Saturday, December 29, 2012

Les Miserables the Movie: Finally, the Big Show!

Finally the big day arrived.  On Christmas Day, I went with two companions to see the movie Les Miserables in a packed theatre.  It was the type of experience where even if you order your tickets in advance and arrive 45 minutes early, you still have to wait at the end of a long line.  Since I rarely go to the movies these days, I don't think I've had that experience since Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.

So was it worth it?  Of course!  Overall, I thought the movie version was great -- very much what I was hoping for.  I intend to see it again this weekend, and probably again after that, dragging as many friends as I can with me.

I will confess, though, that the journey to "This was great!" was not a smooth one.  In the first half hour, I found myself wincing and cringing quite a lot, wondering if maybe the critical naysayers had a point.  However, there was a point where the movie seemed to settle down, smooth out, and just flow better.  It was never perfect after that, but it was a lot better, and by the time the "barricade boys" arrived, it was sublime.

I've decided to format this review to mirror that experience.  I'll start with the bad and work my way to the awesome.  So bear with me.  Upfront, I will say that one of my fears -- that the movie would have a "been there, done that" quality after I watched so many clips -- was unfounded.  The viewing experience felt fresh, and the live singing worked extremely well for the most part.    

The Bad

About 80% of what I consider "bad" about the movie is linked to the editing, to Hooper's need to chop the movie down to under three hours of screen time.  Yet if 15-20 minutes had been permitted to remain, I think a lot of my criticisms would not exist.  I hope Universal decides to release an extended cut on DVD.

Too Much Dialogue.  The critics were right when they said that there was very little spoken dialogue.  The problem is that most of it is in the first 15 minutes.  When Javert tells Valjean to pick up the flag, when Valjean learns about the strings attached to his "freedom," when Valjean asks for work, and when the law enforcement officials return Valjean to the bishop's house.  From reading the screenplay, I knew that the singing parts would be sacrificed, but at least there seemed to be a purpose.  In the screenplay, there was an extended conversation between Valjean and the bishop that shed light on Valjean's history.  I didn't think it fit, but at least it made sense as dialogue.  But since that conversation was cut, the dialogue seems pointless.  It serves no purpose that the sung version did not, is a lot less elegant, and just makes it more jarring when the characters start to sing.

Characters Appear Without Context.  I don't mind Hooper's use of unedited close-ups when characters sing -- in fact, I frequently found it effective.  What I do mind is seeing everyone in close-up all the time with little sense of where they're standing or how they came to be in the scene.  I don't know if this is a quirk of Hooper's cinematography or the pressures of editing, but many scenes are missing establishing shots.  For instance, we cut from Marius and Eponine leaving the cafe for Cosette's house to a sudden close-up of Cosette sitting against her bedroom wall.  Would it have been so difficult to add an establishing shot of the house first, followed by a wide shot so that we know where Cosette is sitting?  Similarly, "The Attack on the Rue Plumet" does not have any build up.  One minute Eponine is standing there by herself; the next, we get a close-up of Monsieur Thenardier.  The close-ups in this context are jarring and took me out of scenes on multiple occasions.

The Marius-Cosette Romance Is Thinner Here Than Onstage.  While the movie did a nice job as a whole adding texture from the original novel, the one area that received no enhancement was the "meet and fall in love" phase of the Marius-Cosette romance.  In fact, it is even slighter here than in the stage version.  At least in the stage version, Marius and Cosette got to share the same space after Marius climbed over the wall.  Here, Marius and Cosette sing at each other through a gate and then Marius leaves.  It makes their "love at first sight" even more difficult to digest.

Significant Moments Are Not Given Time to Breathe.  After reading the screenplay, I was prepared for cuts to the songs.  Even though the songs have been cut down even further, for the most part, I was okay with it.  However, there are several places where a scene's significance is directly undercut because parts of the song have been removed.  For every "I Dreamed a Dream" that is allowed to luxuriate in its misery, there are two songs that end abruptly before we immediately cut to a new song.  For example, Fantine's death is a significant moment, and after the performance Anne Hathaway gives, her character deserves a good sendoff.  Yet the transition from "The Confrontation" to "Castle on a Cloud" is jarring: one moment, we see a shot of Fantine's dead body, and the next, we see Cosette sweeping.  That is because the last lines of "The Confrontation" -- "And this I swear to you tonight..." -- have been cut.  A real shame.    

The Silliness Factor.  
I mentioned a "silliness factor" in my The Phantom of the Opera critique, and regrettably, this movie is not immune.  Again, most of that is due to editing.  For instance, it was wise of Hooper and Nicholson to add a scene where Valjean and Javert meet in Montreuil-sur-Mer, and putting "The Runaway Cart" scene right after it makes sense.  However, the way it is edited makes the scenes too abrupt and goofy -- just seconds after they meet, Valjean is lifting the cart just like he lifted the flagpole earlier in the film (and even to the same music!).  Another "silliness factor" moment comes right after Valjean's pivotal scene where he tears up his ticket of leave.  One shred of paper floats around and floats around for an unnaturally long time in order to transition to the next scene, but it looks so fake and CGI and silly, like something you would see in a cartoon.  On the other hand, some would say that the "crack" when Javert dies is silly, but I think it makes it clear that Javert was going for instant death.  It solves a problem from previous productions: how does he just... stay down there?

Crowe Isn't Great, But He Isn't Butler Bad.  So Russell Crowe can sing.  It just turns out that he sings in a different style from most of the other actors -- more rock and roll than musical theatre.  Sometimes that difference is quite noticeable, such as in Javert's signature songs, while other times he blends in perfectly well with the rest of the cast.  Crowe is probably the most ill-served by the added dialogue: one moment, you're hearing his deliciously menacing speaking voice, and the next, you hear his higher-pitched singing voice.  Yet while he sticks out -- and usually not in a good way -- I still give him the edge over Gerard Butler in The Phantom of the Opera.  Butler was miscast in every conceivable way.  He couldn't sing, didn't look sexy, and he didn't add anything to the atmosphere.  Every time he came onscreen, I wanted to laugh.  Crowe, on the other hand, does embody the Javert role fairly well, certainly better than I expected.  He is a rigid, earnest "boy scout" who, when he thinks he has done wrong, demands to be fired.  In one scene, where the students learn he is a spy and try to take him prisoner, he illustrates rather effectively that he is not someone easily messed with.

Still, the limitations of his singing invite us to wonder who would have been better in the role.  Now there will be endless "Would Paul Bettany have been better?" debates, or Insert Your Chosen Favorite (Anthony Warlow?).  It doesn't help that the movie frequently covers over Javert's belting.  At one point, the thundering from the next song, "Look Down," is layered over Javert's final belt in "Stars."  Another time, the sounds of water rushing partially covers Javert's belt in his final soliloquy.  I see what you're trying to do, movie, and it doesn't work.          

The Good

Despite the weaknesses mentioned above, there are more aspects of the movie that are good, or downright awesome.  For starters:

It Honors the Stage Performers.  Notable West End performers pop up throughout the movie.  I'll start with Colm Wilkinson.  It was wonderful to see him as the bishop, and I think he did a really good job.  I wish the role had been tailored to showcase his gorgeous tenor voice a bit more, but as expected, he provides the warmth and gravitas that the bishop requires.  I also loved that we got to see and hear him at the end.

Frances Ruffelle is there as well, as one of the whores in Lovely Ladies.  It was often difficult to distinguish her -- or any of the other performers -- because the song moves so fast and the whores are so dolled up.  However, I could definitely hear her.  More West End performers show up at the very end, in "Turning," including Katie Hall, who performed the Cosette role at the 25th Anniversary Concert.  Unfortunately, "Turning" is one of the numbers so condensed that you only see Hall for a split second before we cut to Eddie Redmayne.

Then, of course, there are the "barricade boys," many of whom performed lead roles on the West End.  I'll save more discussion of them for later, but I will mention Hadley Fraser in the role of a soldier.  He has a huge moustache and is barely recognizable except for his pretty, pretty eyes and, of course, his voice.       

Some Creative Numbers.  
Les Miz is not a musical with a lot of choreography, but there are some musical numbers that call for a little extra effort.  One of them is "Lovely Ladies," and happily, Hooper more than rises to the occasion.  The sequence is very stylish, with the whores painted to look almost like creepy clowns, Dutch angles galore, and the camera spinning around Fantine as her teeth are yanked out.  I've never been fond of "Lovely Ladies," but Hooper made me look at it in a whole new light.  "Master of the House" isn't quite as inspired, but it does have its moments ("Oh, Santa!").

The Interlude After "Waltz of Treachery" Was Much Needed.  With "Suddenly" and the chase scene, Hooper managed to fix my biggest problem with the stage version -- that the transition from Valjean rescuing little Cosette to 1832 Paris is way too abrupt.  Hooper allows Valjean and Cosette more time together so that we can see their bond grow.  Little Cosette (a terrific Isabelle Allen) gets more to do than just look at Valjean with gratitude, and in the process, becomes more than just a means to an end.  Also, it is around this point, or maybe slightly earlier with "Master of the House," that the movie seems to settle down and the editing is less jerky.

All of the Novel Additions Work Well, Actually.  Just as Hooper took "Suddenly" from a section of the novel where Valjean describes his growing love for Cosette, he and Nicholson added other material from the novel to very good effect.  They even managed to work out several narrative kinks in the musical's storyline.  For instance, in the "Runaway Cart" scene, instead of Javert randomly mentioning: "You remind me of a convict I once knew.  By coincidence, he's getting sentenced today.  Buh-bye!", the movie has Javert report his suspicions to his superiors, where he then learns that "Valjean" has been apprehended and will be sentenced.  Just like in the novel.  By making the change, Hooper and Nicholson bring the musical closer to the novel and improve upon it.

Another terrific addition is Marius's background.  I never understood why the English-language version refrained from mentioning his grandfather, Monsieur Gillenormand, and thankfully the movie has fixed that.  True, his insertion is a little awkward -- wading through a crowd to yell at Marius for dishonoring the family -- but at least he's there.  And while Eponine fans might lament the changes to her role, I think the way she is shot in the movie is much more powerful.  More on that later.                   

The Thenardiers Actually Fit.  If you couldn't tell from my earlier critiques, I'm not overly invested in the Thenardiers.  I think that both characters and "Master of the House" are overrated.  Even so, when I saw the first photo of Helena Bonham Carter and Sasha Baron Cohen, I was a little concerned the Thenardiers in the movie would stick out like sore thumbs amongst all of the grim realism.  Never fear, for "Lovely Ladies" showed me that the movie would sometimes veer into the surreal.  Therefore, by the time we get to the Thenardiers' inn, they do not seem so out-of-place.  Bonham Carter and Baron Cohen work off of each other very well.  While theirs is not the best version of "Master of the House," it is still pretty funny.  In fact, I wanted to see more of them.  One thing that drew me to Baron Cohen was that it seemed like he could bring out the sinister aspect of Thenardier more than Geoffrey Rush.  That might be true, but every scene where Thenardier is most brutal and sinister -- "The Attack on the Rue Plumet," "Dog Eat Dog" -- has been cut to pieces, so it is hard to tell.              

It Did Not Use the 1848 Ending.  As intrigued as I was by the ending as written in the screenplay, I'm glad the movie stuck with an ending closer to the stage version.  In the screenplay, we were supposed to fast forward and see people on the barricade, including older Marius and Cosette, after the fall of the French monarchy in 1848, to show that the students' fight for a republic was not in vain.  Great idea!  A lot of pivotal events happened in 1848 across Europe.  The problem was that just three years later, Louis-Napoleon declared himself Emperor Napoleon III of France.  His reign would last until 1870, when the French were defeated in the Franco-Prussian War.  Victor Hugo himself was so outraged by Napoleon III's coup d'etat that he went into exile for his entire reign.  Had the movie stuck with the 1848 ending, this would not have gone unnoticed.

Most of the Acting Is Really Good.  Crowe's performance is debatable, but everyone else brings more positives to the table than negatives.  For example, even though Amanda Seyfried has one of the weaker voices, her Cosette is an immensely appealing character.  She radiates light from every pore, yet still manages to have a personality.  Given that the stage show Cosette had next to no development, that is no small feat.  Plus, she can hit that high C.  Damn!    

Hugh Jackman's performance is extremely good, verging on awesome.  I refrained from grouping him with the most "awesome" aspects of the movie because I have a couple of problems with his performance.  The first is completely subjective: I don't like the sound of his voice.  I first realized this when I listened to clips of him singing in Oklahoma, so I came into the movie knowing that, as well as he could sing, I would not like what I heard.  There were many times I was impressed with his belting, and even found his talk-singing to be effective, but still found his voice harsh and unpleasant.  The second problem may have more to do with the editing demon: his performance is not given room to breath.  He's concerned about Javert; a split second later, he's concerned about Fantine; a split second later, he's just finished "Who Am I?".  This problem is not limited to the movie -- I also feel as though the stage version, as it exists now, moves way too fast.  Also, I think that the editing removed some of the darker aspects of Valjean's character.  There was a haunting still released sometime back showing Valjean/Madeleine crouched by a wall, in the shadows.  From the screenplay, I gather that was cut from "The Confrontation."  There was another moment in the screenplay where Valjean, for one moment, seemed to relish the idea of Marius dying: "And she will need me all the more/And we will go on as before/When he is gone."  Regrettably, those lines were cut.

What remains is an extremely earnest, moving performance.  My favorite part is the "What Have I Done?" sequence, where we see his full range of emotions, from weeping to raging.  While his singing voice could grate on my ears, there was never a time I did not believe him as Valjean, the emotional and moral backbone of the movie.        

The Awesome

While there was already a lot to like in the movie before we reached 1832, that was the point where, to me, the movie really took off.  Granted, the students have always been my favorite part of the musical, and I have a "Hell, yeah!" moment whenever "Look Down" starts playing.  But somehow, the student scenes just breath life into the movie that I didn't even realize was missing.  Part of it is because, as good as Jackman and Hathaway are, we finally get to hear some really good singing.  But there are other reasons as well, which I will get to in a moment.  First:

Yes, Anne Hathaway's Performance Is Worth It.  Hathaway's "I Dreamed a Dream" played in trailer clips for so long that I thought I would be completely numb to her performance by the time I saw it.  Instead, I could definitely feel the despair and rage emanating from within as she sang.  She is good in all of her other scenes, as well, particularly as a doe-eyed innocent at the factory.  However -- I'm sorry, I have to say this again -- I was so bothered by the jerky editing, I could not fully appreciate her performance.  When I see the movie again, I will try to take it all in.

Any Scene With the "Barricade Boys" Is Pure Gold.  That includes Daniel Huttlestone, who plays Gavroche.  So there are a few things that make scenes with the student revolutionaries truly great.  One is their singing; another is their general vibrancy; and the third -- and perhaps most important -- is that Hooper expands upon and opens up their scenes.  So instead of the rush-rush-cut-cut of the first half, we get barricade scenes that are actually bigger and more impressive than they are onstage.  That is not to say no songs are cut -- I still mourn the death of Grantaire's solo in "Drink With Me" -- just that the scenes as a whole are given room to breathe.

First, let's look at the students' singing, or rather, their entire performance.  The most notable of the secondary cast is Aaron Tveit as Enjolras.  He exceeded my highest expectations, both in voice and in acting.  I was already a fan of Tveit after hearing Next to Normal, but he has never sounded as good as he does in the Les Miz movie.  He is no Maguire or Warlow, but his voice still hits the Enjolras money notes.  Of course, some of those notes are now group-sung ("Before the barricades ariiiiiiiiiiiise!"; "They will come when we caaaaaaaaaaaaaaall!"), but I have no doubt Tveit would nail those, too, if he were singing solo.  Tveit embodies all of the qualities of Enjolras: attractive, intense, passionate about revolution, brave.  Oh that look on his face just before he gets killed!  Some dislike him because they think Enjolras should overshadow Marius, which Tveit fails to do.  However, that's nonsense -- Marius is much more of a main character than Enjolras.  That's how it's always been.  He isn't supposed to be overshadowed.  I'm sure during the original London production, David Burt did not even remotely overshadow Michael Ball.  The imbalance began with the Broadway production, when Michael Maguire literally towered over David Bryant.  After that, all of the productions seemed to think it necessary to cast a "hero" as Enjolras and a lovelorn lightweight as Marius.  Tveit doesn't need to overshadow the terrific Eddie Redmayne -- he stands well enough on his own.

The rest of the students do not have very well-defined roles, but they excel at what little we do see.  They all sound terrific, primarily because they come from the West End -- including Fra Fee as Courfeyrac, Killian Donnelly as Combeferre, and Alistair Brammer as Prouvaire.  Both Donnelly and Brammer were part of the 25th Anniversary Concert.  George Blagden, who plays Grantaire, is not from the West End, but he still has an excellent voice and charm to spare.  Besides providing excellent singing, the other students provide energy... and hope.  Yes, actual hope.  A refreshing change from so much darkness and cynicism.

The one who most embodies this hope is Gavroche, who manages to be both tough and adorable.  He carries the torch for a new world like no one else, other than Enjolras.  During one scene, he manages to rally the students' spirits at a time when literally all hope is lost.  That makes his death even more heartbreaking than in the stage version.

But until that point, the students are just bursting with enthusiasm that is well showcased in the expanded scenes.  One fantastic sequence involves them building the barricade.  Chairs rain down from above, and Grantaire even sweet-talks one woman out of hers.  The barricade is just tossed together the way children might build a fort, which I suspect is partly the point.  Another great sequence involves the students taking over General Lamarque's funeral.  They are so daring and brash, so young and stupid, the way they take over Lamarque's hearse, the way they scream: "To the barricades!"  As if they could never be killed, as if their energy alone could somehow will a new world into existence.  They may be rich young boys playing a game, but they play hard.  Like Gavroche, the youth and exuberance they display just makes it more heartbreaking when they die.  Even before they die, the heartbreaking moment comes when they attempt to flee the advancing soldiers and the people around them bar their doors to prevent them from coming in.  When the students die, you feel as though something is irretrievably lost, which makes Redmayne's "Empty Chairs At Empty Tables" that much more resonant.

Oh Eddie Redmayne...  What can I say?  Redmayne was everything I hoped he would be, and his "Empty Chairs At Empty Tables" affected me in the way I thought Hathaway's "I Dreamed a Dream" would.  His voice is rich and a joy to listen to (I didn't hear "Kermit the Frog" the way some others did), though it tends to overpower Seyfried's voice in their duets.  With his boyish face, he is believable as a naive, lovelorn student, yet the movie also allows him to be tougher than the stage Mariuses.  We see that he has chosen to defy his grandfather and live as a poor student.  During one intense scene, he repels soldiers by threatening to blow up the barricade.  He is Boyfriend Marius and Revolutionary Marius.  If everyone else in the movie were awful, it would be worth it just to see him.   

Samantha Barks Does a Beautiful Job.  Fortunately, everyone else isn't awful, including Barks.  Moviegoers might have had reason to dread her performance, since she was among the very few without previous movie experience.  We knew that she could sing the Eponine role, but could she adjust her style for the camera instead of the stage?  Yes she could -- and does.  Barks has a wonderfully expressive face that reveals every emotion, from joy to pain to despair.  Her Eponine has a sweetness that resonates in spite of whatever squalid life she is forced to endure.  And Barks deserves accolades for singing both of her major songs while it was raining (or in the case of "On My Own," pouring).  Fans of the musical may have problems with Eponine's role being reduced to correspond with her role in the novel, but at least the movie gives her a more dramatic death.  Instead of being shot while coming back from delivering a letter, Eponine puts herself in front of a soldier's gun to save Marius.  You see what she's doing, and suddenly you pull a Grantaire: "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!"  It says something about Bark's performance that despite her character's reduced screen time, she still stands out.            

The Live Singing Really Works.  The vocals aren't perfect.  Not everyone sounds good.  Yet the live singing is a resounding success.  It brings tension and emotion to scenes that I don't think even the best dubbed singing performances could provide.  At the same time, everyone's vocals are so clear, dubbed vocals could not have sounded better.  As for the constant close-ups of the actors singing, I didn't really mind them.  My biggest complaint is that Hooper sometimes leaves the camera on their faces too long -- did I really need to see Fantine's every eye roll as she died?  But otherwise, the close-ups provide more positives than negatives.  I should also praise the choice to score the movie in accordance with the vocals rather than the other way around.  The orchestrations flowed very nicely, and there was never that awkward moment where the performer and the orchestra are slightly out of sync, like you sometimes get with live performances.

A Final Observation

One interesting thing about this movie is how in many ways, it seems closer to the original French concept album and the Original London Cast recording than to the more current production.  As with the concept album, "I Dreamed a Dream" follows "Lovely Ladies," while Eponine's song of unrequited love comes before "One Day More."  As with the Original London Cast recording, "Stars" precedes "Look Down," which has the same slow, thundering beginning, rather than the BAM! beginning of the Original Broadway Cast and future cast recordings.  I almost expected Javert's death to be followed by the same eery chords as in the concept album.  Why it is like this, I don't know.  Coincidence?  Tacit acknowledgement that the earlier cast recordings followed the novel more closely?  A way of honoring the musical's original source material?  


Although you would not guess it from my retrospective, the last two times I watched Les Miserables onstage -- 1998 and 2011 -- I was not moved.  While I thought "Wow, what a great performer" or "Look at how he hit that high note!", the musical as a whole felt too rushed.  I had to content myself with the 10th and 25th Anniversary Concerts if I wanted to hear singing that gave me chills.

Yet the movie moved me.  I don't tear up often, but I teared up a couple of times when I watched it.  Yes there are weaknesses in the filmmaking and weaknesses in the cast, but there are weaknesses in every cast.  For every Michael Ball, there's a David Burt; for every Philip Quast, there's a Gary Morris; for every Michael Maguire, there's a David Bryant; for every Ramin Karimloo, there's a Nick Jonas.  Every performance and every recording that I've ever heard has at least one weak link.  That was no reason to dismiss the musical then, and it's not a reason now.  The movie version of Les Miserables moved me, and therefore did its job. 

Next Time: The five worst cuts and the five best additions.


  1. Thank you for a such a good and in-depth review! As always, I did really enjoy reading your post. My thoughts are:

    For "Characters Appear Without Context", I agree that you have a valid point since the movie should target the audiences who probably do not have a solid idea on what's really going on with the story. But, as a person who read the book and was completely impressed on how the original author portrayed the charterers and their inner emotions, I could not stop crying during the movie as I ended up relating the scene with the story elaborated in the book. So for me, I thought there was enough detail (at least for me)

    For "It Honors the Stage Performers", I DID LOVE TO SEE a lot of west-end musicians(that I do worship :) )! I was so glad that the movie did pay their "DUES" to west-end performers!! Even though, I was shocked with Fraser's appearance(I hardly recognize him). Only person I did not recognize was Katie Hall and I will make sure to spot her when I go back to theater next week!!.

    I was pleased with Eddie as SOMEONE dropped my bar sooooo low with 25th concert! But, I need to admit that I missed Ball during ECET!

    Great posting. A lot of details that I have not thought of during the movie! I enjoyed it!

    1. Thanks for the comments, Lily S, as always!

      Re: characters appearing without context: My concern is more about smoothness and aesthetics than that newcomers won't understand what's taking place. In the scene where Madame Thenardier shows up, for instance, it's clear pretty quickly who she is. However, I would have preferred to see a wide shot of her walking into the room first, rather than just an instant close up. It would have provided a better sense of space, of where these characters were in relation to one another.

  2. Lots of great observations. I've been checking every day since Christmas to see what your thoughts would be, and this was worth the wait--a thoughtful analysis of everything that was golden and everything that was problematic about the movie. Favorite moment--when Tveit sang "until the world is freeeeeeeee!" I saw the stage version in the West End 3 times in 1996 and the Enjolras at that time, one David Bardsley, took "free" up several notes, if not an entire octave. He's the only Enjolras to do that out of the many that I've heard. Now Tveit did it exactly the same way and it brought tears to my eyes.

    I hope there will be a director's cut with some restored footage, especially in the areas you mentioned, which all affected me much as they did you. I heard somewhere that the editing on this movie was very much done at the last minute, and it shows. Here's hoping they'll put some stuff back by the time it goes on sale as a DVD.

    Thanks for such a great blog.

    1. Thanks, mlktrout, and sorry for the delayed response!

      Another couple of things that I really liked, that I realize I never mentioned:

      1. The opening was fabulous. Of all the many, many times I imagined the opening, I never pictured anything like the French flag in the water. I really wish I hadn't been spoiled beforehand, because that was one of the best scenes of the movie.

      2. Some of the musical changes were really inspired. For instance, in "Javert's Suicide," the violins playing as Javert stepped along the ledge, mimicking the sound of rushing water.

      And one tiny nitpick: I was thrilled to see Colm Wilkinson, and he did a fabulous job, but I really wish he had sung the "I have saved your soul for God" line in his falsetto voice. I guess it would have looked strange, since he sang everything else in a normal voice, but still, chills!