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The Devil's Bris Deluxe Signed Edition
Then and Again
Steampunk Poison Bottle Labels
set of 8 Poison Labels
With his devilish goatee, turn of the century garb and rakish looks, one might assume Voltaire sings murder ballads on the Bowery - and to a fair degree you would be right. However, those people who don't wear black on a daily basis know Voltaire as the Evil Meteor creature on Cartoon Network's "The Grim Adventures of Billy And Mandy." If you've ever seen the episode where this tentacled, extraterrestrial rock tries to convince Billy to bring him the townsfolk so he can eat their "BRAINS!" then you've already heard one of Voltaire's songs. Voltaire also sings "Land of the Dead," the title track of the Billy and Mandy one-hour film, "Big Boogie Adventure."
No stranger to animation, Voltaire is also a recurring character in the popular on-line game, AdventureQuest Worlds. Every Friday the 13th, Voltaire leads players (a server-crashing average of 35,000 at a time) on a live adventure in which he sings his songs with lyrics changed to match the monster-infested battles in the game.
Voltaire says, "I have fans who now have kids and they tell me that their kids love my songs, but they have to skip over the ones that are not appropriate for the wee ones. Also, through my work with Cartoon Network and AdventureQuest I have a growing horde of 12 year-old fans, so I really felt it was time to make a record that was right for them."
Finally, all of Voltaire's age-appropriate songs are on one CD. On this disc Voltaire compiles his songs from Cartoon Network as well as five of his songs from the AdventureQuest game.
Sure to please fans and non-fans of Twilight alike is a never-before-heard version of his popular song, "The Vampire Club," where Voltaire simultaneously embraces and skewers Twilight in a way only he can! Also included on this disc is a spooky lullaby Voltaire wrote for his son, "Goodnight Demonslayer," which brings to mind British bandleader Henry Hall's "Here Comes the Boogie Man" (made popular again by the video game BioShock2). "The Beast of Pirate's Bay" is a song Voltaire wrote to perform at his son's school Halloween fair. Rounding out the track listing is "Crusade," a bit of fatherly advice where knights and dragons serve as a metaphor for the acceptance of diversity and other ideologies.
At the title states, this is not just a collection of songs for kids, it's a CD for "creepy kids." It is recommended for tweens/ages 12 and up. It contains fantasy violence, many references to monsters and liberal use of the word "hell."
Though its creator was often referred to as the clown prince of Goth, the witty work of singer/songwriter/artist/author/animator/professor Voltaire (Aurelio Voltaire Hernández to his parental units) has expanded way beyond the boundaries of gothic rock. One of those directions is children’s music, a career avenue that opened up due to inclusion of some of his songs in the Cartoon Networks’ macabre The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy and the online fantasy game AdventureQuest Worlds. (The dashing demon appears as a character in both as well.) In that light, Voltaire collects many of his funniest, most accessible tunes on Spooky Songs For Creepy Kids, the soundtrack to your kids’ next trick-or-treat walk.
“Brains!,” a jaunty ode to grey matter-munching aliens, is the most famous cut here, thanks to its prominent appearance in Billy and Mandy, but it’s hardly the only dastardly delight. “Land of the Dead,” “This Ship’s Going Down” and “Cannibal Buffet” put cheerily silly horror-themed lyrics to Voltaire’s patented gypsy cabaret acoustic pop for jaunty singalongs suitable for (nearly) all ages. A clever rewrite of his snarky standard “Vampire Club” that affectionately if relentlessly pokes fun at the ridiculous Twilight series is another highlight.
Not everything is played strictly for laughs. “Crusade” mixes a message about diversity into its knightly quest, while “The Beast of Pirate Bay” adds an unexpected, animal-loving poignancy to its monster-on-the-loose tale. “Goodnight Demonslayer” is a spirit-lifting lullaby for Voltaire’s own child that puts the critters under the bed on notice. Ultimately, Spooky Songs for Creepy Kids serves not only as a kids Hallowe’en party starter, but also as a convenient Voltaire best-of. Throw it on your next adult All Hallows Eve shindig to turn your guests on to one of underground music’s most distinctive talents.
While much of Voltaire's musical output is targeted at adults (his X-rated Star Wars country-western ballad “Cantina” is still my personal fave), he's also been a big hit with younger audiences, having contributed music to the Cartoon Network series The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy (where he also supplies the voice of the Evil Meteor). But he'd never previously collected all his kid-oriented songs in one place... until now, that is, and thankfully just in time for Halloween. I took a listen to this new compilation Spooky Songs for Creepy Kids, and while it's certified sing-a-long material for the younger set, you'll very likely find yourself humming these devilish ditties no matter what your age. Flip the page and find out more!
Several of the songs compiled here have appeared on other albums or collections, or were commissioned for specific projects, and where necessary the lyrics have been slightly reworked into kid-friendly mode. “I have fans who now have kids and they tell me that their kids love my songs, but they have to skip over the ones that are not appropriate for the wee ones,” Voltaire explains. That same motivation led to a slight reworking of some of his earlier hits to make them age-appropriate. He also observed how his many Cartoon Network appearances have gained him “a growing horde of 12-year-old fans... so I really felt it was time to make a record that was right for them.” Most of these fourteen tracks were already aimed at audiences with a decidedly darker sense of fun; I definitely count myself among that group, and I'm sure a lot of you reading this are nodding in agreement. But some of Voltaire's biggest fan favorites were actually aimed at young folks to begin with, including the bouncy Danny Elfman-esque numbers “Land of the Dead” and “Brains!” from Billy and Mandy, and the lush tango version of the song “When You're Evil” found here is reworked for a video game starring his popular creation Deady – a deeply disturbed (but still kinda cute) zombie teddy bear that has been a huge hit with younger horror fans.
Speaking of games... the artist and his stuffed pal have also made regular appearances as characters in the online role-playing game AdventureQuest Worlds, and Voltaire has contributed several songs – some newly created, some adapted from previous singles or soundtracks – to the game scenarios. Voltaire's avatar even performed on a virtual stage in the game for a live Friday the 13th concert last November, and this year he contributed the darkly comic lullaby “Goodnight Demonslayer” (my personal favorite on this album). Several of those songs made their way into this compilation, including a new Caribbean-style version of “Day of the Dead” and a quartet of pirate-themed tracks – the toe-tapping “Tempest,” an accordion-driven pirate waltz called “This Ship's Going Down,” the light ska-beat ditty “To the Bottom of the Sea” and the spooky campfire ballad “The Beast of Pirate's Bay” – all of which originally appeared on his 2008 album To the Bottom of the Sea in slightly different lyrical versions.
Also resurfacing on this collection (though some in slightly cleaned-up form), are the songs “Cannibal Buffet,” which appeared with more graphic lyrics in 2007's Ooky Spooky; the colorfully folksy march/madrigal “Crusade” from his 2004 album Then and Again; and a very clever update of his 2002 track “The Vampire Club,” which now includes a smart satiric twist on the characters from Twilight.
If mischievous but festive Halloween tunes make you smile, there's at least two benefits to picking up this little holiday treat: first, those of you with kids of your own planning to train them up in the ways of the macabre, this is a perfect place to begin; but if you're just a big monster kid at heart like me, you don't even need to pretend you're buying this one for a younger member of the family – this is one record you'll enjoy at just about any age, no excuses necessary. Your own spooky kid will dig it... even if that kid is you.
Voltaire is restless. While his voice and song style is familiar, his songs have varied. On his very interesting 2010 collection, Spooky Songs For Creepy Kids, Voltaire has gathered together cleaned up versions of fourteen of his songs found scattered in his involvement with The Cartoon Network (he plays Evil Meteor on The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy), and a popular on-line game, AdventureQuest Worlds.
Of course, the best of these are “Brains!” from the previously mentioned Cartoon Network show, and of course, the wonderful “When You’re Evil”. There are some original versions of his songs included as well.
Voltaire is one of those interesting talents that give you something to enjoy. If you have young kids who watch The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, or that play AdventureQuest Worlds, then this Halloween treat might thrill ‘em..or scare ‘em. Nah, just kidding! Even you’ll love “When You’re Evil”.
“I’m the fly in every soup…” -Matt Rowe