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Best Darkness Songs: 10 Anthems That Reignited Rock Music
Suzan Moore / Alamy Stock Photo
List & Guides

Best Darkness Songs: 10 Anthems That Reignited Rock Music

From anthemic stadium-rockers to soaring power ballads, the best Darkness songs place the group among rock’n’roll’s most electrifying acts.

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Sweeping across the nation at a time when rock’n’roll was at its lowest ebb, few bands have embraced the exuberant, unapologetic spirit of classic rock quite like The Darkness. Hailing from Lowestoft, England, this hard-rock-loving quartet, formed by sibling duo Justin and Dan Hawkins, burst onto the scene in the early 2000s, armed with blistering AC/DC-esque guitar solos and a love of Queen-inspired theatrics that left audiences spellbound. As recounted in their candid documentary, Welcome To The Darkness, the group’s infectious energy and tongue-in-cheek lyricism, along with frontman Justin Hawkins’ outrageous falsetto, captured the zeitgeist of the era, propelling the group to the forefront of the modern rock scene and earning them a dedicated fanbase worldwide. Revealing how they did it are the best Darkness songs – a collection of spirited anthems that will reignite your love of rock’n’roll…

Listen to the best of The Darkness here, and check out the best Darkness songs, below.

10: Black Shuck (from ‘Permission To Land’, 2003)

As the opening track on The Darkness’ debut studio album, Permission To Land, Black Shuck is a hard-hitting rock anthem that takes inspiration from English folklore, specifically a story about a Suffolk church in the 1500s that was besieged by a devilish phantom dog. “As the legend goes, the church was attacked by a giant hellhound,” Justin Hawkins told Songfacts, “and then it burnt to the ground and everybody died.” An unequivocal head-banger among the best Darkness snogs, once Black Shuck sinks its claws into you, it never lets go, as Justin yelps with a rabid enthusiasm that’ll have the fainthearted scampering away with their tail between their legs.

9: Girlfriend (from ‘One Way Ticket To Hell… And Back’, 2005)

You can hear shades of 80s power-pop à la Rick Springfield on Girlfriend, the third single from The Darkness’ second studio album, One Way Ticket to Hell… And Back. Going Top 40 in the UK following its release in May 2006, it’s an irresistibly catchy tune, twisting and turning with light-hearted lyrics about a cheating boyfriend who faces up the realisation that his misdeeds have finally caught up with him (“You were my girlfriend and now you’re my ex”). As with many of the best Darkness songs, Girlfriend wrestles with break-up woes in characteristically tongue-in-cheek fashion, proving that cheeky humour and rollicking guitar riffs are the best bedfellows you can ask for.

9: Girlfriend (from ‘One Way Ticket To Hell… And Back’, 2005)

You can hear shades of 80s power-pop à la Rick Springfield on Girlfriend, the third single from The Darkness’ second studio album, One Way Ticket to Hell… And Back. Going Top 40 in the UK following its release in May 2006, it’s an irresistibly catchy tune, twisting and turning with light-hearted lyrics about a cheating boyfriend who faces up the realisation that his misdeeds have finally caught up with him (“You were my girlfriend and now you’re my ex”). As with many of the best Darkness songs, Girlfriend wrestles with break-up woes in characteristically tongue-in-cheek fashion, proving that cheeky humour and rollicking guitar riffs are the best bedfellows you can ask for.

8: Friday Night (from ‘Permission To Land’, 2003)

Celebrating the joys of cutting loose at the end of the working week, Friday Night is a shout-along invitation to let loose and revel in the moment. A key highlight from Permission To Land, the song boasts guitar work that is nothing short of stellar, topped off with a face-melting solo designed to get you pumped up and ready to hit the town. Shining with unapologetic hedonism and pure, unadulterated fun, it’s easily one of the best Darkness songs, fusing the catchiness of The Cure’s Friday I’m In Love with the brio of the Hawkins brothers’ hair-metal heroes.

7: Is It Just Me? (from ‘One Way Ticket To Hell… And Back’, 2005)

Released in February 2006, Is It Just Me?, the second single from One Way Ticket To Hell… And Back, peaked at No.8 in the UK, thanks in no small part to its delirious mix of self-awareness and irreverence, delivered with a sly wink and a nod. The song’s zany music video even saw Justin Hawkins don a wedding dress and marry himself, with matrimonial vows presided over by the eccentric 60s rock legend Arthur Brown, who plays the role of priest. As one of the best Darkness songs, Is It Just Me? is a raucous, feel-good romp that’s simply impossible to resist, with dollops of cheeky humour guaranteed to raise a smile.

6: Get Your Hands Off My Woman (from ‘Permission To Land’, 2003)

A fierce and unapologetic onslaught of obscenities and pent-up frustration, Get Your Hands Off My Woman introduced the world to the no-nonsense bravado of The Darkness. With relentless guitar riffs, thunderous drums and Justin Hawkins’ powerhouse vocals, the song pairs the band’s outrageously virtuosic musicianship with brash and confrontational lyrics, even dropping a C-bomb with all the jaw-dropping power of a mushroom cloud. As debut singles go, Get Your Hands Off My Woman is a sonic punch to the gut, instantly establishing The Darkness’ reputation as masters of high-octane rock’n’roll.

5: One Way Ticket (from ‘One Way Ticket To Hell… And Back’, 2005)

Produced by the legendary Queen boardsman Roy Thomas Baker, The Darkness’ second album, One Way Ticket to Hell… And Back, was a big-budget rock’n’roll marvel created in the mould of their heroes and reportedly costing around £1 million to make. As a result, its gloriously indulgent lead single, One Way Ticket, was an absolute juggernaut crammed with irreverent humour that not-so-subtly referenced cocaine addiction (“Holy coke, repeating myself, except I’m getting slightly louder”), complete with a snow-laden music video whipping up a blizzard of sheer lunacy. “We knew we’d only get one chance to do that – you can’t go through your career spending £1 million on every record,” Justin told Kerrang! magazine. “We threw everything at this song, and the album, and working with Roy was a great laugh. We spent most of every day laughing.” Peaking at No.8 in the UK, One Way Ticket easily ranks among the best Darkness songs for unleashing an avalanche of pure rock’n’roll excess the likes of which we may never see again.

4: Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End) (standalone single, 2003)

Without a doubt one of the best alternative Christmas songs ever made, Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End) saw The Darkness join forces with Alice Cooper producer Bob Ezrin in order to tackle a festive rock anthem to rival Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody, mixing holiday cheer with tongue-in-cheek humour. “The thing that was important to me was ‘bells end’ and ‘ring in piece’,” Justin Hawkins said in an interview with M magazine. “OK, they’re nearly rude. But what we had the children’s choir sing was ‘bellend’ and ‘ringpiece’.” Peaking at No.2 in the UK, the song remains a delightful blend of festive merriment and hard-rock jubilation that never fails to get listeners in the holiday mood.

3: Growing On Me (from ‘Permission To Land’, 2003)

Released independently in the summer of 2003, Growing On Me peaked at No.11 in the UK, helping to spark a major-label bidding war for The Darkness. “For a pub-rock band from Lowestoft, that’s pretty impressive,” Justin later told Planet Rock. “And with no label. We were really proud of ourselves for achieving that.” Ostensibly a love song packed with hilarious double entendres that could well be about STIs (“I want to shake you off, but you just won’t go/And you’re all over me, but I don’t want anyone to know”), Growing On Me is a seriously contagious earworm that ranks highly among the best Darkness songs for playfully blending infectious rock’n’roll energy with witty innuendos in a way that leaves listeners itching for more.

2: Love Is Only A Feeling (from ‘Permission To Land’, 2003)

Proving The Darkness can deliver heartfelt emotion as effortlessly as high-energy crowd-pleasers, the power ballad Love Is Only A Feeling was released as the fifth single from Permission To Land, and peaked at No.5 in the UK. “It’s a song about the nature of how love works,” Justin told Classic Rock magazine. “It’s about how wonderful love makes you feel, but also to have a word with yourself about the reality of it. Love’s brilliant, but watch out: Words to live by.” Accompanied by a music video shot in the Blue Mountains of Australia, Love Is Only A Feeling is a vertigo-inducing epic that balances bombast with genuine emotion, standing out among the best Darkness songs for traversing the highs and lows of romance.

1: I Believe In A Thing Called Love (from ‘Permission To Land’, 2003)

An unabashedly exuberant rock singalong that bursts forth with infectious energy, I Believe In A Thing Called Love’s playful optimism and Justin Hawkins’ soaring falsetto demands to be sung at the top of your lungs. Not only did it peak at No.2 in the UK, providing The Darkness with one the most commercially successful hits of their career, but it also gifted us with a classic rock tune tailormade for karaoke nights. “I think it sounds like it’s easy to sing but it’s not, so it invites the challenge,” Justin told Songwriter Magazine. “People want to step up to the karaoke when they hear it, because it’s deceptively acrobatic in terms of the way it’s done.” As an iconic, feel-good anthem of timeless, uplifting rock’n’roll – bolstered with one of the best music videos of the 2000s – I Believe In A Thing Called Love continues to leave listeners electrified and ready to conquer the world, and that’s why it tops this list of the best Darkness songs.

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