There’s an undeniable crime problem in Los Santos, an affluent city rife with thieves and bandits of all pedigrees, which isn’t in itself all that strange. What’s odd is the incredibly high number of unsolved crimes, of acts no one claims, ones that the LSPD can’t even begin to lay blame for. Even when committed in broad daylight, even when the police arrive on the scene in the middle of a heist, no one manages to catch more than unclear glimpses of the culprits, no bullets hit their marks, and when all is said and done there is somehow never any reliable evidence. No camera ever manages to catch a thing, no trap is ever successful, and never has a single witness managed a coherent report, like somehow none of them ever pay enough attention. Like somehow what they’ve seen can never be put into words.
Throw a stone and you’ll hit a crook in Los Santos, from thugs to conmen to masked killers they all call the city home, all know their place, yet somehow the balance of powers never really makes sense. Like something is missing, like everyone’s fighting to be second best while the title of top dog goes empty. Not that the reluctance to take charge is all that surprising, considering the way any crew which starts to grow big enough to extend their hold over the city is cut down. Driven out or found murdered, often laying in the remains of what was clearly a vicious shoot-out, though the killers are never found. Like vigilantes, only not nearly so altruistic; the spoils belonging to the defeated gangs are always taken, and only reappear at the scene of yet another unclaimed crime.
There’s a crew in Los Santos, so ingrained in the essence of the city itself no one seems to remember how things were before they arrived. The Fake AH Crew; legends in some circles, monsters in others, both consummate enigmas and borderline celebrities, the crew with the world at their feet. The main six players of the inner circle aren’t odd, exactly, each criminals of great renown but still holding pretty standard goals, greedy and bloodthirsty and perhaps more loyal than most but still acting well within their given standard of normalcy. They aren’t unusual, really, but these days they do have their little quirks.
As the leader Geoff has always had to present himself as reasonably level-headed, controlled outside the occasional snaps of frightful anger, a little overbearing in his need to dictate every plan maybe, but what criminal kingpin isn’t? What’s odd is the new fear kept behind closed doors, Geoff second-guessing his own ideas to a degree that is wholly out of character, running over plans again and again, pulling them apart and looking for flaws, debriefing even after successful missions when everyone else just wants to celebrate, unconsciously pressing his hand to his heart like reassurance that it’s still beating.
Jack drives like she’s made a deal with the devil, like every vehicle is just an extension of her being, inherent ability paired with unmatchable knowledge of every backroad and alley in the city. What’s odd is the nightmarish daydreams she gets sometimes, when she looks back at her latest baby and sees flickers of crunched metal and shattered glass, the phantom scent of spilled gasoline and the unmissable click-whoosh of catching flame.
For all his quick temper and flippant attitude Michael can be utterly pedantic about checking and rechecking the timers on bombs, which honestly isn’t an awful trait in the resident explosives guy. What’s odd is the way Michael gets angry about it sometimes, storms about the penthouse yanking out every last alarm clock, the way he swears he can still hear something ticking with furious intention, like the last seconds of a countdown.
He may be happier in a no-holds-barred fist-fight but nobody could say Jeremy isn’t good with a gun, an excellent shot with just about any weapon he can get his hands on. What’s odd is the little burst of panic he gets right after firefights, patting down his own chest, checking again and again like he can’t quite believe he wasn’t hit.
Ryan isn’t wracked by guilt, doesn’t regret what he does the way some might; he’s a killer and he owns it, he chose it, and it truly doesn’t bother him. What’s odd is the way he still can’t sleep, can’t close his eyes some nights when the darkness squeezes close and he feels so cold, like the depths of the ocean are pressing down on him, stealing the air from his lungs.
In terms of his own safety Gavin is as reckless as they come, all slapdash impulses and delighted disregard, chasing amusement at any cost when it’s only his own neck on the line. What’s odd is that sometimes Gavin walks around with a parachute strapped to his back and no intention of flying that day, utterly overzealous precaution without any real explanation as to why, like some part of him is always terrified that he’s going to fall.
Maybe the Fake’s know, on their worst days, that something isn’t quite right, something about them has gone awry, but the concern never lingers in the face of their unmatched success. Because a crew’s a crew, right? Maybe they’re a little luckier than most, maybe they’ve been unstoppable for so long it feels like no one else is really trying, like they are the merciless gods of their city. Maybe they catch themselves drifting sometimes, losing time or memories or thoughts or scars. Maybe they all know something is not quite right, a distant siren in the back of their minds begging them to pay attention, but surely it doesn’t mean anything.
You can romanticise it all you want, call them the scariest, the most dangerous, devastatingly talented in all the worst ways, but at the end of the day all humans are flawed and all crews will fall. Whether or not falling is enough to shake them from their throne is, however, a completely different issue. If a crew dies in the woods (the city, the sky, the sea), and nobody is brave enough to tell them, did it even happen?
There’s an empty penthouse in Los Santos, one that cannot be sold, one no one likes to talk about, not really. What has been said is that the door sticks sometimes, cannot be opened no matter how much force is applied. What has been said is that things move around all on their own, new stains reveal themselves and furniture appears and disappears like someone’s been squatting, but the dust is too thick for anyone to have visited. What’s been said makes shivers run down spines, hair stand on edge, gives rise to furtive glances and shared discomfort, an unspoken agreement never to return.
Maybe this alone wouldn’t be such a problem, maybe owning the most prestigious penthouse in a city overrun by wealth would be enough to attract some sceptic, but there is of course the matter of the previous owners. The most despicable, untouchable, indelible criminal gang the city had ever seen. Has ever seen, even this long after their passing. They died, at some point. No one quite remembers when, or how, no one really seems to talk about them anymore, not beyond wild stories of their antics, amazing heists and unspeakable terrors fading off into silence, like they did in the end. How bizarre it is that the crime levels didn’t actually drop even after they were gone.
There’s something deeply wrong in Los Santos, something strange and unsettling, like a catastrophic event has knocked the whole city just slightly out of sync with the rest of the world. It’s in the way the LSPD have cabinet upon cabinet of unsolved crimes that never manage to make their way into reports, years of unacceptably unpunished offences that would bring the might of a federal investigation if only they were disclosed. In the way a startling amount of those offences resemble crimes from days long past, copycat plans following acts of a crew long buried, new targets hit with the same old flare, methods and motives impressively in-character down to the smallest details.
There are secrets in Los Santos. Things no one knows, things everyone knows, an awful, impossible, inescapable reality they’ve all been trapped within. It’s in the way unease builds and dissipates without cresting, citizens never quite recognising their own discomfort, never fully acknowledging the oddity of acting without reason, of crossing the street or averting their eyes, of taking the long way home simply because that one corner just didn’t feel right. In the way the city is beset by sudden inexplicable explosions, the way gunfire rattles without a source, the way empty streets echo with chilling laughter like the ghost of a memory, the phantom chill of a nightmare, the ceaseless loop of those who will not be laid to rest.
(Not sure the exact words) *after seeing that humankind can be both bad and good and there is no black and white* “Every human has light and darkness in their hearts but it is only through love that one can choose to be good. People who chose to be good out of love are the ones who deserve to be saved/worthy of being saved."
(Patty Jenkins & the writers of WW nailed wonder woman’s true message. Kudos to Jenkins who made sure that this amazing line was believable and something audiences actually will rally behind through an amazing arch that sets up this line)
As cultural objects go, a pop song is an ephemeral thing, a rainbow fish among many. Pop singers know their fame has a time limit. Someone else, something else is always hovering to grab attention away, with a new sound and new tricks, with a better hook, better production.
It’s interesting to hear what songs a band might choose to release as a teaser for a new album. They know the song has to signal something about the album, as a semaphore of the album’s general sound and direction, and to pique a fickle public’s interest. This song is the best promotion they can get, the proof in the pudding, the bait.
In MITAM, the song was Drag Me Down, a great song really (will write about it one day!). In Four, it was Fireproof.
Within 24 hours, Fireproof was downloaded more than 1 million times— but what did people hear?
Fireproof is a love song, and like a lot of 1D’s love songs in Four, it’s a declaration from a first-person singer to a second-person, genderless lover. It was written by Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, John Ryan, Jamie Scott, and Julian Bunetta. The song is in D major, the same key as Perfect and Infinity. [Correction: the song is actually in E-flat major: my mistake. See here.]
The rhythm is 4/4 and the speed is 133 beats per minute. @holdmyhalo told me, “I’ve always loved the instrumentation in both [Fireproof and Stockholm Syndrome]. Especially in Fireproof, it has a strong calming effect. I listen to that song a lot when I’m upset to cheer myself up."
I have that same reaction too— Fireproof could be on a loop in my car, and I could imagine a scene in my head of both: a cloudless picnic day with baguettes and apples– and– a quiet evening, fire crackling in the fireplace, blankets and scones.
Fireproof heralded the rockabilly, folksy version of One Direction. Midnight Memories was all about the stadium sound, the lighters in the air, big-hair, ripped t-shirt, guitar-smashing sound— I loved it. It was fun and funny, and the boys were their adorable, sexy rock ‘n roller selves with their (always) emotional honesty and good work ethic.
Four was going to have more writing credits from the lads, and they wanted to prove they were more than rock 'n roll turned pop; they wanted to sneak a little Fleetwood Mac in, a little John Mayer, a little Beatles.
Fireproof has nuggets of all of these. The song starts with Harry singing, ”I think I’m going to lose my mind,“ but he doesn’t sound anxious. We get the feeling that he’s losing his mind because he’s happy, because right away, he says there’s ”something deep inside me I can’t give up.“ The song starts in the tonic key of E-flat major, and even though the beat is 133 bpm, it FEELS a lot slower, almost halftime, like 66 bpm– a nice healthy heartbeat, a heart at rest. The song is simple harmonically; it’s a classic three-chord pop song. Most of the verse is in the tonic of E-flat (the first tone of a scale). Most of the chorus is in the subdominant A-flat (fourth tone) and dominant B-flat (fifth tone) chords. That’s it. E-flat major is a key that is in perfect range for the boys, especially Louis, whose voice is a tenor compared to the others’ baritones. This is an opening that sounds very Beatles and Fleetwood Mac to me, like Blackbird or Gypsy. I can hear Paul / Stevie singing this opening.
When we first hear a song, what lingers is often the long notes, the end notes, the alliterations and the inside rhymes. Fireproof is filled with long, rounded vowels: gOing tO lOse my mInd, fEEling something dEEp insIde me, nobody lOves yOU, bAby, the wAY I dO, mAybe we’re fireprOOf (sorry about the obnoxious caps; channeling Zayn). Listen to those long, stretched, caressed sounds. Singers love long vowels; they sound absolutely, profoundly, drop-dead emotional when they’re on vowels. The inflections on long vowels connote emotional complexity, in a way short vowels can’t. Classic ballades like Garland on Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Etta James’s At Last, Gershwin’s Summertime, used long vowels to showcase the voice and the acting, to tell the emotional story of the song. Singers do their warm-ups on long vowels (Harry, I know you say you brush your teeth as a pre-stage ritual. I hope you’re kidding— I hope you do a few vocal stretches— you have to protect those gorgeous vocal cords!).
The effect of long vowels on Fireproof is a calming lull, just like the meaning of the song. Critics have compared Fireproof to Bruce Springsteen too, and it’s interesting to compare it to one of Springsteen’s songs, I’m on Fire (weird coincidence that both songs have "fire” in the title).
Springsteen’s song is about a woman, an object of desire whom he can’t have, about sexual frustration and resignation. Both songs feel slow, like half-time songs; both are accompanied by sparse instrumentation; both are meant to show off the beauty of the voice. Bruce’s voice is gorgeous here; he controls it so well to express the tightness and tension of longing, the isolated-in-the-dark quality of unrequited desire. This is a song whose shape is like the meaning of the song; it’s a burn that disappears like smoke into the night. There are two verses, then a weird little bridge-chorus: Sometimes, it’s like someone took a knife, baby, edgy and dull And cut a six-inch valley through the middle of my skull
A third verse is followed by Bruce repeating over and over that he’s on fire, then howling to fade. It’s an abbreviated song, less a love song than a close look at someone who’s a bit too obsessed.
Niall’s verse, “Hotter than a jet stream burning up,” is a baby version of this longing, the imagery safer (jet stream suggests travel, fun– a boybander on the plane, and also a lighthearted reference to the title of the song). The lyrics mean, “You burn me up, but you’re also the Kevlar™ that makes our love fireproof.” Kudos to the songwriters who rhymed luck and up, and who made the melodic line rise on those words! Fireproof shares this with I’m on Fire in the structure of the song– there’s NO bridge. There’s a very long chorus, longer than the verse, actually.
[All] ‘Cause nobody knows you, baby, the way I do. And nobody loves you, baby, the way I do. [Liam] It’s been so long, it’s been so long. [All] Maybe we’re fireproof. [Zayn] ‘Cause nobody saves me, baby, the way you do.
Liam, Zayn, and Harry, the falsetto darlings (tbh a great name for a drag trio), sing the solos, “It’s been so long, it’s been so long,” which is almost like a chorus inside a chorus– a mirroring structure. This long chorus is repetitive, but the sentiment of a constant love (no one loves me like you) is reiterated by the repetition. In case you had any doubt, our love is constant; I’ll shout it again and again.
But then we remember that repetition was there from the very beginning:
I roll and I roll till I’m out of luck. Yeah, I roll and I roll till I’m out of luck. It’s taking, it’s taking, all I’ve got. Yeah, it’s taking, it’s taking, all I’ve got.
All of these repetitions are a way of soothing, a musical way to give small pats during a hug, of a mom rubbing a child’s forehead to get them to sleep, or a lover caressing the nape of the neck. And listen to those vowels, sung with their American accents so they are even more rounded, “I roll and I roll till I’m out of luck/ Yeah, I roll and I roll …."
Finally, this makes me tear a bit when I think about it, Louis singing this,
I think I’m gonna win this time Riding on the wind and I won’t give up I think I’m gonna win this time I roll and I roll till I change my luck Yeah, I roll and I roll till I change my luck
I don’t know who made this, but I so agree!!!!! (Sorry for the blurry quality, is it blurry to you all? I upload it clear and then I see it blurry. Don’t know why. Clear link here: img-9gag-fun. 9cache.com/ photo/a2mgEjY_700b. jpg just remove the spaces)
Hey, guess what my followers? The Last Chapter of Cocoon is now live on AO3.
Again I would like to thank everyone who’s read, left kudos, and made comments as well as the few fan arts that I’ve gotten! You’ve all been awesome, but for now, it’s time for my break away from this until August.
With Marinette being Adrien’s lifeline between being human and giving into instincts, their struggle to find normalcy will be challenged by a new contender: the International Public. And it’s not only their livelihood at stake, but their family, friends, and other mutants as their presence and Hawkmoth’s research are revealed. The Final Part of Metamorphosis: Awaken(ing) will begin in August.