Spoken Word in Music
"The silence, the terror, the pain, the horror, as your mom comes downstairs."Studio recorded music sometimes contains barely audible pieces of lo-fi recording. This may be used for an intro or outro, or it might be used to make a long instrumental sequence more interesting. This generally is done by tacking on spoken word recordings. So what counts? It should fall into one of these categories:
— Barenaked Ladies, "Enid"
- The bit was recorded by someone other than the original artist at the time of the recording.
- The bit is created by the original artist, but was likely recorded separately from the song (this is where Pink Floyd and experimental music gets confusing.)
- The bit is from radio or television, or other media.
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- Barenaked Ladies:
- "Enid" is the perfect example of this trope: right before it launches into the song, there's a very brief snippet of some sort of Depeche Mode-esque radio recording ("The silence, the terror, the pain, the horror / As your mom comes downstairs"). As a bonus, this little joke wasn't actually performed by the band themselves — it's the album's producer, Philip Wojewoda.
- "Peterborough and the Kawarthas" has a weather report during the instrumental breaks.
- "Maybe Katie:" "I'll set the metronome."
- The better part of "Crazy" is meaningless words under instrumental music.
- Steven Page's solo album The Vanity Project has "Hit and Run" fade out with a traffic collision report.
- It would almost be easier to list the songs in which Pulp doesn't have an interlude using this trope, but we'll stick to listing examples for the time being:
- "Love is Blind" from Separations: "We held hands and we looked out of the bedroom window . . . "
- The very beginning of "Acrylic Afternoons", on His 'N' Hers.
- "I Spy" and "F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E." off of Different Class
- "A Little Soul" from This is Hardcore.
- A few tracks, such as "Wickerman" from We Love Life and "David's Last Summer" from His 'N' Hers, are entirely spoken word over background music.
- Gwen Stefani's "Long Way To Go" samples an excerpt from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.
- Some of the lyrics for blur songs Parklife, Ernold Same and Essex Dogs are in spoken word.
- Fort Minor's "Kenji" begins and closes with clips from an interview with Mike Shinoda's father and aunt about their experience during their family's internment at Manzanar during WWII. Justified as the song was inspired by those events.
- As for Linkin Park, their latest album contained samples of speeches by J. Robert Oppenheimer, Mario Savio, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Jawbreaker's "Jet Black" starts with a bit of Christopher Walken's One-Scene Wonder monologue from Annie Hall ("I tell you this because as an artist, I think you'll understand..."), then continues with more of it during the bridge.
- "Condition Oakland" features excerpts from Jack Kerouac's book Lonesome Traveler being recited by Kerouac himself, apparently sourced from a TV appearance.
- Kate Bush
''Oh thou, who givest sustenance to the universeFrom whom all things proceedTo whom all things returnUnveil to us the face of the true spiritual sunHidden by a disc of golden lightThat we may know the truthAnd do our whole dutyAs we journey to thy sacred feet''
- "Hounds of Love" opens with a sound clip from the film Night of the Demon: "It's in the trees...It's coming!"
- More accurately, it was a re-creation of the clip.
- There's a long, eerie instrumental break near the end of "Breathing" with a recording of a man describing the effects of a nuclear bomb.
- "Houdini:" "Rosabelle, believe!"
- "Experiment IV:" "I'll bet my mum's gonna give me a little toy instrument!"
- "Hounds of Love" opens with a sound clip from the film Night of the Demon: "It's in the trees...It's coming!"
- Creature Feature loves these. "The Greatest Show Unearthed" opens with a talker's spiel for a Circus of Fear; "Buried Alive" begins with a quote from Edgar Allan Poe; "Aim For The Head" contains dialogue from Night of the Living Dead (1968); "A Gorey Demise" opens with a bunch of corpses having a party... There are fewer Creature Feature songs without spoken word than with.
- Fastball's "The Way" opens with a radio tuning and snippets of various stations before the song starts playing. For the first few lines, it sounds like it's playing on a low-quality radio.
- The Bloodhound Gang's "The Bad Touch" opens with a line from a documentary: "This is called the act of mating! But there are many other differences between humans and animals that you should know about."
- Beck uses this on occasion - "Where It's At" features several clips from a Totally Radical 70's sex education record ("We're all part of the total scene!"), while "Truck Drivin' Neighbors Downstairs" starts with two men engaging in a Cluster F-Bomb filled drunken shouting match. Scarily enough these are the actual downstairs neighbors the song was written about - they were being so loud he accidentally picked up their argument on his four-track while trying to record home demos.
- The b-side "Zatyricon" is probably his most extensive use of the trope, as the vocals consist entirely of prank calls to cosmetic surgery practices made by Tony Hoffer (who was a member of Beck's backing band at the time).
- "Critical Acclaim" by Avenged Sevenfold features the singer shouting criticisms of the right wing and those who put them in place.
- Eels' "Manchild" from Beautiful Freak contains samples from a depressed-sounding answering machine message left by Jill Sobule ("I'm not having any fun...")
- "Selfish" by Ned's Atomic Dustbin includes a repeated sample of Reginald VelJohnson from Die Hard ("Why don't you wake up and smell what you're shovelin'?").
- "What Gives My Son?" has a couple of different samples of fathers yelling at their sons to get a haircut and a job ("you want to be a bum all your life, be a bum, but not under my roof!"). They both seem to come from different movies or shows, but no one seems to have figured out the original sources.
- "Car Seat (God's Presents)" by Blind Melon ends with a poem written and recited by Shannon Hoon's great grandmother set to a fairly lengthy instrumental jam.
- Sonic Youth's "Providence" consists entirely of feedback, piano, and an answering machine message from Mike Watt, which apparently concerns Thurston Moore accidentally throwing equipment in the trash while stoned.
- Slint's album, Spiderland had many elements of this in some of it's songs. The albums opener Breadcrumb Trail, for example, features a spoken word segment of the narrator reciting his visit to an amusement park and having his fortune read, then courting the teller all set to a slow and brooding post-apocalyptic Instrumental.
- Sublime's "April 29, 1992 (Miami)", a song about the Los Angeles riots in 1992, is interspersed with recordings of police communications on that day alerting officers to break-ins and looters.
- Ben Folds Five's "Your Most Valuable Possession" is a message Ben Folds' father left on his answering machine, set to loungey backing music.
- Foo Fighters' "Everlong" features some faint and semi-unintelligible whispering over the quiet part of the interlude after the second chorus, supposedly taken from sources including a love letter and a technical manual.
- One of the gimmicks of the Manic Street Preachers' album The Holy Bible is that a lot of the songs have quotes lifted from various sources as intros. This gimmick is revisited on the "sequel" to the album, ''Journal for Plague Lovers."
- Madness' Cover Version of "Lola" by The Kinks was originally meant to be sung the whole way through, but a problem in the studio resulted in Suggs speaking the last lines of the song instead.
- Radiohead's "Fitter Happier" has what sounds like radio chatter in the background, along with some other unsettling noises.
- They Might Be Giants were somewhat fond of this trope for their first few albums. "Snowball In Hell" features a segment of a motivational tape for salesmen, while "I'm Def" and "I'll Sink Manhattan" feature messages left on the answering machine used for their Dial-A-Song phone line.
- Mary And The Black Lamb's song "Emily" has a phone call reenactment just before the final chorus.
- Green Day throws one in at the start of "East Jesus Nowhere": "And we shall see how godless a nation we have become."
- Godspeed You! Black Emperor does this often, perhaps most notably in "The Dead Flag Blues."
- Blaise Bailey Finnegan III from the EP Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada, contains a lengthy excerpt involving an interview, a long rant about an encounter at a traffic court over a parking ticket and finally a “poem” which is basically the slightly plagiarized lyrics of Iron Maiden Virus all set to a slowly ascending, post-rock crescendo.
- Sister project Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra is also occasionally does this as well, notably in He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Still Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms... where the same narration spans across most of the first half of the album.
- Mike Watt's "Heartbeat" ends with an answering machine message from Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna about how she refuses to appear on the album because another, unnamed guest on the album raped her friend when she was 13, as well as because the rest of the contributors are "just doing the whole, like, big-white-baby-with-an-ego-problem thing". The clip stirred up some controversy at the time of release, both over its content and over Watt possibly using the revealing message without permission. However, Hanna eventually revealed that she was the one who offered to be on the album in the first place, but she then opted to submit a faux answering machine monologue as an "art piece" instead.
- Self's Gizmodgery is an album recorded entirely using toy instruments (and noise-making toys in general), so talking toys are occasionally used this way. For instance, in "Pattycake" the lyric "So you called the chief of police" is followed by a computerized voice cheerfully announcing "This is the pig! This is the pig!".
- "Cinderblocks For Shoes" starts with an answering machine message from someone who is either a genuine Loony Fan (at one point she gushes "I know where you live and everything, ha ha ha ha!") or just someone playing a prank on Matt Mahaffey.
- The Divine Comedy uses this quite a lot. Generation Sex has clips from Katie Puckrik on a talkshow, Becoming More Like Alfie contains a clip from, well, Alfie and The Certainty Of Chance has Neil quoting La Dolce Vita.
- There's also Dexter Fletcher's contribution to "Here Comes The Flood".
- He continues this with future songs, including To Die A Virgin starting off with an appropriate exchange from The Camomile Lawn. Taken to the extreme in The Lost Art of Conversation, where the end of the song is comprised of near-indecipherable conversation between groups of people while the music plays out (even at live shows, he encourages the audience to start talking to one another as the song ends).
- Their album Promenade is rife with this. The album begins and ends with this trope; the first track, "Bath", opens with Neil quoting from the hymn Our God, Our Help in Ages Past, and the final track, "Ode to the Man", is a recording of Micheál Mac Liammóir reciting one of Horace's odes (taken from the British film Tom Jones). "The Booklovers" and "When the Lights Go Out All Over Europe" use clips from Audrey Hepburn and Breathless respectively, and the last minute of "Don't Look Down" consists of the narrator having an argument with God.
- Too Much Joy's Son Of Sam I Am included these as introductions for most songs. In a somewhat infamous infringement case, a sample of a Bozo The Clown record ("I found something in one of my pockets. It was about as big as your shoe, but it was shaped like a rocket!") had to be removed from the song "Clowns" after the band were sued by Larry Harmon, one of the performers to portray Bozo himself.
- CAKE's "Thrills" is what seems to be an old time sermon set to music, quite good actually.
- The Gorillaz song "Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey's Head" from Demon Days narrated by Dennis Hopper, is basically a spoken word track with a little music spliced in.
- The Starflyer 59 song "First Heart Attack" ends with what sounds like a couple of surgeons conversing mid-operation.
- The Mighty Mighty Bosstones' cover of "Detroit Rock City", from the Kiss tribute album Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved, starts out with an answering machine message from Gene Simmons: Ironically enough, it's Simmons telling Bosstones singer Dicky Barrett that they should cover something else, because "Detroit Rock City" was already being covered by another band for the album.
- The Paper Chase really loves this trope. It might be easier to list their songs that don't qualify.
- Quite a few of Space's songs qualify. 'No One Understands' has a sample from The Elephant Man as its middle eight; 'Bastard Me Bastard You' has an Alfred Hitchcock sample; 'I Am Unlike A Lifeform You've Ever Met' is entirely spoken word and ends with an American radio announcer talking about a zombie attack; 'Disco Dolly' starts with a car horn and a group of Scousers talking outside a club; 'The Man' and 'Juno' are instrumental tracks with sampled speech scattered throughout; and other songs have fragments of unintelligible speech, some apparently from the band themselves.
- Soul Coughing's "$300" has a slowed down loop from a Chris Rock bit functioning as the chorus ("how much? she said for three hundred dollars I'll do an-"). Chris Rock's album Roll With The New had a track called "My Favorite Joke", where the joke itself is back-masked, and after loading the track into his sampler just to play it backwards, Mike Doughty also ended up making a loop and building a song around it.
- Because it's about The Great Ape-Snake War, Third Eye Blind's "If There Ever Was A Time" begins and ends with the sounds of protesters at Zucotti Park.
- Mick Jones' post-Clash band, Big Audio Dynamite, frequently used audio clips in their music.
- Weezer's "Undone - The Sweater Song" has a couple of sections of simulated crowd dialogue, although one of the participants is in fact a band member: bassist Matt Sharp is heard alongside band archivist Karl Koch and fan club co-president Mykel Allan. There's also a particularly bizarre Unplugged Version where they got their friend Tim "Speed" Levitch to recite his poetry during these sections instead.
- There's also "Falling For You", where a snippet of a radio broadcast in Korean slipped into the recording due to interference with an amplifier and they decided to Throw It In.
- Black Grape's "Get Higher" includes samples of Ronald and Nancy Reagan speaking about drugs, which of course have been manipulated to sound pro-drug-use ("And there's one more thing, Nancy and I are hooked on heroin..."). The audio came from an edited video that made the rounds as a bootleg years earlier, while Reagan was still president.
- "Fantastic Fabulous" by Luscious Jackson has Deborah Harry on guest vocals, and it also includes a sample of an answering machine message from her about singing the song itself:
Hello, Tony note ? This is Debbie Harry calling. I think we did say something about tonight to sing or something for Luscious Jackson...
- 65daysofstatic utilized this in many of their earlier songs, best exemplified from their song "Retreat! Retreat!":
"What kills me only makes me stronger. We will never retreat: This band is unstoppable!"
- "Weird Al" Yankovic:
- "Jerry Springer" has a mock argument during the instrumentals.
- "Grapefruit Diet" has a take-out order at the end.
- "Skipper Dan:" "And there it is, the back side of water...what have I done with my LIFE?"
- "I Lost On Jeopardy:" "That's right, Al, you lost. And let me tell you what you didn't win..." Courtesy of original Jeopardy announcer Don Pardo.
- "You're Pitiful": Al starts the song, then stops and asks if he was too early, and when to actually start singing.
- The song he was parodying—James Blunt's "You're Beautiful"—does the same thing.
- Albuquerque is besides the choruses almost completely spoken word, with Al telling a surreal story of a man's life growing up and going to Albuquerque. And it is awesome.
- "Craigslist:" "An open letter... to the snotty barista... at the Coffee Bean on San Vicente Boulevard..." This is, of course, in homage to Jim Morrison's vocal style, as previously mentioned.
- "Confessions Part III:" "You don't know how hard it is for me to tell you this... but remember that shirt you got me for my birthday? Well... I returned it for store credit. That-that thing was hideous, what were you thinking? ..."
- "Whatever You Like:" "Hey girl, you know our economy's in the toilet, but I'm still gonna treat you right!"
- The Bonzo Dog Band used speech a lot, beginning their song "Shirt" with a lengthy man-on-the-street interview, and using nothing but in "Rhinocratic Oaths", as Vivian Stanshall narrates four very odd slice-of-life stories.
- Sugarland's Happy Ending also samples MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech, along with Neil Armstrong's first words stepping onto the moon. Baby's born in the ghetto... "I have a dream that one day..." Baby's born with a silver spoon... "That's one small step for man..." One tells his mama I have a dream/One tells his mama I'll walk the moon...
- Eddie Rabbitt's "American Boy" includes samples of speeches from Martin Luther King Jr., Neil Armstrong, and John F. Kennedy.
- "This Ain't No Rag, It's a Flag" by the Charlie Daniels Band includes a recording of a kid reading the Pledge of Allegiance.
- Mark Wills' "And the Crowd Goes Wild" has snippets of sports play-by-plays done by George Plaster, to keep with its theme of the crowd going wild over a sports event or a singer.
- The Johnny Cash song When The Man Comes Around opens and closes with Cash reading from Revelation.
- Sherrié Austin's "Put Your Heart into It" opens with backing vocalist Donna McElroy saying, "Okay, honey. Girl, you don't even— you're too young to know what this song's talking about!" followed by Austin laughing. This was removed from the radio edit.
- Eddy Raven tended to ad-lib spoken lines in the fade-outs of his songs, including "Operator, Operator", "Joe Knows How to Live", "I'm Gonna Get You", and others.
- Lee Roy Parnell's 1994 cover of Hank Williams' "Take These Chains from My Heart", recorded as a duet with Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn, features the two having an offhanded conversation about going to Mexico at the end.
- Mark McGuinn's "Mrs. Steven Rudy", the first track on his debut album, opens with a female voice saying "play ball".
- Marcel's "Country Rock Star" is Book Ended by a kid saying "I wanna be a country rock star".
- "Move On" by ABBA starts with Swede Bjorn Ulvaeus affecting an American Southern drawl saying:
"They say a restless body can hide a peaceful soul.
A voyager, ad a settler, they both have a distant goal.
If I explore the heavens, or if I search inside.
Well, it really doesn't matter as long as I can tell myself
I've always tried."
- Diana Ross's version of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."
- "Ma Baker" by Boney M does this three times. It starts with a clip of Ma Baker during a stick-up, then in the middle of the song is a news bulletin from the police asking for any information on Ma Baker's whereabouts, and this is followed by a second clip of Ma Baker.
- This is one of noise rock band The God Bullies' trademarks - they particularly seem to like using samples of religious records for irony's sake. For instance, "Fear And Pain" starts with a sample from Flight F-I-N-A-L, a record that compared going to heaven to traveling by airplane ("...your captain is The Lord Jesus Christ, and I am your Chief Stewardess, The Angel Of Mercy")
- Cracker's cover of The Residents' "Blue Rosebuds" includes some barely audible speech due to a Throw It In moment from the producer: An inmate from a nearby prison dialed the studio's phone number to make an obscene phone call while the band was recording, and the producer very quickly patched the phone line into the mixing board during an instrumental break. It certainly did add to the uncharacteristic creepiness of the cover.
- UNKLE's "Rabbit In Your Headlights" has a sound clip from Jacob's Ladder in the middle.
- Also from Outro, "I... I feel... that this has been the most incredible and wonderful thing to have ever have happened... and also the worst. It's... it's a mixed bag. I've been taken to the depths of extreme... terror by this... on the one hand. On the other hand, this experience has been about finding great... joy"
- "Frontier Psychiatrist" by The Avalanches is all spoken word.
- Math The Band's "Hang Out Hang Ten" and "Almost!" both end in what seems to be nonsensical Quote Mining of some kind of self-help tape: "You've probably also realized that fears and anxieties are one of the most important skills you can acquire", and "I've had students tell me they have thousands of years of experience, which dates back twenty five thousand years, which means forty million discoveries of ancient wisdom and of new insights".
- "Little Fluffy Clouds" by The Orb relies heavily on an interview with Rickie Lee Jones.
- The Ess Zed song 'Life and Death' features small interludes of the narrator discussing death and mourning with his grandfather, with the grandfather pleading the narrator to not be upset, because once we were all parts of suns, and we'll die, but we'll go on and become stars again, and maybe even be reborn as life on a new planet.
- Daft Punk's "Giorgio by Moroder" has a two-minute-long spoken intro by the eponymous man, out of a nine-minute-long track.
- Ólafur Arnalds incorporated synthesizer voices into his album Dyad 1909, in which the voice refers to someone who has left them despite the voice having begged them not to leave.
- Loreena McKennitt's Dicken's Dublin has a lot of this, with a child speaking intermittently during the song.
- Jonathan Coulton's song "Shop Vac" has a brief spoken word portion under the last verse, a mock-up news broadcast which is then cut off by static. It is difficult to hear it in its entirety but it appears to say, "... the case of two men who have come up with an idea for ads reaching a captive audience. The ads can now be seen inside public bathroom stalls. 'It may seem silly,' says ... A forty-nine-year-old, unidentified man went berserk last night, opening fire with a twelve-gauge shotgun in a crowded, downtown..."
- Shawn Mullins' Signature Style is spoken verses and sung choruses. In an interview, he said it came from his earlier days when he would play in noisy clubs, and he'd speak some of the lyrics to get the audience's attention.
- The Simon & Garfunkel song "Seven O'Clock News/Silent Night" has the duo singing the Christmas carol over a rather downbeat news broadcast.
- Van Morrison plays with the idea on tracks like Rave On John Donne, and especially on the Sense of Wonder album. This is as near as he gets to rap; Sense of Wonder incorporates lyrical nostalgia for a Belfast upbriging, and a later track involves Morrison reciting a William Blake poem set to his own music.
- The Israeli song about the Battle of Ammunition Hill is traditionally sung with the soldiers' recollections of the battle read out between the stanzas.
- Steeleye Span's "The Good Witch", from the Concept Album based on the Discworld novel Wintersmith, ends with Sir Terry Pratchett saying "A good witch never cackles" followed by the section from the book begining "Cackling is not just nasty laughter".
- Many Bright Eyes albums begin like this.
- The song An Attempt To Tip The Scales concludes with a ten minute mock-radio interview parodying the melodramatic nature of the album and Conor Oberst's musical persona.
- Also, Oberst's Desaparecidos side project. The band's only album begins with a tape recording of a group of teenage girls' superficial opinions on what makes "an ideal man".
- The creepy guy speaking at the beginning of 1940 by the Submarines
- Creepy Man's Voice: The year is one thousand nine hundred and forty... and something... isn't... right...
- Stars' "The Woods" features samples from the documentary Grey Gardens, specifically "Little Edie" Bouvier Beale talking about accidentally dropping her scarf off the porch and into the massively overgrown backyard ("It's a sea of leaves, sea of leaves... if you lose something you can’t find it again, lost at the bottom”).
- Also by Stars, from the beginning of "Your Ex Lover Is Dead", "When there's nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire." Apparently a recording of one of the band member's fathers.
- The beginning of Kate Nash's Mansion Song.
- Say Anything goes meta with this in "Belt."
Max: I have to record the spoken-word introduction to the record. It's only a few lines, but I'm having anxiety about it.
- The outro of Belle and Sebastian's "I Could Be Dreaming" features Isobel Campbell reading from Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle in the background.
- Sebadoh's "Open Ended" ends with a looped snippet of an announcer saying "It's weed against speed!" (it's really an intro to the next track, an instrumental called "Weed Against Speed")
- The band's first two albums, The Freed Man and Weed Forestin, also have quite a lot of spoken word in them.
- Ride's "Cool Your Boots" starts with Paul McGann's narration from Withnail & I: "Even a stopped clock gives the right time twice a day".
- Sidewalk Driver's For All The Boys And Girls has two tracks that end in lo-fi spoken clips: "Radio" ends in a clip of stage banter from one of the band's concerts, run through studio effects to make it sound like it's being heard on an crackly radio broadcast ("Well, this is our last song. Thank you, everybody, for comin' out..."). The clip in "Small Talk (Social Butterfly)" is hard to make out, but sounds like it's a woman at a noisy train stop discussing traveling all around the Boston area over the course of a day (intelligible bits include "...Jamaica Plain again" and "...Go out to Cambridge, and hop around Harvard, and wind up at M.I.T.?"), which would fit the lyrics about trying to find the time to catch up with a friend who seems to always be on the go.
- Islands' "Volcanoes" starts with a very strange monologue from someone who introduces himself as Oscar, claiming to be a demon and warning that the world will end in 2007 (the song being released in 2006). This was taken from a Coast To Coast AM caller - Nicolas Thorburn happened to hear this call on his car radio late one night, and it inspired the song's lyrics, which deal with the world ending due to natural disaster.
- Marilyn Manson's "Para-noir" from "The Golden Age Of Grotesque" has a woman repeating various versions of the sentence "I fuck you..." including "I fuck you for fun", "I fuck you because I am your whore" "I fuck you to fuck you over", "I fuck you so you will protect me" and "I fuck you so I have a place to stay".
- My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult uses this constantly, citing and repeating lines from cult films to really up the strangeness.
- Many extreme metal bands will do this as a contrast to the loud, often violent intensity of their music. They also can sum up the lyrical attitude of the musician in question.
- Skyfire's Spectral - "This is not a dream."
- At the Gates's Slaughter of the Soul - "We are blind, to the worlds within us, waiting to be born."
- I'm In A Coffin's One Final Action - "The best day of my life."
- Caïna uses this a lot, typically of the third variety.
- Iron Maiden uses this sometimes, like at the beginning of "The Number Of The Beast", "The Prisoner", and the bridge of "Rime of The Ancient Mariner", which directly quotes the Coleridge poem.
- Ayreon has the mysterious voice at the beginning of several songs in Into The Electric Castle and has excerpts of a few different speeches during "Unnatural Selection" on 01011001.
- Blind Guardian has these between several songs on the Concept Album Nightfall in Middle Earth, presumably to make it easier to understand what each of the songs is about - though it still probably won't help much if the listener hasn't read The Silmarillion.
- Many Ministry songs have these: Earlier on they were mainly from movies, though "NWO" included many samples of George W. Bush. As they essentially released three straight albums of protest songs after the election of George W. Bush, a lot of out of context samples of him came in too. And "End Of Days Part II" ends with a lengthy excerpt from Dwight D. Eisenhower's famous speech about the military-industrial complex.
- "Your Touch" by The Black Keys (at least the music video) has the two band members talking over a guitar solo. "So, how do you feel about...y'know, being dead?" "I dunno, my neck hurts."
- Rob Zombie seems pretty fond of using movie samples in songs: For instance, every song on White Zombie's La Sexorcisto featured at least an instrumental break or two with clips from horror films, exploitation films or b-movies, along with Iggy Pop making a guest appearance to recite Word Salad Lyrics in a monster truck rally commercial announcer voice (in "Black Sunshine" and "Soul-Crusher"). These have shown up plenty of times in his solo career too, and the song "House of 1000 Corpses" featured extensive dialogue from the movie of the same name, despite coming out a couple of years before the film itself did.
- Tool with Seires/Bottom, done by spoken-word artist and previous Black Flag vocalist Henry Rollins
- There's many other examples that this band has done. First, there's "Third Eye", which uses spoken-word excerpts from Bill Hicks routines, then there's "Message to Harry Manback", which consists of an angry answering machine message with somber piano music in the background; "Faaip de Oiad" which includes a sample of a prank call sent into the Art Bell radio show, and finally "Disgustipated", which ends with another (very creepy) answering machine message.
- Liberate by Disturbed features the lead singer quoting the book of Isaiah during the bridge: "Out of Zion shall come forth the law (Isaiah 2:3) And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3) Nation shall not raise sword against nation (Isaiah 2:4) And they shall not learn war anymore (Isaiah 2:4) For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken (Isaiah 1:20)."
- Countless bands of the National Socialist Black Metal subgenre sample Adolf Hitler's speeches in their music.
- The "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" prayer in the middle of Metallica's "Enter Sandman".
- Our Solemn Hour by Within Temptation contains a few lines of a speech by Winston Churchill at the very start.
- "FantasMic", Nightwish's seven-minute long Epic Rocking nerdgasm about the Disney Animated Canon, has a sound clip from Beauty and the Beast in the middle of it.
- "Creek Mary's Blood" (from Once) features a poem in Lakotan, spoken by John Two-Hawks. "Dead Gardens" (also from Once) has a spoken-word section performed by then-singer Tarja Turunen.
- The second half of "Song of Myself" from Imaginaerum is entirely made up of these. "Scaretale" from the same album has a brief moment of Marco Hietala imitating a circus ringmaster.
- "Foreclosure Of A Dream" by Megadeth and "Semblance Of Liberty" by Epica both use the "Read my lips" quote by George H.W. Bush.
- The bridge of Type O Negative's "Haunted".
- Many black metal bands have experimented with this.
- One classic example would be Darkthrone's "Snø og granskog." The lyrics are spoken, and actually a recitation of a poem by Terje Vesaas.
- Living Colour's hit "Cult of Personality" contains clips of speeches given by Malcolm X, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy
- Occurs in a few Stratovarius songs.
- "Visions (Southern Cross)" (from Visions) has someone reciting the verses of Nostradamus's prophecy on which the song is based.
- The live recording of "Hunting High and Low" opens with a deep voice saying "Welcome... to the soul... of... Stratovarius!"
- "Dreamspace" (from the album of the same name) features a creepy little girl's voice in the middle of the song. (She says "Who's there? ...Mother? I'm losing my mind...", followed by evil laughter.)
- The otherwise-instrumental "Metal Frenzy" (from Twilight Time) starts with someone counting "1, 2, 3, 4!" and ends with maniacal laughter.
- "I'm Still Alive" (from Elements Pt. 2) ends with a conversation between what is presumed to be two of the band members (though it's hard to make out what they're saying). Strangely enough, they're speaking English, even though the band themselves are Finnish (though at the time they had a Swede and a German as part of their lineup).
- "Back to Madness" (from their self-titled album) ends with a long, surreal and mildly-creepy spoken word section (which sounds like it's done by the same person who did the spoken-word sections in "Visions (Southern Cross)", judging by the similar-sounding voices).
- "Event Horizon" (from Elysium) ends with an automated voice warning about an approaching black hole, with warning sirens playing over it.
- Sonata Arctica have also done this occasionally.
- "...of Silence" (from Silence) is entirely spoken-word and instrumental.
- "The End of This Chapter" (also from Silence) starts off with a phone call between the stalker main character and his ex. Includes a bit of Gratuitous French (part of which is repeated in the song proper).
- "The Look of Love": "Martin, maybe one day you'll find true love."
- "Poison Arrow": "I care enough to know I can never love you"
- The Information Society song "What's On Your Mind" had snippets of Mr. Spock saying "pure energy" from a Star Trek: The Original Series episode.
- Squeeze used snippets of The Shining in the intro to The Last Time Forever, including Jack Nicholson's line "A momentary loss of muscular coordination" and Shelley Duvall shrieking.
- Most of the vocals on Tom Tom Club's autobiographical "Atsababy (Life Is Great)" are spoken by drummer/founder Chris Frantz.
- Spark Plug Entertainment's Spider's Web: A Pig's Tale features one near the beginning, when the main character Walter tries to explain to his mother how her pie went missing after he had ate it.
- Happens frequently on the soundtrack album for Natural Born Killers - dialogue from the movie will frequently get layered over instrumental sections of songs.
- The nonsensical song "Chicken Bone" from Cowboy Bebop is peppered with various sound effects and voices, such as a bullet ricochet. They're very faint, and hard to completely decipher through the lyrics and music. They're not listed in the lyrics either. Among them is a doctor saying "Proceed with the operation" and a villainous voice giving an Evil Laugh followed by "DESTROY!"
- La Roux's "Tigerlily" has a similar interlude as an homage to Thriller.
- A Kanon Wakeshima song ends with what sounds like Wakeshima singing the song in the shower.
- The Veronicas Insomnia, Cold, Untouched and more.
- The Spice Girls' "Naked" has this at the beginning of the song, after the first chorus, and the middle is done as a phone conversation heard on Emma's end: "Hello...it's me...I thought you'd understand...well, maybe I should give it my best shot...I keep seeing such a pretty picture...But I don't want to be hated or pitied either...maybe I should leave it up to your imagination...I just want to be me..."
- "Steal My Sunshine" by Len opens with two band members talking about how another member looks down. Later in the song is another segment, this time talking about how another member looks like she had a rough night. The radio edit removes the spoken bits and just leaves those sections instrumental in part because the first section alludes to LSD use.
- The second hidden track on the Robbie Williams album I've Been Expecting You (officially named "Stalker's Day Off (I've Been Hanging Around)") features two spoken word segments in the form of answering machine messages left by the eponymous stalker on his victim's phone, done by Robbie himself. "Win Some Lose Some" on the same album starts with a woman's voice saying "I love you, baby!" twice, and ends with the same clip played once. "No Regrets" (also from that album) ends with a spoken-word segment by Robbie, which sounds like he gave up on singing and just decided to speak the rest of the lyrics instead.
- On his album Sing When You're Winning, the hidden track "Outro Message" is a 13-second long track featuring a message spoken by Robbie saying that this album doesn't contain any hidden tracks.
- The hidden track "Hello Sir" on the album Life thru a Lens is a poem written and performed by Robbie dedicated to one of his old schoolteachers (ostensibly, anyway).
- "Everybody" by Madonna, from her debut Madonna starts with a heavily synthesized and spoken introduction with Madonna taking a loud intake of breath.
- The Alan Parsons Project gave us Let's Talk About Me with baseball commentary in the background.
- Pink Floyd
- Wish You Were Here begins with the sound of an AM radio flipping through the stations, until it settles on a station playing the beginning of "Wish You Were Here". Then the "listener" begins playing along (this is where the second guitar comes in).
- "Speak to Me" from The Dark Side of the Moon: "I've been mad for fucking years..."
- "Sheep" from Animals contains a vocoded parody of Psalm 23 ("When cometh the day we lowly ones, through quiet reflection and great dedication, master the art of karate...")
- The Wall — YOU! YES YOU! STAND STILL LADDIE! IF YE DUNNA EAT YER MEAT, YE CANT HAVE ANY PUDDING! HOW CAN YE HAVE ANY PUDDING IF YE DUNNA EAT YER MEAT? Oh my God, what a fabulous room, are all these your guitars?, The Dam Busters in the background, etc.
- The radio chatter in "Learning to Fly" from A Momentary Lapse Of Reason
- An excerpt from a Steven Hawking speech in 'Keep Talking' from The Division Bell.
- Dream Theater uses this a lot. About a third of their songs have either spoken word sections, or sound samples from movies or something.
- "The Necromancer" by Rush starts with the narration of the story of Prince By-Tor, spoken by Neil Peart (possibly with an edited voice).
- Also, Countdown includes snippets of radio talk from a Space Shuttle launch.
- "Double Agent", from the Counterparts album, contains lyrics spoken, instead of sung, by Geddy.
- Mike Oldfield's "Amarok" has someone impersonating Margaret Thatcher towards the end of the song.
- Supertramp's "Fool's Overture" includes a clip from Winston Churchill's most famous speech.
- Sound Horizon's works, which albums tell stories through singing, narration and characters speaking. Since their major debut they have also invited mainstream voice actors to speak lines, such as Norio Wakamoto, Hikaru Midorikawa and Marina Inoue.
- Bay Area progressive/death/black/folk/etc. metal band Cormorant has the interlude of their song Scavenger's Feast includes layered samples of members of the band (and other people who were at the studio at the time) reading from different books (in various languages). Good luck trying to out the words, though.
- Robert Fripp's 1979 album Exposure featured several tracks with extraneous speech mixed with the music:
- "NY3" includes the tape of a quarrel by the three neighbors next to Fripp's apartment in New York one night. They were so loud that they kept him from sleeping, so he got up and recorded their voices, and later added music around them.
- "Exposure" and "Water Music 1" include excerpts from J.G. Bennett's inaugural address at Sherborne House, the International Academy for Continuous Education. (The complete 40-minute address also appears as a track on the album, condensed into only 3 seconds of white noise.)
- "Disengage" includes a tape of Fripp interviewing his mother.
- King Crimson itself has several examples, but the most interesting is "Thela Hun Ginjeet" from Discipline. The spoken word is Adrien Belew recounting being threatened by gangsters; it was recorded minutes after the assault. He walked into the studio in a state of obvious distress, and as he told Robert Fripp what happened, Fripp signaled for the engineer to start recording.
- Roky Erikson's "Creature With The Atom Brain" contains extensive dialogue snippets from the B-Movie of the same name... sort of. It's the original dialogue from the movie, but it's Roky reciting the lines instead of the actors.
- Combined with So Bad, It's Good, this is essentially the basis for William Shatner's musical career, especially his cover of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds".
- The Byrds' "2-4-2 Fox Trot (The Lear Jet Song)".
- Psonic Psunspot by The Dukes Of Stratosphear includes a little girl reciting odd, Alice in Wonderland-inspired prose at the end of a couple of songs ("The puffin sipped at his herbal tea and sighed 'you can't get the buttons these days!'"). Also, their song "My Love Explodes" ends with a an offended call-in radio show listener who sounds uncannily like Woody Allen complaining about a song played on air ("...What possessed you to write such a disgusting, degeneratized song as that? And I'm complimenting you by considering it a song...")
- Hawkwind have a number of spoken word songs, most of them on the Space Ritual album.
- Steel Pole Bath Tub frequently used television and movie clips in songs; "Train To Miami" uses a sample of Jack Nicholson sneering "yeah, yeah, yeah" from Five Easy Pieces for instance. When they put out their major label debut they were specifically cautioned against doing this by the label's legal department.
- "Scary Picture Show" by Riot Squad opens with a line from Night of the Creeps: "Let's play a game! It's called 'Scary Noises'."
- Schoolyard Heroes did this in a few of their very early demo songs, such as at both the beginning and end of "Living Dead (Ravers)".
- At The Drive-In's "Enfilade" starts with a simulated ransom phone call, fitting it's lyrics about a kidnapping. The "caller" is Iggy Pop, who also made a sung guest appearance on a different song on the same album:
"Hello?""Hello, mother leopard. I have your cub. You must protect her, but that will be expensive. Ten thousand cola nuts, wrapped in brown paper. Midnight, behind the box. I'll be the hyena, you'll see..."
- The Clash's Capitol Radio One single consisted of the non-album single "Capitol Radio" and separately indexed lo-fi excerpts of an interview with the band. The version of "Capitol Radio" on the compilation The Story Of The Clash, which is the song's only official CD release note , puts one of those interview excerpts on the same track... Meaning there's three minutes of spoken word and a little over two minutes of actual song.
- "Inoculated City" includes a clip of a toilet cleaner commercial - because the sample wasn't authorized, some editions of the album Combat Rock contain an edited version of the song without it.
- The Dingees' song "Street vs. State" consists of several recordings of protesters played over dub reggae backing music.
- "Divorced", the Melvins' collaboration with Tool, splices in a phone conversation between Maynard James Keenan and Buzz Osborne, apparently regarding a mutual friend going out with a woman who Maynard describes as having "a voice like a fuckin' modem, dude!".
- Black Flag's "Armageddon Man", which is placed right in between an album side's worth of spoken word tracks and an album side's worth of instrumentals (album being Family Man).
- Darkbuster's "Pub" begins and ends with vocalist Lenny Lashley reading from a pamphlet that warns about the risks of drinking alcohol, apparently recorded over the phone ("remember, just because others drink alcohol doesn't mean that you have to drink too"). It's done for irony's sake, since the song is one of their several odes to intoxication, and he sounds a little bit drunk while reading it.
- Poison Idea's "The Badge" is bookended with dialogue sampled from Taxi Driver. When Pantera covered the song, they went so far as to use the exact same clips.
- Henry Rollins lives and breathes this trope. He often blurs the line between this, singing and shouting. "Liar" is a good example (spoken-word verses, shouted/sung chorus). It helps that he's a spoken word artist as well...
- Masked Intruder include a faked 911 call skit at the end of "Hello Beautiful", wherein a woman complains that some men (heavily implied to be the members of the band) keep breaking into her house and singing. It makes sense in context because Masked Intruder are a Kayfabe Band whose back-story involves being escaped burglars.
- Michael Jackson's Thriller includes a soliloquy by Vincent Price.
- Other MJ examples: "The Girl is Mine" and "PYT" (both are also from Thriller), "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" (from Off the Wall), and "Man in the Mirror" (from Bad).
- "ABC" by the The Jackson Five.
- The breakdown section of "Smooth Criminal" (also from Bad) has a male voice (presumably a police officer) shouting, "OK, I want everyone to clear the area right now."
- Isaac Hayes' landmark album Hot Buttered Soul featured a cover of "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" that turned this trope into an art form. The song itself follows a man, having just left his wife, describing what he thinks she will be doing as he reaches certain destinations by car. Hayes turned this three-minute country song into an eighteen-minute soul epic, including an eight-minute spoken introduction of how the man came to his decision to leave his wife.
- "Ask For Janice" from Paul's Boutique by The Beastie Boys has a female receptionist talking.
- A huge majority of rap songs have a spoken intro, outro or both.
- "Scooby Snacks" by Fun Lovin' Criminals extensively uses dialogue clips from Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs. Enough so that they apparently had to credit Quentin Tarantino with co-writing the song.
- Drake has this in "Headlines", "Successful" and "Club Paradise" (which actually features an clip of Bob Marley talking).
- and "Ransom" with Lil Wayne.
- Childish Gambino has a 3 minute long monologue at the end of "That Power", which is just him talking about an incident at summer camp (fitting, because the track is the last song on his debut studio album Camp).
- Most rappers have done a song with them or someone else (usually their producer or a friend) talking over the beginning or the end.
- Kanye West is an exception to the above example, using spoken-word in music frequently - the Intros to both The College Dropout and Late Registration have him being chastised by his high-school principal, "Last Call" has an 8-minute outro of Kanye explaining how he got to make The College Dropout, "Crack Music" and "Sin City" both have spoken-word poems by Malik Yusuf, "Never Let Me Down" has another one performed by J.Ivy. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy uses it as Bookends, the first track, "Dark Fantasy" opening with a poem (taken from Roald Dahl) performed Nicki Minaj (affecting a British accent), and the closing track "Lost in the World/Who Will Survive in America" ending with a poem/address performed by Gil Scott-Heron. This is also the case in the deluxe edition of the same album, since "See Me Now" ends with Kanye adlibbing various comments... including "Now I'mma let you finish, but I got Beyonce on the track".
- He gets DJ Khaled and DJ Pharris to talk for the last minute (basically shouting out various people) on "Cold"
- Elvis Presley: Arguably the most notorious, yet atrocious concert album in his career is Having Fun With Elvis On Stage, a 35 minute collection of nothing but Elvis cracking jokes with the audience, without any music or context of what is going on? Not only is the record painfully unfunny, a lot of it is technically not even a joke, just Elvis saying random things in interaction with his audience. Half of the time he is clearly just rambling, before deciding his jokes are falling flat or his story isn't going anywhere.
- The Beatles:
- "Yellow Submarine" from Revolver has some speech and submarine sounds in it: "Full speed ahead, Mr. Parker, full speed ahead!"
- "I Am The Walrus" from Magical Mystery Tour features a few lines from a BBC Third Programme broadcast of King Lear.
- One that sparked a conspiracy theory: John Lennon speaks a few odd lines near the end of "Strawberry Fields Forever" (also from Magical Mystery Tour), one of which sounds like "I buried Paul" due to his slur. It's "Cranberry sauce".
- "Revolution 9" contains large amounts of external spoken-word throughout.
- David Bowie's "Space Oddity" from the album of the same name has a countdown under the lyrics.
- "All the Madmen" includes a brief recitation in the middle of the song.
- There are a number of songs from Sophie B. Hawkins which contain indistinct conversations of people in public in places with exotic accents just for the heck of it:
- "Mr. Tugboat Hello"
- "Let Me Love You Up"
- "I Want You"
- "Savior Child"
- Guns N' Roses take on "Knocking on Heaven's Door" contains one of these during the solo.
- The Meat Loaf song "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" from Bat out of Hell has the somewhat, umm... suggestive baseball play-by-play radio broadcast, courtesy of broadcasting legend Phil Rizzuto. Rizzuto reportedly had no idea that the commentary he was recording was going to be used as a sex metaphor.
- The dialogue at the start of "You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth".
- The Monkees' "Don't Call on Me" begins and ends with simulated nightclub chatter, complete with Micky playing an MC who introduces the song.
- The Moody Blues "Nights In White Satin" album cut turns the pretensiousness dial Up to Eleven at the end.
red is gray, and yellow white, but we decide which is right ... and which is an illusion!
- Tom Petty's "Even the Losers" begins with a woman saying, "It's just the normal noises in here."
- Jim Morrison of The Doors frequently did this. A lot of his spoken lyrics were actually his own poetry. For, instance in "The End" from ''The Doors
"The killer awoke before dawn. He put his boots on."
- Spin Doctors' "What Time Is It?" Also opens with a mock-up newscast, initially talking of Israeli jet fighters, then moving to the next topic "A forty-nine-year-old, unidentified man went berserk last night...".
- The Wings album Back to the Egg has two songs dependent on these. "Reception" includes several spoken-word radio clips, and "The Broadcast" is a speech set to music — and no, Paul McCartney is not the speaker.
- "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" has a short spoken section where Paul sounds notoriously like John Cleese.
- The soundtrack album for Give My Regards to Broad Street includes sound bites of dialogue from the film, which are not always directly connected to the songs they're attached to.
- Stone Sour, Omega and The Frozen. Be warned, the first is amazingly nihilistic, the second is highly cynical.
- Vernian Process, "Her Clockwork Heart".
"Dr. Weird's Mysteries will be continued shortly. So by the way, doctor, is mystery your sole pleasure?""Young man, what can be more pleasant than mystery?""Well, music. I mean the kind of music a man can hum or whistle when he feels on top of the world."
- Many steampunk bands, in fact. Among them, Abney Park's "Until the Day You Die:"
"Gentlemen, this fallen angel is the illegitimate daughter of art and science. A modern marvel of engineering, clockworks elevated to the very natural process which even now is in your blood, racing, your eyes flashing at such irreproachable beauty. Here is Gaia, here is Eve, here is Lilith, and I stand before you as her father. Sprung fully-formed from my brow, dewy and sweet; she can be yours and yours again, for her flesh is the incorruptible pale to be excused from the wages of sin . . ."
- A similar case occurs in Abney Park's "Herr Drosselmeyer's Doll,"
"We interrupt this broadcast to bring you breaking news. At approximately 2:05 PM this afternoon, an English clockmaker by the name of Hamilton revealed to the world a new kind of clock. This sick, twisted design displays the time digitally on a small backlit screen and is run entirely on electricity. Hamilton predicts that this new abomination is the way of the future, and believes that someday these hideous creations of his will be in every home in the world. It is with deep regret that we announce to you, dear listeners, that the cog is dead. We repeat: The Cog Is Dead."
- "The Inventor's Daughter" by The Cog Is Dead segues into the next song, "The Death Of The Cog," with a spoken "report:"
"Come on, boys — and girls — enjoy! Mr. Soot's Traveling Parade of Pulchritude! You will see such delights as you have never witnessed before. Come on, now, form a proper queue, that's right...if you have the money, we have the honey! Behind these curtains you will see a frolicsome view that will leave your toes a-tingling and you brain aflame with desire!"
- "Mr. Soot's Little Black Book" by Unextraordinary Gentlemen ends with:
- Everclear's "AM Radio" opens with some radio squeaks and squawks of the sort that might be made by tuning in, and then "Portions of today's programming are reproduced by means of electrical transcription of tape recordings."
- Guns N' Roses has done this once or twice - most notably, their song "Civil War" from Use Your Illusion opens with a soundbyte from Cool Hand Luke and, during an instrumental segment plays a rather chilling sample from an anonymous Peruvian militant general. ("As popular war advances, peace is closer.")
- In the song "Madagascar" from their newest album, they reuse the Cool Hand Luke soundbyte, along with others.
- Kiss' "Detroit Rock City" starts with a radio anchor reporting the car crash that inspired the song itself.
- Sam Black has one in "Religion Song (Put Away The Gun)".
- The album version of Chicago's "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" features a monologue by keyboardist Robert Lamm mixed into the final verse.
- Pretty much every song by The Ink Spots features a monologue in deep bass tones.