Incredible Acting in Music

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Incredible Acting in Music

Postby Piter Lauchy » Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:37 am

Today I thought about how conveying lyrics well requires good voice acting and not just hitting the right notes. Here are a few examples of what I consider incredible acting in music.

Hurt - Rapture

I praised this band before on this forum and I will continue to do so every sensible chance I get because they are simply unbelievably fantastic. Lyrically, musically and, to get to the topic of this thread, emotionally. This song is about an unplanned and out-of-wedlock pregnancy of an extremely religious woman who kills the child after its birth. The singer goes back and forth between sadness, rage, desperation and, finally, resignation.
These are the last words of the song:

She swore she heard the voice of Jesus
Telling her it was wrong to keep it
And one more thing
It looked like me
Back when it breathed
Rest in peace

Until the rapture
Comes to meet us

He's broken, and I'm broken with him.

Hurt - Overdose

Unsurprisingly, this one is about drug addiction. The singer conveys convincing numbness in the verses; he even loses his voice at a few points. Then the song explodes in the choruses: Anger in the first one, screams of absolute desperation in the second. Believable and chilling.

Eminem - Kim

In this song, Eminem lets out his anger at his girlfriend and mother of his daughter cheating on him. He is not a great singer, so the choruses fall a little flat, but, by God, does he lose his fucking mind in the verses. It's almost uncomfortably psycho. Good stuff.

Eminem - Bad Guy

This one's a sequel to Stan and it starts off rather weak. However, this is deliberate. First, it's Stan's brother ranting about how Eminem ruined his life. He goes on to abduct and kill him.
After that, Eminem pretty much disses himself and damn, it's vicious.

This comment puts it better than I ever could:
I'm pretty sure the people who are saying they don't like the beginning aren't realizing that he's rapping as Stan's little brother. He puts the emphasis on the rhyming words like amatuer rappers do. That's why it sounds so unpolished and not as skillful as the last couple minutes. It's not supposed to be him rapping. The guy's a goddamn genius.
The song actually has three voices.
First is Stan's brother, like dwilliams said, rapping in a simple apparently misogynistic and hyper-aggressive style, just like Eminem's very early work. Only after the 3rd verse does this really become apparent.
Second is a hybrid, starting a 5:12 the fictional brother becomes Eminem's conscious and takes on a sinister double voice as Eminem is "dying" like Stan did. This portion is quite surprisingly introspective, vulnurable, and self-critical. He's always been good at this level of honesty, but this verse is really spectacular.
The third is his own, who silences the self doubt at 6:50 and tries to explain why he, Eminem has to keep doing what he's doing. But this voice sounds tired, it lacks the intensity and power of the first two. Soon this persona fades away, just like the second voice of doubt and conscious said that he would.
I honestly turned it off 3 minutes in, thinking it was the same old stuff. Picked it back up to kill some time, and now I'm pretty astounded.
It's a biography, a self portrait in 7 minutes. Really impressive work.

The part that starts at 5:34* is pure gold and I'd go so far as to say one of the best moments in music history. Never fails to send chills down my spine.

*The "second voice" mentioned in the quote starts earlier, but this is where it starts to flow.

Avatar - Fiddler's Farewell

Some context for this song: The album* is a concept album which tells a fable about an owl who represents the night that starts a war against an eagle who represents the day. Neither are portrayed as good guys, by the way.
Fiddler's Farewell deals with the casualties of that war. It's from the perspective of a cricket, the fiddler, who mourns the death of his friend, an ant.
The singer conveys heartbreaking agony and borders on dissonance for almost the entirety of the song. Grating, but in a good way.

*Feathers & Flesh, my album of the year 2016 and possibly my favourite album since System Of A Down's Mezmerize.

Then there's Johnny Cash's cover of Nine Inch Nails's Hurt, but I don't think I have to say anything about it because y'all probably know that one.

Those are the ones that came to mind immediately. I would've liked to include a few German ones in this, but that would've been wasted effort, probably.
Maybe I'll think of some more, but in the meantime, what are your favourite acting perfomances in music?
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