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Posted in: The Green Room
Dissecting The Music: Voices
By Leaf and zzzorf
Jul 9, 2014 - 8:58:45 PM




Dissecting The Music: "Voices"


zzzorf: G’Day one and all to the newest duo to hit Lordsofpain. The King of Stats returns to join forces with new main page columnist Leaf, to delve into an area of wrestling not normally closely looked at: the theme songs.

Leaf: Yes zzzorf, it was Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers who first sang “Let’s Face The Music And Dance”. Fortunately, we’re only writing a column about it. You can call us whatever you like- zzzorf and Leaf, Leaf and zzzorf, time zone turbulence, but by the end of this series, we hope that you will consider us to be two musical masterminds when it comes to looking at wrestling’s greatest hits.

Really? Leaf and zzzorf? Ha you must be kidding, you know I’m the King around this place, my name will always be before a mere peasant's.

Now with every wrestler having their own theme song we have an endless library of songs we can do which means we will be sticking around for a long time to come. Have you ever thought why a wrestler’s theme was what it was? Why it had the lyrics it had or why it was in the style that it was? Ever wonder why Vladamir Kozlov had no theme at all? Well that is what we are here for, to answer these questions and many more.

OK my multicoloured friend (hey it’s just finished Autumn here guys, he isn’t just Green at the moment) would you care to explain to our lovely readers what it is that we are going to do here on ‘Dissecting the Music”.

In the same way that you just dissected my name, and decided that I should be a colourful masquerade, we are going to look further into the elements of music. Notably, the lyrics of a song play a key part. When Vince wanted a top face to take America by storm, he made sure to choose a song with an opening lyric that appealed to the red, white, and blue. Furthermore, the instrumentation of a song is key. Waylon Mercy was a simple quiet man with mysterious intentions, therefore it was only fitting that he would walk to the ring to a lone piano…

Honestly zzzorf, wrestling has provided many memorable motifs over time, though I believe that you wish to kickstart this series with a more recent example of musical mastery?

Yes you are correct. When you look over all the multiple great themes that have been used over the many decades of the WWE many songs stand out and seem to fit their respective owner to a T (Jim Johnston is a genius for that sort of thing). I thought we would start with one of these to see just how perfect the song really is.

Now when I think of fitting theme songs the first one that comes to mind is Randy Orton’s theme song Voices, which of course is sung by Rev Theory. This therefore is the song that I have chosen to kick off this brand new series and put to our microscopic test. During this column we will break the song apart and take a look at the lyrics to see just how fitting they really are to fit Randy Orton’s character. Then we will go beyond that and my musician friend here will take a closer look at the music behind the words and I will take a look at the way he makes his entrance including his accompanying video. Finally after putting it all together we will give our final opinion on just how fitting the theme song is for The Viper.

Honestly zzzorf, I think Randy Orton has competition here, from himself. Before we look at Voices, it would be worthwhile mentioning Orton’s previous theme of Burn In My Light by Mercy Drive. When the Legend Killer successfully evolved, he was granted a new theme that highlighted his struggles at the end of his tenure with the stable. This theme was the perfect accompaniment to the clips of Orton’s banishment from the group. Looking back at his old titantron video, just as Triple H is shown demanding his title back, Orton spits in the face of The Game whilst the singer of Mercy Drive screams “HEY!”. This signified a true act of defiance. The lyrics in the song really do mimic Orton’s plight at the time: “Now it’s time to shine, I’m gonna take what’s mine as you’re burning inside my light”. Mr. RKO himself truly felt that he had earned that championship as the dispute with Triple H continued, and notably, his entrance pyro (or his “light”, so to speak) consisted of golden streams that he would bask within. It was the perfect combination.

So that’s why we must ask ourselves, why did this theme change? Well as you know, Orton’s face turn in 2004 lasted approximately six and a half months. Yet this theme remained for the Viper for almost four years. The meaning behind the song had swiftly lost its relevance. It’s not as if the WWE hadn’t wanted to change this however. I don’t know if you remember, my Australian friend, but Orton actually came out to This Fire Burns by Killswitch Engage for one night only, midway through 2006. This was before CM Punk adopted it as his own theme! The WWE had therefore attempted to change Randy’s theme, though they made their decision, finally, on the May 12th 2008 episode of RAW.

In fact even with my hazy memory at times I do actually remember Orton using that theme song for that one particular time. I can remember me and the wife both being surprised and cranky when they did that since we were quite happy with the original and didn’t feel the new one fit him. I think we were even more surprised though when the next time we saw him his music had turned back to its original form.

As you said though that original theme worked well for his original face run upon splitting from Evolution however it would soon become outdated when he returned to the dark side. However the WWE stuck to their guns and left the unnapropriate song for a few years before finally giving him a new song closer to his character.

So ladies and gentlemen, join us as we speak to the voices inside of Randy Orton’s head and learn the secrets of his theme song. It’s time to dissect the music!



The Lyrics

Link: Voices video with lyrics




“I hear voices in my head
They counsel me
They understand
They talk to me”



It is these lines that start the song that really made me want to do this theme as our first one off the bat. Orton has played his part well over the years that you believe he really does hear voices (remember his IED) and therefore these words are very fitting. Granted there have been others who have played the part better over the years, Victoria comes to mind, but Orton has done a great job of making us believe throughout his career that he really is slightly off in his head.

Throughout his career Orton has always felt like he was being led by someone. To start with it was Triple H and Ric Flair in Evolution or his father during his run on Smackdown (in between he had his first face run that really went nowhere, you could say that at that time there was no voices) but throughout his times without an apparent driving force it has still seemed like someone was behind his actions. Voices in his head would be the most obvious explanation. You have to wonder though just how deranged those voices are.

At first, the voices around Orton were fairly ordinary. Shortly after the theme debuted, Orton was injured at the hands of Triple H and missed five months of in-ring time; the only voices that Orton heard during that time were from the likes of medical staff. Then, by the time Orton returned to the ring in November, he had formed his own stable- the Legacy. Each member of the stable shared the same voice, bragging about how they were second or third-generation wrestlers.

I’m glad that you mentioned the Intermittent Explosive Disorder, zzzorf, as it was during this time that Orton announced to the world that he suffered from this uncontrollable rage. Whilst Orton had been depicted as a despicable individual for quite some time, this was the point when these “voices” were revealed. The Viper announced that he was apparently a sufferer from this condition, eight months after “Voices” debuted, though we have to remember that in terms of in-ring time, Orton was only an active participant for three months of this period. Had this confession been planned for some time?

Though Orton would later retract his IED statement, you have to believe that the voices that Randy believes “counsel him” within his theme song are supposed to be the catalyst to his rage. It seemed obvious that the WWE had planned for this confession for quite some time as they ensured that these four lines were the focal point of the song, they repeat as part of the chorus. This is therefore the most memorable section of the theme. This is the message that World Wrestling Entertainment wishes for the fans to take away from hearing Orton’s theme, though let us move on and explore the perhaps less-frequently mentioned, but still memorable lyrics in Randy Orton’s entrance music.


“You got your rules and your religion
All designed to keep you safe
But when rules start getting broken
You start questionin' your faith”



On the surface, these may be the hardest lyrics to truly analyze because when this theme music first came to be, Orton was not feuding with a truly religious character. He had his issues with both Triple H and John Cena and neither of these men were your Mordecai’s or Born-Again Jake Roberts’. Instead, these lyrics represent the struggle inside of The Viper. I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase “God Is A DJ”, well in the world of wrestling, “God Is A Booker”. The powers that be tried to push Orton as a face in the past but the audience just seemed to be unable to accept him as a hero. For me, the most important two lines in this quadrant are the final two. There is a direct link implied between Orton breaking the rules, and trying to find himself. The voices in Orton’s head demand him to break outside of the good guy mould.

I think here Leaf you take the words just a little bit too literal. Religion does not mean the religion in terms of the born-again Christian like Roberts or the religious zealot of Mordecai but more the religion of wrestling. Having evolved in Evolution under the guidance of two of the more dirty wrestlers in the business Orton learned early on how to bend the rules to his own benefit.

These four lines seem to be directed not at Orton but at his opponent in the ring. They have the belief that every wrestler has that the rules of the ring will be adhered to, that the match will go according to the book and that therefore they will be kept safe to fight another day. However with Orton’s voices directing him and his knowledge of rule breaking gained from his early beginnings he is more likely to break these rules thus disorientating his opponent and giving him the upper hand.


“I have a voice that is my savior
Hates to love and loves to hate
I have the voice that has the knowledge
And the power to rule your fate”



And now we find ourselves back looking into Orton’s mind and a more fitting look you couldn’t find. Orton was floundering until his “voice” appeared in his head to direct him towards his goals, thus this “voice” is his saviour. The lyrics then go on to to give us a little bit more knowledge about this “voice” that makes you realise more closely exactly why Orton is like he is. This “voice” does not love but in fact hates, well yep that sounds like Orton, he is always thinking about himself first and never lets anyone get close as friends yet has many enemies. Next we learn that the “voice” has the knowledge, well no der, Orton wouldn’t be really where he is if the voice that controlled him was a simpleton but it is more than that. This “voice” helps direct him in the best way to really get under his opponents skin, even to the point of putting them out of action (read: punt to head) and thus ruling their fate.

I completely agree with you on this one zzzorf. Randy’s “voice” truly did save him. It was in the Rated RKO tag-team that Orton first showed some psychotic traits. Before that, he had been a stuck-up young punk within Evolution. Edge was all about sex and violence and he taught Orton exactly how to succumb to life’s vices, encouraging him to invoke as much violence as possible. I remember when Ric Flair was dragged out to the stage, bloodied by the two men, on an episode of RAW. The point is, this voice did save Randy. Randy was floundering as a face, then he was disappointing when he first turned heel again; after the Undertaker feud, he had no direction. When Rated RKO split up, Orton’s voics in his head remained and made themselves at home.


“I hear voices crying
I see heroes dying
I taste blood that's drying
I feel tension rising”



Now the use of the word “crying” here is particularly interesting. I truly believe that this is not a case of Randy Orton’s voices crying, this line actually refers to the fans. It is Writing 101 so to speak, to involve multiple senses in your creative piece at the same time. In the case of Rev Theory, they have explored the senses of hearing, seeing, tasting and feeling. Smell is omitted from here because let’s face it, what would smell have to do with an unprovoked attack? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is what we are discussing here, these four lines refer to what happens when The Viper’s rage truly gets the better of him.

We are not talking about legal match maneuvers here for several reasons. If the fans are crying and heroes are dying in that ring as opposed to being simply being defeated, blood has been drawn in battle and Randy Orton has to live with the tension as if he is somewhat conflicted with what his own hands have achieved, then none of these points create an image of fair and friendly competition. What do I love most about this?The personal pronoun of “I”, coupled with each of his senses, forces the listener to feel like the disturbed Viper and to ultimately become him. On a side note, I particularly like the use of the word “heroes” in the second line of this quadrant because it is a synonym for “legends”, which is a nice nod to Orton’s previous Legend Killer gimmick.

To me this section is the natural continuation of the last few sections. We first had a section based around his opponent and about how they believe their rules will keep them safe. We then moved into the next part where Orton’s voices take over and breaks those rules and thus rules the fate of his opponent. This last section is the repercussions of those voices taking control and of those rules being broken.

Once those voices have taken control of Orton he becomes a different, more vicious person. The actions that he does leads to these words used here. ‘Voices crying’ refers to the crowd and their upset that the face is lying flat on the ground, ‘heroes dying’, at the hands of Orton. We then have ‘blood that’s drying’, well that’s an easy one as it is the blood he has caused to flow from his opponent (remember this song started before the PG era), which therefore goes hand in hand with the ‘heroes dying’ line. Lastly you have the ‘tension rising’, this line has multiple ways to view it. You have the tension of the opponent who has just been beaten to a pulp losing the match. You have the tension of the crowd that has just seen their hero beaten. Lastly you have the tension of the locker room who all have to worry about them being the next to face Orton and him doing the same to them.


“I hear voices in my head
They counsel me
They understand
They talk to me, they talk to me
They tell me things that I will do
They show me things I'll do to you
They talk to me (talk to me, talk to me, talk to me)
They talk to me (talk to me, talk to me, talk to me)”



I won’t speak long on this part due to it being mostly covered earlier but this chorus was well placed by Rev Theory as you would expect. After going through Orton’s cycle from beginning to end we then get the reminder of exactly why this cycle happens. However this part does go further than the first part by adding in a few more lines to further the imagery caused in the previous parts. These lines ‘They tell me things that I will do’ and ‘They show me things I'll do to you’ further put accross the point that the voices are what drive Orton to the acts of depravity that he dishes out to his opponents.

Oh absolutely zzzorf. The main point behind this chorus is to distinguish between Orton and his voices. This is achieved between the pronouns “they” and “I”. Unlike other entrance themes such as John Cena’s My Time Is Now, Voices is very interesting because of the use of these two pronouns. Earlier I noted that the listener is invited into Orton’s questionable mindset through the “I” pronoun. The fact that “they” is repeated the chorus is because the WWE, Rev Theory, Orton himself, and everyone involved have a purpose to convince the listener that Orton is not in control of his actions. This is the most important message in the song so the repetition is pivotal. The repeated “talk to me” lyrics are barely sang. They are repeated in an almost deadpan manner which is a stark contrast from the lead vocalist’s screaming. I find it very interesting indeed that not only do the lyrics in this expanded chorus aim to create two different personalities, they are performed with the same motive in mind.


“All the lawyers are defenseless
All the doctors are diseased
And the preachers all are sinners
And police just take the grease
All you judges, you are guilty
All the bosses, I will fire
All you bankers will have losses
Politicians are all liars”



Almost instantly, you can tell that these eight lines are centered around the idea of hypocrisy and corruption. Randy Orton is a hypocrite because although he is a “professional” wrestler, his actions are anything but. The whole idea of him being a role-model, this young third-generation superstar born and bred for the business, is corrupted by the voices inside of him. I think this verse is actually trying to justify Orton’s actions, because all of these statements are hard to disprove. A doctor could easily catch a disease, and people are often criticising politicians regarding their manifesto pledges and their lies when for various reasons, such as being subjected to checks and balances, these ideas do not come into fruition and become law.

The point is, the song makes a point to state various examples of hypocrisy in the world to try and assure the readers that The Viper is not any worse than those people. In some ways, you know what to expect from Orton, and that is the unexpected. You know that he is a lunatic fringe, you just don’t know when exactly he will strike. If I could sum up this verse with just one phrase, it would be “better the devil you know”.

To be perfectly honest I never thought about this part like that Leaf so kudos on that, before this section just made no sense to me in terms of the rest of the song. Why when we are talking about Orton’s voices, the fans and his opponents do we suddenly break off and start with some random comments about lawyers, doctors, priests and other similar occupations? While I get where you are coming from with your explanation I feel that these eight lines take away from the feeling the rest of the song portrays and ruins the imagery that the rest of the words have built up throughout the rest of the song. I believe the song would have been better served by delving further into the ‘voices’ and its effect on Orton’s behaviour.


“I see darkness falling
I hear voices calling
I feel justice crawling
I see faith has fallen”



And to prove my point on just how out of place the previous section was we are now back to looking into the after-effects of the voices. While this is an effective part the potential impact that it could have hd was hampered by the previous part going off on a tangent. But enough about those eight lines, they are not the section we are looking at just here.

As I said this section looks at the after-effects of Ortons attack on his opponent. First we have ‘darkness falling’ which refers to the mood of the fans once they see Orton standing supreme over their fallen hero. This could also refer to the blackout of the TV at the end of the show with Orton normally being the main event. The ‘voices calling’ are of course the fans screaming at Orton over what he has done. The interesting line here is the ‘justice crawling’ part. To me this is in reference to WWE management, in particular the GM, trying to counteract Orton’s actions and trying to fix the problem that he has caused. Lastly ‘faith has fallen’ shows how everyone, the wrestlers, the fans and management have realised that they find themselves in a hopeless situation and they therefore have lost all faith in the hero winning in the end.

That is a very interesting analysis of this section zzzorf, and I cannot fault any of it. I do have some additional ideas to add, however. If you had to name one wrestler that you would associate with “darkness”, “justice” and “faith”, you would think of The Undertaker. Admittedly, when Voices debuted, it had been several years since the former Legend Killer had feuded with WWE’s Deadman, though there are two important factors to note from this. The first of which is that the feud had longevity. Orton’s feud with the Undertaker began in late February 2005 and would conclude in November of that same year. Orton spent nine months of his wrestling career feuding on and off with the Phenom. Whilst many say that Orton’s run in Evolution shaped him to be who he is today, a bitter man if you will, you cannot dismiss the impact that the Undertaker feud had on him. The two feuded in the likes of Casket and Hell In A Cell matches. The second factor to consider is that after his first lacklustre face run, it was indeed the Undertaker that turned him back to the dark side. Even when Randy Orton would turn face in February 2009, he would simply portray an anti-hero version of the Viper character. The announcers would tell the world that Randy Orton would be going to “that place” again.

I don’t mean to contradict myself as I truly believe that this psychotic character first surfaced during the Rated RKO tag team, though just as Randy Orton sought revenge against Triple H and formed new personalities from his bitterness, these voices borrowed a degree of darkness from his feud with the Undertaker. I stated before that there was a nod to the “Legend Killer” of Orton within this theme, and there is no bigger example of a legend than the one that he attempted to defeat in a nine month war. What I like about the entrance theme of Voices is that it allows the listener to understand who Randy Orton is now, but as with every transformation, someone’s past is key to their present, and this feud most certainly changed him.


“I hear voices in my head
They counsel me
They understand
They talk to me, they talk to me
They tell me things that I will do
They show me things I'll do to you
They talk to me (talk to me, talk to me, talk to me)

I hear voices crying
I see heroes dying
I taste blood that's drying
I feel tension rising

I hear voices in my head
They counsel me
They understand
They talk to me, they talk to me
They tell me things that I will do
They show me things I'll do to you
They talk to me (talk to me, talk to me, talk to me)
They talk to me (talk to me, talk to me, talk to me)”



Well, I think we have explained these sections enough. Instead, here’s a cat pretending to be the Viper:



Man of few words aren’t you Leaf, oh well I guess it is up to me than to say something about this last section. I won’t bother explaining what the words mean since we have already gone through this before. Instead I will take a look at how these words are in fact a fitting ending to the song as a whole. While pretty much the majority of the words in this song could have been used to end the song, the words chosen here are indeed the best ones to remind us exactly what the driving force behind Orton truly is. The chorus tells us exactly what is controlling him and exactly what control the voices have over him.

Instead of just replaying the chorus over and over again though we get it split by four lines used previously in the song. But why those four lines and not any of the others? Well that is simple, those words indicate the outcome that happens when Orton lets the voices take hold. Could have better words been used? Well yeah, but then that means they would have had to have introduced new words into the song and thus would not give the ending the traditional send-off that is found in most songs. These four lines are the best the song has to offer to paint the picture that once the voices take control that there is no stopping Orton and he will hurt anyone who comes near him.




The Lyrics

Link: Voices Instrumental Video





This section truly allows me to shed my new-found “man of few words” reputation as it is safe to say that the musical aspects of Voices create many a talking point.


Vocals


As for a talking point, we should look no further than the vocals in the song. We explored exactly how the lyrics in this section provide us with an insight into Randy’s disturbed character, and the vocal recording and mastering techniques here create exactly the same effect. It appears that the vocals are always being modified in order to create this schizophrenic feeling. The opening section of the song has been modified with a substantial amount of reverb and delay in order to make the vocals sound both more powerful and to also truly fill the depth of the song. We cannot escape these techniques, in the same way that Orton cannot escape his own headspace. Crucially, after this initial intro chorus of the song, there are numerous double-tracking techniques to really emphasise Randy Orton’s predicament.

The first verse actually features a voice whispering the lyrics whilst the main vocalist Rich Luzzi performs them as normal. If Luzzi represents Orton, this technique has created a real sense of conflict between Orton and his voices. By the time of the pre-chorus, the voices are every bit as prominent as Luzzi but they are now looking to create a harmony, therefore representing Orton becoming even closer to the devil(s) on his shoulder. Notably, these backing vocals have been set to toggle between the left and right of the mix in order to truly create the impression that you cannot escape from them.

In the chorus, these voices try to drown out Randy with a droning yell, and as I alluded to earlier, they seek Randy’s attention by repeating the “talk to me” line repeatedly.

After begging for attention, it seems as if Orton accepts their call as for the second verse, there is minimal backing vocal activity. Even the harmonies are missing from the second pre-chorus. The chorus is as normal, with the voices attempting to drone Orton out once more, and they are begging for Orton to talk back to them. As we said for the lyrics section, this is because the chorus is the most important section of the song; not only are the lyrics repeated, the ideas are repeated too. The audience needs to accept the fact that Orton really is suffering from his inner conflict

After a guitar solo, it appears that the Apex Predator is conflicted once more as the harmonies return for the last pre-chorus, and as per usual, the drones return for the final chorus. It was essential for the pre-chorus harmonies to return as if Orton had truly become one with his voices, we would not be looking at a schizophrenic character after all. Instead, Randy Orton is dangerous because he can never truly embrace the voices inside of his head forever: he keeps inviting them in before pushing them out, which lends to his unpredictable nature.


Lead Guitar


The lead guitar introduces itself immediately after the opening chorus with a distorted fill. It plays an important part as the introduction features instruments that play very similar parts. The vocals are accompanied by some strings and a synth, which sustain their notes for around the same period of time together. Just like Orton himself, the guitar disrupts the status quo. When the guitar is introduced, its dirty tone whilst cycling through various notes, really creates an impression that business is about to pick up. To me, it comes as no surprise that this fill comes just before a section that accuses the listener of living safely in their box- following both “rules” and “religion”. The abrupt nature of that fill broke all of the rules that were pre-determined by the neatly pieced together five seconds of introduction. I won’t talk about Randy Orton’s entrance too much here zzzorf as I believe you will be covering it in more detail, but THIS is the moment that Orton arrives, just as the nature of the piece is thrown into complete and utter disarray.

The electric guitar is absent from the verses of the piece but it is extremely prominent in each pre-chorus. I’d like think of these pre-choruses as the bite of the Viper. In the same way that the film Jaws featured a repetitive motif to represent the shark edging nearer, here we have repeated chords, which are completed by a keyboard or synth found more to the right of the mix. Not only does this represent that the Viper is edging nearer, it represents the rise in his aggression.This is because it is this section which features the repeated “I” pronoun and the listener is taken on a sensory tour of the Viper. In some ways then, the absence of the guitar in the verse is just as important as its heavy usage in the pre-chorus because it allows for the guitar’s eventual arrival to feel like a greater occurrence.

In the chorus, the guitar part adapts to play a variety of notes to form various chords with the bass guitar. These two instruments are occasionally partnered with the synth. Yes, as with every great piece of music, sometimes the different parts of the piece will simply ensure that the song remains in the right key.

The last notable point about the guitar part is that there is a solo before the final chorus that is essentially an extended version of the fill from the introduction. Whilst we could simply label this solo as being a typical “badass” feature of a rock song, we must consider the vocals that are heard before and after it. “They talk to me” is the cry from Luzzi before the solo, and “I hear voices crying” is the immediate lyric afterwards. With that being said, would it be really too far-fetched to consider that this solo is actually a story arc, and because the guitar pans from left to right in the mix, that the solo represents those very same voices that Randy Orton is hearing?


Other Instruments


One of the most notable instruments in Voices is either a keyboard or synth. Throughout the verse, the listener will hear the notes E and D played in a high octave. Voices is in the key of G Minor so the notes of E and D do fit within the various keys that you would expect to hear in a G Minor composition. What is odd about these notes is where they appear in the verses. Any attempt of a consistent sequence is futile as the sequence is often broken within various bars of the verse. In some ways, this works well with Orton’s character as he may be a technically sound wrestler but he could strike you at any time. If everything was perfectly accurate with this music, it wouldn’t be a fine representation of the Viper. Instead, what do the WWE commentators refer to that appears out of nowhere? An RKO of course.

The synth melody eventually becomes complete within the final chorus but it is played in double-time in the outro. Both the tone of the instrument and the sequence is reminiscent of a very famous motif- the tubular bells part of the aptly named “Tubular Bells” by Mike Oldfield. Interestingly enough, this piece formed an integral part of the soundtrack to a movie which featured a “possessed” main character. It is entirely possible that the WWE intended to include this part of the piece as a homage to the Exorcist, because the Viper is also controlled by voices.

For the most part, the rhythm section instruments in the piece are not trying to denote the Viper’s mentality. The bass guitar is simply an essential instrument which provides depth of field and it supports other tuned instruments with its notation. As for its untuned partner within the rhythm section, the drum kit, I would like to note a few of my observations. During the chorus and solo of the piece, when we would normally expect the repeated use of the crash cymbal, the drummer decides to alternate every four bars between repeatedly striking the crash cymbal and focusing on suspended hi-hats or the ride cymbal. As we have discussed before with the infrequent use of whispering backing vocals and harmonies, coupled with the lead guitar dropping in and out of the track, I believe that this alternation between cymbals is again supposed to represent the conflict within Orton.

It may seem surreal to think that World Wrestling Entertainment and Rich Luzzi of Rev Theory have employed many tactics in their attempts to define the Viper character within the song, though with so many different musical devices seemingly hinting towards one combined goal, it is hard to disprove all of these “rev” theories, so to speak. It seems that almost the entire instrumentation and structure of the piece is centered towards the idea that Randy Orton is unstable. After exploring the piece in detail, I truly believe that they have achieved this point.




The Entrance

Link: Randy Orton Entrance Video - One Night Stand 2008

Link: Randy Orton 2014 Titantron





And that right there is why you have made this column way more than I ever dreamed it could be. There is just no way I could listen to just the instruments and dissect them the way you just did, it is just way beyond my capabilities. Anyway now that you have shown me up it is my turn to get some of my dignity back when I take a look at the rest of the stuff that goes along with the music, that is the entrance and the Titantron.


Entrance


Now I could take the well trod path here and go along with the pack who complain about how long it takes Orton to get to the ring, but lets be serious here, he ain’t actually that bad and it fits the character he portrays perfectly. Don’t believe me? Well let me explain.

Randy Orton is known as the Viper and it’s not because that if he bites you, he is going to inject venom into your bloodstream. No, it is because before he strikes, he is in fact calculating just how to do enough damage to incapacitate his opponent, just like a Viper. You can see the concentration written on Orton’s face as if he is going through the motions in his mind; he is deciding what he needs to do to disable the wrestler awaiting him in the ring (or still to come out, whatever the case).

However, through our delving into his theme song, we have discovered that being the Viper is only part of it and there is actually more to the slow walk than meets the eye. If we didn’t already realise before this column, we are well aware now that Randy Orton is controlled by inner whispers. Well actually, controlled is the wrong word. To use a word from the lyrics, he is in fact ‘counselled’ by them. That look of concentration is also a sign that the Apex Predator is listening to these voices and he is taking into consideration exactly what they are ‘counselling’ him about.

In fact, there is a good indication during his entrance where it can be perceived that Orton is actually listening to these voices at that particular time. During The Viper’s entrance, he has a tendency to throw his head back a little and leave it there for a few seconds before once again returning it to its normal position. This could very well be a point of contact between Orton and his inner demons.

Once Orton hits the ring, however, we are reminded that it is in fact the Viper who is in control and that the voices only have a backstage pass as he climbs the turnbuckle to give his unique pose. This pose is something that has been with Randy from day one, way before the voices started to invade his head. This is his way of saying that even though he has some sort of invading presence in his head, he is still himself and that it is in fact Mr. RKO himself that will make the final decisions no matter how evil they are.


Titantron


The last part of Orton’s entrance that we need to analyse is the video package that accompanies him to the ring. As you would expect, Orton’s video package includes shots of him doing his signature moves, such as the RKO and the punt to the head, on various opponents. This is stock standard fare with nothing out of the ordinary to what you would see in any other wrestler’s video package. In saying that though, Orton’s video package goes beyond this basic video and delivers a few different visual aids to remind us that he does indeed hear voices.

One of these ways goes hand in hand with his signature moves in the fact that they are the moments in a match that you can see the voices come into play. These moments include him thumping the mat with his fist, him holding his opponent as if he is awaiting instructions and Orton laying propped on the mat ready to strike.

The other aids are more forced in the fact that the majority of them are staged poses in a different non-wrestling setting. These however are probably the strongest images to remind us that he is not fully in control of his actions and that he is getting his orders from an outside source. These poses also include a fair bit of the head tilt that I talked about previously, thus again alluding to the voices who aid him.




The Verdict

How well does "Voices" fit The Viper?





To say that Voices is a well thought-out piece is an understatement. From the choice of lyrics, the musical direction, all the way to the entrance choreography and the pyrotechnics, having analysed this piece, it feels as if Voices is more of a carefully crafted play than a three and a half minute entrance theme. I was personally blown away with what we discovered today, but as this column was your brainchild zzzorf, I ask you, did you honestly expect to find as many purposefully executed tricks and devices within the Apex Predator’s battle-cry?

When I chose this song as the first one that would be done in this series way back when I first had the idea in my first few months here in the CF back in late 2011 I chose it because I wanted to start with a theme which I felt would get the tick of approval for a good fit for the wrestler it belongs to. What I didn’t realise was just how naive that idea really was, nothing had prepared me for just how perfect down to the finest detail this song actually was. This song has really set the benchmark going forward in this series for all other songs we take a look at to live up to.

You summed it up perfectly there. At the moment, we live in the age of looped themes from CF0$ and whilst some of them do work for a character, I cannot help but think that no song will ever fit a character more than Voices for Randy Orton. Throughout the song, every intricate detail is considered, and overall, in the essence of Orton himself, this theme is a volatile combination that is so perfectly composed and yet could become unstable if just one element is changed. For me, Voices and Randy Orton is the perfect marriage of character and content, but the question is, could another song threaten to become the gold standard of entrance themes? Will we find another song that is better suited to a character than Voices? In fact, will we discover another theme that could even come CLOSE?

Well I have faith that we will, at some stage in this series, find a theme that will come close but I feel we will first go through a few others that fall wide of the mark. Anyway that is all we have time for as this column has gone on way longer than I had expected (granted it turned out way better than I ever dreamed thanks to my partner in crime here) so it is time to sign off. Any last words for our readers before we leave Leaf?

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this series zzzorf. Like the cross section of a leaf, you never know what you will find deep in the heart of wrestling’s entrance music until you dissect it. Please leave your thoughts and theories below to allow us to truly face the music, and remember, all you need to do is #BoLeaf!

If you keep using Bo Dallas’s name in vain like that there may not be a next time, remember whose column this is, you don’t want to upset me. Anyway as Leaf said, please leave your thoughts below either on this column and Voices or on the series idea itself, including any suggestions for future editions as requests will be welcomed and will be carefully considered. Until next time don’t forget, it’s not arrogance, it’s just destiny.








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