Hey Baby lyrics Dirty Dancing

View the lyrics of HEY! BABY by Bruce Channel from Dirty Dancing [1987] (movie). Click here now to find out why others like this song! Dirty Dancing – Hey Baby Lyrics. Chorus: hey, hey baby (uhh ahh) I wanna know if you'll be my girl When I saw you walking down the street I said that's the kind of gal I'd like to meet she's so pretty Lord, she's fine I'm gonna make her mine, all mine Chorus When you turned and walked away Dirty Dancing – Be My Baby Lyrics. The night we met I knew I needed you so And if I had the chance I'd never let you go So won't you say you love me I'll make you so proud of me We'll make em turn their heads Every place we go So won't you please [Chorus:] Be my, be my baby Be my litlle baby Dirty Dancing – Hey Baby Lyrics hey, hey baby (uhh ahh) I wanna know if you'll be my girl<br>When I saw you walking down the street I said that's the kind of gal I'd like to meet she's so pretty Lord, she's fine I'm gonna make her mine, all mine<br>When you turned and walked away that's when ... Dirty Dancing - Soundtrack Lyrics. (I've Had) The Time Of My Life Be My Baby She's like the wind Hungry Eyes Stay Yes You don't own me Hey Baby Overload Love is strange Where . Lyrics. Popular Song Lyrics. Billboard Hot 100. Upcoming Lyrics. Recently Added. Top Lyrics of 2011. Top Lyrics of 2010. Watch: New Singing Lesson Videos Can Make Anyone A Great Singer Hey, hey hey baby! I want to know if you'll be my girl Hey, hey hey baby! I want to know if you'll be my girl When I saw you walking down the street I said that's a kind of girl I'd like to meet She's so pretty, Lord she's fine I'm gonna make her mine, all mine Hey, hey hey baby! I want to know if you'll be my girl When you turned ... hey, hey baby I wanna know if you'll be my girl. when I saw you walking down the street I said that's the kind of girl I'd like to meet she's so pretty Lord, she's fine I'm gonna make her mine, all mine. hey, hey baby I wanna know if you'll be my girl. when you turned and walked away that's when I wanted to say come on baby give me a whirl Hey Baby lyrics: Hey, hey hey baby! I want to know if you'll be my girl Hey, hey hey baby! I want to know if you'll be my girl When I saw you walking down the street I said that's a kind of girl I'd like to meet S Hey, hey hey baby! I want to know if you'll be my girl Hey, hey hey baby! I want to know if you'll be my girl When I saw you walking down the street I said that's a kind of girl I'd like to meet She's so pretty, Lord she's fine I'm gonna make her mine all mine Hey, hey hey baby! I want to know if you'll be my girl When you turned and walked away Hey Baby Lyrics by Bruce Channel on Dirty Dancing Soundtrack. ... Hey, hey hey baby! I want to know if you'll be my girl Hey, hey hey baby! I want to know if you'll be my girl When I saw you walking down the street I said that's a kind of girl I'd like to meet She's so pretty, Lord she's fine

Rating every QOTSA Song - The Great QOSTA Review

2020.09.28 00:46 RazorWolfz Rating every QOTSA Song - The Great QOSTA Review

Rating every QOTSA Song - The Great QOSTA Review
Hi everybody.
So, this past year I've really gotten into QOTSA and their great music. Not entirely sure how it started, other than that I wanted to do a deep dive into a band I was intrigued about. I'd obviously heard songs like No One Knows and 3's & 7's before (thanks Guitar Hero), so I didn't go in completely blind, also knowing about the grand impact of Songs for the Deaf had with the holy Dave Grohl on it.
As a result of this, I have turned obsessed with everything Queens and things relating to it. Other than hearing all of their music, I've also discovered Mini Mansions, Them Crooked Vultures, Desert Sessions and Kyuss. Even Arctic Monkeys, a band I always wanted to check out but never did - I ended up absolutely loving them after checking them out the same way I did QOTSA.
With some time off recently, I wanted to do something real thorough with this band, and I came to the conclusion of giving each song a good listen, and reviewing it all. I'm talking every main album and their songs. In this review I plan to scribble down my thoughts - being positive and/or negative, and slap a rating on the songs. I will cover every on-album song in their main discography, that means no B-sides or bonus tracks for the most part. (If people enjoy this little project, maybe I'll give those a whirl another time in the same manner.)
I'll be utilizing the following rating system, where I think the song is:
  • 0 - Completely Unlistenable
  • 1 - Very Bad
  • 2 - Bad
  • 3 - Meh
  • 4 - Okay
  • 5 - Fine
  • 6 - Good
  • 7 - Pretty Good
  • 8 - Very Good
  • 9 - Excellent
  • 10 - Fucking Amazing
Obviously, all of this is my own opinion. I feel like that needs to be prefaced. Anyway, with all that out of the way, let's dive right in. We'll be starting from the beginning!

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Queens of the Stone Age - 7/10
Here we go with QOTSA's self-titled debut, Queens of the Stone Age. Coming straight out of Kyuss with their sludgy stoner rock, you can definitely hear traces of their past here. I was honestly surprised to learn Josh stepped up on vocal duties without any prior singing roles before, but I can definitely hear it comparing his vocals to later releases. Still, he carries himself well and this album has no shortage of detuned guitar riffs in C and a real dirty feel to it.
#1 - Regular John - 7/10: Pretty Good
This is just a fun song which certainly gets you moving. Not a ton that sticks out to me. Cool riffs, cool effects and cool grooves.
#2 - Avon - 8/10: Very Good
Avon is a song that definitely grew on me. On first listen I didn't like it much, I felt the "do do do do doo" didn't sit right. However it's definitely become an album favorite of mine that I can't resist singing along to. That slide guitar they do live makes it even better, wish that was louder in the mix. And of course the drum break that ties it all together towards the end is lovely.
#3 - If Only - 6/10: Good
Somehow I feel like they could've done more with this song. It clocks in just under 3 and a half minutes, but it feels longer than that. Perhaps with a tad bit more tempo it could've been taken in a more interesting direction. Still, the chorus is catchy and the harmonies are nice, so it's not a bad song.
#4 - Walkin' on the Sidewalks - 7/10: Pretty Good
Damn, this song is heavier than I remember. Certainly a nice surprise to revisit it, though. Other than the sludgy main riff with that dirty bass, I really liked "oooh"ing harmonies a lot. It does drag on quite a bit towards the end, however.
#5 - You Would Know - 4/10: Okay
Wasn't really too pulled in with this one. Kinda sounds to me like a half-effort kinda song. Instrumentation feels a bit on the sleazy side and there's not a whole lot happening throughout it. Just an okay song, really.
#6 - How to Handle a Rope - 8/10: Very Good
Here we go! After the last track, this is a much needed energy boost in the tracklist. The riff is awesome and the bassline in the right ear is great. This song has that good, old muddy guitar tone we love this album for, as well as a driving rhythm with those drums.
#7 - Mexicola - 9/10: Excellent
This was the first song I heard from this album when I discovered it. It was the name, really. Anyway, this song is so damn HEAVY. The riffs aren't even that complex - just serves exactly what the song needs. Every instrument here shines on their own, so does Josh's vocals.
#8 - Hispanic Impressions - 2/10: Bad
I don't know, I tried to like this song. Even worse coming off of Mexicola to this isn't great. It's very hectic and really feels like a studio jam with no real direction. Everyone's playing well together though, I guess? Still not enough to save this song for me.
#9 - You Can't Quit Me Baby - 9/10: Excellent
My favorite track off this album. The repeating bassline drew me in immediately, followed by the drum groove. There are many things I like about this song, but the absolute peak is the climax when you get to the "You're solid gold, I'll see you in hell" part. I never get tired of it, it's such a beautifully crafted section of this song. I would give this song a full score, if it ended differently. I'm not sure what to think of the slow speed up and chaotic ending it has. Still absolutely love this track!
#10 - Give the Mule What He Wants - 6/10: Good
This is a cool song. Not a whole lot to point out, other than the driving drums and guitars. I like it.
#11 - I Was A Teenage Hand Model - 3/10: Meh
Just kind of a chill song to vibe to, I suppose. Didn't really do much for me. The effects was kinda over the top and loud in contrast to the song so it turned out too much by the end. I find it funny the call at the end is their phone call to Nick Oliveri and his response to joining the band, though.

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Rated R - 8/10
With their sophomore album they certainly didn't fail to bring out an abundance of new ideas and riffs to the table. With Oliveri now in the lineup to provide his primal screams and nasty bass chops along with Mark Lanegan to lend his scruffy voice as well, this album was sure to have some bangers.
#1 - Feel Good Hit Of The Summer - 7/10: Pretty Good
You just can't help but love this song, really. I mean, with a song that's only lyrics are "Nicotine, valium, vicadin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol" how could you not? Drugs aside, this is a hell of an album opener. That's it though, just a fun, hard song.
#2 - The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret - 8/10: Very Good
Love the mystic feel the instruments have in this song. On a whole it's just a great composition with lovely vocal delivery.
#3 - Leg Of Lamb - 5/10: Fine
If they put the same chorus that appears later in the song after the first verse, then this song would've been ranked higher! Sadly the verse after verse feels too repetetive too fast, even though the song is under 3 minutes. I actually really like the chorus because of the resolution it has, so it's a shame we only get that once.
#4 - Auto Pilot - 6/10: Good
The first song where Nick Oliveri takes lead vocals. It's a nice song, it was definitely a grower for me though, but it's good. The transition over to the next track was well executed.
#5 - Better Living Through Chemistry - 8/10: Very Good
The riff in this one is just so cool. The addition of the bongos in the intro is really nice too. And the vocal melodies too. There's just a lot of things I like about this trip of a track. The feedback-break after the first part goes on a tad too long, but I know they play that shorter live. Either way, the absolute jam that follows is something else. Great song!
#6 - Monsters In The Parasol - 6/10: Good
This is another one of those songs where on first listen I didn't like it at all. I thought it sounded way silly. But, on later listens I've moved past that and enjoyed it more. Now it's pretty alright in my book. Wacky song, in a good way.
#7 - Quick And To The Pointless - 2/10: Bad
Look, I get that this song isn't meant to be serious. Well, lots of QOTSA-related things aren't, really. But, even though I feel the riff could hold up on its own, what's good is ruined by the fucked lyrics and Nick's delivery. Not really a song I need to listen more to.
#8 - In The Fade - 9/10: Excellent
We come off my least favorite of the album - to my favorite! What a great contrast. Mark Lanegan sings lead on this one, and his gravelly vocals really fits it. The melody itself is beautiful and the guitar leads are lovely. Not to mention the bass guitar riffing away in the verse. The song even has a reprise back to Feel Good Hit, what a tune!
#9 - Tension Head - 6/10: Good
This has to be the most Metal-esque song I've heard from them yet. The riff is so sick (ha, see what I did there) and Nick seems to be puking out his insides singing this, so kudos to him for the passion there. Generally I'm not huge on scream vocals though, so it's not really my forté. But! It's not bad.
#10 - Lightning Song - 4/10: Okay
It's fine, short and sweet. It's a good guitar melody, but that's kind of it. The inclusion of the piano is nice, but didn't add a lot.
#11 - I Think I Lost My Headache - 7/10: Pretty Good
Ending this album we got this gem. The evolution from the slow, building fuzzy guitar to when the verse riff kicks in, it's always a kick in the face. It's got the perfect headbang tempo to it and it never fails in making me do so to it. I really do NOT like the brass instruments taking up the last third of the song though. I guess that's what the headache in the title refers to?

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Songs For The Deaf - 9/10
Then comes the behemoth that is Songs For The Deaf. Now with the great Dave Grohl joining the boys, this album is often praised as the band's very best. It simulates the drive through the desert from Los Angeles to Joshua Tree with radio hosts in between the songs making it seem like they're playing it all for you. All in all this album is just an experience that needs experiencing, no doubt about it.
#1 - You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire - 9/10: Excellent
We start off stronger than ever with this absolute banger of an opener. Remember how I said I didn't dig scream vocals too much earlier? This is just one of those cases where that doesn't phaze me at all. The drums with that simple tom pattern keeping it moving while the guitar plays, it's such an awesome build up for the "give me toro, give me some more" part. If only it wasn't so damn short!!
#2 - No One Knows - 9/10: Excellent
Who doesn't like No One Knows? No one knows. You just can't help but bob your head along to Dave's drums in this song. And even better is when he goes absolutely ham during the breakdown. Definitely the MVP in this one. Of course everything else is just great about this song too, which shouldn't need explaining.
#3 - First It Giveth - 8/10: Very Good
QOTSA keeps the high tempo present going straight into the rhythms of First It Giveth. The chorus is almost impossible not to sing along to for me. Also when I first heard that flamenco guitar, I was really taken aback, but I love it.
#4 - Song For The Dead - 10/10: Fucking Amazing
What can I even say about this song? It's a whole adventure if anything. I remember spending hours trying to get the drum intro down on my own drums. It's such an interesting and wacky pattern that works so well to build up to the complete tsunami that is when the instruments come in. With Lanegan back on the mic, he's the perfect fit for this eerie, dark cut. The guitar licks, the solos, the callback to the original fast paced intro, it all makes for such an awesome song.
#5 - The Sky Is Fallin' - 7/10: Pretty Good
So far we've been very spoiled with every song hitting the right way. While this song doesn't quite fall on the same level as the others, it's still a good track. The bridge section I especially liked with this one.
#6 - Six Shooter - 3/10: Meh
Nick just loves to sing and go insane on those short songs doesn't he? This is definitely the weakest song on the album for me. The energy is there, but it feels very out of place and doesn't really do anything for the tracklist.
#7 - Hanging Tree - 7/10: Pretty Good
Really nice song here. The bass intro is cool and Lanegan appears once again with his brooding voice. The harmonies do the song justice and the instrument changeup during the solo is really cool.
#8 - Go With The Flow - 9/10: Excellent
Man, I love this one. It's the perfect fast car ride soundtrack. The drums are rad and I adore the melodies in this song. I've played this one on numerous occasions and probably will for a long time.
#9 - Gonna Leave You - 7/10: Pretty Good
Very catchy chorus, pretty much a good song overall. Definitely the best song sung by Nick with softer vocals thus far in their catalogue.
#10 - Do It Again - 7/10: Pretty Good
HEY!!! Groovy cut, I like it. Don't have a lot to say on it other than that it's a nice song.
#11 - God Is In The Radio - 8/10: Very Good
Actually really like this one. Lanegan does a great job singing this and the solo is pure earcandy. Love when the song fades and comes back in full force.
#12 - Another Love Song - 5/10: Fine
Yeah, the song's fine. Kinda forgettable though.
#13 - Song For The Deaf - 9/10: Excellent
The previous song leads into this one with spoken words from Natasha Shneider (Rest In Peace) followed by a haunting intro that leads into the verse. The chorus features Josh and Lanegan harmonizing, and it's beautiful. I really love the melody here. The song continues to evolve and goes into a chilling little jam with the dual guitar solos. Wonderful!
#14 - Mosquito Song - 8/10: Very Good
A great ending to this album. The instrumentation is masterful but stripped back. That is until the beautiful piano break in the middle that leads us back to the same melody as before with snares and cymbals and all kinds of good stuff. Just a really nice song to end it on.

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Lullabies To Paralyze - 7/10
We reach QOTSA's fourth studio ablum, and the successor to the massive success that was Songs For The Deaf. Many say this is one of their weakest efforts, and while it's not one of their best, it still offers a good handful of great songs to listen to that I keep coming back to. Sadly the second half of this one is definitely inferior to the first.
#1 - This Lullaby - 5/10: Fine
Mark Lanegan softly sings us into this album in a lullaby clocking in at almost a minute and a half. It's nice, not too long or too short. It's kind of exactly what you expect for a short little opener.
#2 - Medication - 7/10: Pretty Good
We get into the real meat with - another short one. However, this one is packed with energy from the get go that I can't help but air drum to. For some reason it makes me imagine myself snowboarding to this tune doing tricks I don't know. Anyway, sick little track, love it.
#3 - Everybody Knows That You're Insane - 8/10: Very Good
This one starts off real spooky and slow with a haunting melody along with it. The chorus speeds up immensely and I love how the entire song just changes after that. Really cool song!
#4 - Tangled Up In Plaid - 8/10: Very Good
I feel like this one fits really well coming straight off of the last one. It's got a lot of similarities, kind of got that same eerie vibe as well with a chorus that takes it up a notch. Enjoyed the mystic atmosphere to this one a lot.
#5 - Burn The Witch - 8/10: Very Good
Burn The Witch is super cool. Once you hear that bassline you can't get it out of your head for a bit. Might be the catchiest cut on the album. It keeps the same dynamic throughout, but it works for the song.
#6 - In My Head - 7/10: Pretty Good
Another catchy one to follow the last. The riff kinda reminds me of a spy movie of something, not sure why. Liked the toned down ending.
#7 - Little Sister - 9/10: Excellent
Love this track. It's a dance number for sure. Not sure what else to say other than the riff is awesome, the bass is wicked, and the solo is super weird. In a cool way.
#8 - I Never Came - 6/10: Good
Enjoyable song. It's a nice, calm break from the songs before it. Chorus is alright to me, but nothing I'm huge on.
#9 - Someone's In The Wolf - 5/10: Fine
There are a lot of ideas in this song I really do like. The initial riff isn't bad, the groove is cool. I just don't find myself coming back to it a lot.
#10 - The Blood Is Love - 5/10: Fine
Much like the last one, I think the guitars have a cool thing going on, but not sure what they went for in the slowing down part. The song turned out alright for me.
#11 - Skin On Skin - 3/10: Meh
Kind of felt like this one was a bit of a chore to listen to. I appreciate some instrumental chops in there, but it mostly left me with a sour taste.
#12 - Broken Box - 6/10: Good
Quite a groovy song, it really picked up in the second half. It kind of feels like if you ran a 12 bar blues through a QOTSA-fier. A very interesting result.
#13 - "You Got A Killer Scene There, Man..." - 6/10: Good
I think this has to be the most mysterious song of theirs I've ever heard. Guess it fits the title. It sits somewhere between sexy and creepy. It's an enjoyable listen altogether.
#14 - Long Slow Goodbye - 8/10: Very Good
Then we end it off with this mellow tune. Love Josh's singing in this. The slide guitar in the chorus makes it for me though. It's a nice and simple four chord composition, but it's great. I love how the hidden outro appears on the next album.

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Era Vulgaris - 9/10
This one was definitely a grower album. After Lullabies, QOTSA took a turn and came with this super wacky release, full of crazy ideas and songs, reflected by the album art. However, once you get into it, man. I love this album and what it does.
#1 - Turnin' On The Screw - 8/10: Very Good
This song paints exactly what the album will give us, and I can't help but love it, especially the chorus melody. The bassline is very unusual but somehow it just works.
#2 - Sick, Sick, Sick - 8/10: Very Good
I wasn't big on this song when I first heard it, but I really enjoy it now. It's absolutely packed with energy and filthy guitar riffs. Nice little guest appearance from Julian Casablancas in here too.
#3 - I'm Designer - 8/10: Very Good
This one is definitely wacky. Josh's vocal lines are hilarious and perfectly serve the song. What really takes it up is the harmonies and vocal melody in the chorus. Damn, I just really like their choruses don't I?
#4 - Into The Hollow - 7/10: Pretty Good
The toned down vocals and slide guitar is super nice in this song, and I really like the harmonizing guitars and bass. Makes me hum along.
#5 - Misfit Love - 9/10: Excellent
Ah, here we go. The song that takes forever to begin. There seems to be an almost endless jam in this one, but it just rubs me the right way. The same, driving riff takes us almost 4 and a half minutes in before a big changeup happens. And when that changeup comes, man it's good. I really wish it was longer, much like how they do it live. It's beautful.
#6 - Battery Acid - 7/10: Pretty Good
Battery Acid comes across very chaotic with the busy drums and choppy guitars, but it's cool and fits the expression of the song. And it's always nice when you get to the "there's no thing you can say". Love when the drums go into the 4/4 pattern later in the song with the backing vocals.
#7 - Make It Wit Chu - 7/10: Pretty Good
You know, a lot of people love this one. Perhaps since it's the most easy listen on this record. For me, it falls with the weaker cuts, but it's not really a bad thing. It's just a nice slowdown from the chaos.
#8 - 3's & 7's - 6/10: Good
Another fan favorite that isn't really one of mine. I first discovered this in Guitar Hero and quickly developed a hatred for it because of the time signatures that I couldn't figure out and that fucked me over. Gamer rage aside, I think the ending is awesome and the chorus is the best part of it. Overall the song's just a firm thumbs up for me.
#9 - Suture Up Your Future - 7/10: Pretty Good
I like this one. It's dreamy, almost like floating through space. I usually always enjoy listening to it.
#10 - River In The Road - 6/10: Good
Kudos to Joey Castillo on this one, I dig the drum pattern. I like the spooky "ooooh"s too, I'm sure that's Lanegan I'm hearing in there.
#11 - Run, Pig, Run - 5/10: Fine
I don't care much for the last cut on here, it's usually the one I never play of the songs on here. It's not shit by any means, just average. I always smile at the little circus-y part after the chorus though.

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...Like Clockwork - 10/10
While most people would say SFTD is their favorite - this is mine. Every single track is phenomenal in it's own way. It doesn't matter how many times I listen to this album, I do not get tired of it. This is 100% their best effort in my eyes. A perfect mix of what they've done before, while still bringing something new.
#1 - Keep Your Eyes Peeled - 8/10: Very Good
The guitars seem to carry a ton with how heavy they are. The build up makes you curious as to what's to come, and the resolution in "Daydream until all the blue is gone" is so good. Coming up after is another new section which I love about the song, with Mikey Shoes toying with his bass in the background. Probably my favorite album opener. Well... after Millionaire.
#2 - I Sat By The Ocean - 8/10: Very Good
This one never fails to get me in the mood. The harmonizing slide guitars in the intro, the straight groove. Solid rock song with a fantastic ending.
#3 - The Vampyre of Time And Memory - 10/10: Fucking Amazing
Honestly this is just a genius composition. The piano is simple enough for even me to play it, but captivating enough to keep you around until the band kicks in. While the song isn't even that long, the ending solo beautifully closes it.
#4 - If I Had A Tail - 7/10: Pretty Good
Definitely the funkiest tune on the record. I can't not tap my foot to it at least. Doesn't quite fall with the rest, but that's a high bar to reach.
#5 - My God Is The Sun - 9/10: Excellent
There is so much happening in this song but the result is so cool either way. It's also just a blast to play on any instrument. Love it, love it.
#6 - Kalopsia - 9/10: Excellent
The slow, dreamy intro makes you believe this will be a soft ride, but as soon as the hard guitars and drums kick in, wheew! The harmonies are outstanding, it's almost Queen-esque. Hmm...
#7 - Fairweather Friends - 8/10: Very Good
This song just makes me happy. They got Elton John on piano and with some backing vocals, and it sounds great. Enjoy this song a lot.
#8 - Smooth Sailing - 8/10: Very Good
Such a cool ass track. Love the bass and the drum chops here. Josh's vocals are rad as fuck too.
#9 - I Appear Missing - 10/10: Fucking Amazing
Hands down my favorite track by them. This song takes you on such a journey. The intruments are played beautifully and everything sets up just right for the explosive solo. When they play this live with the extended outro it's jawdropping. Nothing more to say, it's a masterpiece.
#10 - ...Like Clockwork - 9/10: Excellent
Another piano track, this one a bit more focused on the piano itself though. Josh's vocal delivery is glorious and I get goosebumps when the rest of the instruments come in. When they go back to the verse later, it's super nice. The grand ending perfectly closes this magnificent album.

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Villains - 8/10
Villains is often painted as the worst one of the bunch. I actually think it's a great album that I enjoy a lot. It has my current favorite lineup of Josh, Troy, Mikey, Dean and Jon and I don't mind the direction they took this album in. There are obviously places there could've been improvements, but on a whole this album grew on me nicely.
#1 - Feet Don't Fail Me - 6/10: Good
On first listen, I hated this song. I thought it was cringy, even. But, alas opinions change. The slow buildup in the beginning with the synth takes us towards the main meat of the song, slowly but surely, with echoey vocals. Then, everything comes in. It was this I hated before, and while it's still no favorite now, I can appreciate it. I still think it could've sounded better with a straight 4/4 beat, but other than that I don't have any huge gripes with the song. It's still a bit of a silly song, but pretty groovy.
#2 - The Way You Used To Do - 6/10: Good
Pretty cool track this one, it's got a lot of fun guitar going on and Jon keeps himself busy on the drums, while still jamming it out. It's not a banger-banger though.
#3 - Domesticated Animals - 6/10: Good
It's a good song, the 7/8 time signature is interesting and it's nice to listen to. Not much else to say, I think.
#4 - Fortress - 9/10: Excellent
Love Fortress. Fantastic melodies, all around. Everyone plays just what they need to and it sounds great.
#5 - Head Like A Haunted House - 8/10: Very Good
What a bassline, accompanied by the drums. The uptempo feel to this one is super cool, very catchy tune. The changeup midway through is my favorite part. The basslicks in there are so, so nice.
#6 - Un-Reborn Again - 7/10: Pretty Good
I like the synths and the drum patterns here. Catchy chorus, that extends throughout the outro and takes us out to a string section before it hops back in. Pretty cool!
#7 - Hideaway - 7/10: Pretty Good
I like this track, it's reserved and almost bossa nova like. The real payoff is later when we get to the "Don't you feel love" part. The harmonies there are really nice.
#8 - The Evil Has Landed - 8/10: Very Good
A lot happening in this one, but it's definitely a groove-heavy one. Love the way the guitars and bass play together. The different sections throughout are very different, but still fit together. Very cool jammy song that ends with a rocking outro.
#9 - Villains Of Circumstance - 9/10: Excellent
And so for the last song of them all. This one kind of reminds me of Vampyre, somehow. The intro is very ambient with only bass accompanying Josh's singing. However when that chorus finally comes, it blew me away the first time. And that outro too! I feel like this song is extremely underrated.

...And there you have it. Every main song, reviewed. Be it short or long, all of them got some of my thoughts, and I'm pretty satisfied with the ratings. I'm 100% sure people will disagree with some, but that's just how opinions work, right? Hell, my opinions will probably change too, down the line...
Hope this was an interesting read! I enjoyed visiting this band again, listening to their songs once more in a big deep dive.
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2020.09.27 18:06 CyrusWaugh All Taylor Swift Albums Ranked (2006-2020)

And now we've reached the beginning of the end of CountryMusicStuff's first appreciation week, I loved every bit of this process, even when I was stressed out with deadlines, I kept pushing forward for you guys as a community, this has been the most fun I've had with the sub in a long time and I can't wait to explore other big and underappreciated artists. After 8 albums its time to answer the big one, which album stands tall above the rest, I'd love to know your opinion, even though I'm not touching Taylor Swift for a long time after this, I'll give a little shoutout here and there when I see it fitting. A lot of people this week have come together to appreciate all the music she's put out, and I don't want it to fade away. I'm gonna announce the placements Drum Corps style because this has built up a lot of momentum over the past week, also this was not easy, a lot of these albums were highly competitive, some rose in placement, some did not, a majority of the scores were really tight, and I'm being as critical as can be, because the fanboy in me would put all these albums around 8 or 9 out of 10.


In 8th Place With A Score Of 6.9/10:


8. Lover (2019)
Lover is last for me, as I feel like it has a lot to offer, but it fails to be cohesive, the sound ranges from candy sounding pop, to 80's synth style, to the style of Reputation and country, it's a mess in terms of lyrics and production. There a few instances where we get the peak of Taylor's vocal performance and writing skills, but mostly it feels contrived and lazy. Also this isn't last for my disdain of the trash that is the man, the album score is the average of my song ratings, so The Man only counts for 5.5% of the score. 1 song doesn't determine where I place a record. I've seen records where I give one song a 1/10 and the rest are 8,9 or 10 out of 10, and I give it a high score. The writing and sound for a lot of the record, is kind of dated, to be honest, songs like ME! or You Need To Calm Down's sound was already done 2016 and 2017, and in 2019, the sound of music changed drastically, either trap songs by DaBaby, or mellow pop songs by Billie Eilish and Post Malone trended, I'm not saying it failed as it has sold 4 million worldwide which in the streaming era is huge, and it still landed to be the most popular album of 2019, but chart wise this album didn't land, for an artist a few years back was a head of the times it feels on this record she's playing catch up.

In terms of the tracks themselves, this is the only record where I actually hate some of the tracks, them being The Man, I Think He Knows, and I Forgot That You Existed, one being dishonest lyricism and the other 2 being lazily produced and sung, normally I can pick up on something I like but not on Knows or Existed, out of context The Man is fun, but using my brain I can tell its the worst of the 3. Then we get into the decent section which is, Miss Americana, False God, You Need To Calm Down, and Death By A Thousand Cuts, these tracks are give or take, you may like the lyrics which are clever or honest, while you get bad production, like on Death By A Thousand Cuts, which is pretty descriptive but it suffers from a lot of the production concerning her vocals or in You Need To Calm Down where it is a jam, but the lyrics are lazy, and pandering, and how she keep's singing to haters and critics, why? There was a whole record dedicated to this, why do you keep bringing it up. And if you are going to, be clever about it, like Blank Space or Delicate. Then there's the good tracks that have a decent balance of both, like ME!, or Paper Rings, these tracks are often silly in their lyricism, which is okay, I'm cool with dumb silly songs, and the production really reflects the seriousness these songs lack, there are some tracks where the lyrics are so dumb and the instrumentation is advanced and beautiful, they don't fit together usually, so these tracks offer the middle lane.

The great tracks are the ones where we get to see inside her head, her personal stories, such as The Archer, which actually does a good job in describing the battle of her reputation, not addressing the haters but her own personal perspective, her relationship with Alwyn is on full display with Lover, which is one of the biggest standouts of the record, where get arguably the best bridge of her career, Luke Combs does pretty good ones, but Taylor is on a whole other level, even on tracks that aren't as great, she puts a lot of effort into bridges. Her matured view point of relationships in Cornelia Street, how this relationship is getting so good, and how if they fail, she's afraid to walk that street because its a scar. And the crown jewel of the album, Soon You'll Get Better, which is dedicated to her mother diagnosed with a terminal illness, beautifully written, I can hear every emotion going through her head, and it is heartbreaking. The record offers some of her best songs, my favorite melodies and lyrics, Just because it is barely misses a 7/10, doesn't mean don't listen to it, still 80% of this record I still listen to, I judge songs intellectually, so in terms of fun, this is around 7.5 or 8, if you are getting into pop for the first time after listening to country all your life, this is a good way to enter the genre and what to expect.


In 7th Place With A Score Of 7.4/10


7. Reputation (2017)
Reputation is considered by many to be her worst album, and majority of the people who say that, only listened to the singles, this album's opening is supposed to break your perspective, I think it is also dated, this sound of EDM, Trap was big with people like The Chainsmokers and Imagine Dragons and they were already on the decline, but while it doesn't hold up compared to the other records, there is a lot I like on it, Taylor's songwriting skills are still here, even if vocally and instrumentally it isn't, even on the bombastic EDM I Did Something Bad, there is still quality, and personally I like the production, the overall package isn't as intelligent as I'd like it to be but by the second chorus it brings it. Even on my least favorite track This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things, while pretty forgettable melodically, is really raw in the writing, detailing how people have betrayed her over the years, and highlights her feud with Kanye West, also if you're interested in the context for a majority of the songs, I highly recommend the Netflix Documentary, Miss Americana, I skip over the political nonsense, but you get to see her mind set in her modern songs especially in Lover and Reputation.
The singles themselves are bombastic like Look What You Made Me Do and ...Ready For It, people's complaints are valid, it really comes down to personal preference, most people when listening to pop, tend to go for their ears rather than their brains, its easier when listening to country music, as the best of it reflect both instrumentation and lyrics, pop is a lot harder as songs for casual listeners are carried by the production, so she has my respect, for putting intellectualism in this style, the only other artist I think that used to be able to do something similar, was 21 Pilots but they've turned into a joke imo. The record really is divided into 2 parts, the dark and heavy sounding side which is all about her reputation and the other is her personal stories, which has a lot lighter production style, with songs like Gorgeous, if I were to put a song from Lover and Gorgeous together, you'd probably think they came from the same album, I tried it once, and that is what got a friend of mine to check out Reputation. Also quick side note, Her concert at Metlife Stadium 2018, is arguably the best concert I've been to, then again I've only been to 4 or 5, which were Toby Keith, Midland, Florida Georgia Line, and I wanna say David Allen Coe, I can't really remember, I was pretty young at the time and it was raining that day in Metlife.
The remainder songs actually highlight her new style or throwback to previous styles from older records, my favorite of the new style being So It Goes, its semi-dirty, and I gag to That's My Kind Of Night, but So It Goes is my jam. Don't Blame Me, has a electronic bass drop gospel feel to me, and while not that great lyrically, makes up for how much on an ear worm it is. Getaway Car is a fantastic metaphor, and is a great throwback to 1989, how she talks about a man, being a getaway car, and her guilt of using him like that. Dancing With Our Hands Tied is another great example of her growing skill of unique storytelling in describing relationships. Delicate is my favorite of the entire album, and highlights how she sorta disappeared for a year in the media's eyes, and how all eyes are on her, and you get a sense of freedom when there's no one watching you, the vocals are so soothing, and the drum loop blends in so well, and according to Grady, he calls it his "Chill Jam" I completely agree, then there's the elephant in the room, Look What You Made Me Do at the time really divided the fan base, but overtime this became a beloved piece of pop culture, it is lyrically so interesting, the chorus is a turn off for people, but after listening to this track tens of times, it's become on of my favorite tracks in her entire catalog. Then the closing track New Years Day, without a doubt the best track, highlighting how true love isn't in kissing, their body, or sex, its in their actions, how something as small as cleaning up after a party does so much, Overall yes I enjoy Reputation, I encourage those scared of checking out this record, give it a listen in its entirety, it's better than you think.

In 6th Place With A Score Of 7.5/10


6. Taylor Swift (2006)
To all the traditionalists before you downvote this because her countriest record is placed 6th, hear me out. Yes sonically her first record is the best. As is the case for a lot of artists in Nashville during the 2000's. But lyrically, this certainly isn't her greatest. Arguably this album is revolutionary for its key role in the start of the bro era, now I'm not comparing her to bro artists, but if you pay close attention, after 2006, you begin to see a rise in her more bro like songs charting slowly. And in this record, you get all the bro tropes, like Trucks, someones eyes, jeans, dirt roads. I certainly think she did a better job at describing adjectives than most artists, I'd put her around the same level of HARDY in that aspect, but simple adjectives are simple adjectives and there's no getting around that. And while there is a lot of traditional country sounds, to help make up for this issue, around 25% of this record leans in the 2000's pop rock trend, and that lowers my opinion of a lot especially with songs like Invisible which sounds awkward vocally for me, or A Perfectly Good Heart, I think the 2 styles in both the lyricism and instrumentation don't blend together great, and similar to how I view songs like Hey Cowgirl by Randall King, the sound might be beautiful but the lyrics are still pretty simple. She was starting to write songs at 16, she hasn't really sharpened her skills yet, this is evident on tracks like I'm Only Me When I'm With You, its sweet and fun but arguably besides the instrumentation and vocals, this is a 7/10 song, and others songs like this include Cold As You, The Outside, Stay Beautiful, all great, but I think we can agree these aren't masterpieces.
But while I approach this brutally in some of your eyes, there is still a lot I adore on the record. Our Song is a jam and while simplistic, that's the intention, the melody is as iconic to me as say something like Toes By Zac Brown Band. Picture To Burn is just a blast all the way through, that offer a lot more than a majority of the other tracks on the record, they let the instruments shine more often, you can tell she had a lot more fun with these 2 tracks than the others. The more mature songs signaled that the best of Taylor Swift was yet to come, Teardrops On My Guitar, A Place In This World, are the standouts for me as these are the stories I connected to more, I'm in my final year of high school and I this record feels so nostalgic. Teardrops captures a feeling we've all felt at one point of our lives, it's not that big lyrically, but it has so much emotion, it feels so raw and pure. Then there's Tim McGraw which was the prequel to one of the most iconic tracks of the 2010's Springsteen, who knows, maybe Eric Church was inspired by it to write his own perspective. Tim McGraw is captures every element I love and brings it all together, the great lyrics, the fantastic instrumentation and emotional vocal performance. Her first record may be your favorite, like I said almost all of them are close in striking distance for me, originally I had this in 5th place, but after listening to it 3 more times I came to accept that while the sound is gorgeous, there was just as much quality in her later years.


In 5th Place With A Score Of 7.6/10


5. Red (2014)
Red as I've said before is her most important record, which was her smooth transition of genres from country to pop, as you can tell by the ratings is a pretty good album, but while this does have the least amount of 6/10's for me, it is overwhelmed with 7/10's. 63% percent of this record is 7/10 for me. And for a pop record which I view it as, that's pretty good, it's extremely hard to make an intellectual pop record in this day and age. Most artists like Camila Cabello or Shawn Mendes while great performers don't put much brains into their songs and you're left with a 5/10 record. Red played it safe in terms of it leaning into the pop genre further than it ever did with songs like 22 and I Knew You Were Trouble. It's what I like to call a wholesome album, which is an album which intellectual and casual listeners can enjoy, songs with so much heartfelt moments, and fun moments people can universally enjoy.
So the fun moments for me are definitely songs like 22 and We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, 22 is more of a bubblegum anthem, and those never really have vivid imagery, but this does put me in scenarios I've been in, like breakfast at midnight, however I will never EVER!!! go to a club. So there goes the relatableness. But still that melody is impossible not to enjoy (unless you're trigger) We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together is my favorite of the pop tracks, I don't think she's had as much fun in a recorded track, its a jam, still had a grudge as it was pushed to country, but still a lot of 2013 singles weren't country. Stay Stay Stay, is another fun little jam that border lines pop with modern country. It is harmless, hilarious and a good time throughout all of it. The S Tier of this record lies within the the opening and ending track, which is State Of Grace, and Begin Again, State Of Grace, shows the beginning of the end for her country career. I regret never seeing this song live, I adore it, and Begin Again, is her farewell to the genre, we get everything I love in a mature Swift song, beautiful instrumentation, compelling lyrics and sensitive vocals. And then imo the best track of the record: All To Well, so well written, beautifully sung, so perfectly built up to this dramatic conclusion. Red, is the safest record she's done, but the best of the record, is some of the best Taylor Swift has to offer.


In 4th Place With A Score Of 7.6/10


4. Fearless (2008)
This is what I call the golden age of Taylor Swift, drawing a fine line between mature lyrics and great instrumentation. This is the second time I've seen an album average out the same score, so to break it , I counted which album had the most 9/10's and here we are. Fearless brings back to a time, where I didn't have to worry about college, who I'm going to be, all I had to worry about was band and maintaining good grades. Her voice is slowly getting deeper and I got a feeling idolism. It is was my first record Taylor Swift record and I cherish it as much as I do for Chief By Eric Church, arguably 3 records broadened my perspective of the potential of country music, them being This One's For You and these 2. I've talked so much about my love of the album and I've yet to highlight why the album is good.
Definitely the simplistic parts of her writing haven't been fleshed out yet, so you have a hand full of 6/10's but they are improvements from her first record. Like Hey Stephen, to me it is clever but I find the melody extremely tedious. The Best Day, I'm sorry if you guys love this one I just don't see it, it feels too perky and you guys describe this to be over emotional, but I can't be on the same page with this. The Way I Loved You, is a bro song, her first 3 albums heavily inspired the lyrical aspect of the bro era, and I don't know whether that's a good or bad thing. Still all of these songs are good especially when I compare it to songs today. This is also her 2nd best single output for her 8 records. The singles here aren't just great for radio, their great overall. You Belong With Me is impossible not to sing along to when it comes on when we play music on the bus after a competition. This was the peak of 2000's pop. Like Robert California from the office, I don't like the Blacked Eyed Peas, I wasn't a fan of the output for a majority of these artists like Usher, or Eminem, so to hear this everywhere was amazing. White Horse is arguably the best lyrically, with how it progresses the story, but Love Story is the perfect balance those 2 songs possess. Great story production, unforgettable melodies and the best sounding song on the record. Fearless for a long time was my favorite record, it was my childhood (the parts I can remember)


In 3rd Place Receiving My Bronze Medal With A Score Of 7.8/10


3. Speak Now (2010)
Speak Now had the highest expectations from me, given how much I loved the previous record and for a long time I always viewed it as inferior to Fearless, it wasn't till this even where I realized its slight superiority. My only real complaint is how I'm not a big fan of the punk rock sound a few tracks had, but still the tracks were good nonetheless. For a long time I viewed this as her most mature record, where we got to see more of her life as a celebrity rather than stories from her past. There was a lot of innovation with the record as she also experimented with orchestras for the tracks Haunted and Back To December, both capturing the theme the lyrics capture, Haunted obviously bring out haunting melodies and Back To December, bring out sincereness. You could tell she relied less and less on the high school narrative, she really uses it 2 or 3 times imo.
A lot of the stories are so unique and feel interconnected in what I think the album's theme is which suppression of emotion. Speak Now the title track is about expressing love to some one who is about to marry the wrong woman, this is a perfect example of suppressed emotion as she does consider this is wrong, but she's tired of hiding it. Back To December is about swallowing pride rather than making a song about the man in the relationship being the wrong, this track is about how she was. Never Grow Up show's her side that never wished she grew up, how everything that matters to her aren't selling out shows, making millions but her family, I can tell I'm in the minority when say it's my favorite track, Better Than Revenge is her unleashing all her bitterness on Joe Jonas. Mean doesn't really convey the them of suppression, but still it's MEAN. The sound of it is amazing, it's pretty goofy, but that's why I love it. Dear John is the longest and most emotional roller coaster out of any Swift song, perfectly paced, unleashing all of her emotions about what I assume to be John Mayer, but I still have my doubts, take him out of the context, doesn't do a darn thing, I love this song just as much. Normally long songs eventually get me bored, but not Dear John I am moved by its haunting somber melody, the build up to her powerful vocals and one of her most compelling stories. Dear John while not my favorite, is what universally unites all fans of this record. This is currently the best country record she's ever made, who knows, Red is creeping up in appreciation, I learn a new detail every time I listen to a Taylor Swift record, so a year from now this record could be 5th or 6th or 2nd or 1st.


Receiving My Silver Medal With A Score Of 8/10
2. folklore (2020)
I don't think many people realize how much of a game changer this record is. I've argued Taylor has played catch up with Reputation and Lover, but once again she's ahead of the game. This blends several genres at once, country, soft jazz, rock, folk, pop and it doesn't feel disjointed. Without a doubt the most mature and well written record of her career as of now. If folklore was a country album, and given today's standards it is, I'd put it as the #1 album in the mainstream even above Never will by Ashley McBryde, the current leader of this year. Every single song is a fantastic album cut, it has changed the game for how she writes her songs, she's taken new perspective when singing about how she keeps up with appearances, new perspectives in break up and high school songs. The Saltbox House Chapter is a story line the spans off 4 songs, I don't remember the last time something like this has been tried, I'm sure it has but it's been a hell of a long time.
The weakest song on this track is still something with so much effort put in, Seven's only major issues are vocal and melodical, lyrically it tells the story of a forgotten friend, and she can remember everything but her physical details. One great example of new ways of writing about her reputation, is The Last Great American Dynasty, instead of talking about herself which she's prone to do a lot. She sings about others and in this case, her Rhode Island home's previous owner. It's very compelling and one of my favorite lyrically, but similar to how much I love Round Here Buzz, the percussion here is too big of a problem. The 1 definitely feels like an outlier, as it doesn't really go in the theme of the saltbox house story line, or her new perspective of her appearance. But still it's fun to listen to. I can picture myself walking through grey skies in downtown for school listening to this record. When I walk alone, I like to be alone with my thoughts and this record allows me to reach that state, even simple songs like this one.
Her songs about her and Alwyn are so wholesome, Invisible String is all about how an invisible string tied them together and they didn't know it. Little details of where they would've met earlier, places they've been to. Peace is about how while they are together, people will always look for cracks to get a story, and he doesn't are if its peaceful. Alwyn seems like the one for Taylor and I hope they last, he's better than everyone she's ever been with. I wouldn't be shocked if an engagement would be announced in the next few months as this song has finally brought her full circle as she's finally ready to commit, after everything she's been through. Mirrorball tugs at my heartstrings more than any song on the record, how she's giving everything she has in her songs, and each detail of heartbreaking her life is a crack in a disco ball. The world of music is heading into 2 directions, the trap path, which is a young generation singing in vulgar.
The Saltbox House Chapter is undeniably the best part of the record, Cardigan, is a great lead single, while not my favorite, it deserves a Grammy nomination, as does the record, most can agree 2020, was mostly a trash year for pop/r&b/hip-hop/etc, and country music is actually getting good, with quality returning more and more with people like Maddie & Tae and Ingrid Andress. August my 3rd favorite track, fills the gaps left in cardigan. We get the details of how James was seduced, how this unnamed lover felt, her joy, her guilt, and sadness. This is Taylor Swift in her prime, something she's hasn't really been in for 6 years. Betty, which is climbing faster than New Years Day, or Soon You'll Get Better ever did, is becoming a defining part of country music for 2020. Betty was the entire reason appreciation week happened, after I was done smashing stuff after the load of crap that was the ACM awards, I reminded myself of how perfect Taylor's return was. Betty in terms of structure is 2020's love story, great storytelling and the key change implies a happy ending. But Illicit Affairs takes it over the top where we get the perspective of James and the unnamed girl, every dirty vivid detail on full display. Folklore brought back the Taylor I knew as a kid, she's changed drastically in the past 14 years, and this is a sign of maturity I can respect, I do have my problems with her but this isn't the place to discuss them nor do they damage my perspective of how talented and heartwarming she is. Folklore isn't going to be for everyone, this is an intellectual album, there isn't a jam piece like ME! or Delicate, its her being the best version of herself on full display for the world to see.
And Finally In First Place Receiving My Gold Medal With A Score Of 8.8/10
1. 1989 (2014)
To put it simply 1989, is one of the greatest records ever made, I use 3 lines when I describe my praise in reviews like this and that's favorite, best and finally greatest, favorite is pretty simple, I like this song in a non-intellectual manner, it's great not in critical aspects and mostly relies on earworm melodies and licks. Examples are Tequila, or Marry Me. Best is what I use to describe what is critically great. How good is the instrumentation, the lyrics, vocals, production, examples of Best are Mr. Misunderstood, Seneca and Heartache Medication, Greatest is a combination of both but with a 3rd factor, and that is revolutionizing music all together. 1989 broke music, starting a trend that would bring me back into the pop world after I abandoned it around 2009. 1989 would change the songwriting styles and production value of many albums for years to come, in away its the here's to the good times for pop music, difference is this would improve the genre over time, not damage it. 1989 simply is a perfect pop record. Now I say perfect pop record, not perfect album there are problems with it, but a perfect pop album, to me is an album with an engaging sound, unforgettable melodies, rhythmically well tuned lyrics, and great vocal production. 1989 even its weakest moments accomplishes everything.
The opening track Welcome To New York, engages you into a thrilling setting, I'm about 15 minutes away from NYC, and while most of it is a rat hole, my first real experience by myself was this song, it is an instant classic, and I'm still mad it wasn't pushed as a single. When I take off for college this is my theme song when I leave as chances are I'm moving to New York to study Music Education. Up until folklore 1989 handled her songs about her you know what (I'm sick of using that word) Out Of The Woods, is about her wondering if she can finally relax with whoever she was dating at the time, as the paparazzi made it their mission to sniff around her personal life. I Wish You Would, while my least favorite is still a great song that probably would've hit #1 like every other single released on here. The irony of song feels so realistic, as the awkwardness and fear of a breakup can make our minds run wild of what the other is thinking, yes both Woods and Would are pretty repetitive in their melody but still they are great pop songs, compared to other songs trending in 2014, Ariana Grande is not my cup of tea, I'll never listen to her unless it's a song from Victorious. Bang Bang was mediocre at best, the literal garbage that is Anaconda. The only artists that really caught my interest was Maroon 5 and Ed Sheeran, and really only their singles did, this whole record captured me.
All You Had To Do Was Stay marks the line from the good to the great pop songs, those are jams, but Stay highlights realistic issues in a fun manner, the toughest part of relationship is arguably enduring. And by leaving you show you're not ready and not the one. This Love, could arguably be called a country song, if you use 2010 standards, its beautiful if not a bit repetitive. The only real issue the record has is how repetitive the record can get in terms of lyrics. Clean is my least favorite in terms of production and percussion, but still great lyrical messaging of how going through a breakup is like ripping off a band-aid, it will hurt no matter what, the best you can do is endure the pain and once it passes you'll clean and free of most of the pain. I Know The Places was the first hint of the reputation era, and it's all about escaping the media vultures. Pretty simple messaging, but pretty descriptive in it's rap verses. Her metaphors are well put, how they are foxes, and they will hunt them down. How You Get The Girl is another synth smash, giving simple dating advice, for both short and long term. It's a jam and honestly nothing more, with a little bit story driven details sprinkled in.
But the biggest reason this record is #1 and stands tall above the rest is the big 5: Shake It Off, Blank Space, Bad Blood, Style, and Wildest Dreams. One of the greatest single outputs ever in the history of music. Most lead singles sell around 2-3 million, and the other generic ones make around 800k. In 1989, 1 surpassed 12 million 3 surpassed 5 million and 1 passed 3 million. The only record last decade to surpass it in numbers was 21 by Adele, and it's Adele, who is extremely tough to beat, and in terms of single output I still prefer this over 21. The only album that I probably enjoy more in terms of singles in the pop world is ÷ by Ed Sheeran, and even then, you can tell in terms of a lot of the album process this record was heavily inspired by 1989.
Bad Blood is my least favorite as its the most repetitive of the bunch and while Kendrick Lamar spiced it up it didn't change my view as much. Still that opening intro is fantastic, it's what Reputation wish it could be in terms of sound. Still salty we didn't play this in Marching Band. And even so lyrically a lot of interesting stuff is going on especially in the bridge. Shake It Off while never holding up to its standard is one her best jams, alongside New York, 22 and Delicate. Some people don't like the douche like bridge, I can understand and respect that, but I act like such a kid when singing along to it. For once I thought she's rising above it all, (boy what a lie that was!) Wildest Dreams restructured the sound of a lot of slow tempo contemporary ballads. It's beautifully sung, and gives off the emotion of pleasurable guilt, I can see the influence of Lana Del Rey, and that and this 80's synth remaster give the perfect combination. Style is the best song in terms of production, nothing over the past 14 years has been able to claim that title. For about 3 years it was my favorite pop song only being surpassed by Castle On The Hill. But still I listen to this track more than any Luke Combs song, Eric Church song, or any other song from indie and Texas artist. Style gives me an emotional rush, some of y'all will be pissed with how high I rate it tomorrow, as the lyrics I admit aren't substantive, but the production is something I haven't let go of for 6 long years, Blank Space is the best of the 5 and the record as while not a return to form sonically, it is a return in terms of storytelling. Brief little details of how she behaves, her next boyfriend, highlighting and summarizing every relationship she's ever been up till 2016. No one has truly escaped her wrath in songwriting, it is arguably her peak in pop, and I'm still considering where it will end up on my list.
I do acknowledge when I praise this record it has it's problems, most are in terms of lyrical maturity, I gave it a 8.8/10, if I wasn't as critical as I was put this record around 9.3/10. There are better records out there like Pageant Material by Kacey Musgraves, The Tree by Lori McKenna, but while they are better critically in my eyes, I'll be honest, I would choose this record a thousand times. This record has one thing they don't, this record is unforgettable, if I live to 70 or 80, the 3 records that will always stay with me are Mr. Misunderstood, Seneca and 1989. Fearless is the golden age of Taylor Swift, Red is her most important record, Folklore is her most mature record, but 1989 is her Magnum Opus. It defied all of my expectations with how she handled Red, Mr. Misunderstood is the best mainstream country record of the decade in my eyes, 1989 is the not only the best pop record of this decade, but one of best of the century regardless of genre. It revolutionized the sound of music, changing it for the better, brought me back to a genre I abandoned for shallowness in every aspect, it somehow reignited that spark it had missed for several years. And that's why to me it is the crown achievement of Taylor Swift.
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2020.09.25 18:19 KieselguhrKid13 Gravity's Rainbow Group Read Sections 62-65 Week 19

Howdy, folks! Stepping in this week as pinch-hitter, so I'm still finishing out the discussion post. However, since I'm sure some of you are anxious to start discussing this week's thoroughly fascinating sections, I'm posting now with some introductory thoughts and discussion questions to get things started. I will update this to include discussion notes for the individual sections this evening!
"What?" - Richard M. Nixon
Thus begins The Counterforce, the final book of Gravity's Rainbow. Interestingly, that wasn't the original epigraphs. Before Watergate hit, Pynchon had the following lyrics from Joni Mitchell's song "Cactus Tree" featured.
She has brought them to her senses,
They have laughed inside her laughter;
Now she rallies her defenses,
For she fears that one will ask her
For eternity
And she's so busy being free."
I think that last line in particular relates to Katje's conversation with Enzian in section 65, but we'll get to that.
Section 62
We open with Slothrop being woken up by the sound of none other than our old friend, Pirate Prentice, buzzing overhead in a P-47 Thunderbolt, aka a "Jug". It's an older model, "one with a greenhouse canopy" - just like in the beginning when he was harvesting bananas, Pirate finds himself in a greenhouse. 'Cept this time, he's having a bit of a conversation with Katje's dodo-killing ancestor, Frans van der Groov, musing over the nature of wind and windmills-as-mandalas.
I'll pause to note another possible Waste Land reference here that admittedly may be a stretch, but this is Pynchon we're talking about here, so it's entirely plausible. In Section II: A Game of Chess, we see the lines, "yet there the nightingale / Filled all the desert with inviolable voice / And still she cried, and still the world pursues, / “Jug Jug” to dirty ears." The nightingale story being that of Philomela, who was raped by her sister's husband, king Tereus. She managed to get revenge via her sister, and the two were transformed by the gods into birds - Philomela into a nightingale. The connection becomes less tenuous when you consider how this is a story of preterite vs elect, with the preterite actually managing to strike back for once. So flying a plane nicknamed the "Jug" fits Pirate's counterforce rather well, no?
We then shift to Gustav and Säure, discussing a game of chess. Gustav is focused on "moving beyond the game, to the Row" (in Chess, if a piece makes it all the way to the opponent's back row it can become any piece, including a queen). Gustav sees the Row as "enlightenment"; however, Säure is a bit more disillusioned and recognizes the Row for what it is - "another game." Säure recognizes everything as a game - so if he's going to be stuck playing games, he can at least choose which game he plays - hence is taste in music and his propensity for narcotics. We'll see this idea spring up again later when Pirate discusses paranoia with Mexico.
Back to Slothrop now, who's washing his harmonica in a stream. Bafflingly, it is the very same harmonica that fell down the toilet that night at the Roseland Ballroom, though who knows how... Slothrop is holed up in the mountains, playing the role of the Hermit in what honestly seems to be a pretty pleasant lifestyle. Before recovering the harmonica, he stumbled upon (?!) a set of bagpipes and taught himself to play. His music seems to have prompted someone to leave offerings of food, though whether the offering is a "thank-you" or a plea to stop with the bagpipes is a mystery. He takes the hint and stops playing, and finds his harmonica the next day.
In keeping with his new hermit lifestyle, he's letting his hair and beard grow out, laying naked in the grass and being one with nature. Honestly, I keep thinking how nice that life sounds, especially with how this year's going in the US... But much as Slothrop's embraced a return to nature, there's still part of him, the American part, that just can't let go of the dream of somehow finding a way back to his home country. He's hooked on the ideal, the promise of America, even though she is "immune to [her citizen's] small, stupid questions" because they "have no rights." (623) He's also a bit stuck, still, on the question of Jamf and his own childhood, but he knows that any form of putting his head out carries risk. As the Hermit, he's searching for illumination, but just one step at a time.
Already, he's become one of the Zone's legends - he finds a graffito of "Rocketman was here" and next to it, almost without thinking, he draws the mandala of the rocket. He starts to see fourfold mandalas everywhere. from windmills to swastikas, even becoming one as he lays "spread-eagled" in the sun, "becom[ing] a cross himself, a crossroads, a living intersection" where a criminal was hung and a mandrake grew.
Mandrake, being magical, used to be taken by magicians so they could make their money multiply, but did they ever take inflation into consideration? Thankfully the Committee on Idiopathic Archetypes steps in to remind said Magician of the broader economic disadvantages to such folk magic.
Anyway, Slothrop's now fully transfigured into The Fool (not as bad as it sounds - think new beginnings, innocence, a free spirit). The zero card of the Tarot. Since it's the zero card, apparently, it "does not have a specific place in the sequence of the Tarot cards. The Fool can be placed either at the beginning of the Major Arcana or at the end. The Major Arcana is often considered the Fool’s journey through life and as such, he is ever present and therefore needs no number." (https://www.biddytarot.com/tarot-card-meanings/major-arcana/fool/). Gosh, sound like anyone we know?
And what of the Magician we just encountered? Well, turns out he's the one card, signifying new beginnings and the "connection between the spiritual realms and the material realms" which he uses to "manifest his goals in the physical realm" (https://www.biddytarot.com/tarot-card-meanings/major-arcana/magician/).
I'll add, too, that Weisenburger has a brilliant note on Slothrop's astrological chart based on the line, "Past Slothrops, say averaging one a day, ten thousand of them." (624). Turns out that would place his birthday on March 21, 1918 - on the cusp of the Vernal Equinox (spring, rebirth, the return to the living part of the great cycle). Not only that, but the "midheaven of Slothrop's chart would be a perfect zero" and his whole chart aparently is perfectly balanced - a "motif of opposites held in equipoise" - a mandala, in other words. (Weisenburger, 327). Good lord, Pynchon is either insanely thorough or super lucky with how that turned out, and I've gotta lean on the side of that being deliberate.
Section 63
We've finally rejoined Roger Mexico! Though he's not in the best of states anymore, Jessica having finally called off their wartime romance and settled back into "normal life" with Jeremy. Strangely, his car is full of jars of baby food in colors reminiscent of Mrs. Quoad's pre-war British candies, but he feels it's better not to ask where the jars keep rolling out from.
Seems Roger still feels some duty to poor Slothrop, who's been abandoned in the Zone, though Jessica is happy to put them both safely away in her past. But Jessica seems a bit optimistic here - "But, 'Roger,' she'd smile, 'it's spring. We're at peace." (628). But no, that's just "another bit of propaganda." It's the illusion of spring, but there's no true rebirth here - just a different form of war, a more subtle, hidden version. Because waste lands like this one have broken the natural death-rebirth cycle in favor of an artificially long life, at the cost of a slow, wasting death with no return.
Roger's gone a bit mad from his break with Jessica, his realization of being manipulated by Pointsman, and his new insight into the degree of cooperation between industry and military, even before the war, and certainly after. So what's a man to do? Well, crash into Twelfth House and assault both Géza Rózsavölgyi and a poor German secretary via a truly deranged psychological campaign that manages to break them both into pointing him in the direction of Pointsman, in Mossmoon's office. Roger breaks into a meeting of some high-level government and corporate folks, stands on the meeting desk, and proceeds to take a piss on them. Then cue an exciting chase scene for the action enthusiasts, and Roger makes his exit to go meet up with Pirate Prentice.
Prentice seems amused by Mexico's amateur-paranoid attempt at striking back against Them, and proceeds to school Roger in a more mature form of paranoid systems, explaining that, in the face of a "well-developed 'They-system'" one must develop a "We-system" comprised of delusions of unity and the ability to strike back. Prentice explains:
Needless to say, 'delusions; are always officially defined. We don't have to worry about questions of real or unreal. They only talk out of expediency. It's the system that matters. How the data arrange themselves inside it. Some are consistent, others fall apart. (638)
Mexico counters that "you're playing Their game, then," to which Prentice explains, "Don't let it bother you. You'll find you can operate quite well. Seeing as we haven't won yet, it isn't really much of a problem." (638)
Then, after a dizzying scene of defiance against Their orderly, rational system, that sees Nora Dodson-Truck set upon by visions of freaks, fluorescent Jesus, and elephant soixante-neuf, we are treated to a song that encompasses the Counterforce in its final line: "it isn't a resistance, it's a war." (Incidentally, during the Pynchon in the time of Covid reading of GR, someone did an absolutely bang-up rendition of this song - anyone remember which video that was?)
Section 64
We're now introduced to Pfc. Eddie Pensiero, who's the company's benzedrine-fueled barber. His friend Paddy McGonigle is an example of "those million virtuous and adjusted city poor you know from the movies" (641) - think the merry, dancing immigrants in the bowels of the Titanic - the good obedient preterite who have embraced their lot in life (and who, incidentally, probably did not get first, or even second, dibs on the lifeboats...)
This being the Zone, power is still limited, so the lone lightbulb is powered by McGonigle hand-cranking a generator. Though the bulb seems to be providing steady illumination, it is in fact subtly pulsing based on the speed at which Paddy cranks. A series of slivers with a ∆t approaching zero creating the illusion of a greater whole. Just like Slothrop's daily iterations of self, just like the minute course adjustments made by the rocket.
To the tune of Slothrop's distant harmonica, Eddie commences cutting the colonel's hair, prompting an immediate, unfiltered monologue. If you've ever seen Waiting for Godot, this reminded me of the character of Lucky who is silent until his hat is removed and who then begins reciting endless philosophical musings. The colonel seems fixated on sharing his journey up a concrete mountain of rubble, dodging arms of black rebar. The image is almost like a close-up of a scalp, with black hairs poking out.
In this vision/story/? we witness a dialogue between Skippy (the colonel?) and Mister Information, who kindly explains the idea of forking paths of probability, and the pointsman (Pointsman?!) who "is a nice man" "wearing a white hood" who controls these points of inflection, of branching, that determine if we go to Happyville or Pain City. It's about as ominous a vision as GR can present - the white hood imagery bringing to mind both the Klan and possibly an executioner or judge. Not exactly who we want in control, is he? And apparently even pre- and post-war, "the dying tapers off now and then" but the real War, the endless War, carries on and kills people "in more subtle ways. Often in ways that are too complicated, even for us, at this level, to trace." (645). Think of the nature of violence - not direct, obvious "stab you in the gut" violence, but slow, invisible violence - the kind the State likes to enact. Racial segregation, building chemical plants in the poor parts of town, running a highway through a previously-thriving neighborhood, choosing which laws to enforce, and who to enforce them against, denying people vital healthcare, letting hundreds of thousands of people die from a pandemic. That's all violence - just the invisible kind we don't see. The slow, wasting kind that drags people down. And if only we could just eliminate all those undesirables, those preterite swine, completely? "Wouldn't it be nice..."? Seems the Germans weren't all that original, just more direct, more hasty.
Then our pal Skippy (the colonel?) gets taken to Happyville, by an amicable robot crab (Cancer) that throws out quips like it was made by those bastards as the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation and I'll be damned if that didn't inspire Douglass Adams when he wrote Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Cut back to the colonel's haircut, and we are informed that that flickering lightbulb is none other than Byron the Bulb, preterite hero and immortal lightbulb. (If you hadn't noticed a significant number of mentions of lightbulbs throughout this book on this read-through, you will on your next.) Turns out there's a real, honest-to-goodness conspiracy to fix the energy usage and lifespan of lightbulbs by the Phoebus Cartel (look it up - it's real). They've worked to find the perfect balance between using up energy to keep the power company happy and lasting jusssst long enough to keep customers from complaining. Well, Byron, being immortal, wants to inspire a lightbulb revolution - a guerrilla campaign where lightbulbs take out humans in revenge for their artificially-shortened lifespans. But turns out, the cartel's a lot more powerful than one little lightbulb, immortal or not, and they send a hit man out for Byron. But Byron escapes through a series of lucky breaks, and avoids capture.
We learn that Lyle Bland has discovered a powerful corporate weapon - "that consumers need to feel a sense of sin." (652) Think about it - don't you love buying something nice enough that you feel just a twinge of guilt? Who doesn't, in one way or another. But hey, I'm in marketing, so I can at least put this to good use on the job...
Sadly for Byron, he grows old without being able to inspire revolution, instead becoming something of a Sibyl - gifted with long life but not eternal youth and optimism. Taken out of the cycle - no return. The immortal's curse.
The scene ends back on the colonel, head tilted back, Byron watching on powered by Paddy, with Eddie's clutched fist holding the scissors over the colonel's exposed throat. But we end mid-sentence, forever waiting and wondering.
Section 65
A shift, now to Katje, who's meeting up with Enzian to discuss their mutual acquaintance, Weissman. They're both part of the Zone-legend as well, now, as they've begun to realize. They also have more questions than answers - neither knowing what's become of Slothrop, or of Weissman for that matter, and feeling powerless in the Vacuum. Katje's laugh is world-weary, without it's edge and thoughts of "deeps, profit and loss, H-hours and points of no return." (659).
Contrast that to part IV of The Waste Land - Death by Water: " Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead, / Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell / And the profit and loss. / A current under sea / Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell / He passed the stages of his age and youth / Entering the whirlpool."
We also learn that Enzian is overseeing the Schwarzkommando as they build out "underground schools, systems for distributing food and medicine" (660) - exactly what the Black Panthers accomplished in numerous cities before the FBI shut them down and vilified them to the nation as terrorists. Another counterforce shut down by those in control.
Katje offers some insight into the nature of racial prejudice - she realizes she is projecting her own darkness onto Enzian. What she fears in him is what she sees in herself. I think there's merit to that angle.
Finally, Enzian tells Katje something that seems to scare her: "you are free. You are free. You are free..." (661) Katje, as Weissman observed, depends on masochism as a form of reassurance - that she's still human. She's been so beaten down and conditioned by society that she's come to depend on control as part of her identity. So of course freedom is terrifying - everything in her past, in her conditioning, has taught her to depend on being controlled. Suddenly, she becomes a much more relatable character...
Note: In the Weissenburger guide, his introduction to The Counterforce includes a sentence that truly made me laugh - "In a minimal nod toward conventionally realistic narrative, part 4 brings most of the novel's other main characers to well-defined ends." (321)
Discussion questions:
  1. The four books of Gravity's Rainbow are significantly different in their lengths. Do you think this is intentional? Is there a pattern or meaning behind their lengths (21, 8, 32, and 12 sections, respectively)?
  2. What do you think of the two different epigraphs for this section? Why do you think Pynchon selected the original Joni Mitchell lyrics, and why do you think he made the choice to instead feature the simple, "What?" from Richard Nixon?
  3. How do you interpret Slothrop's transformation? Do you think it's a positive or a negative?
  4. What do you make of the colonel's climb? Of Eddie's scissors poised over his jugular at the end of section 64? This is the second time we've seen someone with a knife (or runcible spoon) to their throat - why the repeat of this imagery?
submitted by KieselguhrKid13 to ThomasPynchon [link] [comments]


2020.08.27 21:12 Oculusfluffy Muthu - by Oculus (xpost from fluffybooru)

Originally posted on: https://www.fluffybooru.com/post/view/56261
~MUTHU~
~originally titled “Tales from Biotech Support"~
“Wan die. Wan die. Wan die. Wan die. Wan die.”
>the pupils of the fluffy have gone completely large and are fixated on one spot >its mouth repeats the phrase in a continuous, unending monotone >its legs are flailing about, its body no longer in control by its mind >you can get the strong smell of urea as the fluffy continues to urinate around the area. The instructor had prepared the table by covering it in a cloth to soak up the access urine
>You are Muthusamy s/o Narayanan >everyone calls you “Muthu” for short >you live in in the city of Chennai, the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu, in India >you have a background in biotech engineering, having graduated not too long ago, and you have gotten your first job as a technician for Hasbio
>you remember your first briefing at the HQ of Hasbio India >the fluffy pony, an American product, has been the craze in their country for some time now. The fluffies have started appearing in India, but only the rich can afford them >that fact has not stopped the dread menace of feral fluffies appearing unchecked throughout the sub-continent >being a biotoy, Americans have a hard time understanding their product >as biotech support, your company has a 24 hour daily call service that works as the first line in treating any malfunctions a biotoy, such as the fluffy, might have >there are other biotech support services that customers can rely on, but the Hasbio hotline is toll-free and thus is the first option for help before a customer can expend his wallet
>the Hasbio official showcases the fluffy >you had only seen them in Bollywood movies and in the news >after playing around with the fluffy for a good while, the fluffy then starts to flail about, as the Hasbio instructor has induced a specific shock on the biotoy >it starts to repeat a sound that you have learned to hate to hear
“Wan die. Wan die. Wan die. Wan die. Wan die.”
>the Hasbio official, an American, speaks in perfect Tamil
"This is the "wan die loop". It is like the "blue screen of death", or BSOD."
>the Hasbio official explains the steps the client should take in correcting a “wan die” loop, should it occur. There are some easy measures, as biotoys can malfunction under a lack of maintenance, improper care, or light mismanagement >in more serious cases, however, the customer will need to refer to a specialist. In those cases, you will need to check if the product is under warranty. If so, you can arrange for a specialist to visit their house, or schedule an appointment for the customer to bring the defective product for examination at one of Hasbio’s buildings, or for an appointment with a specialized technician at a location approved by Hasbio
>after a month of briefing and training, you are ready to start work in Biotech Support at a Hasbio Call Centre in Chennai, India.
~
“Good afternoon, sir. I am Muthu from Hasbio.” "Hey there. My fluffy is giving trouble and I need to speak with a technician.”
“Okay sir, Let me gather some information and see if we can help. What is your first name?” “Fred.” “And your last name, would you spell it for me please?” “Sure. It’s C-R-E-A-M, Cream.” “Thank you sir. If I may ask, what ‘model’ is your fluffy?” “Model?” “All Hasbio biotoys come with an indication of their model type, even if you bought it from a licensed breeder.” “I dunno man, I just bought it from a shop.” “In that case sir, I need you to check the stomach area of the Fluffy.” “The what now?” “The stomach area. Move the fluff a bit.”
>there is a silence for the moment
“I see a number now, its 610-26, Carpdime.” “Thank you sir. That means your fluffy is of the Carpdime model. The number is the production number all fluffies generate upon birth.” “How is th-“ “Please sir, I am only here to help with your problem, not to chitty-chatty. So that’s 610-26?” “Yes.”
“Okay. Mr Cream what seems to be the problem today?” “My fluffy has been flailing about and repeating the words “wan die” endlessly. What do I do?” “When did the behaviour first occur?” “No idea. It started flailing its legs about, and refuses to listen to me.” “Sir, is there bubbles at the mouth?” “Bubbl- you mean froth? No. No froth.” “Did your fluffy get involved in physical contact?” “No man, this fluffy is for my daughter, and all she does is play teatime with it as well as have it play with her dollhouse.” “I understand sir. Did your daughter or you feed the fluffy chocolate or anything similar?” “No, Sarah and I know that foods like chocolate are toxic to fluffies.” “Can you at least recollect what your fluffy was doing before it started displaying this behaviour?”
“The little fella was busy playing blocks while Sara was watching FluffTV. My wife switched on the vacuum when the fluffy placed its ‘hands’ on its ears and shouted “Too noisy!” And then it started making this ‘wan die’ sounds.”
“Ah yes. Mr Cream, Biotoys are designed to work with a limited amount of stimuli. If you have too much noise and activity going on in the background, the central processing unit of the biotoy-“ “The what now?” “The Brain of the Fluffy. It will overload.” “Fuck. I had no idea.” “Please sir, no vulgarities.
Okay, Fred, I need you to place you two fingers on the back of the fluffy.” “I…. Okay. I’m doing that.” “Now pinch the fluffy.”
>there is silence. Then, you hear a happy cry
“Daddeh! Fwuffy am aww bettah!” “My fluffy’s fine! Thank you so much for your help.”
“No worries Mr Cream. It is a pleasure to help. Now please take a moment to answer a short survey regarding this call.”
~
>those are usually the easy calls. The other calls can be a bit more difficult
~
"Hello? Is this Hasbio?" "Hello madam, this is Muthu from Hasbio, how may I assist you?"
"Yeah uh, like, my daughters fluffy keeps saying 'wan die wan die" continuously? And then it went all quiet? Like, you know how to fix this shit?" "Can I please have a name, madam?" "Sharon Oat." “Thank you madam, and do you have the serial number and model of the biotoy unit?" "Like, I got the certificate here, and it says that the number is a 543-22 Wolfram." "Understood, a Wolfram model. It says here that your warranty for the product has already expired." "Ah fuck, do I have to pay for this shit?" "Oh no madam, but if you have to send your biotoy for servicing, or if a support engineer is sent onsite to your location, you will have to pay." "Whatever."
"Now this wan die loop'. When did it first occur, madam?" "Like 5 days ago."
"5 days ago?!" you answer, trying your best to be a bit calm "Yeah like, my daughter has gone on a field trip, so I chucked him in the basement. He started saying 'wan die' every time I came down to basement.” "The basement is not exactly the best place to keep a biotoy. The units needs a pen with adequate nutrition, entertainment, warmth and security." "What?" "They need food, toys, a heater and a bed to sleep on."
"They need food regularly? I thought they were toys!" "They are biotoys. They are marketed as toys, but have the same food, water and sleep requirements of any domestic animal." "Well that is some shit. That explains why it kept eating the kibble meant for my dogs. I thought it was just playing!" "You haven't been feeding your fluffy?" "Heavens no! The whole time I thought it was a toy! It got so needy I had it chucked in the basement! Then it kept saying wan die so I was going to check it one more time, and it has been silent."
>you sigh
"Madame, can you please get a spoon.” ”A spoon? The fuck do I need a spoon for?” “Please get one.”
>you wait for her to get a spoon
“Alright, I got a spoon. Now what?” ”Place the spoon in front of the fluffy’s nose. Does the spoon mist up?”
"No, am I supposed to see something?" "Madam, your fluffy is dead." "Well, that was a waste of my time."
~
"HELLO?!!" "Yes si-" "IS THIS HASBIO OR IS SOME ROBOT FUCK I HAVE TO LISTEN TO FOR ANOTHER 5 FUCKING MINUTES?!!" "Sir, please-" "DON'T TELL ME TO CALM DOWN, I HAD TO WAIT 5 MINUTES WHILE LISTENING TO YOUR SHITTY MUSIC, ONLY TO GET AN AUTOMATED MESSAGE SAYING TO WAIT!" "Sir, our lines are very busy, and there's no guarantee that you will get through all the time. We really appreciate your patience." "OKAY!"
>The customer huffs and puffs audibly for a good moment.
"Okay."
"Your name, sir?" "Bob." "How may I assist you Bob?"
“My daughters fucking shitrat won't shut the FUCK up about babies?!! Every fucking time it keeps saying BABBEHS BABBEHS BABBEHS!"
>ah great, another one of these cases
"Sir, this is a support hotline. A product wanting offspring may indicate a sign of loneliness or wanting affection and may-" "I DON'T WANT ANY FUCKING BABIES! ONE SHITRAT IS ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH!!" "Sir, you should carefully consider the psychological wants and needs of your biotoy. Hasbio is more than willing to offer you a voucher for a discounted-" "FUCK YOUR VOUCHERS!!! I SAID NO MORE BABIES!"
>You hesitate. >You see the written memo reminding you to encourage the client to let their fluffies have children, as more fluffies will allow Hasbio to push more baby products, driving up its revenue >but fuck it. The call is not recorded
"Has your fluffy been watching TV in the past few days?" "Well yeah, the fucktard watches TV everyday. That is all she's good for. That and eating, as well as rubbing her ass on any feral she meets."
"FluffTV is pay per view. You can choose to have certain programming blocked. My advice is that you have the babies program blocked. Also, I recommend distracting the biotoy with some form of activity and entertainment so that it will get its mind of wanting children." >he pauses for a moment. then he asks
"Will it work?"
"It is one of the methods we use to deter neutered females from wanting children. Ideally, it should work. If it doesn't, please bring your fluffy to a certified biotoy organic intelligence analyst." "A what?" "A psychologist. A fluffy psychologist."
"Why the FUCK would a fluffy need a psychologist?!!" "That is like asking why a child can have a psychologist. Fluffies aren't exactly children, but they do have a mind like one. It may also interest you to know that pets too have psychologists." "Alright, alright, but can't I just call you faggots again?"
"Sir, this hotline is meant for fluffies that are encountering a serious system error. These errors may represent itself in the form of a loop of repeated message, such as "bad peepees" or "bad poopies" when it has critical anal or urinary incontinence, "bad wawa" when it has been exposed to water for too long other than allocated washing interval, or the 'wan die' loop, when it encounters a severe system crash. Unless your fluffy has been repeating the word 'babbehs' or 'wan babbehs', in a monotone repetitive manner and is unresponsive, I believe the issue is psychological.
So tell me: has your fluffy been repeating the word "Babbeh's repeatedly in a monotonous manner?"
"No." "Then your fluffy is fine and just needs to be distracted."
"Okay. But a psychologist sounds expensive. Can't I just stomp the shitrat and get my daughter a new one?"
>oh fuck
"Sir, damage against a biotoy isn't encouraged. I understand that you are calling from America?" "Yeah, Ohio." "Sir, I believe that the law in your state prohibits the killing of a biotoy, especially if it is a store bought one. If the authorities do find out that your biotoy has gone missing, they may do an inspection, and should they find evidence of a struggle, you will be liable for charges."
>You are sweating profusely. You're not sure if you've gotten through to him >However, the man on the end seems to be calming down.
"Fine, fine. And you're right, it is just a toy. A pet, even. And my daughter, Lizzie, would kill me if she found out I killed her pet or took it away."
"That is right sir, think of your daughter. Fluffies can be difficult for us adults, but if you properly manage them, they are worth the time and care." "Alright. I'll try the FluffTV thing. Hopefully, it'll get that shitrat to shut the fuck up."
"Thank you sir. Please take a moment to answer this short customer survey."
>you repeat the usual questions. He hurriedly gives the numerals expressing his mild dissatisfaction, then signs off >as the call ends, you breathe a sigh or relief.
>you are fully aware that Biotoys are not recognized as animals in Ohio yet.
~
>It is lunchtime. At the canteen at Hasbio's call centre, you are having your Wednesday usual: paratha with stuffed vegetables and a cup of coffee. While enjoying your shortbread meal, you see the fairly obese figure of Vikram coming to your table
"Eh Gundu (fattie)! How's work today, brudda?" "Ah, same ol', same ol'. Idiots who don't know how to manage their stupid pets."
>Vikram is eating a rather unhealthy Western meal, consisting of a burger, fries and soda. You are a literal surprised by this choice of meal today, and you don't approve of it.
"Dei brudda, that's a beef burger innit? Aren't you a Hindu?" "Relax brudda, its a vegetarian burger. Using the new impossible meat." "Oh, so you mean one of those patties made from various plant parts? You know its unhealthy, right? With the coconut oil, and the way they extract the red stuff and iron compound from all kinds of sources? Its like the literal definition of 'artificial food'. Not to mention, those fries you are eating most likely were fried in beef fat."
"No, no, this is Hasbio certified impossible meat! They apparently are growing some new type of plant that produces a patty with all constituency of meat, but its not a meat, its from a plant!"
"Hasbio?" you quietly ask. "Yeah! Want to try one?"
>You look at the burger. It does look delectable. But as you stare at it, you remember reading about Hasbio's research into garden fluffies, and how the USDA classifies them as legal "plants". You have seen the videos of Hasbio cutting parts of these fluffies, much to their agony, to harvest potatoes, carrots, and in this case, a form of mock meat, approximating onion-and-soy-based mock meat mixes. However, and due to them coming from a legal “plant”, they could be considered a ‘vegetarian’ meal. As you silently wonder if your own food is affected, you cannot bring yourself to tell Vikram the truth.
"No thanks, Vik. I'll just have my paratha."
~
>you're back at work >the calls have been mostly the same. A pinch here. A rub there. Nothing serious. Nothing as stupid as that one woman who called you earlier.
"Good afternoon, this is Muthu. How many I assist you?" "Hello." "Hello sir, can I have a name please?"
"255-71-FC." "I see, your model is a G-" "My fluffy keeps saying wan die continuously. Would you like to hear it?"
>As you keep listening, you hear the neotenic and innocent voice of the fluffy. It is speaking in the monotone that you work hard to deal with from your phone
"Wan die.... wan die... wan die..."
"I can hear it clearly sir. I understand you own one of the Foalcan models?" "Why yes. I just purchased it a few days ago in fact. Such a cute little squeak it made as I opened the can.
And then, I accidentally dropped the knife on him."
>his voice is unpleasantly calm
"You dropped the knife on his leg?" you inquire. "Oh yes, and his little weggie came off. He came to me crying 'daddeh daddeh fwuffy hav sowwy huwties" "So then what did you do?" "I applied salt on the wound, followed by alcohol on his leg of course. To stop the beedling."
>You know whats up.
"Sir, you're supposed to take the biotoy to a v-" "Shut up and let me finish.
So the little shitrat kept begging me. Kept asking me for 'wuv and huggies'. But see, I heard a little thing about your little toys. So I got a bunch of needles, and stuck them in." "Sir, tampering with our product will void the warranty. It is my duty to inform you-" "I don't care about your warranty. I know about you Indian types, in your little call centres. Shitting in the designated shitting streets. No different from the shitrats.
I got the needle in this fluffy right now. Would you like to hear me press a button'?”
>as he says this, you can hear the deafening cry for help
"SCREEEEEEEEEEEE!"
>Followed by a soft whimpering "Daddeh.... pwee, fwuffy awwy wun wuv an' huggies."
"Now let me press the needle again." >You hear the scream of the fluffy again, before you hear the dreaded, monotonous loop one more time
"Wan die. wan die. wan die. wan die."
"Now I wonder. How do you solve this wan die loop? How do you break this piece of shit rat out of it?"
"Sir, what is the purpose of this call? You realize that you have already tampered with the product."
>you try your best to be as calm as possible
"Oh I know I have. I also know that you can't trace this call. And this call isn't recorded. I'm going to be having a lot of fun with you pajeets in your poo-in-loo seats."
>the abuser hangs up
>you bury your face in your palms. >you look up at the screen of your computer >for a brief moment you want to smash the wall of your computer screen, in the hopes that you can cave in the teeth of the person who just called you >right now, you just want to punch at the walls of your cubicle >you just want to punch something >but you don't want to make a scene
>you hold your left hand up >with one swift sudden motion, you punch your left palm with your right hand, trying your very best to mask your anger and your frustration
>your co-worker, Dewi, who sits beside you, notices. She is about ten years older than you.
"Whats wrong, Muthu?"
>she lays her hand upon your back, as she gives you a light massage
"Its one of those people again."
>you feel her fingers kneading your stiffened shoulders, as she calmly reminds you "There are bad people in this world, just as much as there are good people. Not everyone is a sage or saint."
~
>you cool off. You head to the pantry to get some tea and biscuits
>You're back at your seat again. You wait for the next call
"Hello, this is Muthu. How may I assist you?"
>after that last call, you are prepared for the worst.
"Please sir, please help my fluffy. Please. I've been trying to reach you guys for over ten minutes, and I've been getting nothing but music" "Alright miss, please calm down. Can I have a serial number?" "That's a 544-347 WagCarp." "Alright 544-347 WagCarp. I see that your fluffy is a waggytail-carpdime mix from a local breeder."
"Yes. And my lovely Joe is everything to me. I take him for walks everyday and he keeps me company all the time. He is the dearest thing to me ever since my husband died and I really don't want to lose him." "May I ask when it started the loop?"
"We were walking by the street one day when he saw this feral, living in a cardboard box. The feral was dirty and malnourished. He asked me 'why did fluffies like him not have their own room, toys and spaghetti? ' I had to tell him. I had to tell him that not every fluffy in the world is lucky. That some fluffies have to live on the streets. That some fluffies don't have nice mummahs and daddehs, and thus, have to fend for themselves. And for them, there is no sketti, or flufftv, or bwockies."
He was crying. He really wanted to help that little feral in the cardboard box. But I had to tell him that mummah already had one fluffy, and that it would be difficult for me to take another.
I should have at least taken that feral to the shelter. Poor Joe would not stop crying as we reached home."
"I see, so was that what caused the wan die loop."
"No, thats not it. That was two days ago. But it was related." "Then what actually caused the loop?"
>she tries her best to talk coherently, as she relates what happened
"I'm currently taking a masters in sociology, and one of the subjects I am covering is the issue of poverty in African countries. While doing my research, I came across this picture of a dying child in the Sudan. The image was from the 90s, and a famine had affected the area. The poor girl was naked on ground, crying. Not too far from it a vulture was nearby, waiting to eat the poor girl upon death."
>you know what picture she is referring to
"I take it Joe saw it."
"I should have locked my door. I didn't think my fluffy would come into the room and see the screen. He asked me, why was there a birdie munstah waiting for the babbeh. Why did the babbeh nu have sketties or mummah. The giwl was onwy a wittwe babbeh.
And he cried. And cried. And then he started the loop. And it is not like a feeling of agony loop. I heard about this loop, it is like he's trying to take his own life."
>you don't have much time. You know the procedure
"Listen to me, very carefully. Don't do this immediately. Listen to me first before you start.
I need you to apply your two fingers at the back of the neck of your fluffy." "Okay, th-"
"Then you need to massage him. Tell him that mummah is nearby. He will most likely cry and ask why 'nu wan hewp babbeh'. You need to keep massaging him. He is undergoing an emotional distress that will cause his processing unit to crash and cause the loop. Massaging him helps ease the overload of information that he has received. Right now, the first thing he needs is a reminder of your love and care."
"Alright. I'll try this."
>from your cubicle, you can hear the faint walking of the client as she walks out to collect her fluffy >as she enters the room, you can hear the poor thing, in this distance, repeating the loop >after, a while you hear something else
"Mummah! Mummah! Fwuffy wan hewp babbeh! Why nu wun hewp babeh?! Huu huu...." "Don't cry little Joe. Mummah's here." >you hear the constant babbling of the fluffy, on the verge of breakdown, and its human owner, desperately trying to reassure him that everything is okay
>you're not sure what will happen next. He could very easily fall into the loop as much as he can easily fall into sleep. >For now though, you hear the gentle cry of an empathetic but naive little soul
"Pwease hewp babbeh."
>you then hear the soft coo of a fluffy drifting into sleep >you then hear the cackle of a phone being picked up, as the client returns to the phone
"Joe's better now! I'm so happy! Thank you Mu-" "It's not over." "What?! What else do I need to do?!! Please tell me!"
"Your fluffy will still have the after-effects of the emotional distress. Despite common belief, some fluffies can hold on to memories, and the emotional distress can resurface at any time. My first suggestion is that, for today, you give him a treat - I suppose spaghetti in this case - and you give him as much play time as possible." "Okay." "Then you will need to see a psychologist as soon as possible. It will be a bit costl-" "Its okay. I can afford it." "I take it you're doing your masters at a University?" "I am. I am from the National University of Technology in Singapore."
"Ah, good. There is a licensed biotoy analyst who works at the university. As you are a student at NUTS, he can examine and counsel your fluffy at a reduced rate. If you can provide me with a name, email and phone number, I can write up a reference for you so that a discount can be arranged."
>the call goes on for a few more minutes, as you work out the details and arrangements for her >as the call ends, you feel a sense of fulfillment.
~
>it is evening. The workday has ended >you head home
>Chennai is not a perfect place. While you work in a fairly bourgeois and upmarket area of the city, once in a while, you pass by the more poverty-stricken areas of the city >even now, in this modern day and age, the lack of proper sanitation in their homes, the clogged sewage, and the corruption of the city, means that a lot of the city's poor have to head to a specific area to defecate openly >with the recent introduction of Hasbio's biotoys throughout the country, feral fluffies have started to demarcate these areas as their own pooping grounds
>walking by, you see a child, defecating on a road. >right next to him is a fluffy, doing the same thing >upon finishing their business, the child proceeds to pick up his fluffy, then run off >He is malnourished, but his belly is bloated, indicate a rare but definite case of Kwashiorkor, suggesting a clear deficiency of protein
>you try to put your mind off this
~
>you have reached home
"Daddeh!!!"
>Its Raahul, your pet Indian fluffalo >Hasbio fluffaloes in India are tailored after the local cattle breeds. Thus, unlike their American cousins, they lack the fluff over their eyes >however, they share the same horns, and overall musculature >fluffalo have become increasingly popular in India. While girls have fluffies, the cattle has always been seen as a sacred animal in Hinduism. However, while rural populations have grazing area and space for cattle to roam, the urban areas are not feasible for cattle >as such, the fluffalo has been a welcome addition to the domestic animal trade in India, as it allows anyone to own their own sacred cow at home
"Raahul! How's my little boy?" "Wahuw hav wotsa fun todae! Werned aww abou Wamana, an' how Wamana giv' Bawi sowwy huwties!" "Vamana, huh? Not bad little one." "Wahul wan daddeh's bestest japatis!"
>You smirk. With your biotechnical expertise, you manage to "rewire" Rahul so that, instead of craving that Italian dish, he now prefers eating chapatis, like the good lil' Indian he is
"I'll make you some chapatis then, little guy. By the way, have you been practising your Tamil?"
"Oh yes daddeh! ௧, ௨ , ௩ !"
>he can only count 1 to 3 in tamil. But its a start
"Good boy. Now I'm definitely making some chapatis for you!"
>both of you have a good meal of chapatis with daal and lassis >you then proceed to watch some television
>you have FluffTv, but there's another movie on the local channel that you want to get Raahul to watch >after hearing two of the cases today, you kind of want to remind yourself why you have Raahul
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uC3DmRfEigg
"Mitwa, Sun Mitwa, Tujhko Kya Darr Hai Re Yeh Dharti Apni Hai, Apna Ambar Hai Re"
>As Aamir Khan and villagers starts to dance on the television, you start to imitate him >your fluffalo, too, stands on his hind legs, and starts to copy you, as the two of you dance and sing to the Hindi lyrics
O Mitwa, Sun Mitwa, Tujhko Kya Darr Hai Re Dharti Apni Hai, Apna Ambar Hai Re Tu Aaja Reeeeee
~
>Both your fluffalo and you stand before the shrine >recalling his role in the Ramayana, you pray to Hanuman for braveness and wellness of body >someday, you'll tell Raahul about the Ramayana >about how the brave Rama fought the demon king Ravana in order to save his beloved Sita >and how Rama befriended the man-ape Hanuman.
>you lie down on the mattress, your sacred fluffalo beside you >as your mind drifts into sleep, you silently pray for Hanuman to bless Raahul and you with strength
submitted by Oculusfluffy to fluffycommunity [link] [comments]


2020.08.16 03:46 jg429 Sub Survey Results!!

Thanks to everyone who filled out the survey! I was hoping to get some insight into what's bringing people here and how we can improve, and I think we mostly met that goal! You can go on a deep dive into the results below.
In general, people come here because of the sense of community and how nice everyone is. Ways we can improve: more engagement with each other and with the band (I lost count of how many people asked for Rian's AMA lol). The mods will work on what we want to do with some of these ideas and go from there.
81 people filled out the survey. Last year, we had 65 responses. I linked the results to the last survey, but I have not yet gone through to see what's similar and what's different.
Disclaimer #1: Some comments were lightly edited for clarify or spelling.
Disclaimer #2: Next time I think I want to do a survey, someone please remind me how much freaking work it is to put all the data together.
Disclaimer #3: My comments are in bold, as are the top selections for each category. I was a little sassy.
Reminder: There are controversial opinions about the band and normal song opinions. You're welcome to respond to anything but remember to be nice and respectful. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and mostly everyone is here because of how welcoming the community is.

Demographics

Gender

Location
State (if in US)
Age

All-Time Stats

How Long Have You Been Listening to ATL?
First Album/EP You Listened To?
Where Does ATL Fit Into Your Favorite Bands?
How Many Times Have You Seen ATL Live?
Do you watch/listen to Crash Test Live/Full Frontal?

Opinions

Favorite Album/EP?
Least Favorite Album/EP

Favorite Song
Least Favorite Song
Favorite Opener - this band has some great openers. I went with Reckless but it was hard to choose!
Favorite Closer
Favorite Part of ATL
Least Favorite Part of ATL - this is why we're all reading this post, right?
Favorite B-Side
Favorite Song to Hear Live
Least Favorite Song to Hear Live
Dream song to hear live that they WILL NOT PLAY?
Do you have a favorite member?
Wow us with your controversial opinions/hot takes: or is it THIS section we're all here for?

Sub Feedback

How long have you been subscribed to alltimelow?

How often do you come here?
What other subs do you frequent? I took out all the because that seemed super spammy
What other fan spaces do you use? (To interact with other fans, not to follow the band/members)
If you use other spaces, how does the sub compare?
What do you like about the sub?
How could we improve?
What would you like to see on the sub for content/activity?
Anything You Want To Add?
submitted by jg429 to alltimelow [link] [comments]


2020.08.01 23:47 kalenryan13 "The Crawfords." (horror)

I never thought the Crawfords, my former neighbors, were a normal family. That’s an understatement, knowing what I know now. But, even before that awful night, I knew there was something wrong with them. I live in a small country town in Western Nebraska, practically avoiding the outside world at all costs. Nature provides a better home for my family and I than the city ever will. My wife, Linda, and I moved in here with our dog, Chase, just a year before all this happened. My son, Alan, was just a newborn when the incident took place. The neighborhood felt… foggier, almost darker, when the Crawfords first appeared in their beat-up, dirt crusted van. No moving truck ever came; they unpacked about ten cardboard boxes from the back of their van, went inside, and stayed there. I never took the time to introduce myself to them, and Linda didn’t either.
They moved in about two or three months before the incident took place. There’s only five houses in our neighborhood, excluding my own home. I never learned any of their real names; at first, I didn’t even know their last name. On a few occasions, they went outside to read or to sit and soak up the sun. They never talked to each other, at least from what I observed. All of them were dark-haired and dark-eyed. Their clothes appeared ragged and dirty, even. The air smelled of grease and sweat whenever they were outdoors, and their front lawn became a jungle of grass in time. Even if you were to stare at them for ten minutes straight, I think they’d avoid eye contact at all costs.
Once, while mowing the lawn, I heard chanting just over the violent humming of the mower. I turned it off and listened. This was only the first time that I heard them singing their song. I never understood the lyrics, because they always sounded like they came from a different language. They might have just been making random sounds. My window is in a bad position, and I couldn’t see into their backyard. There’s not a single window in the house that allowed me to look over their unusually high fence, either. They had it installed almost as soon as they got here. They sang almost every night. I made a habit of watching sports highlights on my phone in the backyard, trying to overhear them. It was always the same. Just their mysterious calls and nothing new. The night before the incident, I was watching the sun set on my back patio with Linda. As I leaned in for a kiss, the chanting got louder. We froze in place. I turned, watching their fence; then it stopped. I frowned, chewed on my lower lip, and began to think.
The next evening, I walked down the street, passing the Crawford home. I studied the menacing gray paint, the overgrown lawn, the dusty, uncleaned windows. I whipped my head to the side when I realized one of the children was standing at one of the glass panes, staring through. The kid ducked away before I could get a good look, but I swear I saw them wearing a paper plate as a mask. I kept my head pointed forward. After hearing their chants the night before, I’d gotten an idea. My neighbors, Chris and Sally, lived across the street from me. I wondered if they may have had a better view into the Crawfords’ backyard. I approached their clay red home, chewing on the inside of my cheek. Walking up their steps, I planted my feet on the porch and rang the doorbell. I could hear the ding! echo out from inside, as well as the heavy footfalls of Chris’ large, muscular frame coming to the door. It opened, and there stood Chris Harlow.
“Hey, Chris.” I smiled, and stuck my hand out for a shake.
“Hey, Scott! How are ya doing?” he said enthusiastically.
“Pretty good. Listen, I won’t make any small talk and try to avoid this. You know the neighbors over there?” I asked, jerking a thumb backwards.
Chris shot me an icy, narrow look, flicking his tongue between his lips.
“The Crawfords, yeah, what about them?” he asked, his words slow and well-enunciated.
I drew in a steady breath, letting my mouth hang open before I spoke.
“Can you- sorry, this is going to sound weird-” he cut me off.
“Just come inside so we can talk.” Chris forced a grin.
“Alright.” I said, and he shut the door behind me, fiddling with the lock.
He led me to the kitchen, where he pulled out a chair, sitting at the end of the table opposite from me. He took a long sip from a glass of water, looked at me, and raised an eyebrow.
“I know that you know they’re a little weird.” he stated.
“It’s a given.” I agreed.
“I can actually see into their backyard, can you?” he asked.
“No, I can’t. Have you ever looked?” I questioned.
“Yeah, only twice. The first time, they were gathered around what I think was a campfire, singing. The second time, though, I couldn’t see them, yet they were burning their toys, I think.” he explained.
I pursed my lips, licking the dryness off of them.
“That’s weird. They do this almost every night, and they sing almost every time, too. Have you noticed?” I realized.
“Yeah. I think it’s a religious thing. I dunno.” Chris proposed.
“What do we do about it?” I asked, more to myself.
“They aren’t exactly disturbing the peace, they’re quiet enough.” Chris thought.
“Right, right.” I nodded. “I guess, if it is just a religious thing, they aren’t exactly hurting anyone. Nothing wrong with it.”
There was a period of silence. Chris slurped from his glass of water, the ice cubes clinking against the edge of the glass. He set it down and looked at me.
“You wanna sneak into their backyard tonight, during their little campfire?” he questioned.
“Do we really need to go that far?” I asked.
Chris cracked his knuckles.
“Have you noticed anything else weird about them?” Chris wondered, dodging the question.
I thought about it for a moment.
“Just happened on my way here, one of them was staring at me. They were wearing a paper plate as a mask, I think.” I explained.
“A… paper plate?” Chris asked me, standing up and walking over to a different corner of the kitchen.
“Yeah… what about it?” I replied.
He dug his hands through the trash, finagling out two crumpled up paper plates. There were cuts in them for eyes, noses, and mouths. One mask had a frown, the other a smile. Black paint outlined the cutout shapes. An ominous sensation gripped me, and it began to feel like I was staring into the sleeping eyes of an ancient, primordial beast.
“I found these in my backyard today. I figured it was nothing, but after we talked… I started to wonder.” Chris admitted.
The air was tense, feeling spring-loaded, and I held my breath.
“Couldn’t it just be the kids playing outside?”
“I suppose. Once again, seems harmless. But I don’t like that they’re on my lawn. In my backyard.”
Those words hung for a moment.
“So, let’s join their little party tonight.”
“It’s the only way we’re going to get some answers.” he reminded me with a shrug.
Darkness fell. I called Linda, and told her that we were going to investigate. She giggled, telling me that it was all going to be okay, and that the two of us needn’t be so concerned. I explained the paper plates to her, and she scoffed, then told me sarcastically to be careful. We exchanged ‘I love yous’ before she hung up. We waited in Chris’ living room for the rest of the night, making conversation here and there about sports or politics. By the time it was dark outside, Sally was in the kitchen washing dishes, when Chris turned to face me.
“Are you ready to leave?”
“Yeah, yeah I think so.” I nodded.
“Let’s get going then.”
Chris shouted to Sally that we were leaving, and she called back with an, ‘okay, I love you.’ Chris unlocked the door and held it open for me as I stepped out onto his porch. I could already hear their muffled whoops and see crackles of orange flame from over their fence. We took cautious steps down the street, holding our flashlights at our sides. We approached the house; Chris flicked his flashlight on, shining it on the home. The dusty windows reflected the light back, and I squinted my eyes shut with the sudden light. Nobody was inside, or at least not standing near the windows. The green, overgrown grass of the lawn made the house appear more like a dungeon. With a soft breath of wind, the grass danced, and I imagined a creature with glowing red eyes rushing out to attack, foaming at the mouth.
We came close to the decaying wooden gate, and I put my hand to the frigid, metal lock. I steadily lifted it up, the door opening with a creak. From this angle, I could only see the fire and the faint outlines of the family. Every single one of them had on paper plate masks, dancing and prancing around, singing their senseless chant. In the orange and red outlines of the embers, I saw burning toys. Old trains, charred teddy bears, building blocks, anything you could find in a child’s playroom. Chris turned to me, a disturbed, puzzled look in his eyes. He pulled farther away from the opened gate, as did I.
“What do you think they’re doing?” he asked.
“It looks like a ritual of some kind.” I shrugged, unsure.
“Let’s go in.” Chris suggested.
I swallowed, hesitating.
“Hell yeah.” I tried to sound excited about it, but it came out wrong.
We started to push through the opened gate, grass crunching under our feet. Chris had turned his flashlight off. We watched from under their deck, which was held up by wooden stilts. They continued to prance for a while, moving in a circle about the fire.
“Do you think it’s a... cult?” I wondered.
“Do you know a cult that wears paper masks and dances around burning toys?” Chris quipped.
I didn’t say anything. We waited and watched. More of the same. The Crawfords progressed in a circle around the flames, chanting their baby-babel of a language like a broken record player. I held my breath and remained as still and as silent as I could. A few shivers shot through me whenever their booming voices raised in volume a little. Some time had passed when a long, chilling gust of wind circulated through the backyard.The fire went out, all except for the embers amongst the ash, plundering Chris and I into darkness. The family didn’t move, and I shot Chris a wide-eyed glare. He did the same to me. My heart rate started to quicken. I felt goosebumps coating my skin, and the sensation that we were being watched. There were no eyes in the shadows.
The fire plumed into the air, like a volcano erupting. The family looked up. There was a shape in the flames, appearing as a little kid. The entity let out distorted laughs. They spoke in a low, gravelly voice, hoarse like that of a smoker’s.
“Bad mom, bad dad, bad mom, bad DAD!” they cried.
My eyes shot over to the father. His throat split open, crimson pouring from the wound. His mask crumpled, fell off, and his face began to melt away. His skin became pale, liquid wax. Steam rose from his head as his skull began to show in places. Chris’ breaths came out in shallow gasps, over the sound of the desecrated father. The body exploded and split into two, limbs flying across the backyard. A leg landed before Chris and I. Blood spilled over the smoldering skin. The bone was exposed near the top. Chris and I glanced at each other, then back to the leg.
“We need to leave.” I said, and we dashed out of the backyard.
We escaped, and that was all that we saw of the family’s murder. Screams followed Chris and I as we ran out into the street. He grabbed me by the shoulder, looked me in the eyes, and spoke to me above the shrieks.
“Get home. Stay there for the rest of the night.”
“I know.” I replied.
I was inside in an instant. Linda was putting on her shoes to come outside by the time I came barrelling through the front door.
“What is all that?” Linda asked, her eyes wide and white, like plates.
I froze in place, listening. For a moment the screams stopped.
“We’ll talk tomorrow.” I groaned.
The night was filled with the sounds of Alan crying, Chase barking, and long, eardrum-shattering screeches from the Crawfords’ backyard. Their screams stopped after a few hours, but I didn’t sleep at all. When Linda asked if we should call the police, I replied by saying,
“Not yet.”
Flashing red and blue lights could be seen at about 2 AM, sirens wailing. I still don’t know why the police took so long to arrive; I spoke to another family, the Hendersons, who live farther down the road from where I live. They said they tried to make a phone call to the police for hours, but that the call didn’t go through until the early hours of the morning, around 1:30.
Yellow tape surrounded the Crawford house the next morning. I didn’t bother going across the street to Chris’ to discuss the matter; he must’ve moved out the day after the incident, because I never saw or heard from him again. I went across the street about a week later to check up on him, and discovered that his front door had been left wide open. I stepped inside, calling his and Sally’s names; the house was empty. Not just empty of people, but there was no furniture anymore. No more of Sally’s paintings on the walls. No large TV screen in the living room anymore. The next month or two was hazy; I don’t remember much of it. I do, though, recall sipping a mug of mud-like coffee in the kitchen one day, when Linda entered. She sat next to me, placing a hand on my shoulder, staring into my eyes.
“What happened that night?” she whispered.
I looked past her, into the living room. Chase was licking Alan’s face, and he was giggling, outstretching a blubbery, youthful hand to pet the dog.
“I don’t know.” I told her.
Three years have passed. I only bring this incident up because two weeks ago, I was searching around on social media, and somebody had posted about a bonfire they recently had. A childish form appeared in the flames, begging for sacrifice. The kid repeated, “Good dad, good dad,” as though congratulating them. The guy’s name is Terry. Looking at his profile, he seems like the type of guy who’d make up a ghost story; he has several ear piercings, a scruffy, jet-black goatee, and a spiky, unruly hair of head.
I wouldn’t have believed the story, had I not seen the incident occur for myself. Terry said he started having nightly bonfires, burning his old building blocks and stuffed animals. He lives about a hundred miles from me, still in Nebraska. I told him he should keep burning toys, and that he shouldn’t do anything to piss off the kid. The last time Terry replied to me was a few days ago; he said that the kid had reappeared and cast a ball of fire at his house. After extinguishing it, the bonfire went out. I asked if anything has happened since; he hasn’t even opened the message, let alone hasn’t been active on social media at all. I’m considering making the a hundred mile drive to Terry’s house. Even if I find his charred corpse in the backyard, knowing is better than not knowing.
submitted by kalenryan13 to DrCreepensVault [link] [comments]


2020.07.21 19:42 JerrBearBrown My e-mail about Bruce

I got into Bruce just about a year ago. I was just explaining this to a friend and decided to send him an e-mail with some songs he should check out. I ended up getting real into it and wrote all this out, so I thought I'd share!
Hi _____,
So, a little over a year ago I was still only vaguely aware of Bruce Springsteen. I mean, I'd obviously heard of him. I knew he was really popular in the 80's, although I didn't know the extent of it (it was Prince, MJ, Madonna, and him?) and I definitely didn't understand why. I'd probably heard his rendition of Santa Claus is Comin' to Town more than anything else. I also knew Streets of Philadelphia from MTV's heyday, but just as one of those videos you sat through while waiting for Nirvana or Smashing Pumpkins to come back on. There was that one time, maybe 4 or 5 years ago, when I listened to Born in the USA (the album) more or less all the way through. But it didn't really grab me and I moved on. But then I saw the trailer for Blinded by the Light, which very unexpectedly totally changed my life. You might even say I was blinded by the light, but that'd be a very cheesy thing to say, so I wouldn't. I was mostly struck by the lyrics from The Promised Land about taking a knife and cutting pain from my heart and trying to wrench a moment into my hands -- woah, I gotta listen to more of that-- so the next day I put on Born to Run (the album, which it so happens, does not include The Promised Land) and, well, here we are. Thunder Road, and then the rest of it, totally grabbed me this time and it hasn't let go. I'm sure it had something to do with the fact that for years I'd been listening to what you might call heartland rock or at least heartland-rock-adjacent acts like Brian Fallon and Jason Isbell, Steve Earle (and Justin Townes Earle), some Avett Brothers, a little Chris Stapleton, and Sturgill Simpson. I guess I was leaning more toward country, huh? But I was also just into straightforward American rock in a way I never had been. That, and I was depressed. Now that had a lot to do with it. I'd been struggling with sobriety for a few years, bored out of my mind (like bored of living kinda boredom, so not good), really sick and tired of watching my mom's decline. Meds weren't doing much and I badly needed . . . I didn't know what. A knife to cut the pain from my heart? Nah, just someone who really understands. Enter the Boss.
Here's a selection of songs along with my interpretation and/or a few thoughts. These, of course, are my interpretations. I don't know whether Bruce or anyone else would approve. Albums in parentheses. I found it really hard, by the way, to pick. Here's 11 songs and 12 recordings. There's like 100 more where this came from.
The River (The River)
Bruce singing from the perspective of an average blue collar dude whose dreams never come true. Kinda stereotypical Springsteen in that regard. But like a lot of Bruce, it levels up (and deeper) as it goes. He's singing about a guy and a girl whose lives just refuse to work out. But each night they return to the river and dive in. I think that's them dreaming of something better. Holding out hope. A river is refreshing, right? It's where things are renewed, baptized, etc. Anyway, they keep going back. So life sucks and at night they dream of a better life. But at 3:04, shit gets real. He realizes, all that time he spent with his girl dreaming of a better life was itself their life together, the best part, and it was wonderful and worthwhile. But he missed it. He fucking missed it. He didn't appreciate what he had because his attention was so focused on the horizon. He remembers her body being warm and wet and lying next to her and listening to her breathe and he didn't appreciate it like he should have. So, "Is a dream a lie if it don't come true or is it something worse?" The problem with his dreaming, his constant looking forward to a better life, was that it distracted him from paying attention to what he had. He spent his youth dreaming of a better life and now he's spending his older years dreaming of the life he had. What's worse, now he doesn't even have the comfort of hope (the river's dry). Heavy.
Sherry Darling (The River)
On to something lighter! In fact, this one sort of comes off as just a big joke, but for me it's quintessential Bruce 'cause even when he's just joking around, having fun, playing a catchy rock song, his deeper meaning is dead serious. He's talking about the impossibility of having the good in life without the bad and having to come to terms with that reality. This guy loves Sherry and she represents what's good in the world. But with Sherry comes her fucking mom. And he's like, goddamit, can't I have Sherry without her mom? Come on Sherry, I've got this beer and there's this highway street, and we got each other, so let's just ditch the rest! What do you say, Sherry? Well what do you think Sherry would say? She'd say "Hell no. The good comes with the bad. It's a package." And that's life. But the best part is in the end he arrives at this fuck it moment, comes to terms with life and what's it like, and shouts, "LET THERE BE SUNLIGHT, LET THERE BE RAIN!" "Sherry, we can run with our arms open wide before the tide!" The perfect metaphor for what he's getting across. The tide comes in and out, things are good and bad, we can find the space for the good and enjoy it together. The good news, too, is that Bruce wants to help! You can see it in his live performances. Like check this one out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQSAr8Y9N3A. That song (Out in the Street), by the way, is kinda similar to Sherry Darling in that it's just kinda for fun, not serious, but then it's about the comfort and joy of being your true authentic self and the reality that a worthwhile relationship requires it. He wants this girl but wants to meet her "out in the street," after discarding all the bullshit that comes with acting the way you're supposed to act and dressing the way you're supposed to dress and all that. But dude, what a performer! You can see how dedicated he is to the audience. And he famously sustains that energy for like 3 or even 4 hours at a time. And for me, given how convinced I am that Bruce really gets it, life and its struggles, the joy he exudes just comes off as totally authentic. He's the real deal through and through.
Moonlight Motel (Western Stars)
Let's be bold, shall we, and jump all the way to the final track on his latest album? Here's an older man reflecting on the time he spent with his lover in some western state motel in the middle of nowhere. And it's beautiful. Notice how effective and efficient he is with lyrics. I feel like I can perfectly imagine the motel he's describing and the time he spent there, don't you? Like not just what it looked like, but what it felt like too. Plus the details in his lyrics are always so good. Like he describes the pool and how it's filled with empty 8 feet deep, which you know that's pretty nice right there talking about how the emptiness is like itself a substance that can fill a space, but then he notes that the sign says "children be careful how you play" and then immediately he goes back in time to describing the time he and his lover spent there long ago, as "children" from his perspective now. I don't know if I can explain why I love that so much, but it gets me everytime. If this were a movie, I'm imagining that sign by the pool looking old and rusted and then in a flashback looking clean and new and then the camera panning past it to where these "children" (young Bruce and the girl, the lipstick taste of her whispered secret, the half drunk beer on her breath in his ear) "playing" in the room together.
No Surrender (Born in the USA)
Next stop, a sports arena in the mid-80's! You knew it was coming . . . anthem rock! Not about being young, being with your friends, feeling like there's this big giant world out there, and you're ready to take it on with your drums and your guitars, but most of all, your friends. Not about that. About remembering all that. Ya see, there's kind of a twist. When you first hear this song it's tempting to just think it's nostalgic but also triumphant in a happy sort of way. Like hell yeah, no surrender baby! It's me and you, buddy, forever until the fucking end, just our youth, our dreams, and rock n' fucking roll. But the song is sort of about the opposite of what the chorus might imply. Time carries on and we do inevitably surrender to it. The song is sad. "Hearts of fire grow cold." "There's a war outside still raging; you say it isn't ours anymore to win." "I'm ready to grow young again." Me too, Bruce, me too. He pulls a similar trick on two other songs on the same album. Born in the USA can be mistaken for a patriotic anthem, I mean only if you just totally fail to listen, which Reagan famously did, yet it's really about the country failing its veterans. And Glory Days sounds like (and comes off as) nostalgic fun, but it's really about how pathetic it is when people stop making new stories and just sit around talking about what their lives back when they were really living.
You're Missing (The Rising)
This whole album, The Rising, was Bruce's response to 9/11. Of course, he's kind of a big deal in the general vicinity of NYC. And I don't think we need to take a poll to find out that lots and lots of NY firefighters and police, in particular, are Springsteen fans. Apparently, a notable number of obituaries following 9/11, for all the dead firefighters and just other people too, mentioned Bruce. When he noticed that, the story goes, he started personally calling widows. There's also a story that someone saw him on the street shortly after it all went down and shouted from a car, "Bruce, we need you now!" Another fun fact about this song is that the piano at the beginning, which then gets emphasized by the strings, is based on the sound of the sirens that were going off on 9/11. Anyway, the thing about someone dying (I learned this most of all in recent months) isn't that everything changes. The more distressing thing might be that nothing changes. Life just goes on even when it feels like it kind of shouldn't. Everything is still everything, but this person is missing. Even when he comments on what has changed, it's these mundate details like "too much room in my bed, too many phone calls." I also love that he notes that people ask "how's everything?" Well, everything that still exists is fine. The problem is the absence of something. You should ask, "how's what's lacking?"
The Wish (Live at the Walter Kerr Theatre, New York, NY - July 2018) (Springsteen on Broadway)
Speaking of people dying, this one's real personal for me. Like that kid in the Blinded by the Light movie says, "It's like Bruce knows everything I've ever felt, everything I've ever wanted!" I had heard this song before, but didn't really notice it until my mom died. I found out she died at about 3am. After I got off the phone, I sat on the couch and put on my headphones. Since I'd been, you know, pretty into Springsteen lately, I knew I was putting on something by him, so I chose the song most clearly about his mom. The fact that he refers to Christmas within the first two lines is just perfect to me. That's the very first thing I think of when I think of my mom, is how she made Christmas really special for her kids. The other thing I love about this song is how he explicitly rejects the sorta cliche ways of honoring your mom. Not a phone call or flowers or a Mother's Day card. His wish is to experience authentic and genuine joy with her, to find a little rock n' roll bar and go out and dance. Also, I wanted to include something from the Broadway show 'cause it's awesome and I love his older voice.
Hungry Heart (The River)
Okay, enough about death. Let's shake the sadness off with some damn good pop rock! Just such a great song. Notice how in keeping it is with Bruce's overall theme, too, even though it's clearly meant to be a pop hit, with his reference to the universal longing that seems to constitute the human condition. If an appeal to authority moves you, John Lennon really liked this song. He talked about it in an interview weeks before he was killed.
Badlands (Darkness on the Edge of Town)
This is a fan favorite, particularly live. Although I said Sherry Darling is like quintessential Bruce to me, this one is without a doubt, objectively speaking, quintessential Bruce. The lyrics sum up exactly what he's all about. I think he's using the term Badlands pretty generically, to refer to everything that sucks about life. A big part of what I find so inspiring about Bruce, and so comforting really, is that the shittiness in life is often front and center in his lyrics, but so is his answer to it. It's not about striving for a life without pain, struggle, desperation, etc. It's not about pushing those things under the rug either. It's about openly acknowledging all that (and noticing and appreciating the fact that everyone is fighting their own battles, so we're all in this together) and yet finding joy, mostly in the context of relationships with other people, despite that shit. Spitting in its face! Maybe more than any other line, this is the one that belongs on Bruce's tombstone: "Let the broken hearts stand as the price you gotta pay." Amen. Reminds me of the line in Moonlight Motel, "It's better to have loved, yeah, it's better to have loved." The existentialist philosopher Albert Camus has a famous essay about the myth of Sisyphus. Sisyphus pissed off the Gods and was punished with an eternity of being forced to push a boulder up a hill until it got the top and rolled back down, over and over again. Camus argued that's pretty much the human condition, toiling without purpose like that. But Camus (like Bruce) said the answer is to find meaning and purpose in the activity. You have to embrace the struggle.
Thunder Road (Born to Run)
Okay, this has gone on long enough. It's time. You're ready for it. You've heard it before, I know, but time to hear it again for the first time. This song is so good it deserves that silly periods-after-every-word thing. It's just so. damn. good. The voice. The melody. And, of course, as always, and probably most of all, the lyrics. "A screen door slams." Dude. You already know exactly what this house is like that Mary is stepping out of, don't you? It's kinda old and beat up. It's got one of those white framed wooden screen doors with spring hinges so it slams shut. But again, you already knew that. He told you all that in four words. "Mary's dress waves. Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays, Roy Orbison singing for the lonely. Hey, that's me, and I want you only." Come on! Off to a damn good start, amirite? Mary stepping out of that house and the screen door slamming shut, the way she and her dress move, Bruce recognizing himself in that song on the radio. There's so much packed in there. But it just keeps coming and never lets up. "You ain't a beauty but hey you're alright." Genius. That one line gives you such a feeling for their relationship. They're familiar. He's joking with her. It even has the feeling of an inside joke, right? How did he manage to describe these people so vividly so efficiently that we can already pick up on their inside joke?! "All the redemption I can offer, girl, is beneath this dirty hood." "We're riding out tonight to case the promised land." We're gonna case the country, look around and decide what we intend to take. They're gonna leave this place behind and start a brand new life. This moment he's capturing might only happen once in a person's entire life. The hope, the excitement, the magic. It's a town full of fucking losers and I'm pulling out of here to win.
Thunder Road (Live at the Roxy Theatre, W. Hollywood, CA - October 1975) (Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Live 1975-85)
Remember this song? So good. Did it somehow just get even better? It might have.
The Ghost of Tom Joad (Electric Version) (High Hopes)
Although politically charged Bruce isn't what drew me in or got me coming back for more, it's great and deserves its place on this list. Bruce's roots definitely include the likes of Woody Guthrie. Of course, one of Bruce's most famous songs, Born in the USA, is just a rockin' and very popular protest song. His political perspective in his younger days mostly came out in references to the working class in the context of singing about individual/personal struggles that arise for somebody living and working in middle America, but with the implicit understanding that those sorts of struggles are universal. Everybody's got a hungry heart. But here, he's definitely not talking about universal struggles, but about circumstances specific to the poor and oppressed. Notice the clever self-referential thing in the lyrics. Bruce famously liked to use roads and highways to represent freedom, promise, the American dream. There's something down that road and we're heading down it to find out what. Remember Thunder Road? (How good is that song by the way?) There's also Born to Run and several others. But here, although people are traveling down the highway (like the Joads did in Grapes of Wrath, of course) "nobody's kidding nobody about where it goes." The highway that he, Bruce himself, so romanticized, is a dead end. Brutal. Rage Against the Machine's cover of this might be more famous than the original. Also good. The original version is the title track of Bruce's 1995 album. This one was recorded much later after Tom Morello filled in for Steven Van Zandt on a leg of one of Bruce's tours.
Dancing in the Dark (Born in the USA)
Maybe I should've included more deep cuts on this list, but I'm ending with Bruce's most popular song because I'm hoping you might hear it differently after our little journey together. This is a pop song, for sure, but I find it every bit as profound as anything else he's written. As he often does, Bruce is noting the apparent lack of meaning in our lives. He's feeling that lack of meaning when he gets up in the evening and when he comes home in the morning. There's no light coming from anywhere else. We have to create it. The only meaning in life comes from us, and more specifically, from us human beings in relationship with one another. But that's okay. That's enough. There is the possibility of joy and happiness even when surrounded by pain and struggle. It's all still worthwhile. Even if it ultimately just amounts to dancing in the dark.
And all the people said, Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce!
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2020.07.13 01:51 MikeJesus If you find the village where people scream at the setting sun, don't stay for supper

1
My trip to Slovakia was a last-ditch effort to save the band. I had hoped that in the forests beneath the Tatra Mountains there would be some ethereal source of inspiration that would kick-start my creativity and help me to keep The Warriors of Perun together. I came out here looking for lyrics but instead I found something else.
Instead, I found the village where people scream at the setting sun.
I love the band, being on stage with Thuy-Anh and Gustave is an indescribable feeling, but as I lay here curled up in the darkness searching for the slightest hint of a phone signal, I can’t help but to wish I stayed at home.
Do not go searching for the village where people scream at the setting sun. Some questions are not meant to be answered, some mysteries demand to remain unexplained. Heed the warnings of the locals and stick to the tourist friendly hiking trails.
If you do somehow stumble through the forest and end up in the village where every sunset is met with the harrowing screams of creatures beyond our comprehension – Run.
Run for your life and hope that the slick skinned monsters that dwell within the village haven’t noticed your presence yet. Whatever you do, don’t make the same mistake I did.
Do not accept their invitation to supper.
Even though the tables downstairs were filled up with all sorts of smoked cheeses and crispy bacon the whole lodge still smelled like a fish-market. Having my nose assaulted by the stench of a rotting sea while being in the middle of a landlocked country didn’t help my hangover but the fatty food The Goral Inn was serving for breakfast definitely did.
All of the lard and potatoes that make up traditional Slovakian cuisine serve as a hefty counterbalance to the raw fire that is Slovakian liquor. By the time I had finished my second helping of bacon topped halušky last night’s drinking seemed like a distant memory. I was an aspirin tablet away from becoming a regular human being. As my headache started to clear the mystery of the enigmatic village hidden somewhere in those green valleys beckoned to me.
“Sour milk?” The bartender-turned-waiter asked. He still had the same dirty towel draped around his neck as he had the night prior, but this time, instead of a bottle of pálenka he was holding a jug filled with frothy white liquid. For a split second the lodge didn’t smell like fish anymore. It smelled worse. My hangover tickled my stomach.
“No thank you. I’ll stick to coffee.”
His cheery eyes dimmed, as if me refusing to drink spoiled milk was an insult to his culture rather than an attempt to spare my digestive system a horrible evening. But the longer he looked at me the more I realized that he wasn’t unhappy about the milk, there was something else bothering him.
“You are the one who asked about the village last night,” he said.
“Yes, and you refused to answer my questions so I am going out to find answers on my own.”
“You are making a mistake young man, some questions are not meant to be answered and some places are not meant to be found. If you value the life that God has given you, stay away from that village. Nothing good will come of it.”
His warnings fell on deaf ears. Even as the remnants of a jagged hangover bounced around my head I knew one thing for certain – finding that village would bring me a boon of poetry that would stop my band from breaking up.
I thanked the man for his concern but assured him that I knew what I was doing. After wiping up my plate with some bread and chugging down another cup of instant coffee I set out into the forest.
The plan was simple; I would make my way towards the spot where I had met the strange girl. From there I would search the forest for the village. People didn’t usually nap in forests unless they live nearby and the screams of the villagers were loud enough to suggest that the mysterious ritual couldn’t have been taking place far off.
The forest was filled with blueberry bushes and slabs of moss that were nearly identical to the ones that I had met the girl by but my memories of seeing the forest shake with the force of the thunderous screams were vivid enough to help me walk with confidence. I wasn’t worried about getting lost. Outside of the images that were scorched into my memory there was another indicator that I could use to find the spot where I had witnessed the screaming – the phone signal.
When I had left Prague I promised myself I would only use my phone for note taking. All of those messages and news updates and analytics on our social media profiles were sapping away at my creative potential while I was in Prague, I figured that cutting them out while I was in the mountains would help me foster a calm mind that would eventually give birth to good lyrics. Yet as I made my way through the forest towards the one spot where I could catch the slightest hint of a phone signal I started to reconsider my ban on the outside world.
The idea to leave Prague came to me with such force that I had completely neglected to tell anyone about my trip. Not answering anyone’s messages for two weeks would give me that air of an unreachable artist that I so craved but the idea of something happening that required my immediate attention not being addressed for two weeks churned my stomach.
I would just check my texts real quick. Maybe I’d look at the analytics as well, just in case The Warriors of Perun had stumbled into the good graces of the algorithm and we had become famous overnight. If there were hundreds of new fans I wanted to be there to like their comments and urge them to tell their friends about the band.
I stood in the same exact spot where I stood the day before and took out my phone. One bar of service. My phone was reaching out to the world beyond the mountains. I took a big puff of my vape and waited for the flurry of notifications to come in.
Nothing happened.
I took another hit, filling the fresh mountain air with the scent of strawberry cheesecake but by the time the silky smoke dissipated nothing changed. I thumbed my way around every messaging app I had to make sure I was actually online.
I was. No one was messaging me.
I scrolled my way over to the band’s social media. Zero shares, zero likes, zero comments, zero plays. Our music was streaming out on the World Wide Web but no one was listening.
We just finished another show. The past month worth of gigs had been pretty bad, but this one was an absolute disaster. We got on stage two hours later than we were meant to on account of the booker getting into a fist fight, high pitched waves of feedback cut through every song like a dull knife and halfway through our set a shirtless man rushed the stage, stole my microphone and sang a little diddy about how Epstein didn’t kill himself.
The crowd clapped for him. They didn’t clap for us.
The only people in the audience that engaged with our music were the guy rolling on molly who screamed the wrong words during every chorus and the cheery looking girl who sat at the back of the bar.
Aneta Vašková, I knew her from the occasional four in the morning music jams that I’d inevitably end up at whenever I was drinking. She was listening to the band in which I was the lead singer but I don’t think she noticed me. She kept her eyes closed. Aneta was too busy beating out the heartbeat of the monstrous tune that Gustave was slamming out on his drum kit.
My head echoed with advice from meditation apps. I forced myself back into the present moment. I was standing in the middle of a forest, preparing myself for a journey into a mysterious village. I was doing something adventurous and daring for my art. There was no time for intrusive thoughts.
I took another puff of my vape hoping for the sweetness to wash out the memories of that awful night. It didn’t. My mouth filled with a dirty taste of burning cotton. The vape had run out of juice and in my eagerness to go find the people who scream at the setting sun I forgot to refill it.
It might have been my realization that I would have to make due without my nicotine dispenser, but suddenly the forest felt much more oppressive. The happy birds that chirped the afternoon away the day prior were replaced with the shrieks of agitated crows that flew above me through the treetop. Thick clouds blotted out the sun. It was going to rain. And I couldn’t ease my mind with nicotine.
Yet every creative journey requires the crossing of uncomfortable valleys. I knew that somewhere out there I could find inspiration. After updating my status to tell people I was out in the woods being a poet I put away my phone and set out deeper into the forest. I was starting to get cold in my t-shirt but a warm, optimistic fire was burning in my belly.
Going on a journey through the sickly green,
Really hung-over, need my nicotine,
Then, after thirty minutes of walking I ended up back at the same blueberry bush. Or at least I thought I did, that small sliver of phone signal that I had found there before was gone. I figured that maybe it was a different bush so I just kept on walking but fifteen minutes later I was right back where I started.
My poor sense of direction had finally caught up with me. I was lost in the woods. And out there, in the distant valleys, thunder started to rumble.
The molly man had bought Thuy-Anh’s affection with a baggie from his wallet. The two of them were caught in a drug-fueled lover’s embrace a couple of steps from the bathroom.
I was sitting at the bar nursing a flat beer trying to pretend I wasn’t the guy who had nervously walked off stage an hour ago. The faces of everyone at the bar were downright hostile and I kept on worrying someone was going to break a glass over my head, but I couldn’t leave.
As soon as we finished playing Aneta immediately snared Gustave into a conversation. The two just kept on going at it, excitedly talking about something that was muffled out by the drunkenness of the bar. Gustave barely helped with packing up the gear and by the time Thuy-Anh met her new friend I was alone for the job. The whole way through, Gustave and Aneta chatted away at the bar.
I sat there, watching them, trying not to be obvious. There was some hope in me that maybe the two were just trying to sleep together, but it faded with every minute of their animated conversation. This wasn’t the talk of two horny people trying to bang, this was the passionate exchange of two artists deciding to have a baby.
It started to rain. At first the raindrops were negligible, they even felt good on my sticky, hung-over skin, but by the time I reached the same blueberry bush for the third time the water came down in heavy, cold chunks. The valley echoed with thunder. I could hear the crackling of lightning in the distance.
Memories of VCRs from the 90s teaching me about thunderstorm safety reeled through my head. I wasn’t meant to stand under a tree. Easier said than done in a forest.
Out of habit I took a deep hit of my vape. My mouth and throat got punched by another wave of burnt cotton. I had no water to wash out the taste.
I was lost in the forest during a thunderstorm, out of supplies and massively hung-over.
Despair started to climb up the back of my throat but I did my best to recall every single motivational post I had ever seen on reddit. This was all a part of the process. I was the master of my own destiny. This situation could be controlled.
It was raining and I had a bad taste in my mouth. I stuck out my tongue and let the fresh water cleanse me of my mistakes.
Thunder in the sky and I’m drinking rain,
Lost in the woods like a-ARGH Fuck! Hail!
Shards of ice came down like an artillery barrage. I tried to hide under a tree but a crackling thunderclap scared me off.
She took out a pair of headphones. She was playing Gustave her music.
My bare arms sustained most of the pelts but I could feel the hail growing harder, growing bigger.
His eyes were closed. He was tapping the table.
More thunder. More hail. More rain. More pain.
They were going to run away together. Gustave and Aneta were going to start their own band.
I got down onto the forest dirt and curled myself up into a ball.
This was the end of The Warriors of Perun.
I screamed.
It came out of me like a wave of projectile vomit. My voice chords burned raw, my nails dug into my hands, something that had been festering in me for a long time was clawing its way out.
The moment stretched into eternity – Me, a searing, screaming pain traveling through my body in the darkness of my shut eyes. I don’t know how long I howled in the forest but by the time my voice had given up I was back on my feet. The rain was gone. Birds were chirping off in the distance.
I opened my eyes.
“Hello.”
I fell down into the slush of mud and sticks. In front of me stood a little boy dressed in steamboat suspenders. He looked just like any other eight-year-old boy you’d find in a Slovakian Sunday church crowd with one exception – Across his forehead, barely covered by his blonde locks, there was a dark, green festering wound. It looked like a hoof print.
“Sup?” I whispered in shock.
“My name is Samko! What’s your name?” He asked with the pep of chocolate milk commercial.
“Robert.” I tried not to look at that horrible scar, but I couldn’t help myself.
“Hello Robert! You look quite lost, and maybe hungry, yes, you look hungry! My family is about to have supper and we own a map! Maybe you would like to join us?”
Severe head-trauma aside, the kid’s offer of food and a way back home sounded heavenly. Maybe it was some sort of a sign, maybe this little helpful kid was sent down from the cosmos to help me get back home, maybe the experience in the thunderstorm could weave itself into a song and I’d manage to keep the band alive for just a little longer. I was about to accept his invitation but then another thought struck me.
Yes, the kid was definitely a sign, but maybe he was there to get me further from home and closer to that eldritch well of inspiration I was searching for.
“Samko, do you know anything about the village where people scream at the setting sun?”
“Ha-Ha! No,” he said, “But I do know about having you over for supper and making sure you don’t die in the woods!”
The kid made a strong argument. I got up and agreed to come over for supper. He grabbed my hand as if I was the child and led me through the forest to a meadow. His hands were freakishly soft.
Little boy’s soft hand,
His scar I don’t understand,
But maybe he’ll help me save my band,
As we walked through the meadow a hot afternoon sun dried my clothes. Not a single cloud in the sky, it was as if there never was a storm at all. The heavens were starting to turn a calm shade of orange as the brightest star traveled east. Everything was going to be fine.
Yet I couldn’t take my eyes off the kid’s scar.
There was something so odd about the dark green hue of the wound. The mark looked bad, hell, it looked fatal, but Samko moved with the confidence of a toddler who had never scraped his knee. I needed to know.
“Hey, uh, Samko, the scar you have on your forehead. How’d you get that?”
The kid shot me a wide smile. It wasn’t until then that I realized that he was missing a couple of his front teeth.
“One of the neighbor’s cows went loose,” Samko said.
“Does it… hurt?” I heard myself ask.
“Not anymore,” he replied. “Ah! Look, we’re here!”
The village was just like any other village you would find in Slovakia. Groups of small wooden cottages lined a single rural road; fields and barns and vegetable gardens stemmed out from the humble community out towards the dark forest.
The place was peaceful. Someone was sharpening a scythe, a quiet song flowed out from one of the cottage windows, a general feeling of tranquility hung around the whole settlement. Yet when Samko and me passed by one of the barns that sat on the edge of the village a cry of panic echoed through the valley.
Whatever livestock was inside of that rickety structure was seized with a sudden, indescribable terror.
“You like animals Robert?” Samko asked casually. He was barely audible over the shrieking of the pigs.
“Uh, sure. Used to have a dog.”
“Good!” He smiled his incomplete grin, “Animals don’t like me very much. It makes living on a farm difficult. Maybe you can help me feed the chickens sometime. Oh! There’s my dad!”
He was a mountain of a man. Even past the drab suit you could see the body of someone who had worked the land his entire life. A jagged scar of dark jade lined the right side of his face as if someone had knocked off a piece of the man’s jaw.
“Poppa! I found a man in the woods! I have invited him over for supper.”
Samko’s father’s eyes betrayed no emotion. He simply grunted, turned around and walked over to the chicken coop that was attached to the woodshed in their yard.
The birds seemed to be anxious at his approach and the closer he got the more they let their anxiety be known. The chicken that Samko’s father pulled out of the coop let out sounds so shrill I had to cover my ears.
The man in the suit had no compassion for the writhing bird. He carried the live animal as if it was a lifeless log of wood across the yard, pressed it in my arms, took a step back and watched.
Its tiny heart beat against my fingers, its beady eyes searched for a means of escape, but the chicken had calmed. I held the terrified bird in my hands as the man in the gray suit silently judged me.
“He likes animals,” Samko whispered.
The man smiled. His teeth were as sparse as his sons. “I can see that! Welcome to our humble village, stranger. Put away the bird and come taste my woman’s cooking!”
She was the only member of the family that didn’t have obvious scars on her face but what she lacked in gruesomeness she made up for in the general unease she inspired.
I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but there was something wrong with her. As I watched her transfer the bowls of sauerkraut and potatoes from the stove to the table I searched her face for the source of the discomfort that I was feeling. She prepared the table in complete silence and moved with the sluggish steps of a lobotomy patient but there was something else off about her.
Her eyes. You wouldn’t notice it at first glance, but the more I looked at her pupils the more I noticed the fading, milky quality behind them.
“You are lucky that my Samko has found you! Not everyone is as fortunate as you are, misguided hikers disappear in this valley all the time.” The man in the suit had become much more amicable after the chicken incident, he was all gapped smiles now. “Veruna! Get the man a glass of milk so that he can enjoy his dinner properly!”
Without a word the woman got up from the table, went to the other room and emerged with a glass of sour milk. The hangover that I had forgotten made itself known as I saw the drink.
“Could I possibly ask for a glass of water? I’m not a sour milk type of guy.”
The man’s eyes grew cold. But then, as if he had caught a glimpse of his own stony expression he smiled again. “Of course, of course. What sort of host would I be if I couldn’t bring water to a thirsty guest.”
He got up and walked into the other room. His wife and child sat in silence with tight-lipped smiles on their faces.
“Here! A glass of water!” He bellowed with good cheer as he emerged from the other room, “Drink up, enjoy the food and get ready for a good, long rest. It is dangerous to travel through these woods after sundown, but come morning we will take you back home so you can sing praises of our hospitality.”
I took the glass of water and raised it to my lips.
I watched Thuy-Anh study the contents of her glass as if she was a detective trying to solve a murder case. The owner of the bar had given us complimentary Cuba Libres to ease the sting of a canceled show. The audience was nonexistent and our drummer had bailed last minute because he was ‘busy’.
I sipped on my charity but Thuy-Anh kept on studying hers.
“Something wrong?” I asked.
“Checking for powder. A gal can never be too careful,” she replied, “All sorts of creepy dudes out there.”
It was a passing though, a glimpse of an irrelevant memory, but it still pulled my eyes towards the top of the drink.
I froze.
Remnants of white dust floated on the surface of the water, there were small chunks of a crushed up pills resting at the bottom of my glass.
“I hate to be rude,” I said, trying to stop my voice from shaking, “But before I eat I always like to take a couple of puffs from my pipe. Would you mind if I popped outside for a quick second?”
His scarred face turned to cold stone. If he made an effort to hide behind a smile it wasn’t a good one.
“Of course,” the man in the gray suit hissed through his remaining teeth, “Just make sure you don’t stay out too long. Wouldn’t want the food to go cold.”
Another helping of burnt cotton I was too stupid to anticipate. I did my best to hold back my coughs as I peered behind the window and watched the family. They just sat there, completely void of emotion, waiting for me to come back.
They were waiting to drug me.
I knew I couldn’t go back to that house. Whatever charade we were playing was already wearing thin. But I also knew that I couldn’t go back and mindlessly trudge through the forest – I had barely made it out during the daytime. Trying to find my way back to the Goral Inn under the cover of darkness would be the end of me.
I sat there, crouched behind the cottage window stuck in the same loop of indecisiveness that had plagued me so many times before during more trivial parts of my life. Was I going to risk my life out in the woods or let myself be drugged by the strange, scarred family?
I desperately hoped that a stroke of genius would produce an infallible plan for me to survive the night, but before my lackluster intellect could come up with an escape route I was spurred into improvisation.
Samko’s chair creaked as he pushed himself away from the table. He walked out of the dining room. The front door opened.
“Robert!”
My lizard brain took control. I ducked past the window and hid in the woodshed. Curled up among the darkness of the logs I hoped that Samko would just get hungry and go back inside. But he didn’t.
“Robert!” His childish voice was getting closer. A flurry of clucking anxiety exploded out of the chicken coop as his footsteps squished through the mud. Luckily, the birds quieted down; Samko had walked past the woodshed and out towards the forest.
“Robert!” His voice stung with the sadness of a child who has just been abandoned by his only playmate. I watched Samko through a gap in the woodshed and for a split second I wondered whether I was overreacting. The kid didn’t look dangerous; he looked lonely. As he stood alone beneath the slowly reddening sky an ember of empathy started up in the back of my throat.
It was quickly snuffed out.
“Robert!” He yelled my name again, but this time his voice was draped in a tenor that sounded nothing like a child. The sounds that came out of his mouth echoed with a dangerous, inhuman energy.
“ROBERT!” There was growing frustration behind his calls.
“ROBEEEEERRRRTTT!” Samko stomped his little feet and let out a cry so dark, so savage, so deafening that it seemed as if the whole universe had shifted on its axis. Sawdust rained down on me from the ceiling of the woodshed as I watched the little boy’s true form reveal itself.
Bits of flesh peeled themselves off from the back of his head like wet wallpaper. His pale skin hung out from behind his steamboat suspenders like straw on a poorly made scarecrow. Beneath his human shell Samko was covered in slick, jet-black scales.
The chickens became anxious again. The muddy backyard sounded off with another set of footsteps. Heavier footsteps. The man in the gray suit lumbered his way next to his son and looked out towards the forest.
“ROBERT!” He screamed, in the same infernal tone. A piece of skin popped off from his bulging neck. The dark scales that rested under his flesh throbbed with a primal rage.
“ROBERT!” The man in the suit howled out into the woods again. No Robert emerged. Samko’s father let out a low, angry hiss and then pelted his son across the back of his head.
As soon as his mammoth hand delivered the blow its skin rumpled up and slid off like a moist glove. Beneath the skin of his human hands Samko’s father had been hiding dark claws. At the end of each of his razor sharp fingers there was a bright light that shined with the color of the setting sun.
Samko’s father wrapped his eldritch appendage around his son’s shoulder and led him out towards the edge of the wood. Soon other villagers emerged and joined the misshapen father and son in the clearing.
Soon I realized that I was in the village where people scream at the setting sun.
The roaring screams that I had heard the day prior were nothing compared to the earth-shaking force of seeing the ritual up close. The universe shook at its core, it threatened to crack beneath the sheer volume of the deafening yells that the villagers let loose at the reddening sky.
When it was all over, when the world outside was plunged into darkness and those ghastly howls had finally ceased, I was happy to be alive. I thought it was all over. I thought that all I had to do was hide out in the woodshed until daybreak and then run as fast and as far as I could with a promise never return to this horrid place again.
Then the lights appeared.
Bobbing bulbs of crimson danced in the darkness like burning fireflies. They were moving back towards the village, towards my woodshed. They all moved with a single rallying cry –
“ROBERT!”
They were looking for me.
This whole trip has been a horrible mistake. I hoped to come to Slovakia to find a source of inspiration to keep The Warriors of Perun afloat, but I don’t think I’ll be writing any songs about this trip.
I don’t think I’ll be writing any songs ever again.
I don’t think I’ll make it through the night.
The chickens are growing more agitated by the minute. The horrible creatures that are calling my name are getting closer. Those red, glowing orbs that float through the darkness like sluggish fireworks keep on getting bigger. It’s just a matter of time until they find me.
If I somehow manage to find a sliver of signal, a tiny bit of internet for me to get out my last words before the creatures who scream at the setting sun tear me apart with their bright-tipped claws, please pass on my final words.
Tell Gustave that my dying wish was for him to not start a band with Aneta Vašková.
- MJL (A different perspective)
submitted by MikeJesus to nosleep [link] [comments]


2020.07.10 22:31 drumjedi76 Ever Rain [1-5]

CHAPTER 1
Kellerika Virtanen wasn’t a star that any astronomer would recall. No constellation requested her presence. The young lady’s warmth hadn’t accounted for a solitary spark in the nighttime skies. The darkness was where she did her best work.
Kell orbited the chair that held the young boy. Flames from her choir of blue and white candles sang their silent hymn around the bedroom. At twenty-two, the demon hunter had seen more shit than most could ever conjure in their worst nightmares.
“I know you take a name.” She stopped before the kid’s limp head. “Give it to me.”
A low gurgle emanated from deep within Toby’s ten-year-old gut.
Kellerika leaned in closer, her chestnut bangs fell around her face. Toby reeked of vomit, some of it dried to his grayed lips. His forehead glistened. Deep circles around his eyes. The burns on his cheek and across the left eye. They told the tale of the last twenty-three hours that his voice could not.
“Which of the Nine sent you?” Her Finnish lineage ornamented her words. Another deep gurgle, then a belch. The boy’s mouth erupted in a fountain of gore.
Toby’s mom shrieked and reached out for her youngest child.
“Don’t!” Kellerika backpedaled into Toby’s dresser. Some of the blood got her jeans and the side of her Maiden tee. She flipped to a page in her little blue book. Memories of her mentor’s teachings raced through her imagination as she turned to the proper incantation. Stay in control. Don’t give them an entry point. “In the name of the Supreme Creator of all things in the universe, I banish you back to the plane from whence you came.”
An unnatural chuckle. “Fuck you, cleric.” Toby’s voice wasn’t his own.
Kellerika inched forward. “I sever all tethers and ties to this child, and banish you back from whence you came!”
Another fit of maniacal laughter. “Sticks and stones, child.” The boy raised his head. His menacing gaze locked with her hazel one. “Do you even believe what you spout from that cocksucker of yours?”
She turned to the boy’s mother. The woman’s mask of astonishment said it all. Kell confronted her adversary once more. “Your name, demon.” She bent in eye to eye. “Give it to me.” Her words hissed through gritted teeth.
The creature growled. Toby’s collection of cross-country trophies rattled on the desk against the far wall. The floor quaked underfoot.
Kellerika stood her ground. “In the name of our Supreme Creator, I command you to say your name.”
A long fracture spread across the ceiling, showering the boy in white powder. Rumblings intensified. The room’s walls hummed like the driver in a subwoofer.
Kell’s voice rose over the cacophony. “Your name!”
Toby’s head flung back, snapping the top rungs of his chair. A cascade of cracks and pops radiated down his maturing spine. His mother regressed to reciting prayers in a huddled mass against the doorway.
Kellerika marched to the boy’s deformed head and whispered into his ear. “Either you give me your name,” her eyes crept up to his strained face, “or I make your master give it to me.”
The child’s features stretched beyond their natural limits like a piece of plastic wrap. One kneecap cracked and inverted followed by the other.
Kellerika moved to his other ear and continued. “What would your master do to you after I’ve had a chat with them, I wonder?”
An enraged howl. Pillars of fire shot from every candle around the room. She never saw them coming. The trophy collection pelted Kell in her face and torso, sending her to her knees.
“Toby?” The boy’s mother again. “Is he still alive?” Her gaze chased a glowing sphere into the bedroom wall.
Kell held up an arm. “Stay clear.” She wiped some blood from her nose and pushed herself to her feet. “Right now, it’s not your son.” Her gaze searched the air near the ceiling. “Toby?” Kell moved to a far corner near his closet. “Can you hear me? I know you’re still in this room somewhere.”
The rumbling and chaos subsided. Mommy? His voice was faint but there.
His mom sprung up from her praying.
“Toby?” She looked around the ceiling for her baby’s disembodied voice. “Honey?”
Where are you?
Kellerika trailed his words along the window overlooking their slice of suburban Virginia. “Toby. Listen to me. Follow my voice.”
Something bulged along the upper portion of the wall near a dark corner. For a fleeting moment, it resembled a running person.
His mom again. “Stay with us, baby.”
Something’s after me.
“Do not confront it!” Kellerika stepped up on his bed, tracking the bulge across the neighboring wall. She took cautious steps off the mattress next to his nightstand. A growing hum followed by a loud snap. Glass shrapnel and metal wire pierced her face and neck as the Nationals baseball lamp blew apart. Kell whimpered and dropped to the floor next to the boy covering her eyes.
Light footsteps bounced around in heavy air. Leave me alone!
His mother shuffled toward the other wall. “Don’t you dare touch---”
As Kellerika spun around, the woman sailed into the dresser with a dull thud. She blotted her right brow with the butt of her palm. It came back with a red smear. Fuck. She crawled to the motionless mass on the floor. “Ms. Allikson?” She inched closer and set a finger under the woman’s nostrils. Pulses of warm air. Kell rolled onto her haunches and got to her feet.
Momma!
Somewhere in the ethereal depths of the room, the demon roared. Claws ripped and shredded.
Kellerika staggered to the chair and took it in both hands. “In the name of the Creator of all things,” she summoned all the resolve she had left, “I banish you, demon!” She shook the chair. “I cut all tethers and ties to this body, the family, and property of the same!”
The boy’s head righted itself, returning to its natural shape. One kneecap corrected itself with a pop, and then the other. Toby rolled his head around on his neck cracking it. His nose sniffed the room. “Must be a challenge.” His voice still remained deep, inhuman.
Kell shook her head.
“Having to do such a monumental task while your own body’s shedding.” Again, it sniffed the air. “I can smell your blood, your monthly troubles.” It licked its cracked lips with a foul rotting mass.
“Such a waste of potential souls.”
She shook the chair with more force. “I cast you out, demon!”
“No need.” It sounded content like her dad after a holiday dinner. “I’ve had my fill.”
Her determined eyes searched the boy’s blue ones.
It smirked as it rolled Toby’s eyes into the back of his head. “His soul belongs to us.”
A sizzling sound. Kell bent closer and flinched at the pungent odor of burnt flesh. A nine formed in both eyes, branded by an invisible device.
“We’ll see you soon, bitch.”
Loud, dull cracks. It dislocated Toby’s lower jaw and inhaled. Powerful winds picked up as the boy’s throat turned into a spinning black void. Posters ripped from the walls and disappeared. The paranormal storm tore the curtains from the wall, rods and all, and crushed in his swirling maw.
“Ms. Allikson!” Kellerika shook her. “Tabitha!”
Shards of glass, bedsheets, everything… crushed in the vortex. Kell covered Tabitha’s body and held tight until the storm subsided. She turned her head as the thing’s mouth settled back to normal.
The demon’s head lulled as it let out a satisfying sight. “We’re done here.” With that, Toby’s terrestrial remains collapsed into a boneless pile of flesh and hair on the broken chair.
Chapter 2
Kellerika stared into the sun as it rose over the distant hills. Her exhausted body slumped over the steering column of her Highlander as she made her way back home. Fredrick, Maryland wasn’t a booming metropolis, but that’s what she loved about the quaint little town. Close enough to the bonfire to stay warm without having to deal with the smoke and sparks. She pulled her SUV into the cluster of townhomes off Route 144 and found a spot a short walk from her front door.
She shut off the engine and gave herself a once-over in the rearview. A few minor cuts over her eyes. Some scrapes along her jawline. A deep bruise on her high-set cheekbone. Kell winced. Not only for the damage, but her genetics. She’d been teased since coming here in the eleventh grade for her square chin. The other girls had picked on her relentlessly. As a foreigner, she was an easy target.
“Gonna be hard to explain this away.”
Her best friend in those hard times had been a gangly tall boy named Deke Simmons. They had remained pals long after graduation and even after her eventual drop out from Georgetown’s pre-med program. She told him all of her personal pains. All of them except her sworn oath of secrecy to the Ordo Tenebris, the Order of Darkness.
“When he sees this mess,” she slumped into her bucket seat, “Deke will think I got mugged.”
Kellerika gathered her things and moped to the cluster of mailboxes nestled under a young birch. She fished out her key and retrieved her mail.
“Hmm.”
She flipped through a few junk cards and studied the big padded manila envelope. “You came all the way from France?” Kell lumbered to her front door and unlocked it. “Not good.” She knew of one person in France, and he shouldn’t be sending her anything.
Once inside and bathed in that familiar scent of home, Kellerika tossed her stuff into a chair at her small dinner table and unlaced her sneakers. “Better already.”
She held her tee out from her body and surveyed the damage. “Ugh.”
Several large blood stains. She pulled it over her head as she ambled to the washer-dryer stack in the back corner of her kitchen. Kell spread her favorite shirt out on the washer’s surface. Her eyes welled as she blotted the last remnants of Toby’s existence with a stain stick. She had hung around until the EMS teams arrived and explained everything per the Order’s protocols. How did you console a mother whose son lay in a blob in his room? No chapter in the handbook for that one.
“That should get you clean.”
She unfastened her torn jeans, blotted them with stain remover, and pitched both into the machine. She got her underwear to her knees before her cell went off, forcing her to hike them back up.
“Fan-friggin-tastic.”
She glanced at its vibrating face:
Facetime request. Private number.
“Stazia.”
Her immediate superior in the Ordo Tenebris.
Kell plucked her cell from the coffee table and flopped into her sofa’s fluffy cushions. She propped her feet on the table and swiped right. “Hi, Stazia.”
The bust of her boss filled Kell’s screen. Spiked white hair that stuck out all over her head like a pissed off blowfish. Those eerie red irises and pallid skin. “Hello, Kellerika. Heard about last night.”
Kell’s head dropped onto the back of the cushion. “What about it?”
“We lost the client.” Her boss wasn’t pleased.
Kellerika teased her hair with a hand. She kept it no longer than shoulder length against her mom’s traditional wishes. ‘Grow it out,’ her mom would say. ‘At least to the small of your back. You’d look gorgeous.’ Way too much of a pain in the ass. Kell sat up and combed some brown hairs over her eyes. The frosted strips would have to be retouched. “I know. I used the same ritual I always have.”
Stazia’s emotionless red eyes blinked. “I believe you. We don’t like losing anyone---”
“It wasn’t my fault this time.”
Stazia ignored her interruption. “However, these things happen in our line of work.” Stazia’s chest deflated. “Did it give you a name?”
Kellerika flipped her hair out of her face. “No. I demanded it. Even threatened to imprison his master, but---”
“About that.” Stazia studied her face. “I take it you received our package?”
How does she do that? Kell leaned forward and unfastened her bra. “Got something from France. That it?” She flung the undergarment into the matching recliner.
The motherly Stazia wiggled in discomfort on her end. “That’s the one.” She scratched a smile line around her mouth. “We need to talk.”
Too late. Kell hopped up and strode to the table for the envelope. She sat her cell on an armrest of the couch and tore into it.
“It’s about Roger,” Stazia said from the couch.
Kellerika opened the package and caught the falling blue book.
Stazia went on. “Something happened.” Kell turned the small book over. Her eyes teared up at the sight of the telltale symbol embossed on its leather cover.
“His wayguide.” Tradition, as Roger had taught her, called for the mentor to pass on his or her wayguide to their protégé when
“He’s gone, Kellerika.” Stazia’s hurt eyes lowered. “I know he was like a father to you.” Her red eyes lifted once more. “I’m so sorry.”
Kell let the trash fall to the floor and padded back to the sofa with her memento. She wiped back some tears with a forearm. Weeping in front of anyone was a faux pas in her book.
Stazia pressed on. “He was on assignment at---”
“The McAllister estate.” A sniffle. “I know. He told me he had found one of them.”
Her boss nodded. “His remains were identified by local authorities a few days ago. He left the mailing address in France in his book.”
Kell flipped the front cover open. Sure enough, it was there.
“One of the Nine Kings.” Stazia had a somber tone. “We know one of them is linked to that estate.”
Roger Gordan had recruited Kell in her senior year. Her psychologist was his old friend. Kell’s vivid accounts of demons were too spot on. Roger had honed her natural talents and stood in as a dad where the genetic one failed.
“With his wayguide comes a big promotion.” Stazia blinked back her own tears.
“Wait a sec.” Kell sat up on the edge of her cushion. “You want me to hunt the Nine Kings?” She propped her weary head on an elbow. “I barley survived that job last night in Roanoke. The Nine?”
“I have a vacancy to fill,” Stazia said, “and he hand-picked you for the job.” “I---I don’t know,” Kell said. “My mind’s flying in a hundred directions. I just need some time to think on it.”
“This is the highest rank the Order can bestow on a member.” Her boss took up a dignified posture in her screen.
“I need some time to consider your offer. That’s all.”
Stazia’s guise hardened. “I can give you until midnight tonight your time. After that,” she said, “I’ll have to move on to other candidates.”
Chapter 3
Kell strolled through the Art District of downtown Fredrick. After a long shower and a nap, the hunter felt a thousand times better. She slipped into a café tucked in between an arts center and a holistic shop. The Café Moderne might never live up to the Café Bueno or the Dublin Grinders, but its retro French motif suited her. A blond college boy behind the counter perked up as she made her way through the front door.
“Well, well.” He cleared the counter and slung the dirty towel over a shoulder. “Haven’t seen you in a while.”
“Hey, Evan.” She couldn’t hold back the grin.
Evan leaned into the sales counter as
Kell approached. “Been busy then?” She bobbed her head and gave her hair a playful flip. “Sorry. Yeah, a little.”
His big blue eyes peered into hers. “What’ll ya have?”
Kellerika eyed the board over his head.
“Lemmie guess.” Evan’s pecs flexed under his tee as he shifted his stance. “Café au lait. Easy on the lait. Two shots of vanilla. French, of course.”
Stop grinning like a buffoon. “You guessed it.” Kell fished out her card and waited for the kiosk to prompt for payment.
Evan tapped a few button on his screen and set to work on her order. She held her card over the kiosk until it flashed: Payment accepted!
He poured some milk into a carafe and placed it under the machine. “Work around here? I don’t see you in town very much.”
She spoke up over the coffee machine. “No. I’m a paralegal down in Gaithersburg.” What works on Deke should work on sexy barista boy.
Evan turned a smile toward her. “Ah. That explains it.” He poured the frothy milk into the coffee. “You like doin’ all that legal stuff?”
Oh, god. Don’t ask me too many questions. “It pays the bills,” she pointed to his handiwork, “right?”
Evan pumped some vanilla into her drink. “Exactly.” He set her drink in front of her. “Say, maybe if you’re free sometime…”
Kellerika took a nip from her steaming cup. Rejuvenation.
He gulped and continued. “Would you maybe like to uh,” he gave the back of his head a nervous scratch, “go out with me?”
Kell buried her ear-to-ear grin behind her paper cup. She took another drink, regaining some composure. “That would be nice.”
Evan’s face perked up. “It would?”
She chuckled. “Yeah. I could use a break.” She leaned against the display case of pastries and muffins. “What did you have in mind? Dinner? A movie?”
“Pssh.” He tossed his rag on the rear counter. “Hell, no.” He rested a muscular arm on the display case. “There’s this murder-mystery dinner thing that they put on Thursdays through Saturdays.”
Kell raised a brow.
“Interested?”
She took a pen from the cup on the counter. Kell jotted her number on the back of a napkin and slid it across the countertop. “Today’s going to be kinda bad, but call me closer to the weekend, and we’ll work something out, okay?”
Evan snatched it up and stuffed it into a pocket of his jeans. “It’s a deal.” He waved as she strode back toward the door. “Have a nice day,” he pulled the napkin back out, “Kellerika.”
“You, too Evan.” She raised her cup as she propped the door open on a hip.
Once outside, she found a table an made camp long enough to savor her coffee. She sipped her concoction and unlocked her phone. Guess I should give Deke a call and let him know I’m not dead. Kell flipped through some pics in her gallery while his end rang. She landed on one of her huddled close to her ex-fiancé, Dylan. She wore her gray Georgetown sweatshirt. Her hair was back in a pony that day. The Shenandoah River gurgled behind them. The whitewater trip. Her disdain for the boy softened. Such a beautiful day. Kell flipped past it as the line picked up.
“Deke here. What up?”
“It’s Kell.”
A laugh from his end of the line. “Saw that already. So, what’s goin’ on?”
She took another sip. “Hangin’ out. Drinking some coffee.”
“You sound dejected.”
She scoffed. “No, I don’t.”
“Too.”
Kell went back to some pictures of her mom, Camilla and dad, Alvar back in Tampere. Holiday pics around the tree in their best ugly sweaters. “Am not.”
“I’ve known you for how long---since junior year of high school?” A scoff. “Girl don’t think I know when she’s upset. Man.”
“Fine.” She ran the pad of a thumb over the picture. “Say you’re right. So what?”
“Ah.” A hearty chuckle. “Ole Deke got one right, huh? So, what’s gotcha down?”
She mustered a, “Meh.”
“Him again?”
A pair of birds sailed to a soft landing a few feet away.
“Thought as much. You gotta let him go, Kell. Old news, an ‘at.”
She spun her cup in slow circles. “Yeah, but we were planning our lives together. Our entire lives, Deke.”
“Yeah, and home boy waltzed out with his roomie’s younger sister, if memory serves.”
Kellerika groaned. “He’s a dick. I get it.” She downed another gulp.
“Forget him.”
“Maybe it was a one-time mistake.” She tapped the cup’s lid with a nervous nail. Deke guffawed. “Right. So, what’s on your mind, Kell?”
“If I’m keeping you, I can---”
“Not that. Sorry.” He fidgeted with something on his end. “I’m just gettin’ everything ready for the big drop tonight. TO-NOIIGHT!”
Kell giggled. “You’re a dork. What’s dropping?”
“New MMO VR game, baby.”
She leaned back in her chair. “You lost me at M.”
“Never mind. What did you wanna talk about?”
Kell raised her cup. “Got an offer for a promotion.”
“Whaaaat?”
She grinned through a drink.
“You’re gonna take it, right?”
She swallowed and wiped her lips. “Dunno.”
“That legal firm would be straight up dumb not to keep you around.”
She had kept up the masquerade for two years thus far. “It’s more money.”
“’Zactly! That’s why you’re gonna take it.” Deke sounded like the big brother she’d never had.
“I’m thinking about it.”
“Kellerika.” He’d gone into full-blown parental mode. “If you don’t take this promotion---"
“You’ll what? Ground me?”
Deke cleared his throat. “Didn’t know you were goin’ there. We might have to redefine the nature of our association.”
Kellerika dropped her head into an open palm. “You’re impossible. The money would be great, but there’s a lot more responsibility with it, too.”
“It can’t be that bad.”
Her hazel eyes spun in big orbits.
“Guess it is. You should take it anyway, Kell. It’ll be good for you.”
She gripped her cup in a chokehold. “God. You sound like my dad.”
Deke laughed. “How is Alvar these days?”
“Don’t know.” Kell took another hit from her cup. “Haven’t talked to them in a while.”
“Did they have another kid somewhere along the line that we don’t know about?”
This got a genuine chuckle from her. “No! They’re---It’s just… complicated.”
“Well,” Deke said, “in their stead, I have to reiterate: you’re takin’ the promotion, right?”
“What if I don’t like the new job?”
“Ride it out for a while, then find something better.” Fingers snapped on his end. “Simple as that.”
“It’s not that easy.”
“Sure, it is.”
Kell downed the last dregs of her brew. “Coming from a computer genius that has companies banging down his door with amazing offers.” She got up and tossed her cup in the trash. “It’s not the same for a college dropout.”
Deke groaned. “Maybe go back and finish that degree.”
“Eh.” Kell fluttered her fingers in reply to Evan’s final wave.
“You’ve gotta summon that Viking spirit and power through this.”
“What are you into later this evening?”
“Lots of gaming,” Deke said. “Wanna swing by and join me?”
“I’m not that coordinated, Deke.”
“It’s gonna be a full-on virtual fest all night long. Don’t need to mash any buttons.”
“I dunno.”
“Come on!”
She laughed. “Fine. Let me handle this work thing---”
“Take. The. Job.”
“And then maybe I’ll swing by for a while.”
A whoop from Deke. “You won’t regret this, Kell. I promise.”
She winced and started down the sidewalk toward her Highlander. “I always do.”
Chapter 4
She carted her dirty dishes to her sink and ran some water over them. Kell may not have had the best hand-eye coordination, but what she lacked there she more than made up for in the kitchen. She had loved cooking all her life. If not for her father’s insistence on taking the pre-med scholarships to Georgetown, she would’ve wound up as a Michelin chef in a high-end restaurant somewhere.
As she ran warm water over a plate, Kellerika’s mind sped around several corners of how the upcoming call with Stazia might go. I could always throw in some stipulations to the deal.
“Nah.” She sat the plate into the dishwasher. “She’d never go for any of that.”
Kell swished some tap water around in her cup before setting it in the washer as well. She dried her hands on the towel and tossed it on the counter. “Damn it.”
Her phone beckoned her from its sliver of warm sunlight on the coffee table. Her mentor’s words resounded in her mind: ‘Things won’t ever be the same once you’re sworn into this rank.’ Kellerika snagged her beer by its slender neck and settled in on the couch for the inevitable.
Her gaze fell on Roger’s wayguide next to her cell. “But, before all of that…” She picked up the book and flipped through it. She caressed its penned words with a gentle touch. Some of his final entries caught her attention.
‘I have met my old friend Doug and his team. After touring the home and property with them and the suspected medium, Sean, I am confident that one of the Nine Kings is bound to this land. For what reason, I haven’t a clue.’
And, from later that same day:
‘We’ve located the missing team member, Donna. She’s a filthy mess. Doug says she’s been missing for days, and likely hasn’t eaten much (save the rat I saw her eat raw) in that time. I have subdued the girl and bound her to a chair in the dining area with ropes and railroad spikes.’
Then, Roger’s final entry:
‘I’ve attempted to cast the demon from her. Though I’ve succeeded, I fear that I’ve enflamed the situation here. Donna’s soul is somewhere in the walls of this house. A portal has opened up in the dining hall fireplace. After a heated huddle, Doug and I have agreed to let Sean go in after her. This thing is far more powerful than the others. Creator save me.’
Again, Kell used the butt of a palm to clear the tears from her eyes. “God damn it, Roger.” She knew he had done what he swore to do, but it did nothing to numb her loss.
She cleared her throat and took a swig of her beer. “Let’s do this.”
Kellerika patched into a VPN server and requested a hidden connection into the backdoor one of her employer’s many international nodes.
Stand by for your party’s connection…
Kell’s screen blinked up with Stazia. “Ah, Kellerika.” She laced her hands on a desk. “I take it you’ve come to a decision.”
“I have.”
Stazia sat in stoic quietude.
A reluctant grumble. “I’ll take the job.”
Stazia brought her hands together over the desk. “Ah. Very well. Then, on to the next order of business in that regard.”
She took a large leather tome and cracked it open in front of her. “The Oath of the Legion.”The Legion. The most elite of the Ordo Tenebris.
Stazia held up her right hand and set her left on a golden relic resting on the book. “Raise your right hand, and repeat after me.”
Kell did as instructed and echoed the oath: “I, Kellerika Virtanen, do avow and swear that I will defend all creatures large and small from those know as the Nine Kings and any and all emissaries anywhere on this plane of existence. I further attest that, being of sound mind and spirit, I do solemnly vow to seek out and combat these same entities until the end of my days. Should I fail or break any of these vows of my Oath of the Legion taken on this day, any of my brothers or sisters holds the right to take my life by forcing my heart upon their blade and, in the event of my disclosure of any secrets of our Sacred Order, administer the same.”
Her boss closed the book and set it to one side. “Welcome to the Legion, Miss Virtanen. Your first assignment should be an investigation into the McAllister estate, as it’s the one known location of one of the Nine.”
Kellerika’s muscles tensed. Talk about salt in the wound.
“However,” Stazia said, “we have a more pressing proposition that has surfaced.” Kellerika knocked back another dose of booze. “I’m all ears.”
“Dozens of people are either being killed or disappearing entirely around the world. It began today. As of now, most of these have occurred in Japan, China, and the Far East.”
Kell rubbed her hands together. “That’s no big deal. Mafia murders and human trafficking happen all the time.”
“No.” There was a firm resolve in her voice. “These were not isolated incidents. It’s moving like a tidal wave across central Europe.”
“Do we have any leads? Anything that connects the Kings to this?”
Stazia’s face lowered to the desktop. “Not many, I’m afraid. All victims were in their homes at the time of their murders or disappearances.” The fifty-something leader sipped from her porcelain cup.
“A serial killer wouldn’t move that fast,” Kell said.
“We suspect something,” Stazia patted the big leather book, “more sinister afoot, but I need you to investigate.”
Kellerika flipped on her TV. “Where do I start with this?”
Stazia set her cup on a saucer. “I’ll send you the articles and some contacts. See what you can come up with from these while I keep digging from here.” She laced her hands on the tabletop. “We’re all here for you should you need us, Kellerika.”
Chapter 5
Hagerstown traffic was a bitch. Then again, there weren’t many days when it was anything better. Kellerika maneuvered her SUV around a slow couple coaxing their puppy through the crosswalk and made the turn into Deke’s apartment complex.
She scanned the barren parking lot in front of his building. “Not much action around the homestead tonight.” She pulled into a visitor’s spot and shut if off. “Must be a party going on somewhere in town.”
She stopped at the base of the stairs leading up to his second level unit. Even if she were blind, she could find it by following the thumping bass line and Mick Jagger’s voice. “He’s going to get himself evicted.”
Once at the top, she could clearly make out the lyrics to Brown Sugar coming from behind his front door. One set of raps on the door, then another.
Nothing.
“Deke?” She beat on it with a fist. “It’s me. Open up!”
“Hey, Deke!” Kell turned to one side and kicked on the door. Footfalls padded across the apartment’s interior.
Deadbolt followed by the door lock.
Deke bopped to the music and mimicked Jagger into his bottle of root beer. “Oh, you made it.” He danced aside and ushered her inside. “I was beginning to wonder.”
Kell poked an index finger at the floor. “Turn it down.”
Her host bopped to his player and dialed it back.
“Better.” She caught the bottle of Barq’s he tossed at her and popped its top. “I told ya I had to deal with some work stuff before I came over.”
“Oh, yeah.” Deke strode into his living room. “How’d that go, by the way?”
Kell took a drink. “I took it.”
“Whoo!” Deke raised a hand. “Up top.”
She gave him a weak high five and sat in a recliner next to his gaming chair. Deke was a serious gamer: big screen TV, console, surround sound system, VR accessories… the works.
Her eyes focused on the thumbnail image on the screen. “So, what’s the big deal with this new game of yours?”
Deke grabbed a fresh bag of Doritos from the counter and strolled into his chair. “It’s not just a game.” He leaned closer to the screen. “Sweet. It’s loading.” He eased back into his throne. “It’s more than that, Kell. Ever Rain is the most realistic and anticipated multiplayer game ever.”
Kellerika lounged into her chair. “Why is everyone flipping out over one game?”
He readied his VR goggles as he watched the green bar on his screen fill. “The realism. The fact that it nearly gave some of its beta testers a heart attack.”
“And, you want me to play this thing?”
Deke hooked up the spare goggles and passed them to her. “Of course. I’ll go in one-player mode, so you can side saddle and see what I’m doing.”
With reluctance, Kell slipped them on. “Good. You’re less likely to lose belongings this way.”
The game loaded to its opening screen. They stood on a lone suburban street. A sidewalk to their right. A row of tall elms to the left. Nightfall. Fresh rain glistened on the black street under their feet and up ahead. One truck parked a stone’s throw away on the left curb. A distant flash illuminated the low-lying clouds beyond the crest in the road. A shallow peel of thunder grew until it rattled their controllers and goggles.
“Friggin’ awesome,” Deke whispered.
Rain to pattered on the truck’s windshield, the leaves, the road… everything. Words materialized in front of her.
A delicate thunder
.
.
.
Blood like rain
Then, the title surfaced from beneath the gathering water on the street:
Ever Rain
A low droning note accompanied by an almost native pulsating rhythm underneath. A tall muscular silhouette stood on the crest of the road. Deke again. “Sweet.”
Player select 1 or 2 player mode?
“Last chance,” he said. “You wanna?”
“Nope.” Kell didn’t have to think twice.
“No way in hell.”
In a few seconds, a box flashed over one player mode. It blinked and disappeared. The dark figure let his machete hang to his side as he advanced on them.
Male or Female?
Deke hits some buttons. “Just for you, bae.”
The word female blinked and disappeared.
The dark figure was even with the front bumper on the truck. Kell squirmed in her seat. “Oh, shit.” His steel-toed boots echoed off the pavement. Oiled jeans. An old plaid shirt with ivory buttons. Dried blood across the breast pockets. His face covered in a burlap sack. Nasal slits, a mouth hole, and eye holes. He had painted his eyes and mouth with clown makeup: blue on white and red on white. A taught rope secured the sack at his neck.
He chuckled. “This scarecrow’s got brains, bitch.”
He wound his blade up and brought it down, hacking a wide gash across the screen in blood.
“Fuck me!” A jolt of pinpricks coursed through Kellerika. The screen went black, and then…
Chapter One
Her face was covered in some sort of black cloth. Deke tried to move the character’s arms, but they were bound to something. From the hole near her left eye, Kell could make out a stone wall ahead. Dirt floor. Her slender left arm was tied to an old wooden chair.
Something held her neck in place, too. Couldn’t see what. A naked bulb swung in a slow orbit around the chair. Deke hopped the character around. The chair budged, but not much. An inventory folder opened at the bottom of the screen. Nada.
“Damn.” Deke turned to the right some. A small basement window. “Right. Now, how the hell am I?”
“Wait a sec,” Kell said. “Go back.”
The far wall filled the screen again. Deke hopped the chair around until its back’s faced it. The fake leather of Deke’s gaming chair creaked. He was up and into it. Their character crouched.
Kellerika nodded. “Ah. I get it. Very cool.”
Their character backpedaled until her gear rumbled. Wood splinters all around as the girl fell to the floor. The ropes and pieces fell free.
“That’s that.” Deke’s weight shifted on the floor causing it to groan.
Floorboards creaked overhead.
They had the same thought. “Jesus!”
Kell shook the goosebumps from her arms. “Was that you or the game?”
“Son of a bitch,” Deke said. “He’s in the house.”
The character picked up a chunk of its shattered armrest and started up the wooden stairs. Creaks and groans with each one.
“Shit.” Kell inched to the edge of her seat. Her voice dropped to a whisper. “Keep it quiet.”
Deke giggled. “Why are you whispering?”
She scoffed. “Shut up.”
The door stood cracked at the top of the stairs. Deke maneuvered the line of sight toward the home’s front door.
“A good thirty foot sprint to get there.”
Deke hummed in accord. More heavy footsteps around a corner ahead and to their left.
“Man,” Kell whispered, “it swings outward.”
“Can’t budge the door unless I’m ready to run,” he said.
The killer’s voice growled close to the corner. “Goddamn females. Now, I gotta gut the bitch.”
“Hell with it.” Deke’s weight shifted once more.
The basement door flung open and the girl took off. She collided with a burlap sack two paces past the corner.
Kell’s view was close enough to see the dried and cracking face paint around his maniacal black eyes. “Where you think you’re goin’, whore?”
His right arm reared back. Soon, a blade buried deep into the character’s chest. Splotches of blood showered the VR screen.
Replay?
“Son of a bitch!” Deke tossed his wands into his chair in disgust. “It’s way more intense than I expected.”
Kellerika pushed her goggles up on her forehead. “That’s an understatement.”
“Insane, right?”
She laughed. “I can see why this whole VR thing is so popular now.”
Deke stood in front of her, goggles up. “Damn.” He ran his hands over his disquieted expression. He turned and studied the screen. “Maybe we should try it again as a guy.”
“I don’t know if my ticker can take it,” Kell said.
Deke flopped into his chair. “Maybe there’s something different with a dude.”
Kell slumped into her recliner, massaging her eyes with the butts of her palms. Then, a stroke of brilliance. “Wait. That’s it.”
“What’s it?”
She moved to the edge of the cushion. “The shoes. We lose them and then go up the steps.”
“Holy shit.” Deke’s voice trembled. “That might do it.”
He dropped his goggles and grabbed the wands. A blinking box flashed on Yes and restarted the level.
“Jesus, Deke. You’re gonna kill me.”
Once they had freed their girl from the chair again, she reached down and removed her heels.
Kell was pissed. “Why do they always assume a girl wears high heels?”
Deke maneuvered the girl up the steps, this time, nice and quiet. At the top, the killer shuffled around farther away in the same area. The door pried open. So far, so good. Deke pushed farther ajar.
“Front door’s still a shot.”
Deke’s body bounced. “Here goes nothing.” The character wielded a shoe as a weapon and then bolted for the front door. The killer came after her, but this time, she had made it to within a few paces of her escape. Their character got spun around and thrown against the wall beside the front door.
“Goin’ somewhere?” His masked face moves to within inches. He lifted his machete up next to his head. “We haven’t even had dinner yet.”
Deke grunted. The girl swung her heel at his left eye socket. “Light’s out, asshole!”
Kellerika found herself punching the empty space in front of her.
“You all right over there?”
She took a deep breath. “Better.”
The murderer staggered away, groping at the footwear lodged into his socket. The girl’s hand spun the knob and threw the door open.
“Fuckin’ bitch!” The killer wrestled with the irritant.
She stumbled down the lopsided front step and leaped into the grass in the yard. As she ran past the battered and rusted out mailbox, the screen showed parts of its numerals: a two, something that might have been the leg of a one or a seven, the bottom half of a three, and an eight blotted out by black paint. The girl took off down the dirt road. An old F-150 sat parked along the right-hand side.
Deke looked around. “Nothing else for miles, but fields.”
The girl jogged to the pickup and yanked on the driver’s side door.
“Get in the damn truck.” Kell’s hand clamped down on the arm rest.
The car door jiggled. “I’m tryin’. It’s jammed.”
Heavy footfalls across the front porch. “You’re gonna die, bitch!”
Kell’s grip on the armrest intensified. “Damn it, Deke.”
The girl yanked on the handle again. The pickup rocked, but refused to surrender.
“Fuck.” Kellerika pounced out of her seat. “Beat on it with something. Anything!”
Deke shifted the view toward the old farmhouse. Blood oozed from his mangled eye socket. The killer stormed across the front lawn and turned at the wire fence. His machete dropped along the top line, shooting up occasional sparks as he advanced.
“Got it!”
The truck door groaned open. Torn upholstery. Chunks of foam cushion missing. Rust-colored stains on the floorboards and passenger side window. Deke moved the girl inside as the killer kicked the bumper.
“Shit!” Kell stood beside him now. “Fire it up.”
The view surveyed the entire cabin. “There’s no key, Kell.”
A gloved hand shattered the driver’s side window.
Deke stumbled back into Kell. “No, damn you.”
With one thrust, the machete plunged deep into the girl’s chest. Again, blood splattered into their field of view until all was consumed.
Game over. Replay?
“Shit.” Deke heaved his wands into his chair and tossed his goggles on the stand next to the TV.
Kell slid her goggles off and set them next to his.
He paced the room. “Where the hell’s that key?”
Kellerika stopped him on his way back to her and shook his bony shoulders. “Chill out. You can try again later.”
His head of tight black curls bobbed. “Yeah. I need some time to cool off.” Deke paced to the front window and stretched out his back. “That was intense.”
submitted by drumjedi76 to WritersOfHorror [link] [comments]


2020.07.08 20:48 drumjedi76 Ever Rain Nine Kings Episode I [2-5]

Chapter 2
Kellerika stared into the sun as it rose over the distant hills. Her exhausted body slumped over the steering column of her Highlander as she made her way back home. Fredrick, Maryland wasn’t a booming metropolis, but that’s what she loved about the quaint little town. Close enough to the bonfire to stay warm without having to deal with the smoke and sparks. She pulled her SUV into the cluster of townhomes off Route 144 and found a spot a short walk from her front door.
She shut off the engine and gave herself a once-over in the rearview. A few minor cuts over her eyes. Some scrapes along her jawline. A deep bruise on her high-set cheekbone. Kell winced. Not only for the damage, but her genetics. She’d been teased since coming here in the eleventh grade for her square chin. The other girls had picked on her relentlessly. As a foreigner, she was an easy target.
“Gonna be hard to explain this away.”
Her best friend in those hard times had been a gangly tall boy named Deke Simmons. They had remained pals long after graduation and even after her eventual drop out from Georgetown’s pre-med program. She told him all of her personal pains. All of them except her sworn oath of secrecy to the Ordo Tenebris, the Order of Darkness.
“When he sees this mess,” she slumped into her bucket seat, “Deke will think I got mugged.”
Kellerika gathered her things and moped to the cluster of mailboxes nestled under a young birch. She fished out her key and retrieved her mail.
“Hmm.”
She flipped through a few junk cards and studied the big padded manila envelope. “You came all the way from France?” Kell lumbered to her front door and unlocked it. “Not good.” She knew of one person in France, and he shouldn’t be sending her anything.
Once inside and bathed in that familiar scent of home, Kellerika tossed her stuff into a chair at her small dinner table and unlaced her sneakers. “Better already.”
She held her tee out from her body and surveyed the damage. “Ugh.”
Several large blood stains. She pulled it over her head as she ambled to the washer-dryer stack in the back corner of her kitchen. Kell spread her favorite shirt out on the washer’s surface. Her eyes welled as she blotted the last remnants of Toby’s existence with a stain stick. She had hung around until the EMS teams arrived and explained everything per the Order’s protocols. How did you console a mother whose son lay in a blob in his room? No chapter in the handbook for that one.
“That should get you clean.”
She unfastened her torn jeans, blotted them with stain remover, and pitched both into the machine. She got her underwear to her knees before her cell went off, forcing her to hike them back up.
“Fan-friggin-tastic.”
She glanced at its vibrating face:
Facetime request. Private number.
“Stazia.”
Her immediate superior in the Ordo Tenebris.
Kell plucked her cell from the coffee table and flopped into her sofa’s fluffy cushions. She propped her feet on the table and swiped right. “Hi, Stazia.”
The bust of her boss filled Kell’s screen. Spiked white hair that stuck out all over her head like a pissed off blowfish. Those eerie red irises and pallid skin. “Hello, Kellerika. Heard about last night.”
Kell’s head dropped onto the back of the cushion. “What about it?”
“We lost the client.” Her boss wasn’t pleased.
Kellerika teased her hair with a hand. She kept it no longer than shoulder length against her mom’s traditional wishes. ‘Grow it out,’ her mom would say. ‘At least to the small of your back. You’d look gorgeous.’ Way too much of a pain in the ass. Kell sat up and combed some brown hairs over her eyes. The frosted strips would have to be retouched. “I know. I used the same ritual I always have.”
Stazia’s emotionless red eyes blinked. “I believe you. We don’t like losing anyone---”
“It wasn’t my fault this time.”
Stazia ignored her interruption. “However, these things happen in our line of work.” Stazia’s chest deflated. “Did it give you a name?”
Kellerika flipped her hair out of her face. “No. I demanded it. Even threatened to imprison his master, but---”
“About that.” Stazia studied her face. “I take it you received our package?”
How does she do that? Kell leaned forward and unfastened her bra. “Got something from France. That it?” She flung the undergarment into the matching recliner.
The motherly Stazia wiggled in discomfort on her end. “That’s the one.” She scratched a smile line around her mouth. “We need to talk.”
Too late. Kell hopped up and strode to the table for the envelope. She sat her cell on an armrest of the couch and tore into it.
“It’s about Roger,” Stazia said from the couch.
Kellerika opened the package and caught the falling blue book.
Stazia went on. “Something happened.” Kell turned the small book over. Her eyes teared up at the sight of the telltale symbol embossed on its leather cover.
“His wayguide.” Tradition, as Roger had taught her, called for the mentor to pass on his or her wayguide to their protégé when
“He’s gone, Kellerika.” Stazia’s hurt eyes lowered. “I know he was like a father to you.” Her red eyes lifted once more. “I’m so sorry.”
Kell let the trash fall to the floor and padded back to the sofa with her memento. She wiped back some tears with a forearm. Weeping in front of anyone was a faux pas in her book.
Stazia pressed on. “He was on assignment at---”
“The McAllister estate.” A sniffle. “I know. He told me he had found one of them.”
Her boss nodded. “His remains were identified by local authorities a few days ago. He left the mailing address in France in his book.”
Kell flipped the front cover open. Sure enough, it was there.
“One of the Nine Kings.” Stazia had a somber tone. “We know one of them is linked to that estate.”
Roger Gordan had recruited Kell in her senior year. Her psychologist was his old friend. Kell’s vivid accounts of demons were too spot on. Roger had honed her natural talents and stood in as a dad where the genetic one failed.
“With his wayguide comes a big promotion.” Stazia blinked back her own tears.
“Wait a sec.” Kell sat up on the edge of her cushion. “You want me to hunt the Nine Kings?” She propped her weary head on an elbow. “I barley survived that job last night in Roanoke. The Nine?”
“I have a vacancy to fill,” Stazia said, “and he hand-picked you for the job.” “I---I don’t know,” Kell said. “My mind’s flying in a hundred directions. I just need some time to think on it.”
“This is the highest rank the Order can bestow on a member.” Her boss took up a dignified posture in her screen.
“I need some time to consider your offer. That’s all.”
Stazia’s guise hardened. “I can give you until midnight tonight your time. After that,” she said, “I’ll have to move on to other candidates.”
Chapter 3
Kell strolled through the Art District of downtown Fredrick. After a long shower and a nap, the hunter felt a thousand times better. She slipped into a café tucked in between an arts center and a holistic shop. The Café Moderne might never live up to the Café Bueno or the Dublin Grinders, but its retro French motif suited her. A blond college boy behind the counter perked up as she made her way through the front door.
“Well, well.” He cleared the counter and slung the dirty towel over a shoulder. “Haven’t seen you in a while.”
“Hey, Evan.” She couldn’t hold back the grin.
Evan leaned into the sales counter as
Kell approached. “Been busy then?” She bobbed her head and gave her hair a playful flip. “Sorry. Yeah, a little.”
His big blue eyes peered into hers. “What’ll ya have?”
Kellerika eyed the board over his head.
“Lemmie guess.” Evan’s pecs flexed under his tee as he shifted his stance. “Café au lait. Easy on the lait. Two shots of vanilla. French, of course.”
Stop grinning like a buffoon. “You guessed it.” Kell fished out her card and waited for the kiosk to prompt for payment.
Evan tapped a few button on his screen and set to work on her order. She held her card over the kiosk until it flashed: Payment accepted!
He poured some milk into a carafe and placed it under the machine. “Work around here? I don’t see you in town very much.”
She spoke up over the coffee machine. “No. I’m a paralegal down in Gaithersburg.” What works on Deke should work on sexy barista boy.
Evan turned a smile toward her. “Ah. That explains it.” He poured the frothy milk into the coffee. “You like doin’ all that legal stuff?”
Oh, god. Don’t ask me too many questions. “It pays the bills,” she pointed to his handiwork, “right?”
Evan pumped some vanilla into her drink. “Exactly.” He set her drink in front of her. “Say, maybe if you’re free sometime…”
Kellerika took a nip from her steaming cup. Rejuvenation.
He gulped and continued. “Would you maybe like to uh,” he gave the back of his head a nervous scratch, “go out with me?”
Kell buried her ear-to-ear grin behind her paper cup. She took another drink, regaining some composure. “That would be nice.”
Evan’s face perked up. “It would?”
She chuckled. “Yeah. I could use a break.” She leaned against the display case of pastries and muffins. “What did you have in mind? Dinner? A movie?”
“Pssh.” He tossed his rag on the rear counter. “Hell, no.” He rested a muscular arm on the display case. “There’s this murder-mystery dinner thing that they put on Thursdays through Saturdays.”
Kell raised a brow.
“Interested?”
She took a pen from the cup on the counter. Kell jotted her number on the back of a napkin and slid it across the countertop. “Today’s going to be kinda bad, but call me closer to the weekend, and we’ll work something out, okay?”
Evan snatched it up and stuffed it into a pocket of his jeans. “It’s a deal.” He waved as she strode back toward the door. “Have a nice day,” he pulled the napkin back out, “Kellerika.”
“You, too Evan.” She raised her cup as she propped the door open on a hip.
Once outside, she found a table an made camp long enough to savor her coffee. She sipped her concoction and unlocked her phone. Guess I should give Deke a call and let him know I’m not dead. Kell flipped through some pics in her gallery while his end rang. She landed on one of her huddled close to her ex-fiancé, Dylan. She wore her gray Georgetown sweatshirt. Her hair was back in a pony that day. The Shenandoah River gurgled behind them. The whitewater trip. Her disdain for the boy softened. Such a beautiful day. Kell flipped past it as the line picked up.
“Deke here. What up?”
“It’s Kell.”
A laugh from his end of the line. “Saw that already. So, what’s goin’ on?”
She took another sip. “Hangin’ out. Drinking some coffee.”
“You sound dejected.”
She scoffed. “No, I don’t.”
“Too.”
Kell went back to some pictures of her mom, Camilla and dad, Alvar back in Tampere. Holiday pics around the tree in their best ugly sweaters. “Am not.”
“I’ve known you for how long---since junior year of high school?” A scoff. “Girl don’t think I know when she’s upset. Man.”
“Fine.” She ran the pad of a thumb over the picture. “Say you’re right. So what?”
“Ah.” A hearty chuckle. “Ole Deke got one right, huh? So, what’s gotcha down?”
She mustered a, “Meh.”
“Him again?”
A pair of birds sailed to a soft landing a few feet away.
“Thought as much. You gotta let him go, Kell. Old news, an ‘at.”
She spun her cup in slow circles. “Yeah, but we were planning our lives together. Our entire lives, Deke.”
“Yeah, and home boy waltzed out with his roomie’s younger sister, if memory serves.”
Kellerika groaned. “He’s a dick. I get it.” She downed another gulp.
“Forget him.”
“Maybe it was a one-time mistake.” She tapped the cup’s lid with a nervous nail. Deke guffawed. “Right. So, what’s on your mind, Kell?”
“If I’m keeping you, I can---”
“Not that. Sorry.” He fidgeted with something on his end. “I’m just gettin’ everything ready for the big drop tonight. TO-NOIIGHT!”
Kell giggled. “You’re a dork. What’s dropping?”
“New MMO VR game, baby.”
She leaned back in her chair. “You lost me at M.”
“Never mind. What did you wanna talk about?”
Kell raised her cup. “Got an offer for a promotion.”
“Whaaaat?”
She grinned through a drink.
“You’re gonna take it, right?”
She swallowed and wiped her lips. “Dunno.”
“That legal firm would be straight up dumb not to keep you around.”
She had kept up the masquerade for two years thus far. “It’s more money.”
“’Zactly! That’s why you’re gonna take it.” Deke sounded like the big brother she’d never had.
“I’m thinking about it.”
“Kellerika.” He’d gone into full-blown parental mode. “If you don’t take this promotion---"
“You’ll what? Ground me?”
Deke cleared his throat. “Didn’t know you were goin’ there. We might have to redefine the nature of our association.”
Kellerika dropped her head into an open palm. “You’re impossible. The money would be great, but there’s a lot more responsibility with it, too.”
“It can’t be that bad.”
Her hazel eyes spun in big orbits.
“Guess it is. You should take it anyway, Kell. It’ll be good for you.”
She gripped her cup in a chokehold. “God. You sound like my dad.”
Deke laughed. “How is Alvar these days?”
“Don’t know.” Kell took another hit from her cup. “Haven’t talked to them in a while.”
“Did they have another kid somewhere along the line that we don’t know about?”
This got a genuine chuckle from her. “No! They’re---It’s just… complicated.”
“Well,” Deke said, “in their stead, I have to reiterate: you’re takin’ the promotion, right?”
“What if I don’t like the new job?”
“Ride it out for a while, then find something better.” Fingers snapped on his end. “Simple as that.”
“It’s not that easy.”
“Sure, it is.”
Kell downed the last dregs of her brew. “Coming from a computer genius that has companies banging down his door with amazing offers.” She got up and tossed her cup in the trash. “It’s not the same for a college dropout.”
Deke groaned. “Maybe go back and finish that degree.”
“Eh.” Kell fluttered her fingers in reply to Evan’s final wave.
“You’ve gotta summon that Viking spirit and power through this.”
“What are you into later this evening?”
“Lots of gaming,” Deke said. “Wanna swing by and join me?”
“I’m not that coordinated, Deke.”
“It’s gonna be a full-on virtual fest all night long. Don’t need to mash any buttons.”
“I dunno.”
“Come on!”
She laughed. “Fine. Let me handle this work thing---”
“Take. The. Job.”
“And then maybe I’ll swing by for a while.”
A whoop from Deke. “You won’t regret this, Kell. I promise.”
She winced and started down the sidewalk toward her Highlander. “I always do.”
Chapter 4
She carted her dirty dishes to her sink and ran some water over them. Kell may not have had the best hand-eye coordination, but what she lacked there she more than made up for in the kitchen. She had loved cooking all her life. If not for her father’s insistence on taking the pre-med scholarships to Georgetown, she would’ve wound up as a Michelin chef in a high-end restaurant somewhere.
As she ran warm water over a plate, Kellerika’s mind sped around several corners of how the upcoming call with Stazia might go. I could always throw in some stipulations to the deal.
“Nah.” She sat the plate into the dishwasher. “She’d never go for any of that.”
Kell swished some tap water around in her cup before setting it in the washer as well. She dried her hands on the towel and tossed it on the counter. “Damn it.”
Her phone beckoned her from its sliver of warm sunlight on the coffee table. Her mentor’s words resounded in her mind: ‘Things won’t ever be the same once you’re sworn into this rank.’ Kellerika snagged her beer by its slender neck and settled in on the couch for the inevitable.
Her gaze fell on Roger’s wayguide next to her cell. “But, before all of that…” She picked up the book and flipped through it. She caressed its penned words with a gentle touch. Some of his final entries caught her attention.
‘I have met my old friend Doug and his team. After touring the home and property with them and the suspected medium, Sean, I am confident that one of the Nine Kings is bound to this land. For what reason, I haven’t a clue.’
And, from later that same day:
‘We’ve located the missing team member, Donna. She’s a filthy mess. Doug says she’s been missing for days, and likely hasn’t eaten much (save the rat I saw her eat raw) in that time. I have subdued the girl and bound her to a chair in the dining area with ropes and railroad spikes.’
Then, Roger’s final entry:
‘I’ve attempted to cast the demon from her. Though I’ve succeeded, I fear that I’ve enflamed the situation here. Donna’s soul is somewhere in the walls of this house. A portal has opened up in the dining hall fireplace. After a heated huddle, Doug and I have agreed to let Sean go in after her. This thing is far more powerful than the others. Creator save me.’
Again, Kell used the butt of a palm to clear the tears from her eyes. “God damn it, Roger.” She knew he had done what he swore to do, but it did nothing to numb her loss.
She cleared her throat and took a swig of her beer. “Let’s do this.”
Kellerika patched into a VPN server and requested a hidden connection into the backdoor one of her employer’s many international nodes.
Stand by for your party’s connection…
Kell’s screen blinked up with Stazia. “Ah, Kellerika.” She laced her hands on a desk. “I take it you’ve come to a decision.”
“I have.”
Stazia sat in stoic quietude.
A reluctant grumble. “I’ll take the job.”
Stazia brought her hands together over the desk. “Ah. Very well. Then, on to the next order of business in that regard.”
She took a large leather tome and cracked it open in front of her. “The Oath of the Legion.”The Legion. The most elite of the Ordo Tenebris.
Stazia held up her right hand and set her left on a golden relic resting on the book. “Raise your right hand, and repeat after me.”
Kell did as instructed and echoed the oath: “I, Kellerika Virtanen, do avow and swear that I will defend all creatures large and small from those know as the Nine Kings and any and all emissaries anywhere on this plane of existence. I further attest that, being of sound mind and spirit, I do solemnly vow to seek out and combat these same entities until the end of my days. Should I fail or break any of these vows of my Oath of the Legion taken on this day, any of my brothers or sisters holds the right to take my life by forcing my heart upon their blade and, in the event of my disclosure of any secrets of our Sacred Order, administer the same.”
Her boss closed the book and set it to one side. “Welcome to the Legion, Miss Virtanen. Your first assignment should be an investigation into the McAllister estate, as it’s the one known location of one of the Nine.”
Kellerika’s muscles tensed. Talk about salt in the wound.
“However,” Stazia said, “we have a more pressing proposition that has surfaced.” Kellerika knocked back another dose of booze. “I’m all ears.”
“Dozens of people are either being killed or disappearing entirely around the world. It began today. As of now, most of these have occurred in Japan, China, and the Far East.”
Kell rubbed her hands together. “That’s no big deal. Mafia murders and human trafficking happen all the time.”
“No.” There was a firm resolve in her voice. “These were not isolated incidents. It’s moving like a tidal wave across central Europe.”
“Do we have any leads? Anything that connects the Kings to this?”
Stazia’s face lowered to the desktop. “Not many, I’m afraid. All victims were in their homes at the time of their murders or disappearances.” The fifty-something leader sipped from her porcelain cup.
“A serial killer wouldn’t move that fast,” Kell said.
“We suspect something,” Stazia patted the big leather book, “more sinister afoot, but I need you to investigate.”
Kellerika flipped on her TV. “Where do I start with this?”
Stazia set her cup on a saucer. “I’ll send you the articles and some contacts. See what you can come up with from these while I keep digging from here.” She laced her hands on the tabletop. “We’re all here for you should you need us, Kellerika.”
Chapter 5
Hagerstown traffic was a bitch. Then again, there weren’t many days when it was anything better. Kellerika maneuvered her SUV around a slow couple coaxing their puppy through the crosswalk and made the turn into Deke’s apartment complex.
She scanned the barren parking lot in front of his building. “Not much action around the homestead tonight.” She pulled into a visitor’s spot and shut if off. “Must be a party going on somewhere in town.”
She stopped at the base of the stairs leading up to his second level unit. Even if she were blind, she could find it by following the thumping bass line and Mick Jagger’s voice. “He’s going to get himself evicted.”
Once at the top, she could clearly make out the lyrics to Brown Sugar coming from behind his front door. One set of raps on the door, then another.
Nothing.
“Deke?” She beat on it with a fist. “It’s me. Open up!”
“Hey, Deke!” Kell turned to one side and kicked on the door. Footfalls padded across the apartment’s interior.
Deadbolt followed by the door lock.
Deke bopped to the music and mimicked Jagger into his bottle of root beer. “Oh, you made it.” He danced aside and ushered her inside. “I was beginning to wonder.”
Kell poked an index finger at the floor. “Turn it down.”
Her host bopped to his player and dialed it back.
“Better.” She caught the bottle of Barq’s he tossed at her and popped its top. “I told ya I had to deal with some work stuff before I came over.”
“Oh, yeah.” Deke strode into his living room. “How’d that go, by the way?”
Kell took a drink. “I took it.”
“Whoo!” Deke raised a hand. “Up top.”
She gave him a weak high five and sat in a recliner next to his gaming chair. Deke was a serious gamer: big screen TV, console, surround sound system, VR accessories… the works.
Her eyes focused on the thumbnail image on the screen. “So, what’s the big deal with this new game of yours?”
Deke grabbed a fresh bag of Doritos from the counter and strolled into his chair. “It’s not just a game.” He leaned closer to the screen. “Sweet. It’s loading.” He eased back into his throne. “It’s more than that, Kell. Ever Rain is the most realistic and anticipated multiplayer game ever.”
Kellerika lounged into her chair. “Why is everyone flipping out over one game?”
He readied his VR goggles as he watched the green bar on his screen fill. “The realism. The fact that it nearly gave some of its beta testers a heart attack.”
“And, you want me to play this thing?”
Deke hooked up the spare goggles and passed them to her. “Of course. I’ll go in one-player mode, so you can side saddle and see what I’m doing.”
With reluctance, Kell slipped them on. “Good. You’re less likely to lose belongings this way.”
The game loaded to its opening screen. They stood on a lone suburban street. A sidewalk to their right. A row of tall elms to the left. Nightfall. Fresh rain glistened on the black street under their feet and up ahead. One truck parked a stone’s throw away on the left curb. A distant flash illuminated the low-lying clouds beyond the crest in the road. A shallow peel of thunder grew until it rattled their controllers and goggles.
“Friggin’ awesome,” Deke whispered.
Rain to pattered on the truck’s windshield, the leaves, the road… everything. Words materialized in front of her.
A delicate thunder
.
.
.
Blood like rain
Then, the title surfaced from beneath the gathering water on the street:
Ever Rain
A low droning note accompanied by an almost native pulsating rhythm underneath. A tall muscular silhouette stood on the crest of the road. Deke again. “Sweet.”
Player select 1 or 2 player mode?
“Last chance,” he said. “You wanna?”
“Nope.” Kell didn’t have to think twice.
“No way in hell.”
In a few seconds, a box flashed over one player mode. It blinked and disappeared. The dark figure let his machete hang to his side as he advanced on them.
Male or Female?
Deke hits some buttons. “Just for you, bae.”
The word female blinked and disappeared.
The dark figure was even with the front bumper on the truck. Kell squirmed in her seat. “Oh, shit.” His steel-toed boots echoed off the pavement. Oiled jeans. An old plaid shirt with ivory buttons. Dried blood across the breast pockets. His face covered in a burlap sack. Nasal slits, a mouth hole, and eye holes. He had painted his eyes and mouth with clown makeup: blue on white and red on white. A taught rope secured the sack at his neck.
He chuckled. “This scarecrow’s got brains, bitch.”
He wound his blade up and brought it down, hacking a wide gash across the screen in blood.
“Fuck me!” A jolt of pinpricks coursed through Kellerika. The screen went black, and then…
Chapter One
Her face was covered in some sort of black cloth. Deke tried to move the character’s arms, but they were bound to something. From the hole near her left eye, Kell could make out a stone wall ahead. Dirt floor. Her slender left arm was tied to an old wooden chair.
Something held her neck in place, too. Couldn’t see what. A naked bulb swung in a slow orbit around the chair. Deke hopped the character around. The chair budged, but not much. An inventory folder opened at the bottom of the screen. Nada.
“Damn.” Deke turned to the right some. A small basement window. “Right. Now, how the hell am I?”
“Wait a sec,” Kell said. “Go back.”
The far wall filled the screen again. Deke hopped the chair around until its back’s faced it. The fake leather of Deke’s gaming chair creaked. He was up and into it. Their character crouched.
Kellerika nodded. “Ah. I get it. Very cool.”
Their character backpedaled until her gear rumbled. Wood splinters all around as the girl fell to the floor. The ropes and pieces fell free.
“That’s that.” Deke’s weight shifted on the floor causing it to groan.
Floorboards creaked overhead.
They had the same thought. “Jesus!”
Kell shook the goosebumps from her arms. “Was that you or the game?”
“Son of a bitch,” Deke said. “He’s in the house.”
The character picked up a chunk of its shattered armrest and started up the wooden stairs. Creaks and groans with each one.
“Shit.” Kell inched to the edge of her seat. Her voice dropped to a whisper. “Keep it quiet.”
Deke giggled. “Why are you whispering?”
She scoffed. “Shut up.”
The door stood cracked at the top of the stairs. Deke maneuvered the line of sight toward the home’s front door.
“A good thirty foot sprint to get there.”
Deke hummed in accord. More heavy footsteps around a corner ahead and to their left.
“Man,” Kell whispered, “it swings outward.”
“Can’t budge the door unless I’m ready to run,” he said.
The killer’s voice growled close to the corner. “Goddamn females. Now, I gotta gut the bitch.”
“Hell with it.” Deke’s weight shifted once more.
The basement door flung open and the girl took off. She collided with a burlap sack two paces past the corner.
Kell’s view was close enough to see the dried and cracking face paint around his maniacal black eyes. “Where you think you’re goin’, whore?”
His right arm reared back. Soon, a blade buried deep into the character’s chest. Splotches of blood showered the VR screen.
Replay?
“Son of a bitch!” Deke tossed his wands into his chair in disgust. “It’s way more intense than I expected.”
Kellerika pushed her goggles up on her forehead. “That’s an understatement.”
“Insane, right?”
She laughed. “I can see why this whole VR thing is so popular now.”
Deke stood in front of her, goggles up. “Damn.” He ran his hands over his disquieted expression. He turned and studied the screen. “Maybe we should try it again as a guy.”
“I don’t know if my ticker can take it,” Kell said.
Deke flopped into his chair. “Maybe there’s something different with a dude.”
Kell slumped into her recliner, massaging her eyes with the butts of her palms. Then, a stroke of brilliance. “Wait. That’s it.”
“What’s it?”
She moved to the edge of the cushion. “The shoes. We lose them and then go up the steps.”
“Holy shit.” Deke’s voice trembled. “That might do it.”
He dropped his goggles and grabbed the wands. A blinking box flashed on Yes and restarted the level.
“Jesus, Deke. You’re gonna kill me.”
Once they had freed their girl from the chair again, she reached down and removed her heels.
Kell was pissed. “Why do they always assume a girl wears high heels?”
Deke maneuvered the girl up the steps, this time, nice and quiet. At the top, the killer shuffled around farther away in the same area. The door pried open. So far, so good. Deke pushed farther ajar.
“Front door’s still a shot.”
Deke’s body bounced. “Here goes nothing.” The character wielded a shoe as a weapon and then bolted for the front door. The killer came after her, but this time, she had made it to within a few paces of her escape. Their character got spun around and thrown against the wall beside the front door.
“Goin’ somewhere?” His masked face moves to within inches. He lifted his machete up next to his head. “We haven’t even had dinner yet.”
Deke grunted. The girl swung her heel at his left eye socket. “Light’s out, asshole!”
Kellerika found herself punching the empty space in front of her.
“You all right over there?”
She took a deep breath. “Better.”
The murderer staggered away, groping at the footwear lodged into his socket. The girl’s hand spun the knob and threw the door open.
“Fuckin’ bitch!” The killer wrestled with the irritant.
She stumbled down the lopsided front step and leaped into the grass in the yard. As she ran past the battered and rusted out mailbox, the screen showed parts of its numerals: a two, something that might have been the leg of a one or a seven, the bottom half of a three, and an eight blotted out by black paint. The girl took off down the dirt road. An old F-150 sat parked along the right-hand side.
Deke looked around. “Nothing else for miles, but fields.”
The girl jogged to the pickup and yanked on the driver’s side door.
“Get in the damn truck.” Kell’s hand clamped down on the arm rest.
The car door jiggled. “I’m tryin’. It’s jammed.”
Heavy footfalls across the front porch. “You’re gonna die, bitch!”
Kell’s grip on the armrest intensified. “Damn it, Deke.”
The girl yanked on the handle again. The pickup rocked, but refused to surrender.
“Fuck.” Kellerika pounced out of her seat. “Beat on it with something. Anything!”
Deke shifted the view toward the old farmhouse. Blood oozed from his mangled eye socket. The killer stormed across the front lawn and turned at the wire fence. His machete dropped along the top line, shooting up occasional sparks as he advanced.
“Got it!”
The truck door groaned open. Torn upholstery. Chunks of foam cushion missing. Rust-colored stains on the floorboards and passenger side window. Deke moved the girl inside as the killer kicked the bumper.
“Shit!” Kell stood beside him now. “Fire it up.”
The view surveyed the entire cabin. “There’s no key, Kell.”
A gloved hand shattered the driver’s side window.
Deke stumbled back into Kell. “No, damn you.”
With one thrust, the machete plunged deep into the girl’s chest. Again, blood splattered into their field of view until all was consumed.
Game over. Replay?
“Shit.” Deke heaved his wands into his chair and tossed his goggles on the stand next to the TV.
Kell slid her goggles off and set them next to his.
He paced the room. “Where the hell’s that key?”
Kellerika stopped him on his way back to her and shook his bony shoulders. “Chill out. You can try again later.”
His head of tight black curls bobbed. “Yeah. I need some time to cool off.” Deke paced to the front window and stretched out his back. “That was intense.”
submitted by drumjedi76 to scarystories [link] [comments]


2020.06.26 20:29 workisheat A love letter (ehm, mini essay) for Rumor (PD48 song) + some potentially controversial opinions

Can’t believe the kpopthoughts mod made me go here instead of just let me post there bc apparently “it suits this sub more” lol. I originally wanted to have this in unpopular, but that one is closed so here we are. Pls don’t come after me for my personal takes.
First of all, I’m so late to the whole Produce shebang. This song slaps af. I was watching Eunbi’s fancam and basically fell into this rabbit hole. I even watched the PD48 episodes and different covers SEVERAL times. Soooo, here are my hot takes:
Both IZ*ONE covers (5 and 12 members) are the most boring I’m not talking about their skills or how enjoyable the performances are. Their skills are great, and I’m sure lots of people enjoy it, but it’s so apparent that they’re doing a cover. They merely performed, there was no additional artistic touch to it. It screams “IZ*ONE trying to act badass” the entire time. To paraphrase the choreographer in PD48, they’re too prim and proper while the song needs to be a little “down and dirty”. Eunbi hard-carried it.
Out of IZ*ONE, Minju embodies the song the best. I know that I literally just said that Eunbi hard carried the stage, but I can explain this. Eunbi is a great dancevocalist, she also has that mature and naturally sensual beauty, which makes this song effortless to her. However, her expressions are too “bright” singing the lyrics about a woman blinded by love in a toxic relationship (which is my “criticism” with the rest of IZ*ONE for this particular song, even Chaeyeon). Minju had me shook though. Obviously not the best at singing nor dancing, but damn if her expressions didn’t speak. She looked sultry and captivating but also so vulnerable. Perfect as the center for sure.
NOBODY has epitomized Rumor perfectly alone. Yes, even Go Yujin. I highly disagree with anyone who said that this song was made for Go Yujin or that the final performance was weak and messy without her as the center. This is only true if you view this song as an inherently girl-crush, badass song. Rumor is a traditional love song about a toxic overly dependent relationship dressed in girl-crush concept. You could use the exact lyrics, make it a ballad, and you wouldn’t find any ounce of “girlcrush-ness” in there. My quick takes on SOME Rumor performer who stood out the most: - Go Yujin: nailed it with the girl-crush part. Sexy and sassy, but there’s little to no vulnerability; if anything, she came across as empowered, which is the exact opposite of the song lol. This is obvious in her solo dance. Had she cover Gashina, it would be the exact same as how she did for this song, except Gashina is a better fit because it’s ACTUALLY about empowering yourself, finding your confidence post-breakup, im-better-n-hotter-without-you. - Park Seoyoung (Roya Park): similar to Yujin but less sexy and more badass. Think if 2NE1 and Blackpink have a baby who performs this song. If you listen to Rumor the way you listen to a song just to jam, then Seoyoung and Yujin would undoubtedly blow everybody else out of the water. - Eunbi: an even mix of being sexy, sensual, captivating while still being delicate and vulnerable. But as I said above, she’s a little too “cheerful” sometimes. Her geureohgae malhaebwa is always iconic though. - Minju: probably the best at looking vulnerable. But she’s not audacious enough. Rumor is like a best friend to Psycho but more fiery (or Psycho is like Rumor’s melancholic younger sister), so I think Minju would do better in Psycho. - Sihyun: she’s surprisingly great. I thought she was too innocent looking for this song and her group demo for this song was little lackluster, particularly when Yujin’s group followed right after. I’m glad she proved me wrong. Like Eunbi and Minju, she embodied both the sexiness and the codependent tendency like the song’s supposed to. I’ll give her an edge though since she didn’t smile or accidently came across as sweet or “angelic” and “weak” during her performance. Her walk is classy af, and her “sarangeun da ra ta ta ta” is on the same level of Eunbi’s geureohgae malhaebwa. However, she didn’t sound upset enough in her rap, unlike Chowon who killed that part.
Without Yujin, the final lineup was still impeccable. Rumor is a difficult song to express completely IMO. If you look at the lyrics, there’s so much going on. It goes from “hey yo toxic” to “I want to be trapped in this with you forever” to “BTCH LOOK AT ME IN THE EYES, TELL ME LIKE IT IS” to “love makes me feel butterflies la la la” to “I hate the way you treat me” to “PLS TELL ME YOU LOVE ME”. Nobody could have done the song alone and covered every aspect of it. But as a group? *Chef’s kiss. Everyone is girl-crush material, but no one came across as “only” girl-crush. You have Sian and Sae who effortlessly switch from being fierce to sulky to relented. You have Sihyun going from bemused to slightly accusatory. You have Chowon’s angry, confrontational shout-rap, which builds up the tension to when it cracks and Eunbi explodes with raw, passionate blind love. As much as I feel sorry for Yujin, I genuinely don’t think that the final performance missed anything without her. The stage might have been more powerful with her and/or Seoyoung, but an emphasis on her might have made this song another technically good but soulless girl-crush song IMO.
Edit: just realized that I’d been spelling IZONE as IZONE
submitted by workisheat to kpoprants [link] [comments]


2020.06.04 22:10 ThunderAnt The Wallmoji Movie

My friend recently watched The Blart aside of the Mall and decided to do something similar with The Emoji Movie instead. I pointed out that movie and The Wall are both about 90 minutes long so we decided to watch it with that instead. We started a Hulu watch party, muted the Emoji Movie and started The Wall after the Sony logo faded out. Here are some interesting things we found:
The lyrics to In the Flesh? come in right after the camera moves from reality to textopolis.
“Momma loves her baby” in The Thin Ice comes in while Gene talks to a mother donut is pushing her baby donuts in a carriage.
“A million tear stained eyes” in The Thin Ice while Gene looks at a laughing crying emoji.
“A snapshot in the family album” in Another Brick in the Wall pt.1 while Gene does the eh face with his parents.
“Just a brick in the wall” in Another Brick in the Wall pt.1 while the Emoji wall is introduced.
Happiest Days of our lives plays during the first scene in the classroom.
Mother plays while Gene is talking to his parents.
“Mother should I trust the government” while Gene is being interrogated by Smiler, the highest authority in the Textopolis government.
Goodbye Blue Sky while Gene and Hi-5 are escaping Textopolis which is shown to primarily have a sunny blue sky
Empty Spaces plays while they’re walking in the empty space between apps.
“I need a dirty woman” when Gene and Hi-5 meet Jailbreak, a hacker who does dirty work.
Hey You playing during Just Dance doesn’t fit but it’s funny.
The deep hums in Is There Anybody Out There? while Just Dance is deleted gives the scene a sense of dread as everything falls apart.
Gene saves Hi-5 from the trash bin while the angelic choir crescendos in Bring the Boys Back Home.
The first half of Comfortably Numb plays while Gene’s parents talk in stopped time in a picture
“This is not who I am” in Comfortably Numb while Gene’s dad shows an emotion other than eh
Run like hell starts when Gene is kidnapped by the antivirus and Hi-5 and Jailbreak chase after him.
“Goodbye Cruel world it’s over” in Waiting for the Worms while the phone begins being deleted.
Genes flashbacks while the phone gets deleted is on tempo with Waiting for the Worms
“Was caught red-handed showing feelings” in The Trial while Gene hugs his parents.
“Fills me with the urge to defacate” in The Trial while “Sir Patrick Stewart as poop” appears in the credits.
Outside the wall starts when the post credits scene ends.
All in all certain scenes line up way too well for this to be a coincidence and Roger Waters must have been watching the Emoji movie while writing The Wall.
submitted by ThunderAnt to pinkfloyd [link] [comments]


2020.05.07 22:43 discoskyline -cQetGMzWgw

Ultimate Dance Competition... This week's challenge is technique. I though Tiffany was the bully! It is not Tiffany, it was you! ♪ ♪ Trinity... today is not your day. I'm gonna stop you right here, because I'm gonna use my callback card for you. Oh, my God! (Richy laughs) You are staying at Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition. (crowd cheering) ABBY LEE: And tonight... Our theme is divas. The skill is performance. Please welcome Miss Asia. What is going on? ♪ ♪ You'll never win, believe me. Right. Time for her to go! (cackling) You have to give us more. This is the top five. You make sure you bring it more than Gianna today. That was... a mess. ♪ Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh, oh ♪ ♪ Tonight we're the all-stars ♪ ♪ Gonna go all out into the night ♪ ♪ Spend all our money ♪ ♪ Forget about all our problems ♪ ♪ We're all-stars, gonna go so hard ♪ ♪ Dance in the sky ♪ ♪ You'll see us shinin', lights are blindin' ♪ ♪ We're the all-stars tonight ♪ ♪ Oh, oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh ♪ ♪ Tonight ♪ ♪ Oh, oh, oh-oh-oh ♪ ♪ W-W-W-We're the all-stars tonight ♪ ♪ Now we're the all-stars. ♪ Good morning. Let's move it. CINDY: We're at top five, and everything is getting crazy. It's nerve-racking, it's emotional. We're all here to win. Welcome back. The last callback card has been used. TINA: Trinity came close to going home. She's coming back with a vengeance, I'm telling you. This week, our theme... is divas. The skill is performance. JOJO: This week is my week, because it's diva week. I'm just gonna blow everyone away. This week's challenge is another dance battle. Yes! Now, each one of you are going to battle the ultimate diva. Please welcome Miss Asia. GIANNA: I cannot believe Asia is here. Asia won the dance battle challenge last season. I am not super excited about battling her. How are you? KIRA: Knowing Asia, and what a performer she is, my first thought: Kalani, you better turn it up. Asia... is younger than every single one of you. Let's go! JESSALYNN: This is for JoJo to out-diva everyone. Trinity is going down, McKaylee is going down. Gianna just doesn't have that star quality. And Kalani... girl, you are not gonna win this battle. Is everybody warm? Asia... you're Abby's ultimate diva, season one. I want to see who is Abby's ultimate diva, season two. I need the attitude and the aptitude. McKaylee, we're gonna start with you. SHARI: Come on, McKaylee. Bring your face, girl. ♪ ♪ ABBY LEE: And go, McKaylee! SHARI: McKaylee needs to bring the fire, not just the technical merit. I'm just hoping that this little girl doesn't show up my daughter. ♪ ♪ ABBY LEE: Come on! ABBY LEE: Oh! Oh, Asia, she just told you off. Go back up. You're safe. JoJo, it's time to put up or shut up. ♪ ♪ CINDY: JoJo dances like a little baby, compared with Asia. JOJO: Basically, me and Asia, right now, are doing the same exact thing. She's doing face, I'm doing face. She's doing booty popping, I'm doing booty popping. ♪ ♪ Oh, yeah. Take that, JoJo! Oh, no. Oh, no. You can't copy the moves. JoJo... SHARI: JoJo's two years older than Asia, and... I think JoJo got eaten alive this morning. Kalani, let's go! ♪ ♪ KALANI: Going into battling Asia, I knew that I had to, like, step up my game, because she can pretty much do everything that I can do, but she's seven. And go! ♪ ♪ All right, Kalani, you're safe. Get back up there. Gianna. Come on. ♪ ♪ JESSALYNN: Gianna has no confidence. None. You cannot have any insecurities when you're battling that little diva. GIANNA: Asia dances like a little kid who had too many Pixy Stix at a club. (laughing) Gianna, you're clapping for her! You're out! GIANNA: She's seven years old. Of course I'm gonna laugh if she's booty popping in my face. You clapped for her! Come on! You were great, honey. And I'm glad you clapped for her. She was cute. ABBY LEE: She's the enemy! You don't clap for her! Trinity. TRINITY: It's just, like, really weird to go home, then come back. So I'm really gonna have to show Abby that even if you put me in the bottom, I'm never gonna give up. Let's see what you've got. I'm gonna win the challenge. ♪ ♪ TRINITY: It's like I'm battling, like, myself. We have the same body tone. We're so small and compact. ABBY LEE: Oh, yeah! Send her home! Trinity, you're gone. She came after you and got in your face, and you let 'em see you sweat. I was surprised; she held back. She should've just rocked it. Sometimes she has to lose in order to come up on top. ABBY LEE: All right, ladies. You made it through the first round. Who will win our performance challenge? This is round two. We're changing it up a bit. You two will face off. And, Asia, you're gonna help me judge. Kalani and McKaylee, they gave Asia a run for her money. But I'm looking for a diva. ♪ ♪ Kalani is... a Abby favorite. But there is a maturity missing when she dances. JESSALYNN: McKaylee... you look like a pedestrian walking down the street to buy a loaf of bread. Could you start dancing soon? Because you're boring me to pieces. Didn't see too many tricks that I haven't seen before. KIRA: McKaylee-- she wasn't fierce. She was just like, "Look at me, I'm pretty." ABBY LEE: Oh! I think we have a winner! McKaylee... Kalani... one person stepped on stage and exploded. Kalani, you are our challenge winner. Congratulations. Kalani used the stage. She came after you and got in your face. And you did that sissone pitch jump... twice. Congratulations, Kalani. Everybody up on stage. Kalani, ha! She won. Go figure. Does Abby have, like, a screw loose somewhere? All right, Kalani, for the reward, you will get to pick your routine. And... you pick the next person who gets to choose their routine. And so on. We're going to do a little... diva chain. Winning the challenge feels great because... I like being in power. You can pick a contemporary solo based on Cleopatra. A jazz-funk routine based on Marie Antoinette. You could choose sassy jazz routine about a movie star. Or... a hip-hop duet based on stars like... Nicki Minaj. GIANNA: In the diva chain, I'm really hoping to get contemporary. It's really crazy knowing that one of us is gonna get stuck with whatever's left. Are you ready to make your selection? My sassy jazz last time blew the judges away. That might be good to do it again. I was great and I won them over. I want the sassy jazz routine. So, you played it safe and took the sassy jazz. I wonder if you'll regret that decision. Now you get to pick who goes next. JoJo. JoJo! There are two solos left. Both of them, I think extremely interesting. I have no idea who Maria Antoinette and Cleo Pacho is. I mean, who are... who even are those people? I would love to have the hip-hop duo. You want to do the hip-hop duet? Psh, that's me. Now, choose the person that gets to pick their routine next. Be very careful. No. JESSALYNN: Pass it to Trinity because if I get paired with Cindy, I will kill you. She is off-the-deep-end crazy. Okay. JESSALYNN: Trinity's hard to dance with. She's a big performer, too. But I think at least with Tina, she has, like, common sense and credibility. I pick Trinity to go next. I would also like the hip-hop duet. What an interesting turn of events. The last time Trinity and JoJo danced together, JoJo was outshined by Trinity. ABBY LEE: JoJo, standing next to Trinity, you disappeared. TINA: If I was her mother, I wouldn't have picked hip-hop. Trinity, there are two solos left. Who is going to get to pick the solo that they want? McKaylee. Really? You're setting me up with failure. Now I'm stuck with the worst number. It is getting on my damn nerves. McKAYLEE: Um, I would like to do the contemporary, the Cleopatra one. Gianna, you will portray the role of Marie Antoinette. GIANNA: I don't know who Marie Antoinette is. I have a lot of homework to do. She really is in the JoJo world. Like, she really thinks she's better than everybody. Who cares? Are you not a teacher? Don't you go home and teach...? Any attention is good attention, Cindy. God. Do you not know that? KIRA: Cindy is attacking Jessalynn once again. CINDY: You know what's funny? Those girls are gonna smoke her in this diva dance. KIRA: Any time Cindy talks, I just turn off and block. It'll look ridiculous. She can't keep up with the big girls now. Look in the mirror, you'll see ridiculous. I think the biggest problem I have with Jess is she's stupid. You'll never win, believe me. Right. Time for her to go. Bye-bye, JoJo. You've been saying that for a while, but you've been wrong. (cackling) JESSALYNN: Welcome to diva week. ABBY LEE: Coming up... Turn that foot out! You have to give us more. This is... the top five. VICTOR: Six, seven... (whoops) Ah, yes, bigger! ABBY LEE: This week, we're doing performance as our skill. And the theme is divas. JOYCE: Look at that audience. Lots of fun, lots of sass, lots of personality. Diva. I love it. So, you're going from, "Oh, coffee." "Oh, a camera! You want me to perform?" All this character's got to come in, you know? Lights, camera... action. KALANI: I got to pick my dance this week, and I chose sassy jazz, because I killed it last time. Might as well just do it again. One, a-two, three, a-four. Yes. I got style, I got sass, and I can work it. VICTOR: Take your time, take your time. ABBY LEE: Kalani won the challenge. I think she should've done a slow, controlled, elegant, contemporary routine. What does she do? She makes the completely wrong choice. What are you thinking, kid? I just think that it was your moment to show us something different. I mean, mesmerizing contortion acrobatic tricks. (snaps fingers) Use it, sweetie. That's your asset, and you're not doing it. VICTOR: Switch that... one-arm walkover. We'll do that into an aerial, and then we'll do the other side. ABBY LEE: I just hope that she didn't make a mistake by not doing the contemporary dance. I'm not sure that my kid's "sassy jazz" choice was the best choice for her. But she can perform, so I think she's fine. ♪ Welcome to the show of Trin and Jo ♪ ♪ Shake it out, boom ♪ ♪ Shake it out, ha. ♪ Dancing with Q as a choreographer is really, really fun. You guys are like a hip-hop super group, and that this is the opening number of your concert. So it's got to be like... Whoom! Hmm. Ha! Mmm. Yeah? It's all about the attack. He's like, "Gah, gah, yah!" And I'm just like, "Yes!" Two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight and shout, shout, shout, dune-dune, cah! Five, ooh, seven and eight! Yeah, one more time for JoJo. With JoJo, it's always a timing issue. JoJo can't dance up to my level. Cah-chu, cah-chu, cah-chu, cah. Yes, exactly. We need something to partner up with that. That's perfect. I just be like, "Hey, hey, hey!" Right, and then you'll be "hey-ing" on home. (laughs) This is the diva week. This is for JoJo to out-diva everyone. Q: Need to see two hip-hop divas. Not one and a half, not one, not none for the whole performance. JOJO: I don't feel like Trinity's too good. I can be better than her. It's crunch time. JOYCE: Dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, bow! Harder! Ha! Hup! Hup! It's lazy, it looks lazy. I'm nervous for my solo because I didn't even get to pick my dance. I just got stuck with whatever's left. So I have a lot of homework to do. Pow! Uh, see... Know what happened? Point that foot and heel. Edgy Marie Antoinette, right? You didn't get your way. Find something that, um, that motivates you to want to kick, to want to, you know, have a tantrum. CINDY: What the hell? I do not want these mothers coming in and watching my daughter dance. Jessalynn's a snake in the grass. The woman drives me crazy. Huh, hip! (groans) Bup, bup! JESSALYNN: Since Cindy felt necessary to pick on JoJo, I thought I'd pay her a little visit today at Gianna's solo rehearsal. JOYCE: You've lost the diva-ness at the beginning here. JESSALYNN: I think Gianna is out of her league here. And when it comes right down to it, it shows. Go from the kicks. I think it's good to do that over and over and over again. She kept getting flustered, and they kept going over and over and over things. Hold that knee in close. Now, lift that heel. Heel, heel! Heel up to the ceiling. I think we're good. Bye, guys. JESSALYNN: After seeing Gianna's dance, I am not worried about a thing. The hip-hop duo-- it's way better for JoJo. We've got this in the bag. I am so glad I didn't pick that one, it is not funny. (chuckles) ♪ ♪ McKaylee is Cleopatra this week. This is the night before she gets crowned, and she's to become this beautiful queen. ♪ I-I-I-I am so beautiful ♪ ♪ Oh, yeah, I am so beautiful. ♪ Turn that foot out! All right, you have to give us more. This is the top five. No more callback cards, no second chances. Somebody is going home. I'm really worried that the judges aren't gonna think I'm diva enough. I see tears in your eyes. What's the matter? I just didn't like it. I came from Nebraska, and Nebraska's just corn and wheat for miles. I grew up that way. And I feel like for my solo, I have to find an inner diva that I just need to kind of pull out somewhere. The theme is diva. I'm not a diva. We have to give it our-- everything you have. (sniffles) Not this week. ABBY LEE: Coming up... I'd like to (bleep) punch her in the face. She is such a bitch. I'm really getting pissed. Diva week. Here we go. (sighs) Back to the bump and grind. Mom, I need eyelashes. Ow! TINA: You okay today? Mom, I'm fine. JoJo, dance as big as you can and don't hold back. JOJO: I'm not really afraid that Trinity's any better than me, because she went home, basically, last week. She would be long gone by now. She would be at home crying in her bed because she left. Give it your all. Kill it, okay? I still don't understand why JoJo picked hip-hop. But Trinity will not dance down. This is not a time to dance down. So if she has to leave someone in the dust, then she's going to. This week is performance, so it's all about your diva. So now you have to show Richy and Rachelle. Kalani wanted a sassy jazz to perform. I don't know if she made the right choice or not, but, Kalani, you better be a diva. (applause, cheering) Look at this! I'm Kevin Manno. Welcome to the stage show of Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition. We still have five players in the game to win $100,000 and that scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School of New York. Make some noise for Rachelle Rak! (whoops) Richy Jackson! And of course, Abby Lee Miller. Every one of these dancers has fought to be here. But tonight, it's all about the performance. I need to see diva attitude. The competition is going to get interesting tonight. Time for our first solo performance of the evening. Just do your best. This is gonna be Gianna's third solo. And she has a hard time with feeling confident. Every time she gets on that stage, Abby's just knocking her down. Leave everything out on that stage, okay? But this week, performance week? This is where my daughter will shine. Please welcome Gianna to the stage in a piece called "Let Them Eat Cake." (opening to Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 plays) (hip-hop music playing) ♪ I wanna look like they do in magazines ♪ ♪ And then I'll walk around like I don't care ♪ Yeah, live it. Live it. Let it. Get it. ♪ Vogue, whoa-oa-oh, c'est la mode ♪ ♪ C'est, hey-hey-hey ♪ ♪ No, whoa-oa-oa, vogue ♪ ♪ We don't mind, we don't mind the things we do for fashion ♪ ♪ We don't mind, we don't mind ♪ ♪ The things we do ♪ ♪ For-for-for-for-for fashion ♪ ♪ For-for-for, the things we do for fashion ♪ ♪ For-for-for, the things we do for fashion ♪ ♪ For-for-for, the things we do for fashion. ♪ (song ends) (cheering) Oh, my God, that's so good! KEVIN: Let's hear it for Gianna! Abby, we'll start with you. Is Gianna proving that she belongs here? (crowd booing) Boo! Okay... there's some technical things. I just have to address the battement combination. It was the front, the front, the side, the kick your head. You didn't kick your head. Understand? And look down at your shoes, honey. The shoes are dirty. Why do your shoes not match your leg? Should I go on? Was it good? Yes. Was it good enough? I don't know. The performance... the skill is performance, right? It this about performing or what? Performance. (crowd cheering) Good job. From the top, as soon as the lights went down, and you hit that... (humming) I was in. Your facial expressions, commanding. I loved the cake, I loved the outfit. At the end of the day, this performance was so everything, I didn't look down at your feet, 'cause I didn't care anymore. CINDY: That's performance! Performance night! RACHELLE: Marie Antoinette, you were glamorous, glorious, and you were on fire. (crowd cheering) Thank you. You showed strength, versatility, the turns, the jumps, the effortlessness. That is a professional. It was one of your best performances, for sure. RICHY: Yes, I agree. Let's hear it for Gianna. Judges, thank you so much. You can head back to the green room with your mom. (crowd cheering) Great job. Come here, baby. That was freakin' awesome. That (bleep) Abby. I'd like to (bleep) punch her in the face. Really, she is such a bitch. Come on, Abby. Really? We're worried about her shoes? I'm sick of her yakking away, her stupid (bleep). Mom, could you, like...? I'm really getting pissed. At any moment, I would have ran up and wrung her neck. So there's nothing we could do about it. I don't care what she says. Mom, calm down! It's okay! ABBY LEE: Coming up... Big performance, okay? This is your favorite, Abby, so let's hear it. KEVIN: For winning the challenge, she got to choose her dance; do you think she made the right choice? No. Be Cleopatra. I'm just not sure that McKaylee can bring that kind of a diva to the stage tonight. I'm nervous McKaylee will be going home tonight. This next dance is a number inspired by Cleopatra. Please welcome McKaylee. (applause) (acoustic guitar playing pop music) ♪ When I look in the mirror ♪ ♪ I want to be beautiful ♪ ♪ 'Cause I just got my hair done ♪ ♪ I want to be beautiful ♪ ♪ And when a stranger sees me, I-I-I ♪ ♪ I want to be beautiful ♪ ♪ And when I'm praying on my knees ♪ ♪ I-I-I want to be beautiful ♪ ♪ Sometimes ♪ ♪ I start to losing my mind ♪ ♪ And somewhere in me ♪ ♪ It says that I-I-I-I ♪ ♪ I am bound to be ♪ ♪ Beautiful ♪ ♪ Bound to be beautiful ♪ ♪ I'm gonna be so much more ♪ ♪ Yeah, I want to be beautiful ♪ ♪ I want to be beautiful ♪ ♪ Want to be beautiful ♪ ♪ I am so beautiful ♪ ♪ Want to be so much more ♪ ♪ Yeah, I want to be beautiful. ♪ (crowd cheering) That was good, though. She had a lot of jumps. Tonight, you were... ...diva. You had beautiful technique. You used your feet. When you used the vanity to lean on for the tilt, you always want to keep your arm in line with your leg. Like, the same parallel line. Okay. I thought it was fantastic. (applause) Yay! This is the person that I always want to see dancing. You were a diva whether you were looking at us or not. The performance element was great. So great job. Thank you. McKaylee, if your prop is rolling on you, it's because you're pushing against it, rather than down and lifting yourself. But what I did see was a lot of stillness and strength. It is lovely to see you do that and to be in character. Very good. Thank you. Yay! That was so... McKAYLEE: It is so amazing just hearing the judges say that my performance was great, and Richy actually saw what he needed to see. And it just... everything just lifted off my shoulders, and it was great night. All right, kid, you got this, right? Yeah. KIRA: Hopefully, Kalani proves that she made the right choice, and hopefully all works out. Big performance, okay? Please welcome Kalani. (applause) All right, let's watch. (pop music playing) ♪ Lights, camera, action ♪ ♪ Raw perfection never looked so good ♪ ♪ No connection ♪ ♪ NYC to Hollywood ♪ ♪ Such a stunner ♪ ♪ You want a little insight ♪ ♪ Catch me later ♪ ♪ On Entertainment Tonight ♪ ♪ When you know what you want to be ♪ ♪ Yeah ♪ ♪ You make a dream reality ♪ ♪ Yeah ♪ ♪ That's the life for me ♪ ♪ That's the life for me, me, me ♪ ♪ Come on, give me, give me ♪ ♪ Lights, camera, action ♪ ♪ That's where everything happens ♪ ♪ I need to live in that ♪ ♪ Life so glamorous ♪ ♪ It's a rush ♪ ♪ Are you ready for the bright lights ♪ ♪ Big time, I say ♪ ♪ All right ♪ ♪ Yeah, I'm really eating it up ♪ ♪ Come on, give me, give me ♪ ♪ Lights, camera, action ♪ ♪ Oh ♪ ♪ That's where everything happens ♪ ♪ I need to live in that life so glamorous ♪ ♪ It's a rush ♪ ♪ Give me, give me lights, camera, action ♪ ♪ That's when everything happens ♪ ♪ Take my picture ♪ ♪ Make sure I'm fabulous ♪ ♪ Fabulous ♪ ♪ Oh, oh. ♪ (shutter clicking) (crowd cheering) This is your favorite, Abby, so let's hear it. KEVIN: Abby, she got to choose her dance; do you think she made the right choice? No. We saw a tilt. You took it over; I think everybody can probably do that. I wanted you to do something like an acrobatic solo that would have every single person in this audience speechless. That's what being a diva is. Untouchable. RICHY: It wasn't bad-- great choreography-- but as far as what I need from Kalani, I need a diva. I need someone who's not afraid to show me the inside, the character, the personality, because you have everything else. RACHELLE: I thought it was a sassy diva out there that I was watching. The moment you hit that first pose and crossed your leg and held on to the chair, you were a diva. Thank you. So great improvement, and thank you. Excellent. KIRA: Rachelle definitely gave Kalani credit and said that she stepped outside the box, out of her comfort zone. And she did. I don't want them to see me. Kill it. All right. Like you've never killed anything before. JESSALYNN: I don't want JoJo to know this, but deep down inside, I am freaking out. The last time Trinity and JoJo did hip-hop together, Trinity was so powerful. JoJo needs to match that power. Otherwise, we'll be on the chopping block. Please welcome Trinity and JoJo. (applause) CINDY: All right, here they go. ♪ We're gonna shake down the heavens ♪ ♪ We're gonna shout it out ♪ (upbeat pop music playing) ♪ So if you want it ♪ ♪ Yeah, you got to shout out ♪ ♪ Scream it loud ♪ ♪ Tell them what it's all about ♪ ♪ What's that sound ♪ ♪ Coming up from the crowd? ♪ ♪ And pull my toes to my head ♪ ♪ Making me see red ♪ ♪ Uh, uh, uh, uh, uh ♪ ♪ Uh, uh, uh, uh, uh ♪ ♪ Uh, uh, uh, uh, uh ♪ ♪ Uh, uh, uh, uh, uh ♪ ♪ We're gonna shake down the heavens ♪ ♪ We're gonna shout it out ♪ ♪ Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh ♪ ♪ Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh ♪ ♪ Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh ♪ ♪ Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh ♪ ♪ Let me hear you shout ♪ ♪ So if you want it ♪ ♪ And if you need it ♪ ♪ And you won't back down ♪ ♪ If you believe it ♪ ♪ Then you got to shout out ♪ ♪ Scream it loud ♪ ♪ We're gonna shout it out ♪ ♪ Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh ♪ ♪ Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh ♪ ♪ Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh ♪ ♪ Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. ♪ (music ends) (crowd cheering) Rachelle saved Trinity last week with her callback card. What do you think? Well, honey, you brought the sass to the table. You-you know... I mean, if I could just go like this and throw my... I just want to go, "Take it." Put it on; you deserve it. You are the epitome of strength and power. Thank you. Thank you, thank you so much. Thank you. Trinity, not only did you give me diva, but your performance was top competition level. So great job; I'm so proud of you. Thank you, thank you so much. I don't have anything to say. Aah! RACHELLE: That's a first. (crowd cheering) RICHY: Now, JoJo-licious, as far as the performance goes, I don't want to say that hip-hop's not your thing. I feel like hip-hop is your thing. It just might not have been good next to Trinity, because she left earth. This routine, you should've killed. RACHELLE: JoJo, you don't hit the steps quite as hard, with quite as much momentum and strength that I would like to see. You back off, you get a little bit behind the beat, you're a little delayed. And I don't want that to happen. ABBY LEE: JoJo, that front walkover that you did, your arms weren't by your ears, your head wasn't the last thing to come up. You were a beat behind once again. This week, "the performance week," was made for you. When you do your solo, you're a star, but not standing next to Trinity. Choosing this duet and then throwing the diva chain to Trinity was not a smart choice. I don't know what you were thinking. Yeah, that was the dumbest move she could've made. Jess should have never listened to her nine-year-old. I would've been like, "You're doing the solo, that's it." I would've said that, too. JOJO: Honestly, it kind of sucks when Abby has nothing bad to say about Trinity, and she has nothing good to say about me. But you know what, Trinity may have danced better than me, but I know I'm a good dancer. (crying) ABBY LEE: Coming up... I was looking for an outstanding performance. That was a mess. One of you is going home tonight. Well, here we are. The fierce five. Not too fierce tonight. The challenge was performance. Kalani-- I thought she would've wowed us more doing something different. Not the same old, same old. You thought she was gonna choose a lyrical or contemporary. Whatever her excuse was, it was wrong. This was not a good choice for Kalani-- a step down. I wanted more from her. She may have just reached her peak. I've made it this far; I've made it to top five. I, of course, want to stay here till the end. McKaylee? I don't think McKaylee is going home. I feel like she's taken the most critiques and actually applied them. ABBY LEE: I need to see her make wiser decisions for her body, for her lines. Okay. That back attitude could've been lengthened and extended. She needs to arch her back. RICHY: The duet. Well, was it a duet? Not at all. The duet. It was a solo. It was not a duet. It was two solos side-by-side. RACHELLE: The one thing about JoJo, if anything, she is a performer. She is just loving being onstage. Why would JoJo say, "I want to do a hip-hop duet next to Trinity"? Well, that was definitely a wrong move on JoJo's part. Yes. She got blown away. I think that bleach is just sinking into that kid's brain. Is one bad choice enough to get JoJo sent home? JoJo, you're good, you danced good. I'm not known for my technique. I'm known for my performance. I'm known for my stage presence. I deal with cute day in and day out. If the judges send JoJo home on performance week, they're crazy. All right, next up, Gianna. She commanded this stage. She... yeah. She commanded it. She gave more command tonight, I think, than anyone. Than anybody. I have a problem with Gianna's dancing. Her technique-- I just don't see a lot of flexibility. You can't kick your head and not even come close. Okay. And she was like... (grunting) Well, we know her strength is not in the flexibility that we talk about. Right, so you don't do whack, whack, whack. Well, I thought she was hitting it. I thought she... She never has anything nice to say to her. Never. We're gonna hand somebody $100,000 in cash and a full scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School of New York. Right. That's amazing. ABBY LEE: Who's gonna go there and use that training the best? Who's gonna represent me the best? We will see about that. GIANNA: Going into elimination, it's definitely a lot more pressure, knowing that there's no more callback cards and there's no more second chances, and that whoever gets eliminated tonight is really going home this time. ABBY LEE: I was looking for outstanding performance. Did people stand out tonight? Yes. Were they perfect? No. Gianna, I want you to have better feet, and I certainly, certainly expect for you to get more flexible. The only reason that your legs aren't up to here is because you don't care. You don't want them to be there, because if you did, they'd be there. Don't think about it, don't talk about it. Just do it. Richy and Rachelle loved you. So you're staying for one more week. Go see your mom. (applause) Congratulations, sweetheart. I didn't know Richy and Rachelle had so much power over Abby, 'cause I know Abby did not want her safe. I stretch every night. I know you do. McKaylee, show us that you're more than just another pretty face. Cleopatra... ...continues to reign as queen of the dance floor. (applause) Thank you. Trinity, after almost going home last week, you have proved that you are a contender for Abby's ultimate dancer. Go see your mom. (applause) KEVIN: All right, down to two. Can you two moms please come join? Thank you. Both of you started out day one as divas. Kalani, you came to this competition the dancer that everyone aspires to be. You won the challenge, and you had the opportunity to be a movie star. I don't think you made the best choice. JoJo, your buddy here handed the diva chain off to you. I think doing a duet with Trinity was a mistake. We wanted to see you come out and wow us. That was a mess. One of you is going home tonight. Kalani... ...you've got one more week, kiddo. My God. JoJo, today is not your day. Okay. (crying) (applause) You did good. You know, all I really would like to say to you is thank you for this experience, thank you for having me here. I'm nine years old, and I'm in the top five of Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition, which is huge for me. (applause) That's a great attitude. She continues to impress. Standing ovation. (crying) I don't want you to leave. I-I don't want it, either. I have to. KIRA: JoJo and Kalani, they're best friends here, so Kalani is devastated. You did good. No matter what anyone says, you did good. All right. All right? Eventually, everyone's gonna go home. Eventually, everyone... I know, your heart's broken. I know. It's okay. CINDY: The kid, as annoying as she was, stayed till top five, so good for her. It was time. Let's go home. Okay. All right, let's go home. JOJO: I'm very proud of myself for making it this far in the competition, but I'm gonna be honest, I can't believe it's over. It's okay. JOJO: Kalani, if you don't win this, I'm gonna slap you as hard as I can. Do you have any last dance moves to do? It's okay. ABBY LEE: Next time on Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition... This week's theme is "down the rabbit hole." This is the last competition before the finals. Shut up! SHARI: The only person you were thinking about was you! No (bleep)! It's $100,000, bitch! I'm here to win. KIRA: So just say, "Okay," and get over it. ABBY LEE: We've all had a long night. Some of us got on the "go home" list. This is killing me. Captioning sponsored by A&E TELEVISION NETWORKS
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2020.04.25 15:26 KTKloss Alcohol and Bisquits

[Bismarck, Prinz Eugen]
12/BP
The street was empty, no one was outside this late. The steetlighst were shining bright on the pavement, the crosswalks were deserted. Everything was quiet. Except this one building. Light was shining through the windows, laughter and singing was audible. A big sign was over the door, advertising a pub. One man was sitting on the sidewalk, leaning against the wall. He was sleeping, the cap of his uniform had fallen of his head. The door flew open, two men were stumbling outside. They were singing, mumbling the lyrics of a song. One still had the bottle of alcohol in his hand. They were supporting each other, so they couldn’t fall on the road. Both were completely drunk. She looked at the sailors in disgust. They weren’t even looking at her, they were just mumbling and stumbling across the road. Luckily, no car was near. They would have been hit otherwise. The door had closed, the music was rumbling through the closed windows. She sighed and moved forwards. She grabbed the door handle and pulled it open.
Loud music was hitting her, loud and out of order. Some instruments weren’t tuned right. All sailors were completely drunk, singing and dancing. The air was filled with smoke from cigarettes, sweat and the overwhelming smell of alcohol. Some girls were serving the men, which were growling across the whole room. Nearly all tables were seated, the house was completely full. All sailors were from the Ironblood, their Uniform partly opened, the caps thrown away or hanging from the heads. The men were singing loudly, drinking beer and alcohol in masses. A boot came flying across the room, missing her by just a few centimetres. It landed against the wall besides her, falling against the floor. One man was bellowing some song. She could recognize the lyrics, but the rhythm was completely off. One soldier came stumbling, his steel helmet dented. He ran uncontrolled straight into the wall. The helmet became dented even more. He fell to the ground, completely passed out. His green uniform was littered with puke and beer. The smell was unbearable.
She searched through the moving masses. She found her target and moved one step into the masses. Some man was bumping into her. He turned around, beginning to scream around. But as he looked into her face, he went completely white. His eyes widened, he stumbled back. He tried to straighten up and began to salute. The men on the table just grinned at him until they looked at her. They went white, then they jumped up and saluted also. More and more people were acknowledging the presence of her. They stood up and began to salute. Only a few men were lying on the ground, probably passed out. The music stopped, everyone tried to look as sober as possible. They all stared at her, saluting.
Bismarck was just looking in all the eyes, widened in shock. The uniforms weren’t sitting correctly, partly they were covered in puke and alcohol. She tried to slip through undetected, but seemingly, it didn’t work. She had left her banner and her coat in the base, but her cap and her dress were sign enough. She was standing in the middle of all the drunk men. “Weitermachen, I haven’t seen anything.”, she said, waving at the music. The music began to play. A few men were sitting down again, but the cheerful atmosphere was destroyed. Some men were lifting up their drunken comrades, trying to sober them back up. All were staring at her. She was like a beacon. She was standing in the masses, her blonde hair perfect as always, her cap perfectly centred. A problem being the flagship was, that she couldn’t go anywhere unseen and undetected. She steered towards the bar, where several men were sitting. Some officers were saluting for her, she just nodded. The officers were drunk also, but at least in an orderly manner. They were trying to keep the honour. In contrast to the other men, blackout drunk, fighting for fun. She moved further, the men were making space for her. She steered towards one person, sitting in the last seat at the bar.
The person was hunched over the counter, the head laying on the wood. The hands were holding a glass and a bottle of alcohol. The white hair was hanging down, shielding the face from the pub. Prinz Eugen was snoring slightly, leaned against the wall. She was sleeping, the sudden cutout of the music hadn’t waken her up. Bismarck was moving besides her, grabbing her shoulders. Prinz Eugen was sleeping really tight. Bismarck was shaking her. The white hair was waving, but she didn’t wake up. The snoring continued. Bismarck sighed and pulled the shoulders up. Prinz Eugen’s head was rolling to the side, the eyes still closed. Her hands were slipping off the bottle, but she stayed asleep. “Prinz Eugen! Aufwachen! Wake up!”, Bismarck said quite loudly. The snoring stopped, her eyes were opening slightly. Her mouth began to move, confused mumbling was coming from her. She tried to straighten herself up. Bismarck tried to keep her upright, she was in danger of falling from the seat. “L……Lass….. mich doch…… nur…..nen…..bischen….”, Prinz Eugen mumbled. She tried to grab the bottle, but grabbed several centimetres away into the air. “Verdammt! Sober up. You are embarrassing everyone!”, Bismarck shouted at Prinz Eugen. The harsh word seemed to work, Prinz Eugen was waking up. She was looking at Bismarck’s face. A drunk smile was appearing on her face. She began to giggle slightly. “Hehehehe….. Oh…… Bisquit…… Hehehehe”, she just mumbled. That was enough. Bismarck grabbed the arms of Prinz Eugen and pulled her off the seat. The girl was so heavy. She supported the completely drunk Shipgirl, wrapping her arms around her. Some officers were trying to help her. “Nein, I can do that alone.”, she denied. Prinz Eugen was still giggling and grabbed the bottle. Both were stumbling outside, Prinz Eugen was too unstable to walk alone. The whole club was looking after them as they went through the door. It was a strange sight. The so accurate and precise Bismarck, supporting the completely drunk Prinz Eugen.
The cold air outside seemed to sober Prinz Eugen up even more. The giggling had stopped, but she was still unable to walk alone. Bismarck was groaning. The Shipgirl was so heavy. She sat Prinz Eugen on a bench near a tree. She was beginning to sing, putting the bottle to her lips. Bismarck knocked the bottle out of her hands. It flew across the street and shattered on the ground. Prinz Eugen howled. “Was soll das den? I have paid that with good money!”, she wined. She looked at Bismarck, pouting. But Bismarck was fuming. Her blue eyes were sparkling, her fists were clenched. “Verdammt noch mal! You are shaming the whole Ironblood with that behaviour! You have responsibility as a shipgirl, so act like one!”, she shouted. Prinz Eugen backed away, surprised by the sudden outrage. Bismarck was standing over her, fuming. She looked so scary. Her so beautiful face was looking angry at her, her teeth were showing in an angry grin. Prinz Eugen could feel the force of the flagship, the unbearable power. “I want a explanation for that action!”, Bismarck shouted further. “Well, I wanted to have… Some fun…”, Prinz Eugen mumbled, “We leave …tomorrow, so I wanted to celebrate the first action…” “That is no excuse for getting Blackout drunk!”, Bismarck countered. Prinz Eugen had been drunk, shaming the whole fleet. At least no other ships had seen her in this state. Yet. It was only a matter of time. They would depart tomorrow, their first mission in this war. The crew was preparing their ships, Bismarck would talk with her captain right now, planning the course and some other things. But she was here, shouting at the completely drunk Prinz Eugen. “Awww, cmon Bisquit! Lemme have some fun!”, the drunk Shipgirl pouted.
That was enough. Bismarck grabbed her shoulders and teared her to the ground. Prinz Eugen howled as her head hit the cold stone. She tried to stand back up, but failed. Bismarck stood over her, shouting. “DAS REICHT! Don’t call me like that. I am the Flagship of the Ironblood, so have some respect! I can get you sent back into dock, so be grateful that you can depart for a mission with me! Either you learn how to treat the higher Ships, or you have some serious problems! I am sure that some Shipgirls are eager to take your spot!”. The shouting was filling the street, echoing from the houses. The quiet sobbing of Prinz Eugen was just audible. She lied on the ground, her arms around her head. Her uniform was dirty, full of alcohol and dirt from the street. Her white hair was lumpy, her makeup was smeared. It was shame to see a shipgirl in such a state. This behaviour was unacceptable. Bismarck straightened her dress and centred her cap. She turned around and walked back to the port. “I want a detailed report with your apology for this evening tomorrow. I’m trying to forget your words whilst talking to the admiral.”, she said, walking away.
Prinz Eugen sobbed, laying on the ground. She had a small wound on the side of her head. Everything was turning, the world was so unstable. She tried to stand up and walk a few steps. She tumbled down the street, leaning against the walls of the houses. She searched for the bottle, but remembered that Bismarck had tossed it away. The sharp shards of glass were reflecting the warm light of the streetlights. She tried to focus. One step after another. Baby steps. She tumbled back to the dock, back to her ship. It was docking across the harbour. The silhouette of Bismarck was darkening the lights of the city, not a single light was lit. She stumbled towards the ship as some men of her crew saw her. They were supporting her, asking if she was okay. She just nodded. The alcohol had worn off quite a bit. She saw now clearly, the glowing stars over the harbour were so beautiful. Her crew brought her into her cabin. They were taking care of her. It was so wonderful. She just fell in her bed, still with her uniform. She fell asleep nearly instantly. The sleep was deep, without any dreams. Snoring was audible across the whole ship, the crew made some jokes. They knew about the drinking. Some were even buying her some alcohol, it was a good profit. She was so cold, so unemotional when she was sober. But drunk, she was a completely different person. Then she was joking, singing and without any hesitation.
The harbour was completely silent, just the wind was audible. Bismarck was standing on the deck, watching the night sky. She had her cape back on, it was waving in the wind. She listened to the sonar. No men were on action stations, but she had the power anyway. The sea was completely silent, just quiet snoring was picked up by the sonar. Bismarck had to smile. She had been rude to Prinz Eugen. Maybe. She wasn’t against drinking, but just not on front of the crew of other ships. Bismarck enjoyed drinking too, in private and not too much. Just her, the officers and the captain. She was the flagship after all. Everything what she did was affecting everybody else. She had to stay strong. And a drunk Prinz Eugen in public was shaming the whole Ironblood. Still. She would apologise the next morning. And buy her another bottle of alcohol. Bismarck sighed and turned around. She would have to sleep as well. She had to be ready for the next morning.
Everyone was asleep, the ships were anchoring in the small harbour, waiting for the next morning to come. The shipgirls were asleep, some were dreaming about several things. The machines were primed and ready for action. Everyone knew their duty. The city was quiet, not a single soul was on the streets. The sea was quiet, just soft snoring was coming from the heavy cruiser, anchoring across the Battleship.
Personal Note: Hey again, i hope you liked this more ... personal story of Bismarck and Prinz Eugen. I think the emotional side in both ships is quite neglected. Anyway, check out my other storys and dont forget to write any feedback. Im grateful for any comment. Also, im open for any requests or ideas... dont hold yourself back. Bye :)
submitted by KTKloss to AzureLane [link] [comments]


2020.03.13 06:25 RemixBeat Xtendamix Videos [12-March-2020]

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2020.03.07 22:19 jonthomas2692 Free Bird

Sorry for the long post, but I need to get this out there. Something happened to me last month… Something I can’t explain. I’ve decided to transcribe my journal entries in hopes that maybe you guys will be able to make some sort of sense of what happened…
Here goes nothing.
February 8, 2020
I just closed on my house. It’s nothing fancy, just a 2 bedroom 1 bathroom, about 1200 square feet. But hey, I’m finally a homeowner! It’s nice to finally be on my own, although the house seems pretty empty. I didn’t realize it when I moved out of my old, cramped studio apartment, but I seem to only have the bare minimum when it comes to furniture: A couch, a small kitchen table, a TV stand along with a TV, a couple of side tables, a bed and a nightstand… That’s it. I decided it would be a good day to hit up the thrift shop.
Turns out, it was a GREAT day to hit up the thrift shop. The feeling of going to a store and finding a great deal on something rare feels fantastic. So, when I saw it sitting there, in a dusty old corner of the St. Vincent Thrift Shop, I knew this was like no other. This particular piece of equipment belonged on Antique Roadshow. It should be sold for hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Not in the local thrift. But, here it was: a perfectly preserved Amphona record player. Something I’d only dreamt about until this point.
I completely dropped all prospects of buying furniture. I was so set on the record player… It looked flawless. Dark, walnut wood the color of a deep espresso. There were hardly any blemishes, save for a small scratch on the right side. Nothing too terrible, though. It had a beautiful, intricate design on the front with a mesh inlay where the speaker sits. There was a large cabinet underneath the turntable, perfect for storing vinyls. Seriously, I couldn’t be more happy with this find!
When I asked the sales lady, a frail old woman who had to be at least 85 years old, she told me it was an old antique that had been there for as long as she could remember. She said she thought it was broken, but hadn’t even bothered with testing it, knowing finding parts would be both costly and time consuming. Then, she offered it to me for a STEAL! Seriously, when she gave me the price I nearly jumped out of my boots with excitement.
Fifty bucks was all she wanted. Fifty dollars for this piece of history that could easily resell for four times the price. Needless to say, I quickly accepted. I handed her the money, grabbed a small hand dolly and began rolling the thing out to my car. I was so happy that I didn’t even care that it was possibly broken. I’m a pretty handy guy. Maybe it’s just a motor or resistor that needs to be replaced. Possibly just some wires that needed to be soldered. That would be easy enough.
As I loaded it into my car, I noticed a knocking sound coming from the cabinet. Something moving around and tapping the sides. When I opened it, there was a single black vinyl record. It was a 33, by my estimate, and lacked any type of label. Naturally, I found myself excited. I had just got a great deal on a record player AND I had something to play on it now, too!
When I got home, I just unloaded the record player from the trunk of my car and brought it inside. I didn’t have time to fiddle with it, as it was getting kind of late and I still had some stuff to do around the house. I dragged it inside and got it set up in the living room. Then, I went about the rest of my night. Made some dinner in the Instant Pot my mom gave me as a housewarming gift. (Seriously, those things are great!)
Tomorrow is a new day, and it’s Saturday!
February 9, 2020
The first thing I thought about this morning, when I woke up, was that antique record player. The barren landscape that was my living room didn’t bother me. I just wanted to get that thing working again!
When I got up, after eating a small breakfast and drinking about half a pot of coffee, (thanks again, Mom!) I got to work. I checked the outside, the needle and the knobs before plugging it in. Everything seemed to be in working order. The needle didn’t look bad, the knobs all moved freely, clicking into place as expected.
Once it was plugged in, I took the unmarked record out of the cabinet and placed it gently down on the turntable. I made sure the RPM knob was set to the correct speed and flipped the switch to the “ON” position. I’m not sure why, but as I turned the switch I could feel my heart beating faster in my chest. My nerves began to take hold and there was an unmistakable feeling of foreboding that crept over my whole body.
I chalked it up to excitement, writing the feeling off as a nasty side effect of my nerves.
To my surprise and utter delight, the table turned. The needle fell on the record and a sound began to emanate from the small speaker under the turntable. I felt a joyful smile creep over my lips. I felt my brain dump norepinephrine and dopamine as the sound escaped the speaker and found its way up to my ears.
I didn’t recognize the song at first. It started out with an organ playing a mellow tune. As soon as the steel guitar came in and played that all too familiar riff, I knew exactly what I was listening to. It was regarded as the greatest song of all time, to some. Not me, though.
Lynyrd Skynyrd's “Free Bird” rang through the speakers, filling my living room with the sound of the south.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with Skynrd, but southern rock has never been my forte. I’ve always been more of a classic rock or heavy metal kind of guy. A little bit of AC/DC or Ozzy Osborne, even some Slayer, just not Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Although the song that played was not my favorite, I let it go for a moment. All the while listening intently for any sign that the player might be malfunctioning. After about 45 seconds, I was happy to report that there was nothing wrong. It seemed to be working perfectly fine!
I turned the knob, switching the machine off. Or, at least trying to switch it off. It didn’t shut off though. If anything, it seemed to be getting louder. I reached down and pulled the plug from the wall, which finally ended the music as the record slowed to a halt. It was weird, but after thinking about it for a while, it’s extremely likely that some wires got crossed, or the switch needs to be repaired. I’ll have to look into it tomorrow.
I think I’ll head out and see if I can find a record store. Maybe I’ll be able to get some good stuff to listen to!
February 10, 2020
Yes! I found an awesome little shop that’s not even 10 minutes from my new house. This weekend has been awesome!
They had all the classics too, AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” on vinyl, as well as “Bark at the Moon” by Ozzy. I was even able to find one of the original “Slayer” records. Their music was a little heavy for most people’s taste, but the first record they put out, “Show No Mercy” was the epitome of classic metal and any metalhead should have it in their collection.
When I woke up this morning, I decided it would be a good time to start working on the record player. It’s Sunday, after all. I’ve got to get back on the grind tomorrow…
Once I got the backplate off, and shined my light up into the cavity under the turntable, I noticed that everything seemed to be in working order. No crossed wires or loose connections. It was strange, but could easily just be the age of the machine. I went ahead and put everything back together.
At this point, I stopped for a moment and just admired the machine. Aside from the small scratch on it’s right side, which seemed a bit more prominent than I remembered it back in the thrift shop, it was a beautiful machine. The scratch looked old. Like an old scar healed over. It was even raised the slightest bit off the dark wood.
I loaded up “Dirty Deeds” and plugged the player in. I turned it on and watched the needle drop. I listened in anticipation as it spun, waiting for the needle to catch the first groove and start playing.
The familiar power-chord rang through the speakers. The first note of “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” I closed my eyes for a moment, let a smile creep over my face and went to the kitchen, bobbing my head and listening to the music. I had just started making a sandwich for lunch when, about 15 seconds into the song, it suddenly stopped. I could hear a slight bit of feedback, which told me the table still turned, but the music was absent. Just small clicks and a low hum.
Then, something changed. Something brought a strong feeling of unease into my chest. The music had started back up, but it wasn’t AC/DC. It was a familiar tone, starting with a somber organ. The steel guitar came in shortly after with a light piano tune underneath it.
“Free Bird” was playing through the small speaker.
I exited my kitchen, confused and a little bit angry. I checked the turntable, which still had the correct record spinning. The green, white and red label spun. I went to switch off the machine, and once again it wouldn’t turn off by the switch. I had to physically unplug it from my wall. The plug resisted being pulled out, as if it were super glued into the wall. After it finally gave, it felt like an eternity before the music actually stopped.
I was shook, to say the least. I didn’t understand what was happening. I still don’t understand why that song played off my AC/DC record… I’m going to take it back to the record store tomorrow, when I get home from work. Maybe it’s just… something wrong with the record?
Who knows.
February 11, 2020
Well, I took it back to the record shop. The owner looked at me like I was crazy when I told him what was going on. He clearly didn’t believe me, but he offered to test the record anyways. When he loaded it onto his turntable, I could feel the butterflies in my stomach fluttering away. I was nervous.
As soon as the needle dropped and I heard that familiar, heavy power chord that “Dirty Deeds” starts with, I knew it was only a matter of time. It took about 15 seconds last night. Then, I heard Bonn Scott’s voice come in… I was floored. My body shook. I couldn’t explain what was going on. Why was my record player hell-bent on playing “Free Bird?” And, more importantly, why was it so disturbing to me?
He said he couldn’t give me a refund because the record had been opened and played and he couldn’t see anything wrong with it. I understood. I’m not one to argue over pedantic things like that, so I gathered my record and took it home.
I’ve been sitting here all night, just staring. Watching the record player. I’ve noticed something. The design… It seems to have changed.
Maybe it’s just in my head.
I’m not going to use it tonight.
February 13, 2020
It’s been a couple days. The record player has just sat there, seeming to stare at me. I feel like it’s calling my name. Asking to be turned on. Asking for me to put something on the turntable only so it can belt out that song that, for whatever reason, seems so deeply unsettling to me.
I went ahead and loaded the Slayer record on it. Just as I expected, it got about 15 seconds into the first track and then slowly faded out into static feedback. Then, that organ started playing. The steel guitar and piano came in shortly thereafter.
I didn’t shut it off immediately this time, though. I decided to see what happens when the song plays through. It started off like normal, which lifted a huge weight off my chest, if only for a moment. As the song progressed, I listened intently to the lyrics. The first verse was normal enough. The quality of the track was actually remarkable, considering it was playing out of a decades old speaker.
As the song progressed, however, things got… strange. At the end of the first verse, after Ronnie Van Zant sings “...Lord knows I can’t change…” and heads into the hook, the audio changed. The guitar, rather than having it’s typical crisp, clean sound became distorted and off-key. It started to sound more like bad carnival music than a rock song.
The lyrics also began to distort. Van Zant’s voice became low, almost demonic, as he went into the third verse, singing “...And if I stay here with you girl…” in a disturbing tone that, in all honesty, began to hurt my ears.
Then, I heard something. A loud popping noise coming from my guest bedroom. After I went to examine what happened, I noticed the light wouldn’t turn on. I stepped into the room to find the light bulb had burst in its socket. Shattered glass was scattered along the floor.
I could still hear the song playing, and it seemed to gain volume as it progressed. Van Zant now sang the end of the verse, “...And this bird you cannot change…”
When I looked up, examining the light socket, I noticed a thick black soot accumulated around it. I wasn’t sure what to make of this, but then I heard something else.
Just as the song progressed into the final hook, just before the famous 4 minute guitar solo, and Van Zant sang “...Lord knows I can’t change…” I heard another pop followed immediately by the sound of glass shattering, coming from my kitchen.
The song continued to gain volume.
I ran out of the bedroom, into my kitchen to find my coffee pot, which hadn’t been used since 12 hours prior, shattered into pieces. I bent over, attempting to pick up the wreckage only to find that it was searing hot to the touch.
The music was overwhelmingly loud, and the solo was about to start. I could feel a foreboding sense of dread lingering in the air. I could feel something terrible about to happen. I ran over to the record player and ripped the plug out of the wall. The record slowly came to a halt silencing the music and bringing with it a more-than-welcome silence.
I stood there for a minute, panting as panic surged through my veins. Adrenaline pulsed throughout my body, causing me to shiver uncontrollably. I slowly backed away from the record player, plopping down onto my couch but continuing to stare at it in horror.
I’m going somewhere for the night. I can’t stay here. I’m sure my mom will let me stay with her. I’m really shook up…
February 14, 2020
Well, staying with my mom seemed to be a success. Although, getting up and ready for work in time was more of a challenge. But, I managed. The day seemed to drag on. The only thing on my mind all day was that record player and what had happened last night.
After I got home from work, I went straight for it. I didn’t want to play a record, though. I had decided earlier that when I came home, I would grab the mysterious, blank record that came with the player and take it to the record store. I’d see if the record store owner could test it out for me. Maybe he’d be able to tell me.
What happened when I got there made my blood run cold. I showed him the record and he examined it for a moment. He told me that it was an odd sized record. A little bit too small to be a 33 but not small enough to be a 78. It was somewhere in between.
I told him that I’d previously played the record on my newly acquired Amphona and it only played “Free Bird.” He looked at me quizzically. He said he wasn’t sure how it could play anything considering the record didn’t have any grooves. It didn’t have even the slightest divots in it, it was completely flat. It wasn’t until that moment that I noticed what he was talking about. I’m not sure how I’d missed it before, but it was true.
The record was smooth on the surface, and when I ran my fingers across it I noticed the sweat from my fingertips caused a slight squeak as they ran across it. Still, I asked if he would test it to which he happily obliged.
He placed the record on his turntable. Almost instantly, without him having to press any buttons or do anything to turn the machine on, the record started to turn. His face was that of pure shock and dumbfoundment.
The needle lifted off of its perch and fell onto the smooth surface of the record. It started bouncing around violently, scratching and digging into the black vinyl. The horrible feedback that blared through the speakers was deafening. Random squelches and squeals blasting into the store. When the record shop owner tried to pull it off, it seemed as if the needle jumped up and attacked his hand. He reeled his hand back, grasping it with the other, and winced. A combination of shock and pain were apparent in his expression.
The record continued spinning, going much faster than any 33 rpm record I’d ever seen. It was as if the machine was in overdrive and on auto-pilot. The digging and scratching of the needle continued to produce a horrific hissing noise, echoing through the store and disturbing the other patrons. Everyone’s hands shot up, over their ears and they all groaned in disappointment.
When it finally stopped, and the needle gently lifted up and found its way back to the perch, the shopkeeper lifted the record in horrific disbelief. His face went pale, his eyes wide and his mouth agape in utter shock. When he flipped it over for me to find, I nearly fainted.
There, on the record, scratched violently into the smooth black vinyl were 2 short words. The words “Free Bird.” The shopkeeper and I stood there for a moment, both staring at each other. Both of us were stunned in disbelief…
Something even more strange and unbelievable happened next. “Free Bird” started playing over the radio in the shop. I stood there for a moment, panic setting into my bones once again. If what had happened at my house was any indication for what was to come, then this shop was in for a terrible treat.
Luckily, it seemed that nothing odd happened. No lights exploding or coffee pots blowing up. The song just played normally, 9 minutes in total. The whole time I was frozen in fear, listening with intent. Waiting for something to happen. Something weird and unexplainable, but there was nothing. Just a strange coincidence.
Relieved at that, but still petrified by what the record had etched into it, I went back to my car and drove home. When I got home, I decided now was as good a time as any - I would find out what was going on, once and for all.
I made a beeline to the Amphona, which stood proudly in the corner of my living room, right next to the TV. It really was a beautiful antique. A mysterious, horrifying, beautiful piece of history that sat right in my living room.
I removed the Slayer record, still on the turntable from the previous night, and haphazardly tossed it aside. Then, I took a deep breath and loaded the now marked record onto the table. I reached down and plugged it in. Without warning, the needle dropped and the record began to turn.
The organ came in, then the steel guitar with a quick piano riff laid over it. I expected it to skip when the needle ran across the carved words, but it continued smoothly as if nothing was wrong. The drums entered with a magnificent crashing symbol and a quick snare hit. The song seemed to play just as you would expect, up until about the 3 minute 10 second mark.
Once that third verse came in, where Ronnie starts with “...Bye and bye baby, it’s been sweet love…” the song changed. It was dramatic and eerie. It seemed to lose some of it’s tune, just as before, and began playing something that was more akin to a circus tune. Van Zant’s voice had transformed and was now deep, satanic in a way. It felt as if he were trying to tell me something. Trying to warn me...
As the song continued, creepily playing the off-tune guitar, things began to happen. I heard another popping sound coming from my bedroom this time. Probably another lightbulb, but I didn’t get up to go check. I heard a slow hissing sound starting to come from the kitchen, but still I refused to get up and go look.
I needed to stay concentrated on the task at hand. I needed to see what the record was trying to tell me.
The lyrics were coming to a close, now. The song was beginning to speed up and Ronnie was getting into the final verse before the nearly 5 minute long guitar solo.
The lights in the house began to flicker. Growing dimmer, then illuminating brighter than the bulbs intended before popping and burning out, leaving me in darkness. Glass fell to the ground, the sound drowned out by the loud music.
The solo had begun.
The house seemed to come to life. My TV turned on, tuning in to static, but sounding as if it were amplifying the music that was playing through the record player. The lights in the other rooms began to move with the music. I could hear the faint sound of beeping coming from behind me, in the kitchen.
I felt a chill run down my spine and gooseflesh rise on my arms. I thought, for sure, that I could feel someone breathing down my neck. I whipped my head around, disoriented by the slowly rising volume of the music. It was getting to a point that seemed impossibly loud.
I noticed a geyser of steam rushing up from something in my kitchen. I needed to check on that, but I remained glued to the seat as the solo continued. I couldn’t move. I felt stuck, gripped in place as the song blasted through every possible speaker it could find.
Around the 7 minute mark, I noticed a smell. Smoke began to billow out of the record player, but it continued spinning. It continued playing the music. The TV continued to gain volume and the hissing sound behind me had become constant and almost as loud as the music itself.
A sudden flame erupted from the top of the record player, igniting the drywall behind it and creating a column of fire before my eyes. It didn’t seem that the record player itself was on fire, though. It was more like the record player was projecting the fire. Stunned in disbelief and unable to move I simply stared, watching the fire dance up the wall and spread across the ceiling.
I fought the hold on me, tensing my muscles. In a swift motion, I stood up and ran into the kitchen to get the fire extinguisher from the cabinet under the sink. It was then that I noticed that every single appliance in my kitchen was on. The toaster, microwave, instant pot, oven, stove, etc. And everything that had a digital display all said the same thing. In digital letters, painted across the display on my instant pot, flashing in digital letters on my stove, where the clock read the time on the microwave, it all said the same thing: FREE BIRD.
I grabbed the fire extinguisher quickly, but when I got back into the living room, I was met with a hellscape. It had taken over everything. The couch was now ablaze, the walls were lined with flame, the ceiling had a rapidly spreading fire stretching across it. I wasn’t sure what to do. I needed to get out of there, I knew that, but I wasn’t sure what the best course of action would be.
Then, I noticed it. It was faint, just in my peripheral, but I saw it and when I turned my gaze towards it, I know it saw me. It was a shadow. The shadow of a man. I couldn’t make out any features, but the shadow stood in the hallway, menacingly. It stared at me, letting the flames encompass its body.
I heard a loud BOOM come from the kitchen. The sound of an explosion that nearly deafed me. It disoriented me, ringing my eardrums and causing my vision to blur. The fire continued growing and the scene began to feel hectic and warlike. The house continued to burn and I knew that if I didn’t get out then I would burn with it.
I ran to the front door, turning back when I realized I had forgotten my journal. Luckily, it was still on the kitchen table. As I made my way back from there, and gripped the metal knob of my front door, it burned my hand. I ignored the pain, allowing the adrenaline to fuel my body and bolted out onto the front lawn. The scene I was met with outside was unexpected, but welcome.
All of my neighbors stood outside, staring at my house in shock. Some had an expression on their face that was a cross between anger and concern. The music was nearly just as loud from my front yard as it was inside the house. I’m sure once they heard the music, they came out angry to tell me to turn it down, but once they saw the flames erupting from the roofline, they quickly stopped.
We all stood there as the song continued to blare. The solo was almost coming to a close, but still had the grand finale. The guitar began to speed up, playing a repetition of high pitched wails. The flames on the house grew brighter and brighter until it was nearly so bright that I couldn’t bear to look anymore. I closed my eyes.
I heard my neighbors gasp and a loud whooshing sound come from my house. I felt a blast of heat wash over my face. It was nearly unbearable, but it was over just as quickly. The song slowly faded out, the flame dying with the tune as the solo turned into silence. The scene was chilling. My house was burnt to a crisp, black soot and ash rained down from the sky as the smoldering heap billowed white smoke.
Then, I heard the sirens. The fire department was quick to take to what remained of the fire, dousing it in heavy bands of water. I’m glad I was able to grab my journal before the fire overtook everything.
Guess I’m staying with my mom again tonight.
Oh, and happy Valentine’s Day, I guess...
February 15, 2020
Well, hell week is over. My house, that I closed on exactly one week and 2 days ago, is officially burnt to a crisp. Luckily, after speaking with my insurance agent, I should expect a nice check to pay for the loss of property. Apparently, the fire department determined the fire was due to faulty wiring that the inspector didn’t see before I bought the house.
I don’t buy it, though.
The fire department wasn’t able to recover much of anything from the fire. They did manage to get one thing, though. That damned record player. That beautiful, terrible, historic antique record player. They told me it was, somehow, in perfect condition.
They asked me if I wanted to keep it, said they’d put it in storage for me until I found a place to live. I politely declined, not wanting to make it too obvious that I wasn’t going anywhere near that thing, let alone putting it in my new house.
Hopefully everything works out.
I heard “Free Bird” come on the radio. I immediately changed the channel. I can still hear that eerie guitar playing in my head...
February 24, 2020
Well, I managed to get that check much quicker than I thought! Although 9 days might not seem like a quick turnaround, in terms of insurance payout that is EXCELLENT!
Things are starting to look up. I just put an offer in on a new house, using that money from my insurance payout as a down payment.
I did catch wind of something… odd. Some sort of accident. It was ironic, but nonetheless tragic.
Apparently the fire station burned down. Burned to a crisp in a sweltering rage of flame. Luckily all of the firefighters managed to escape before things got too bad. I’m not entirely sure what happened, but when I heard the story I definitely formed an opinion.
According to reports, residents of the nearby neighborhood could hear extremely loud rock music playing from the fire station. They just figured it was some sort of party or some event being held by the fire department. Then, when they noticed the flames, they called 911.
I know it was that record player, but I’m stuck with the nagging question of why and how… I don’t want to consume myself with those thoughts now, though. If I do, I’ll never sleep at night. I am happy knowing I’m safe and no one I know is going to bring home a record player like that on my watch.
I do fear one thing though: If that record player is capable of something so supernatural, what else is out there?
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2020.03.06 17:53 jonthomas2692 Free Bird (M)

Sorry for the long post, but I need to get this out there. Something happened to me last month… Something I can’t explain. I’ve decided to transcribe my journal entries in hopes that maybe you guys will be able to make some sort of sense of what happened…
Here goes nothing.
February 8, 2020
I just closed on my house. It’s nothing fancy, just a 2 bedroom 1 bathroom, about 1200 square feet. But hey, I’m finally a homeowner! It’s nice to finally be on my own, although the house seems pretty empty. I didn’t realize it when I moved out of my old, cramped studio apartment, but I seem to only have the bare minimum when it comes to furniture: A couch, a small kitchen table, a TV stand along with a TV, a couple of side tables, a bed and a nightstand… That’s it. I decided it would be a good day to hit up the thrift shop.
Turns out, it was a GREAT day to hit up the thrift shop. The feeling of going to a store and finding a great deal on something rare feels fantastic. So, when I saw it sitting there, in a dusty old corner of the St. Vincent Thrift Shop, I knew this was like no other. This particular piece of equipment belonged on Antique Roadshow. It should be sold for hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Not in the local thrift. But, here it was: a perfectly preserved Amphona record player. Something I’d only dreamt about until this point.
I completely dropped all prospects of buying furniture. I was so set on the record player… It looked flawless. Dark, walnut wood the color of a deep espresso. There were hardly any blemishes, save for a small scratch on the right side. Nothing too terrible, though. It had a beautiful, intricate design on the front with a mesh inlay where the speaker sits. There was a large cabinet underneath the turntable, perfect for storing vinyls. Seriously, I couldn’t be more happy with this find!
When I asked the sales lady, a frail old woman who had to be at least 85 years old, she told me it was an old antique that had been there for as long as she could remember. She said she thought it was broken, but hadn’t even bothered with testing it, knowing finding parts would be both costly and time consuming. Then, she offered it to me for a STEAL! Seriously, when she gave me the price I nearly jumped out of my boots with excitement.
Fifty bucks was all she wanted. Fifty dollars for this piece of history that could easily resell for four times the price. Needless to say, I quickly accepted. I handed her the money, grabbed a small hand dolly and began rolling the thing out to my car. I was so happy that I didn’t even care that it was possibly broken. I’m a pretty handy guy. Maybe it’s just a motor or resistor that needs to be replaced. Possibly just some wires that needed to be soldered. That would be easy enough.
As I loaded it into my car, I noticed a knocking sound coming from the cabinet. Something moving around and tapping the sides. When I opened it, there was a single black vinyl record. It was a 33, by my estimate, and lacked any type of label. Naturally, I found myself excited. I had just got a great deal on a record player AND I had something to play on it now, too!
When I got home, I just unloaded the record player from the trunk of my car and brought it inside. I didn’t have time to fiddle with it, as it was getting kind of late and I still had some stuff to do around the house. I dragged it inside and got it set up in the living room. Then, I went about the rest of my night. Made some dinner in the Instant Pot my mom gave me as a housewarming gift. (Seriously, those things are great!)
Tomorrow is a new day, and it’s Saturday!
February 9, 2020
The first thing I thought about this morning, when I woke up, was that antique record player. The barren landscape that was my living room didn’t bother me. I just wanted to get that thing working again!
When I got up, after eating a small breakfast and drinking about half a pot of coffee, (thanks again, Mom!) I got to work. I checked the outside, the needle and the knobs before plugging it in. Everything seemed to be in working order. The needle didn’t look bad, the knobs all moved freely, clicking into place as expected.
Once it was plugged in, I took the unmarked record out of the cabinet and placed it gently down on the turntable. I made sure the RPM knob was set to the correct speed and flipped the switch to the “ON” position. I’m not sure why, but as I turned the switch I could feel my heart beating faster in my chest. My nerves began to take hold and there was an unmistakable feeling of foreboding that crept over my whole body.
I chalked it up to excitement, writing the feeling off as a nasty side effect of my nerves.
To my surprise and utter delight, the table turned. The needle fell on the record and a sound began to emanate from the small speaker under the turntable. I felt a joyful smile creep over my lips. I felt my brain dump norepinephrine and dopamine as the sound escaped the speaker and found its way up to my ears.
I didn’t recognize the song at first. It started out with an organ playing a mellow tune. As soon as the steel guitar came in and played that all too familiar riff, I knew exactly what I was listening to. It was regarded as the greatest song of all time, to some. Not me, though.
Lynyrd Skynyrd's “Free Bird” rang through the speakers, filling my living room with the sound of the south.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with Skynrd, but southern rock has never been my forte. I’ve always been more of a classic rock or heavy metal kind of guy. A little bit of AC/DC or Ozzy Osborne, even some Slayer, just not Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Although the song that played was not my favorite, I let it go for a moment. All the while listening intently for any sign that the player might be malfunctioning. After about 45 seconds, I was happy to report that there was nothing wrong. It seemed to be working perfectly fine!
I turned the knob, switching the machine off. Or, at least trying to switch it off. It didn’t shut off though. If anything, it seemed to be getting louder. I reached down and pulled the plug from the wall, which finally ended the music as the record slowed to a halt. It was weird, but after thinking about it for a while, it’s extremely likely that some wires got crossed, or the switch needs to be repaired. I’ll have to look into it tomorrow.
I think I’ll head out and see if I can find a record store. Maybe I’ll be able to get some good stuff to listen to!
February 10, 2020
Yes! I found an awesome little shop that’s not even 10 minutes from my new house. This weekend has been awesome!
They had all the classics too, AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” on vinyl, as well as “Bark at the Moon” by Ozzy. I was even able to find one of the original “Slayer” records. Their music was a little heavy for most people’s taste, but the first record they put out, “Show No Mercy” was the epitome of classic metal and any metalhead should have it in their collection.
When I woke up this morning, I decided it would be a good time to start working on the record player. It’s Sunday, after all. I’ve got to get back on the grind tomorrow…
Once I got the backplate off, and shined my light up into the cavity under the turntable, I noticed that everything seemed to be in working order. No crossed wires or loose connections. It was strange, but could easily just be the age of the machine. I went ahead and put everything back together.
At this point, I stopped for a moment and just admired the machine. Aside from the small scratch on it’s right side, which seemed a bit more prominent than I remembered it back in the thrift shop, it was a beautiful machine. The scratch looked old. Like an old scar healed over. It was even raised the slightest bit off the dark wood.
I loaded up “Dirty Deeds” and plugged the player in. I turned it on and watched the needle drop. I listened in anticipation as it spun, waiting for the needle to catch the first groove and start playing.
The familiar power-chord rang through the speakers. The first note of “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” I closed my eyes for a moment, let a smile creep over my face and went to the kitchen, bobbing my head and listening to the music. I had just started making a sandwich for lunch when, about 15 seconds into the song, it suddenly stopped. I could hear a slight bit of feedback, which told me the table still turned, but the music was absent. Just small clicks and a low hum.
Then, something changed. Something brought a strong feeling of unease into my chest. The music had started back up, but it wasn’t AC/DC. It was a familiar tone, starting with a somber organ. The steel guitar came in shortly after with a light piano tune underneath it.
“Free Bird” was playing through the small speaker.
I exited my kitchen, confused and a little bit angry. I checked the turntable, which still had the correct record spinning. The green, white and red label spun. I went to switch off the machine, and once again it wouldn’t turn off by the switch. I had to physically unplug it from my wall. The plug resisted being pulled out, as if it were super glued into the wall. After it finally gave, it felt like an eternity before the music actually stopped.
I was shook, to say the least. I didn’t understand what was happening. I still don’t understand why that song played off my AC/DC record… I’m going to take it back to the record store tomorrow, when I get home from work. Maybe it’s just… something wrong with the record?
Who knows.
February 11, 2020
Well, I took it back to the record shop. The owner looked at me like I was crazy when I told him what was going on. He clearly didn’t believe me, but he offered to test the record anyways. When he loaded it onto his turntable, I could feel the butterflies in my stomach fluttering away. I was nervous.
As soon as the needle dropped and I heard that familiar, heavy power chord that “Dirty Deeds” starts with, I knew it was only a matter of time. It took about 15 seconds last night. Then, I heard Bonn Scott’s voice come in… I was floored. My body shook. I couldn’t explain what was going on. Why was my record player hell-bent on playing “Free Bird?” And, more importantly, why was it so disturbing to me?
He said he couldn’t give me a refund because the record had been opened and played and he couldn’t see anything wrong with it. I understood. I’m not one to argue over pedantic things like that, so I gathered my record and took it home.
I’ve been sitting here all night, just staring. Watching the record player. I’ve noticed something. The design… It seems to have changed.
Maybe it’s just in my head.
I’m not going to use it tonight.
February 13, 2020
It’s been a couple days. The record player has just sat there, seeming to stare at me. I feel like it’s calling my name. Asking to be turned on. Asking for me to put something on the turntable only so it can belt out that song that, for whatever reason, seems so deeply unsettling to me.
I went ahead and loaded the Slayer record on it. Just as I expected, it got about 15 seconds into the first track and then slowly faded out into static feedback. Then, that organ started playing. The steel guitar and piano came in shortly thereafter.
I didn’t shut it off immediately this time, though. I decided to see what happens when the song plays through. It started off like normal, which lifted a huge weight off my chest, if only for a moment. As the song progressed, I listened intently to the lyrics. The first verse was normal enough. The quality of the track was actually remarkable, considering it was playing out of a decades old speaker.
As the song progressed, however, things got… strange. At the end of the first verse, after Ronnie Van Zant sings “...Lord knows I can’t change…” and heads into the hook, the audio changed. The guitar, rather than having it’s typical crisp, clean sound became distorted and off-key. It started to sound more like bad carnival music than a rock song.
The lyrics also began to distort. Van Zant’s voice became low, almost demonic, as he went into the third verse, singing “...And if I stay here with you girl…” in a disturbing tone that, in all honesty, began to hurt my ears.
Then, I heard something. A loud popping noise coming from my guest bedroom. After I went to examine what happened, I noticed the light wouldn’t turn on. I stepped into the room to find the light bulb had burst in its socket. Shattered glass was scattered along the floor.
I could still hear the song playing, and it seemed to gain volume as it progressed. Van Zant now sang the end of the verse, “...And this bird you cannot change…”
When I looked up, examining the light socket, I noticed a thick black soot accumulated around it. I wasn’t sure what to make of this, but then I heard something else.
Just as the song progressed into the final hook, just before the famous 4 minute guitar solo, and Van Zant sang “...Lord knows I can’t change…” I heard another pop followed immediately by the sound of glass shattering, coming from my kitchen.
The song continued to gain volume.
I ran out of the bedroom, into my kitchen to find my coffee pot, which hadn’t been used since 12 hours prior, shattered into pieces. I bent over, attempting to pick up the wreckage only to find that it was searing hot to the touch.
The music was overwhelmingly loud, and the solo was about to start. I could feel a foreboding sense of dread lingering in the air. I could feel something terrible about to happen. I ran over to the record player and ripped the plug out of the wall. The record slowly came to a halt silencing the music and bringing with it a more-than-welcome silence.
I stood there for a minute, panting as panic surged through my veins. Adrenaline pulsed throughout my body, causing me to shiver uncontrollably. I slowly backed away from the record player, plopping down onto my couch but continuing to stare at it in horror.
I’m going somewhere for the night. I can’t stay here. I’m sure my mom will let me stay with her. I’m really shook up…
February 14, 2020
Well, staying with my mom seemed to be a success. Although, getting up and ready for work in time was more of a challenge. But, I managed. The day seemed to drag on. The only thing on my mind all day was that record player and what had happened last night.
After I got home from work, I went straight for it. I didn’t want to play a record, though. I had decided earlier that when I came home, I would grab the mysterious, blank record that came with the player and take it to the record store. I’d see if the record store owner could test it out for me. Maybe he’d be able to tell me.
What happened when I got there made my blood run cold. I showed him the record and he examined it for a moment. He told me that it was an odd sized record. A little bit too small to be a 33 but not small enough to be a 78. It was somewhere in between.
I told him that I’d previously played the record on my newly acquired Amphona and it only played “Free Bird.” He looked at me quizzically. He said he wasn’t sure how it could play anything considering the record didn’t have any grooves. It didn’t have even the slightest divots in it, it was completely flat. It wasn’t until that moment that I noticed what he was talking about. I’m not sure how I’d missed it before, but it was true.
The record was smooth on the surface, and when I ran my fingers across it I noticed the sweat from my fingertips caused a slight squeak as they ran across it. Still, I asked if he would test it to which he happily obliged.
He placed the record on his turntable. Almost instantly, without him having to press any buttons or do anything to turn the machine on, the record started to turn. His face was that of pure shock and dumbfoundment.
The needle lifted off of its perch and fell onto the smooth surface of the record. It started bouncing around violently, scratching and digging into the black vinyl. The horrible feedback that blared through the speakers was deafening. Random squelches and squeals blasting into the store. When the record shop owner tried to pull it off, it seemed as if the needle jumped up and attacked his hand. He reeled his hand back, grasping it with the other, and winced. A combination of shock and pain were apparent in his expression.
The record continued spinning, going much faster than any 33 rpm record I’d ever seen. It was as if the machine was in overdrive and on auto-pilot. The digging and scratching of the needle continued to produce a horrific hissing noise, echoing through the store and disturbing the other patrons. Everyone’s hands shot up, over their ears and they all groaned in disappointment.
When it finally stopped, and the needle gently lifted up and found its way back to the perch, the shopkeeper lifted the record in horrific disbelief. His face went pale, his eyes wide and his mouth agape in utter shock. When he flipped it over for me to find, I nearly fainted.
There, on the record, scratched violently into the smooth black vinyl were 2 short words. The words “Free Bird.” The shopkeeper and I stood there for a moment, both staring at each other. Both of us were stunned in disbelief…
Something even more strange and unbelievable happened next. “Free Bird” started playing over the radio in the shop. I stood there for a moment, panic setting into my bones once again. If what had happened at my house was any indication for what was to come, then this shop was in for a terrible treat.
Luckily, it seemed that nothing odd happened. No lights exploding or coffee pots blowing up. The song just played normally, 9 minutes in total. The whole time I was frozen in fear, listening with intent. Waiting for something to happen. Something weird and unexplainable, but there was nothing. Just a strange coincidence.
Relieved at that, but still petrified by what the record had etched into it, I went back to my car and drove home. When I got home, I decided now was as good a time as any - I would find out what was going on, once and for all.
I made a beeline to the Amphona, which stood proudly in the corner of my living room, right next to the TV. It really was a beautiful antique. A mysterious, horrifying, beautiful piece of history that sat right in my living room.
I removed the Slayer record, still on the turntable from the previous night, and haphazardly tossed it aside. Then, I took a deep breath and loaded the now marked record onto the table. I reached down and plugged it in. Without warning, the needle dropped and the record began to turn.
The organ came in, then the steel guitar with a quick piano riff laid over it. I expected it to skip when the needle ran across the carved words, but it continued smoothly as if nothing was wrong. The drums entered with a magnificent crashing symbol and a quick snare hit. The song seemed to play just as you would expect, up until about the 3 minute 10 second mark.
Once that third verse came in, where Ronnie starts with “...Bye and bye baby, it’s been sweet love…” the song changed. It was dramatic and eerie. It seemed to lose some of it’s tune, just as before, and began playing something that was more akin to a circus tune. Van Zant’s voice had transformed and was now deep, satanic in a way. It felt as if he were trying to tell me something. Trying to warn me...
As the song continued, creepily playing the off-tune guitar, things began to happen. I heard another popping sound coming from my bedroom this time. Probably another lightbulb, but I didn’t get up to go check. I heard a slow hissing sound starting to come from the kitchen, but still I refused to get up and go look.
I needed to stay concentrated on the task at hand. I needed to see what the record was trying to tell me.
The lyrics were coming to a close, now. The song was beginning to speed up and Ronnie was getting into the final verse before the nearly 5 minute long guitar solo.
The lights in the house began to flicker. Growing dimmer, then illuminating brighter than the bulbs intended before popping and burning out, leaving me in darkness. Glass fell to the ground, the sound drowned out by the loud music.
The solo had begun.
The house seemed to come to life. My TV turned on, tuning in to static, but sounding as if it were amplifying the music that was playing through the record player. The lights in the other rooms began to move with the music. I could hear the faint sound of beeping coming from behind me, in the kitchen.
I felt a chill run down my spine and gooseflesh rise on my arms. I thought, for sure, that I could feel someone breathing down my neck. I whipped my head around, disoriented by the slowly rising volume of the music. It was getting to a point that seemed impossibly loud.
I noticed a geyser of steam rushing up from something in my kitchen. I needed to check on that, but I remained glued to the seat as the solo continued. I couldn’t move. I felt stuck, gripped in place as the song blasted through every possible speaker it could find.
Around the 7 minute mark, I noticed a smell. Smoke began to billow out of the record player, but it continued spinning. It continued playing the music. The TV continued to gain volume and the hissing sound behind me had become constant and almost as loud as the music itself.
A sudden flame erupted from the top of the record player, igniting the drywall behind it and creating a column of fire before my eyes. It didn’t seem that the record player itself was on fire, though. It was more like the record player was projecting the fire. Stunned in disbelief and unable to move I simply stared, watching the fire dance up the wall and spread across the ceiling.
I fought the hold on me, tensing my muscles. In a swift motion, I stood up and ran into the kitchen to get the fire extinguisher from the cabinet under the sink. It was then that I noticed that every single appliance in my kitchen was on. The toaster, microwave, instant pot, oven, stove, etc. And everything that had a digital display all said the same thing. In digital letters, painted across the display on my instant pot, flashing in digital letters on my stove, where the clock read the time on the microwave, it all said the same thing: FREE BIRD.
I grabbed the fire extinguisher quickly, but when I got back into the living room, I was met with a hellscape. It had taken over everything. The couch was now ablaze, the walls were lined with flame, the ceiling had a rapidly spreading fire stretching across it. I wasn’t sure what to do. I needed to get out of there, I knew that, but I wasn’t sure what the best course of action would be.
Then, I noticed it. It was faint, just in my peripheral, but I saw it and when I turned my gaze towards it, I know it saw me. It was a shadow. The shadow of a man. I couldn’t make out any features, but the shadow stood in the hallway, menacingly. It stared at me, letting the flames encompass its body.
I heard a loud BOOM come from the kitchen. The sound of an explosion that nearly deafed me. It disoriented me, ringing my eardrums and causing my vision to blur. The fire continued growing and the scene began to feel hectic and warlike. The house continued to burn and I knew that if I didn’t get out then I would burn with it.
I ran to the front door, turning back when I realized I had forgotten my journal. Luckily, it was still on the kitchen table. As I made my way back from there, and gripped the metal knob of my front door, it burned my hand. I ignored the pain, allowing the adrenaline to fuel my body and bolted out onto the front lawn. The scene I was met with outside was unexpected, but welcome.
All of my neighbors stood outside, staring at my house in shock. Some had an expression on their face that was a cross between anger and concern. The music was nearly just as loud from my front yard as it was inside the house. I’m sure once they heard the music, they came out angry to tell me to turn it down, but once they saw the flames erupting from the roofline, they quickly stopped.
We all stood there as the song continued to blare. The solo was almost coming to a close, but still had the grand finale. The guitar began to speed up, playing a repetition of high pitched wails. The flames on the house grew brighter and brighter until it was nearly so bright that I couldn’t bear to look anymore. I closed my eyes.
I heard my neighbors gasp and a loud whooshing sound come from my house. I felt a blast of heat wash over my face. It was nearly unbearable, but it was over just as quickly. The song slowly faded out, the flame dying with the tune as the solo turned into silence. The scene was chilling. My house was burnt to a crisp, black soot and ash rained down from the sky as the smoldering heap billowed white smoke.
Then, I heard the sirens. The fire department was quick to take to what remained of the fire, dousing it in heavy bands of water. I’m glad I was able to grab my journal before the fire overtook everything.
Guess I’m staying with my mom again tonight.
Oh, and happy Valentine’s Day, I guess...
February 15, 2020
Well, hell week is over. My house, that I closed on exactly one week and 2 days ago, is officially burnt to a crisp. Luckily, after speaking with my insurance agent, I should expect a nice check to pay for the loss of property. Apparently, the fire department determined the fire was due to faulty wiring that the inspector didn’t see before I bought the house.
I don’t buy it, though.
The fire department wasn’t able to recover much of anything from the fire. They did manage to get one thing, though. That damned record player. That beautiful, terrible, historic antique record player. They told me it was, somehow, in perfect condition.
They asked me if I wanted to keep it, said they’d put it in storage for me until I found a place to live. I politely declined, not wanting to make it too obvious that I wasn’t going anywhere near that thing, let alone putting it in my new house.
Hopefully everything works out.
I heard “Free Bird” come on the radio. I immediately changed the channel. I can still hear that eerie guitar playing in my head...
February 24, 2020
Well, I managed to get that check much quicker than I thought! Although 9 days might not seem like a quick turnaround, in terms of insurance payout that is EXCELLENT!
Things are starting to look up. I just put an offer in on a new house, using that money from my insurance payout as a down payment.
I did catch wind of something… odd. Some sort of accident. It was ironic, but nonetheless tragic.
Apparently the fire station burned down. Burned to a crisp in a sweltering rage of flame. Luckily all of the firefighters managed to escape before things got too bad. I’m not entirely sure what happened, but when I heard the story I definitely formed an opinion.
According to reports, residents of the nearby neighborhood could hear extremely loud rock music playing from the fire station. They just figured it was some sort of party or some event being held by the fire department. Then, when they noticed the flames, they called 911.
I know it was that record player, but I’m stuck with the nagging question of why and how… I don’t want to consume myself with those thoughts now, though. If I do, I’ll never sleep at night. I am happy knowing I’m safe and no one I know is going to bring home a record player like that on my watch.
I do fear one thing though: If that record player is capable of something so supernatural, what else is out there?
submitted by jonthomas2692 to creepypod [link] [comments]


2020.01.13 00:10 Falcon_812 Björk Playlist and Song Descriptions: forafriend

Hi, friends. I made a Björk playlist for a friend and I took it VERY seriously. I am not an authority and a lot of this is just stuff I wrote for a friend. Let me know where I'm wrong. I didn't include the songs I think are the 'best' just songs that showcase a range and a continuity throughout her work. I'm a huge fan and this is all out of love. Let me know what you think!? Suggested edits?
Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3EJritaV5LnYkEOiiquIic?si=0bXLYdyZR36WVnsqltbJKg
Debut (1993) - Funky, 90s, House, Shy
· Venus As A Boy - Sexy song about a very erotic man. Very fun bass line. Wickedly hummable. I think the video is thematically linked to a book she enjoyed, "Story of the Eye." A book about a sexually perverse teenage couple in some other country. France? Hehehe. This song is a great example of how Björk expertly crafts disparate sounds and weaves them together into an unforgettable pop song. I love the first lines of the song, "his wicked sense of humoSuggests exciting sex."
· Come To Me - a gentle, pulsing, template of a pop song. This song has seen many permutations over its lifespan. This song was performed during many tours: Debut, Homogenic, and most recently for Vulnicura. Each iteration conveying a different sense and new approach. Originally, we have Björk as the healer, which later eventually lands in this creepy, possessive, intense place.
· Violently Happy - I am often violently happy. Delirious and chemically overwhelmed. I love the lyrics here. Also! This song was adapted to more acoustic instrumentation for this excellent MTV show. I love the glass harmonica and the very strange instrument that looks more like decor but the metallic scraping is a cool effect.
Post (1995) - Eclectic, beautiful, bombastic
· Army of Me - Björk is angry with her brother for whining. She is over it (handclap). She is over him (handclap) and if he bothers her again she's going to blow-up at him (ugh, handclap). This is welcome to Bangkok in a bottle. Even without this context or story this song is badass and empowering. It's the first time Björk came at us with a confrontational and industrial sound. No "come to me[s]" over here.
· The Modern Things - Before Björk was Björk she was in the Sugarcubes and a bunch of other bands and released a jazz album, "Gling Glo." She has said before that when she began to embrace electronic sounds in music her peers told her there was no soul in electronic music. An unfortunately common sentiment held even today when people make those idiot jokes about going to an electronic music show being someone plugging in an ipod. This song is a modern fairy tale and kind of a joke about how devices will take over the world and how they've always been around. The xylophone trills are great touch. The song feels like a painting of prehistory. Björk sounds like a dolphin at the end.
· I Miss You - "but i haven't met you yettt." Haha! This song has a delirious and delightful video created by the same guy who made Ren & Stimpy. It's about a crazy woman looking for love. Björk is often credited as one of the first musicians to successfully and inextricably fuse techno and acoustic or organic instrumentation. On Post, she definitely achieved a mastery of the craft. This song is so fun. Listen out for a dog growling, some fun accordion, and the bongos. <3
Homogenic (1997) - Crunchy, Masterpiece, Catharsis
· Hunter - Debut and Post were Björk clearing out her back catalogue of songs she'd written in journals and all the stuff she'd put together before going solo. Homogenic is a collection of songs created and crafted as the new person she had become. I feel this is represented on the album cover in how unrecognizable she is. Hunter is the opening track on the album and once again immediately confronted with all new sounds and beat configurations. This song is epic. This album is epic. Get ready.
· 5 Years - Some of Björk's best works are direct, confrontational, and dynamic. Being the daughter of a psychic she's here asking you to show her your palms so she can read your love-line. The beats in the song swing pendulously. Perhaps like a lover that won't make up his mind. The chords at the end of the song are so colorful, freeing, and chaotic. The vocals are next level.
· Unravel - a Viking woman waiting for her lover to return. Otherwordly, and ritualistic. The song sounding like a funeral procession similar to what Family on Vunicura sounds like. A slow beat knocks, punctuating the emptiness. Her lover is likely dead and the devil has fed on the carrion of their relationship. Old world. Loving. Primordial. Mythological.
Vespertine (2001) - Eros, Nighttime, Frost
· Cocoon - creating your moist den in the bedroom with the man you are so absolutely in love with and attracted to. This song is so quiet but the emotions are so massive. Most of its sounds come from a gigantic music box that looks like it is playing a record. Those deep, resonant chords set the backdrop for Björk discussing slimy, sticky love. "Who would have known that a boy like him after sharing my core/ would stay going nowhere" I'm not sure but I think this is the first time I've heard Björk use her voice with this kind of timbre. It's affectionate and tender.
· Pagan Poetry - Here is a throbbing track. Thematically similar to Cocoon. "Pedalling through the dark currents/ I find an accurate copy/ of the blueprint of the pleasure in me." Hmm... I wonder what she's up to. Haha! Either way, a highlight, or actually the centerpiece of Vespertine (which means a few things: nightly prayers, also creatures that come out at night or flowers that bloom at night, I think). This video is also one of her best. Having sex with her husband while a wedding dress is sewn into her flesh. The end of the video seems very confessional. I love him, I love him...
· Heirloom - not every song on Vespertine is about masturbation or sex. This is a very loving song about her mother and son. Familial love. Everything isn't always perfect but she has the people in her life that she needs and loves.
Medulla (2004) - motherhood, melodic, acappella
· Vokuro - I think it's pronounced "vekuro." It's an old Icelandic lullaby. This album is all about voices. She sounds so closely mic'd. You can hear every trill and consonant. It's a beautiful song describing nature and the grim world. She's singing it to her baby, I think. It sounds cold, solemn, and loving.
· Desired Constellation - the dazzling table on which the song lies is a manipulated vocal sample from a song off Vespertine, Hidden Place, when she says, "I'm not sure what to do with it." Referring to love. Totally imperceptible but a cool fact nonetheless. How is she going to make it right?!
· Oceania - she wrote this song for the opening ceremony of the 2004 Olympics in Athens. We are all one tribe. All the athletes, all of humanity. There's a sick remix or alternate version of this song that features Kelis of "milkshake" fame. It works astoundingly well. The change to the beat is pretty awesome, too. Originally, Beyonce was to feature on a song on this album but there were scheduling conflicts. I wonder if she was going to work on this song or perhaps provide vocals for another song more in the vein of Frank Ocean's Pink and White? Björk is a huge fan of Beyonce having said in the New Yorker "This is an album about voices, and she's got the most amazing voice."
· Triumph of a Heart - Björk loves her body and we all should love our fleshy meat sacks, too. This is the celebratory, fun, goofy, loving closer of the album. Björk comes across sometimes as someone who might take herself too seriously but this song reveals a fun-loving character. I love this video. She's pissed off at her cat husband and goes out to town to get messy drunk. Fuck yeah!
Volta (2007) - Brassy, political, LOUD
· Earth Intruders - some of Volta was co-produced by Timbaland. As a result, we have some catchy tunes from the 2000s. Earth Intruders is fun and dramatic. Kind of operatic with some of that electronic wailing in the background. Its surreal lyrics depict a war-scene. Morbid trenches and mud graves populate the song. It sounds fun but what the fuck?
· The Dull Flame of Desire - Lyrics lifted from an Andrei Tarkovsky movie, "Stalker." It's interesting and Russian. We should watch it :). This is a slow build duet between Björk and an artist who is now known as Anohni but at the time was going by Antony of Antony and the Johnsons. She, Anohni, has also collaborated with Hercules and Love Affair, which is a very fun, gay, disco, kind of project. It's great! Either way, their voices work very well together. I definitely feel like I'm sitting next to a fire as it glows dimly yet constantly.
· Declare Independence - This is a fun, angry, empowering song. "Don't let them do that to you!" This was her encore-I'm leaving the stage now - good night - go forth and party - song for a while.
Biophilia (2011) minimalism, nature, wondrous
· Moon - a strange time-signature that corresponds to lunar cycles. a curious ballad about restoration and rebirth. Adrenaline pearls? Very psychedelic, poetic, lyrical imagery. Enjoy the space opera of Biophilia as it unfolds.
· Sacrifice - I love songs about a kind of martyred figure. With the album Vulnicura coming after this, this song seems to foreshadow what's to come. Björk swears up and down this song wasn't about her and her now ex-husband but I don't buy it. I love when this song explodes. The dire instrument evokes imagery of a machine that is struggling to function.
· Mutual Core - I already know you love this song. I wanted to put it here next to Sacrifice where it fits on the album, also, to showcase a fact. Björk has become pretty excellent in regards to the narratives of her album. All the songs on Biophilia have an element of song-theory or song-building or some kind of fundamental musical concept behind them. This one is about chords and how they fit together. Very meta that that concept lends itself so well in talking about human relationships. Messy layers of emotional suppression, unilateral decision making, and households fraught with fault lines. Exciting.
Vulnicura (2015) - salve, chronological, heart-rending
· History of Touches - Björk has always been forward thinking as an artist. History of Touches turns a human into a computer. Referring to browser history and how information can be stored and compressed. What is a memory? How a lifetime of memories can all somehow be accessed in a second. The gravity of everything can be felt and lost in mere seconds. I love the glitchy sounds at the end as things disintegrate. Vulnicura (made up word meaning cure for wounds) is the direct sequel to Vespertine. This song calls back to Cocoon. One last fuck?
· Atom Dance - another Anohni duet. They make a fabulous pair. This song somehow feels like it should've or at least was conceived during the Biophilia era. Heal. The beat comes in halfway through the song. It's quirky and washes over the dried-coral-waltz. Refresh.
· Quicksand - Björk's mother fell into a weeklong coma after a heart attack. I think this song is her reflection on the possibility of losing her. Despite the heaviness of the subject matter the song is a short, spurt of fun. It ends abruptly maybe like how a life can end abruptly. The metallic beats remind me of the mineralistic nature of sand that flow around you as you sink into ancestry and the pit that is heritage. "... my continuity and my daughter's/ and her daughter's/ and her daughter's..."
Utopia (2017) - Nimble, challenging, wooden
· Courtship - Losss - Sue Me: represent a very complete triptych that collectively showcase the ideas behind Utopia. There are other, better, songs but this is a pretty good sonic swatch.
· Courtship - a sprightly song about what it's like to date again. the beat is pretty slapstick and frames Björk in this anime-esque character who stumbles through all the different possibilities. If Björk's life right now had an anime this song would be a pretty great intro song.
· Losss - girl loves a sibilant "s." The first time I noticed this was when I carefully listened to Heirloom from Vespertine in the first time she says "lightsss." She has said that this song is very "pagan poetry" resembling a kind of goth-girl ballad. This song is about going through it and what it takes to come out of it. This song is harsh. There are two voices singing, both Björk. One optimistic and the other pessimistic. Who wins? Losss bleeds into...
· Sue Me - an abrupt, angry wall of honks. It's kind of dense, sonically. The distorted vocal sounds at the very beginning make me feel like Björk is ploddingly wading through a very marshy, muddy, swamp of problems. I love the reference to the King Solomon story. Once again, continuity, family, and legacy seem to be weighing heavily on Björk's mind. What am I leaving behind for my family? For my story. Trauma sinking into DNA and how nature and nurture interact. The narrative here is that her ex is suing her for custody of their daughter. She's fucking mad and this song is as ugly and real as the goings on during a real-life separation. How did we get here (see Vulnicura and parts of Biophilia)?
Side Projects + Other Recommendations
· Selmasongs (2000): sandwiched between Homogenic and Vespertine this album is very between those two worlds of sound. This is the soundtrack for the movie she did with Lars Von Trier entitled Dancer in the Dark. We are so going to have a Björk movie day (The Juniper Tree, Dancer in the Dark, and Stalker (for that Volta song)). The songs on Selmasongs (Selma is the character Björk plays) range from her take on a musical number to stuff that sounds like it'd be included in her main-line album. She had a notoriously rough time during filming with Lars and has come out during the #MeToo as being harassed by Lars. He "broke" her but she did win best actress at Cannes.
· Drawing Restraint 9 - another soundtrack for another movie she was in. I'm not sure how apt the word "movie" is for whatever Matthew Barney (her ex-husband) made. I haven't seen it and i'm not especially keen to, either. Björk did act in this movie, too. I don't know. She took a bath with some lemons.
· Mount Wittenberg Orca - a rare collaborative project. A half-hour album about a mother whale (Björk) and her children (portrayed by the female members of a group called The Dirty Projectors). Pretty folksy stuff here. I like it. It's offbeat in a non-Björk way.
· Ashley, there are SO many remixes of Björk songs done by other artists: Ratatat, Fever Ray, Forest Sword, Death Grips, Haxan Cloak, Matthew Herbert, and other artists going further back. Look around and you will find some gems.
· Post is way more eclectic than the songs I chose for it. I chose pretty energetic songs when there are some others that showcase more of the Björk and strings going really well together idea (Hyperballad and Isobel), Björk being jazzy (It's oh so quiet), and the complete relationship from start-to-finish trip hop ballad (Possibly Maybe). Possibly Maybe being one of my very favorite Björk songs. I love the lines Uncertainty excites me/ baby, what's going to happen?/ lottery or car crash or you join a cult. But Post is fun so I chose SUPER fun songs.
· I feel like I chose a great diversity of songs off Medulla but hey...if you wanna get weird - go listen to Ancestors.
submitted by Falcon_812 to bjork [link] [comments]


2019.12.14 21:13 Blendear Art buddies, reading pals, wicked writers, wild worldbuilders, friendly souls, who enjoy relentless, brutally honest banter about the most taboo questions ... I adore you all. You know what? Would you maybe want to gang up, become children again and just.. create, together?

This is going to be looong.

You wanted this in the form of a PowerPoint presentation? Well duck you! I can build you a goddamn snowman when you will actually get to the end of this. But for now, shut your beautiful mouth and let’s go on a wild ride, matey. And let’s put on some mUUUsic. Let's go!

Never before have I felt so alive. I, finally, feel like a kid again. Wait, no. I’m definitely having even more joy than as a kid. Holy quack.

I finally reminded myself what the hell was I doing differently as a kid, that made me feel truly alive. What made me forget about time and made me pissed off, since I couldn’t fall asleep because I was too excited for the upcoming morning.

Explain? Sure thing. I’ll do my best.

Doing poop. New poop. Not “new”, aka “huh, I haven’t done this for AgEs”.

No.

NEW. Aka “Holy Crabs for the love of Thor what the quack is ThIs!?.

Doing poop which is completely outside of my comfort zone. What I’ve never experienced before. Or at least not on such deep levels, because of my scared ass. Poop that makes me crap my pants while overfilling me with tremendous curiosity at the same time.

In the last 5-6 months I’ve decided to say “QuAcK yOu” to my toxic masculinity and take a joke from one of my dearest amigos…

… “Hah, let’s group up then and start a goddamn choreography group!” …

… waaay too seriously. We burned the parquet for 2 months straight. You know what’s scarier than making your first dance move as a stereotypical, European, white, pseudo-macho-male rap fanatic? Doing it with witnesses. What’s worse than that? Witnesses that are female. Can we go further? Apparently yes – while jumping into a choreography of a music type which I absolutely hated with all my heart. K-POP. Ok, that’s it, right? We can’t… WHILE choosing a K-POP choreo perfomed by four goddamn women.

Let’s just sum it up to this – I’ve got broken. Mentally annihilated. I’ve never been so blown away from my comfort zone before. Ever.

And never have I felt so damn alive.

During those 5-6 months, after two months of dancing (we had to stop because 3 out of 4 members of our little dance group were leaving for university), I’ve decided to go with the flow, use that weird knowledge and feeling that I’ve experienced, and throw myself into even more discomfort.

I revived my old fantasy projects from the childhood (mostly revolving around one, irrationally big worldbuilding project - an RPG). I’ve bought Cubase and allowed myself to suck like the utter noob I was, and pretty much still am, while composing my first soundtrack ever. If you ever wondered, yes, after 68 seconds of feeling like a god on earth, you pretty much hate each and every bit of your song. Just like while drawing – shoutout to my fellow suffering artists o/’

I used to go to sleep at 4 am, so I gave myself a retarded challenge of waking up at 4 am instead. I kicked my buttocks, but for some magical reason I feel more energized than ever. And bro is it marvelous to have some time for yourself in the morning.

I’ve got back to sucking at wanna-be-a-character-artist, but now, with not giving a single duck about if I’m bad at it, and focusing completely on why I don’t understand very specific rules of lightning, composition, anatomy and dynamic poses. Don’t get fooled though, I’m still far from where I want to be, yet I’m better than I ever was before, and that’s what counts. And by the way, I ain’t doing this for money anymore. Thankfully. I just want to create amazeball creatures for my fantasy world and fanarts for my favorite Overwatch characters. Nothing else matters.

I’ve also forced myself to reach out to an old childhood friend of mine, who also wanted to move his lazy buttocks, and we started out with regular workouts. I still don’t completely understand why, but the bare pressure of potentially disappoint my buddy through not standing in from of the gym on the given day at the given time, made me appear there every single time. No excuses. Amazing. It’s amazing how we can make fear our strongest weapon. Especially as introverts.

I’ve jumped into a bunch of other weird ideas. I pretty much decided to try an idea out before I think rationally about it. What a sweet decision it was. And still is. I’ve forced myself to become more social. Sometimes it made me lose hope in humanity. Other times it made me understand how to meet up with fellow souls to not hate my existence while being outside of my room. I needed a ton of dots to actually connect them and understand. But I did.

It’s not about where you are. But with whom.

It’s not about what you are doing. But how you are doing it. With what attitude

Holy Legolas, wait a second, because I’m deviating from the topic like a thordamn pro.

Would you maybe want to gang up, become children again and just.. create, together? Make ourselves comfortable in being uncomfortable while trying the weirdest poop we always wanted to try?

Want to draw, compose, write and read, or create in whatever way you want to, together, from time to time, or during some fixed schedules, while sharing our doubts, artblocks, tips and tricks, while breaking down what we want to understand and how to understand it?

Want to banter about the this 2 seconds of Flume’s song, while challenging ourselves to remake it 1:1, while failing quacking hard?
I’m currently addictively inspired by DROELOE, Flume & Son Lux from the sound design perspective, divinely lyrically enlightened by EMINEM and Bitamina (rather unknown outside of Poland), absolutely, utterly shattered and in love with Florence Welch and when it comes to moods and telling a story through rhythms - Hans Zimmer is life. And Wardruna. Aand Novo Amor. Aand William Ryan Fritch. Aaand the couple hundred other terrific minds that inspire me on a daily basis. Ugh, where would I be without music.
Oh, and if you, by any chance, listen do Dan Croll – I suggest next Friday for our marriage.

Want to take part in ArtStation / DeviantArt challenges together sometimes, while one-upping ourselves like Gimli and Legolas, or while collaborating and wrecking other art-noobs with our mind blowing ideas (or at least that’s what we will tell ourselves, while crying together in the corner)?

Want to read together on a regular basis, going on wild lyrical journeys and discuss the Hades out of every page, like bro to bro?
I bought a few original (read : English) portals (books) some time ago to see the true words and thoughts used by the author. And to practice some new fancy words to color up my English. Three of them are freshly bought and unread.
* pulls a lever and quickly dives inside The Archives *
Terry Pratchett's :
- "Night Watch"
- "Men At Arms"
- "Monstrous Regiment",
to be precise. Oh, and the yet-unread Lord of the Rings Trilogy, although my broken English accent would probably collapse under some of the words inscribed by this old bastard. Not to mention your innocent ears. I’m also eager to buy the original, English version of any of Brandon Sanderson books. I’d absolutely love to reread “The Way of Kings”. We could also jump into some biographies. Or rom-coms. Or self-improvement books (I hate them, I’m learning much more in this matter through self-reflections and from podcasts such as Joe Rogan, but – just so you know, that I’m eager to jump outside my box).
Big plus if you are a fellow Polish comrade (yup, kurwa mać etc.), since then we will have a much bigger variety of books, which I’d love to reread or read of the first time ever (for example the whole Witcher Saga, which I’d never dare to read in English, since that’s pure heresy). I’m also open for any recommendation of yours.
We would have yet another ton of stuff to rant about with such mutual adventures in our backpacks of memories.

Wanna learn how to take a break, call each other on discord and go for a walk in the woods?

Want to start learning how to be human, take the first steps into meditation, take care of your body and start working out, put this puzzle which is your mind into a slightly less chaotic form, get rid of those fears that keep you up at night, get your diet together, stop napping through the whole Saturday or start with complete baby steps like taking a shower every single day (depression is a snitch), start knitting, break your high score of talking 87 words per year, finally finish (not write it perfectly, finish) your short story, jump into breakdancing, breaking your toxic masculinity and jump into ballet dancing or you crave for improving your diction, accent, or English, or Polish, and need a bro to keep your flow?

I’m in.

Whatever you’d be up to. Let’s be uncomfortable together. Let’s break our shells and grow into ways we’ve never even imagined before.

Oh, and boy oh boy, let’s also make some crazy excuses...

... and spend a whole evening binge watching Avatar “fOr sOmE InsPirAtiOn”, playing Overwatch “bEcAuSe I nEed It fOr a project mOoOm” and deep dive into breaking down every single sentence of Brandon Sanderson’s books to understand how the hell did this bastard make us feel so many emotions with just a plain combinations of words.

Time to get dirty, nourish our brains and make some love to this crazy multiverse you always wanted to bring to life. Creating your first ever music video. Or music lyrics. Or whatever “insignificant” spark you hold inside you, which you never had a chance or motivation to unleash before.

I’m. Your. Bro.

Let’s spark up the inner child and nourish all this ideas and dreams that we let dry out or let’s create entirely new ideas. Step after step. Learn new skills. Let’s shit on our self-doubt. We don’t need to blow up, but we do need to create and share what rumbles within us. Creation for the sake of it. Not everyone needs to understand our amazeballness. We will.
* UuUuUltra Hive Five! *

Don’t have a passion that’s occupying your mind? Sweet. I kind of envy you. So many tastes you’ve yet to taste. Then let’s develop your passion. Don’t trap yourself into this “find your passion” bullpoop. We will create it instead. We will create our passions, while trying out character design, songwriting, worldbuilding, animation or whatever smells the nicest for us this week. And digging deep into what we chose. Within our own tempo. No pressure. No expectations. Well, maybe just a little pressure, just to keep our fire burning, hah.

And let’s never, EVER, get serious.

Sure, let’s work hard. But also, especially, smart. And being stressed, too serious, with a stick up your ass, with no place for humor, friendly banter and not allowing yourself to chill – there is no “smart” in that. That’s how burnouts and art blocks are crafted. So, bro or sis, let’s, most importantly, keep each other in check. No problem can’t be turned into a fun, exciting challenge. Let’s be vulnerable. Let’s share our worries and achievements. And let’s play hard and enjoy ourselves like the beautiful mthrfkrs we are.

Being lazy is great. But have you tried being lazy after a bloody epic fight inside the realms of your passion? Aaaw yeeeeah. Indescribable.

The most paradoxical thing is – even resting is more epic than before. I mean, even something as brainless as taking a dump. Suddenly, when you do it after a big workout, after a deadly match of HEMA, after finally owning those 2 seconds of a choreography, or after working your brain out while creating the sickest beat you ever created – suddenly, even your crap glitters with gold. I mean, taking a dump is one of my favorite things during the day and it turns out I can do this better!? I’m in. There’s no way I’m going back. That’s too much joy to miss out on. Discipline, the brute force of our mind, is breathtaking.

I want to know the tiniest details about what you dreams and what you crave for and on what exact areas of your life do you want to work on in the next weeks. Write me an essay, bro. Oh, and by the way.
Not necessarily men – “Bro” is a legendary, unisex badge of honor and glooory.
* EpIc-UlTrA-lEgEndArY hIgh FIvE! *

Oh, and please, don't get fooled by my joyful attitude right now!

I'm a fellow human, just like you.
I get scared, frustrated, paralyzed, stunned, overfilled with joy, overwhelmed, crying from laughter, crying from pain, bursting from anger and blazing with hope and inspiration.

We don‘t need to laugh our bellies out to enjoy what we do together. There are some many more colors to feel and enjoy. The seriousness in our eyes when we look at each other in Battlefield, rushing like crazy to revive our fallen sister in arms. Being touched by the incredible talk of Lord Gnugbar, after we finish his quest in Divinity 2. The sheer terror and fear when we pierce ourselves into the enemy team in Overwatch, executing our impossible strategy which we just made up on spot. The love and huge crush on our Roadhog, who once again, with his fine belly, saved our asses from complete annihilation. Every emotion is worth feeling. And most importantly, there is something I needed way too much time to understand – you don’t need to smile, to be happy.

I have a terrible memory and often forget about it, but hey, that’s why we will have each other. It’s easy to forget how to just be. To just breath. With every single color that life has to offer.

No expectations. Pure journey. Whatever it may bring.
Oh, and by the way, I won’t judge you. Like, ever.

We are all under construction.

So... Let's spend months getting rid of our anxieties, deepest fears and social paralyzes just to be able to hold our first conversation about the beautiful weather outdoors.

I do not want to promise you a long lasting friendship. Nor to fill the holes you crave to fill. Nor to become your “Perfect Brother In Arms”. But I will do my quacking best.

What I do promise, is the most important step you can make. The next one. What I promise to you, is to walk as close to the walls of the labyrinth of life. As close to them as possible, to make some space for my new comrade, if, by any chance, you would decide to venture along this crazy, wicked maze with me, shield to shield, sword to sword ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

I feel like I just spoke more words than in the last 8 months. Scary.

Certainty of death. Small chance of success. What are we waiting for?
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2019.12.04 17:30 indieheadsAOTY2019 Album of the Year 2019 #4: Vampire Weekend - Father of the Bride

Album of the Year 2019 #4: Vampire Weekend - Father of the Bride
Hello everyone and welcome back to Day 4 of Album of the Year 2019, the annual write-up series where the users of indieheads talk their favorite albums of the year. Up today, we've got roseisonlineagain going long on the big return of indie rock's prodigal sons Vampire Weekend and their new record Father of the Bride.
Artist: Vampire Weekend
Album: Father of the Bride

https://preview.redd.it/mwveljj4en241.jpg?width=1500&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=12767d9bc252a274f5192094d01ad72a4816f628
Listen:
Youtube
Spotify
Apple Music
Background:
The story of Vampire Weekend as a band by now has been written dozens of times, and considering this review comes under the assumption that you’re already deeply immersed in this band on some level, I figure I could just eschew the normal pleasantries. Just in case you’re not a fan though, here’s some quick bullet points on the story of Vampire Weekend leading up to FOTB.
  • The band was founded in 2006 at Columbia University by Ezra Koenig, Chris Tomson, Rostam Batmanglij, and Chris Baio.
  • The band, heavily immersed in hype from their initial demos sent out to blogs all over, dropped their debut in January of 2008, and followed it up with two further records, Contra in 2010 and Modern Vampires of the City in 2013.
  • In 2014 they won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album off of Modern Vampires!
  • In 2015, Ezra started a bi-weekly internet radio show on Beats 1 entitled Time Crisis.
  • In 2016, Rostam left the band to focus on his own solo work and production for other artists.
  • FOTB was finally released after nearly six years of work on May 3rd, 2019.
That probably covers a decent amount.
Review:
Father of the Bride is not my outright favorite record of the year, but beyond anything else it’s probably the one I’ve had the most time and interest in. It’s an incredibly solid album from a group who’s already shown themselves to have high watermarks for quality in their music, a solid pop and rock and whatever-you-want-to-call-it kinda record. And it’s an incredibly fucking confusing album. Instead of building a uniting central thesis, I decided to run through FOTB with a series of questions to maybe purge all the thoughts from my brain.
PART ONE: AND THE BEAT GOES ON (OR, What Does FOTB Sound Like?)
Take a look under the hood of any VW record and you can get an immediate sense of the very weird underbelly that the clean veneer of the band’s music tends to bely with the listener. It’s less there for giving a false sense of comfort, and more a means to bolstering a sound. Radiohead! M.I.A.! Lil Jon! Souls of Mischief! The list of artists who directly or indirectly found their place in the sound vocabulary of Vampire Weekend’s music up to this point is long and honestly pretty strange (and I refuse to relitigate the cultural appropriation debate we’ve had over the past decade). So it’s no surprise that they continue to make left turns at every avenue with this new record. Now, I’m not an executive at Stereogum, but if I were I absolutely would have given writer Michael Nelson the platform to make his unhinged “FOTB is the musical equivalent of Infinite Jest” thesis, because it’s as apt as it’ll ever be. Now of course by this point in my rambling you’re already asking, “Rose, what is the damn point of all this spilling out their credentials?” The answer is simple. FOTB is bedroom pop.
Recorded mostly in Ariel Reichstad’s home studio along with several other places over the course of six years, the sketches that loosely made up FOTB came together slowly but certainly as Ezra decided to make it all into a double album, best inspired by Bruce Springsteen’s The River, a cohesive sound and style spanning two discs. The album tends to wear its shaggiest places on its sleeve, with iPhone recordings popping up in places like “My Mistake” and the low-end chords on “Harmony Hall,” letting the album be built into the precise piece it wants to be. Similar to other records this year, the album builds a natural sense of restraint in its pacing by placing its shortest tracks after the longer trips on the record in order to allow things to breathe. It builds from grand epics to shorter songs whose lyrics can be seen as simplistic poetry with variations in the verses. Most indicative of these sketches is the first, “Bambina,” a jaunty excursion that leaps from a simple guitar melody to a highly danceable groove of its own that slowly descends back to where it started. It’s a melody in miniature, a display of Koenig’s songwriting at the top of his game.
The track afterwards, “This Life,” is perhaps the best of the album’s pre-release singles, and an example of the way this album’s layering comes together beautifully. Within ten seconds of the song’s opening, there’s already four layers of instruments built on top of each other, with everything moving in and out of frame at will to make contrast between verse and chorus. In particular, my favorite details here lie in the percussion, with the light cymbal rushing in the end of the first verse, and the slight speed up on the larger hits in the first repetition of the chorus. Somehow, even with all this, Ezra worried the song was “too simple” and considered cutting it from the record altogether, which is an astounding conclusion for such a heavily layered song, especially one with that brilliant guitar solo from painter, musician, and internet radio personality Jake Longstreth. (Then again he almost cut “Hannah Hunt”, “Diane Young”, AND “Ya Hey” from the last album so maybe this is just a habit he has.) In contrast, “How Long?” probably the second weirdest song on the record was the one he once saw as the “big single” for the album. Now I’m not going to judge Ezra’s tastes (he enjoys plenty of very tasteful artists and clearly knows what he’s doing considering he’s four records deep without a miss to this point), but this choice is mystifying. To start, let’s consider the fact that this song is built on a bassline adapted from a reggae cover of a disco song from 1979. Then throw in the massive reverberated pianos and synths. And for flavor, why not some additional percussion that sounds like circus noises. This song is just mystifying in its own right, but the fact that it WORKS is proof alone that this album is well executed in its ridiculous sound wizardry. All these disparate pieces can carefully balance off of each other in place to make something grander as a whole, a greater song that shines.
Ezra and Ariel come together along with every other member of their loosely affiliated crew of at least fourteen other musicians in a nice family affair (numbers are difficult because there’s no listed liner notes for the album, but pretty obvious names like Danielle Haim, Dave Longstreth and Buddy Ross pop up in Ezra’s listing of names for the record) to bring together ideas that absolutely shouldn’t work like they do. A strange piano ballad that seems to draw from equal wells of Frank Ocean’s Blonde and more traditional jazz melodies! A Latin dance tune! A song that is almost entirely just Ezra’s singing, a string section, and a sample from a compilation of palm wine guitar tunes! Whatever the fuck “Spring Snow” is! This album’s usage of disparate sounds to create grand and overwrought songs from all these individual pieces absolutely Should Not Work, but it does, and reaches absolutely brilliant heights in its absurdity. I opted not to go for specific references of bands for sounds considering that the album itself seems to avoid those “hard ideas about influence and motivation of the sound”, in the words of producer Ariel Reichstad. The way I hear it, it’s a record that opts to just try whatever it feels sounds good, and it flourishes (or for the folks who didn’t like it all that much, absolutely fails) in this try it all attitude. You can tear and trifle over what’s a “single” in major label terms all you want, but in the end any song here can stand unmoored from the greater context and shine flawlessly.
So if that’s what the music is, then what the hell are they singing about over it?
PART TWO: ANOTHER NIGHT AT THE BORDERLINE (OR, What is FOTB About?)
Despite the errant six year gap between Modern Vampires I’d argue that the band picks up quite easily from where they left off. Ezra’s specialty for lyrical writing has always been best refined in character sketches, portraits of men in moments of crisis or just strange situations worth exploring. As usual, the main fare here typically runs with very flowery language heavy on allusions and weaving very fine narratives building towards some grander theme. What is that theme though?
If you want to reach the heart of a Vampire Weekend song, the best strategy is to look past all the imagery for things to make sense. You can get hung up on little lines and ideas and suddenly become obsessed with the idea that the album is built on being like country records when in reality the slide guitars and the gold rush talk is just a backdrop for the struggle between two members in a couple trying to reach their point of agreement. The songs have been written over a long period, so trying to push for an idea that this is their “record in the time of Trump” is a little bit wholesale inaccurate, perhaps even disingenuous. Some of the themes are more apt in the present moment, with our current cultural reckoning on the hollowness of immense wealth and capital turning up very forwardly on “Rich Man”, a song written in January of 2014 when Ezra was posted up in a luxurious chateau for his band’s eventual success at the Grammy Awards of that year. Interpolating the old country tune "A Satisfied Mind", the song’s escalating numbers reflect the real meaninglessness at the forefront of trying to satiate that ever advancing desire for more. In a similar manner, “How Long?” uses its stranger musical palette as a base as a means to explore a messy breakup while also contending with the incredibly imminent threat of climate change. Ezra asks “what’s the point in getting clean / you wear the same old dirty jeans?” An easy double entendre in trying to shake yourself of the messy emotions that entangle you when you’re so caught up in someone else. The mess we’ve made for ourselves, both in the political climate and our interpersonal lives is only going to get more tangled over time, but we’re all going to sink together, so it’s totally okay I guess!
Anyway fun Author’s Note Section of small asides I’m quoting directly from Ezra’s interviews and radio airtime that you can choose whether or not to take at face value, placed in order of increasing ludicrousness:
  1. The title of “Unbearably White” obviously is a playful jab at the extramusical context (more on that fun phrase later!) the band has found themselves mired in, and despite Ezra's insistence otherwise, it’s clearly just a bit.
  2. In the original cut of “Married In A Gold Rush”, the call and response was “I just wanna go out tonight and make my baby proud / Boy, who’s your daddy?” Thankfully we’ve been able to avoid the very weird tone that would strike with this.
  3. Ezra claimed (probably extremely jokingly) that his delivery of the line “I was told that war was how we landed on these shores” was semi-inspired by the “I was told by AppleCare” vine. I don’t really have words for this one, just what on earth?
  4. I was hoping for more insightful musical and lyrical commentary from Ezra on his radio deep dive into the record, but for most of the record’s second half of playback he was just riffing over the album with a slightly tinny sounding acoustic guitar. Anyway, that's why I have to reiterate this is all conjecture!
Knowing that I’m almost inevitably going to be wrong with whatever idea I posit from this point onward gives me the freedom to say whatever I want so off I go into wild theory-crafting territory! I believe that the songs on FOTB mostly form a natural arc outside of some of the shorter tracks that Ezra positioned as tone “poems” to bring simpler ideas into the greater tracklist. As well as this, the three duets with Danielle Haim are a sort of miniature of the album’s own arc, a mirror in a greater picture. The first track, “Hold You Now” captures the couple in a moment of dissimilar understanding, a classic “stay or go” conflict with Ezra’s character begging Danielle’s to come along with him, having hooked up the night before her wedding with another man. His character sees it as a simple choice, with the two still having some immediate connection but she disagrees, finding his timing purely a sign of his own irresponsibility and merely one place in their greater relationship rather than the defining moment. Both of them eventually land in the same refrain: “I can’t carry you forever, but I can hold you now.” In his meaning, it can be seen as a plea for just one last moment before they’re lost from each other, but with her interpretation it’s taken as a call for just trying to support each other in the important moments like this one. Similar to this song, many of the songs in the first third of the album are built on characters in discord, trying to find the right words for a greater problem, be it seeing a place you once loved defiled by evil, or a narrator finding that their ignorance in their place in life has suddenly left them woefully underprepared for the consequences of their actions.
“Married in a Gold Rush”, then, can be noted as a point of transition. The duo’s singing lines together now, coming to an understanding of each others’ points. The two now some point on from their own marriage. However, some greater problem has creeped into their lives, be it the unsettling feeling of discontent that comes with settlement or some greater ecological disaster (“hanging gardens turn to deserts”). They can recognize that the idea they were sold when they were younger doesn’t match the outcome of the way things have turned out with each other, and in the end they’re still willing to give each other a chance despite the weight of the false promises behind them. In an analog for people perhaps turning towards their own errors with self perspective, such as the aforementioned points I took with “Rich Man”, the immense regret weighing in “My Mistake”, or the very forward points of “Sympathy”. Ezra finds plenty of worthy parallels in smaller points like the Modern and ancient conflicts between the Abrahamic religions of the world, drawing on these images to show the common theme, a lack of understanding with each other hampering people from building to a greater cause.
And in that sense, the final duet of “We Belong Together” can be seen as a sort of conclusion to all that, with the same characters once again landing parallel to each other, but in a point of greater harmony with each other, even if there’s still misunderstanding between them. The verses are simply just playful comparisons, albeit Koenig’s character is clearly still floundering in the fear of losing this relationship, throwing out literally any mentality he can for why they deserve each other. Traditional pairings, opposites attract, anything to make a hard sell on why they were always supposed to be together, when in truth it’s just as random as stars aligning for each other. The pair are just one of many random parts in a bigger system, and embracing each other and that greater cause is perhaps the best thing they can do for themselves. That contentment is well earned, with the triumphant and emotional closing run from the lovely night and day pairing of “Sunflower” / “Flower Moon” to the end with “Jerusalem, New York, Berlin.” The closing of the record is a reflection on the greater things that are important to you, and the acceptance of your place in the world, facing the passage of time as you get older (“2021”) or happily embracing the greatest relationship of your life as it gives you a place around others to feel comfortable (“Stranger”). It’s a natural finish in an arc, and a moral idea that the album plays well, pushing for the listener to find this kind of place for themselves. There’s no guarantee anyone will learn from any of the mistakes of the past but they can at least try to claim some victory from those failures.
PART THREE: JAKE’S HOME DEPOT PLAYLIST (OR, Some Meta-Commentary And A Closing Statement)
Even with all of this rambling on about everything else I’ve presented up to this point, that stuff doesn’t really present the reason I REALLY became intrigued with this record. While I wasn’t a real heavy Vampire Weekend fan until around February of this year (and it still took me a month to fully get there), the thing that drew me in was something beyond the music, the sort of extramusical context that I believe to be the most fascinating thing about this album itself. For the past three years I’ve been an in and out fan of Ezra’s Beats 1 radio show Time Crisis, which is really the main hinge of my enjoyment of this album. This show is a weird playground into the intersection of strange topics like corporate food culture, jam bands, and just weird shit in general. They’ve gotten arguably one of the best interviews I’ve heard from Alanis Morissette, made Huey Lewis try White Claw for the first time, and spent several hours discussing the virtues of “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran and “Jamflowman” by Twiddle, cultural artifacts that otherwise wouldn’t get this kind of strange and amusing analysis that the show delivers. However, just like the album, the external context that’s sprung up in the wake of the show is arguably the most exciting thing about it. It’s the fan culture that’s intersected between TC and VW that’s bloomed into something beautiful, a community with dozens of little ideas and pieces thrown between artists and references and in-jokes spiraling further out to the point where this image has some resonant significance. Just as FOTB is a record about the strength of community, the strength of Time Crisis lies in the world people have built around it, which has slowly but surely merged into the greater story of the band. And it’s a beautiful thing to see evolve over time, something that sits well beyond the music but ties beautifully into the theme of being a part of something greater than yourself. In the end, we’re all out here on a big blue planet far bigger than any of us, so why not try to make a place for everyone?
Favorite Lyrics:
No signs of injustice
No signs but the flames that are filling up the room
  • "Bambina"
A billion to one, don’t the odds make you sick?
To be one in a billion’s a terrible trick
You’re the wretched one
  • "Rich Man"
Flower moon, sacred sign
Coca-Cola & red wine
Now’s the time to disappear
  • "Flower Moon"
2021, will you think about me?
I could wait a year but I shouldn’t wait three
  • "2021"
Talking Points:
  • How do you think this record stands against other releases this year, as well as the albums in the original trilogy of records?
  • What’s your favorite lyrics / song on the album?
  • What’s your favorite piece of bootleg VW merch you’ve seen out in the wild?
  • Do you have a worried mind?
  • What do you think is the most interesting way this album differentiates itself from the band’s older work (or what similarities do you find between them?)
Special thanks to roseisonlineagain once again for their extremely heady but incredible write-up! Come back tomorrow as we've got readyerrnot talking Thom Yorke's anticipated solo album ANIMA. In the meantime, discuss today's album and its write-up in the comments below, where you'll also find the schedule for the rest of this year's Album of the Year 2019 lineup.
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2019.11.12 01:12 Cjborange I ranked all 116 of Taylor's bridges from worst to best

I knew I had to do something Taylor-related to fill my day off, so this is what I set my mind to: ranking all 116 of Taylor Swift's songs according to their bridge. The weakest bridges are at the top and my personal favorites are at the bottom. There are some I couldn't decide where to put and moved up and down the list before setting them down, and some that I set down early on and never moved. It was a lot of work and I just wanted to share. Let me know what you think!
Note: The Outside, Tied Together With A Smile, Mary's Song (Oh My My My), Untouchable, End Game, Death By A Thousand Cuts, False God, It's Nice To Have A Friend, Beautiful Eyes, Christmases When You Were Mine, Crazier, and Safe & Sound (feat. Civil Wars) do not have bridges and are not included in this list.
116. ME! (feat. Brendon Urie of Panic! At the Disco)
Girl, there ain’t no I in “team”
But you know there is a “me”
Strike the band up, 1, 2, 3
I promise that you’ll never find another like me
Girl, there ain’t no I in “team”
But you know there is a “me”
And you can’t smell “awesome” without “me”
I promise that you’ll never find another like
115. A Perfectly Good Heart
It’s not unbroken anymore
How do I get it back the way it was before?
114. Better Than Revenge
I’m just another thing for you to roll your eyes at, honey
You might have him, but haven’t you heard?
I’m just another thing for you to roll your eyes at, honey
You might have him, but I always get the last word
Whoa, whoa-ah-oh
113. Girl At Home
Call a cab, lose my number
You’re about to lose your girl
Call a cab, lose my number
Let’s consider this lesson learned
112. Haunted
I know
I know
I just know
You’re not gone, you can’t be gone, no
111. Style
Take me home
Just take me home
Yeah just take me home, oh
110. A Place In This World
Maybe I’m just a girl on a mission
But I’m ready to fly
109. This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
Here’s a toast to my real friends
They don’t care about the he said, she said
And here’s to my baby
He ain’t reading what they call me lately
And here’s to my mama
Had to listen to all this drama
And here’s to you
‘Cause forgiveness is a nice thing to do
(Spoken) I can’t even say that with a straight face
108. How You Get The Girl
And you could know, oh
That I don’t want you to go
107. Forever And Always
Oh back up, baby back up
Did you forget everything?
Back up, baby back up
Did you forget everything?
106. Teardrops On My Guitar
So I drive home alone
As I turn out the light
I’ll put his picture down and maybe get some sleep tonight
105. Today Was A Fairytale
Time slows down whenever you’re around
I can feel my heart
It’s beating in my chest
Did you feel it?
I can’t put this down
104. I’m Only Me When I’m With You
When I’m with anybody else
It’s so hard to be myself
And only you can tell
103. I Forgot That You Existed
I forgot that you
Sent me a clear message
Taught me some hard lessons
I just forget what they were
It’s all just a blur
102. Eyes Open
Keep your feet ready
Heartbeat steady
Keep your eyes open
Keep your arms locked
The night goes dark
Keep your eyes open
(Keep your eyes open)
101. Christmas Must Be Something More
We get so caught up in all of it
Business and relationships
Hundred mile an hour lives
And it’s this time of year
And everybody’s here
It seems the last thing on your mind
100. Stay Beautiful
If you and I are a story that never gets told
If what you are is a daydream I’ll never get to hold
At least you’ll know
99. Picture To Burn
And if you’re missing me
You better keep it to yourself
‘Cause coming back around here
Would be bad for your health
98. Starlight
Ooh, ooh, he’s talking crazy
Ooh, ooh, he’s dancing with me
Ooh, ooh, we could get married
Have ten kids and teach ‘em how to dream
97. Tim McGraw
I’m back for the first time since then
I’m standing on your street
And there’s a letter left on your doorstep
And the first thing that you’ll read
96. Come In With The Rain
I’ve watched you for so long, screamed your name
I don’t know what else I can say
95. Invisible
Like shadows in the faded light
Oh, we’re invisible
I just wanna open your eyes
And make you realize
94. Breathe (feat. Colbie Caillat)
It’s 2 A.M, feeling like I just lost a friend
I hope you know this ain’t easy, easy for me
It’s 2 A.M, feeling like I just lost a friend
I hope you know this ain’t easy, easy for me
93. Sweeter Than Fiction
I’ll be one of the many saying,
“Look at you know, look at you now now”
I’ll be one of the many saying,
“You made us proud, you made us proud, proud”
I’ll be one of the many saying,
“Look at you know, look at you now now”
I’ll be one of the many saying,
“You made us proud, you made us proud, proud”
92. Should’ve Said No
I can’t resist
Before you go tell me this
Was it worth it?
Was she worth this?
No, no, no, no. No no no.
91. Look What You Made Me Do
(I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me
I’ll be actress starring in your bad dreams) x 4
(Spoken) I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, ‘cause she’s dead!
90. The Best Day
I have an excellent father
His strength is making me stronger
God smiles on my little brother
Inside and out he’s better than I am
I grew up in a pretty house and I had space to run and I
Had the best days with you
89. Our Song
I’ve heard every album listening to the radio
Waiting for something to come along
That was as good as our song
88. You Need To Calm Down
And we see you over there on the internet
Comparing all the girls who are killing it
But we figured you out
We all know now we all got crowns
You need to calm down
87. Tell Me Why
Man, why do you have to make me feel small
So you can feel whole inside?
Why do you have to put down my dreams
So you’re the only thing on my mind?
86. I Wish You Would
You always knew how to push my buttons
You gave me everything and nothing
This mad, mad love makes you come rushing
Stand back where you stood
I wish you would, I wish you would
I wish you would, I wish you would
85. Stay Stay Stay
You took the time to memorize me
My fears, my hopes and dreams
I just like hanging out with you all the time
All those times that you didn’t leave
It’s been occurring to me
I’d like to hang out with you
For my whole life
84. Bad Blood
Bandaids don’t fix bullet holes
You say sorry just for show
You live like that, you live with ghosts
Bandaids don’t fix bullet holes
You say sorry just for show
You live like that, you live with ghosts
If you love like that, blood runs cold
83. Everything Has Changed
Come back and tell me why
I’m feeling like I’ve missed you all this time
And meet me there tonight
And let me know that it’s not all in my mind
82. If This Was A Movie
If you’re out there
If you’re somewhere
If you’re moving on
I’ll be waiting for you
Wary since you’ve been gone
I just want it back the way it was before
And I just want to see you back at my front door
81. Gorgeous
You make me so happy it turns back to sad
There’s nothing I hate more than what I can’t have
You are so gorgeous it makes me so mad
You make me so happy it turns back to sad
There’s nothing I hate more than what I can’t have
I guess I’ll just stumble on home to my cats
Alone, unless you want to come along?
80. I’d Lie
He stands there then walks away
My God, if I could only say,
“I’m holding everything breath for you”
79. Paper Rings
I want to drive away with you
I want your complications too
I want your dreary Mondays
Wrap your arms around me, baby boy
I want to drive away with you
I want your complications too
I want your dreary Mondays
Wrap your arms around me, baby boy
78. Cold As You
You never did give a damn thing, honey
But I cried, cried for you
And I know you wouldn’t have told nobody
If I died, died for you
Died for you
77. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
I used to think
That we were forever, ever
And I used to say,
“Never say never”
(Spoken) Ugh, so he calls me up, and he’s like “I still love you”, and I’m like “I just- I mean this is exhausting, you know? Like, we are never getting back together, ever”
76. You’re Not Sorry
You had me crawling for you honey
And it never would have gone away
You used to shine so bright
But I watched all of it fade
75. Blank Space
Boys only want love if it’s torture
Don’t say I didn’t, say I didn’t warn you
Boys only want love if it’s torture
Don’t say I didn’t, say I didn’t warn you
74. Superman
And I watch you fly around the world
And I hope you don't take some other girl
I hope you don't forget about me
I'm far away but I'll never let you go
I'm lovestruck and looking out the window
Don't forget, don't forget where I'll be
Right here wishing the flowers were from you
Wishing the card was from you
Wishing the call was from you
‘Cause I loved you from the very first day
73. The Other Side Of The Door
And I’ll scream out the window
I can’t even look at you
I don’t need you but I do, I do, I do
I say, “There’s nothing you can say to make this right again, I mean it”
I mean it
What I mean is
72. SuperStar
You played in bars, you play guitar
I’m invisible and everyone knows who you are
And you’ll never see, sing me asleep
Every night on the radio
71. London Boy
So please show me Hackey
Doesn’t have to be Louis V up on Bond Street
Just wanna be with you
Wanna be with you
Stick with me, I’m your queen
Like a Tennessee Stella McCartney on the Heath
Just wanna be with you
Wanna be with you
70. Miss Americana And The Heartbreak Prince
And I don’t want you to (go)
I don’t really want to (fight)
‘Cause nobody’s gonna (win)
And I’ll never let you (go)
‘Cause I know this is a (fight)
That somebody we’re gonna (win)
69. New Romantics
Please take my hand and
Please take me dancing and
Please leave me stranded
It’s so romantic
68. Speak Now
I hear the preacher say
“Speak now or forever hold your peace”
There’s the silence, there’s my last chance
I stand up with shaking hands
All eyes on me
Horrified looks from everyone in the room
But I’m only looking at you
67. I Heart Question Mark
And when you’re home all alone at night
You’ll still wonder why
You took everything I had, oh baby
I haven’t thought about you and I
There’s no you and I, and I know someday you will
66. Jump Then Fall
The bottom’s gonna drop out from under our feet
I’ll catch you, I’ll catch you
When people say things that bring you to your knees
I’ll catch
The time is gonna come when you’re so mad you could cry
But I’ll hold you through the night until you smile
65. Welcome To New York
Like any great love, it keeps you guessing
Like any real love, it's ever-changing
Like any true love, it drives you crazy
But you know you wouldn't change anything, anything, anything
64. Mean
And I can see you years from now in a bar
Talking over a football game
With that same old loud opinion but nobody’s listening
Washed up and ranting about the same old bitter things
Drunk and grumbling on about how I can’t sing
And all you are is mean
63. 22
It feels like one of those nights
We ditch the whole scene
It feels like one of those nights
We won’t be sleeping
It feels like one of those nights
You look like bad news
I gotta have you, I gotta have you
62. Fifteen
Back then I swore I was gonna marry him someday
But I realized some bigger dreams of mine
And Abigail gave everything she had
To a boy who changed his mind
And we both cried
61. Ours
And it’s not theirs to speculate
If it’s wrong
Your hands are tough but they are aware
Mine belong and
I’ll fight their doubt and give you faith
With this song for you
60. The Lucky One
It was a few years later
I showed up here
And they still tell the legend of how you disappeared
How you took the money and your dignity, and got the hell out
They say you bought a bunch of land somewhere
Chose the Rose Garden over Madison Square
And it took some time, but I understand it now
59. Mine
I remember that fight, 2:30 A.M
‘Cause everything was slipping right out of our hands
I ran out crying and you followed me out into the street
Braced myself for the goodbye
‘Cause it’s all I’d ever known
But you took me by surprise
You said, “I’ll never leave you alone.”
58. The Last Time (feat. Gary Lightbody)
This is the last time you tell me I’ve got it wrong
This is the last time I say it’s been you all along
This is the last time I let you in my door
This is the last time, I won’t hurt you anymore
57. Getaway Car
We were jetset, Bonnie and Clyde, oh
Until I switched to the other side, to the other side
It’s no surprise I turned you in, oh
‘Cause us traitors never win
56. All You Had To Do Was Stay
Let me remind you this is what you wanted
You ended it
You were all I wanted
But not like this
55. Hey Stephen
They’re dimming the streetlights
You’re perfect for me, why aren’t you here tonight?
I’m standing alone now
So come on and come out
And pull me near
Shine, shine, shine
54. White Horse
And there you are on your knees
Begging for forgiveness
Begging for me
Just like I always wanted
But I’m so sorry
53. Delicate
Sometimes I wonder when you sleep
Are you ever dreaming of me?
Sometimes when I look into your eyes
I pretend you’re mine all the damn time
52. Come Back…Be Here
This is falling in love in the cruelest way
This is falling for you when you are worlds away
New York, be here
But you’re in London, and I break down
‘Cause it’s not fair that you’re not around
51. Holy Ground
Tonight I’m gonna dance
For all that we’ve been through
But I don’t wanna dance
If I’m not dancing with you
Tonight I’m gonna dance
Like you were in this room
But I don’t wanna dance
If I’m not dancing with you
50. I Did Something Bad
They’re burning all the witches even if you aren’t one
They’ve got their pitchforks and proof
Their receipts and reasons.
They’re burning all the witches even if you aren’t one
So light me, light me up, light me up, light me up
Light me up, go ahead and light me up
49. Change
And tonight we’ll stand, get up off our knees
Fight for what we’ve worked for all these years
And the battle was long, it’s the fight of our lives
But we stand up champions tonight
48. Long Live
Hold on to spinning around
Confetti falls to the ground
May these memories break or fall
47. The Man
What’s it like to rap around raking in dollars and getting bitches and models
And it’s all good if you’re bad, and it’s okay if you’re mad
If I was out flashing my dollars, I’d be a bitch, not a baller
They’d paint me out to be mad, so it’s okay that I’m mad
46. Enchanted
This is me praying that
This was the very first day
Not where the storyline ends
My thoughts will echo your name until I see you again
These are the words I held back as I was leaving too soon
I was enchanted to meet you
45. I Think He Knows
Lyrical smile, indigo eyes, hand on my thigh
We can follow the sparks, I’ll drive
Lyrical smile, indigo eyes, hand on my thigh
We can follow the sparks, I’ll drive
“So where we gonna go?” I whisper in the dark
Where we gonna go?
I think he knows
44. ...Ready For It?
Baby, let the games begin
Let the games begin
Let the games begin, now ah ah
Baby, let the games begin
Let the games begin
Let the games begin, now ah ah
43. Never Grow Up
Take pictures in your mind of your childhood
Remember what it sounded like when your dad gets home
Remember the footsteps, remember the words said
And all your little brother’s favorite songs
I just realized everything I have is someday gonna be gone
42. Innocent
Time turns flames to embers
You’ll have new Septembers
Every one of us has messed up too
Minds change like the weather
I hope you remember
Today is never too late to be brand new
41. I Know Places
They are the hunters, we are the foxes
And we run
Just grab my hand and don’t ever drop it
My love
40. Red
Remembering him comes in flashbacks and echoes
Tell myself it’s time now, gotta let go
But moving on from him is impossible
When I still see it all in my head
In burning red
Burning, it was red
39. Fearless
Well, you stood there with me in the doorway
My hands shake, I’m not usually this way, but
You pull me in and I’m a little more brave
It’s the first kiss, it’s flawless, really something
It’s fearless
38. I Knew You Were Trouble
And the saddest fear comes creeping in
That you never loved me, or her, or anyone, or anything
Yeah, yeah, yeah
37. So It Goes…
Come here, dressed in black now
So it goes, so it goes
Scratches down your back now
So it goes, so it goes
You did a number on me
But honestly baby, who’s counting?
I did a number on you
But honestly baby, who’s counting
You did a number on me
But honestly baby, who’s counting?
Who’s counting?
1, 2, 3
36. The Moment I Knew
What do you say when tears are streaming down your face
In front of everyone you know?
And what do you do when the one who means the most to you
Is the one who didn’t show?
35. Sparks Fly
I run my fingers through your hair and watch the lights go wild
Just keep on keeping your eyes on me
It’s just wrong enough to make you feel right
And lead me up the staircase
Won’t you whisper, soft and slow
I’m captivated by you, baby, like a firework show
34. New Year’s Day
Please don’t ever become a stranger
Whose laugh I could recognize anywhere
Please don’t ever become a stranger
Whose laugh I could recognize anywhere
33. I Almost Do
Oh, we made quite a mess, babe
It’s probably better off this way
And I do confess, babe
That in your dreams you’re touching my change
And asking me if I wanna try again with you
And I almost do
32. The Archer
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put me together again
‘Cause all of my enemies started out friends
Help me hold onto you
31. The Way I Loved You
He can’t see the smile I’m faking
And my heart’s not breaking
‘Cause I’m not feeling anything at all
And you were wild and crazy
Just so frustrating
Intoxicating, complicating, got away by some mistake
And I
30. Daylight
And I can still see it all (in my mind)
All of you, all of me (intertwined)
I once believed love would be (black and white)
But it's golden (golden)
And I can still see it all (in my head)
Back and forth from New York (sneakin' in your bed)
I once believed love would be (burnin' red)
But it's golden like daylight, like daylight, like daylight
Daylight
29. Back To December
I miss your tan skin, your sweet smile
So good to me, so right
And how you held me in your arms that September night
The first time you ever saw me cry
Maybe this is wishful thinking
Probably mindless dreaming
But if we loved again I swear I’d love you right
I’d go back in time and change it, but I can’t
So if the chain is on your door, I understand
28. Wonderland
I reached for you but you were gone
I knew we had to go back home
You searched the world for something else
To make you feel like what we had
And in the end, in wonderland, we both went mad
27. You Belong With Me
Oh, I remember you driving to my house
In the middle of the night
I’m the one who makes you laugh
When you know you’re ‘bout to cry
I know your favorite songs
And you tell me ‘bout your dreams
Think you know where you belong
Think you know it’s with me
26. Ronan
What if I’m standing in your closet trying to talk to you?
What if I kept the hand-me-downs you won’t grow into?
What if I really thought some miracle would see us through?
But what if the miracle was even getting one moment with you?
25. State Of Grace
This is a state of grace
This is the worthwhile fight
Love is a ruthless game unless you play it good and right
These are the hands of fate
You’re my achilles heel
This is the golden age of something good and right and real
24. Shake It Off
(Spoken) Hey hey hey! Just think: while you’ve been getting down about the liars and the dirty, dirty cheats of the world, you could’ve been getting down to this sick beat
My ex-man brought his new girlfriend
She’s like “oh my God” but I’m just gonna shake
And to the fellow over there with the hella good hair
Won’t you come on over, baby? We can shake, shake, shake
23. Wildest Dreams
See me in hindsight tangled up with you all night
Burning (burning) it (it) down (down)
Somebody when you leave me I’ll bet these memories
Follow (follow) you (you) around (around)
(Follow you around)
22. Love Story
I got tired of waiting
Wondering if you were ever coming around
My faith in you was fading
When I met you on the outskirts of town
And I said, “Romeo save me
I’ve been feeling so alone
I keep waiting for you but you never come
Is this in my head? I don’t know what to think
You knelt to the ground and pulled out a ring and said...
21. Don’t Blame Me
I get so high, high
Every time you’re, every time you’re loving me, you’re loving me
Trip of my life, oh
Every time, you’re, everything time you’re touching me, you’re touching me
You’re touching me
Oh, lord save me, my drug is my baby I’ll be using for the rest of my life
Using for the rest of my life, oh oh oh.
20. Clean
Ten months sober I must admit
Just because you’re clean don’t mean you don’t miss it
Ten months sober I won’t give in
Now that I’m clean I’m never gonna risk it
19. Cornelia Street
You hold my hand on the street
Walk me back to that apartment
Years ago, we were just inside
Barefoot in the kitchen
Sacred new beginnings
That became my religion
18. Begin Again
And we walk down the block to my car
And I almost brought him up
But you start to talk about the moves
That your family watches
Every single Christmas so I talk about that
And for the first time what’s past is past
17. Afterglow
Tell me that you’re still mine
Tell me that we’ll be just fine
Even when I lose my mind
I need to say
Tell me that it’s not my fault
Tell me that I’m all you want
Even when I break your heart
16. The Story Of Us
This is looking like a contest
Of who can act like they care less
But I liked it better when you were on my side
And the battle’s in your hands now
But I would lay my armor down
If you said you’d rather love than fight
15. Lover
Ladies and gentlemen, will you please stand?
With every guitar string scar on my hand
I take this magnetic force of a man to be my lover
My heart’s been borrowed and yours has been blue
All’s well that ends well to end up with you
Swear to be overdramatic and true to my lover
And you’ll save all your dirtiest jokes for me
And at every table I’ll save you a seat
Lover
14. You Are In Love
And so it goes
You two are dancing in a snowglobe ‘round and ‘round
And he keeps a picture of you in his office downtown
And you understand now why they lost their minds and fought the wars
And why I’ve spent my whole life trying to put it into words
13. Soon You’ll Get Better (feat. Dixie Chicks)
And I hate to make this all about me
But who am I supposed to talk to?
What am I supposed to do
If there’s no you?
12. Sad Beautiful Tragic
Distance, timing
Breakdown, fighting
Silence, the train runs off its tracks
Kiss me, try to fix it
Could you just try to listen?
Hang up, give up
For the life of us we can’t get back
11. This Love
Your kiss, my cheek
I watched you leave
Your smile, my ghost
I fell to my knees
When you’re young, you just run
But you come back to what you need
10. Cruel Summer
Got drunk in the back of the car
And I cried like a baby coming home from the bar
Said I’m fine but it wasn’t true
I don’t wanna keep secrets just to keep you
And I snuck in through the garden gate
Every night that summer just to seal my fate
And I scream for whatever it’s worth
I love you, ain’t that the worst thing you ever heard?
He looks up grinning like a devil
9. Treacherous
Two headlights shine through the sleepless night
And I will get you, get you alone
Your name has echoed through my mind
And I just think you should, think you should now
That nothing save is worth the drive
And I will follow you, follow you home
8. Dear John
You are an expert at sorry
And keeping lines blurry
Never impressed by me acing your tests
And the girls that you’ve run dry have tired lifeless eyes
‘Cause you burned them out
But I took your matches before fire could catch me
So don’t look now
I’m shining like fireworks over your sad, empty town
7. Dancing With Our Hands Tied
I'd kiss you as the lights went out
Swaying as the room burned down
I'd hold you as the water rushes in
If I could dance with you again
I'd kiss you as the lights went out
Swaying as the room burned down
I'd hold you as the water rushes in
If I could dance with you again
6. Call It What You Want
I want to wear his initial
On a chain round my neck, chain round my neck
Not because he owns me
But 'cause he really knows me
Which is more than they can say, I
I recall late November, holdin' my breath
Slowly I said, "You don't need to save me
But would you run away with me?"
Yes (would you run away?)
5. Out Of The Woods
Remember when you hit the brakes too soon?
Twenty stitches in a hospital room
When you started crying baby, I did too
But when the sun came up I was looking at you
Remember when we couldn't take the heat?
I walked out, I said, I'm setting you free
But the monsters turned out to be just trees
When the sun came up you were looking at me
4. King Of My Heart
Is this the end of all the endings?
My broken bones are mending
With all these nights we’re spending
Up on the roof with a schoolgirl crush
Drinking beer out of plastic cups
Say you fancy me, not fancy stuff
(Baby, all at once, this is enough)
3. All Too Well
And you call me up again just to break me like a promise
So casually cruel in the name of being honest
I’m a crumpled up piece of paper lying here
‘Cause I remember it all too well
Time won’t fly, it’s like I’m paralyzed by it
I’d like to be my old self again, but I’m still trying to find it
After plaid shirt days and nights when you made me your own
You mail back my things and I walk home alone
But you keep my old scarf from that very first week
‘Cause it reminds you of innocence and it smells like me
You can’t get rid of it ‘cause you remember it all too well
2. Last Kiss
So I watch your life in pictures like I used to watch you sleep
And I feel you forget me like I used to feel you breathe
And I keep up with our old friends just to ask them how you are
I hope it’s nice where you are
I hope the sun shines, and it’s a beautiful day
And something reminds you you wish you had stayed
You can plan for a change in the weather and time
But I never planned on you changing your mind
1. Dress
Flashback when you met me
Your buzzcut and my hair bleached
Even in my worst times, you could see the best of me
Flashback to my mistakes
My rebounds, my earthquakes
Even in my worst light, you saw the truth of me
And I woke up just in time
Now I wake up by your side
My one and only, my lifeline
I woke up just in time
Now I wake up by your side
My hands are shaking, and I can't explain this
Ah, ah, ah, ah
TLDR: The "Dress" bridge wins music.
submitted by Cjborange to TaylorSwift [link] [comments]


2019.09.17 15:26 radiofan15 The results from r/Popheads' ranking of Madonna's songs


https://preview.redd.it/0mh2ojw5f4n31.jpg?width=1000&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=a3b3784375974455c9689a14286b42abc34ea736
Last week, I asked you guys to help me rate Madonna's discography as the latest entry in my series of pop rankings, and now here I am to show you which deep cut in the discography of the singer, songwriter, innovator, boundaries-pusher, trendsetter, fashion icon, "actress", philanthropist, gay icon, Sean Penn's ex-wife, the biggest hygandreas/Courtney Love/Lady Gaga/Elton John stan you could think of, not-so material girl, the best-selling and most successful female recording artist of all time, the inspiration for the iconic "Medoner", and Queen and Methuselah of Pop, is the worst... and the results are as as messy as you might expect.

BUT BEFORE THAT... SOME FAQ

AND NOW, THE RANKINGS

Reduced to three decimals for readability
  1. Vogue 9.744
  2. Like A Prayer 9.579
  3. Frozen 9.423
  4. Hung Up 9.274
  5. Express Yourself 9.234
  6. Ray Of Light 9.224
  7. Drowned World/Substitute for Love 9.177
  8. Get Together 9.108
  9. Justify My Love 9.102
  10. Into The Groove 9.098
  11. Deeper and Deeper 9.063
  12. Sorry 8.964
  13. Open Your Heart 8.925
  14. Papa Don't Preach 8.915
  15. The Power of Good-Bye 8.866
  16. Live To Tell 8.86
  17. Don't Tell Me 8.819
  18. Rain 8.809
  19. Nothing Really Matters 8.784
  20. Erotica 8.768
  21. Music 8.723
  22. Secret 8.688
  23. La Isla Bonita 8.674
  24. Crazy For You 8.646
  25. Sky Fits Heaven 8.6
  26. Bedtime Story 8.591
  27. Take a Bow 8.57
  28. Human Nature 8.532
  29. Rescue Me 8.53
  30. Impressive Instant 8.512
  31. God Control 8.469
  32. Skin 8.458
  33. Swim 8.448
  34. Nothing Fails 8.415
  35. Jump 8.378
  36. Ghosttown 8.373
  37. Bad Girl 8.33
  38. Future Lovers 8.329
  39. Oh Father 8.29
  40. Beautiful Stranger 8.259
  41. Forbidden Love 8.244
  42. You'll See 8.238
  43. What It Feels Like for a Girl 8.229
  44. Dress You Up 8.204
  45. I'll Remember 8.2
  46. You Must Love Me 8.167
  47. Like a Virgin 8.126
  48. Paradise (Not for Me) 8.122
  49. Borderline 8.116
  50. Holiday 8.083
  51. Gone 8.073
  52. Don't Cry for Me Argentina 8.056
  53. Miles Away 8.025
  54. Living For Love 8.024
  55. I Want You 8
  56. Causing a Commotion 7.988
  57. Burning Up 7.968
  58. Fever 7.957
  59. Who's That Girl 7.952
  60. X-Static Process 7.892
  61. Rebel Heart 7.883
  62. Material Girl 7.842
  63. Give It 2 Me 7.815
  64. Faz Gostoso 7.813
  65. Love Profusion 7.807
  66. Easy Ride 7.802
  67. Mer Girl 7.789
  68. Devil Pray 7.78
  69. Lucky Star 7.779
  70. This Used to Be My Playground 7.772
  71. I Deserve It 7.768
  72. Intervention 7.768
  73. Isaac 7.756
  74. To Have and Not to Hold 7.75
  75. Girl Gone Wild 7.75
  76. Die Another Day 7.747
  77. Medellín 7.741
  78. Waiting 7.739
  79. Like It Or Not 7.732
  80. True Blue 7.688
  81. Cherish 7.677
  82. Thief of Hearts 7.677
  83. Sanctuary 7.667
  84. Crave 7.65
  85. Hollywood 7.643
  86. Angel 7.634
  87. Forbidden Love 7.622
  88. Let It Will Be 7.622
  89. Masterpiece 7.6
  90. Secret Garden 7.598
  91. Spanish Eyes/Pray For Spanish Eyes 7.571
  92. Dark Ballet 7.568
  93. Words 7.538
  94. Keep It Together 7.527
  95. Nobody Knows Me 7.488
  96. 4 Minutes 7.488
  97. Till Death Do Us Part 7.484
  98. Devil Wouldn't Recognize You 7.475
  99. Sooner or Later 7.463
  100. Candy Perfume Girl 7.448
  101. Love Tried to Welcome Me 7.444
  102. Why's It So Hard 7.43
  103. Runaway Lover 7.39
  104. I Don't Search I Find 7.388
  105. Crazy 7.375
  106. Has To Be 7.366
  107. Gang Bang 7.358
  108. Celebration 7.356
  109. Survival 7.356
  110. In This Life 7.348
  111. Joan of Arc 7.346
  112. Something to Remember 7.341
  113. Bye Bye Baby 7.333
  114. Where Life Begins 7.323
  115. Erotic 7.308
  116. Promise to Try 7.286
  117. Another Suitcase in Another Hall 7.281
  118. Love Don't Live Here Anymore 7.253
  119. Come Alive 7.241
  120. I'm Addicted 7.238
  121. Falling Free 7.237
  122. Gambler 7.2
  123. How High 7.195
  124. Everybody 7.176
  125. Inside of Me 7.154
  126. American Life 7.108
  127. Time Stood Still 7.1
  128. Amazing 7.098
  129. Push 7.098
  130. The Look of Love 7.082
  131. Little Star 7.073
  132. Love Don't Live Here Anymore (Remix) 7.067
  133. Beat Goes On 7.063
  134. I'd Rather Be Your Lover 7.055
  135. What It Feels Like for a Girl (Above & Beyond Club Remix) 7.055
  136. Looking For Mercy 7.052
  137. The Beast Within 7.015
  138. Nobody's Perfect 7.012
  139. Mother and Father 6.988
  140. Love Spent 6.987
  141. Extreme Occident 6.987
  142. I Rise 6.975
  143. I'd Be Surprisingly Good for You 6.952
  144. Buenos Aires 6.933
  145. Candy Shop 6.926
  146. Heartbeat 6.926
  147. Spotlight 6.901
  148. She's Not Me 6.875
  149. Like a Virgin/Hollywood Medley 6.859
  150. Me Against The Music 6.849
  151. Batuka 6.848
  152. Holy Water 6.825
  153. Dear Jessie 6.802
  154. Where's the Party 6.791
  155. Hanky Panky 6.771
  156. Ciao Bella 6.758
  157. Wash All Over Me 6.756
  158. Beautiful Killer 6.747
  159. Physical Attraction 6.731
  160. HeartBreakCity 6.688
  161. Hold Tight 6.683
  162. White Heat 6.681
  163. Shanti/Ashtangi 6.667
  164. Into the Hollywood Groove 6.656
  165. Your Honesty 6.636
  166. Love Spent (Acoustic) 6.631
  167. Killers Who Are Partying 6.613
  168. La Vie en rose 6.607
  169. Unapologetic Bitch 6.59
  170. Lament 6.556
  171. Bitch I'm Loca 6.538
  172. Love Song 6.505
  173. More 6.5
  174. He's A Man 6.494
  175. Messiah 6.44
  176. Don't Stop 6.438
  177. Broken 6.434
  178. Over and Over 6.433
  179. American Pie 6.43
  180. Supernatural 6.43
  181. Fighting Spirit 6.426
  182. One More Chance 6.425
  183. Addicted 6.412
  184. Bitch I'm Madonna 6.41
  185. Rainbow High 6.377
  186. Back in Business 6.375
  187. Inside Out 6.359
  188. Revolver 6.333
  189. Iconic 6.3
  190. Future 6.3
  191. High Flying, Adored 6.295
  192. Voices 6.269
  193. I Love New York 6.256
  194. Now I'm Following You 6.25
  195. Be Careful (Cuidado Con Mi Corazón) 6.18
  196. Think Of Me 6.178
  197. History 6.169
  198. Stay 6.154
  199. Up Down Suite 6.094
  200. Let Down Your Guard 6.094
  201. Turn Up The Radio 6.086
  202. I'm So Stupid 6.049
  203. It's So Cool 6.034
  204. Imagine 6.018
  205. Borrowed Time 6.015
  206. Waltz for Eva and Che 6
  207. Veni Vidi Vici 5.987
  208. Best Night 5.987
  209. Act of Contrition 5.978
  210. Cyber-Raga 5.97
  211. Soltera 5.967
  212. I'm A Sinner 5.949
  213. Super Pop 5.935
  214. Can't Stop 5.913
  215. Give Me All Your Luvin' 5.902
  216. Illuminati 5.902
  217. What Can You Lose 5.888
  218. Back That Up to the Beat 5.877
  219. Dance 2Night 5.863
  220. Best Friend 5.829
  221. Beautiful Scars 5.788
  222. Goodnight and Thank You 5.767
  223. A New Argentina 5.754
  224. I Know It 5.736
  225. Body Shop 5.725
  226. I Fucked Up 5.712
  227. Oh What a Circus 5.689
  228. Santa Baby 5.682
  229. Ain't No Big Deal 5.662
  230. Eva's Final Broadcast/Latin Chant 5.661
  231. I Don't Give A 5.62
  232. Graffiti Heart 5.612
  233. Ring My Bell 5.592
  234. Eva and Magaldi/Eva Beware of the City 5.59
  235. I'm Going Bananas 5.585
  236. Pretender 5.516
  237. Love Makes the World Go Round 5.446
  238. Shoo-Bee-Doo 5.418
  239. Funana 5.385
  240. If You Forget Me 5.35
  241. Guilty by Association 5.344
  242. Jimmy Jimmy 5.286
  243. Bittersweet 5.241
  244. Incredible 5.225
  245. Peron's Latest Flame 5.148
  246. Some Girls 5.101
  247. Freedom 5.082
  248. S.E.X. 5
  249. Cry Baby 4.988
  250. Sing 4.887
  251. Hey You 4.633
  252. Did You Do It? 4.516
  253. Spanish Lesson 4.443
  254. Superstar 4.304
  255. Auto-Tune Baby 4.092
  256. Champagne Rosé 4.067
  257. Give Me All Your Luvin' (Party Rock Remix) 3.754
  258. B-Day Song 3.403

ALBUM BREAKDOWN

The albums are arranged based on the average score of all the songs (bonus tracks included) up to 5 decimals. Consistency is the distance in average points between the highest ranked and lowest ranked song per album, with a lower score being preferred.
ALBUM Average score of all songs Av. of standard edition Consistency
Ray of Light 8.21949 8.28515 2.75601
Something to Remember 8.03669 7.98769 2.43556
Bedtime Stories 7.73793 N/A 2.24997
Confessions on a Dance Floor 7.737 7.99636 3.33833
Like A Prayer 7.69033 7.63042 3.60093
Erotica 7.67355 7.9164 (clean version) 4.54667
Music 7.63091 7.97465 2.84913
American Life 7.51879 N/A 2.36585
True Blue 7.47395 N/A 3.62918
Madonna 7.2209 N/A 2.37953
Like a Virgin 7.16789 6.95346 3.68024
Madame X 7.03194 7.27051 3.08452
I'm Breathless: Music from and Inspired by the Film Dick Tracy 6.67269 N/A 4.75679
Hard Candy 6.61414 6.69935 3.58165
Rebel Heart 6.4574 6.84014 4.28119
Evita (single disc edition) 6.41496 N/A 2.90801
MDNA 6.06709 6.42772 4.34722
Rebel Heart Digital EP 5.95663 N/A 0.79982
The consistency score for the clean edition of Erotica (that excludes the song Did You Do It?) is 1.74057, less than the half of the version of the album with that song, whose average score is nearly three points below the second lowest-scoring Erotica song. In a similar fashion, the consistency score of the standard edition of Music is a 1.8072, whole point below that of the deluxe edition(s).
RANKING OF SONGS PER ALBUM
Song Overall position Score up to 5 decimals
https://preview.redd.it/6o8souabf4n31.png?width=500&format=png&auto=webp&s=02b6ddbc218d724de95971b91d80e0b37487a4a9
  1. Borderline 49 8.11579
  2. Holiday 50 8.08333
  3. Burning Up 57 7.96809
  4. Lucky Star 69 7.77895
  5. Everybody 124 7.17582
  6. Physical Attraction 159 6.73118
  7. Think Of Me 196 6.17778
  8. I Know It 224 5.73626
https://preview.redd.it/sorgyhucf4n31.png?width=500&format=png&auto=webp&s=f21b47930e5a84754574d704372b587200ee9d20
  1. Into The Groove 10 9.09783
  2. Dress You Up 44 8.2043
  3. Like a Virgin 47 8.12632
  4. Material Girl 62 7.84211
  5. Angel 86 7.63441
  6. Love Don't Live Here Anymore 118 7.25275
  7. Over and Over 178 6.43333
  8. Stay 198 6.15385
  9. Pretender 236 5.51648
  10. Shoo-Bee-Doo 238 5.41758
https://preview.redd.it/2wxk9agef4n31.png?width=500&format=png&auto=webp&s=afd9c9c94af6fecf6b96ea5e33df1ba567262e01
  1. Open Your Heart 13 8.92473
  2. Papa Don't Preach 14 8.91489
  3. Live To Tell 16 8.86022
  4. La Isla Bonita 23 8.67368
  5. True Blue 80 7.68817
  6. Where's the Party 154 6.79121
  7. White Heat 162 6.68132
  8. Love Makes the World Go Round 237 5.44565
  9. Jimmy Jimmy 242 5.28571
https://preview.redd.it/g62e2mngf4n31.png?width=500&format=png&auto=webp&s=5c33ac0b77a39a8b1d40e4a1378ef87dade85527
  1. Like A Prayer 2 9.57895
  2. Express Yourself 5 9.23404
  3. Oh Father 39 8.29032
  4. Cherish 81 7.67742
  5. Spanish Eyes/Pray For Spanish Eyes 91 7.57143
  6. Keep It Together 94 7.52747
  7. Till Death Do Us Part 97 7.48352
  8. Promise to Try 116 7.28571
  9. Dear Jessie 153 6.8022
  10. Love Song 172 6.50549
  11. Supernatural 180 6.43023
  12. Act of Contrition 209 5.97802
https://preview.redd.it/egx4bt2if4n31.png?width=500&format=png&auto=webp&s=c5361289beeb87ce78c65e5bc174c2031b365c61
  1. Vogue 1 9.74444
  2. Sooner or Later 99 7.46341
  3. Something to Remember 112 7.34146
  4. Hanky Panky 155 6.77108
  5. More 173 6.5
  6. He's A Man 174 6.49367
  7. Back in Business 186 6.375
  8. Now I'm Following You 194 6.25
  9. What Can You Lose 217 5.8875
  10. I'm Going Bananas 235 5.58537
  11. Cry Baby 249 4.98765
https://preview.redd.it/njufjdijf4n31.png?width=500&format=png&auto=webp&s=b8e246598c508e1a9f0ed221b5f1fbde57bbc882
  1. Deeper and Deeper 11 9.06316
  2. Rain 18 8.80851
  3. Erotica 20 8.76842
  4. Bad Girl 37 8.32979
  5. Fever 58 7.95745
  6. Waiting 78 7.73913
  7. Thief of Hearts 82 7.67742
  8. Secret Garden 90 7.59783
  9. Words 93 7.53763
  10. Why's It So Hard 102 7.43011
  11. In This Life 110 7.34783
  12. Bye Bye Baby 113 7.33333
  13. Where Life Begins 114 7.32258
  14. Did You Do It? 252 4.51648
https://preview.redd.it/m9j7hy9lf4n31.png?width=500&format=png&auto=webp&s=907c23ad47c8d83369d99bfce264f2973b18406d
  1. Secret 22 8.68817
  2. Bedtime Story 26 8.5914
  3. Take a Bow 27 8.56989
  4. Human Nature 28 8.53191
  5. Sanctuary 83 7.66667
  6. Forbidden Love 87 7.62222
  7. Love Tried to Welcome Me 101 7.44444
  8. Survival 109 7.35556
  9. Inside of Me 125 7.15385
  10. I'd Rather Be Your Lover 134 7.05495
  11. Don't Stop 176 6.4382
https://preview.redd.it/m1yvpm8of4n31.png?width=500&format=png&auto=webp&s=545035c9b2543aac5f346a46bdb04ba74d107329
only the songs from the Evita: Music from the Motion Picture single-disc edition were included in this ranking
  1. You Must Love Me 46 8.16667
  2. Don't Cry for Me Argentina 52 8.05556
  3. Another Suitcase in Another Hall 117 7.28125
  4. I'd Be Surprisingly Good for You 143 6.95161
  5. Buenos Aires 144 6.93333
  6. Lament 170 6.55556
  7. Rainbow High 185 6.37705
  8. High Flying, Adored 191 6.29508
  9. Waltz for Eva and Che 206 6
  10. Goodnight and Thank You 222 5.76667
  11. A New Argentina 223 5.7541
  12. Oh What a Circus 227 5.68852
  13. Eva's Final Broadcast/Latin Chant 230 5.66129
  14. Eva and Magaldi/Eva Beware of the City 234 5.59016
  15. Peron's Latest Flame 245 5.14754
https://preview.redd.it/7wllye4qf4n31.png?width=500&format=png&auto=webp&s=43fed416c0ae2459ea15dd5e0a3c7831b1950cab
  1. Frozen 3 9.42268
  2. Ray Of Light 6 9.22449
  3. Drowned World/Substitute for Love 7 9.17708
  4. The Power of Good-Bye 15 8.86598
  5. Nothing Really Matters 19 8.78351
  6. Sky Fits Heaven 25 8.6
  7. Skin 32 8.45833
  8. Swim 33 8.44792
  9. Mer Girl 67 7.78947
  10. To Have and Not to Hold 74 7.75
  11. Candy Perfume Girl 100 7.44792
  12. Has To Be 106 7.36585
  13. Little Star 131 7.07292
  14. Shanti/Ashtangi 163 6.66667
https://preview.redd.it/jjjz5xjrf4n31.png?width=500&format=png&auto=webp&s=ae7ad767e3fe134f100afca9272820ad3576516e
  1. Don't Tell Me 17 8.81928
  2. Music 21 8.72289
  3. Impressive Instant 30 8.5122
  4. What It Feels Like for a Girl 43 8.22892
  5. Paradise (Not for Me) 48 8.12195
  6. Gone 51 8.07317
  7. I Deserve It 71 7.76829
  8. Runaway Lover 103 7.39024
  9. Amazing 128 7.09756
  10. What It Feels Like for a Girl (Above & Beyond Club Remix) 135 7.05479
  11. Nobody's Perfect 138 7.01205
  12. American Pie 179 6.43038
  13. Cyber-Raga 210 5.97015
https://preview.redd.it/xw0oysbtf4n31.png?width=500&format=png&auto=webp&s=0b4f058ebf0e55c859d9456da95c488f002d5e18
  1. Nothing Fails 34 8.41463
  2. X-Static Process 60 7.89157
  3. Love Profusion 65 7.80723
  4. Easy Ride 66 7.80247
  5. Intervention 72 7.76829
  6. Die Another Day 76 7.74699
  7. Hollywood 85 7.64286
  8. Nobody Knows Me 95 7.4878
  9. American Life 126 7.10843
  10. Mother and Father 139 6.98765
  11. I'm So Stupid 202 6.04878
https://preview.redd.it/7h68kequf4n31.png?width=500&format=png&auto=webp&s=fe48bf077910faa727b9264cb8bbf6ae4166d376
  1. Hung Up 4 9.27381
  2. Get Together 8 9.10843
  3. Sorry 12 8.96429
  4. Jump 35 8.37805
  5. Future Lovers 38 8.32927
  6. Forbidden Love 41 8.2439
  7. Isaac 73 7.7561
  8. Like It Or Not 79 7.73171
  9. Let It Will Be 88 7.62195
  10. How High 123 7.19512
  11. Push 129 7.09756
  12. Fighting Spirit 181 6.42623
  13. I Love New York 193 6.2561
  14. Super Pop 213 5.93548
https://preview.redd.it/p51amt8wf4n31.png?width=500&format=png&auto=webp&s=f088a460e62570b3e8bdbaf2a6ab2005d534c8bd
  1. Miles Away 53 8.02469
  2. Give It 2 Me 63 7.81481
  3. 4 Minutes 96 7.4878
  4. Devil Wouldn't Recognize You 98 7.475
  5. Beat Goes On 133 7.06329
  6. Candy Shop 145 6.92593
  7. Heartbeat 146 6.92593
  8. She's Not Me 148 6.875
  9. Voices 192 6.26923
  10. Dance 2Night 219 5.8625
  11. Ring My Bell 233 5.59155
  12. Incredible 244 5.225
  13. Spanish Lesson 253 4.44304
https://preview.redd.it/ue7x1pyxf4n31.png?width=500&format=png&auto=webp&s=aa68b09dd2b87300263bb9bae2808015e1b449e7
  1. Girl Gone Wild 75 7.75
  2. Masterpiece 89 7.6
  3. Gang Bang 107 7.35802
  4. I'm Addicted 120 7.2375
  5. Falling Free 121 7.23684
  6. Love Spent 140 6.98734
  7. Beautiful Killer 158 6.74667
  8. Love Spent (Acoustic) 166 6.63077
  9. Turn Up The Radio 201 6.08642
  10. I'm A Sinner 212 5.94872
  11. Give Me All Your Luvin' 215 5.90244
  12. Best Friend 220 5.82857
  13. I Fucked Up 226 5.71233
  14. I Don't Give A 231 5.62025
  15. Some Girls 246 5.10127
  16. Superstar 254 4.3038
  17. Give Me All Your Luvin' (Party Rock Remix) 257 3.75385
  18. B-Day Song 258 3.40278
https://preview.redd.it/54hnmfwzf4n31.png?width=500&format=png&auto=webp&s=d49d540040067ace96d82181380c55bf5f5b3be2
tracks from the Rebel Heart Digital EP are italicized
  1. Ghosttown 36 8.37349
  2. Living For Love 54 8.0241
  3. Rebel Heart 61 7.88312
  4. Devil Pray 68 7.78049
  5. Joan of Arc 111 7.34568
  6. Holy Water 152 6.825
  7. Wash All Over Me 157 6.75641
  8. HeartBreakCity 160 6.6875
  9. Hold Tight 161 6.68293
  10. Unapologetic Bitch 169 6.59036
  11. Messiah 175 6.44
  12. Addicted 183 6.41176
  13. Bitch I'm Madonna 184 6.40964
  14. Inside Out 187 6.35897
  15. Iconic 189 6.3
  16. Borrowed Time 205 6.01493
  17. Veni Vidi Vici 207 5.98701
  18. Best Night 208 5.98667
  19. Illuminati 216 5.90244
  20. Beautiful Scars 221 5.78788
  21. Body Shop 225 5.725
  22. Graffiti Heart 232 5.61194
  23. S.E.X. 248 5
  24. Auto-Tune Baby 255 4.09231
https://preview.redd.it/uwckavf1g4n31.png?width=500&format=png&auto=webp&s=6d6b2798f3a0596e254cb75c42dabbc623aca719
  1. God Control 31 8.46914
  2. Faz Gostoso 64 7.8125
  3. Medellín 77 7.74074
  4. Crave 84 7.65
  5. Dark Ballet 92 7.5679
  6. I Don't Search I Find 104 7.3875
  7. Crazy 105 7.375
  8. Come Alive 119 7.24051
  9. Looking For Mercy 136 7.05195
  10. Extreme Occident 141 6.98718
  11. I Rise 142 6.97531
  12. Batuka 151 6.8481
  13. Ciao Bella 156 6.75758
  14. Killers Who Are Partying 167 6.6125
  15. Bitch I'm Loca 171 6.5375
  16. Future 190 6.3
  17. Back That Up to the Beat 218 5.87692
  18. Funana 239 5.38462
OTHER RELEASES
  1. Justify My Love 9 9.10227
  2. Rescue Me 29 8.53012
  3. Celebration 108 7.35616
  4. Erotic 115 7.30769
  5. The Beast Within 137 7.01471
  6. Spotlight 147 6.90141
  7. Like a Virgin/Hollywood Medley 149 6.85938
  8. Into the Hollywood Groove 164 6.65574
  9. Your Honesty 165 6.63636
  10. La Vie en rose 168 6.60714
  11. Broken 177 6.43396
  12. Revolver 188 6.33333
  13. History 197 6.16949
  14. Up Down Suite 199 6.09375
  15. Let Down Your Guard 200 6.09375
  16. It's So Cool 203 6.03448
  17. Imagine 204 6.01818
  18. Santa Baby 228 5.68182
  19. Guilty by Association 241 5.34426
  20. Bittersweet 243 5.24138
  21. Freedom 247 5.08197
  22. Hey You 251 4.63333
Something To Remember (1995)
  1. Live To Tell 16 8.86022
  2. Rain 18 8.80851
  3. Take a Bow 27 8.56989
  4. Crazy For You 24 8.64634
  5. Oh Father 39 8.29032
  6. You'll See 42 8.2375
  7. I'll Remember 45 8.2
  8. I Want You 55 8
  9. This Used to Be My Playground 70 7.77215
  10. Forbidden Love 87 7.62222
  11. Something to Remember 112 7.34146
  12. Love Don't Live Here Anymore (Remix) 132 7.06667
  13. One More Chance 182 6.42466
SOUNDTRACK APPEARANCES
expect for songs from Evita, which were released on their own album. Songs from I'm Breathless included below are the songs that actually appeared on the film Dick Tracy.
  1. Into The Groove 10 9.09783
  2. Crazy For You 24 8.64634
  3. Beautiful Stranger 40 8.25882
  4. I'll Remember 45 8.2
  5. Causing a Commotion 56 7.9875
  6. Who's That Girl 59 7.95181
  7. This Used to Be My Playground 70 7.77215
  8. Die Another Day 76 7.74699
  9. Masterpiece 89 7.6
  10. Sooner or Later 99 7.46341
  11. Gambler 122 7.2
  12. Time Stood Still 127 7.1
  13. The Look of Love 130 7.08219
  14. More 173 6.5
  15. American Pie 179 6.43038
  16. Can't Stop 214 5.91304
  17. What Can You Lose 217 5.8875
  18. Ain't No Big Deal 229 5.66154
  19. If You Forget Me 240 5.35
FEATURES
  1. Me Against The Music 150 6.84932
  2. Be Careful (Cuidado Con Mi Corazón) 195 6.18033
  3. Soltera 211 5.96721
  4. Sing 250 4.88679
  5. Champagne Rosé 256 4.06667
https://preview.redd.it/h4dgbf5ql4n31.png?width=1000&format=png&auto=webp&s=5254a9c23d2c48b7a39429dbbd6622a52838c0b5
  1. Madonna: Truth or Dare (1991) 9.02632
  2. Evita (1996) 8.18571
  3. A League of Their Own (1992) 8.02817
  4. Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) 7.86667
  5. I'm Going to Tell You a Secret (2005) 7.56338
  6. Dick Tracy (1990) 6.78571
  7. Who's That Girl (1987) 5.91549
  8. W.E. (2011) 5.71875
  9. Dangerous Game (1993) 5.41935
  10. Body of Evidence (1993) 5.33824
  11. The Next Best Thing (2000) 5.07353
  12. Bloodhounds of Broadway (1989) 4.95313
  13. Four Rooms (1994) 4.92063
  14. Shadows and Fog (1991) 4.6129
  15. Arthur and the Invisibles (2006) 4.50847
  16. Shanghai Surprise (1986) 4.2029
  17. Swept Away (2002) 4.09375
https://preview.redd.it/mirnvc1yp4n31.png?width=1000&format=png&auto=webp&s=f854868cc0fa47b0b9a6d25ccec0d8041a0222b3
  1. Her old songs 7.60526
  2. Lady Gaga 6.01316
  3. Actresses 5.53165
  4. Janet Jackson 5.50667
  5. Cher 5.49367
  6. Cyndi Lauper 5.42667
  7. Fan's questions 4.64384
  8. Her New York Times profile 4.0137
  9. Hydrangeas 3.90278
  10. Courtney Love 3.78378
  11. Mariah Carey 3.74324
  12. Elton John 3.73333
  13. Chicago 3.72727
  14. Boy George 3.30769
  15. Cigarette smoke 2.97297
  16. Mess 2.93056
  17. Being apologetic 2.65823
  18. Songwriting camps 2.44286
  19. Sexism and ageism in the music industry 2.28378
  20. Trump and the White House 0.54795
https://preview.redd.it/t5l4qnqjg4n31.png?width=1000&format=png&auto=webp&s=abf0efb2061c7f6a8465b755a00c67895f9a3b78
  1. Vogue 6.76596
  2. Like A Prayer 6.17391
  3. Hung Up 5.88889
  4. Express Yourself 5.82609
  5. La Isla Bonita 5.6087
  6. Open Your Heart/Borderline 5.59574
  7. Me Against The Music 5.52174
  8. Into The Groove 5.45238
  9. Burning Up 5.36957
  10. Cherish/Cherish 5.31818
  11. Papa Don't Preach 5.30435
  12. I'll Remember 5.27273
  13. Like A Virgin 5.25532
  14. What It Feels Like For A Girl 5.21277
  15. Lucky Star 5.19048
  16. The Bitch Is Back/Dress You Up 5.07143
  17. I Love New York/New York, New York 5.06522
  18. Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend/Material Girl 5.04651
  19. Don't Cry for Me Argentina (Rachel) 5
  20. Buenos Aires 5
  21. Don't Cry for Me Argentina (Kurt) 4.91304
  22. 4 Minutes 4.89583

OBSERVATIONS

Also, here is a masterpost with all of the previous rankings so far...
You can recommend in the comments which artist would you like to be ranked next, it has to be someone who's between eras (no upcoming announced releases) and with a sizable discography. Coming up next is one pop act mentioned in this post, someone that Madonna hates... let's see if someone can guess who (s)he is!
submitted by radiofan15 to popheads [link] [comments]


Hey Baby (If You'll be My Girl) - DJ Otzi [Sing-A-Long ... Dirty Dancing Soundtrack 14 (Hey Baby) - YouTube Bruce Channel - Hey! Baby - From 'Dirty Dancing' - YouTube Mickey and Sylvia-LoverBoy Lyrics! (dirty dancing) - YouTube Bruce Channel - Hey Baby - YouTube Hey! Baby in the style of Bruce Channel karaoke video ... Dirty Dancing-Bruce Channel-Hey Baby - YouTube Lady Antebellum - Hey Baby (From 'Dirty Dancing ...

Hey Baby lyrics by Bruce Channel from Dirty Dancing ...

  1. Hey Baby (If You'll be My Girl) - DJ Otzi [Sing-A-Long ...
  2. Dirty Dancing Soundtrack 14 (Hey Baby) - YouTube
  3. Bruce Channel - Hey! Baby - From 'Dirty Dancing' - YouTube
  4. Mickey and Sylvia-LoverBoy Lyrics! (dirty dancing) - YouTube
  5. Bruce Channel - Hey Baby - YouTube
  6. Hey! Baby in the style of Bruce Channel karaoke video ...
  7. Dirty Dancing-Bruce Channel-Hey Baby - YouTube
  8. Lady Antebellum - Hey Baby (From 'Dirty Dancing ...

Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. Download: http://v.blnk.fr/Az0u0P7h It is your channel for all the best Soundtrack. Find your favourite soundtrack. Subscribe: www.youtube.com/bestsoundtrack... Dirty Dancing Hey Baby. Images Are From Google This was a request, by my brother too... It was fun working on this so enjoy it! :) * Here is the download as promised :): http://savefile.com/projects/80871... Music video by Lady Antebellum performing Hey Baby. (C) 2017 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. and Lady A Entertainment LLC http://vevo.ly/gxpRd9 Best of Lady An... Download 'Hey! Baby' in the style of Bruce Channel in MP4 or MP3+G formats available here: https://karaoke.stingray.com/search/song?searchText=Hey%21%20Baby&... Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. i don't own anything. so sorry for the bad timing, i tried to make it perfect and i'm new at this! please enjoy. happy to do requests. Lyrics: Love, love is ...