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In 2007, Projekt released Ooky Spooky in a Jewel Box. This is the 2011 Digipak reissue.
Gothic Compilation Part 37 2-CD
The Devil's Bris Deluxe Signed Edition
Zombie Prostitute (maxi) ~ SALE $2.98
PROJEKT200 [3 CD] ~ SALE $17.98
"It's a Halloween party in a jewel-box," Voltaire comments about Ooky Spooky, his most hilariously irreverent CD to date. Years in the making, Voltaire's 5th album contains a duet with The Dresden Dolls' Amanda Palmer, a track from a Cartoon Network movie plus his crowd-pleasing songs about zombies, devils and dancing skeletons. In fact necrophilia, cannibalism, prostitution, buggery, blasphemy, sacrilege, going to hell, bombing New Jersey and anal rape with a lightsaber are just a few of the charming topics covered on Ooky Spooky.
Back are the violins and cellos but new to the Voltaire sound is a horn section that brings to mind images of a mariachi skeleton band. But there is no doom and gloom here, mind you. The album bounces along with a mixture of klezmer, swing and ska that brings to mind such spooky-fun classics as Oingo Boingo's "Dead Man's Party" or "Hell" by the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Voltaire's love for Cab Calloway is evident in the song "Cannibal Buffet" (which seems straight from a Betty Boop cartoon) and more so in "Land of the Dead" which Voltaire wrote for the opening credit sequence of the Cartoon Network movie "Billy and Mandy's Big Boogie Adventure."
As serious as it gets on Ooky Spooky is "Stuck With You," a duet with The Dresden Dolls' Amanda Palmer. It's about a bickering married couple, but even on this one kittens are drowned, Korean bayonets are employed and skeletons sing to each other from side-by-side coffins. "I got all of the serious songs out of the way on Then And Again," comments Voltaire, "specifically so that Ooky Spooky could be a non-stop party of fun songs about the undead and hell and devils and skeletons and all of the other fun stuff that's so close to my heart."
Despite the variety in what I listen to I’ll admit that I had never heard any of Voltaire’s previous 4 albums. So with Ooky Spooky this was going to be a new experience for me. Let me just say, what an experience it was too. I really don’t know what I expected; I chose not to read the accompanying blurb until after I had given it a blast; however a Mariachi/Ska/Headfuck laced with some of the funniest lyrics I have heard for a long time was not at the top of my expectations. This truly was one Hell of a pleasant surprise.
Lyrically the main theme here is Horror, no real surprise with titles such as Land of the Dead, Day of the Dead and, in my opinion the best song title ever, Reggae Mortis. This, however, isn’t your regular Horror style music, oh no, this has the tongue firmly embedded in cheek, and quite possibly someone else’s cheek too. There honestly isn’t a serious moment on the CD, and is all the better for it. From the opening tune through to the closing Hell in a Handbasket I was chuckling away to myself.
The humor contained herein never detracted away from the music itself though. This is serious toe-tapping stuff, all strings and horns-a-blaring, as if a Mariachi band went partying with Ennio Morricone, the Cryptkeeper and a shot of Nitrous Oxide (you look it up). The music truly does defy description, needless to say though it hasn’t left my player since I received it. So often the music business, as with movies, takes itself far too seriously. With Ooky Spooky, Voltaire seems to say “Fuck that, let’s have a good laugh and forget about everything else”. I challenge you to not end up in a good mood after listening to this.
Surprisingly, or maybe not, the highlights for myself were the country tinged Cantina (you’ll never watch Stars Wars: A New Hope in quite the same light again), the fecking hilarious Bomb New Jersey and the touching love song Stuck With You, which reminded me of the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl’s Fairytale of New York, just without the Christmassy bollocks and a far darker sense of humor.
Ooky Spooky is feel good music for those that aren’t offended easily, as there are some choice lyrics about cannibalism, necrophilia and storm trooping me in the pooper, amongst many other subjects.
If you are looking for something new, and a little off the wall, I recommend you pick this up at the earliest opportunity. This is music for the open-minded and those that like a rocking good laugh!
Ooky Spooky indeed!! Rating: 3 1/2 out of 4 stars.
Not content with having reinvigorated the goth scene with gypsy strings, crooned vocals, and sardonic wit – which is to say with (gasp) actual talent and a sense of humor – he has now taken the insanity one step further and added (take heart, dear reader), a mariachi horn section. The result is something along the lines of what you might expect to hear while getting drunk at a Mexican restaurant in Transylvania on the Day of the Dead – that is, an inspired and irreverent mix of European folk and Spanish influences, with touches of swing, New Orleans jazz, country, and ska thrown in for good measure.
And this must be stopped I say, because he’s ruining things for countless mediocre stompy goth/industrial/what-have-you bands that disguise bad lyrics, worse singing, and an overall lack of talent with distorted vocal effects and who churn out 10-track albums (if you include the pretentious sample-filled “intro”) of virtually indistinguishable and interchangeable songs. How are we supposed to go back to that crap after the delightful mayhem of Ooky Spooky?
Voltaire, for the uninitiated, is a New York-based musician who also is an accomplished comic and animation artist (those of you old enough to remember when MTV actually played music might remember an innovative stop-motion station ID featuring the MTV logo stopping through an Hieronymus Bosch-inspired Hellish landscape—that’s Voltaire’s). His first release, The Devil’s Bris which came out on Projekt Records in 1998, featured all of what since have become his trademarks: violin and cello arrangements reminiscent of Eastern European folk music, a crooning style of vocal delivery that has been referred to as “goth cabaret,” and a wicked sense of fun built around gallows humor, sarcasm, and iconoclasm. Each subsequent album has offered variations on this formula, while also experimenting to varying extents with genre and approach.
Ooky Spooky is Voltaire’s fifth release and is the best thing he has put out since The Devil’s Bris—which is saying quite a bit! The album’s lead-off track, “Land of the Dead,” which was written for the Cartoon Network movie Billy and Mandy’s Big Boogie Adventure, immediately signals the overall direction of the album through a frenetic fusion of strings and brass with a swing feel—there’s even a “Pennsylvania 6-5000”-esque call and response between Voltaire and his band! Tracks 2-5 all foreground Voltaire as raconteur—as teller of ooky spooky stories. “Zombie Prostitute” recounts a clandestine encounter in a “tomb of ill-repute” that transforms the narrator into a zombie gigolo and leads toward the inevitable punchline, “Baby keep the tip.” “Cannibal Buffet” is a Cab Calloway-inspired swinging ditty about the unfortunate aftermath of a shipwreck. “Day of the Dead” is a frisky number in which a narrator, overtop Mariachi brass, recalls his experience as amazed spectator to Day of the Dead goings-on in Mexico when the dead return to the world of the living to party—particularly enjoyable in this track are moments when Voltaire’s various laughs and screams are echoed and mimicked by instruments in his band. “Blue-Eyed Matador” slows things down a bit and, overtop a “Bolero”-esque Spanish trumpet, spins a tale of a contest for the narrator’s soul in which the bull-fighter narrator unfortunately misidentifies his true opponent.
Ooky Spooky switches gears rapidly on tracks 6-8. “Bomb New Jersey” is less a story than a heartfelt plea on the part of the narrator for various invading forces to wipe New Jersey off the face of the earth. Presented as a stirring march, its hard not to read this track as at least somewhat biographical as Voltaire recounts the intolerance of New Jersey denizens toward non-conformity. Less biographical (one hopes) is “Cantina,” which undoubtedly is going to be the most talked-about song on the album. This is a fairly standard country western song complete with fiddle and acoustic guitar that tells the charming tale of a young man who wanders into the cantina from Star Wars and is gang-raped by the freakish inhabitants. I have to admit that this song struck a sour note for me—not because of its crudeness, but because of the parallel made between gays and freaks. I’ve been assured that Voltaire is in no respect homophobic and the intent of the song is wholly humorous, so you decide. “Stuck With You” changes things up again and introduces what amounts to the most serious song on the album. It’s a duet with Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls that tells the story of a bickering married couple that compete hyperbolically to one-up one another (he poked her eye, she chopped off his finger with an axe; he drowned her kittens, she stabbed his mother!) But the song – which reminds me very much of the duet between The Pogues’ Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl called “Fairytale of New York” – ends sweetly with the couple’s postmortem affirmation of their love.
Rounding out the album are three more songs each adopting a different style and approach. “Dead” shows Voltaire at his most sardonic. It starts with a Tango feel and then picks up the pace as it discusses the randomness of death, God’s perversity, and the futility of prayer: “So don’t bother asking for cures or an answer. / God is the one who gave you the cancer.” “Reggae Mortis” tells the story of an encounter with a Jamaican zombie which prompts the narrator to ponder, “What if I were to give that stiff a spliff?” Of all the different styles deployed on Ooky Spooky, Voltaire seems least comfortable here with the Reggae, which may be because his vocal style doesn’t easily lend itself to the genre. The album concludes with the absolutely brilliant “Hell in a Handbasket.” This is a New Orleans-style jazz track along the lines of “When the Saints Go Marching In” but Voltaire isn’t marching off to see the angels. Instead, he’s headed to the true land down under – where he’ll be in good company! In typical Voltaire tongue-in-cheek style, this infectious track is less about the supernatural and more about the hypocrisy of the self-righteous who invent the idea of hell and foist it on others. The only ones truly going to hell, according to Voltaire, are the “poor fools who believe.”
Ooky Spooky is a blast and one hopes that the album will find a wider audience than the insular goth/industrial community because it has so much to offer. It is witty, accomplished, and ranges widely in terms of style while retaining a playful emphasis on all things dark and spooky. On second thought, it’s not Voltaire that needs to be stopped; rather, it’s everyone else who should stop and listen to Voltaire.
Rating: 4 stars out of 4 Great If You Like: Tim Burton productions like The Corpse Bride and Nightmare Before Christmas, Danny Elfman, The Decemberists. -Cypher
In 'Bomb New Jersey' Voltaire tells what he would wish to do to get that garden state, which brings him bad memories regarding the people's mentality, wiped off the face of the earth. : 'I would go tell Jong Il Kim that they're making fun of him in a kimchi-hating town that's known as New Jersey. Better yet I've got a plan. I will convince Pakistan that India can be found somewhere in new Jersey.' en 'It's a place named after a sweatshirt. So what more can you expect, sir? And if you try to express your individuality they will throw you to the ground and they'll kick you in the teeth. Like they did to me' are examples of the very humoristic lyrics with a serious undertone in this song. In 'Day of the Dead' Voltaire gets acquainted with the skeletons of the dead who celebrate their yearly party because hell is full for the moment. This is all packaged into a musical coat which sounds like a zombie Mariachi band is arranging the music to this party. In 'Cantina' Voltaire has an adventure on the planet Tatooine where he went to a cantina just for an orangina, but instead experiences anal rape by Star Wars figures weaponed with light swords: 'All manner of men and beasts were starin' at me. Seems just one week before, their Twylek slave girl walked out the door, and i guess i was the next best thing they'd seen. I was hit over the head by old Han Solo. I'd never guessed that pirate was a homo. I woke up nest to Chewbacca. I was smeared in Wookie kaka...oh, Greedo greedily grabbed his green weenie....he pulled me into Jabba's hut. He stared intently at my butt. And then he Oota-toota'd me with his zucchini'. Musicwise packaged into a country song, for god's sake! Very fucking funny!
Furthermore Ooky Spooky has songs of which the titles speak for themselves regarding the content, such as 'Reggae Mortis' and 'Hell in a Handbasket'. 'Stuck With You' is a duet with Amanda Palmer from Dresden Dolls that deals with a quarreling couple that after having done terrible things to eachother such as drowning kittens, stabbing a mother to death with a Korean banyonet, pulling out the eyes and chopping of the thumb, and with a feelling of sentiment are complaining that they are still next to each other in the grave. . 'Land of the Dead' deals with the adventures of Grim, better known as grim reaper: 'The Minotaur is my butler, the Cyclops my valet. A Centaur drives my chariot that takes me down the way. Over a river made of fire, through a street that's paved in bones. I've got a dozen zombie skeletons to walk me to my throne.....I've got a dragon's blood jacuzzi the Gorgons think is cool and a seven-headed Hydra living in my swimming pool'. This song is also in the opening credits of the Cartoon Network series Mandy's Big Boogie Adventure. Voltaire has managed with this album to show he is on top of his game with genre defying music that takes the cliche themes adressed to the gothic subculture, such as hell, skeletons, zombies, death and the devil, and thematically exploits that to the fullest with humour and very versatile music as his strongest weapon. A very cool album! Rating: 9 out of 10. -TekNoir
Of course, it isn't all ghosts and ghouls. "Cantina," Voltaire's send up of every Star Wars fan's favorite watering hole, bends much beloved characters in the most bawdy of ways, while "Bomb New Jersey" gives several cogent reasons for the annihilation of the Garden State. "Hell in a Handbasket" returns to the heretical roots of Voltaire's "God Thinks," giving hypocritical religion a hymn that's hard to forget. (See also: "Dead.") And Voltaire's duet with The Dresden Doll's Amanda Palmer is to die for. Literally. Kittens are drowned, mothers are stabbed with bayonets, and yet somehow they manage a sweet sentiment out of all the blood and gore.
On Ooky Spooky Voltaire has kept the Old World gypsy style of his previous work mostly intact in the face of an ever expanding repertoire of musical styles. The addition of jazzy horns on several of the album's best songs adds another interesting layer that gives a definite party feel to the album as a whole. Ooky Spooky may just replace "The Monster Mash" and "Dead Man's Party" as your Samhain shindig soundtracks. You really can't go wrong with an album that references both sodomy and cannibalism. Rating: 4.5 out of 5. -Jack
In a musical landscape where the violin dances and a mariachi sub-strata is threatened by a lurching beat, humour is scattered throughout, with singalong dementia everywhere. ‘Land Of The Dead’ skips into life with lyrics like Flipron set to Imbecilic. ‘Zombie Prostitute’ is frillier, with filthy revelations thrown into a corpseabilly racket, horns blaring blearily. ‘Cannibal Buffet’ capers capably with a boozy bubbling shuffle but it’s one jape too many, even at this stage, when there’s plenty of possibilities of musical dexterity inherent in these compositions to make this all a bit darker, but they’ve gone for the open-headed idiocy, which is fine, but you know it could also be something else. Slapstick wins out every time.
‘Day Of The Dead’ keeps thing simpler and it works better for it, with the creamier ‘Blue-eyed Matador’ also rejuvenating your ears somewhat after such saucier openers. Unfortunately ‘Bomb New Jersey’ was slipped onto the record without anybody sentient aware of this sabotage, and its excruciating irritations will always ruin the record. I can imagine his resentment bearing lyrical fruit sometime but this is such a lightweight item full of naff International jokes it could have been left off instead of simply going off.
‘Cantina’ is back to prime filth, a mock C&W treat for Star War fans as our heroic protagonist gets buggered endlessly by most of the main characters who all happen to drink here. It’s disgusting brilliance carries on getting worse. Lynda was so taken by this she’s seriously thinking of performing it at a show sometime, to her usual audience of the prim and proper of Surrey, who found her choice of an old Roches song wild enough the last time she did something similar. So I look forward to that, just as Voltaire is already keeping a date free for his invitation to the Grand Ole Opry.
‘Stuck With You’ is serious again, with a comparatively sedate rhythm and mellow violin, the male/female vocals doing a Voltaire equivalent of ‘Fairtytale Of New York’ Early on you get ‘You’re one to talk sleepyhead, get your fat arse out of bed.’ This gravitates towards, “You poked my eye, I wear a patch, I should’ve given you one to match / Did you forget, you got me back? You chopped my thumb off with an axe”, and that’s me choosing the more polite exchanges. Then it ends happy ever aft, somewhat against the odds, and you’ll feel warm all over, even if that may be the vomit. ‘Dead’ is practically a mature ska escapade with some troubled, inventively sly lyrics, and ‘Reggae Mortis’ has a skittish dignity, before the multi-mangled classics gets reprised as ‘Hell In A Handbasket’ which takes ‘My Way’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘When The Saints Come Marching In’ from behind, and probably a few others thrown in, for a crowd-sleazing special finale.
It’s a very good album, ‘Bomb New Jersey’ aside, but you obviously have to be in the right mood, or the right isolation ward. He’s now proved he can do the humour, if there was ever any doubt, just as he’s proved he can juggle death-defying themes, so hopefully next time we’ll see a different side coming through as well. For now this is inspired lunacy and you’d be mad to ignore it.
With the poetry of an old western movie, I strolled into the bar after parking my bike all by its lonesome just outside the bar. It was a bit of a dive, certainly fitting for what occupied the room. The place was darkened but, as my eyes adjusted, was filled with people at tables, drinking and rowdy, largely entertained by the band and a scrawny, strange guy with the damndest haircut I’ve seen, then and since. He wore a wide sombrero and was dressed in traditional mariachi garb. But something was different…and wrong, even though the music was entrancing. He was singing a pretty good song called “Day of the Dead” amidst whistling, boisterous cheering, and yelps. There was a bevy of what looked like skeletons dancing, both on the stage and around the bar as my eyes became more aware of the surroundings. It must be near or on the day that they celebrate that Day of the Dead what with the skeleton costumes and all.
I strolled to the bar, ordered a beer, and threw my money on the counter, enough to indicate to the barkeep that I’d not be leaving too soon, to just keep the beers coming. As I turned to face the stage, I had, by now, realized that the music was damn good. And funny, like a song like I heard some years back on a jukebox called “When You’re Evil,” a great song about the wiles of evil, gettin’ blamed for everything. Then this guy sings “Bomb New Jersey” and I get the feeling, with the similarities, that this guy and that one might be the same one.
Hmmm. He announces that this next song is one from his new album, Ooky Spooky. I make a mental note.
Hey now…there you go. A good old-fashioned country song. He starts this song called “Cantina,” and sunuvabitch, but it’s a song about…nah, Star Wars and a gay club with sex and all that. Haha…this guy’s good, can sing an enjoyable song, and make it funny. Come to think of it, all of his songs have an odd bent of hilarity tucked in them.
He brought out a cute chick who sang a song with him, “Stuck on You,” I believe it was called. I’m enjoying this guy. I turned to ask the bartender the name of the guy; he croaked out, “Voltaire.” I’ll have to remember that name. I signaled for a refill and when I swept my arm to pick up the beer mug, I hit the arm of the barkeep, a bit too hard obviously as it broke at the wrist. It lay there on the bar. I picked it up while the singer sang about a “Zombie Prostitute.” It was then I noticed that I was in a bar not unlike that one in the movie, From Dusk to Dawn, with all those vampires. The place looks innocent at first but then you realize the place is filled with people on the other side of normal. Just like this place. And when that prostitute laid her hand on my leg, well, she wasn’t alive, that’s for sure. I ran out of there as that group was singing along with “Hell in a Handbasket.”
As I revved my cycle, pushing her hard to that same stretch of highway, I had but one thought in my mind, “I’m gonna have to look up that Ooky Spooky album.” Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. -Matt Rowe
If Tim Burton had created "The Nightmare Before Christmas" as the goth epic that Hot Topic makes it out to be, Voltaire would've written the music. One song, "Stuck With You," is a duet with Amanda Palmer of Dresden Dolls fame in which a married couple hate each other in life but come to appreciate one another's company in death.
A stark contrast to the seriousness of previous album "Then And Again," Voltaire intended "Ooky Spooky" to be a "non-stop party of fun songs about the undead and Hell and devils and skeletons and all the other fun stuff that's so close to my heart." That being the case, songs such as "Zombie Prostitute" and "Day of the Dead" make "Ooky Spooky" a success. —Stewart Fuell, Pine Bluff Commercial entertainment writer
While the whole CD is macabre merriment, several tracks in particular stand out. Zombie Prostitute manages to make the taboo hilarious, with a bawdy punch-line ending I won't give away. Day of the Dead gives an alternate explanation for the traditional celebration and makes me envision drunken dancing skeletons in sombreros.
In Bomb New Jersey, Voltaire lets us know how he really feels about where he grew up, telling us what lengths he'd go to in order to see it eradicated. Cantina, a surprisingly country-style ballad set in everyone's favorite bar in Mos Eisley, requires knowledge of the bar's patronage to understand, and a raunchy sense of humor about buggery to enjoy. Those who have both will be rewarded!
Amanda Palmer from the Dresden Dolls duets on Stuck With You, a song about a bitter and morbid married couple with an almost — almost — O. Henry twist ending, while Rastafarianism and Voodoo combine to comedic effect on Reggae Mortis.
The closer, Hell in a Handbasket, has a rousing Dixieland feel while mocking self-righteous religion. What more could you want from a CD that professes "Almost no skeletons were harmed in the making of this record"?
All-in-all, a great CD with witty lyrics and textured music. Enjoy! -Anita Olin
A Halloween party CD is also pretty much all I can come up with to explain what Ooky Spooky is. I am not sure if it is cowpunk with a certain Mexican influence because of the horns and guitar work, especially in Blue Eyed Matador, but there is a bit of Crash Test Dummies meet the Purple People Eater feel to this Voltaire CD. A little surfing suggests Ooky Spooky is comic Goth music but since I am way too old to know what Goth is, I am willing to believe that.
What I do know about Ooky Spooky by Voltaire is it certainly is fun to listen to, the music is very good, the lyrics are darkly funny, and the two put together certainly work. This is especially true for me in Bomb New Jersey which almost starts out as a kiddie song meets South Park's Blame Canada. I remember Jersey trying to have a contest to get a song for itself like New York has New York New York. I am not sure Bomb New Jersey would have won the judges' votes but the write-in votes might have pushed this tune over the top.
I must admit though I am not a big fan of Stuck With You featuring The Dresden Dolls' Amanda Palmer. I kind of like the song itself but the violin really gets on my nerves. Then again, this is but one song on an 11 funny song CD.
The weirdest song on this Voltaire CD has to be the closer, Hell in a Handbasket, which shares a few lyrics with Anka's My Way and has a Baptist church choir meets When The Saints feel. No, really, I am not kidding: My Way, Baptist church choir, and When The Saints.
Whatever you do, go to Amazon and listen to a few samples of Ooky Spooky. It is going to make your day and might even convince you this is one very strange, original, and hard to nail down CD.
The bottom line: This album is eleven tracks of gruesome, gorey giddiness guaranteed to get you giggling, no matter how tragically Goth you think you are. -Benny Hell