-up, but neglected to mention my favorite part of the game: the sound design. It’s so goddamn aurally tactile in a way that is utterly delightful. I repeatedly rewatch the trailer, just to hear her leap and splash. It’s amazing, and I feel like a shitheel for not boosting that facet originally. I’ve previously stated that I’m stupidly physical — I’m the kinda person who will launch himself onto curbs just to feel oft-kilter — and this is a game that wants to feel felt and I love that about it, and can’t help but embrace it.

It’s an astounding, remarkable achievement, and one well-worth playing.