10 Of The Best Spoken Word Intros

Singing: It’s why you’re on this website; it’s why I’m on this website. Singers and songs and melodies that move you, both figuratively and literally. Sure, a great guitar riff or a drum beat can do the business, too, but more often than not it’s the words coming out of the frontman’s trap that gets the pulse racing. Even if you like Radiohead and all that noises-from-boxes malarkey, you must surely still admit that it’s the “Rain down…” bit in ‘Paranoid Android’ that makes you swoon the most.

But you know the only thing that can top the peak of the chorus? The spoken word intro. This is another seemingly forgotten songwriting art that can send shivers up the spine. They are rare, and they can quite easily make you sound like a ridiculously earnest knob, but when they are skilfully deployed, there is nothing better. Yes, they are almost always stupid, but that’s the whole point. In the words of David St Hubbins of Spinal Tap fame: “It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.”

Got it? Right. Good. Now witness these ten, speaking like they mean it.

Antony & The Johnsons, ‘Fistful Of Love’

I’ve not heard that Lou Reed/Metallica album yet, though admittedly it has the potential to be brilliant. Until that comes out, though, this stands as Lou’s finest moment in years, a rare moment of upbeat beauty on ‘I Am A Bird Now’. He adds jagged guitar lines to the light soul of this, but mainly it’s his double entendre intro that pushes this song into the realms of magic. “I was lying in my bed last night/Staring at a ceiling full of stars…”

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