Music: The Darkness

The Darkness circa 2012. From left to right: Dan Hawkins, Justin Hawkins, Ed Graham and Frankie Poullain

The Darkness are a British glam rock band formed in 2000. The band consists of Justin Hawkins (lead vocals, guitar), his brother Dan Hawkins (backing vocals, guitar), Frankie Poullain (bass, backing vocals) and Ed Graham (drums). They've released 3 albums to date: Permission to Land (2003), One Way Ticket... To Hell And Back (2005) and Hot Cakes (2012).

Before The Darkness, Justin and Dan were in a band named Empire. In this case, Dan was the lead singer and Justin was on guitar. Justin managed to become lead singer after doing an amazing version of Bohemian Rhapsody at a karaoke party, which reportedly involved many starjumps. It's around this time they left Empire behind and began focusing on a new project: The Darkness.

They called in Ed Graham to play Drums, and they met Frankie Poullain in London. They began doing the pub circuit to moderate success; their shows were so good they had a place in a music festival lineup before they had their first album. The British press went nuts, considering The Darkness as no more than a mediocre joke who would burn out in a few weeks.

And then they released Permission to Land. It was a smash hit.

Since then, they've released 3 albums. After the second one, One Way Ticket... To Hell And Back, Justin checked himself into rehab for his cocaine habit. Despite the band announcing a third album by the end of 2007, Justin got out of rehab and chose to leave the group, effectively breaking up The Darkness. They reunited in 2011 over an Indian dinner, and since then have released Hot Cakes and Last of Our Kind.

Not to be confused with the the comic The Darkness, nor its video game adaptation.

Studio Discography

  • Permission to Land (2003)
  • One Way Ticket to Hell...And Back (2005)
  • Hot Cakes (2012)
  • Last of Our Kind (2015)

The Darkness provide examples of:

  • Absolute Cleavage: A male variation. Justin used to wear tights which covered his legs and arms, but left his chest bare.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: "Holding My Own"
  • Awesome Music:
    • Street Spirit (Fade Out)
    • Barbarian
    • Mighty Wings
  • Audience Participation Song: All of them.
  • Badass Mustache: Justin's mustache is a sight to behold.
  • The Band Minus the Face: The "One Way Ticket" line up (with a new bassist, since Richie Edwards moved up to playing rhythm guitar and lead vocals) formed Stone Gods after Justin Hawkins left the band. Also inverted, since Justin formed Hot Legs during the break up. Both released one album each, Silver Spoons & Broken Bones and Red Light Fever respectively, before the reunion.
  • British Rockstars
  • Camp: Justin Hawkins is the embodiment of camp.
  • Cover Version: Used to do various covers during live shows, ranging from AC/DC to Queen to Radiohead. They included a cover of "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" on Hot Cakes.
  • Christmas Songs: "Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End)"
  • Credits Gag: In the video for "Everybody Have A Good Time".
  • Darker and Edgier: Last of Our Kind
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: "Hazel Eyes" does this.
  • Genre Throwback: To the Hard Rock and Hair Metal of the 70s and 80s.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: A giant squid attacks The Darkness' spaceship in the video for "I Believe In A Thing Called Love".
  • Hair Metal: A throwback to the genre.
  • Heavy Mithril: Many of the songs on Last of Our Kind invoke Middle Ages imagery, with Justin describing the album as "medieval rock".
  • Horny Vikings: "Barbarian" describes the Viking invasion of East Anglia.
  • In the Style of...: "Street Spirit (Fade Out)", a Progressive Rock song from Radiohead made Heavy Metal by the guys.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Justin once had a wardrobe rivaling Steven Perry's, and Frankie always seems to dress like Jimi Hendrix to match his afro.
  • Incredibly Long Note: The last notes of "Black Shuck" and "Love On The Rocks With No Ice" are incredible.
  • Large Ham: Justin, the excitable singer with the untethered falsetto.
  • Last of His Kind: "Last of Our Kind" from Last of Our Kind
  • Lighter and Softer: One Way Ticket to Hell...And Back
  • Loudness War: Regretably usual offenders, all of their albums are DR 6, at least their CD releases
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Their rock-oriented songs tend to be in the 5-6 range, with some songs in the 7 range: "Get Your Hands Off My Woman", "Street Spirit (Fade Out)", "Barbarian" and "Roaring Waters", and finally slightly scratching a 8 with the thrashy "Mighty Wings". Their power ballads drop a little lower, generally (in the 3-4 range).
  • Power Ballad:
    • "Love Is Only A Feeling" and "Holding My Own" off Permission To Land.
    • "Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time" from One Way Ticket To Hell.
    • "Living Each Day Blind" and "Forbidden Love" from Hot Cakes.
    • "Wheels of the Machine", "Conquerors" and "Sarah O'Sarah" from Last of Our Kind.
  • Pun: These guys love puns.
    • "Holding My Own" is a song about masturbation.
    • "Love On The Rocks With No Ice" manage to be a drinking pun and relationship pun at the same time.
    • There's a clever joke at the start of the "Everybody Have A Good Time" video.
    • "Growing On Me" is an interesting case: all signs point to it being about some sort of STD, but The Darkness has said that was not the focus of the song at all.
    • Averted. "Mudslide" could confuse some to be about a certain act but it is about Exactly What It Says on the Tin
  • Reconstruction: Of 70s and 80s Hard Rock. A lot of people couldn't tell if they were joking or not and assumed they were an Affectionate Parody.
  • Rule of Cool
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: Justin had to leave due to the copious amounts of drugs and alcohol he was consuming. At one point, he'd do a show before disappearing for days at a time, barely sleeping if at all. He cleaned up his addictions after the breakup, but as of the reunion and Hot Cakes there's still plenty of the sex and the rock.
  • Tentacle Rope: The "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" video was aboard a space station attacked by a space squid.