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Vampires as a Metaphor for Societal Issues

          Vampires have been used in music as a metaphor for a variety of contemporary issues. Neil Young’s “Vampire Blues” (1974) is one such example. This song relates vampires to the oil industry.

          This song uses the sinister aspects of vampire lore as a metaphor for the greed and destruction of the oil industry. It was written as a response to the Oil Crises of the 1970s where gas prices reached an all-time high and led to rampant inflation and unemployment, (Amadeo 2022). 

          The lyrics in the song make obvious connections between vampire traits and oil tycoons. “Suckin' blood from the earth,” in this line oil is the fuel source derived from the Earth and is analogous to blood in humans, with the big oil companies, the vampires, taking advantage of the Earth, their victim. It also uses the bat as another way to reference vampires, as is common in vampire stories, “Well, I'm a black bat, babe, I need my high octane.”​

          Another song that uses vampires as a metaphor for social issues is “We Suck Young Blood” by Radiohead (2003). Unlike "Vampire Blues" which uses vampire imagery to make a point about a specific problem, this song sues a broader metaphor for vampires, equating them to a whole generation.


          The vampires in this song are the elder generation who are seen as sucking the life out of the younger population. They are old and powerful and young people are at their mercy. The song is fairly short and the only overtly vampiric lyrics is "We suck young blood" and "We want the sweet meats, We want young blood," but taken as a whole the song paints a picture of the few people in power draining the life of the young who make up the backbone of the working population. 

Are you hungry?
Are you sick?
Are you begging for a break?
Are you sweet?
Are you fresh?
Are you strung up by the wrists?

We want the young blood
Are you fracturing?
Are you torn at the seams?
Would you do anything?
Flea-bitten? Moth eaten?

We suck young blood
We suck young blood
Won't let that creeping ivy
Won't let the nervous bury me
Our veins are thin
Our rivers poisoned
We want the sweet meats
We want young blood

          This particular video makes that commentary more poignant, as the creator used images and scenes from the Noserfatu (1922) movie as the backdrop for the song, highlighting the dark, sinister mood of the song and its commentary on society. 

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