Song - 'Show Must Go On' by Queen

There is something about Show Must Go On that breaks my heart each and every time. Much like Who Wants to Live Forever, it makes me think of Freddie, of immortality and foreknowledge and acceptance and, most of all, greatness that will never be forgotten.

Sonically, it's sweeping and operatic; it does things to my stupid romantic heart, and makes me want to stand on a clifftop and sing. It's nostalgic, something that I've always both loved and found it hard to deal with. It feels like standing on the edge of a precipice; something, you can feel, is about to end, and yet, even in the face of adversity -

Show must go on.
Show must go on.
Inside my heart is breaking,
My makeup may be flaking but my smile still stays on.

Whatever happens,
I'll leave it all to chance,
Another heartache,
Another failed romance.
On and on,
Does anybody know what we are living for?

It's each and every child's/teenager's/young adult's anthem, in a strange sense. Heartbreak all around, yet still soldiering through. It's dramatic and majestic and a bit self-aggrandizing and seriously, who doesn't love that? Because you can see the men who wrote it - the magnifiscent, genius men, and the incomparable, brilliantly talented man who sang it so close to the end of his life.

My soul is painted like the wings of butterflies,
Fairy tales of yesterday,
Will grow but never die,
I can fly, my friends!

Show must go on!

I think it's a terror that a lot of people feel - both that they will buckle under the pressure and be unable to carry on (see what I did there?), and that after they are gone, all they they were will sink into the earth and there will be nothing to mark their having existed.

But as another wonderful band once wrote, Oh how wrong we were to think immortality meant never dying.

Song - 'Hate Lives In A Small Town' by Voltaire

The title is pretty self-explanitory on this one. It is, indeed, about how hate lives in a small town, and you can listen to the official version here.

I do not mean to imply that hate lives only in small towns, in all small towns, or even in most small towns. But you can bet this song was written from the point of view of someone who has experienced it, and is a joyous thing to listen to for anyone who feels hated, feels trapped, or just feels a bit cynical.

It was probably based off of Voltaire’s own childhood experiences – he grew up in a small town in New Jersey, surrounded by people – including family – who were less than happy about his styles of music and dress.  Apart from what could mildly be called a strict stepfather, he dealt with the consequences of looking, in his own words, like the next member of Duran Duran – a musical love of his.  The long hair, the eyeshadow, the tights and boots and expensive girly coats were not what one might call “well-received.”  He finally ran away from home (in this video here he explains the main difference between ‘running away’ and ‘moving out,’ as well as several other things) and arrived in New York City.  There, instead of being passed by truckers on the road and having the word “faggot” yelled gleefully out the window as they passed, he was greeted like a fashionable movie star.

The story of his life is long, occasionally hilarious and always interesting, but I won’t tell it here. Suffice to say, this is a song written from personal experience, and one should enjoy it as such.

It is off of Voltaire's country-ish album, something inspired - so he says - by older, more classic country and not the pop-tinged radio-played songs we mostly think of today. Even that said, it's not very close to the average person's conception of what country should be.

But that's Voltaire in a nutshell, really. Confusing, but also amazing.

I don't know exactly how to describe Voltaire. That's okay, because neither does he. In his own words, he writes funny songs about sad things (or dark songs about funny things, something thereabouts). Beyond that, it's anyone's guess. He's kooky and funny and goth and and outrageous and then sometimes he randomly busts out a country song, albiet in true Voltaire style. 

It has, however, been ultimately decided that Voltaire's music is the auditory equivalent of riding a black unicorn down the side on an erupting volcano while drinking from a chalice filled with the laughter of small children.

Catch him at a Q&A panel one day, or take one of his courses in stop motion animation at the School of Visual Arts in New York. His stop motions are truly glorious things, and fans of certain bands might be interested in this one. It’s one in a line of videos he made that were narrated by singers from various bands (previous examples include Blondie).  This one bears not only an important message but also the surprisingly creepy of a certain Gerard Way, who is not unlike Voltaire himself in certain ways – long-haired, New Jersey-bred, and more likely than not to attract the attention of homophobes. 

Last but not least, I point your attention to this live rendition of Hate Lives In A Small Town from early this past year (above).  Like much of Voltaire’s live stuff, it is stripped down and guitar-based, and showcases not only his musicianship and good vocals but also his easy interaction with the crowd.

In short, go see Voltaire. No, really. Go.

Links: Voltaire's Official Youtube*  * Voltaire's Other Youtube *  * Voltaire's Official Website *  * Voltaire's Twitter *  * Voltaire's Wiki Page