Songs of Villainy: Vocal Awesomeness
Sing a Song
In all most forms of animated media, the villain of certain stories get a chance to sing a song that simplifies their goals or reveal an aspect of themselves. In some cases these songs can contain lyrics that establish that the villain of a story is a villain because in their opinion, the society that considered them a villain was an overly restricted environment that needed liberation. For some songs for villains in a high position of power, the listener gets to see how the villain justified the atrocities that he committed during the course of their appearances, and depending on how the song presented the villain's motivations, could make the viewer dislike the villain even more than before the song began playing. Even new, unknown villains can receive their own song if the situation warranted one to be made. One good villain song about villains who want to change the status quo was Sacrifice from the Rooster Teeth web series RWBY. For a song about a villain where the villain reveals his motivations to the viewer, one good option was Hellfire from the Disney film The Hunchback of Notre Dame. And for a good song that introduced a villain, the entirety of Mayhem of the Music Meister! from Batman: the Brave and the Bold was filled with enjoyable songs sung by villains. The addition of a song can subtly explain a villain's role in a story and can result in revealing some endearing traits about why the villain of the story does certain things. Most reasons involved solving a self-perceived injustice in the world.
Villains were the characters that wanted to disrupt the order of civilization for various reasons. Sometimes, through the villain's perspective, some aspect about modern society was deemed wrong and needed reformation. During the first volume of episodes in the web series RWBY, one of the conflicts in this series was the social issues between regular humans and half-humans referred to as faunus. In the second volume of episodes of RWBY, the villains of this show exploited the strife between regular humans and half-human civilians for their own ends, mostly by saying how modern society should be destroyed because it enabled various perceived injustices in the world to exist. To reflect this desire to cause anarchy to RWBY's society, the lyrics of the song had to emphasize how faith in traditional values were wrong and had to be destroyed. Titled Sacrifice, the song sounded sinister, the singer sang about someone who wanted to cause a little mayhem, and references to the other characters suffering under the villain's actions were included. What made this song also sound like it was about someone who felt like the world needed reformation, or by the singer's perspective, experienced an injustice, was the reference to Lucifer. Born an angel, Heaven sent. Falls from grace are never elegant basically established that the villain was someone who saw themselves as people who were only considered villains because some aspect about society was seen as unlikable in the villain's perspective. Even the chorus made a big deal about the villain asserting their independence from the laws of the current society. With lyrics like You can't take my life, I'm not your sacrifice. You can try, but I'm free, and you won't conquer me. I won't crawl, most of all, I won't fall for you this song emphasized independence through anarchy.
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame was slightly different with its villain in that he had desires that people in modern times would find disturbing in its obsessiveness. Judge Claude Frollo, the main villain of this story, was portrayed as someone who heavily obsessed over possessing something or someone when he desires it. In the case of Esmeralda, a Romani dancer, Frollo obesses over her, but is also in conflict with himself in that he wants to remove all Romani from Paris, violently if he has to. This ultimately resulted in Frollo thinking that Esmeralda has put some spell on him and if she does not want to die by burning at the stake, she should give herself up to Frollo. This leads to the song Hellfire. A song where Frollo continuously declared that he was a pure, righteous man who was better than everyone else in Paris. However, Esmeralda, who has done nothing but dance and look pretty, has made him experience feelings that Frollo deemed sinful. While Judge Frollo does acknowledge that he had an unhealthy obsession with Esmeralda, he blamed other people. When the scene changed to look like Frollo was being judged, he started saying it was not his fault that he had these unholy thoughts about Esmeralda. First he blamed Esmeralda herself for just existing and causing Frollo to have his feelings for her. Then he blamed God himself for letting events transpire as they did. The song then ended with Frollo reiterating about how Esmeralda should either be his or burn at a stake like the witch he thought she was. This villain song lets the viewer know that despite being someone who considered himself pure, Judge Frollo was arguably the dirtiest man in the movie in his mindset about another character.
Batman: the Brave and the Bold
Villains do not have to have some agenda with the goal of social reformation for a motive. Nor did a villain need to be portrayed as frighteningly obsessive in their motivations. Some villains were introduced to make a fun and interesting story. Batman: the Brave and the Bold, one of the more whimsical Batman cartoons, introduced one of its villains through an episode filled with singing. In Mayhem of the Music Meister!, the penultimate episode of the first season, the Music Meister, voiced by Neil Patrick Harris, was a villain whose superpower was to force others to do his bidding by singing to them. During the Music Meister's premiere episode, he used his abilities when he first appeared to showoff what he was capable of doing, included some background for his character, and became a unique enemy that Batman had to deal with for the whole episode.
During the first song the viewer got to learn more about the Music Meister. Bullied by others because he sang in choir, the Music Meister discovered his abilities to manipulate others into doing his bidding through singing. Now using his abilities for evil, the Music Meister spent making Mayhem of the Music Meister! an entire episode of villain songs. And to steal a satellite that could transmit his singing powers globally. And in the end the viewer got to see an exciting episode of Batman: the Brave and the Bold and watch a surreal villain make singing an awesome superpower for evil.
Villains in stories were interesting because they reflect the negative aspects of humanity. They desire reform in society through violent methods, they can be obsessed with something or someone on extremely creepy levels, and they can have characteristics that make people excited over seeing them. Sometimes these characteristics justify the usage of a song to help explain the characters without taking time away from the narrative to reiterate the characters' motives, but making an entire episode of songs about the villain's antics can be awesome in their own right.