Kill Hannah

Since the mid-'90s, Chicago-based goth darlings Kill Hannah have been making electronic pop-rock that's synth-heavy, dramatic, and danceable. But it wasn't until 2002, when the band signed with Atlantic Records and later released its third LP, For Never & Ever, that Kill Hannah started to gain major popularity. As you might have guessed, the group's name was inspired by a short-lived romance between lead singer Mat Devine and his girlfriend Hannah — but not to worry; the band's four-album catalog is hardly devoted solely to breakups, heartache, and revenge. Sure, they frequently address love and romance, but they also write songs about using drugs, chasing dreams, and wanting fast and glamorous lifestyles. On what is probably the quintet's most famous song, "Kennedy," Devine sings: "I wanna be a Kennedy/I wanna be tall and handsome/I'd conquer the world/And you'd see it on television." Far from being a Ken doll or power-hungry elitist, Devine usually wears makeup and military jackets, and he has an unmistakable androgynous vocal style that is full of confidence and vulnerability, similar to Billy Corgan or Pet Shop Boys. You'll remember Kill Hannah most for the cathartic, crunchy glam-rock and emotional borderline-stalker lyrics. Case in point is an excerpt from "Scream," during which Devine sweetly croons: "I carved your name into my arm/So I would remember you." Uh, sure. There's absolutely nothing creepy about that.

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Monica Cady