march vladness: the tournament of goth

March Vladness, which took place in March 2019, was the latest in our series of yearly March-Madness-style tournaments of essays about songs. Writers & musicians each take on a song from the 64-song field, and we play the tournament off, essay vs essay and song vs song, each game decided by popular vote, until we crown a champion at month’s end. 

If you’re here late to the game, which you probably are, it’s worth mentioning that you can read all 64 essays in this year’s tournament under GAMES above or under the March Vladness tab. Plus we have more original ESSAYS and POEMS relating to Vladness (or previous Xnesses). Hit em up above.

We’ll be shifting over to the 2020 theme, March Badness, being the worst songs to crack the Top 5 of the US Billboard Hot 100, 1970-1989, in June. More details on that longlist to come, but if you have an interest in writing for the tournament, you’ll want to tweet at us or hit us up on email. We’ll be doing a draft in the summer for the 64 spots, since we anticipate having more interest. So send us your interest ASAP to get involved. We often have a waitlist in case folks bail later, too, so you can get on that if you miss the draft.

Signed, The March Xness Selection Committee

Complete youtube playlist 💀💀💀 Spotify (mostly complete) playlist.

past games / results

(all games begin and end at 9am Arizona time)

the consolation match — april 1

(3) Ministry, “Every Day is Halloween” scared off (10) Chameleons, “Swamp Thing” 105-101

the championship — MARCH 29

(13) The Cruxshadows, “Marilyn My Bitterness” defeated (11) The Creatures, “Exterminating Angel” 1294-214
& are crowned Champions of March Vladness!

final four — MARCH 27

(13) The Cruxshadows, “Marilyn My Bitterness” beat down (3) Ministry, “Every Day is Halloween” 1042-234

final four — MARCH 26

(11) The Creatures, “Exterminating Angel” dropped the curtain on (6) Christian Death, “Figurative Theatre” 168-137

the elite 8 — MARCH 25

(13) The Cruxshadows, “Marilyn My Bitterness” drained (10) Chameleons, “Swamp Thing” 1206-225
(3) Ministry, “Every Day is Halloween” toppled (1) Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Cities in Dust” 158-155

the elite 8 — MARCH 22

(11) The Creatures, “Exterminating Angel” staked (1) Bauhaus, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” 138-133
(6) Christian Death, “Figurative Theatre” put to bed (5) Peter Murphy, “All Night Long” 184-182

the Sweet 16 — MARCH 16

(10) Chameleons, “Swamp Thing” swatted (6) The Cramps, “Human Fly” 111-87
(1) Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Cities in Dust” beat (5) Cocteau Twins, “Blood Bitch” 116-97

the Sweet 16 — MARCH 18

(1) Bauhaus, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” downed (4) The Church, “Reptile” 130-78
(6) Christian Death, “Figurative Theatre” outlasted (2) Nine Inch Nails, “The Perfect Drug” 121-81

the Sweet 16 — MARCH 19

(11) The Creatures, “Exterminating Angel” defeathered (7) Swans, “Let It Come Down” 105-54
(5) Peter Murphy, “All Night Long” swatted (9) Birthday Party, “Release the Bats” 162-66

the Sweet 16 — MARCH 20

(3) Ministry, “Every Day is Halloween” dropped (15) Sex Gang Children, “Dieche” 150-53
(13) The Cruxshadows, “Marilyn My Bitterness” toppled (1) Sisters of Mercy, “Lucretia My Reflection” 1617-1567


(11) The Creatures, “Exterminating Angel” exterminated (3) Depeche Mode, “Fly on the Windscreen” 110-86
(2) Nine Inch Nails, “The Perfect Drug” held off (7) Tones on Tail, “Go!” 104-96
(6) The Cramps, “Human Fly” buzzed past (14) The Wake, “Christine” 96-80
(1) Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Cities in Dust” dusted (8) Shriekback, “Nemesis” 142-102


(4) The Church, “Reptile” defeated (5) Dead Can Dance, “The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove” 124-113
(15) Sex Gang Children, “Dieche” upset (7) Type O Negative, “Black No. 1 (Little Miss Scare-All) 82-81
(5) Peter Murphy, “All Night Long” outlasted (13) Tear Garden, “In Search of My Rose” 193-123
(10) Chameleons, “Swamp Thing” toppled (2) Joy Division, “Dead Souls” 109-80


(1) Bauhaus, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” crushed (9) The Damned, “Shadow of Love” 147-30
(6) Christian Death, “Figurative Theatre” outlasted (3) Echo & the Bunnymen, “The Killing Moon” 152-142
(13) The Cruxshadows, “Marilyn My Bitterness” silenced (5) Mazzy Star, “Mary of Silence” 502-82
(5) Cocteau Twins, “Blood Bitch” soaked (4) The Cult, “Rain”First Round 79-62


(7) Swans, “Let It Come Down” smashed (2) Smashing Pumpkins, “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” 96-68
(9) Birthday Party, “Release the Bats” cured (1) The Cure, “The Hanging Garden” 209-203
(3) Ministry, “Every Day is Halloween” converted (6) Fields of the Nephilim, “Preacher Man” 216-198
(1) Sisters of Mercy, “Lucretia My Reflection” beat down (8) This Mortal Coil, “Kangaroo” 110-38

First Round — March 1

(4) The Church, “Reptile” defeated (13) 16 Horsepower, “Black Soul Choir” 118-42
(1) The Cure, “The Hanging Garden” defeated (16) The Bolshoi, “By the River” 156-52
(6) Fields of the Nephilim, “Preacher Man” defeated (11) Lords of the New Church, “Dance with Me” 173-153
(6) The Cramps, “Human Fly” defeated (11) The Cranes, “Starblood” 99-52

First Round — March 2

(3) Depeche Mode, “Fly on the Windscreen” defeated (14) The Grinning Plowman, “Koo-ka” 115-63
(7) Tones on Tail, “Go!” defeated (10) Inkubus Sukkubus, “Vampyre Erotica” 86-58
(15) Sex Gang Children, “Dieche” upset (2) Marilyn Manson, “Beautiful People” 99-83
(8) This Mortal Coil, “Kangaroo” edged (10) Xmal Deutschland, “Mondlicht” 101-91

First Round — March 3

(11) The Creatures, “Exterminating Angel” upset (6) The Mission UK, “Deliverance” 130-53
(13) Tear Garden, “In Search of My Rose” knocked off (4) Concrete Blonde, “Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)” 105-101
(1) Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Cities in Dust” crushed (16) London After Midnight, “Kiss” 157-31
(5) Mazzy Star, “Mary of Silence” defeated (12) Death in June, “Little Black Angel” 91-68

First Round — March 4

(5) Dead Can Dance, “The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove” shrivelled (12) Virgin Prunes, “Baby Turns Blue” 121-47
(5) Peter Murphy, “All Night Long” buried (12) His Name Is Alive, “How Ghosts Affect Relationships” 163-60
(8) Shriekback, “Nemesis” edged (9) Q Lazzarus, “Goodbye Horses” 100-95
(1) Joy Division, “Dead Souls” held off (16) 45 Grave, “Procession” 140-106

First Round — March 5

(9) The Damned, “Shadow of Love” downed (8) Clan of Xymox, “Louise” 94-45
(2) Nine Inch Nails, “The Perfect Drug” nailed (15) Ghost Dance, “A Deeper Blue” 117-50
(7) Type O Negative, “Black No. 1 (Little Miss Scare-All)” exsanguinated (10) The Sisterhood, “Colours” 79-50
(14) The Wake, “Christine” toppled (3) Rob Zombie, “Dragula” 109-106

First Round — March 6

(1) Bauhaus, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” exsanguinated (16) Switchblade Symphony, “Clown” 156-49
(3) Echo & the Bunnymen, “The Killing Moon” eclipsed (14) Rosetta Stone, “An Eye for the Main Chance” 124-43
(5) Cocteau Twins, “Blood Bitch” defeated (12) Specimen, “Returning from a Journey” 114-54
(10) The Chameleons, “Swamp Thing” swamped (7) Alien Sex Fiend, “Now I’m Feeling Zombified” 170-111

First Round — March 7

(2) Smashing Pumpkins, “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” smashed (15) Nosferatu, “Diva” 110-75
(6) Christian Death, “Figurative Theatre” killed (11) March Violets, “Snake Dance” 104-58
(4) The Cult, “Rain” extinguished (13) Legendary Pink Dots, “The Light in My Little Girl’s Eyes” 107-54
(13) The Cruxshadows, “Marilyn My Bitterness” overshadowed (4) Nick Cave, “Red Right Hand” 690-453

First Round — March 8

(7) Swans, “Let It Come Down” defeated (10) Daisy Chainsaw, “Hope Your Dreams Come True” 77-64
(9) Birthday Party, “Release the Bats” foreclosed on (8) Modern English, “Black Houses” 105-49
(3) Ministry, “Every Day is Halloween” torched (14) Kommunity FK, “Something Inside Me Has Died” 113-37
(1) Sisters of Mercy, “Lucretia My Reflection” held off (16) A Certain Ratio, “Flight” 155-94

And while you’re here, check out some of our pre- and post-tournament essays on goth-adjacent material. Or if you want to write about something goth-adjacent, we’ll be publishing essays through the early summer, so pitch us.



The bracket is set. we welcome discussion.

And if you'd like to write for the tournament, hit us up on twitter or email ASAP. At this point we’ve already assigned all the songs for the 2019 tourney, but we sometimes need backup folks in case someone bails on their assignment. We also welcome essays and poems on songs not included in the bracket, or goth-adjacent subjects. Pitch us, as we'll publish essays and poems in the months leading up to the tournament. 

We welcome submissions or pitches for essays and poems relating to goth or any of these bands, or arguing for a band's (or song's) inclusion. We publish original essays and original and reprinted poems on related subjects before the tourney starts, so hit us up with your arguments for Valor-era Christian Death or why the Sisters of Mercy totally sold out after First and Last and Always, or essays about classic goth clubs or experiences or trying to make sense of this brilliant era of music and lifestyle and fashion and ethos.

Have a pitch or a suggestion? Hit us up on twitter or email.

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