Aphro’s Asskicking Anthems – June 2017

What it is, what it is, what it is... shed no tears! Okay, I immediately regret looking forward to the coming of summer. Oppressive weather notwithstanding, the Dynamek One & Only has a job to do. Pinkies out, brothers & sisters, because this month's Anthem brings a little class to our usual proceedings. 

Allow me a moment to gush a little bit because this song is from one of my all-time favorite movies. In the ludicrously slim chance that you don't recognize this song, this poetic display of melody is the centerpiece performance of Gaetano Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor: Il duoce suono" from the 1997 summer blockbuster classic, The Fifth Element. The song has had numerous imaginings since its original debut all the way back in 1835. What is so fun to me is that while the actress portraying our lovely giant blue songstress is Maïwenn Le Besco, the singing itself was actually done by famed Albanian lyric soprano Inva Mula. (Congratulations, you learned something new today.)

Now, I could have chosen any other performance of this song, but I went with this one because... well, frankly, everything about this scene kicks ass. For starters, and this is something most people would not know about me, I love classical music. It is so emotive to me and the choice of instruments -- be it a tightly knit string quartet or a full fledged orchestra -- can totally switch up my mood on any given day. Furthermore, the juxtaposition of this song's second half, with its kick in tempo & the general sense of determination, against the first is brilliant. Pairing all that with the visuals Luc Besson brought to the screen... c'mon, how could I NOT love this from beginning to end?!

Anyways, as it is the case with this column, it now falls to me to assign this wonderful composure to a fighting game character. Usually, my job here takes some considerable thought. Music, in its own right, is a unique language. As such, its handling must be delicate. Simple mispronunciation or improper inflection and, next thing you know, you've either confused or offended somebody entirely by accident. On the other hand, however, there are times where my job is (as Lionel Ritchie would say) easy like Sunday morning.

Apparently, rigor mortis didn't negatively affect her vocal range.

The young diva herself, Sienna Contiello... or, as we all know & love her, Squigly! Seriously, who the hell else could have been assigned to this song? I can't think of anyone with the proper credentials. Here's the thing, though... while I do love me some Squigly, her voice is only half of the reason I chose her. The Contiello's Parasite, Leviathan, is what seals the deal. Their partnership is what keeps Squigly sentient when the new Skullgirl emerges. This allows her to extract some level of retribution for her family in the midst of all the chaos. For the record, her after credits scene is one of the most emotionally charged moments I've ever experienced in a fighting game.

Imagine, if you will, Squigly in the middle of a performance of Luica di Lammermoor. Maybe Leviathan is joining in a duet, maybe he's not... but he is there nonetheless. The audience is entranced by her singing, not a single eye in the crowd can be taken off of her. Right when she's about to burst into that grand aria, some random goons burst in to try and kidnap her mid-performance. The second they reach the stage, Leviathan makes them all regret ever being born. What ensues next is the type of beating you only hear about from your drinking buddies. Meanwhile, almost completely oblivious to the carnage at hand, Squigly keeps on singing. Doesn't miss a beat, either. While the crowd was momentarily rattled by the foolish attempt on her life, their woes are soothed by the young diva's stirring finale. She's met with a standing ovation (save for the dispatched goons on the floor). Brava, madame... brava!

Until next time... keep fighting the good fight, my friends.

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