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Aurelio Voltaire is a musician, animator and comic book artist popular in the goth scene and among anime and sci-fi fans. Lately he's been crossing over into Steampunk. His most popular songs include "Brains" (Remember that episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy with the brain-eating alien? Yeah, that was him.) and "When You're Evil". Most of his songs poke fun at the New York City goth scene, and anything else he either loves (Star Trek & Star Wars) or hates (New Jersey).
He was born in Havana, Cuba. His family moved to Jersey when he was a child (which he hated) and currently lives in New York City. He does claymation, mainly channel I.D.s, which he started when he was only 10 years old. He currently teaches stop-motion animation at The School of Visual Arts in NYC when he's not touring.
His music is mainly satirical, but some of his songs can be quite serious and deep. Most of his songs have a folk-music feel to them.
It's also the name of one of history's most celebrated essayist, philosopher and writers. But who cares about that? He does.
- The Devil's Bris (1998)
- Almost Human (2000)
- Banned on Vulcan (2001)
- Boo Hoo (2002)
- Then And Again (2004)
- Deady Sings! (2004)
- Zombie Prostitute... (2006)
- Live! (2006)
- Ooky Spooky (2007)
- To the Bottom of the Sea (2008)
- Hate Lives in a Small Town (2010)
- Spooky Songs for Creepy Kids (2010)
- Riding a Black Unicorn Down the Side of an Erupting Volcano While Drinking from a Chalice Filled with the Laughter of Small Children (2011)
Tropes that describe him, his music, and his animations
- Affectionate Parody: "Coin Operated Goi", of the Dresden Dolls' "Coin Operated Boy".
- Angry Mob Song: "Stakes and Torches". Scimitars and bayonets; scythes, pitchforks, a sickle with a sharpened edge...
- Anti-Love Song: "My Future ex - Girlfriend".
- Ass Pull: Voltaire invoked this in the song "The U.S.S. Make Shit Up" as a celebration of the many ass pulls of Star Trek.
- Attack of the 50 Foot Whatever: "The Mechanical Girl" can grow to seven times her size and is armed with flamethrowers, rockets, and other powerful and destructive weaponry. Which is bad news for the king who takes her from her father and creator to try to make her his queen.
- Awesome McCoolname: His real name is Aurelio Voltaire Hernández.
- Awesome McCool Album Title: Riding a Black Unicorn Down the Side of an Erupting Volcano While Drinking from a Chalice Filled with the Laughter of Small Children.
- Badass Long Hair: Currently anyway.
- Bait and Switch: Blue-Eyed Matador. The matador thinks he's fighting The Devil in the shape of a monstrous bull for his soul. Turns out The Devil is the beautiful woman in the stands, distracting him from the bull instead.
- Badass Mustache: Well, technically there's also a beard, but who cares?
- Bawdy Song: Zombie Prostitute, to name one.
- Being Evil Sucks: Initially mentioned in the last verse of "When You're Evil" but immediatly subverted as it's revealed to be a Blatant Lies
- The Big Easy: The setting of Don't Go By the River
- Bilingual Bonus: Voltaire will sometimes throw Spanish lyrics into a few of his songs, and a handful of his songs are entirely in Spanish.
- Hallo Elskan Min's second verse is in Icelandic, as is some of the last verse.
- Bishonen: It isn't too noticeable in his recent pictures, but his pictures on Facebook reveal that he looked a lot like Prince in the 80s.
- Black Comedy: Nearly all of his songs.
- Black Comedy Rape: "Cantina".
- Brain Bleach: If you have vivid imagination, then the mental images that Cantina gives you are this. Or Fetish Fuel.
- Brain Food: BRAINS! g'dur.
- Break Up Song: "See You In Hell", along with several other songs from Boo Hoo (a breakup album).
- Bullfight Boss: "Blue Eyed Matador".
- He loses.
- Butt Monkey: Luke Skywalker in "Cantina".
- Captured by Cannibals: "Cannibal Buffet"
- Card-Carrying Villain: "When You're Evil" is essentially one of these simply talking about how much fun he has in simply being a villain, "cause it's so easy when you're evil."
- Casanova: "Welcome to the World".
- Commie Land: And it seems he still liked it better than Joisey!
- The Cover Changes the Gender: Done in typically beautiful fashion in "Bachelor(ette)", his Perspective Flipped cover of the Bjork song.
- Cranky Neighbor: Voltaire has to deal with one in "When You're Dead."
- And he is the Cranky Neighbor in "The Man Upstairs".
- Curse Cut Short: "The Dirtiest Song that Ain't" is riddled with this.
- Nevermind "riddled" - it's the entire point of the song.
- Cute Monster Girl: She's a rotten kind of cute, to be exact.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Voltaire himself could be considered a living example. Althought his gloomy look he's known to be funny, nice and ironic.
- Dead Baby Comedy: Literally, in "Dead": "There's an infant that's been torn apart, now he's dead!"
- Despair Event Horizon: "Feathery Wings". A guardian angel ala It's a Wonderful Life, trying to earn his wings and get back to Heaven, but his success rate apparently isn't so hot, so he's stuck here. In the final verse he has a complete breakdown, sobbing about how much he hates it here and how alone he feels since the mortals at least get to leave.
- Disposable Sex Worker: One of the options for hookers available at the disreputable brothel Cathouse Tragedy (From the song of the same name) is dead.
- Disproportionate Retribution: The Emcee of The Straightrazor Cabaret" attacks and mutilates members of the audience he thinks aren't enjoying the show enough
- Double Entendre: "The Sexy Data Tango". Techno Babble never sounded so dirty.
- Dragon Is A Daddy: The Aesop in the song "Crusade" is delivered via invoking this trope.
- Driven to Suicide: Underground. Being dead and buried doesn't make getting dumped by the most wonderful woman in the world any less painful.
- Ultimately subverted though, as the POV character ends the song having decided that the best revenge is not to kill himself, but instead to live long enough to dance on her grave.
- Everything's Deader with Zombies: "Zombie Prostitute", "Reggae Mortis"
- Filk Song: His forays into the sci-fi filk scene are very memorable. (Google "Sexy Data Tango". Or you could listen to Cantina.)
- List Song: "God Thinks" is a list of various claims of people claiming it "God's message", with a few of his own thrown in.
- For the Evulz: "When You're Evil" is pretty much this trope's unofficial theme song.
- Freudian Excuse: The Chosen, a song from the POV of a (very insane) serial killer.
First time I had sex was three
First time consensual was 13.
- Glasgow Grin: "The Straight Razor Cabaret."
- Gratuitous Spanish: "Day of the Dead" Though he is Cuban-born and Spanish was his primary language.
- A Hell of a Time: There's an amusing double-subversion of this in Death Death (Devil Devil Evil Evil Songs).
- Humans Are Bastards: The song "Oh Lord (Wake the Dead)" is mostly about this.
They act like rabid monkeys, chained up at the zoo,
And The Bible says that each of us is modeled after you.
Well hell that should offend you Lord, if it does here's what you do.
You just look down, shake your head.
- Hurricane of Puns: If you can listen to "Cannibal Buffet" all the way through without at least smiling, you have no soul.
Oh, trouble was afoot - they were eatin' mine
Toein' the party line,
I was startin' to feel, "these guys are heels"
But, the truth be told, these cannibals have got sole
Hey, numbskull, look at me, I got a bone to pick with thee
You ain't humerus, stop ribbin' me
Have a spine, bone up on settin' me free
- I Love the Dead: "Dead Girls" and "Zombie Prostitute"
- I Will Wait for You: "The Sea".
- "I stand under moors / Searching a sea of blue/ And forever more, I'll wait here for you."
- Also in "Anastasia".
- I'm a Man, I Can't Help It: "It's Normal For A Man."
- Ironic Echo: The chorus to "Crusade", and it gains another layer every time it comes around.
- Large Ham: Basically in every song he acts like this.
- Least Rhymable Word: a hilarious example from "Straight Razor Cabaret." On his Youtube page, he said that "face raper" was the only thing he could think of that rhymed with "straight razor." When it was pointed out to him that the two phrases don't actually rhyme, he decided he didn't care.
- Losing Your Head: In the song "The Headless Waltz."
- The Masochism Tango: "Stuck With You" is about a couple arguing and listing off all the horrible things they've done to each other. . . with an ending that's fifty percent Bittersweet and fifty percent Squick.
- Manly Tears: From "The Ship's Going Down:"
"For my son I had always a plan, for to raise him as best as I can./Oh well you can bet, my only regret is to not see him grow to a man."
- Mood Whiplash: "Beast of Pirate's Bay". "Well, Blackbeard the Pirate, you know for what he's feared. [...]His beard turned white and all agree, He looks like Santa Claus." A just a tiny bit later: "This mighty whale was in such pain, we both began to cry."
- Mr. Fanservice: Tall, Dark and Handsome is he not?
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: He describes himself on his My Space profile as a "Neo-Victorian gypsy pirate vaudeville band."
- His latest album, "Hate Lives in a Small Town" adds Country to this mash-up, and has been simply called "Gothic Country" by some of his fans.
- Nice Hat: Among them, a top hat and a black gatsby.
- Noodle Incident: Just what happened to him in New Jersey anyway?
- His childhood, apparently.
- Off with His Head: in the song "The Headless Waltz."
- One of Us: He wrote the "Sexy Data Tango", amongst a plethora of other Star Trek and Star Wars related songs, and is incredibly proud of his work with Cartoon Network.
I was on a plane...so I started watching that TV, y'know, the little TVs they have on the backs of people's heads on the plane?...So anyway, I was flipping through the channels, and I came up on Cartoon Network, and as it happened, they were playing a movie called Billy and Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure. I wrote and preformed the title track for this movie. So I'm sitting there and I'm looking at it and I'm like (makes incredulous, happy face) and then I realize I have no one to tell. I can't even use my phone! So eventually I just can't contain my enthusiasm and I start yelling "That's me! That-that that's me!"
- Open Mouth Insert Foot: Dunce is all about this. The lyrics lament the fact that the narrator always says something offensive.
- Otaku: Voltaire loves Lolita and also Japanese things it seems, though he also mocks it, especially in his comic Deady Big in Japan, which poked fun at every Japanese cliche he could fit.
- The image of him on his life album cover is chibified.
- Overly Long Title: "Death Death (Devil, Devil, Devil, Devil, Evil, Evil, Evil, Evil Song)"
- Which is why he and the fans usually shorten it to "Death Death etc."
- "Riding on A Black Unicorn Down The Side of An Erupting Volcano While Drinking From A Chalice Filled With The Laughter of Small Children". He doesn't even fit it all on the album cover.
- Pep Talk Song: "Innocent," to everyone who is dealing with bullying.
- Perky Goth
- Robosexual: The king in his new song "The Mechanical Girl". King's wife leaves him, king demands inventor's robotic replacement-for-a-dead-daughter as his new wife, king tries to sleep with said robot, she attacks him with rocket launchers and flamethrowers, kills him and lays his kingdom to waste, returns home to dad. Lesson: Never steal a man's daughter from him. Especially if she has rocket launchers and flamethrowers.
- He was actually going to pitch a show based on this...
- Also "The Sexy Data Tango", obviously.
- Robot Girl: "The Mechanical Girl."
- Satan Is Good: A concept explored in "Almost Human", "Death Death (Devil, Devil, Devil, Devil, Evil, Evil, Evil, Evil Song)" .
- See You in Hell: The song of the same name.
- Shout-Out - In the song To the Bottom of the Sea, right after the stanza "Down at the bottom were treasures galore/But guarding so greedily/Was an angry horde of skeletons with swords/Down at the bottom of the sea!", you can hear someone shout "For the Horde!"
- He gives a shout-out to himself in "Alchemy Mondays", when he says, "Hold everything, they're playing my song...." The music stops, and we're treated to a line from "When You're Evil".
- There's also this bit from "The Vampire Club": "Dressed in black from toe to head/Singing, 'Bela Lugosi's still undead!'
- There are also plenty of allusions to or paraphrasings of lines from "Bohemian Rhapsody" in "Hell in a Handbasket".
- "Graveyard Picnic" is basically a long love letter to Edgar Allan Poe.
- "Don't Go By The River" has a Shout-Out to Lestat.
- South of the Border - "Day of the Dead"
- Space Whale Aesop: The aesop of "The Mechanical Girl".
Never take a child away from a loving parent. Especially not ones who make children who shoot rockets from their eyes.
- Stock Ness Monster: "Beast of Pirate's Bay". May also constitute as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. Also mentioned in "To the Bottom of the Sea".
- Take That: "God Thinks" has the immortal lines, "And I... I know what God thinks: God thinks you're an idiot!"
- Another one in "Hell in a Handbasket": "Oh, good Lord...we both know Hell don't exist - Except in the minds of the poor fools who believe!"
- "Bomb New Jersey" is all about how much Voltaire wants to take revenge against New Jersey for sucking so much.
- "Hell in a Handbasket" has another jab at New Jersey, when he says he'd rather be dead and in Hell than "alive and kicking in Jersey anyday".
- "Death Death (Devil, Devil, Devil, Devil, Evil, Evil, Evil, Evil Song)" has a shot at George W. Bush.
- He recently changed the lyrics to "Vampire Club" from targeting whiny, pretentious patrons at goth clubs to making fun of Twilight.
- The Something Song: "The Happy Song". Also "Love Song", but that's a cover of The Cure.
- Under the Sea: "To the Bottom of the Sea".
- Unexpected Genre Change: Ooky Spooky actually had swing music on it similar in style to Cab Calloway (though this seems to have been permanently added to his repertoire now). And then came Hate Lives in a Small Town...a country album.
- On a similar note, he divulged in an interview a short lived idea for a Star Wars themed Hip-Hop album named "Republic Enemy"
- He's been debuting his 'country' songs on his current (summer 2010) tour and they don't sound too different from the stripped down arrangements of his normal songs, other than the lyrics not being about Goth culture and Star Trek...
- Unicorn: Voltaire's unicorn from the cover of "Riding a Black Unicorn" is big, black and badass.
- Villain Song: "When You're Evil" is one of his most popular songs.
- Also "Brains".
- "Death Death (Devil, Devil, Devil, Devil, Evil, Evil, Evil, Evil Song)"
- "Almost Human" starts out as one, with Satan spitting out his lined defiantly, until a little way through when it morphs into his Villainous Breakdown.
- "The Villain Sucks" Song: "Robber Baron" could qualify.
- What Could Have Been: With his primary language being spanish, it would have been cool that he also sang "Brains" in Spain and Latin America.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: In Bomb New Jersey one of the first reasons he lists why that state sucks is "They all wear jeans that are Acid Wash, and yet they think I'm insane!"
- Zombie Apocalypse: "Brains" with the The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy using the song to boot.
- Though "Brains" is about a brain-eating alien. Though, he does turn the entire town into mindless zombies within the show.
- More fitting examples would be "Fear and Anguish", "Zombie Prostitute", and "Reggae Mortis". "Zombie Prostitute" and "Reggae Mortis" both feature zombies, but the only one that can really be described as an apocalypse is "Fear and Anguish".
- Though "Brains" is about a brain-eating alien. Though, he does turn the entire town into mindless zombies within the show.