do you like how i take lyrics and put them there completely out of context

anonymous asked:

100% agree on your analysis of Jimin as a Slytherin!!! I know a lot of people (including myself) are shocked Namjoon put himself in Griffindoor over Ravenclaw though. I'm dying to hear your thoughts on this!!

HELLO and thank you! I’m glad you agree! And if anyone is curious here is a link to my thoughts on why jimin is the perfect slytherin. EDIT: And here is why Jungkook is a Ravenclaw!

//cracks knuckles MY TIME HAS COME

So… Namjoon. I, like you and a ton of other people, was really confused about him being in Gryffindor. But, the more I thought about it, the more I really came to not only accept it, but believe that he is a Gryffindor through and through. And please be advised this is going to devolve in to me gawking over how great of a human being Namjoon is, so if you don’t want to read about that please close your browser and think about why you don’t agree that he’s better than everyone else. okay?

okay.

Namjoon is a Gryffindor to the core, not a Ravenclaw

First of all, Namjoon supposedly sorted everyone else, but I have a small sneaking suspicion that he may not have sorted himself. We know he’s a fan of the movies at least, and he’s fluent in English, so if he’s a fan and he has access to sorting quizzes on Pottermore and other sites, is it so hard to believe that he hasn’t at least tried a few? Seriously, even the most casual of fans have tried getting sorted. It’s not that crazy of a thought. So… What if they put him in Gryffindor over Ravenclaw?

(I mean, when asked to do a British accent the first thing that he quotes was “Shut up Malfoy!”. If that ain’t the most Gryffindor thing…)

Also, Namjoon is a really humble guy. If he DID sort himself, I feel like he’d be the type of person who would shy away from saying “I’m smart, so I should be in Ravenclaw”. He’s always been pretty modest about his intelligence. And just because he is, doesn’t mean we should be. Seriously, Namjoon can be a goof but if you’re ever in doubt about how crazy smart he is, please watch this.

He has no problems recognizing the intelligence of others though – he raves about Jungkook being good at everything he does, and even gave him the nickname “Golden Maknae”,  so is it such a wonder he put Jungkook in Ravenclaw? (It should be noted that Ravenclaws also have a reputation for being eccentric and quirky. Prime example, Luna. If that isn’t a perfect descriptor for Jungkook idk what is)

So let’s look at what the common traits of Gryffindor are, shall we?

Such character traits of students sorted into Gryffindor are courage, chivalry, and determination. They can also be short-tempered. [x]

Okay so, courage. I could go on and on about how brave Namjoon is but like… we’ll be here all day. So let me keep this short and point you in the direction of one thing in particular that he has done. THIS TWEET.

It’s Rap Monster. A song about homosexuality. I heard this song before but I didn’t know the lyrics, now I know them and I like the song twice as much. I recommend Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Same Love. http://hiphople.com/subtitle/619392

I have a lot of feelings about this tweet. And a lot of theories about WHY he tweeted that too – but no one wants to hear about those so that’s for another life post.

First – speaking out in support of homosexuality in Korea is a pretty huge deal, because homosexuality isn’t a really accepted lifestyle there. (It isn’t really accepted anywhere, truly, but you all know that.)

Here’s a pretty recent list on idols who support LGBT communities.  It’s a pretty god damn short list. I use the term ‘support’ loosely bc this article seems to equate ‘having gay friends’ as being a supportive ally. But Namjoon stands out pretty hard in this list because he doesn’t just say ‘i love my gay friends!’, he outright spoke out in support of homosexuality.

But Kiki, you say… Namjoon is hugely popular. He’s one of the biggest stars in Kpop. He could say whatever he wants now, right?

Well yeah, he can. But here’s the kicker! Look at the timestamp on that tweet. He tweeted that before they debuted

Namjoon was months away from launching his dream career, something he’d worked his entire life for. He was from a pretty small unknown company whose only claim to fame before that was that group that had two members blackmail an actor over something or another. He couldn’t afford bad press, and yet here comes Kim fucking Namjoon with his balls of steel willing to throw that all down the drain because god dammit he was going to tell the entire world about how much he supported the LGBT community and anyone who wanted to stand in his way of doing so could eat a fuckin dick. He could have kept his heckin mouth shut but he didn’t??? 

????

moving on.

Chivalry.

Chivalry is defined as:

1.the combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, esp courage,honour, justice, and a readiness to help the weak

2.courteous behaviour, esp towards women

Courage, honor, justice, what I just talked about describes those things pretty perfectly.

I’d like to talk about honor for a sec though. Let’s look at a pretty famous Gryffindor – Ron. Ron was one of a shitload of children in his family. He outwardly always grumbled about not getting attention or whatever, but as a person, he was all about family. He put his family first, he didn’t gripe too hard about hand-me-downs to his parents because he knew they were trying their best, and he defends people he cares about.

There’s that famous scene (that I’m still salty they changed in the movies) where Hermione wants to answer a question and Snape gets mad at her for it. And he defends her – why ask the question if you’re not looking for an answer?

Ron always, always put his family first. So does Namjoon.

Take this gifset for example. The whole set is great and shows how much he really takes care of his members, his family, but this is what he does when he’s around them and also in front of people. Not all that surprsiing.

But please, please please please pay attention to the first gif. For people who don’t know the context, he was asked if he’d choose going solo or bangtan. He DID NOT KNOW HE WAS BEING FILMED. He could have shown his true colors and said that he preferred a solo career and all the glory, but even when given the chance to be completely open, his heart was still with Bangtan.

Another great example of Namjoon being completely selfless. Everyone here is praising themselves (and they have a right too, don’t get me wrong, you’re all great four for all of you) but when it gets to him, Namjoon says “We’ve always been pretty good.” We. Not I, not me, we. Everyone else is giving themselves some much deserved praise, but Namjoon is stuck on we are good, we’ve always been good.

Also don’t forget how important blood-related family is to him too.

And don’t you dare forget how important you, his extended family, is to him either.


Readiness to help the weak. I mean this goes without saying right?

And if you want to take courteous behaviour, esp towards women, literally, look at their glass-ceiling line in Not Today, that they said they used specifically knowing what it meant. and look who is credited for writing the lyrics! What’s that? It’s Namjoon? Wow, I did not see that one coming.

Speaking of lyrics – talk about having courage. Look at the lyrics he wrote for Reflection and Always.

They can also be short-tempered.

Okay so this doesn’t really apply to Namjoon. But I wanted to include it in there because it fittingly applies to another Gryffindor we know of… Namjoon wasn’t playing around when he sorted these guys. Bonus, here you can observe a hufflepuff and (fond) gryffindor in their natural habitat.


So let’s recap. Namjoon is pretty selfless, extremely caring of his friends and family, a feminist, an outspoken ally for those who are mistreated, and is so god damn intelligent everyone REALLY thought he belonged in Ravenclaw.

Wait a minute, I feel like I’ve heard about this person before… There was another Gryffindor like this, I’m sure of it… it’s on the tip of my tongue…

Ah right. 

I’m not saying Namjoon is our version Hermione Granger, but… that’s exactly what I’m saying.

[MAGAZINE INTERVIEW] 170418 JINWOO & SEUNGYOON for CECI May Issue

Another long hiatus that lasted 1 year and 2 months, reorganization from 5 members to 4. Upon its release, WINNER’s third mini album, “FATE NUMBER FOR” wiped out all doubt that surrounded them and recorded first place on the iTunes Charts in 21 different countries. Even now, two weeks since the release, “REALLY REALLY” refuses to drop from the top of the digital charts. We met with the two people who are at the center of all this talk, Kang Seungyoon and Kim Jinwoo of WINNER. We will suppress the urge to share all the details about how they were deeply natural with each other and how the melodies they hummed together matched so well. That is because it is unnecessary to talk about how WINNER is strong like they always have been and the fact that they still have much to show us.

I saw you two at a restaurant the other day. It was the day after the release of your album and the music videos for “FOOL” and “REALLY REALLY”.

JINWOO

Really?

SEUNGYOON

Oh, that was the day we went to eat nasigoreng and pasta!

It was fascinating. Your songs swept the charts and your music videos recorded ten million views in a day but you guys were eating lunch as if it was just another ordinary day. How did you feel?

JINWOO

The amount of attention and love we received for our debut album was unusual for a rookie group. We experienced many different things after that and after a long hiatus, we’re receiving so much love with our comeback so the greatest feeling we have right now is gratefulness.

SEUNGYOON

Oh, could you wait a second? Song Mino just video-called me saying that he wants to be interviewed with us. Hello? Hello? Oh, I can’t hear him well so I’ll hang up.

(Laughing) Is it really Mino?

SEUNGYOON

I just hung up (laughing) Like Jinwoo-hyung said, we received a lot of love with “Empty”, which was in our first album. Personally, I think I tried not to have much expectations for this album (FATENUMBERFOR). I put in the effort not to get excited even when our song got first place on the charts because it might drop soon after.

But even after 2 weeks have passed, it is still at the top of the charts. Is that satisfying?

JINWOO

It is very satisfying.

SEUNGYOON

I am a little satisfied? We were in a situation where we had to prove to people that it was possible for us to overcome the unfortunate things that happened to us and I think that’s been proven to some extent. Also, how it does on charts isn’t very important to me. I’m satisfied that our fans are liking our music.

You talked about which song you liked better in your V LIVE, right? I like “REALLY REALLY” a little more than “FOOL”.

JINWOO

Seungyoon made that.

Seungyoon took part in writing lyrics and composing the songs, right? And Jinwoo shouldered more weight as a vocalist. How did you feel when you listened to the songs for the first time?

JINWOO

Seungyoon usually sings the guide. He knows the color of our group and the vocal tones of the members so he makes songs that suit those things. Seungyoon took a large part in bringing a song that matches my voice well. I practiced and thought about how I should sing it but it feels like I didn’t need to prepare something more than my usual singing voice.

(Laughs) Aren’t you being too thankful to Seungyoon?

SEUNGYOON

I think the reason why “REALLY REALLY” is doing well is because all the members shine in it. For a group to get known by many people and to receive love, it is important for one member to really pull in the attention but the whole group getting shown is also important. I felt that this song could spotlight Jinwoo-hyung so I purposely put a lot of emphasis on Jinwoo-hyung’s parts. When someone thinks, “This person’s voice is pretty good,” then they can comfortably listen to the song while enjoying that vocalist.

Thanks to the start of the song, Jinwoo has also been called the “Where Are You Man” so it seems like what Seungyoon wanted is coming true.

SEUNGYOON

I’m personally very happy because Jinwoo-hyung’s voice tone and singing method and his other styles balance the song.

“REALLY REALLY” is a feel-good love song because it is really honest. Have you ever taken the step forward to honestly confess your feelings like the song?

JINWOO

I did have a time when I was innocent.

Do you think honestly confessing to someone would be difficult now?

JINWOO

No, I think I’ll always be like that…

SEUNGYOON

I didn’t write my experiences into the song. I just wanted to write the feelings I felt when I was very young. In a vague context. If you look at the lyrics, it doesn’t sound like a love story between adults. It has the vibes of a middle school student in a shoujou manga saying, “Where are you? I came because I missed you so come outside.” I purposely did not include the words, “I love you” in the lyrics. It’s not about loving someone, it’s about liking them.

Because you didn’t use strong words, it became a more lighthearted and innocent love song.

SEUNGYOON

It is also my style. I’m straightforward on a daily basis but when I’m confessing my feelings to someone, instead of saying, “I love you”, I say, “I like you” like a tsundere.

So it’s something like, “I love… I love… No, I like you”. On the other hand, “FOOL” is a breakup song. Excluding dating, what is the most regretful thing you have done?

SEUNGYOON

Hmm. You can say that we were at fault for our long hiatus after releasing our second album, “EXIT:E”. That is regretful to me. When I think about our fans who waited for such a long time, I become more regretful about that. I feel like I should’ve worked harder to do something. When I think about it now, I might’ve been blinded by the overwhelming response we got with our first album.

JINWOO

I regret small things. For example, if I had worked harder and studied a foreign language or learned how to play an instrument when we debuted, I would be really good at it now. I regret how I started learning how to play the drums but that has fizzled out now.

You learned the drums? Why?

JINWOO

There were no special reasons at first. But while I was learning it, I relieved stressed with it and my sense of rhythm improved too.

Talking about instruments reminds me about Seungyoon’s guitar. You were always with your guitar when you were on “Superstar K2”. What about now?

SEUNGYOON

I always have my guitars in my room but it’s been awhile since I properly played them. There is a preconceived notion that playing the guitar means that the person does rock or acoustic music. Because of that, I felt that WINNER’s music was getting discolored by me. It’s possible for people to think, “Kang Seungyoon probably does this kind of music. He plays the guitar so he probably can’t do that kind of music.” I wanted to avoid those kinds of obstacles when I’m promoting as WINNER. It is not like I didn’t practice at all but in the past year, I haven’t purposely used my guitar.

There are many people who look forward to your solo activities. Is the music you are working on right now going to influence solo activities?

SEUNGYOON

I think there will be some influence to an extent. Acoustic and rock music will not be completely gone. That type of music is one of the fields I can do. However, once WINNER solidifies as a group more, if I receive the opportunity for a solo album, I have an indefinite wish to title it, “Everything You Want” and include hip-hop, jazz, ballad, rock, and dance songs. I want to make an album that contains all kinds of music so that I can enjoy it, as the person making it, and so that people who listen to my album can enjoy it too.

Both of you are members who act. Jinwoo, do you have plans for any solo or acting activities in the future?

JINWOO

Hmm. Firstly, I’m still scared about challenging myself in releasing a solo song. I lack the certainty in knowing what song or style that will suit me best. I do think about continuing my acting. Since I started it, I want to properly work hard in it.

You made an unprecedented decision to perform in the Korea National Contemporary Dance Production of “The Little Prince” last December.

JINWOO

I really wanted to challenge myself in a new experience. When I was spending my days working out, taking lessons, practicing, and wanting to do something other than those things, I received a very good offer. I thought to myself that I needed to work really hard for it. The Seoul Arts Center stage is not a stage where even modern dancers perform on often. I also received a lot of stress because I was worried that I would be told “he’s like an idol”.

You two are part of a company that is known to make the most “hip” content in Korea. There are sub-labels of YG that produce subculture content too. Is there something you find interesting in the mainstream right now?

SEUNGYOON

DPR LIVE. I think he’s cool because he makes his own music, performs alone, produces videos alone, and just makes everything by himself. I also get inspired by what he makes.

JINWOO

I like DPR LIVE too and contemporary dance is fun too. It’s very liberating. I’m not saying this because I was in “The Little Prince”… (Laughing)

There are many WINNER songs that deal with loneliness and empty feelings. It is a universal emotion but are there times when you are more lonely because you are celebrities?

JINWOO & SEUNGYOON

Yes, very often.

JINWOO

It can’t be helped because there are always limitations on what people do every day and where people can go.

SEUNGYOON

I think celebrities are a little different from people who are recognized by others. We are aware that we are people who are recognized by other people, not celebrities. It’s not just about not keeping ourselves from drinking excessively or having harmless hobbies, we can’t easily do anything. In this context, we ended up growing apart from [non-celebrity] friends and the people who we can meet gradually become limited. It’s not like Jinwoo-hyung and I don’t contact our childhood friends at all but because we can’t meet each other comfortably like in the past, it feels like our surroundings are being compressed.

JINWOO

Once that happens, you naturally end up being alone most of the time. Even if I meet someone, it’s usually my members.

On top of that, both of your hometowns are far from Seoul. Jinwoo is from Imjado Island in Sinan and Seungyoon is from Busan. Do you guys like Seoul?

SEUNGYOON

We really love Seoul! There’s so many things to do here.

(Laughs) That’s a relief.

SEUNGYOON

There are many things to do but there’s not many things we can do. But I like shopping and I can do that to my heart’s content. Most of the friends I’ve met while working are in Seoul anyways so I’ve become comfortable with this city. It’s like my home.

JINWOO

There are really not many people on Imjado Island. I like Seoul because there are so many people. But I don’t like how there are many cars too.

You’ve been to many cities [in and out of Korea]. Is there a city you want to live in?

SEUNGYOON

We went to LA recently. Seunghoon-hyung says he wants to live in LA because the weather is nice and it’s relaxing. But if I were to choose between LA and New York, I would live in New York. For now, I like being in a busy place. I feel like if I live in a relaxing place, I would get depression. I think that’s because I don’t have a peace of mind yet.

JINWOO

I want to live in Sokcho. Unlike my hometown which is in the west coast of Korea, the east coast of Korea has really blue seas. When I saw it for the first time, I was really surprised. I thought I was overseas! I want to live in Korea while looking at a clean ocean. I don’t really like busy cities.

Your choice makes sense.

SEUNGYOON

But I still like Seoul best. New York is nice but Seoul is better.

JINWOO

That’s right. I like being in Korea the best.

I’m going to ask a heartwarming question. What are you to each other?

SEUNGYOON

You go first because you’re the hyung.

JINWOO

Hmm… I’ve been with Seungyoon for a long time. I’ve received a lot from Seungyoon but I’ve never directly thanked him before.

Then can you two say thank you to each other while looking into each other’s eyes?

SEUNGYOON

(Laughing)

JINWOO

Thank you, Seungyoon, really! I want to tell my other members thank you too. Hmm. I’m really thankful for them.

SEUNGYOON

I’m also thankful. I get lonely easily and even though we’ll probably live separately in a few years, I feel safe that my family lives with me. Jinwoo-hyung is more special to me because we’ve been together for the longest time.

JINWOO

When I look at Seungyoon, I feel really proud.

SEUNGYOON

Hyung raised me like a parent. When I joined YG, he took care of me a lot.

When Seungyoon joined YG as a trainee, he was already pretty famous but Jinwoo didn’t feel burdened by him?

JINWOO

I thought he would act like he’s all that but he wasn’t like that at all. Almost to the point where I found it fascinating.

SEUNGYOON

I really started from the bottom~

You two are more heartwarming than I expected. It’s a beautiful sight

JINWOO & SEUNGYOON

Thank you!

Translated by @chrissy96_

Scans by @goduandme5     

anonymous asked:

Please talk about girl direction as types of tumblr users? Like what kind of blogs they'd have, how they write in the tags, if they write in the bloody tags, how they respond to asks and friendly anons, how they respond to not so friendly anons etc...x

This has been sitting in my inbox because I didn’t realise you meant girl direction and I was very uninspired, hahah. Imagine my glee when I saw girl direction, suddenly. SOOOO.

Alright, Niall is predominantly a music and food blog. She never posts recipes, just pictures of food that look good to her and she wishes she could eat right in that second. She’s a bit of a music snob and can endlessly talk about how good the Eagles were, or how she wishes The Beatles would bring out another album if all of them were still alive, and she visits a lot of concerts. Niall is the one who has a very elaborate tagging system so she can find back her food and concerts very quickly, and she’s just very easy going - she has a few anons that she just chats with for fun, about nothing, and she never really gets unfriendly anons. When she does get one, on the offchance that it happens,  she laughs and shrugs it off - however, when one of the other girls get an angry anon, she’s always immediately ready to defend all of them. She doesn’t really talk in the tags. 

Harry is that aesthetic blog we all reblog from that she puts a lot of thought into, and then she suddenly reblogs a ton of shit posts and puns in between. She writes long personal things in the tags about what the pictures and posts remind her of, personal anecdotes, sometimes she’ll posts some lyrics she wrote without context. She never posts selfies, only candids someone else took. When she gets an anon that she doesn’t like, she gets very passive aggressive, but mostly just sticks to ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, please go bother someone else, yes?’. She doesn’t show it gets to her, but she’ll throw a hissy fit over it in private. When she gets anons that need help, she’ll be patient and loving and a support to them in the warmest way, and everyone loves her immediately. 

Louis posts anything she wants, tv gifsets, books (or fics) she likes, a lot about the band she is a fan of. It’s just a mess of all her interests. She would just drag her friends for the shit they said in the tags, especially Harry and her puns (’FUCK OFF, HARRY, I HATE THIS’) and she’d have constant commentary in the tags. She reblogs clothes she wants, people she finds hot, but mostly she just reblogs whenever Harry posts some candid someone took of her or when Zayn uploads a selfie, and then just cries about it in the tags (’why would you do this to me? I HATE YOU WHY DO YOU LOOK LIKE THIS THIS IS JUST UNFAIR’) and then posts an underwear selfie of her own as payback (which is when Harry dies). She roasts unfriendly anons with all that she has, she doesn’t have the patience to be diplomatic about it. When someone hurts her friends she’ll write long, angry posts about how everyone can fuck the hell off, but she’s unexpectedly kind to people that need the help. (unexpected to people that don’t know her, that is). 

Zayn is that blog that constantly posts her art and gets commissioned and she promises she will get to it soon, but then accidentally draws something else that she wanted to draw more, and then suddenly disappears from her blog for a while, only to come back with a masterpiece seemingly out of nowhere. She talks some bullshit in the tags all the time, and she loves posting mirror shots of her outfit because we all know how much pride Zayn takes in her clothes and aesthetic, so of course her blog will reflect that, and everyone will constantly lose their shit over it because this girl is not only talented but also hot as fuck (though secretly, whenever Zayn posts one, she just hopes Liam sees it). She loves people asking her about her art, and can talk about it for hours, and never responds to the unfriendly anons, but she thinks about it a lot (and then bitches about it to Louis in private, who will then make an angry post about it). 

Liam would be the one who constantly posts work outs she’s trying to complete, she reblogs Zayn’s art a lot, and there’s constant posts about how she just wants to be someone, a lot of personal post as well that are sometimes unfortunately worded, but everyone loves her anyway. When she gets angry anons, she tries to defend herself, but it never comes across right. She posts a lot of progress pictures of how her body is transforming thanks to her time in the gym, and it’s purely progress pictures for her, nothing else, but Zayn and Louis lose their minds over it on a frequent basis because HOLY SHIT, LIAM, HAVE YOU SEEN YOUR BODY? She posts a lot of pictures of her dogs as well and it’s always very clear what tv show she is obsessed with in that moment, because it will frequently pop up on her blog and then never come back again.  Finally, she always, always, always reblogs everything Zayn does when she pops back up online after a long time and she tries to be chill, but everyone sees right through her.

Lana Del Rey: 'I got jolted into the real world'

Lana Del Rey is in a good mood.

She’s just been in the studio with Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw, trying to make him giggle while he goes about some serious radio presenting business; and she’s daydreaming about her favourite UK delicacy - a sandwich from Pret. 

When she discovers she’s in the same building as the BBC newsroom, the star politely asks for a guided tour. “I never get to do stuff like this,” marvels the singer, as she walks wide-eyed past the studios and satellite feeds. In this context, Del Rey is oddly anonymous. Jane Hill, who is preparing to read the lunchtime news on BBC One, doesn’t even look up when the superstar squeezes past her desk. It’s a rare luxury for someone who’s followed by paparazzi and the all-seeing cameras of TMZ when she’s at home in California. She addresses the lack of privacy on her new album, Lust For Life, where a song called 13 Beaches finds Del Rey searching for a spot “past Ventura and lenses plenty” where she can enjoy a romantic moment in seclusion.

When we sit down to chat, she reveals those same concerns stopped her attending the women’s marches in Los Angeles, earlier this year. “I drove my sister and her girlfriends to the marches,” she says. “I thought about joining in but I felt, like, not really sure how it would go. "I didn’t really want to be a distraction to that group of 10 girls who were going. I wanted them to think about the actual march and not about me standing right next to them.” But, the star is making her contribution in other ways. A new song, God Bless America And All The Beautiful Women In It, is an ode to womankind (“may you stand proud and strong”); while Coachella - Woodstock In My Mind, mines the contradictions of dancing at a festival “whilst watching tensions with North Korea mount”.

It’s a new dimension for Del Rey’s lyrics - which have traditionally concerned themselves with “looking for love in all the wrong places”. “I kind of got jolted into the real world again,” she says. “Just being in California, it’s such a liberal state, I was bombarded with the news every day. So my studio became like a think tank — during the elections it was a constant conversation with my producer and engineers and assistant engineers. "And then obviously during Coachella, that news broke about North Korea and pointing missiles at each other. That was a bit of a rude awakening.”

Del Rey’s work rate is astonishing. Lust For Life is her fifth album in six years - and it bursts at the seams, with 16 tracks, all co-written with her longtime producer Rick Nowels. They record everything at his studio in Santa Monica, just blocks away from the beach, so it “never feels like work,” says the star. “Just walking in every day and having a coffee together and taking a walk, and then we start.” "So it doesn’t ever feel like I’m pumping them [the songs] out. Although it’s definitely a blessing that I’ve been able to put out so much music.”

On Lust For Life, the singer has opened up musically, as well as lyrically. The title track is a pulse-raising duet with The Weeknd, while Summer Bummer almost self-destructs, dissolving into digital noise and blacked-out beats, with Lana’s vocals barely holding the song together. She’s also welcomed collaborators into her world for the first time — absorbing them into her aesthetic, rather than capitalizing on chart trends. “It was really fun!” she says of working with A$AP Rocky and The Weeknd. “I wanted those guys to add a little fire, a little energy to the record.”

More daunting was inviting rock legend Stevie Nicks to duet on Beautiful People, Beautiful Problems. “I was definitely nervous,” says Del Rey of the recording session. “She got off the plane at 10:30, so she didn’t get to the studio until midnight — and she just breezed in, black on black, gold everywhere. She was kind of a vision. "When she started singing, she told me she wanted to hear me sing something, too. And then I really freaked out!” "I said to her over the mic, ‘I just sound so quiet compared to you.’ And she was like, 'That’s ok, you can be my little echo!’ "I thought that was so cool. I’m not as loud as her. My voice isn’t as low as hers. But she loves it for what it is.” "That, as it was happening, was a career-defining moment for me.”

Other songs on the album had a more troubled gestation. Del Rey says the closing track, Get Free, originally had a different title, and much more personal lyrics. “That song started out really revealing,” she says. “I wanted to summarize my whole experience over the last six years; and then I realized, I don’t want to reveal everything.” Once the initial version was “out of my system”, she says, the recording was “deleted completely then started from scratch”. The lyrics became vaguer and more hopeful; and the re-recorded version ends with Del Rey referencing Neil Young: “I want to move out of the black, into the blue”. “I think it would have been hard for me to do interviews if I’d said a couple of particular things that I was thinking of,” she says of the original. “Kind of the way Ultraviolence did. It was harder to promote that record." 

She’s referring to the title track of her second album, which depicted Del Rey in a destructive, abusive relationship. Del Rey has previously hinted the song refers to her association with an "underground sect” in New York, which was controlled by a charismatic guru. In concert, she has recently stopped singing the song’s key line, “he hit me and it felt like a kiss”. “I don’t feel comfortable with that lyric anymore,” she says now. “Whatever my concept of affection was at the time, it does not serve me anymore. Obviously. Hopefully.”

On Lust For Life, she seems happier, more outward-looking than before. On stage, she’s more confident, too. Launching the album at a one-off gig in London, she’s forced to abandon her performance of the opening track, Love. Earlier in her career, she might have frozen. Now, she just sings it acapella, with the crowd stepping in as her own personal choir. “I’m not exactly sure what happened, but I think my keyboard player was playing the wrong chords,” she explains. “I was leaning into him and saying, 'That’s not it, that’s not it’ and he was like, 'That is it, trust me’. "I listened for 10 seconds and I was like, 'Damn, I definitely can’t get it’. I couldn’t get it in rehearsal, either. So I just told him to stop. I feel bad — I was kind of abrasive. "But that song is at the heart of the record and I thought it’d be weird if I didn’t do it. So, luckily the people who were at the show knew the words and they sang along with me.” She listens with glee to a recording of the song — explaining how, because she wears in-ear headphones, she hadn’t realized how loud the crowd had been. “I’m so glad,” she says. “Being in the audience, did you feel that, too?” I tell her it was like being in church. “Oh, stop!” she beams, and bursts into laughter. That good mood isn’t going anywhere soon.

-BBC

Witch: My very unshadowy book of shadows

Before I get started here, I want to define a few terms (as I use them) in language that should hopefully make sense to non-witchy people or people who are new to witching.

Witch
Person (of any gender) who does witchcraft (not specifically wiccan!)

Eclectic witch
Witch who draws from a variety of spiritual paths and traditions

Deities/Gods
Personified/archetypal representations of aspects of the human condition, nature and cultural experience

Ritual
Set of words and actions used to focus intent and desire

Spell
Set of ingredients and tools used to focus intent and desire

Magic
The art, ceremony and practice of focusing intent to achieve desired results

OK, now that’s out of the way and you hopefully get where I’m coming from, let’s move onto the book of shadows stuff!


What is a book of shadows?

If you’ve read any witchy things on the internet, chances are you’ve run into the term book of shadows, book of mirrors or grimoire. Depending on what you read or who you ask, these can be different things or different words for the same thing. Because witchcraft is such an individual path, there is no one correct definition of a book of shadows/mirrors/whatevers. For the purpose of this post, I’m going to use book of shadows, but in doing so I’m referring to all the things I just talked about.

A witch’s book is (usually, generally) a place to gather reference material relevant to their practice as well as to record spells and workings they do. Some witches prefer to use a heavy, leather-bound book filled with beautiful calligraphy for this purpose. I use a pink Filofax Clipbook filled with scribblings in pink and black ink, and also Microsoft OneNote synced between my laptop and phone because I like to have a portable version of my book with me at all times.

Witches who follow a Wiccan path and/or work as part of a coven may have a very different book of shadows from a solitary eclectic witch. The point is, there is no right and wrong. It’s all down to the preferences of the individual and what works for each person.


What’s in my book of shadows?

I’m going to refer mostly to my physical book here, but my digital version is pretty much exactly the same. The picture at the top of this post is the first page of my book.

My book contains ritual words and processes, including specific spells and ritual workings with notes about when I carried out them out and how I felt during and after. I also have an ever-growing collection of research and reference material about everything from deities (Hel and Thor are my patrons) to festivals to tarot to runes to colour, nature and conceptual symbolism and correspondences. I also keep records of tarot readings I do for myself as well as dedications and prayers I’ve written.

My book is a living document, a place of study and growth. Things get added constantly and shuffled as suits me, which is why using a ring binder rather than a regular notebook works best for me. I’ve been there with the ever-so-serious only-write-perfect-things-here books and I ended up not really using them because I didn’t want to mess them up or do anything wrong. For me, a process of life-long learning is all about messing up and doing things wrong. That’s how learning happens. Rough drafts, scribbles and ideas are just as important as beautiful, finished pieces of art.


What should you put in your book of shadows?

The short answer is anything you want. If you’re starting your own book, I would encourage you to make it in such a way that you actually use it and aren’t scared of not writing neatly enough or revising information based on new experiences. Some witches are totally against keeping a digital book of shadows. Some feel it’s more powerful to hand-write everything. Others are happy to print pages from the internet. Some keep their book completely private and others share photos of their pages on Tumblr and Instagram. However you create and keep your book, it should be what works best and feels right for you.

If you’re staring at a blank page with literally no idea where to start, here are a few ideas:

  • Information about your chosen deities or pantheon
  • Prayers and dedications to your patron/matron/whatever-you-call-them deities
  • Research into herbs, plants, incense and oils that you use
  • Notes on seasonal festivals you celebrate
  • Principles and concepts relating to your spiritual practice
  • Spells you’ve worked and notes about your experiences
  • Correspondences for colours, days of the week, phases of the moon etc
  • Reference for divination processes you use, like tarot or runes
  • Quotes and song lyrics that speak to your beliefs and practices
  • Records of your dreams and meditations

The internet is an AMAZING starting point, especially YouTube and Tumblr, as are books that other people have written. Read the hell out of everything you can get your hands on but when it comes to filling the pages of your book, make it your own. Your experience of the divine will never be exactly the same as someone else’s. The plants you have access to will depend on where you live. Even the dates of seasonal festivals and sabbats will be different depending on your location – the wheel of the year in the Southern Hemisphere is the opposite way round from the Northern Hemisphere. Certain ritual processes will resonate with you more strongly than others. Where possible, use your own words as they will always hold more power for you.

This is my book of shadows. There are many like it, but this one is mine.


A note about my solitary, eclectic Pagan witchcraft, research and reference, and other cultures

My spiritual path is one of eclectic Paganism with mostly Celtic, Norse and, to a lesser degree, modern Wiccan influences. This has happened naturally over the twenty or so years I’ve been witching. I never set out to choose specific influences or deities but certain things have caught my attention and called to me. In a practical sense, this is probably because I’m a half-Irish half-English person currently living in Scotland with, to the best of my knowledge, mostly Celtic and Norse heritage, so those are the things that I’ve encountered as part of the culture I live in and that feel most relevant to me.

That’s not to say I don’t have any interest in influences from other cultures, because I do. I’ve always been intrigued by the similarities and differences between spiritual and religious beliefs and practices from all over the world and  have read widely about various topics from Native American spirituality to Buddhism to Christianity. I’ve definitely been influenced by this research, and I absolutely adore talking to people who follow spiritual paths that differ from mine, but there’s a big difference between “I’ve read about these practices and am influenced by them to an extent because aspects of them resonate with me” and “I’ve read about these practices so I am now that thing”.

That’s actually a really hard concept to wrap words around and I’m not sure that I’ve done a very good job of it. It’s such a broad subject and I really only feel comfortable speaking to my own experience and perspective. Also, I feel it’s important to remember that when a spiritual or religious practice is part of the culture of living people who currently exist, that should always be respected. To take it out of the context of religion for a moment, I eat Chinese food, I cook Chinese food, I go to Chinese restaurants but none of that makes me Chinese. You know?

I also lean towards chaos magic in my practice of witchcraft. For me (I am not defining chaos magic here – please do go and read about it though, cause it’s really interesting), that involves using the power of belief as the individual chooses to direct it with the intent of focusing personal desire and action. For example, I don’t believe that a bit of rock is inherently powerful or capable of making a thing happen. I do believe that using an object like a crystal (or literally any object) as a conscious focus for intent can increase the potential power of actions taken in relation to that intent. Even the least witchy of people can probably relate to wearing a ‘lucky’ pair of pants to a job interview, saying “Break a leg!” to an actor about to go on-stage or keeping a keepsake from a special holiday in a specific place on the mantelpiece.

It’s also worth mentioning that not all witches are Pagans. I know Buddhist witches, Christian witches and witches who believe in no deities at all. My husband shares my chaos magic leanings and we sometimes perform ritual work together, especially around season-based festivals, but he doesn’t refer to himself as a witch or have any religious beliefs. If I haven’t made it super clear already, witchery and magic are very individual things.


Finally…

This has been a long post! I really want to write more about Paganism and witchcraft because it’s a HUGE part of my life. I’m also happy to answer any questions you might have, although I can only answer based on my own experience and perspective.

7

Vans Girls Music Crushes: The Wild Reeds

We’ve all had our hearts broken at one point or another, and along with that we often seek out a band or album in hopes of finding comfort in a wistful thread of relatable lyrics. For us, that band is The Wild Reeds. This SoCal indie-folk band may have packed their last album, Blind and Brave with lovesick lyrics, but the female-fronted quintet is far from the damsel in distress type. Last month we caught up with Kinsey, Mack, and Sharon to chat about their new album, and it’s evolution from heartbreak consumed lyrics to empowering self-realization. We even got the skinny on a rather hilarious text message involving a photograph of underwear…

Keep reading

60 Best Albums of 2015 (30-1)

30. Garden of Delete- Oneohtrix Point Never


Daniel Lopatin’s compositions are always freakishly in control, but have never brimmed with the audacity that they do on Garden of Delete. This pronounced vision serves him extremely well. The music of Oneohtrix Point Never has never struggled to commit to eye-opening tones and even more worthwhile structure, but here the songs are practically overflowing with conceptual and atmospheric presence. At first, the appeal can get lost. Out of all the auras Lopatin has worked with, this is the most digital, the trashiest, and the one brimming with the least amount of life. In fact, this listening experience can almost seem suffocatingly inorganic. Songs like ‘Ezra’ and ‘Sticky Drama’ feel excessively eager to exit their dystopian, shivering ambience, but regardless of the conventional beauty, Garden of Delete is sufficiently encompassing. You can cut the tension with a knife, a tension that reveals itself everywhere you look.

29. On Your Own Love Again- Jessica Pratt

Jessica Pratt’s voice, like Joanna Newsom’s or Björk’s, is the first thing that jumps out at you about her incredibly dense music. It is a frail, understated instrument that possesses the capacity to dominate any space it is put into, capitalizing on this ability constantly throughout Pratt’s second album On Your Own Love Again. However, it must be said that this record is much more than a vocal showcase. Pratt’s voice is stunning in the sense that it excels in the environment of its lightly plucked guitar backdrops. It is an exotic gift that casts a fleeting shadow over the album but tastefully steps back when the vibe begs for restraint. This self-control is ultimately what makes On Your Own Love Again so essential. There are not many colossal moments here, but Pratt is able to find magnitude in the oddity. Through warmth and claustrophobia, Love Again prospers.

28. The Agent Intellect- Protomartyr

The graceful rant is a hard thing to master. Gut-wrenching anecdotes and heaving mantras are littered through The Agent Intellect, the second exceptional album Protomartyr have released in about a year, and they seem to reside in a separate vessel from the music, which is emotional and occasionally elegant. Joe Casey has polished his reach as a frontman, delivering flawless vocals in the context of these ringing, deadbeat anthems. When these songs are at their most catchy and animated (‘Dope Cloud’, ‘The Devil in His Youth’), Casey crumbles into an overblown melody or a flawlessly emphasized hook as if it is nothing more than a pattern of speech. The main upgrade here is the songwriting; Protomartyr’s music appears to be more concise than it has ever been, but none of the impulsiveness is gone. The Agent Intellect is devoid of much saturation, but this bluntness plays directly into its balance.

27. PC Music, Volume 1- PC Music

PC Music, the post-bubblegum experimental record label responsible for this extremely close-knit various artists compilation, have historically put their music in the passenger seat to their image and marketing, one that is troubling in its hedonistic embrace of capitalism and simplicity, but profound in its capacity to throw itself on its back. The music on this label is sickeningly aggressive, and its best artists, like A.G. Cook and Hannah Diamond, are even less subtle than the majority of music in the Top 40. It feels kind of unfair to put this album on the list, because it is basically a greatest hits compilation. However, these excellent songs unveil a whole new dimension when placed in this context. When grouped together, PC Music’s aesthetic turns into a mission statement, ready to bask in all of its hyper-glossy glory.

26.  E•MO•TION- Carly Rae Jepsen

When listening to Carly Rae Jepsen’s new album, it is almost impossible not to question its intentions. How could someone go from a disposable, bubblegum artist who happened to have the biggest (and catchiest) single of the year to someone who is genuinely interested in branding themselves as an indie hero, constructing one of the most charming and cohesive listens in recent pop memory? E•MO•TION comes with the pretense that it is a manufactured statement, one done with the intention of appealing to the critical masses, getting an abundance of hot producers on board (Dev Hynes, Ariel Rechtshaid) to help deliver an album that has been meticulously crafted to exist without flaw. The only reason ‘Run Away With Me’ didn’t even chart is because of its branding, and the brand is a colossal part of what Carly Rae Jepsen has become. She is an intelligent pop artist, a product of a tasteful goal. Whether or not this is off-putting for you, it is ridiculous to deny Carly Rae Jepsen’s success. E•MO•TION is absolutely brimming with surprisingly flawless pop songs, ones that blend infection seamlessly with restraint, packed with the choruses and themes to expand their reach. You can’t knock E•MO•TION for its devious intentions; it is the sleeper masterpiece of the year, one that turns Jepsen into a platform for a collective step in the right direction.

25. Frozen Niagara Falls- Prurient

Is any double album filled with metal-tinged noise music supposed to be soothing? Frozen Niagara Falls seems to answer affirmatively. The exceptionally loud trance that these tracks fall into is captivatingly beautiful even if some of its raw elements- the clanging percussion, the horrifying vocals- are borderline disgusting. Nonetheless, every single song is not only hypnotic, but shockingly entertaining, especially in its unpredictability. The sounds on here- whether those be harsh noise or spacey synths- are so filled with texture and flavor that nothing really disrupts the listener’s drive to hear the next exhibition. Frozen Niagara Falls is a technicolor parasite that disrupts your well-being but thrills you nonetheless. It is a frightening album with so many dimensions yet such a narrow commitment to putrid tension.

24. Beach Music- Alex G

Alex G’s music will spike itself into your veins with its delicacy, and Beach Music heightens his reputation for goosebump-inciting melodies and even more intimate poetry. These songs are in-touch with an extreme bittersweet melancholy, but seem a bit stranger and more polished than the music off of DSU, Alex G’s equally excellent release from last year. I didn’t like Beach Music the first time I heard it, because it slacked a little bit and appeared to be mundanely thrown together; however, with repeated listens, this messiness becomes the purest testament to its hushed splendor. The songs are dominated by a tone of spooky apprehension, but these are some of the most optimistic (‘Brite Boy’) and creepy (‘In Love’) songs to ever appear on an Alex G record. Atmospherically, you can’t ask for something more in-tune with its soul than this.

23. In Colour- Jamie xx

It would be very easy to litter a review of In Colour with lists of influences, sample sources, and terms like “future garage” while gawking at how distinctive Jamie xx makes it all sound. You could also discuss how he has come a long way since remixing Florence + the Machine and being the guy who stands in the back on the The xx’s live stage. However, In Colour is one of those albums that can be enjoyed just as much, or arguably ever more, without context. If you take it in with a blank mind, this record is untouchably pretty. However, if you are dissecting Jamie Smith’s production chops…well, it’s pretty damn impressive too. Smith has a magnificent ear for rhythm and is able to transform this skill into huge, momentous club music. He also possesses a talent for layering, blending samples of voice, saturated bass, and deep beats so smoothly that they form a larger, singular sound. This sound is entirely his own, and it makes In Colour one of the most emotional and transcendent pieces of dance music in years.

22. Painted Shut- Hop Along

The songs on Painted Shut are theatrical by nature, don’t get me wrong, but it is bizarre to consider what they would sound like taken outside of the context of the tool that delivers them. Francis Quinlan does not only have a distinctive voice, she is a distinctive vocalist. This means that her capability stems not from her tone as much as it does her patterns and delivery; the fractured, scruffy whirlwind of a voice that seamlessly transforms from a holler to soft croon. However, Painted Shut is not a vocal album. The vocals are mainly there to provide the perfect platform for the album’s urgency. And trust me, this album is urgent. Every sharp downstroke is like a stab in the heart, every lyric begs for your engagement. Painted Shut will leave you winded, but not before it lures you in with captivation.

21. In Plain Speech- Circuit Des Yeux

Haley Fohr’s voice is the first thing that will jump out at you about her music before you are completely mesmerized. A shaky, unsettling bellow, the vocals here blow everything else out of the water, becoming the only vivid ingredient in a shockingly restrained yet heaped atmosphere. Everything else about In Plain Speech, an album inspired by the struggle of, quite literally, being heard, is bent around soft-spokenly haunting buildups. But every time Fohr opens her mouth, that ground-shaking cry is always there. She has expanded her scope into the context of a full band with this new record, tackling an aesthetic that blends folk with noise and delivering it with excessive drama. The cinematic quality of In Plain Speech sounds like the product of immense concentration, and on an album so subdued, I wouldn’t doubt that this is where the majority of the power comes from.

20. Four Phantoms- Bell Witch

One of the most difficult emotions to evoke when it comes to any form of metal is penetrating sorrow. The music is often too inherently aggressive to stay faithful to its deflated doses of sadness, and gets lost in a technical and energetic whirlwind. Bell Witch do not have that problem. When Four Phantoms is on, your mood will change regardless of how you feel about the album; these four plodding, harrowing 10-20 minute pieces overwhelm you with their downcast charisma. The extremely low-tempos are spread over a winding dynamic, ranging from throat-shredding screams to empty guitar segments so frail that you can barely discern the melodies that attempt to arise. However, the volume may be dynamic but the emotions aren’t; Four Phantoms’ game is excess, and it is so committed to this, that it becomes the right kind of exhausting, one that swells up in a relative calm.

19. Divers- Joanna Newsom

For some, Divers might be a middle ground. The listeners who found the most appealing qualities of Joanna Newsom’s past work in her outlandishness might consider this a retraction, seeing as the production is beautiful in a current, conventional way, as opposed to the timelessness of Ys. However, those who couldn’t sit through all two hours of Have One on Me will be pleased to have something digestible in their hands, a record that can be admired (although not fully appreciated) at a casual glance. The depth is still there, but it plays a much less vital role. Think about it; Newsom’s weapon of choice is a harp, a niche instrument that is called upon very passively in popular music. There is no trendy context in which Newsom fits, no aesthetic that stems beyond her compositions. Therefore, it is easy to analyze a record like Divers at face value. When Newsom roamed the streets of New York City in the video for ‘Sapiokanikan’, it was the most identifiable visual to ever surface through her music. On the other hand, the song’s huge chorus and riveting build-up fosters quite a bit of appeal even if the visual art and poetry allusions are ignored. It is shallow to say that you don’t need to sit down with Divers to enjoy it, but it works as a pop album far more than her past records did, with arrangements and instrumentation swelling up for an alluring glow.

18. Valis- Mastery

Two things will hit you off guard as soon as you turn on Valis. Firstly, this album is absolutely unhinged. This is obvious from the intro to the first track, ‘V.A.L.I.S.V.E.S.S.E.L.’; a menacing ringtone from hell that lasts five seconds before launching into some technically astonishing, splintering guitar work. Valis is defined by turbulence, with the primary source of engagement being the fact that it is impossible to guess where it will go next. With only five songs (two of which are interludes), Valis plays like a sonic stream of consciousness, completely rejecting form in favor of primal, sweltering energy. Second of all, Valis exists to unnerve. There are plenty of metal albums that are ugly, brutal, and creepy, but the key feeling produced by Valis, from the grimacing vocals to the outward rejection of structure, is distress. You will feel overwhelmed. However, these unstoppable, spastic black metal pieces do not demand engagement; somehow, they just clinch it.

17. New Bermuda- Deafheaven

Deafheaven have become the metal band for deniers of metal, a group that people spend as much time disputing what they aren’t as what they are. However, all talk of classification becomes meaningless in the face of their music. Sure, Deafheaven are not traditionalists, but they do have a very familiar way of garnering impulse. They are well acquainted with the power of the crescendo. Every song on their third album New Bermuda goes through multiple movements, as if the group has a very conspicuous understanding that there is no point in building things up if you can’t knock them down. New Bermuda relies heavily on masterfully articulated bursts of fury and works best when these developments come out of nowhere or fall into the shadows as if they never existed. Take opener ‘Brought to the Water’. This track has the sky-scraping, murky fury of Deafheaven at their darkest, and although it always hints at something supremely beautiful, it keeps in touch with a hysterical aggression, allowing it to veer ever so slightly towards blackened inaccessibility. This energy persists, with levels of course, until the last minute where this music fades out and a dreamy, flowery piano comes into replace it. There is almost no attempt at a transition. In fact, this completely contrasting element is introduced in a way that could be lazy if it was done with any less purpose. The big, and almost only, transformation that looms over New Bermuda is this complete negation of subtlety. You’ll know exactly when these songs peak and exactly what emotion you are supposed to feel. However, Deafheaven owns this conspicuous maximalism. Vocalist George Clarke times his harshly toned screams impeccably, and when the music plummets towards a climax on ‘Baby Blue’ or ‘Luna’, he is right there with it. The guitars and drums slush around in a fervor, only to simmer down when peace is summoned. Deafheaven see no need to cloak any of their volume shifts or sudden rifts of tension.

16. Never Were the Way She Was- Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld

There are albums that are marvelous physical achievements for the sake of gimmickry, but the fact that the tracks on Never Were the Way She Was are single-take live recordings isn’t just impressive, its imperative. For an album so haunting and scrupulously atmospheric, the imperfections and impulse that come with this technique contribute immensely to its unworldly rawness. Colin Stetson’s avant-garde saxophones musings are often performed with a robotic energy, twisting the conventions of his instrument until his patterns practically turn into noise, an inhuman darkness that has become part of his character. Sarah Neufeld’s orchestration merely embellishes the exhausting tangents that Stetson goes on. This album is consistently celestial and very fragile, a product of the visceral creative process.

15. Guud- Ash Koosha

For Tehran-born, London-based producer Ash Koosha, sound carries an examinable behavior, something that can be tapped into in order to unearth a certain psychology. The patterns on all of Guud’s bizarre, short tracks spring off of each other and drill themselves into the sonic foreground to construct a sort of cathartic, mechanical hell. This purgatory, however, is a relentlessly engaging one, relying on a boxed, unconventional palette to formulate tracks that are jam-packed with personality and accessibility. This is very much a collection of abstract compositions, but in this case, abstraction does not translate into impenetrability. In Ash Koosha’s world, car engines can become beats and synths can be as rhythmic as they are melodic. With textures that radiate huge amounts of energy, this record recognizes no lines between the foreign and the impactful.

14. Art Angels- Grimes

With Art Angels, Grimes sacrifices a lot of the haziness that defined her three years ago to pursue a peak in production quality and creativity. Thankfully, she is extremely successful. The smothered, absolutely gorgeous synthline on ‘World Princess Part II’ or the sharp vocal melodies on ‘Flesh Without Blood’ trigger a sense of universal nostalgia, possessing uncanny perfection in terms of emotion. Art Angels gets big, like on the title track or the Janelle Monáe featuring ‘Venus Fly’, and these moments would be overdone if Boucher were not so good at what she does. In fact, Boucher’s public priority has always been to receive recognition as a producer, especially in a landscape where female producers are subject to endless condescension. With Art Angels, she has not only proven her point but made a record that bleeds artistry. It is clear now that Grimes didn’t scrap an album because she was insecure; she wanted to do something that would stand out. Art Angels epitomizes this originality.

Every other track practically defines itself by its not-so-subtle touches. This is why the first few listens of Art Angels hit you like a wildfire, with songs that revel in sugar-soaked pop to the point where it becomes confounding. It makes sense that initial exposure to tracks as melodically bright-eyed and infectious as ‘Flesh Without Blood’ and ‘California’ are usually dominated by uneasiness. These songs are an uncharacteristically poppy departure and absolutely nothing like the Grimes we got with Visions, a pathway that the majority of Art Angels sticks to. This record is packed with overblown vocals, layered production, and a saccharine pop sensibility that places Boucher way out of what was priorly perceived to be her range. However, just because Art Angels is not the project most people wanted, does not mean it is not an excellent album in its own right, as it sees Boucher expand her realm to take her talents into a far more daring territory.

13. Third Side of Tape- Lil Ugly Mane

It’s kind of a weightless, cliched thing to say at this point, but there is genuinely nothing I’ve heard in my life quite like Third Side of Tape. There is no way to navigate around this two-hour compilation except for the fact that the project is split into six movements, or “sides”. Each of these sides exhibit the same type of mysterious, fractured randomness, without a common theme to tie any of the ideas on Third Side of Tape together. Thus, it comes off like a long-winded collage, a product of mind-blowingly good curation. Lil Ugly Mane is a rapper by trade, but he is also an artist who has completely shied away from the spotlight, which gives Third Side of Tape practically no context. All this mystery multiplies its appeal. This is an exceptionally confusing listen, spreading its reach everywhere from Dilla-inspired rap to jubilant electronica to extreme metal to punk rock, but somehow manages to maintain cohesion and keep the listener entertained for over two hours. Only a master of taste could pull something like this off, but with every turn Third Side of the Tape takes, you’ll find an entirely new environment in its rapid, impenetrable, encompassing world.

12. I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside- Earl Sweatshirt

I Don’t Like Shit seemed poised to slide under the radar. Originally planned for a secret release (until iTunes fucked it up, apparently), this record is nothing like the peak of an everlong hype cycle that Doris was. This record carriers a lead single that seemed alarmingly toned down, very few big name features, and a running time that barely exceeds standard EP length. However, in some messy, thrown-together way, it is Earl’s best. This doesn’t feel like the album we have been waiting for, but the beauty of it comes with the fact that we weren’t waiting for anything. Coming out of nowhere, this record is a boost, a reminder that Earl is still there and still dope.

As if the title didn’t make it obvious enough, seclusion persists throughout I Don’t Like Shit. In fact, Earl’s whole public persona has been defined by the act of being cast away. The most prominent detail of his “story” was his exile to a therapeutic reform school in Samoa, to which he was apparently banished after his mother’s reaction to the vulgar, violent elements of his music. On ‘Faucet’, we see Earl hoping his phone breaks as he struggles to come to terms with the impact this very public absence has had on his personal life by acknowledging how weird these situations can get. This discomfort translates into unbreakable music, as shown by ‘Grief’ with coats its wretched serpentine imagery in a smear of clattering electronics. I Don’t Like Shit sees Earl turning down quite a bit, whether that be with light, volume, or speed; the atmosphere at equilibrium here is a chopped-up, hushed darkness, which allows Earl to successfully keep it subdued.

11. Sympathy- Gabi

On an album as sparsely composed as Sympathy, space practically becomes its own instrument. Influenced in equal parts by the grandiosity of opera and a-cappella, the composition on this record is intellectually straining, delving in a a rare experimental academia. This sophistication is key. There is intent and purpose in every crescendo, yet these arrangements burst with an unstoppable grip on atmosphere. Centerpieces like ‘Mud’ and ‘Falling’ sprawl back and forth until the clean, fluctuating rhythms hit a humble plateau; elsewhere, we get songs so centered around Gabrielle Herbst’s vocals that the rest of the instrumentation absorbs an organicness. These arrangements are huge but they manage to be more refreshing than overwhelming, a trait reserved for artists who have complete control of their unadulterated sonic poetry.

10. Barter 6- Young Thug

You could write an essay about the type of album Barter 6 could have been. You could talk about how Young Thug has become one of the most controversial stars in rap music ever since the success of ‘Lifestyle’ and how he is surrounded by drama regarding his sexuality, his feuds with other rappers, or his place in mainstream hip-hop. Young Thug appears to have taken the less favorable side in the Lil Wayne/Cash Money dispute, and that has given his public persona a fair bit of heat, especially considering the trips to jail and murder plots that have followed him around. I mean Barter 6 was literally going to be called Tha Carter VI before potential legal issues arose, which seems like the biggest corporate dick move in rap history, considering Thug and Wayne’s label boss Birdman has blocked the release of Wayne’s own Tha Carter V. Barter 6 could have been the centerpiece of all this ugliness, a cultural landmark and, admittedly, an even more fascinating album to listen to. But Young Thug doesn’t give a fuck. He doesn’t need to say anything because the public speaks for him, and fanning the flames of his own controversy would be completely out of character. So instead, we have an album that is gloriously minute. Scratch that, it’s not even an album, it’s a fucking retail mixtape. And, unsurprisingly, Barter 6 is a piece of lazy genius, a collection of songs that aren’t going out of their way to sound half as good as they do. However, amidst everything, it becomes clear that an album so removed from its own context is perhaps the smartest thing Young Thug could have released.

Young Thug is the poster boy for rap’s ever-expanding style over substance trend. It is a trend that is upsetting many purists, but also contributing some of the freshest, most boundary pushing hip-hop of our time. However, Young Thug has a bit more bite than the others. Sure, his songs say absolutely nothing, not even scratching the surface of tenacious concept, and arguably serving no lyrical purpose outside of exhausting already stale rap cliches. Although there is something glamorous about his stream of consciousness overindulgence, his character still lacks inherent traditional charm. making everything rely on delivery. Thankfully, to say he delivers would be an understatement. He is one of the most talented rappers out there in terms of fluent passion, taking his auto-tuned, often incoherent drawls and demolishing any emotional barriers. Everything he says is catchy and everything sound he makes demands attention.

9. Are You Alone?- Majical Cloudz

When you think of Majical Cloudz, you most likely think of their frontman, Devon Welsh. More specifically, you probably think of Devon Welsh stripped to his absolute emotional core, wide-eyed, looking you right in the face, singing without a single shroud of irony in his body. It is this intimidating closeness that has always defined their music, and songs from 2013’s Impersonator were shocking in how raw and fragile they were. They had a darkness that hit you off guard. Are You Alone? no longer approaches this, at least not as heavily. Although these songs are as sparse and intimate as ever, Welsh seems humbled, negating the opportunity to steal the show. Instead, he seems content with mere existence, putting himself on the level of Matthew Otto’s instrumentals, which present themselves here with more delicacy than ever before. The production ensures that there is a warm melodic comfort to such unavoidably sad songs, and with each track on Are You Alone?, Majical Cloudz find a simple way to hit this extremely emotional nerve.

8. Carrie & Lowell- Sufjan Stevens

Carrie & Lowell, might be the most conventionally alluring album of Sufjan Stevens’ career. It places its focus on a constant struggle; an unconventional relationship will inevitably result in unconventional grief, yet here Sufjan resides in unconditional love, recalling memories from his time spent with his mother in Oregon but unable to use them to cloak the misery. ‘No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross’ is quite explicit with this as Sufjan sings “I’ll drive that stake through the center of my heart…I’m chasing the dragon too far”. At its core, this is a Christian album and the role religion plays makes it even more interesting. ‘Shadow of the Cross’ isn’t the only track with thoughts of suicide. On ‘The Only Thing’, Sufjan is on the verge of driving his car off a cliff or cutting his arm, with the only thing stopping him being his own faith. These jarring thoughts are means of bringing himself to an afterlife, the single place where he can pursue the relationship that was so hard to preserve during his mother’s life. The themes of destruction contrast with the melancholy reminiscences to make the mental friction of Carrie & Lowell absolutely devastating.

Sufjan has stripped-back his musical appetite here but a refined focus on gut-wrenching stories and emotional portraits does more than just compensate. It grants Stevens a capacity to function with immense grace, reveling in the weight of such therapeutic lyricism and exemplifying the beauty in remorse; the jaw-dropping melodies and performances only flesh it out. ‘Death With Dignity’ and ‘Should Have Known Better’ have an unshakable elegance to their composition, with vocal crescendos you can climb and codas that are practically hypnotic. In fact, the whole album is just beautiful. Fuck, man. Sufjan did that shit. Carrie & Lowell is gonna move you, I guarantee it.

7. Platform- Holly Herndon

Holly Herndon doesn’t merely embrace the glitches in her music: she lives off them. Platform embodies a very hyper brand of modernism, a world where cyber and human are interchangeable. The electronics are the heart of these pieces, and the most mechanical corruptions in their patterns give the album some space to breathe.

Platform is an album very much in-touch with the fact that it is a product of technology. For Herndon, the laptop need not suffer from its inorganic limitations, the fact that the choppiness, textures, and editing are very much the life of the party. Pieces like ‘Chorus’ are centered around occasions where these machines break down, falling almost effortlessly into a momentous, rhythmic climax. Elsewhere, ‘Lonely at the Top’ and ‘Locker Leak’ utilize textures that are usually unheard of on an album this electronic. The voices and dialogue that tinge these tracks are hyper-pristine and hyper-realistic, creating a hallucinatory juxtaposition between the understated backgrounds on which they recline. You could fall asleep to Platform, a record that resembles pure sedation as it slips into the background. However, at its core sits a masterful grasp on a very spooky atmosphere. The way this album comes together is almost unsettling.

6. Ripe 4 Luv- Young Guv

If you think Ripe 4 Luv sounds like it is from the 80s, then you’re not wrong. Everything on the debut album from Young Guv, the new project by Fucked Up guitarist Ben Cook, was run through an FX unit commonly used 30 years ago called The Chimp Box, which places it within a very vintage, lo-fi breathing space. That means this album sounds like it is coming straight from the radio in the summer of 1985. The nostalgia doesn’t end at the production. All eight songs are absolutely bombastic with their masterfully infectious refrains and joyous, playful energy. Power pop hasn’t been this syrupy since The Outfield’s ‘Your Love’, and if that doesn’t sound like a flattering comparison…well, it is. Ripe 4 Luv’s main draw is that has some of the best pop songwriting all year (Cook has written songs for Taylor Swift, if that puts it into context); it simply happens to stumble on an unprecedented sound in the process.

The emphasis on choruses here is heavy. Ripe 4 Luv is sculpted in a way where the filtered guitars/drums are constantly threatening to swallow up the vocal melodies. Thus, whenever we get to a refrain, it seems to hoist the track out of a swamp. In the case of the oddly flirtatious ‘Kelly, I’m Not a Creep’, the chorus yanks the song so hard that it turns itself inside out, being the one moment where Cook’s enchanting whine transforms into a desperate scream. ‘Crushing Sensation’ and ‘Crawling Back to You’ are pretty much all hook; when one melody sounds contagious enough to be the drawing point, the track one ups itself in ways you would never expect. Ripe 4 Luv is dense like that. It is atmospherically versatile, and some of the record’s most refreshing moments come when Cook slows it down. The lumbering ‘Aquarian’ is tactfully sandwiched between the album’s two most aggressively sweet tracks, with a laid-back magnetism that does wonders for the pacing. Even ‘Wrong Crowd’, a lax song which wears down the same groove for seven minutes before throwing a twee saxophone solo on top of it, feels necessary. When Ripe 4 Luv gets loud it is enthralling; when it stays soft it is delicate. This balance ensures durability no matter how far the album goes.

5. Summertime ‘06- Vince Staples

If you take Summertime ‘06 at face value, it’s a coming of age tale. In the real-life summertime of ‘06, Vince Staples was a 13 year old growing up in Long Beach, California, grappling with what he would call “the power of fear”. This is what he chooses to emulate on his debut record. More specifically, he wants “people to feel the fear of being 12, 13 years old when your best friend’s dad goes to jail”. Notice how he doesn’t want to “share” the fear; he wants people to “feel” it. He’s aware that many can not relate to the life he has lived. He’s also aware that he is not the only rapper discussing the things he discusses. Thankfully, this album’s vision is thoroughly sculpted. Summertime ‘06 isn’t exactly a concept album, or at least it doesn’t feel the need to shove its concept down your throat. Instead, Staples’ lyrics are observational. On these tracks, he’s listing off things he notices without placing too much emphasis on their message. He is a rare breed of the conscious rapper, seeing as he prospers without the self-appointed moral responsibility of, say, Kendrick Lamar or J. Cole. He has no interest in telling you how to think. He just wants to see how he can make you feel.

The first time most people heard of Vince Staples was when he rapped about raping and killing a girl on Earl Sweatshirt’s 2010 mixtape track ‘epaR’. Even if you don’t get anything from Summertime ‘06’s fascinating content and structure, you will at least be able to appreciate this record for its maturity. The length he’s come since the Odd Future days is mind-blowing, but the Sweatshirt connection is still an important one. Until last year’s Hell Can Wait EP helped Staples pave a path of his own, Staples had not had much exposure outside of his numerous features on Earl’s work. These appearances have been the most direct benchmarks of his development. On ‘Wool’ from this year’s Earl album I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, Staples sounded like the main act on the bill and Summertime ‘06 cements this presence. Sweatshirt himself appears on this record, not to rap but to deliver snippets of rhythmic speech on the album’s second ‘Ramona Park Legend’ interlude. The only words he says are “I’m a motherfuckin’ legend/that’s how a nigga feel” as if he is waiving his chance to assist Staples, instead opting to watch from the distance. Sure, we might not have known who Staples is without Earl’s co-sign, but on his debut album, Staples considers no perspective but his own. Seeing as he is one of the most gripping vocal presences in street-rap, he can construct a compulsively listenable album paired up with spellbinding musical taste. In fact, Summertime ‘06 sounds so good that its thought-provoking introspection into abandonment of youth actually takes the passenger seat. Lyrics being a rap album’s second priority isn’t a conventional compliment, but when you consider that Staples is one of the strongest songwriters in modern day hip-hop, it is merely a testament to this record’s strength.

4. I Love You, Honeybear- Father John Misty

Josh Tillman (aka Father John Misty) has a pseudonym, affiliations (ex-percussionist of Fleet Foxes), and a look that suggests a very specific type of musician. And for a while, he was precisely that. His early albums as J. Tillman share a couple of elements with I Love You, Honeybear- most notably his powerful, golden voice- but in contrast seem rather underproduced and pedestrian. There is plenty to admire about folk music as sparse and charming as Tillman’s earlier work. However, the reason it was a tad forgettable was because it rarely played up perhaps what is now his most defining characteristic: his personality.

Honeybear, incidentally the most elegantly produced and well-written album of Tillman’s career, owes most of its charm to its lyrical charisma. In fact, taking this album at face value might suggest a focus on something completely different. Each song here is graced with impeccable instrumentation, which elevates the even stronger melodies to a platform where they are able to expand with ease. It almost makes you group Father John Misty with artists like The Walkmen, First Aid Kit, or even Fleet Foxes, who center their admittedly powerful emotional appeal around sounding “nice”. But Honeybear is not a nice album. Not even a little bit. It is easy to miss how one of the first lines on this record is “mascara, blood, ash, and cum on the Rorschach sheets where we make love” if you are being swept into its instrumental crescendo. When this album plays in the background- which it inevitably will- you might not realize that at its core sits a cynic, a narcissist, a tortured lover who graces just about every song here with some of the most passionate aggression, tenderness, or speculation in recent times. It is easy to be blown away by its conventional studio glamour (I definitely was), but Honeybear progresses into so much more as Tillman’s character is realized. With that in mind, it is the most current singer-songwriter album around, a fearless character study that puts itself out there with poise.

3. If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late- Drake

If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is Drake’s first official “mixtape” since 2009, although such a status is put up for debate seeing as the record costs money. Aesthetically, however, the lack of any obvious radio song or mainstream pop appeal separates the tape from your typical Drake record, which is usually doused in similar emotional self-indulgence but packs a few obvious singles in there for good measure. However, this is no reason to assume that IYRTITL lacks viral charm. In fact, if Drake himself has become a cultural phenomenon, this mixtape, an hour-plus exercise in unabashed fragile narcissism, is the Drake-est thing in existence. Gone is the corniness that was such a drawback on some of his earliest material; although IYRTITL is shamelessly confident, there is no childish delusion. When Drake claims “if I die I’m a motherfucking legend”, he is not putting himself on a pedestal but merely stating what he believes and is willing to prove. Bold statements like this are woven through every end of the mixtape, but Drake stands strong as one of the few rappers who gives words like these real weight.

Even if the poise bounces at you, IYRTITL works so well because of its entertainment value. Drake has only gotten more animated with age, and songs on here see him getting the very best of his charisma through his delivery. ‘6 God’ is sheer hype at its most impulsive, rattling through its spot with a flow that is completely on edge. This level of ferocity was new for Drake as of 2013’s ‘Worst Behavior’, a song where Drake just hurled himself at you vocally. Nowadays it seems to be Drake’s most appropriate delivery method, as it shows up on many of the best tracks on this mixtape. ‘Know Yourself’ gathers an absurd amount of momentum with its beat change and ultimate launch into perhaps the most hauntingly hyped segment of Drake’s career: the already iconic “runnin’ through the six with my woes!”. Drake does not seem to be holding anything back here, and this relatively newfound expressive freedom may be the finest thing about the tape.

2. Vulnicura- Björk

Even with the historical quality control on Björk’s part, her new album, Vulnicura, is surprisingly brilliant. The two albums that came before it, Volta and Biophilia, were graced with conceptual ambition and intriguing experimentation but seemed to imply that Björk was starting to grasp at artistic straws. Comfortable is the last thing you could call an album as grating and emotionally fragile as Vulnicura, but the record certainly projects a fuller sound and thus feels more at home than Björk has felt in 14 years. At first, drawing on IDM wizards like Arca and The Haxan Cloak for production may have seemed like a smart way to fit in with the current landscape of underground electronica. Instead, it turned out to be an effort to enlist the creators of the eeriest electronic albums of the past two years to help Björk develop the haunting atmosphere she required. So, Vulnicura does not feel like a comeback record in the sense that Björk needed to reprove herself. Rather, it excels 22 years into a career that many assumed would have gone astray by now. So, the real surprise stands in how Vulnicura not only satisfies, but propels a living legend right back into her prime.

It makes sense that the most draining album of Björk’s career comes off the tail end of mammoth emotional turmoil. Following a separation from ex-husband and longtime collaborator Matthew Barney, Björk likened the construction of this album to “open-heart surgery”. The heartache and frustration that has loomed over Björk since the heartbreak is present on Vulnicura and it is a tough pill to swallow. It is evident that Björk has never made an album this personal before and such a raw exhibit of her emotions must be nerve-wracking, but the intentions are clear.Vulnicura is therapeutic. It is shattering. It deals with feelings so deep-rooted and real that listening to it almost feels invasive. On ‘Black Lake’ we get a sense of the dynamic; “You fear my limitless emotions/I am bored of your apocalyptic obsessions/did I love you too much?”. Björk paints a relationship dominated by doubt and resentment. Yet, it is something so overwhelming that it becomes inescapable. ‘Family’ reads like an obituary, where the void romance is painfully obvious but the persistence of the past exists in the form of a child. “Show some respect between the three of us”, Björk demands. “There is the mother and the child/then there is the father and the child/but no man and a woman/no triangle of love.”

In a career so legendary and filled with highlights, it is hard to determine whereVulnicura stands. On one hand it is a fresh return to sensitive form after a couple of albums that seemed to put emotion in the passenger seat. On another, it is simply a continuation of the impulse that has dominated this career; the fact that Björk never seems to know where she is going to go. However, Vulnicura evidently begins to stand up to masterworks like Homogenic and Vespertine, albums that were very unlikely to be challenged by anyone, let alone their own creator. It just goes to show that there is nobody quite like Björk. Her stamina and individuality is unmatchable, and with Vulnicura she adds yet another layer to her unique legacy.

1. To Pimp a Butterfly- Kendrick Lamar

Trying to pin To Pimp a Butterfly down is the wrong way to approach it. You could look at it as an emotional statement from a young black male at a time where discrimination is scarily prevalent. This is precisely what it is, but Lamar is not willing to take stances on these issues as much as he is eager to grow through them. It is a fresh perspective for Lamar; one that rejects clichés, doctrines, and any sort of linear progression. Instead, it serves its disjointed purpose through disjointed characters, disjointed situations, and disjointed sentiments. The spoken word snippets deliver it best. At the end of ‘i’, a song that was a bit troubling on its studio release but is completely revamped here with a live version, Lamar struggles to get the crowd’s attention, stammering “niggas ain’t trying to play victim, how many niggas we done lost?” before concluding “it shouldn’t be shit to come out here and appreciate the little bit of life we got left”. On the end of the record’s already iconic Tupac interview, the resurrected rapper claims “in this country a black man only has five years where he can exhibit maximum strength”. If there is a key theme on Butterfly, it is a celebration of black American culture, spitting vitriol at those who threaten it (‘The Blacker the Berry’) but rejecting cynicism and deflation as solutions to the problem. Butterfly is layered, and within those layers is a dense, scattered plate of passion that surfaces in many guises.

When the album starts, Kendrick is metaphorically “nutting” on the rap industry over a Flying Lotus beat, hitting just the right note. Coming off one of the most monumental breakthroughs in recent memory, it is understandable that Kendrick is conflicted by fame. ‘Wesley’s Theory’ takes the irresponsible wealth stereotype and blows it up, going as far as to have a pre-chorus that goes “we should never gave these niggas money/go back home”. We could revel over the perfect stylistic choices- opening with a sample from an old reggae song called ‘Every Nigger is a Star’, having Dr. Dre come in for a hyped guest appearance- before even getting to the nitty gritty. ‘For Free’ shows how far Kendrick is willing to veer from trite delivery, adopting a rapid-speed, unwinding slam-poetry flow over a catastrophic jazz backdrop. It is the type of thing that is so over-animated it almost seems like a throwaway, until you realize that a throwaway should not feature some of the most technically proficient rapping in recent memory.

There are no clear radio songs on Butterfly, a first for a Kendrick record, but the tracks that come closest are miraculously catchy considering their daring experimentation. For example, ‘King Kunta’ is busy as fuck. Every segment diverts from its projected path, either taking unexpected pauses, incorporating surprise melodies, or, most notably, engaging in punchy call and response (“I’m mad! (Hey Mad!)”). It is astonishing that a track with so many grooves can be this alert with all of them. Every single diversion is absolutely on point, and by the time the track ends it has expanded so much that its only option is to shatter into the somber disarray of the record’s remains. ‘Institutionalized’ sees R&B singer Bilal taking the role of Kendrick’s grandmother, preaching an ear-catching mantra of “shit don’t change until you get up and wash your ass, nigga”. For Kendrick, the community has been stuck in the mud for decades. However, it is a hunger for strength that is drilled into the record, not optimism. The most menacing moments come post-depression; on ‘Alright’, Kendrick hopes to “tell the world I know it’s too late…drown inside my vices all day”, but only over a grinning Pharrell beat and an assured hook. It is easily the most jubilant track on the record. This is emphasized since it comes after the second half of ‘u’, where Kendrick drunkenly weeps “shoulda killed your ass long time ago/shoulda felt that black revolver blast long time ago”. Hatred and insecurity dominates Butterfly, but it is always topped off by a whiff of realistic positivity. Lamar is a jarring wordsmith who knows how to let an emotion sink in (“you Facetimed the one time that’s unforgiven/you even Facetimed instead of a hospital visit”), and this ability steers his words up to the top of the music’s stunning instrumental labyrinth.

It truly is the music and delivery that makes Butterfly far more than a collection of haunting poetry. You could listen to this record without paying attention to a single word and still love it (an observation, not a suggestion) and that is all because it sounds like a spectacle at every turn. The prowess for jaw dropping moments is a constant reminder that you are listening to a intricately designed, endlessly labored-over masterpiece. For example, the moaning, seductive introduction to ‘These Walls’, the rhythmic whines on ‘For Sale’, and the gradual grittiness of Kendrick’s voice on ‘Mortal Man’ are all magnificent touches. Nevertheless, the real virtue of Butterfly is its stories, statements, characters, and allusions. Rarely do you ever get to witness an artist put such weight into every word he writes. Within the span of the record Kendrick frigidly haggles with God, interviews Tupac, and vocally embodies his mother. He simultaneously deals with hatred, bliss, and hope. He reminds you that he’s the greatest rapper around but only after he touches on politics and police brutality. He recites a poem that comes together as the album progresses, and when it is finally revealed in its full form, it feels like relief from a cliffhanger. Indeed, Kendrick Lamar has made a record even more cinematic and less obvious than its predecessor, which was incidentally one of the greatest concept albums of this generation. So grab a lyric sheet, embrace judgment, and grow. To Pimp a Butterfly is a fucking masterstroke.

Home Sweet Home (BamBam Scenario)

Requested: @mymisstina

BamBamxReader

Genre: Fluff/Romance

Word Count: 1950

Originally posted by defsouljb

Summary: You visit Thailand for the first time on a trip with your best friend, BamBam. While meeting his family, they assume you’re his girlfriend and you two agree to play along with it to avoid disappointing/confusing his family.

A/N: As this was requested as a “fake girlfriend” prompt I made it gender specific. However, I would be happy to post a gender neutral version if someone asks me!! Request more scenarios here!! 

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Zutter Analysis

so originally i wasn’t going to write anything about zutter because i didn’t think i had that much to say about it but i accidentally wrote a bunch while discussing it with jiyong-oppar so here we are lol. this isn’t a thorough guide through the song or a line by line analysis like what i would normally do, it’s more just a small collection of ideas i’ve had about zutter. anyway let’s start!

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anonymous asked:

how do you feel about the lyrics of The Other Girl? cause for me this song fucking screams ryden,,,,, like it's such an angry song?? like,,, "they will send him straight to jail, where he'll die and go to hell with the other girl",,,, i mean he even uses he pronouns????? but then i've never seen any posts about it???? also "he's not where he's supposed to be" and "i'm trying to figure out why he's with the other girl" like????? or am i completely wrong and this song is about something else????

Okay so I have a really twisted view of this song. Of course I am not saying this is the correct interpretation, but in the best interest of all that is Ryden, I think Ryan is having a play on pronouns here. I think this “he” is referring to is Brendon and the “you” is himself. Essentially, he is talking to himself. I wouldn’t put it past Ryan to do something like this either because it is a known fact Ryan liked to write like he was writing a diary entry. This idea fits if we take into context the fact that this was written after whatever happened in Cape Town AKA the break-up. Let us take a look.

Don’t wait around for love
You’re not what he’s thinking of
When he’s with the other girl

The other girl is whoever Brendon is with (presumably Sarah). Ryan is telling himself not to expect Brendon to wait for him or to come back. Ryan is telling himself Brendon has moved on.

Don’t bother waiting up ‘cause he
He’s not where he’s supposed to be
When he’s with the other girl
When he’s with the other girl

Again, Ryan is trying to convincing himself Brendon is not coming back, but he acknowledges the fact Brendon belongs here, with him, and not there with the other girl.  When he says “don’t bother waiting up” he is talking to himself. Maybe at first that was what Ry thought would happen. By leaving the band, Brendon would come and try and get him to come back. But he isn’t going to.

You, you were right
I was wrong
Like I always am
And you always are

Here is where I think it gets sad. You (Brendon) were right in the aspect that Brendon presumably wanted them to be a legitimate thing, whereas Ryan refused. Ryan probably said something stupid that he didn’t mean (Cape Town lyrics) and Brendon called him out on his feelings. Brendon was right, Ryan was wrong.

Don’t have much to say right now
‘Cause I’m trying to figure out
Why he’s with the other girl

I like to think of this as the explanation for Ryan’s silence- in the music scene- for so long. He doesn’t have the words to say because he hasn’t put everything together. He doesn’t get why Brendon chose the other over him.

Life is not a fairytale
They will send him straight to jail
Where he’ll die and go to hell
With the other girl, with the other girl

Here, Ryan is accepting it at last. It isn’t a fairy tale, he lost the boy. I see the anger here that anon is talking about. This is understandable though, hearts were broken and love is not a pretty thing. This “jail” I think is meant to be more metaphorical though. I like to think of it as Ryan saying that with the other girl, Brendon has chosen to life a false life- one where he has to lock up his true feelings, his truth as a person. Living a lie is bound to be hell but it is inevitable so long Brendon chooses the other girl.

Heathens by Twenty One Pilots—Analysis

(Tweet above says takeitslow in morse code i think?) Lol I’ve totally stopped following my steady chain, and then this leak exploded and I screamed externally internally and everywhere SOOOOOO time to do an analysis :3 people are saying it’s gonna be in Suicide Squad and aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa I can’t contain

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anonymous asked:

Submitting twice for both mods: Headless, what's your best/faovrite writing tips?

I have sat on this question since you submitted it so I could think long and hard about it. Here’s what I have for you, in no particular ranking order:

DO YOUR RESEARCH.

Please. If you are serious about writing, please be serious about doing it well.

Learn how to use a thesaurus. Really learn.

Thesauri are not the devil, but they can trip you up if you use them blindly. “Demand,” “order,” and “request” might all pop up if you search for something to use besides “ask,” but not all of them are going to work. If you look up words and just pick one at random, you may end up conveying something completely different from what you want to say.

There is conflicting advice in the world about “concise language is best!” and “descriptive language is best!” The reality is that you need to be good at both, if for no other reason than diversifying how your cast of characters speaks. There will be characters who say “That’s nice” and characters who say “That’s phenomenal” and characters who say “That’s awesome.” Characters speak in different ways—they have different vocabularies and different speech patterns and preferences.

Similarly, there will be times where you refer to something is big, only for the characters to come by a massive thing later on. If you refer to things in the general area of “large” simply as “big” or “bigger,” we will have no sense of the scale of the massive thing. Conciseness is great, but sometimes you need to break out of it to truly, effectively describe something. Your thesaurus can be your friend—just know how to use it.

Find a writing/editing/critique buddy or a writing community to share with.

I still struggle with this, I need to get better about sharing my work. Hearing what someone else thinks about your work will do a few things for you:

  • Get you used to critique. Not necessarily good critique or bad critique, but something you will need as a writer if you ever intend to publish is a thick skin. Not all criticism is justified and not all critique is going to make you leap for joy. An invaluable skill to have in your writer’s repertoire is the ability to take critique, evaluate it, and grow from it.
  • Get you used to sharing your work. I am incredibly bad at this and I wish I had gotten started with sharing my work a lot sooner. Having someone else read, edit, revise, and critique your work is an incredibly important thing for writers. Sharing your work can be validating, and it can also be terrifying. Putting your work in a public sphere can be scary, but if your end goal is to be published, you will need to be able to handle exposure. This also helps you…
  • …Learn where you struggle. When we reread our work, we know exactly what we meant to say, we know exactly what the characters are thinking and feeling and intending to do or the point they are trying to get across. This does not always make it through to the reader. Something very important about critique is having someone tell you what is not working. This is not a failing on the part of the reader or an inherent flaw in your writing style: this is learning where, how, and possibly why a part of your story is falling flat. With an outside perspective, you can gain more insight on where you tend to get caught up in things and forget to give information where it is needed.

Finding a buddy also comes with the double bonus of having someone to talk about writing with. What a wonderful world!

Learn how to write out of order.

This is one of the greatest things I ever learned to do as a writer. The last five things I finished, I only managed to finish largely due to the fact that I could hop around and write anywhere in the plot, rather than restricting myself to writing linearly/chronologically.

Knowing how to outline, even if you prefer not to outline, can also help you better grasp how stories are structured and how pacing can work. If you write up an outline and decide not to use it, this can still help you get a broader view of your story and help keep you on track. I am a big believer in knowing where you intend to go with a story.

It took me a million and a half tries to figure out what worked best for me, and it may take just as many for you. I invite you to give the “out of order” rollercoaster a try: it has done wonders for me.

Accept failure.

What I DO NOT mean: Nothing you do will ever be great.

What I DO mean: Not everything you do will be great.

Especially on the first go-around with something, know that producing something perfect is difficult for everyone. Accept that failure is a part of the process, and that it does not reflect on you as a writer or as a person. A truer reflection of you is how you handle and grow from failure, critique, and rejection. Making mistakes is how we learn. Embrace failure as a learning opportunity, rather than fearing it as an obstacle.

Try new things.

Write in a genre you normally shy away from. Hit “random” on TvTropes and run with whatever pops up. Do things that are unfamiliar and strange. They may not be great, and you may never decide to use them again. That is fine. What is important about this is the doing of something new, the practicing and training and flexing (and showing off) of your writing muscles.

The only way to get better at something (at least, until we can download new skills into our brains because technology is amazing) is to practice. Try something new. Practice what you want to get better at. It will not be amazing on the first try, I can almost guarantee (see above).

And that is fine.

End your day on the second sentence of the next paragraph.

This probably sounds like a bizarre thing to mention, but just trust me on this. Especially with Camp NaNo coming up, this is one of the the greatest tips I can give you for writing over long periods of time.

If you leave off at the end of your last paragraph, stretch, and call it a night, chances are you have trouble picking back up in the morning. If you leave yourself something to go from—a sentence or two of what’s to come next—you might find it easier to get back into the swing of things. This way, when you wake up and boot up your document or open up your notebook, you see immediately where you were going and what you wanted to do next.

Learn how to self-edit.

And learn to do it well. Editing is a seriously critical part of elevating your writing from good to great. Figure out what methods work for you to help you catch your own mistakes. The techniques I swear by:

  • Read everything aloud. Dialogue, plot-driven passages, dialogue, character descriptions, DIALOGUE, everything. Especially dialogue. I read things aloud with such frequency that I wonder whether or not I should consider a second career as a voice actor. Of course, this is not about the delivery, but making sure that things sound natural and flow well. How better to do that than to read it aloud?
  • Rewrite it all. Completely. By hand. Every word. All of it. Copying and pasting just does not cut it. Taking it word by excruciating, painstaking word will force you to stare your mistakes in the face. They are a million times harder to miss this way (though a few are bound to slip through).
  • Change mediums. If you typed it, print or handwrite it back out. If you handwrote, scan it or type it up. Editing in a different medium than you wrote in can give you a new perspective, since you have changed the way you see it.

(A thing to bear in mind: I am a tactile/kinesthetic learner, which means that I need to physically do things for myself in order to understand and learn or benefit from them. This is probably why a lot of these techniques work for me. If your learning style matches mine, you might well find success with these as well. If not, they may only be a bit helpful. There is no best way to do any of this, and trying new things to find what works is a part of the writing journey.)

If you love it, take care of it: BACK UP YOUR WORK.

PLEASE DO THIS IF YOU WRITE ELECTRONICALLY. PLEASE. If you take nothing else away from this post, please back up your work. Email it to yourself, store it in the cloud, use Dropbox, something, anything is better than suddenly losing years of work.

(I know this from experience. I was inconsolable. Do not make this mistake: BACK UP YOUR DAMN WORK.)

Similarly, never throw anything away, where writing is concerned. 

Always keep the older versions to look back on. Always. ALWAYS. I cannot stress this enough. Keep a clipboard document to paste things you want to cut out of the story, just so you can have them around if you decide you need them after all.

Learn to recognize and let go of what doesn’t work.

Sometimes you will write something beautiful and amazing and utterly brilliant… and it just will not fit into the story. No matter how you try, something refuses to work with the context, a line is just too out of character, a location description needs changing and that positively lyrical turn of phrase no longer fits.

What I mean here is that recognizing when something is not working and letting it go for the sake of the overall story instead of trying to shoehorn it in where it does not belong is hard, but incredibly important. Learning to put the story first and really, truly editing with the fist of an angry god and a red pen of vengeance is an important, enviable, and useful skill.

(Of course, this is where the clipboard comes in. If you hang on to said scraps of beauty, you may find a home for them elsewhere. Think of it like your own private prose bank.)

Use a procrastination sheet and a bookmark word.

My procrastination sheet for the story I am writing/revising is 24 pages of 10 point, single spaced type. All of it (all of it) is notes on the story, things I need to change, things I need to research, and some notes from a friend of mine about things I need to take a look at. The point of a procrastination sheet is to keep you on track, despite what the name may make you think of. In the course of writing a story, you may hit something that you want to do more research on. “Hmm, I need to figure out what on earth coal mining is like!” The procrastination sheet gives you a place to write that down to do later, so you can focus on writing.

Then, the bookmark word helps you out (though this is only useful for electronic/word processor writing—taking the place of actual bookmarks and sticky notes). Whenever you break sequence from your story for some reason—maybe you feel like skipping this particular scene for some reason, or there is something you need to research in order to make this passage shine, or there is something here that you want to check again later for plot holes or something—you use a bookmark word. Mine is usually pamplemousse—the French word for grapefruit, a word that would never, ever come up in my story. Your bookmark word is a word you never use within your story, so that when you Ctrl/Cmd+F search your document, only instances of “THIS THING NEEDS ATTENTION” pop up. Whenever you want to remember to come back to something, write in your bookmark word and move forward.

A large part of writing is figuring out how to keep moving and getting it done, however you do it. I have found that a procrastination sheet and a bookmark word work wonders for me to power through a rough first (or second or third or fourth…) draft and provide me with a ready-made list of things to look over in the editing and revision.

Do not qualify your writing. Do not be ashamed of it. Do not apologize for it. Love it.

No more “I’m sorry if this is dumb, but…” and “I don’t know if this makes sense, but…” No more “This is really stupid, but…” and “I know it’s lame, but…”

Stand by it. Your words are amazing. Trust me, they are. Never be ashamed to be excited and thrilled and empowered by your writing. Never feel like you need to apologize for rattling on about plot twists and how much you love your characters. If someone tells you to tone it down, rocket away on the glittering wings of your creation because that kind of negativity is not something you need in your life or in your editing circle.

Hearing this from a writer always makes me sad. More often than not, it tells me this is someone who, at some point, was told that their words did not matter. That is absolutely not the case. Get excited. Be overjoyed. Love your writing.

Take care of yourself.

Believe me, I know how easy it is to get into a zone where you are so inspired and the writing of your story is the only thing you can think about. You skip lunch to keep up with it and before you know it, the sun’s gone down and your dinner’s cold on the table. (Or warm, I have no idea what you eat.)

Remember to take breaks. Remember to stay nourished and hydrated. Remember to get up and stretch every so often. If something is hurting, stop. (Story time: Years back, before I had a word processor, I handwrote some essay or something through what I considered to be “annoying” wrist pain. This has caused me permanent wrist damage, and it still hurts for weeks on end sometimes.)

Take care of yourself. You come first, always.

Never forget why you started.

Writing will not be easy from start to finish. It will not be fun every step of the way. Sometimes you will want to pull out your hair because your brain refuses to cooperate, and the words will not come. Or, if they do come, they are far from what you hoped.

Hang in there. Get up and take a break. Remember why you started writing this thing in the first place. You can do it. We have your back.

Go forth and create, tumblbud.

-Headless

Yuri!!! on Ice: “After the final, let’s end this.”

Alternate title: Heartbreak!!! on Ice (not really)

Ever since Yuuri dropped that loaded line on us last episode, the fandom has gone rampant. But don’t fall apart just yet. I’m here to assure that your favorite OTP will not be going anywhere, any time soon. So listen up, because this post will take you for a ride, starting with the beginning of it all.

Do you remember the scene from the first episode, where Yuuri skates the replica of Victor’s Free Skate, and there were scenes of Victor skating the program meshing into Yuuri’s recreation? Well, I found a video of that very scene with english lyrics provided, so I could really understand the importance of that moment. This is ‘Aria / Stay Close to Me’:

In the plight of Yuuri’s brave declaration “After the Finals, let’s end this,” I believe this scene from episode 1 actually nullifies any implication that Yuuri wants to break the romantic relationship between he and Victor.

But how?

Start the video and notice the very first face Victor makes: it conveys a look of yearning, as if he were almost sad, desperate for something.

And so, we ask: what does this have to do with Yuuri skating to Victor’s program? And what does this have to do with Yuuri’s and Victor’s (romantic) relationship? Well in actuality, it has to do with everything. Here’s my analysis. (As I decompose the lyrics below, which are in italics, watch the video posted above and pause as needed. Seriously. Do it.)

So, the very first line of the song opens with, and this is in the English translation, “I hear a voice crying far away / Have you been abandoned as well?” Off the bat, there’s implications that Victor has been hurt, or is feeling some form of hurt, sadness, a forlorn emotion. And we all know, from previous posts, that Victor is not one to express his emotions very well. He merely does that little half-smile and deflects any form of emotion that may cross him. He’s said it himself, that he does not know how to deal with “people crying” A.K.A emotions, like when Yuuri had that breakdown right after Victor threatened to break their coach-student relationship.

Nobody understands this side of Victor, though, because nobody has seen it: the emotional side, holding so much in. Take note that in person, Victor possesses strong composure that he can control, but on the ice, Victor is a much different person – a person going through emotional toil. Even as Minako was watching Victor’s free-skate, she mentions in her drunken state that: “This [his performance] would tug at the heartstrings more if it were a younger, naive man, not a hottie like Victor, but let me think…” This confirms that people cannot understand Victor’s intentions with his program, but instead just see him as a figure to look up to and admire through his ‘looks’ and ‘winnings’. That sort of recognition is tiring and heavy, though, especially when there is nobody by your side to truly share it with. And that is the root of Victor’s strife: loneliness.

However, when Minako cuts herself with “…but let me think…,” followed with the camera POV switching back to Yuuri skating, she is then referring to Yuuri as being one of the few people that do and can understand Victor to his very core, his emotions, and his love for the routine to ’Stay Close to Me’. Minako knows that Yuuri has loved and admired Victor since he was a young, up and coming skater. And so, by Yuuri skating to that same song with the same emotional value, it shows that Yuuri can feel Victor’s pain as well, that he has endured it, too – the loneliness, the sense of abandonment, the lack of love. Victor has been burdened with this title of “The hero of Russia” since the start of his skating career, and Yuuri has since been suffering with anxiety followed by his undoing at the Grand Prix Final. One is lonely, and the other has never gained the confidence that love has to offer. It’s almost as if Yuuri’s and Victor’s predicaments compliment each other to a perfect T.

The line, “I wish I could cut with a blade / those throats singing about love,” is analogous, once again to the unconditional love the two skaters have been neglected. Then the following line, “I wish I could seal in the ice the hands / that express those verses of burning passion,” refers to the the dwindling passion for skating Yuuri and Victor are beginning to feel.

That’s why when the commentator asks Victor about his plans after the Grand Prix, he is hesitant to answer: because he does not know if his embers for skating still blaze as bright as they were. I could only imagine that he had thoughts of retiring after that. Similarly, Yuuri felt so defeated that his love for skating, too, was compromised through a process of self-sabotaging destruction, magnified through his anxiety, by (almost) quitting professional figure skating for good. It doesn’t help either, that Yurio inflicted further damage to Yuuri’s already damaged heart, by saying that an “incompetent” like Yuuri should just retire. And since “A skater’s heart is as fragile as glass,” as Victor mentioned back in episode 7, Yurio’s words were like rocks to Yuuri’s composure. He almost broke there.

Originally posted by brendachanblr

And so, we have two skaters, experiencing pain in the same wavelength, the same degree. What then? In ‘Stay Close to Me’ there’s a line that captures the empty state of Yuuri and Victor: “This story that makes no sense / will vanish tonight along with stars.” This very line is Victor’s final cry, almost as if he were screaming through his emotional performance: “After I win this, what then? What will I have? These gold medals are nothing but reminders of this loneliness I’ve endured.” In parallel, Yuuri takes these lyrics in more literal terms: he believes that after this Grand Prix, he will vanish in the face of professional figure skating, that he will just be eclipsed by more qualified skaters, like Yurio for example, and thus, he should just 'fade away’, as his crippling anxiety tells him.

They’re both in the brink of falling apart, falling into darkness. But in all good love (yes, love) stories, there at the end of tunnel shines a light so bright it might just blind them. 

After this descend, the lyrics do take a dramatic U-turn, and a revelation is unfolded: “If I only could meet you, from hope / eternity would be born.” This is where the story, in context, delivers the glorious moment of hope between the two skaters, a much needed awakening. The song is saying that Victor and Yuuri were almost as if fated to find each other, heal each other, and thus save each other through the lights of hope – of love.

We can thank the triplets for posting that video online.

What I’m going to say next might be a bit reaching, but hear me out: 

In episode 10, when Victor implies that he wishes Yuuri would never retire so he could always be with him forever, is in direct correlation to that very line from ’Stay Close to Me’: “From hope, eternity would be born.“ Victor and Yuuri found hope in each other, and that is what this damn song and show is about! How we’ve been so blinded by Kubo’s twisted yet ingenious pre-climactic tension since episode 11, is beyond me. But I digress, and we shall continue.

Since episode 4, on that beach scene, Victor has been telling Yuuri that he is not the the weak figure he thinks himself to be, despite Yuuri’s anxiety and the 'shortcomings’ he’s displayed. Shortly after, Yuuri expresses that Victor should just be "Who he really is,” and not be identified as 'coach’, 'winning skater’, 'friend’, etc. Yuuri ultimately wants Victor to be free of any confinements that have shackled him through the course of his career. He wants nothing but complete happiness for Victor. And in a sense, putting all of this together suggests that they are each other’s salvation. They are the ones responsible for saving each other through the rise and fall of everything. This line from the song suddenly means so much more: “Stay close to me / don’t go / I’m afraid of losing you.” And as the song ascends to a climax, it becomes a beacon of hope. “The heartbeats are fusing together,” is perhaps the most Shakespearean way to express the bond that only love can express. The very lyrics cut through to depict how Victor and Yuuri are are not ‘star crossed lovers’ bound to fall apart, but instead to come together for eternity to come: “I wish you’d never retire” (Episode 10, Victor to Yuuri).

Let’s take a look at this screenshot from episode 1, Yuuri’s and Victor’s, cut-scene-combined skate. Just look at the passion in Victor’s face, that emotion that comes from the center of his chest radiating out. And now let’s look at Yuuri’s:

His expression is a mirror-copy of Victor’s, as with his emotions. They are identical throughout the course of the skate. The two of them begin with forlorn expressions as depicted by the very first screenshot posted, but looking at the faces of hope on both of them now, is truly a remarkable portrayal of shared character development that has grown throughout the series. We, as the viewers have analyzed the growth of both Yuuri and Victor since day one, and to think that we only have one episode left to conclude their story (for now) brings me bitter-sweet sensations. I do, however, want to believe that this final episode will not end with disappointment. Why would the writers spend so much time developing the blossoming relationship between Yuuri and Victor, putting them against the edge, just to push them off the cliff?

I highly doubt that this is the scenario we’ll be experiencing next week. I’m looking forward to a more hopeful denouement that doesn’t result in complete and utter devastation for thousands of fans. Simply listen to the song that started it all, foretelling the tale that is Yuuri and Victor: they’re here until the very end!

The final lyrics of ’Stay Close to Me’ goes as followed: ”Let’s set off together / Now I’m ready!“ This is the very climax of the song, in the same way that episode 12 will be the climax of the show. How does this tie in together to the "After the final, let’s end this” scene that’s been picking at everyone?

Yuuri might be implying, I hypothesize, that despite the outcome of the Grand Prix, win or lose, 'let’s end this’ will bring a means to and end, with “this” referring to the burdens they have experienced alone in the past; the pain, the loneliness, all of it. They have each other now, and they can sense it, so really to them, they have nothing left to lose – though they’ve failed to completely notice that.

This lack of understanding is actually what causes them to reach a low on episode 11. Yuuri, with his short program, feels that he is only burdening Victor with more of his shortcomings. Victor, after seeing Yurio’s perfect skate, might feel that he has not accomplished what he could have done as a 'perfect’ coach for Yuuri. But disregarding all of that, what has ’Stay Close to Me’ always predicted since the start of Yuri on Ice? Yuuri and Victor understand each other through emotional values that are so overwhelming, that the two of them will understand this once and only once their ’heartbeats are [truly] connected’. In episode 12, they might just have some kind of epiphany, when both realize how much they love each other.

You’ll see them talking in the preview, a similar situation to their first heart-to-heart by the shore, where they cleared the misunderstandings between them. Maybe in this episode, they’ll understand the importance of mutual emotional interaction (”talking it out,” if you must) for any healthy relationship to work between them.

In this scene, you can see how Victor is observing Yuuri, who obviously has something deep grieving his mind. He is thinking profoundly, based on that concentration displayed on his face, and my guess is that Victor has dropped a bomb on Yuuri to keep him so taciturn. Perhaps Victor will finally express his love for Yuuri without boundaries, and Yuuri will then have to dig deep and understand the gravity of Victor’s statement to also understand his own feelings. No one actually knows (Or do we???).

This picture, though, has a lot to say about our wonderings.

And this is well.

In an all honesty, Victor is still a little hesitant to say ‘I love you’, being the un-emotional character he is, you know? He says “I love Katsudon” or “I’ll marry you once you win gold,” but does not directly say it, and Yuuri might be taking that ambiguity as a sign of Victor getting tired of him. This then causes a domino effect that will push Yuuri’s anxiety forward, as channeled via his short program: Yuuri was too focused on beating JJ, and not focused enough on love, that it compromised the execution of his skating. Naturally, too, their actions are affecting each other, because remember now that their ‘heartbeats are fusing together’, meaning that if one of them is hurt, so is the other. Victor’s purpose has changed from skating, to loving Yuuri, and Yuuri has yet to see that. But really, there’s nothing stopping both of them from realizing that but themselves.

So open your eyes, boys.

I feel though, that Victor is ultimately going to have to let himself be vulnerable and actually express his love for Yuuri in the most unconditional way this time. Perhaps that is what he meant by “I know what I have to do as your coach now” at the end of episode 10 (hint, hint). Similarly, Yuuri will disregard everything that has plagued him in the past (anxiety, failures, defeats) and let himself understand the intentions of his heart, and why he skated to ’Stay Close to Me’ in the first place. HE LOVES VICTOR. AND VICTOR LOVES HIM. That’s why Victor had that determined face upon watching Yuuri’s skating of ’Stay Close to Me’ on Youtube. It’s as if he were saying through his face: “I’m going to pursue this man and make him fall for me in the same way that I have fallen for him.”

THIS IS WHY THE SCENE I POSTED IN THE VIDEO ABOVE IS SO IMPORTANT, BECAUSE IT DEPICTS THE COURSE OF VICTOR AND YUURI’S LOVE LIVES: HOW THEY WERE LOST, FOUND EACH OTHER, THEN WERE SAVED BY ONE ANOTHER. ‘STAY CLOSE TO ME’ IS ABOUT THE BOTH OF THEM. THEY ARE HERE TO STAY. VICTOR’S ‘PRICE’ FOR COACHING YUURI IS NOT A FINITE AMOUNT, BUT INSTEAD INFINITE LOVE.

(thanks to @ponchizs for listening to this rant first) <3

A deep shade of blue is always there...

Fun story for Destiel day! I thought I’d talk about Meta Fiction and my favourite moment, which doesn’t even have Dean and Cas directly interacting with each other but was the moment I realised this ship had started sailing and I wasn’t even paying attention.

Until Meta Fiction I was a passive shipper who honestly didn’t really think about it outside of “hey there’s a new episode up, ooh, this one has Cas lol I bet he and Dean are going to do something cute together.” and that was pretty much as far as my enthusiasm went and, I stress, I never ever thought about it in a context of it being real or something that I could read into beyond good actor chemistry.

Also until Meta Fiction, I’d never heard that version of The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Any More. I’m not sure if that’s the original or a cover, but I know the only version I’d heard was a cover by the British indie piano pop-rock group Keane, who are from 10 minutes up the road from me and therefore I’ve had an obligatory sense of needing to own everything they ever released just because of geography. One of those things was a B-side with a cover of the song.

Backing up a moment, has everyone heard the 2 versions of Ironic by Alanis Morrissette? One of my friends is super in love with her voice so I’ve ended up hearing both many times, starting with the original Jagged Little Pill album. In the original version she sings it straight - “It’s like meeting the man of your dreams/and meeting his beautiful wife.” In the re-release on her acoustic album, there’s a subtle change which pretty much knocked me out of my chair the first time I heard it - “It’s like meeting the man of your dreams/and meeting his beautiful husband.”

Pretty much the same thing happened to me here, complete with the big gay realisation. In the Keane cover, the opening lines are sung nice and clearly, and run:

“Loneliness is the cloak you wear…”

So yeah, give me about 3 years of listening to this song fairly regularly because I am an unashamed fan of this group (a lot of their original songs are great for Destiel feels too FYI) and knew all their earlier stuff completely by heart, these are the lyrics I am familiar with.

Compare that to the song Metatron sticks on for the closing montage of the episode. So we have him rabbiting on about plot twists and characters surprising you to sum up the events of his little story he was so proud of telling. Then he goes ahead and puts on a vinyl of one of the songs I’ve spent a fair amount of time listening to as inspiration for my own writing. At first I don’t even recognise it: the instrumental is much better and richer, and then the wordless vocalisations begin and I’m just starting to get vibes that I know this song as we’re watching Dean’s face as he drives along, his angry-calm MoC state way obvious and on the surface now, right after Cas desperately asks Sam to look after him. And then we cut to Cas, and the music is suddenly definitely this tune I know, but no big deal, I’m just hearing a new, better version of it, right?

Yeah, then the lyrics start.

“Loneliness is the coat you wear…”

Mental blue screen of death.

Coat. The lyrics are unmistakable.

What was this episode, if not a story of Cas and his coat? For the first time in my life I hear the proper(?) lyrics of this song, while Cas is standing there, sort of generally existing and wearing a coat, and despite the subtle change in lyrics, I know the rest of this song well enough to sing along top volume if I so wanted. Oh no, I think. Oh no.

And there’s Metatron, delightedly hammering out original fiction to the tune of this song, and there’s Cas tearing off his coat in response to that line - oh no. A deep shade of blue is always there? Yeah, it’s about depression and loneliness and Cas has just thrown away his coat-of-loneliness and yeeeep he’s summoning the angels, I knew it. I knew it as soon as I recognised the song. He takes the coat off as a symbol of banishing the loneliness, right? Right?

But wait I know this song. And… No, they’re not. They’re just not. The show is not going to do this whole thing about the angels and how that’s going to make the sun not shine any more… But isn’t this really incongruous? Because even though the lyrics aren’t 100% what I remember them, I know this song. I know the next line, and it’s going to contrast Cas gaining this new family to not having love, because if he’s meeting them right NOW then there’s got to be something else he’s missing…

WE CAN NOT BE CUTTING BACK TO THE IMPALA DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT LYRICS ARE COMING NEXT? DO YOU?

WHY ARE YOU BACK WITH THE ANGELS AGAIN? WHY ON EARTH DID YOU THROW IN 0.01 SECONDS OF IMPALA DRIVING RIGHT BEFORE THE NEXT LINE? WHERE CAS IS WEARING HIS COAT AND ‘TEARS ARE CLOUDING HIS EYES" THERE WAS LITERALLY NO NEED FOR IT THIS LAST SECTION IS ALL ABOUT CAS. WHY IS HE WEARING THE COAT? WHY DID YOU SHOW THE CAR FOR NO REASON?

“… When you’re without looooove,” the band carries on singing like they have no idea what they’re being montaged with. Just Cas, greeting his new angel army. And like, that’s it for song and the episode, definitely it for incongruous and unnecessary shots of the Winchesters. We get a few more seconds of Cas and his angel army and he’s wearing his loneliness coat despite having this new family, and he’s greeting them as the music tells us that the sun isn’t going to shine any more because he’s doing the thing the entire episode told us was the last thing he ever wanted to do, and Metatron is smirking away wrapping up his story… And… And…

At this point the entire episode and then the entire season, and then the entire show from 4x01 onwards flashes through my head. And I hear my brother’s voice echoing in my head, “Tumblr” and I know it is where the fandoms go. Surely someone else there will understand what just happened, and tell me that Metatron did not just tell me almost completely outright that Cas is in love with Dean? 

And so for Destiel day I’m raising a glass to Metatron and the crappy indie pop I grew up listening to. Thank you for making Destiel inescapable. I think. This ship will probably kill me but what are you going to do about it?

10

My future is promising,
That’s why I take rests sometimes.
–Don’t Say “Lazy”, K-ON!

Arguably one of the most popular ending sequences in K-ON, spawing hundreds upon thousands of pieces of fanart of the girls in their respective outfits, ‘Don’t Say “Lazy”’ not only stands out as one of the more memorable segments of the series visually, but lyrically as well.

Most K-ON fans know the music of the series is not half-assed–not in the slightest. This song proves that fact and while the lyrics can seem just like a jumble of personal thoughts and trouble, along with the music video being a big moment for the series artistically, there lies some good messages, themes, and interesting tidbits laced throughout the two mediums. Taking apart the lyrics and music video separately, beyond the read more cut we will analyze the lyrics and music video in depth and connect themes and such that give this great song an ever greater clarity.

Keep reading

In 2015, Zayn Malik abruptly quit One Direction, broke off a fairy-tale pop-star engagement and overdid the hair dye. Now, as he wraps up his long-simmering creative statement, the boy band outlier aims to prove that he has been his own man all along.

Zayn Malik is standing in a dimly lit studio, spliff hanging from his lips and whiskey tumbler in hand.

“My fans are giving me shit every day,” he says. “Like, ‘Where the f— is your music? You’ve been at it for months. Give us something.’ ” It’s around 9 p.m. the Monday after Thanksgiving, and the 22-year-old is indeed about to give up something, though not to his adoring public – they’ll have to wait for a solo album due early this spring on RCA. The four others here at Los Angeles’ Record Plant are part of Malik’s team, and even they seem surprised at how little the slinky, propulsive music he plays has to do with anything recorded byOne Direction, the band he abruptly left eight months ago, setting off a convulsion of online lament including accusations of treason and upsetting hashtags like #CuttingForZayn. In fact, the beat of shadowy, au courant R&B track “She” drives so hard that Malik, grooving intensely, sloshes liquor onto his arm. He quickly grabs a tissue and self-consciously dabs his wrist.

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Hiddleswift and Brangelina

The spiritual similarities have been nagging at me ever since Tom and Taylor’s first Rhode Island pictures, and I think it would do us all a lot of good to examine the past for the sake of realistically looking at the present and future.

EDIT 7/7/16 at 10:40PM - I made a rather silly factual error and have now corrected both it and my approach to the topic. Thanks to the anon who made me realize the mistake.

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