one year since one of the best albums of the whole universe

Chris Evans Fic: Back Together

You paused at the door to smooth down the imaginary wrinkles in your dress, but mainly to try and steady your nerves. It had been five long months since the break up and you hadn’t laid eyes on him in the flesh since then. But, of course, meeting at a mutual friend’s wedding was inevitable and today would be the biggest test of all. How would he look? Would he be with someone? Brought a date? Or would he be alone, like you? Did he remember why you had broken up? Because night after night of scrolling through digital albums of your snaps and videos on your phone of the two of you rendered your memory useless and the events that led to you walking out that day were now hazy and vague. 

And now here you were, about to see him for the first time since then. You still hadn’t really got a game plan together for how you would act. Cool and aloof? Bright and breezy? Contrite and apologetic? It was too hard to decide but, regardless, you knew the moment you saw him, your brain would do its own thing anyway. 

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i was yours from the start

summary: a pretty darn fluffy oneshot following the events of the following: world unknown, yours to keep, all that i’ll ever need, and merry christmas, here’s to many more.

word count: ~4400

also read on: ao3, ff.net

a/n: HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEAGAN!! (I know, it’s not quite midnight yet for you, but it is for me so it totally counts!!!!) You’re the reason for this whole universe in the first place and you’re the reason I continue to cry every day about it, so I hope you enjoy this fifth installment!! <3  (and everyone go wish my dearest friend @swans-and-pirates a very happy birthday!)


It’s a rarity in the Jones house for there to be a morning of complete silence. Typically, there are two small bodies bouncing on her, begging her to get up. Or, her second favorite way to be awoken- yelling in her face about Daddy being gone.

Emma narrows her eyes at the sight of her alarm clock reading 8:00.

She turns onto her side, facing Killian’s side of the bed. He’s still sound asleep. He got in late and she picked him up from the airport, so he’s probably exhausted and catching up on some well deserved rest. With a small smile, she watches his chest rise and fall gently.

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One Hell of a Lucky Guy

Steroline (sort of?) AU future fic - prompt what if Caroline meet one of Stefan’s doppelgangers in the future. Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Chapter 5

It had been about a week since the greenhouse incident and Caroline was still completely spooked, especially after her and Paul had searched the greenhouse inch by inch for any signs of a stray to no avail. Paul tried to convince her that it was probably just a strong draft and that maybe the plant had been too close to the edge of the table but Caroline knew better, she knew it was a sign that she needed to put a stop to this before it went too far.

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It’s Joy Time for Bruno Mars

WE’RE JUST CAVEMEN, hitting on rocks,” says Bruno Mars. “It’s no different—you’re a caveman and you got a rock in front of you, you hit it with a stick to get everybody dancing. This is our time to forget about everything, it’s joy time. So who’s the best at hitting that rock? Who’s going to make the village dance the hardest?” 

At a casual glance, you might not know that Mars is one of our superstar cavemen. Pulling up to an upscale Italian restaurant on an anonymous street in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley, alone in a relatively modest Cadillac, he parks in back by the dumpsters to slip in quietly. In contrast to the flashy outfits he wears onstage, he’s dressed in a simple collarless bomber jacket, a white Gucci logo T-shirt and camouflage pants. A small crucifix on a thin chain hangs around his neck. 

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How did OK Computer’s doomy, alienated alt-rock become one of the most acclaimed albums of the 1990s? The strength of its songs had something to do with it, as this reissue plainly reveals

Radiohead
OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997-2017
XL

★★★★★

In a recent 6Music interview, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke sounded like a man mortified. He explained his first impressions re-examining the lyric notebooks he kept during the recording of 1997’s OK Computer, now freshly reissued with a bonus disc of b-sides and unreleased tracks, plus various extras alongside its vinyl release. His point of entry was “going through my notebooks at the time and making friends with whoever this nutter was”, his cadence placing pointed emphasis on the word “nutter”. It raised a chuckle between himself and interviewer Matt Everitt. “Oh my god,” Yorke gasped. “You think I’m bad now… [there were] just pages of ‘Seriously, mate, you need to take a break’”. It was a greatly endearing moment, yet you couldn’t escape yourself thinking that a large portion of the general public came to that same conclusion. Twenty years since its release, the album has since crystallised Yorke in the public imagination as a kind of chronic sulking, cheerless depressive, a man whose twitchy debut album addressed climate change and David Kelly, the whistleblower who allegedly ended his life after he expressed doubt to the press whether or not Saddam Hussein actually had the weapons of mass destruction that provided justification for the 2003 Iraq invasion. OK Computer itself brims with Y2K paranoia, suspicion and utter despair.

There are songs with names that hint at modern life malaise and sixth-form poetry: Subterranean Homesick Alien, Electioneering, Paranoid Android. The lyrics cover such cheery topics as social alienation, consumerism in the age of globalisation, faceless corporations and shady oppressive regimes (“When I am king, you will be first against the wall”; “This is what you’ll get when you mess with us”; “Bring down the government, they don’t speak for us”), technophobia and environmental disaster (“I keep forgetting the smell of the warm summer air, I live in a town where you can’t smell a thing”; “A handshake of carbon monoxide, no alarms and no surprises”), best epitomised in the lachrymose yet lovely No Surprises. It finds room for a two-minute spoken word diatribe – the doleful experimental ambient piece Fitter Happier – as if narrated by a depressed robot, the antithesis of Ewan McGregor’s “Choose Life” speech in Trainspotting. Even one of those previously unreleased tracks from the OK Computer era, the gorgeous, rousing ballad I Promise, at first looks like an earnest love song about devotion, but a slight undercurrent of uncertainty in the lyrics complicates things. Soon after OK Computer, the band were the subject of the 1998 documentary Making Friends Is Easy, its ironic title barely hiding its apathy and contempt, an fine example of the exhausting routine of touring, the pressures of fame and how petulant and antisocial it can make you. Regardless, it managed to sell millions of copies and topped the UK Albums Chart.

Thus the question arises: how did this most neurotic of albums become hailed as a modern classic? Maybe it resonated acutely with the times. You could point to the discovery of Dolly the Sheep in 1997 for the start of people’s fears around cloning. Or to IBM’s Deep Blue computer beating Garry Kasparov for the second time and cyberattacks on Microsoft Windows at the time for indications of early doomsday techno-scepticism. But that only tells half the story. Aside from all the eerily accurate portents and lyrics that read like crowd-pleasing sloganeering (“A job that slowly kills you”; “Don’t get sentimental, it always ends up drivel”), OK Computer communicates something more personal, more universal and more human, even if the band responsible for it appear to be fighting against it. Take for example, Paranoid Android, its relative ubiquity and accessibility obscuring how odd and ever-so-slightly pompous a song it is: equally dazzling, pretentious and exhausting, splicing together its disparate musical passages. It becomes easy to see why some thought Radiohead were really more the students of 70s prog than 80s post-punk and alternative rock: the headline for the Village Voice’s album review read “Punk Floyd”. It must have appeared perverse for a band who started life as a messy, grunge-ish outfit and were noted fans of the Pixies to end up producing stuff like Lucky, arguably the closest the band get to aping Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, with its echoing, soloing guitar, or Man of War, another unreleased track, pitched somewhere between an epic Bond theme and classic rock bombast – both songs where Jonny Greenwood unleashes his inner Brian May or David Gilmour.

This distinctly, wilfully proggy sensibility never truly lasts. Even at their most difficult, Radiohead can’t avoid writing a compelling tune. OK Computer contains an embarrassment of excellent songs, nearly all them laden with indelible melodies, from Let Down’s simple, twinkling prettiness to the lush, mildly jazzy, warbling sway that snakes and eddies about on Subterranean Homesick Alien. Sometimes they were able to keep that agitation in check, pressing it into the service of fantastic songwriting. Airbag’s bassline, like a murmur amid the tangles of overdriven guitars, interrupts drums that take their influence from DJ Shadow’s hip-hop plunderphonics. The spooked, sped-up-and-slowed-down samples that witter and groan away on Climbing Up the Walls sound like the shrill “flock of seagulls” sound effects on the Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows, albeit sullied by turn-of-the-millennium anxiety; the whole thing finally succumbs to distortion and the sort of detuned, atonal string arrangements that Jonny Greenwood weaves into his film scores. Electioneering’s sprightly post-punk racket recalls mid-80s R.E.M. if their sound attempted to match the weirdness of the nervy, dad-dancing Michael Stipe of their early years.

But mostly, everything here is all too human instead of cerebral, providing moments that aim for your gut and not your brain, like the moment Exit Music (For a Film)’s distorted bass riff and crashing drums take the reins – never mind that it conjures up the dreaded spectre of Muse, whose histrionic take on OK Computer, replete with worldwide conspiracy and grave intimations of Big Brother dystopia, was thoroughly unappealing. Something similar happens on the immensely enjoyable Karma Police, its almighty, cathartic second half coming through like rays of sunshine behind grey, brooding clouds; it approaches something like a colossal, anthemic, festival-singalong via Yorke’s soaring, affecting falsetto: “For a minute there, I lost myself”. You have to admit that’s a rather strange thing to do: to write a song about rueful, you’ll-get-yours rancour where the moment the protagonist suddenly rebukes themselves becomes genuinely life-affirming, but perhaps that’s the root to OK Computer’s genius and its success. Beneath all the fraught angst is a band cleverly and warmly examining the human condition.

No Control | Chapter One

Hey. Okay, so I’ve decided to start posting a Harry story I’ve been working on. I’ve never posted on tumblr before or anything about Harry Styles. I’ve written before but not about something that has required so much research about a real person before. So, bear with me haha. I don’t know how many people are actually gonna read this, but I’m just gonna post it anyway, see how it does.

Massive thank you to @lovingstyles87 for reading my first chapter and encouraging me to post it. She had the sweetest things to say, and, honestly, they mean a lot coming from her, because I love her writing. Honestly couldn’t believe she even messaged me haha.

*Please feel free to reblog and send me feedback! It’s much appreciated :)*

Summary: 

Micky Bennett: college student, loyal friend, aspiring nurse, One Direction fan, Harry Styles enthusiast. Her best friend, Trevor, wins tickets to a show in New Jersey with meet and greet passes. Micky expects a quick photo op with the boys and a great night at the concert with her best friend. What she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for.


*Gif is not mine.*

ONE

JUNE 2015

“Micky!” I hear my name being called from the bottom floor of the library. The voice is shushed pretty vehemently, considering it’s the last two days of finals week and people are cramming. I’m here just editing my final paper for my physiology lab, but other people have more important things to get done. 

“Oh, fuck off,” I hear Trevor spit out at someone who shushed him. “Micky Bennett!” He gets shushed again, even more viciously than last time. I can hear his footsteps below me, so I lean over the edge of the balcony that I’m sitting at and wave at him.

I met Trevor my very first day at New York University, nearly three years ago. I had only moved to New York from England three days prior, so I hadn’t had a lot of time to go out and meet anyone before classes started. We’re in the same major and we had the same general biology class at nine on Monday morning. We sat next to each other in lecture hall and joked back and forth the whole time about our professor’s awful fashion sense. We made fast friends and have been attached at the hip ever since. He came out and visited England that first summer and stayed with my family for a few weeks while I showed him around. He was a permanent fixture in my house for all the summers following, as well. We made sure to get dorms on the same floor this year and we’ve arranged for the same next year.

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Out-d*cking a stingy roommate. Suffer!

(warning: long story)

The Backstory

I attend a university in Boulder, CO. If you don’t know, living expenses are quite… ludicrous here. Therefore I got an apartment with my 3 best friends since elementary school. We grew up pretty well off in a very upper middle class suburban area of Denver… this is relevant.

As part of furnishing our apartment, every family pitched in $100 to buy this awesome 12 person sectional suede couch. It was used, and in great shape. Everything else came from individual families, but everyone pitched in equally for what we needed. This couch will be the subject of the story.

The three roommates, with changed names, we’ll call them John, Taylor, and Nigel. Taylor, Nigel, and I all study profusely for our technical degrees, as where John has switched from his technical degree to biology to pursue medical school (good for him). However, it was this change that precipitated a whole shitstorm that I will now explain.

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My 30 Favorite Albums of 2010-2014

Internet social media changed conversations about everyday life, trends came and went as always, new sounds have stuck for better and for worse, and the music scene has shattered the stereotype that you need to suck up to any label anymore to get people to like you. The 2010’s has been one incredible decade for music, like it or not. The past 5 years have blessed us with glorious genre defining classics and fuckery to last us a lifetime. I initially wanted to only put 20 but these records are so great that I had to expand the list to include them all! Strap yourselves in for the biggest list that I’ve EVER done on this site.

30. Passion Pit — Gossamer


Warm, exhilarating, and much more refined than their previous effort, Michael Angelakos’ vocals soar and float over well with the bright production on songs like “Take a Walk” and the songwriting feels more humane and developed than ever before. Angelakos could make a song about alcoholism and abuse sound like the most inviting and twisted thing in the world in their universe (“Constant Conversations”) and the soulful feel of the album brings consistency that carries it through from start to finish.

29. Blu & Exile — Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them

It’s clear that MC Blu shines best with producer Exile, and many didn’t think their stellar debut could be topped, much less even followed up. After the ATROCIOUS sounding unmixed version of the album hit the internet, the properly mixed and mastered version of the record showed a more mature sound to their chemistry that had never been shown before. While “Below the Heavens” will be this duos opus, with songs like “Maybe One Day”, “Good Morning Neighbor”, “Seasons”, and “Ease Your Mind” show this album can stand on its own without question.

28. Bon Iver — Bon Iver, Bon Iver

While some will criticize this album for bringing so many different sounds to the point of the group being unrecognizable from their debut, the added flavor of strings and horns bring this group to life like never before. From the moment you hear the tender “Holocene” you feel the rebirth of indie rock in a modern era and “Towers” shows they’ve transformed into a quiet monster that the world is STILL highly anticipating a followup release from ever since.

27. Daft Punk — Random Access Memories

I think it’s more appropriated to call this legendary duo Frankenstein the way they’ve revived disco with RAM. Rich, authentic, groovy, and in a class of its own, “Get Lucky”, “Lose Yourself to Dance”, and “Give Life Back to Music”, will have you dance the night away for decades to come. Daft Punk are the most timeless electronic musicians ever alongside Giorgio Moroder (whom is paid homage to with “Giorgio by Moroder), and them being able to bring back a sound that has long been forgotten without sacrificing to any trend is a remarkable feat in itself. Oh and that whole Album of the Year Grammy they got for this album was cool too.

26. D’Angelo – Black Messiah

Biased fanboy I am, but I’ll be damned if the impact of this album isn’t felt already. After personal complications and false starts for nearly 15 years, D’Angelo returns out of nowhere with an album that every bit as soulful, profound and exhilarating asVoodoo and Brown Sugar.Blending more genres than ever before, D'Angelo brings his neo-soul vibes (“Sugah Daddy”), gospel (“Prayer”), blues (“Another Life”) funk (“Ain’t That Easy”) to express his thoughts on religion, politics (“1000 Deaths), morality, love, sexuality, and even his own life (“Back to the Future I & II”) through the course of the 12 track masterpiece. An album that can speak to many, D'Angelo sure took his sweet ass time to show he can bring something fresh to the ears of the listen without having to conform to anyone.

25. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Piñata

A collaboration that NO ONE saw coming ends up being one of the most exciting rap has seen in years. The Beat Konducta brings some of his best beats to Freddie Gibbs on top of his game. Recorded for over 3 years, tracks like “Thuggin”, “Shame”, and “Real” feel like the blaxploitation era on wax, and only made stronger now by how diverse a rapper Gibbs is. Madlib’s beat have as much character as Gibbs’ rapping, from the elegant “Robes” to the painful “Broken”, the knocking diss track “Real” and posse cut “Pinata”, these two never cease to impress track for track on this album. One can only hope that these two come together again or let their legacy be untouched like Madvillainy.

24. Lorde — Pure Heroine

Who would’ve guessed that a then 17 year old from New Zealand would be the most exciting pop act of the past 5 years? Blending her eclectic choices of production with her razor sharp observational songwriting, Lorde gives a realistic take on the mind of a teenager (“Royals”) with her reflecting on her explosion that feels solemn, dark and ultimately human (“Tennis Court”). Much more than a collection of radio smashes slapped together to move units, this deconstructed pop album feels unique and gloomy to the core and Lorde hooks you in with every word she breathlessly sings.

23. A$AP Rocky – Long.Live.A$AP

I already know I’m getting some SERIOUS flack for choosing this over the excellent mixtape “Live.Love.A$AP” from you guys. Thing is to me, while there were certainly great (if not greater at times) highlights of that mixtape, the worst moments of that tape are much more apparent and certain features drag down entire songs as a whole. Flacko’s debut album has strong highlights one after another, with better production (Hit-Boy, ASAP Ty Beats, Clams Casino, Danger Mouse, Noah “40” Shebib, T-Minus, Skrillex, and better features (Schoolboy Q, Santigold, Kendrick Lamar, 2 Chainz, Drake, Big K.R.I.T., Danny Brown, Joey Bada$$, A$AP Ferg and Florence Welch) that support the record as a whole. While that certainly seems like a LOT of features, know that most songs are strictly Rocky, and that he is more than capable of carrying the best moments all on his own as well; “Long.Live.A$AP”, “Goldie”, “LVL” and “Wild for the Night” show that he can make a great song without other vocalists stealing the thunder. And even then, they never overshadow him completely except for a few (“Fuckin’ Problems” getting dismantled by Drake, 1 Train getting eating by Krizzle). New and returning faces from his mixtape come through to bring one hell of a highlight reel of guests that bring one of the most entertaining albums in hip hop as of late.

22. Flying Lotus – You’re Dead!

The shortest record to date by one of the most acclaimed musicians of the past decade comes with all the strengths of previous releases like “Cosmogramma” and “Los Angeles” into a cohesive package about one of the most mysterious aspects of life: its end. Enlisting Kendrick Lamar for the mindblowing “Never Catch Me”, along with Tesla”, “Cold Dead”, and “Turkey Dog Coma” come and go in the blink of an eye, but hold the albums statement on the reflection on death, and the uncertainty of when it will be your time. But rest assured, Flylo did his best to make something so depressing at the roots something beautiful to hear.

21. James Blake - Overgrown

I may be in the minority, but I truly love the more accessible, bearing, more quaint approach in Overgrown than I did with Blake’s debut. Blake became a more fully realized vocal performer with tracks like “Life Round Here” and “Retrograde” than he did previously, and fit the production to compliment his vocal styles perfectly. Every synth, every note, every harmony clicked for him while also retaining his signature sound. As his profile raises, so too does his ability to leave you struck in awe.

20. M83 — Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

An ethereal experience from beginning to end, this is not only the strongest M83 album to date, but one of electronic music’s best in quite some years as well. Synthpop, dream pop, new wave, shoegazing, indie rock are all blended into one incredible experience front to back, and while “Wait” and “Reunion” are monsters in their own right, it’s “Midnight City” that is a colossal monster in which the likes the world has never heard before or since. Though it’s known this album was made more commercially friendly than previous releases from the group, sometimes running for success doesn’t need to mean you sacrifice what makes you great.

19. Queens of the Stone Age — Like Clockwork

In what is perhaps theirs strongest album since “Songs for the Deaf”, Queens of the Stone Age bring their most mellow, bleak, restrained music yet. Bringing along a hit list of contributors (Alex Turner, Elton John, Dave Grohl) as typical QOTSA albums do, Josh Homme and company do their first number one album justice with excellent songs like “I Sat By the Ocean”, “My God is the Sun”, Fairweather Friends” and bring a focused sound that the group has never had before.

18. Pusha T — My Name is My Name

Considered a companion piece to the abrasive “Yeezus”, MNIMN is the debut 3 years in the making of the former Clipse member that delivers in spades. Primarily produced by Kanye West, Pusha brings forth some the sharpest, unapologetic lyricism on grace a mainstream hip hop album with some aggressive and unorthodox production to match. (“King Push”, “Numbers on the Boards)” Ranging from Ye, to regular collaborator Pharrell (the Clipse throwback “Suicide”), Hudson Mohawke, and Swizz Beatz (“Sweet Serenade) with an all star cast like Rick Ross (“Hold On”) Kendrick Lamar (“Nosetalgia”), The-Dream (“40 Acres”) and more. King Push makes an album not for the faint of heart, or noses and holds absolutely no punches.

17. Arctic Monkeys — AM

Sounding like a love letter to psychedelic rock and West Coast hip hop, the British band manages to craft their most engrossing album yet with a collection of songs that holds your attention and never falters. “Do I Wanna Know” might be one of the strongest rock songs of the past 5 years, and “Arabella” feels like a Dr. Dre song getting flipped with an indie twist the way Alex Turner floats over the instrumental. Songs like “Snap Out of It”, “Why Do You Only Call Me When You’re High?” and “R U Mine” highlight their influences without being too indulgent and pretentious and show that a complete makeover isn’t always a bad thing. This might be the first album to declare being a lone riding space ranger without you immediately bursting into laughter.

16. Drake – Nothing Was the Same

It’s easy to want to put “Take Care” in place of this album. Believe me, I’ll probably wish that I did by the time I finish this, and I’d think the same of me putting Take Care in place of NWTS had I done so. But as it stands right now, this is the strongest release from the biggest new rap artist of the decade at the moment. Very much so a victory lap in feel (“Tuscan Leather” sets that stage perfectly with no singing at all”) it’s also the album that shows Drake truly becoming whole within the hip hop spectrum as one of its biggest voices. As if that weren’t enough, he brings together aspects of his life that were relatively untouched in beautiful songs like “From Time” or “Too Much” rather than sing about an ex he drunk dials. Though he can easily provide the solemn feels he’s known for (“Connect”, “Own It”, “Come Thru”), he sounds more ready to attack the world with his status as it currently stands than ever (“The Language”, “Worst Behavior”) and bring together an album that showcases the best of Drake the artist but also reveal Aubrey Graham, the human being.

15. Run the Jewels — Run The Jewels 2

The first 5 seconds of this record is Killer Mike saying “I’M FINNA BANG THIS BITCH THE FUCK OUT!”. The 38 minutes that follow is him fulfilling that promise. While their first album together was an excellent piece, the two coming together more fully have given us one of the deadliest pairings in rap in recent years. More structured, deeper chemistry, more layered production and strong features make this record a danger to anyone who thought they were being abrasive on an album before, showcasing police brutality (“Early”), critiquing those in power to the harshest extend and teabagging pirhannas (“Close Your Eyes and Count to Fuck”, “Lie Cheat Steal”), declaring fuckboy jihads (“Oh My Darling Don’t Cry”), and finding hope in a former drug addict (“Crown”). El-P and Killer Mike effectively raised the bar on hip hop joint albums and didn’t even charge you a dime for it. Don’t cry now.

14. Big Boi — Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty

Probably the most underrated hip hop artist of all time, it’s easy to be overlooked when your partner is Andre 3000. But to not be acknowledged by your own peers has to be worse, especially when you make music that is just as great as him, and provide a solo debut album that is as strong as this. Recorded for over 3 years before finally being dropped on Def Jam, Big Boi brings forth the best guests, production and his own effort to the table and doesn’t cease to disappoint. Ignoring every trend in that time period, he brings out the best of every artist with him, such as Gucci Mane on “Shine Blockas”, Yelawolf on the bonkers Andre 3000 produced “You Ain’t No DJ”, Jamie Foxx on the sensually Lil Jon produced “Hustle Blood”, and packs enough punch in songs like “General Patton”, Shutterbugg”, and “Daddy Fat Sax” to prove that he is doing more than fine with 3 Stacks in the picture. In fact, he shows that if THIS is the kind of output Big Boi is releasing, it’s showing that Andre’s own proper solo debut has quite a lot to live up to.

13. The Weeknd — Trilogy

It’s impossible to pick one of Abel Tesfaye’s mixtapes as his definitive work, so I’ll let the remastered compilation make it easier on you all. Unique and breathtaking from the moment go, The Weeknd’s sex crazed drug frenzy of a trilogy of mixtapes (“House of Ballons”, “Thursday”, Echoes of Silence”) is hypnotic, vulgar, sensual, and beautifully well crafted. Whether it’s the sex you need (“What You Need”), the feelings you crave (“The Zone”, featuring mentor Drake), the wild life he lives (“The Party & The After Party”), the love letter to his fans that he won’t change in the spotlight (“Rolling Stone”), what it takes to be in the crew (“Initiation”) or a badass Michael Jackson cover, (“D.D.”), Abel has you covered.

12. Janelle Monaè — The ArchAndroid

One of the most impressive, eclectic, powerful and ingenious of our time, her debut studio album is one of the most brilliant concept records in recent memory that ties together R&B, soul, funk, progressive rock, and hip hop in ways never attempted, usually in the same song, and beautifully orchestrates them with little effort. The two incredible lead singles “Cold War” transitioning into “Tightrope” has to be one of the most magical musical moments of the past half decade and the energy of the album is as tight as its ideas of the future it presents itself in. Big Boi has discovered the bravest new voice of the Dungeon Family, and it seems she may surpass most any recording artist alive today if given the chance.

11. Big K.R.I.T. — Return of 4Eva

Perhaps the best hip hop record from the South this decade so far, Big K.R.I.T. delivers an incredibly cohesive package at the cost of $free.99 that easily beats some of the hip hop records available at retail upon their release. Whether it’s love letters to your car (“Rotation”, “My Sub”), his dreams of being a rap star (“Dreamin’”, “American Rapstar”), bass knocking, breezy Southern trunk knockers (“Get Right”), the blues and troubles of growing up poor (“King’s Blues”, “Free My Soul”), or prayers to God (“The Vent”), Krizzle is without a doubt the most underappreciated artist of his time, and projects like these are testaments that the young Mississippi king will be remembered in due time.

10. DJ Koze – Amygdala

Having literally no knowledge of the music that would come out of this album, I was completely caught off guard with this one. Grossly hypnotic, immersive, and very melodic, this German DJ/producer is in a world of his own the moment you listen this album. “Nices Wolkchen”, “Magical Boy”, may “Das Wort” may take patience to show their beauty underneath, while tracks like “Homesick” and “La Duquesa” show their extravagance early on. Richly layered and beautifully orchestrated, this unconventional electronic release will most likely remain a diamond in the rough that the electronic world will be silently catching up to decades from now.

9. Beyoncé – Beyoncé

Who in the industry could really do what Beyonce did on the scale she did it on and have it work? And THEN have the music she just threw out of literally NOWHERE have it be incredible start to finish? Bey earns her crown here in aces with what is perhaps one of the most explicit, darkest, and most mature pop albums in history, much less the best of her career. Beyonce brought together an audio and visual feast and the world could only lap at her feet at her prideful feminism. Featured writers (Sia, Boots, Miguel, The-Dream) bring a clearer vision to her words, guests (Jay-Z, Frank Ocean, Nicki Minaj) pack a punch and bring traits that help the record vary itself, and producers (Boots, Timbaland, JT, 40, Pharrell) show that Bey is still ahead of the curve with choosing her desired sound. By showcasing her love for family and her impact on popular culture, this is the pop record that will be the template to judge others for years to come.

8. Tame Impala – Lonerism

Aussie psychedelic rock outfit returned with the follow to their stellar 2010 debut “Innerspeaker” with perhaps a psych-rock opus in “Lonerism”. Stronger lyricism and more layered production such as on tracks like “Mind Mischief” and “Why Won’t They Talk to Me” showcase the band’s nostalgic feel without being overblown and pretentious. Provocative and engaging throughout, the punchier feel to the album carries your attention from the wistful “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”, the spaced out “Endors Toi” to the slow burning “Apocalypse Dreams”, Kevin Parker and company have crafted a new age triumph.

7. Chance the Rapper — Acid Rap

Unique and crafty in every possible way, this Chicago youth has brought forth the most engaging Chicago hip hop debut since his idol released his a decade ago. This guy has had sets at major festivals around the world, and the closest thing he has to record sales are from illegal means from bootleggers. Though I admittedly couldn’t get into his voice for many songs, his great lyrics made me give it a shot and I’m glad I did. Hilarious (“NaNa”), emotional (“Everybody’s Something”, “Paranoia”,
Acid Rain”), and all around fun as hell (“Juice”) with a fluid flow to match his insane technical ability (“Favorite Song”), I see nothing but promise from Chance in the near future.

6. Disclosure – Settle

Guy and Howard Lawrence might be soon responsible for ushering in the second British invasion, as this album may be the best electronic album in at least 10 years that showcases the talents of every guest singer to the best of their abilities. Though the mega smash “Latch” featuring breakout star Sam Smith is deceptively radio friendly, the rest of “Settle” only serves to highlight how weak that song is in comparison to the rest of the project. AlunaGeorge (“White Noise”), Jamie Woon (“January”), Eliza Doolittle (“You and Me”) and Jessie Ware (“Confess to Me”) all bring forth a brilliant formula and sound the likes of which no electronic album dares attempting.

5. Frank Ocean — Channel Orange

This could really be the only thing Frank Ocean ever releases in his career, and it’d be fine with me. Crafting an R&B right out of the gate wasn’t his intention, but “Pyramids” and “Thinkin’ Bout You” were Internet darlings even before the album’s release that were loved the world over. From “Sweet Life” to “Sierra Leone”, Frank shows his songwriting prowess and singing ability is of another world, and the guest that appear (Earl on “Super Rich Kids”, Andre 3000 on “Pink Matter”, Tyler on “Golden Girl”) all come into Frank’s world and make complete perfection along with him. The fact that a track like “Forrest Gump” is the way we find out one shocking secret about him that no one saw coming makes this album legendary beyond words.

4. Nas — Life is Good

20 years into the game, and my personal favorite rapper shows no signs of slowing down; in fact, he seems to be on top of his game more than most MC’s these days. Executive produced by No I.D., Nas showcases him at his lyrical best as reflects on his life and legacy, as well as give an actual engaging piece on a 40 year old in the rap game. Purists and new fans alike can find something to love about this album, from the dusty boom bap of “Loco-Motive”, the vicious “Accident Murderer”, the beautifully written “Daughter” about his shortcomings as a father, the ill-fated and incredibly well used feature of Amy Winehouse on “Cherry Wine”, the Queensbridge tribute “Back When” and the beautiful nostalgia of “Stay”, Nas may have finally proven that Illmatic is only part of the legacy of the man’s career, and that he still has more of a story to tell. And it’s reassuring to see an artist that didn’t have to sell 60 million records still revered still be relevant and loved by millions for simply being himself.

3. Vampire Weekend — Modern Vampires of the City

Still as quirky as ever, this ever evolving band released an album that is leaps and bounds ahead of anything they’ve released. From the Souls of Mischief referencing in “Step”, to the frantic “Diane Young” to the uneasy submission of religion in “Unbelievers” in their most straightforward, thought-provoking, and cohesive album to date. Evolved and mature in production and songwriting while still containing their obscure and well constructed lyrics, it seems as if hip hop head Erza Koenig and his band can do no wrong on this Grammy winning stunner of an indie rock album.

2. Kendrick Lamar — good kid, m.A.A.d city

Kendrick Lamar Duckworth has gone from underground darling to one of rap’s greatest voices in such a short time. Making songs that are accessible to mainstream ears with enough depth for hardcore fans to sink their teeth into, The Artist Formerly Known as K. Dot has found a way to strike a balance with authenticity and challenging music no one had heard in quite a long time . Dr. Dre’s latest protégé doing ridiculous boasting like “Backseat Freestyle” is not only a chance to flex his skill, but also blends beautifully into a story of loss, identity, loss, and hope within a corrupt society. Turning the tribulations of street violence (“m.a.a.d. City”) and desire (“Money Trees”) into platforms to express his desire to do better (“The Art of Peer Pressure”), Kendrick Lamar manages to stay grounded in reality and express conscious thoughts without becoming condescending to his audience. The story kicks into full gear the first few seconds into the album with “Sherane aka Master Splinter’s Daughter” and brings some of the biggest rappers and producers in rap at the moment (Hit-Boy, Pharrell, Drake, Jay Rock, Just Blaze) to create the Illmatic of the 2010’s.

1. Kanye West — My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

This might be the most predictable pick for the top of this list, I must admit. I could tell you about the man had basically been kicked to the curb by the media an entire year for every aspect of his public and private life and returned with a booming force of an album. I could tell you about the high acclaim this received across the world over. I could tell you about the amazing verses guests like Nicki Minaj and Rick Ross bring on fantastic tracks like “Monster” and “Devil in a New Dress” respectively. I could tell you about the outstanding production on songs like “So Appalled”,” POWER”, “Blame Game”, and “Runaway”. Covering themes of excess and celebrity, Kanye West makes an album larger than life while also making the man behind the ego come to life unlike any record he’s released. It doesn’t hurt he discusses consumerism, race, and the American Dream; almost typical of a Kanye album, but know that him mentioning the deeper thoughts of MLK and Malcolm will have an album with Fergie singing about snorting lines of cocaine and marrying a porn star (ayeeee!) so it’s earned it’s “twisted” in the name. The superstar list of contributions is endless (Jay-Z, Nicki, Pusha T, Raekwon, Bon Iver, No I.D., RZA, Kid Cudi, John Legend, Chris Rock, Mike Dean, etc.) and all comes together so fluidly to create the album that the decade will truly be known for ushering in during the beginning. As predictable a pick as this is for my top spot, it’s the only that will truly be right in the end.

Colors

Summary: Soulmate AU, in which you can’t see the color of your soulmate’s eyes until you look into them for the first time. Dan is just starting Manchester University, but has a strange encounter when he meets one of his professors, Mr. Lester.

Genre: Angst

Warnings: Swearing, death, depression, suicide, mentions of sex, mentions of alcohol

Word Count: 3,000

A/n: This is my first fic! I’ve worked really hard on it and I’m very proud of it. Thanks to my wonderful beta, Jess (cactuslester), and to my lovely friends phanrejects, dont-cry-do-craft, and nerdydanandphil for all of their support!

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On the sixth day of #PAIN fic...

12 Days | Masterlist

A/N: GUESS WHAT DAY IT IS?? No, it’s not hump day (I just had to, I’m sorry). It’s DAY SIX.

Woohoo!! It’s the halfway point, friends, and that means there are just six days left until Part Three drops! We just wanna thank you all again for joining us on this huge adventure that’s been tucked up our sleeves for a while now, and we’re so humbled by the response we’ve received. This isn’t what we anticipated 2017 would be, but we’re sure glad this is how it’s starting. We hope you guys enjoy the rest of what’s to come.

So allow me to shut up now as we present to you DAY SIX!

Word Count: 2,127


College was hard. It was hard enough having to deal with wanting a degree but also not wanting to get out of bed on top of the daily dilemma of wanting to be sociable despite your crippling social anxiety, let alone having to endure all of this without your best friend by your side. Except you relinquished your right to feel that way because you were the one that left, so you were forced to deal with the consequences.

But still, anything and everything you did reminded you of him. Heard a song on the radio? Great, you knew damn well that Lin would’ve loved it. Saw an album cover that reminded you of your childhood home? Awesome, you were positive Lin would’ve had a comment about it. Had a subpar meal by yourself? Sweet, you pretty much imagined his commentary if he were with you.

Lin wasn’t there. He couldn’t enjoy any of it with you, so you wallowed in everything.

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Desire

Stay With Me - Chapter 1

Rated: T/M

Story Summary: First times are never easy…especially with someone as innocent and pure as Johnny. Yet, Ash is determined to make it work.

Fanfiction.net

A03

P.S. In this universe, Ash and Johnny are both 18 or over; I do not condone underage sex.

P.P.S. This will be at least four chapters long and there will be no sex in the first two so I’m not marking this nsfw…yet. ;-)

In all honesty, sex wasn’t too high up on Ash’s priority list.

Between singing, gigs, writing music, friends, and an all around hectic lifestyle, it was more or less forgotten about or pushed to the side in favor of more important things. It didn’t mean she didn’t think about it - especially when she and Johnny began dating within weeks after the Moon Theater began renovations, it just wasn’t necessary.

…well, at first anyway…

That was almost a year ago and her feelings were quickly shifting and evolving faster than she could keep up with.

Initially, it was bearable since the two were so enthralled with their work, solo albums, shows, performances and the like that even going out to dinner or watching a movie seemed an impossible luxury most times. Their life consisted of working tireless hours in the studio or with Buster practicing for some musical, performance, etc. Being career musicians and singers now was their priority and they both were determined to make sure they made the most of it.

As time ticked by, and even considering as busy as they were, the allure of love and making it was becoming hard to ignore for Ash.

Johnny was so sweet; gentle, loving and as pure and innocent as anyone could possibly get. Considerate, kind-hearted and an all around great guy that any girl would kill to have…and he was hers.

Truthfully, she didn’t know exactly what attracted them to one another.

Perhaps it was their own difficulties stemming from home; unstable personal lives that had them connecting at first. Her painful break-up from her cheating ex and his father and uncles’ possibility of spending the rest of their lives behind bars were always hot topics that neither shied away from confiding in one another about. Johnny was a listening ear and sympathetic, non-judgmental shoulder to cry on and she was his. At least she hoped that’s how it was for him.

Not gonna lie - there was also an immediate physical attraction that at first, she denied valiantly. Yet, setting her physical desires for the young gorilla aside, he had turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to her.

So much so that Lance was barely an annoying blip in her subconscious anymore.

Yet…sex was different subject altogether.

Johnny, in all senses of the word, was as pure as freshly fallen snow. He’d never even had a single date, held hands or kissed another girl before her. A virgin; a sweet, soulful loving boy who was so soft-spoken and gentle that it seemed almost unfeasible that he’d ever had an impure thought in his entire life.

It wouldn’t have been a problem; they’d take it ultra slow until he was good and ready but there was a hurdle she was not yet ready to jump over - she was a teenager with all the raging hormones included.

Yeah, with Lance it was almost immediate; she’d lost her virginity many years ago and the sex they had wasn’t anything spectacular. He was her first and only so what the hell did she know? All she knew was that it never lasted particularly long and felt pretty good during but it wasn’t anything amazing; nothing like the euphoria her girlfriends described.

After the initial first months, it was a pretty rare occasion that she was never one to initiate. They’d be talking in bed than without much of a warning, Lance would roll on top of her. Kiss her and touch her between her legs for a moment; just enough for her to get a tiny bit aroused before he pushed inside of her. It would all be over immediately after he finished, which wasn’t long; stamina was not Lance’s strong suit. She wasn’t fully satisfied by the time he rolled off of her, but she typically just took care of herself after he was already fast asleep beside her.

That was about the extent of it all.

No foreplay, basically non-existant oral, and they’d be done before she realized what happened most times. Long story short, most of their sexual trysts left her feeling greatly unsatisfied. So, yeah, sex wasn’t all too big a deal when she was with Lance.

The instant she got with Johnny, however, something in her body completely shifted.

Perhaps it was because the young gorilla was unbelievably attractive. Tall, broad shouldered, muscular, had the greatest smile, voice that had her heart accelerating in her chest, and to top it all off - he was so humble!

Lips pursing and an unpleasant twinge in her gut when she thought of her opposite ex.

Lance was basically allergic to exercise and ate copious amount of junk food which really didn’t help . Decent enough voice but smug attitude that was a huge turn-off. At the time, it was fine, but when she met Johnny, it capsized the boat of whatever standards she may have had prior.

Gorgeous face and body aside, Johnny’s personality far outweighed even his incredible good looks. So sweet and loving with an attractive accent to boot. The tiniest things he did drove her crazy in the best ways! How he’d brush her quills back, cup her face with those gorgeous large hands and kiss her like she was the most precious thing in the world. Not gonna lie, she cried the first time she experienced it. It was just so wonderful and pure that she couldn’t help the few tears that slipped down her cheeks…How afterward he panicked and she just laughed; a sensation of euphoria as she never experienced before enraptured her entire being…

…was this what she had been missing out on the whole time?…

As happy as they were, it bothered her for a long time for Ash had done nothing worthy enough to gain Johnny’s love. He deserved to be cherished, wrapped up in a big fluffy blanket and shielded from the harsh, unforgiving world. This sweet, beautiful, soulful boy deserved everything that she never had… Including someone just as pure as he was; someone who didn’t waste most of her life on a selfish prick…but that didn’t seem to bother him at all.

Johnny held her so many times, told her just how much he cared about her regardless of her past. That it didn’t matter and he still wanted to be together. It took her such a long time to see her own worth after all the lies Lance had fed her for so long. That she deserved Johnny; he chose her - and Ash embraced it. More than ready to give herself completely to him; heart, soul, body - everything.

…that was much easier said than done…

It’d been almost an entire year since they started dating. A time it took him months before she got sick of waiting to make the first move; grabbed him by the lapels of his jacket and smushed her lips to his. The kiss was sloppy and awkward because he didn’t know what the hell he was doing, but damn, his mouth felt amazing… She found herself needing to be the instigator for any sort of physical contact; it was a long wait until he initiated any sort of physical activity between them but that was typically only hugs, holding hands, or the very rare kiss that never failed to take her breath away.

Sure, they’d cuddle all the time and even fall asleep wrapped in each other’s embrace but nothing more. The few times she was tempted to take it further, she’d kiss him firmly but he’d pull away and refused to go further. Even when her hands explored his chest and shoulder’s as much as she could, Johnny’s hands remained steadfast on her face, back, hips, or shoulders in absolute refusal to wander to more intimate parts -

…and damn, was it frustrating…

More sexually frustrating than anything, but frustrating nonetheless.

Unlike Lance, Johnny was almost painfully shy at times. His face growing all shades of red the few times she caught him without a shirt on or the few times he’d initiated a kiss that lead to a slight flick of tongue. Looked as if he committed an inexcusable crime the one time he accidentally grazed a hand across her ass. How it took her a full ten minutes to convince him that indeed, it was okay and she was perfectly fine with it (more than fine with it but he didn’t need to know that at the time)!

Johnny was so embarrassed that he was adamant to not do it again; dared not go too far when they kissed and politely brushed her hands away when hers would wander to caress a little too far down south. He was so awkward and shy; sweet and respectful but a part of her didn’t want that. She wanted him to take a little initiative; to kiss her neck or brush his large hand over something other than platonic areas; and not on accident!

…but of course, Ash didn’t want to push him.

Dared not force him into anything he didn’t want to do, but lately, it was hard not to notice him pulling away from a kiss faster. Instead of holding her at night, he’d turn his back toward her so she didn’t notice how his body was reacting to her kiss and intimate touch.

Ash swore he wanted it just as badly as she did.

Yet, knowing him as well as she did, he likely was ashamed of his teenage body’s normal hormonal activity; fearful that she’d be upset, crossing a boundary, or that he was disrespecting her somehow. It made her want to cry; to hold him, kiss him and tell him it was normal and that she desperately wanted him that way…sexually wanted to give herself to him because…

Oh God! She loved him so much…

It was so hard at first to admit. To come to terms with how much time and energy she’d wasted on Lance. Never truly knowing the meaning of love until she fell head over heels for Johnny. His love was so unconditional and encouraging; so perfect and pure that she could scarcely breathe at times. Gentleness and kindness nothing like she’d ever experienced before and she felt like such a fool defending her relationship with her asshole ex-boyfriend. Sometimes she treated it as if it was all a bad dream and if she could go back, she would have never agreed to go out with him in the first place.

Recalling as she told that to Johnny who just shrugged, smiled and said in that cute accented voice of his, “…but why? Perhaps if you didn’t, things may have changed to the point that we may have never met…”

Ash nearly cried after hearing him say that.

Johnny always said the right things at the right time. Speaking encouragement and loving her for her and nothing else. He didn’t care that she wasn’t a virgin, had way too much baggage that no one should be forced to carry, and was far too melodramatic and angsty for her own damn good.

Yet, Johnny didn’t care about that whatsoever.

Frankly, Ash didn’t deserve it; deserve him or his unconditional love…but he freely gave it to her anyway.

This was why she was so confused as to why he pulled away from her touch. Rare make-out sessions ending with him drawing away with a nervous stutter and excuse and she’d end up sleeping alone way too aroused to sleep peacefully. Not wanting to push the physical aspect but it was difficult to when she could tell how much he wanted it just as much as she did! Maybe even more!

Johnny didn’t think she’d notice, but oh yeah, she did.

Caught how his eyes flickered over her body when she wore her more revealing outfits or walked around in a tank top and short shorts during the intense summer months. Witnessed on more the one occasion, the tightening of his pants and the few times a slightly hard bulge rubbed over her calf when he was too enthralled with kissing her mouth. Hands shaking slightly as she could sense him wanting to push his boundaries but ultimately setting aside his own desires to be respectful.

Ash knew he could sense her own arousal and needs yet he continued to pull away and she just wasn’t sure what to do! His touch set her body on fire; craving his contact and urgently demanding more of him. Found herself wondering what sex with him would be like; if he would be as sweet, gentle, or awkward as if he was with everything else he did or if there was a more animalistic side to the sweet, lovable Johnny…

One she was desperate to see first-hand.

Suddenly tense and ridiculously turned on, Ash was on the verge of unbelievable frustration. Horny and desperate; ready to confront him about it but she didn’t want to frighten him either. A sigh escaped her lips as she realized there was little she could do but wait patiently for him to decide to push forward. To approach her or make it plain as day that he wanted to consummate their relationship. For him to finally make the move…

Yet, as patient as she was, Ash was uncertain if she could wait much longer…

A sudden knock on the door had her flinching; jumping up from her couch nervously. Cheeks flaring as she looked at the time on her wall; seen just how long she’d been staring at some fixed point and thinking about jumping in Johnny’s pants!

Ugh! How embarrassing!

“Ash?” Another slight knock and Johnny’s unsure voice came muffled from the other side of her door.

“Y-Yeah! Be right there!” she yelled; ignoring how her voice cracked as she adjusted her clothes for the umpteenth time before running to the door.

Opening it to reveal the object of her desires was jarring and amazing all at once.

There Johnny stood in all his tall glory; smiling, one hand casually in his pocket while the other giving her a gentle wave. The fresh scent and the barest hints of cologne on his fur and skin had her stomach churning uncomfortably in her gut. Palms slightly sweaty and mouth going dry at the sudden feelings that arose in her for taking him in; she was already aroused enough and him being so handsome wasn’t making this any easier.

Just what the hell had gotten into her tonight?

“Hey. Are you alright?” Johnny asked, tilting his head slightly when Ash still had yet to let him into the apartment.

“Yeah. Never better..” she muttered, smiling up at him like some lovesick puppy. It took her a whole 30 seconds to realize what she had been doing. “Whoops. Uh, s-sorry, Johnny. Come on in.” she continued with a slightly stutter; uncaring at this point how her cheeks burned. She flared her hand in welcome and he casually strolled in at her beckoning. Once the door was closed and locked behind her, she looked up at him and she swore her heart stopped dead in her chest.

“Thanks.” he said. The grin he bestowed had her internally moaning in pleasure. Sharp canines revealed as he gifted her with that fabulous smile. Without a single word uttered to give himself away, he lowered to his knees; one hand holding him steady on the floor as the other brushed a hand over the quills hanging in front of her ear. Caressing them gently aside so he could fully cup her face. Before she realized what happened, his brown eyes slipped closed and his mouth was on hers.

Ash’s icy blue eyes went to half-mast; staring at him for only a second before they slid shut and she instantly melted into it his kiss. Tilting her head slightly to get a better angle; deepening their lip-lock. Hand absentmindedly lifting up to grasp at his arm; leather soft and cool underneath her palm as her fingers coiled in the fabric. Toes curling in her boots as his mouth opened a bit further to deepen it further.

His kiss was gentle yet there was such a passion behind it; much like his endless reserves as he sang. Johnny gave every task 110% and the thought of taking this further had Ash subconsciously moaning into his mouth.

That must have startled Johnny, who repentantly pulled away from her mouth; their parting lips letting out a soft pop between them.

“Mmm…heh. What was that for?” she breathed over his lips; heart hammering against her rib-cage at the embarrassing moan she let slip. So distracting to experience the heat from his mouth so achingly close; desperate to close the distance and kiss him again.

“You’re just so beautiful, love,” he replied; removing his hand from her face to scratch at the short hair on his nape as he spoke, “I really just can’t help myself, I guess.” he continued rather nervously, accent thick and causing her fur to prickle pleasantly before he rose back up to his full height. Although he tried to hide it, Ash noticed the pink tint that flushed his cheeks and the tips of his round ears.

“You’re not so bad yourself.” she replied with a throaty chuckle; bottom lip anchored between her teeth. Heart palpitating painfully at his given nickname for her. It wasn’t new or anything, but it still caused her heart to warm every time she heard it. All of his affection wasn’t helping her out-of-control libido. “So um,” she cleared her throat, “I was thinkin’, you know, instead of spending all night in the kitchen like last time, why don’t we get some takeout instead?”

“Yea. Sure. Sounds great.” Johnny smiled with a heavy shrug as Ash prompted him to the few fliers from the restaurants around town that were scattered on her coffee table. Perhaps if she could distracted on something else, she could pull her mind out of the gutter before she said or did something really stupid.

“It’s your choice tonight, Big Guy.” Ash directed before plopping herself on the couch, patting the seat next to her while the gorilla happily accepted the invitation. Lowing himself to sit at her side, he began to look over the various menus and their unique selections. She watched mesmerized as his large hands moved over the papers; sometimes drumming against the grains of the wood as if he was at his piano. Oh, the things those hands could do…she froze and remembered that she was not going to be a creeper tonight. Forcefully pushing those thoughts away, her blue eyes flicking over to his face for a moment; languidly taking in his profile and how his lips pursed into an almost pout when he was trying to make a decision.

Why did he have to be so freakin’ cute?

“How about this one?” Johnny’s voice surprised her and her eyes gravitated to the menu he held out for her to see.

It was the restaurant they went to on their first date. Not sure exactly if he was just trying to be romantic or what because the food there was terrible. She was sorely tempted to laugh but stopped when she caught the glint in his eye. Ash swore time froze. His warm brown eyes were scanning slowly over her face, the most genuine smile pulling at his lips. No one had ever looked at her that way before and dammit, this was not helping her state…

“Johnny?” she breathed. “Y-Ya uh, really wanna order from there?” she asked, unsure, not exactly sure why he seemed different tonight or if it was her hormones acting up.

“Admittedly, it’s not very tasty, but it brings back good memories, doesn’t it?” he replied; his arm suddenly wrapped around her waist and he brushed his forehead over her temple.

“Heh… Y-Yea…” she sighed, cheeks on fire and heart was pounding so hard that he could probably hear it. Almost afraid to look up, she did; staring into his face and him smiling so assuredly; white teeth proudly displayed, and dammit, did he even care what he was doing to her?! Her body was already betraying her and there was only one she knew for sure - if he kept this up, it was gonna be a long night…

Dreaming of the Impossible

Originally posted by kookie-bts

Who would’ve thought that your cousin’s childhood best friend is the idol you’d been dreaming to meet all this time. 

All was well that one Christmas Eve dinner. You caught up with your family members, despite the background noise of younger members screaming which overpowered the mature, soft voices. You got into a conversation with your cousin, with whom you had not interacted with in years so catching up was always ideal in these situations. 

“So yeah how’s university?” You managed to project your voice just enough to be heard.

“Yeah it’s alright I guess, I mean, there’s not much I can tell you besides my pro procrastinating tips.” She giggled cutely. 

Clearly, you had possessed more vocal power in your side of genetics. 

“Sorry what was that? I can’t hear you.” You yelled this time, leaning in closer so you could hear her better. 

“Nothing! I was just telling you about my bad habits!” She also yelled. 

After a few more minutes of, ‘pardon?’ and ‘could you repeat that?’ the two of you had decided to move upstairs and continue the conversation in your room. 


“Well this is better.” She laughs, scanning around your room in amazement of the tidiness. Of course it had to be tidy, the whole generation was coming over to judge you.

“Yeah we can actually hear each other now.” You laughed back, opening the window next to your bed. 

She walked around fiddling with the little things around your room. You watched as she smiled at your baby pictures. 

“You were really cute as a baby you know.” 

“Are you saying I’m not cute now?” You replied, hugging the pillow from habit.

She didn’t reply.

“At least reassure me that you don’t think that!” You continue blabber on, expecting a response from her.

She still didn’t reply. Instead, she held an amused yet confused face that would stir up a soup of curiosity in your stomach. 

“Unnie? What’s wrong?” You finally asked. 

“Are you a fan of BTS?” She asked, out of the blue.

“Oh my gosh yes! Are you an ARMY too?! I have all their albums and I even have posters!” You slammed down your arms onto the bed in excitement. 

“There should be a poster of Jungkook near where you’re standing!” 

“I see it.” She laughed, leaving you confused. 

“Are you a Jungkook stan too? He’s so beautiful.. and talented and ugh I can’t get enough of him. I can’t imagine what it’d be like to meet him oh my gosh…” 

“Well…” She giggled, trying to hold in her laughter. 

“Unnie? What’s wrong?” You beamed, confused as ever. 

She bursted out laughing and almost fell onto the floor whilst doing so. She wrapped her arms across her stomach and tried her hardest to regain her senses. 

“What’s so funny?” You laughed nervously, taken aback from her reaction of your sudden confession. 

“Well Y/N..” She started talking, wiping away her tears from laughter. 

“You probably won’t believe what I’m about to tell you but at least try to.” 

“Uhh sure.” 

“Jungkook is actually my childhood friend. I had no idea you would be into this kind of stuff!” 

Your eyebrows scrunched up in confusion. Obviously, what she said sounded alienated. 

What?” 

“I’ve known him since we were 3, Y/N.” She looked at the poster, laughing at it again. 

“He’s grown up quite well I hate to admit but he’s like a brother to me.. so when you described him as ‘beautiful’… I’m sorry I can’t agree.” She laughed again, looking at you with pure sincerity in her eyes. 

You were left speechless so she continued to tell her story. 

“Honestly, that boy is so cheeky. He’s either really smug or the shyest person you will ever meet. There’s no in-between. But since we’ve known each other for so long, the ‘cute’ and ‘shy’ Jungkookie is no-longer there for me.”

“It’s just the really annoying and loud Jungkook that’s left. Not complaining though, he’s my soul brother and I love him like one.” 

“Sorry this must be a little too much to take in right now.” She stopped, finally noticing your jaw dropped open wide in shock. 

“A little?! You must be kidding me.” Your voice had disappeared. So much for the stronger vocal power in your genetics. 

“I’m not kidding. I’m actually serious.” She laughed, a proud smirk plastered on her face. 

“Technically I’m not supposed to tell you because well.. you’re a fangirl and you’d go crazy..” 

“I’m going crazy right now.” You confirmed: paled skin, light heated and sweat dripping from the most unexpected shock. 

“But you’re my cousin. And I wanted to say sorry for eating your cupcake 10 years ago.” 

“To be honest I don’t care about the cupcakes, I mean, I did at the time but right now… I’m just trying to absorb everything. You’re not joking right? Do you have proof?” A husky chuckle escaped from your dry, nervous lips. 

“I didn’t plan on telling you because well, for one, I had no idea. And two, yes I do have proof.” She laughed as she turned on her phone to scroll through her pictures. 

“Ah-ha! Here it is!” She tapped on her phone screen before showing you the selfie of your idol and her together.

“I can introduce you to him if you want!” She continued, swiping left and right to show you the multiple pictures of their friendship.

“You’re kidding..”

Pt. 2

Hate to Say They Told You So: Garage Rock Revival in the Early 2000s

For about three years in the early 2000s, there was a lot of talk in the mainstream music press about a garage rock revival centered around four bands with prominent hits at the time: The Strokes, The White Stripes, The Vines, and The Hives. The cover of Rolling Stone for the September 2002 issue said “ROCK IS BACK!” in big bold letters while SPIN and NME talked about a “new rock revolution.” NME even called The Strokes the “saviours of rock ‘n’ roll” (though, to be fair, NME seems to find at least one band a year to saddle with that particular job). While each of these bands–and the gaggle of second-tier acts that followed them–had at least one internationally charting song and did seem to share an affinity for the visceral, simplistic pleasures of rock music, there was a sense that this 'revolution’ was an invention of the music press, that they’d seized on hype and made kings out of cavemen because the music these bands were producing stood in clear opposition to the tired, bloated post-grunge and nu-metal that was dominating rock radio. You might even call it the last big, hyperbolic moment these older publications had before the Pitchfork-led internet became the definitive new engine of attention with the next wave of ascendant indie bands.

There’s a lumbering-dinosaur quality to the early ’00s garage rock revival. You have these old, long-standing publications that, by this time, were losing a lot of their cultural cache with American youth, praising bands that were wallowing unapologetically in classic styles of rock. All the 'savior’ talk was predicated on the idea that these retro bands were bringing the fun, sexy, cool, stylish, pop elements back to guitar music, or rather a version of them that had been forgotten in the self-serious wake of grunge. There was also a historic surge of creative, forward-thinking R&B sweeping the pop charts around this time, so it wasn’t that surprising for a simultaneous back-looking trend to emerge. It’s easy to see how kids (white teenage boys in my experience) got excited about this stuff. As fads go, it was pretty perfect for its 15 minutes in the sun. The real heyday was in 2002, when all the press coverage happened and the four biggest bands all had their biggest hits. The moment had passed by ’04. Jet’s lame, shallow, stupid single “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” a straight Iggy Pop “Lust for Life” clone, was the biggest nail in the coffin for most people who cared about this stuff (and this was in a genre where you could get away with being stupid and shallow if you were cool enough!). There was a sister 'revival’ happening in those years that was all about new-wave/post-punk/dance-rock styles, starting with Interpol, The Rapture, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs but going into The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, et al. For a minute, though, the big garage rock revival bands were commodities of cool, getting radio play, press attention, and enjoying their youthful rock star moments.

The Strokes were the first and the biggest. They were prep school chums who got together in the late 90s and started gigging around the Lower East Side, taking a lot of cues from bands that had made that part of New York a musical hotbed in the 70s. Press bios always compared them to The Velvet Underground, mostly because of the Lou Reed-esque mid-range filters they put on Julian Casablancas’ voice, I think. They really sounded much more like Television, especially on Is This It, but talking about the VU was a better way to position them within the cool NYC rock continuum because everyone knows you’re supposed to love and revere the Velvets. The Strokes were absolutely doused in hype. As I mentioned above, British music rags went nuts for them, and when “Last Nite” became a hit on both sides of the Atlantic, the band blew up. It helped that they were all terminally hip, stylish, and disaffected, with greasy hair, ratty sneakers, leather jackets, and dangling cigarettes. I personally love their first two albums (and can’t argue with Is This It being considered the most important rock record of the 2000s), but it’s hard to escape the sense that what The Strokes really brought to the table–the thing that made them valuable figureheads of this fad–was their ineffable cool. Even in their heyday, there were so many easy ways to criticize them. You could point out how they were phony rich kids, musically derivative, sonically deceitful (making a cruddy-sounding album with non-cruddy means), lazily nostalgic, preening, self-involved (read the lyrics), fashion victims, hype beneficiaries, etc. and until about 2003 when their second album, Room on Fire, wasn’t as big a hit, all of it just seemed to roll off their backs. That’s a huge, important thing to understand about what this cultural moment meant. In many ways, it was a recognition of the power of cool, of how nothing else about a band really has to matter if they have that certain, slippery, magical aura. It never lasts, though, and The Strokes took a pretty big nose dive with a difficult, over-macho third album that nearly tanked their career. Even so, they were basically the biggest rock band of the decade.

“When we first started playing we were like, ‘What’s going to be the new kind of cool music? I wonder if anything cool could still come out?’ We wanted to see if we could find out.“ - Julian Casablancas in NME

"I heard a rumour that no one actually comes to our shows and that we only exist in magazines.” - Nick Valensi in The Face

The White Stripes were a close second. In the early days, prior to their '04 transition to 'misunderstood classic rock troubadour’ territory, Jack White still seemed willing to engage pop culture on young, enthusiastic terms. They were shrouded in pettifogging back then, with questions about Jack and Meg’s 'brother’/'sister,’ husband/wife, divorcee status, rigid but playful peppermint candy color scheme, lack of a bass player, and eye-popping Michel Gondry video. Presentation was just as important to The White Stripes as it was to The Strokes, but The White Stripes placed their extra-musical accouterments much further up front back then. To hear the band tell it, the point was to dodge media attention and deflect it back to their music. But anyone who’s been clocking pop music for more than six months knows a gimmick when they see one, and if all The White Stripes’ press-ready baggage was an attempt at getting people to let the music speak for itself, then it was surely one of the stupidest and most misguided attempts to do so in pop history. The strange thing was the more you understood them and their music, the more you realized how deeply rooted they were in very stodgy, stubborn notions about authentic rock 'n’ roll. They had the fortune of being from Detroit–Motown’s headquarters and a notorious breeding ground for grimy garage punk bands–but Jack White was also obsessed with the blues, with guys like Robert Johnson and Blind Willie McTell and Charlie Patton. He would say the same things that rock stars have been saying for decades about how 'real’ and 'soulful’ this old blues music was and how modern pop was too fake and plastic. Their third album, White Blood Cells, came out in '01 and ended up being something of a transitional record for them, even though it was arguably their best. “Fell in Love With a Girl” was a big hit that reveled in cheap, plastic, puppy-love fun. The video was all stop-motion Lego: how much more 'plastic’ can you get? If The Strokes made a career out of cool, The White Stripes made a career out of contradictions. After 2003, with the release of Elephant and the soccer stadium-conquering “Seven Nation Army,” Jack and Meg left garage rock and fad/pop culture behind, retreating into a kind of heady formalism, and would never really sound like they were having fun ever again.

“The last twenty years have been filled with digital, technological crap that’s taken the soul out of music. The technological metronome of the United States is obsessed with progress, so now you have all these gearheads who want to lay down three thousand tracks in their living room. That wasn’t the point.” - Jack White in SPIN

When Rolling Stone emblazoned their Sept. '02 issue with “ROCK IS BACK,” it was for a cover story on Sydney, Australia’s The Vines. They were by far the biggest victims of music press hype and, critically, the most divisive of the big standard-bearing bands. That’s saying something, too, since reviews from the time for the other three were at near-universal levels of acclaim. There was something about The Vines that suggested over-calculation and, ultimately, a pose. Lead singer Craig Nicholls’ dad was an accountant for Sony Music in Australia, but beyond undoubtedly advantageous connections, their upbeat rock songs hinged on a faked Kurt Cobain scream and their mellower 'pop’ songs were blatant Beatles homages. They had terrible lyrics—way too many “Yeah!"s and "Come On!"s–which, again: this was a genre where you could have awful lyrics if you sold the package well enough. Nicholls was presented as an erratic, unstable, unpredictable, substance-abusing wreck. In the late '00s, after being charged with assault, it was revealed that he actually has Asperger syndrome, but at the time everybody talked about him as a tortured, rebellious inheritor of Cobain’s junkie milieu. Like some of the Britpop bands of the mid-90s whose mantle these garage bands took up, there’s a sense that The Vines were a little too obvious in their 'real rock’ posturing to be taken so seriously. As blatant a set of critic-baiting influences as The Velvet Underground or The Cramps were for The Strokes and The White Stripes, there’s something about having The Beatles and Nirvana as your only two reference points that crosses a line. It’s tough to talk about artistry with this whole movement because, really, the artistic depth of most of these bands is up for questioning, but to my ears The Vines brought far less musical personality to the table than the other groups of this era. They could check off a long list of cliche rock star prerequisites–which is maybe another reason Capitol invested so much and plugged them so hard–but I think by now even their supporters know they didn’t earn the attention they got by playing music.

"There’s so much good music that’s happening now, and we’re glad to be a part of it, with bands like The Stokes and The White Stripes. I don’t think it’s a movement. It’s just real rock music.” ~ Craig Nicholls in Rolling Stone

I’ve been avoiding the word 'rockism’ thus far because it’s been so overused and numbingly debated in the last ten years, but it does help us understand a set of ideas that were propping this garage rock revival up and making it out to be 'more’ than it was. Kelefa Sanneh’s famous 2004 New York Times piece on rockism frames it in terms of “idolizing the authentic old legend (or underground hero) while mocking the latest pop star; lionizing punk while barely tolerating disco; loving the live show and hating the music video; extolling the growling performer while hating the lip-syncher.” These garage rock revival bands weren’t actually ‘rockists’, they were pop stars in rockist clothing. They were flashy and ambitious, conspicuous and perfectly tousled, and were never cooler than in their own music videos. But it’s sort of impossible for a retro rock fad to operate outside the notions that define older rock for so many people, at least on the surface. Either by a quirk of history, a changing of the pop guard, or honest to goodness cultural evolution, time has stymied and struck down the firebrand rhetoric of bands and journalists alike. Was rock 'n’ roll ever a thing to be saved in the first place? And did The Strokes accomplish anything close to that? Is Craig Nicholls the Kurt Cobain of the 00’s? Will the analog blues legacy of The White Stripes outlast the digital ones of, say, Usher or Beyonce? No, no, hahaha no, and probably not.

It wasn’t a movement, it was a moment. The history of pop music is replete with such moments, each with its own looks, musical styles, and cultural impacts. We call them fads, but there’s a lot of condescension built into that term, as if anything with a shelf life of only a few years, months, or minutes wasn’t worth enjoying and exploring fully. My guess is that the hard part for a lot of people who loved these bands isn’t accepting that it was a fad instead of a revolution, but accepting that there’s nothing wrong with fads. From punk rock to grunge, rave, boy bands, and all the way to today’s EDM, the culture of pop music is founded in large part on the quick churn of ideas. Chris Ott, in an episode of his Shallow Rewards video series chronicling the career of Richard Gotteherer and The Strangeloves, talks about the period in the early-to-mid 60s just before The Beatles came out with Rubber Soul, when pop music was treated more as stagecraft than art that needed to be 'authentic’–“a whole grab-bag of images and ideas.” When you hear about The Strangeloves hiding their identities behind stories of sheep-breeding and silly animal print costumes, or see Paul Revere & The Raiders dressed up in Revolutionary War regalia and galloping in place as they sang, you can start to see why gimmicks like The White Stripes’ color scheme or The Strokes’ NYC punk fashion pedigree are such important parts of the experience. You can start to see how fundamentally built-in they are, and to realize how pop music as stagecraft has never truly gone away. It lurks behind even the most willfully unshowmanlike acts.

It’s on this level that I would argue The Hives were the most honest and historically consistent of the big garage rock revival bands. Starting as a regular old punk band in Fagersta, Sweden but transitioning to an ultra lean, angular, even mechanical garage sound, they took on a kind of all-encompassing level of gimmickry and stage-personhood. They had nicknames that landed somewhere between those of old bluesmen and comic book villains—Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist, Nicholaus Arson, Vigilante Carlstroem, Dr. Matt Destruction, and Chris Dangerous—and they dressed in matching black and white outfits both onstage and off. The songwriting and production on all their albums is credited to a mysterious ‘Randy Fitzsimmons’, who they also say discovered and manages them (I believe that’s supposed to be him obscured in shadow and literally stopping time with the movement of his hand in the above video for “Hate to Say I Told You So”). Combine this invented producer-svengali business with their brash stage antics, goofy videos, and Almqvist’s arrogant Mick Jagger pouting, and you get a glossy, winking, modern rendition of pop-rock from the mid-60s. It rings truer precisely because it takes in the full breadth of the pop world in which garage rock first arose and transposes it into modernity. The Hives didn’t have to make ‘real’ rock because they knew there was never any such thing, and they didn’t have to worry about maintaining their elusive cool because it was all a bunch of put-ons anyway. Most importantly, they had a sense of humor about everything they did, managing to be fun, sexy, cool, and stylish all while putting no stock in whether any of this mattered in the slightest. They’re still at it, too. They keep putting out albums that sound basically the same, wearing the same black and white suits, and strutting around the top bills of the European festival circuit as if their moment had never passed. As the other standard-bearers for the early-00s garage rock revival fold under the weight of unsustainable stardom (The Strokes), bloated ego (The White Stripes), and not living up to the hype (The Vines), it turns out the band with the most classically pop M.O. was the most equipped to keep their own fad going.

“We never wanted to be the next Nirvana. We wanted to be the Hives. Things only happen once. Elvis showed up once, Nirvana showed up once. The Hives showed up once.” ~ Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist in SPIN

Our Little Secret

Shawn Mendes x Reader

Masterist 

Rated: PG-13

Preview: As you hang around with Shawn and the rest of the crew at one of his rehearsals for the Illuminate World Tour, you notice something about your relationship that has never been brought up in front of other people before.


“So when do you leave for school?” Geoff asks as you take another sip of your water bottle.

“Next Tuesday.” You say with a sigh, “I’m gonna miss him a lot.” You look toward Shawn from the side of the stage. You and Shawn are well into your third year of dating, but you had been friends since you were eight years old. You had moved to Pickering ten years ago after living in New York with your family. Your dad got an amazing job offer that he couldn’t pass up so you all packed your bags and moved to Pickering. You had expected it would take a while to find friends, or really find true friends, but it was a lot faster than you expected. Shawn was your next-door neighbor and became your best friend in a matter of days. You didn’t begin to find feelings for him until you were about fourteen. Both you and Shawn harbored those feelings for a year before he couldn’t take it any longer and confessed his love. Now, three and a half years later, and you and Shawn could never be closer. 

“Everyone is going to miss you.” Geoff says, “Whether you notice it or not you keep everyone together. You may not have a real job in this whole process, but you are one of the most important aspects.”

“How so?” You ask.

“You keep everyone in good spirits, especially him.” Geoff says looking over his shoulder to gesture to Shawn. “This is a very draining process and he definitely takes the brunt of it. You keep his energy up, thats for sure.”

You laugh and run your fingers through your hair as you stare at Shawn. He has most definitely changed your life. For the better of course. Without him you don’t have the clarity that you feel when you are with him. His smily literally brightens up your day, especially when his loving eyes are staring intently into yours. There is nothing better honestly. Its like a little boost of energy. 

“Are you all packed up?” Brian asks as he walks over to you and Geoff.

“Yeah I am.” You smile. Your not going very far, just the University of Toronto. You didn’t want to be out of the country, but you know that with Shawn’s job he will be out of the country most of the time so it practically will be like you will be living in separate worlds.

“Are you excited?” Brian asks.

“I mean I’m obviously excited there are just the typical things that I’m nerv-” You begin but then you stop in the middle of your sentence. You hear the humming in the beginning of your favorite song on the new album, Mercy.

You choose to completely disregard the conversation that you were having with Brian and Geoff and run into the stands of the big arena. As the song continues to play you sing and dance your heart out as you run through the aisles. Even though soundcheck is a completely normal activity in show business, it is very seldom that you get to see it with an open arena like this. Usually there are some fans that are surrounding that stage. 

Every now and then you pause your dancing for a moment to notice that Shawn is smiling and watching your every move. He feels that same way you feel; undeniably in love with one another.

Once the bridge comes you get down on your knees and belt out every lyric with more passion than ever imagined. The slight sound of a rasp in Shawn’s voice as you watch him belt out the bridge with you sends chills down your spine. From that moment on you just sit on the floor of the arena and admire him. He also stares into your eyes as well. 

When the song ends you walk up to the edge of the stage as Shawn leans down with guitar in hand. You give him a quick peck on the cheek and Shawn whispers in your ear, “I love you.” You mouth an “I love you too.” and then you walk back to Geoff and Brian.

“Sorry about that,” You begin, “Where were we?" 

 "15 minutes everyone!” One of the producers calls. 

 Shawn jumps down the stairs of the stage and says, “Hey” as he stands next to you. 

 "Hi babe.“ You reply with a smile. 

 "This yours?” Shawn asks as he picks up the water bottle standing on the edge of the stage. 

 "Uhh yeah.“ You say. 

 "Great.” Shawn says as he quickly grabs the bottle and chugs what is left. 

 "You owe me a bottle of water.“ You say, "And you shouldn’t do that you know. You don’t want to get sick and hurt your voice.”

 "Its fine.“ Shawn begins, "It’s not like we don’t do it anyway.” You laugh and slide a little closer to Shawn’s side. 

 "Speaking of kissing.“ Geoff says, "Have you two ever kissed before?” You and Shawn both give Geoff a very confused look. “I ask that because in the ten years that I have known the both of you, and more importantly the three and a half years you have been dating, I have never seen you two kids kiss on the lips.” Geoff says.

 "You know what?“ Brian begins, "Now that you mention that… I don’t think I have either!" 

 "Nobody has.” Shawn begins, “Neither of our parents or siblings have either." 

"I think it’s something that we just keep between the two of us. We’ve never really talked specifically about it… it just happened that way.” you say as you look up at Shawn. 

 "So much of our relationship is publicized that I think it is the one thing we can keep completely secret.“ Shawn says. "When we get married will be the first time the we kiss in front of other people." 

 "You two talk about getting married?” Brian asks in surprise.

 "Yeah I guess so,“ You begin, "We don’t extensively talk about our future or anything, but I think that if I didn’t see Shawn as someone that I would potentially want to marry I would be unable to date him anymore. It would be a waste of both our time." 

 "Why would you wanna date someone you don’t see a future with?” Shawn states plainly.

 "You both are wise for your age I’ll give you that.“ Geoff laughs. 

 "So do you guys have sex too?” Brian asks.

 Immediately you rest your forehead on Shawn’s shoulder as he laughs. You try to hide blush rushing to your cheeks. 

 "I’m gonna take that as an overwhelming yes!“ Brian says. Then he turns to look specifically at Shawn and whispers, "Is it any good?" 

 "Now your just pushing it!” Shawn laughs once more. He’s not even going to touch the questions that Brian left out there, knowing that is one secret he will never share with the world.

“I only write about what I go through, or things I’ve learned along the way.”

MC Lyte was one of the first female rappers to point out the sexism and misogyny that often runs rampant in hip-hop, often taking the subject head on lyrically in her songs and helping open the door for such future artists as Queen Latifah and Missy Elliott. Rapper MC Lyte forged the way for other female MCs to find their way in the often-sexist, male-dominated world of hip hop. Lyte became the first female rap artist to achieve gold certification for her single “Ruffneck.” In six albums, she produced four Number One rap singles.

Lyte was born Lana Moorer, in Queens and raised in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York.She began rapping when she was 12, learning from her brothers Milk and Gizmo of the rap group Audio Two. Her father, Nat Robinson, started the First Priority record label in 1987, and her brothers appeared on her first three albums. Her first single, “I Cram to Understand U (Sam),” became an instant cult classic. The song is about a woman who has to compete for her man’s attentions, but her competition isn’t another woman, it’s crack cocaine. The single, released when Lyte was still a teen, set a standard for adult, hard-core rap that has rarely been equaled since.

Her first album, Lyte as a Rock, was released on First Priority in 1988 and produced by her brothers. The album contained samples from Ray Charles, Helen Reddy, and the Four Seasons. It’s notable for its narrative songs, like “10% Dis” and “Paper Thin,”that tell fleshed-out stories featuring doomed but interesting characters. Despite the assertive, in-your-face persona Lyte shows in her music and onstage, the artist is known for her soft-spoken demeanor behind the scenes. Lyte’s follow up to Lyte as a Rock, Eyes on This, was released a year after her debut, when she was just 19. The album “maintained her reputation as an insult-hurling tough talker who rapped to hard, simple beats,” People critic Michael Small wrote. It featured production by Grand Puba and the hit single “Cha Cha Cha,” which reached number one on the rap charts. Lyte took a courageous stand against violence in the haunting song “Cappuccino.”

She became an anti-violence spokesperson, namely for the Stop the Violence campaign, which took her into schools to speak to kids. She also appeared in public service announcements for the Rock the Vote
campaign, which featured her song “I’m Not Having It.” She appeared in PSAs for Musicians for Life and supported various AIDS charities. Lyte became the first rapper to perform at Carnegie Hall at a 1990 AIDS benefit.Lyte hired R&B producers Wolf and Epic, of Bel Biv Devoe fame, to produce her third release, Act Like You Know,which came out in 1991. The result was a smoother, more soulful turn for the artist. Despite the commercial success of the singles “When In Love,” “Poor Georgie,” and “Eyes Are the Soul,” Lyte’s fans despaired that their aggressive, street-smart diva had softened her style.

On her fourth release, 1993’s Ain’t No Other, Lyte returned to her harder-edged rhymes, much to the relief of her fans. “Back to basics,” she said in a Billboard interview at the time, “that’s what’s happening to rap music now. I worked with some young, hungry… rappers. Being around them gave me a whole different feel.” KRS-ONE from Boogie Down Productions contributed a few lines at the album’s start to introduce it, and Lyte laid out an aggressive affront to disrespecting rapper Roxanne Shanté on “Steady F. King.” Lyte intentionally avoided moral or message songs on this album, she
later said, to avoid sounding too much like she was preaching.

Though Lyte enjoys listening to message-driven rap, she told Billboard, ” evidently core hip-hop fans don’t want to hear that. They want to party, so I gave them fat beats and fat lyrics about me.” The single “Ruffneck” was produced by Wreckx ‘N’Effect, and was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Rap Single, and earned the first-ever gold certification for record sales by a female rap artist. She spent the summer of 1994 on a sold-out tour, opening forJanet Jackson. She also made an appearance on Jackson’s song “You Want This.” She teamed up with fellow female rappers Yo Yo and Queen Latifah to create the hit remix of singer Brandy’s “I Wanna Be Down.”Lyte’s fifth album, Bad as I Wanna B,found her on a new record label, Elektra/Asylum. It also found her with a heightened sense of responsibility for the music she made, and the impact it had on her fans. It once was considered “cool” to curse on rap records, to “prove you were the baddest,” Lyte admitted in an Essence interview, according to a 1996 People review. “Now I feel responsible for what comes out of my mouth.”

That said, she practically began the album with an expletive, but toned
it down as the album played out. She earned her second gold record for “Keep On Keepin’ On,” which appeared on Bad As I Wanna B. She teamed up with the female R&B group X-Scape on the song, which won a Soul Train Award and was featured on the Sunset Park soundtrack. That album also contained Lyte’s hit single “Cold Rock A Party,” which featured Lyte teamed up for a duet with hip-hop diva Missy Elliot. Elliot was featured again on Lyte’s 1998 release, Seven & Seven, on three tracks, “In My Business,” “Too Fly,” and “Want What I Got.” Artists Giovanni and L.L Cool J. who produced the track “Play Girls Play,” also lent a hand. She hired producers the Neptunes to handle and co-write “Closer,” “I Can’t Make a Mistake,” and “It’s All Yours,” which also featured vocals by singer Gina Thompson.

“Some of my best work has been when I’m vibing with others.”Beyond recording records and releasing increasingly popular singles, many female MCs began to diversify in the late 1990s. Some started record companies, some went into acting. Lyte went to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. She has appeared in such television sitcoms as Moesha and In the House, and on the drama New York Undercover, and plays a recurring role as Lana on the show For Your Love. She also appeared in the independent film A Luv Tale. “I know I can do both,” Lyte said of acting and hip hop in her bio located online at MCLyte.com. “but hip hop is my first love.”

After the success of the “Cold Rock A Party,”Lyte began doing voice-overs. Hers was the voice behind a national advertising campaign for Wherehouse Music. She was the voice little girls heard after Christmas of 2000 from the African-American “Chat Doll,” named Tia, manufactured by Mattel. She founded her own management company, Duke Da Moon Productions, which handled the groups Isisand Born In Hell, a Brooklyn rap unit. She also signed a three-year deal with Sirius Satellite Radio. who hired her to host a musical show that airs three time daily. She also hosted a talk show for Sirius,
interviewing black celebrities and entertainers such as Whoopi Goldberg,
Vivica Fox, and Tisha Campbell.Looking back on a career that started when she was just a teenager, Lyte is able to find pride and a valuable lesson in her experiences. “I’m proud of how long I’ve been in the business,” she said in the Artist Direct interview. “Ofcourse when I started I never imagined some of the things you have to go through. But anything you do in life is about meeting the challenges.What I tell any young people who want to get into this business is you have to be prepared to never give up.” Rhino Records released a collection of MC Lyte’s work in 2001 called The Very Best of MC Lyte.

MC Lyte has spoken at colleges and universities, for organizations around the globe, and with notable people like Iyanla Vanzant, Russell Simmons, and Soledad O'Brien bringing a message of empowerment from her book Unstoppable: Igniting the Power Within to Achieve Your Greatest Potential. She also partnered with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund on the iLEAD international tour  in South Africa to empower the continent’s youth and up and coming leaders. MC Lyte served as the President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Recording Academy (the Grammy organization) from 2011 to 2013. She is the first African American to serve in this role and she is also the CEO of Sunni Gyrl, Inc., an entertainment and production firm, and the founder of Hip Hop Sisters Foundation, which has presented two $100,000 scholarships to college students each year since its inception,and she is an honorary member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority.

In October 2006, MC Lyte was one of the honored artists on VH1’s annual award show Hip Hop Honors.[ She was joined by fellow female MC’s Da Brat, Remy Ma, and Lil’ Kim as they performed some of her tracks, such as “Cha Cha Cha,” “Lyte as a Rock,” “Paper-Thin,” and “Ruffneck.” In 2013, MC Lyte received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 Hip Hop Inaugural Ball, and she also received the BET “I Am Hip Hop” Icon Lifetime Achievement Award, making her the first female solo hip hop artist to receive the honor from the network.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2016 has been a rough year for a lot of us and it’s time to look back and learn from what happened and also to look forward with a positive mindset. Hello 2017~ This one is for rwby-brought-me-baek-to-life. I hope you enjoy and welcome to the blog!

           When you entered the room, you found a pleasant surprise. Your boyfriend was sitting at a long table in the center of the room, signing albums, one after the other, the stacks building up next to him. Even though you were sure the door made a creak when you pushed it open, he didn’t look up. This gave you ample time to admire him from afar.

           They say that to a woman, a hardworking man was the most attractive and that could not have been more true as you watched his brow furrow in concentration, and his lips purse as he furiously thought of unique messages to write on every CD. The dedication was heartwarming and you knew that his fans were appreciative of all of the little gestures that he did for them.

           When you had enough, you walked up to the table, waiting for him to look up. It took him a while but when he saw you, the smile that he rewarded you brought a larger one on your face. “You’re here!”

           “Hi Yongguk,” you grinned. “Looks like you’ve been working so hard that you didn’t even notice I was here.”

           He gave you a bashful smile. “I’m sorry. You know how I get. It’s like a whole other universe.”

           His words made you simultaneously happy and sad. You knew when you started dating him what type of person he was. His dedication to his work was what made him so attractive to you. But it was times like this that you were again reminded that even if he didn’t mean it, you were always second priority.

           Yongguk seemed to sense your hesitation. He suddenly stood up and wrapped his long arms around you in a hug. “You mean so much to me.” And then before he lost the momentum, he kissed your cheek. He detached himself and sat down in his seat, but not without blowing you a kiss and smiling at you in an endearing, dorky way.

           You started laughing. There was something infectious about his gummy smile and you read the sincerity in his happy display of affection. The laughter, however, soon turned to tears and you started to cough, feeling your breath cut off by the clogging of your nose. Yongguk was no longer smiling, instead he was fading and that was when you opened your eyes.

           You ran a hand across your face. The tears were very much real even though your boyfriend and his kisses were not. You let out an audible sigh, the sound particularly loud in the utter silence of your room. The chill from the windows added to your loneliness. You reached a hand out to touch the empty space next to you. If you closed your eyes and tried hard enough, you could almost feel the warmth left by his body.

           The vivid images from the dream was still playing through your mind. It has been nearly two months since you last saw him. Yongguk had decided he needed time to be by himself. It meant retreating from his celebrity life, and also leaving behind certain people who might cause him more emotional response than he wanted at the moment. And unfortunately, among those people, you were included.

           At first, you were okay. Yongguk needed time to feel like himself again. But when time dragged on, and you knew his members had heard from him, you felt even more as if your life was placed on hold. There were times when you became angry. Who was he to decide to keep you hanging? Why was it okay for him to be a recluse, and refuse to see even you? But then there was love and understanding. You knew how fragile he was, and that the best way to support him was not to give him more pressure but to step back and give him what he wanted. And it was in those depths that sadness came in. Maybe he no longer wanted you. Perhaps the reason why you were cut off and why he didn’t even contact you was because you were really second priority, as you sometimes suspected.

           To have those thoughts were also blasphemous. How could you doubt Yongguk’s devotion to you? But when you had to hear updates about your boyfriend from his members, it made you wonder. It took all the self-control you had to keep from texting him, even deleting his number because you knew that if you had it, you would be tempted. But that didn’t stop the string of seven numbers from running through your head.

           Simply put, it hurt. It hurt that someone you cared so much about could pull away for two months and keep you out of the loop. Even though you wanted to convince yourself that everything indeed would be alright, you couldn’t. The dream that occurred today was one of many and it surprised you how real each one still felt.

           Tomorrow would be New Year’s Eve. A time where people were planning on celebrating with their friends and family, you found yourself at odds. At once wanting to move on, you wanted to stay in this year because it seemed like the only thing tethering you to Yongguk. Once you moved onto the new year, he would be gone, no longer a part of your life. It was ridiculous, you knew. What difference did the movement of a second hand on the clock matter? What made one time more significant than the other? Yongguk’s existence did not depend on whether the last digit of the year read six or seven.

           Nevertheless, as you forced yourself to fall back asleep, you couldn’t help but feel a pang of longing. If only he could be there with you tonight, it would make the next year one to truly look forward to.

           The B.A.P members treated you like one of their own. After the end of year performance, they were holding a party and invited you. At first you politely declined. As much as you loved them, it was weird to be there without Yongguk but they had insisted. They were doing the countdown on stage but requested that you stayed in the dorm and waited, rather than came when they got there.          

           “It’s not safe to travel so late, and besides the television in our dorm is bigger so you can see all of us in high definition,” Youngjae had joked.

           The boys meant well and goodness knows, they could not keep a secret. You knew something was up by their not-so-casual reminders. “Noona, remember to be there at ten.” “Also make sure you dress nicely! You know they say what you wear as you go into the new year will determine your fortune for the year.”

           Having dated Yongguk for quite some time, and being a big fan of B.A.P, you knew when they had something up their sleeves. But what exactly did they have planned, you could not figure out. Your heart dared to hope that it would be Yongguk, but you knew that that was a long shot. They wouldn’t dare mess around with their leader’s health.

           You followed their instructions to a tee, wearing a deep blue dress Yongguk had gifted you for your six month anniversary. They had sent one of their managers to pick you up, a gesture you found thoughtful and endearing. Their dorm was clean for once and the television was on. When you settled on the couch, you realized why ten was so important to them. Their performance was on at the time.

           As the show continued and time passed, you realized that it was soon ten minutes until midnight. Your eyelids were beginning to droop. The lights were also getting dimmer in the room. That realization made you sit up again. The living room lights were indeed getting darker and candles were being lit around the room.

           You stood up. There was soft jazz music playing in the background and suddenly your heart was in your throat. From the corner of your eye, you saw the countdown. There was still eight minutes left. The moment you smelled a waft of familiar sandalwood and leather, you knew.

           Afraid to speak, you waited. You waited until you heard the soft footsteps then the man of your dreams appeared in the doorway. Yongguk looked hesitant. Apology and uncertainty danced across his features. Within seconds, you were throwing yourself into his arms.

           “I missed you.”

           You inhaled his familiar scent and closed your eyes, wanting to encode all the sensory details in your mind. You were almost afraid this was another dream because unlike those dreams, this one seemed surreal. It was only until you lifted your head and felt his lips press on your forehead that you knew. You weren’t dreaming. Yongguk was here.

           “I’m sorry,” he said. You missed his voice. Your subconscious did not do him justice. This voice was velvet, it was dark chocolate, it was the warmth of a blanket on a cold winter’s night. It wrapped your thoughts between them and you felt at home.

           All the anger you expected to feel was gone. It never existed. Instead, you felt healed and relieved. It was the perfect ending and beginning to a new year. You didn’t know how long you stayed like this, not moving, his apology and your longing trading back and forth between the two of you until you understood that the reason why he broke off contact was to keep him from worrying about your reaction, and to let him come back as soon as possible without affecting you. He also understood how much hurt he had caused you but also that he was forgiven.

           “I love you,” Yongguk whispered. It was the first time he had said this to you and it made you cry. “No crying,” he finished. “It’s going to be the new year. No crying.”

           On the screen, the countdown was becoming louder. “Five, four, three, two, one!”

           “Happy New Year,” Yongguk murmured as he leaned down to kiss you. And the feeling as his lips touched yours made all of the pain over the last two months disappear. Everything was alright.

Never Gonna Say Goodbye 2/2

Summary:  Badboy!Dan and Phil were in love in high school, and Dan found a way into every part of Phil’s life. Eventually they lost contact, but they ended things on a good note. Phil gets a job as a tattoo artist, and Dan comes in one day to get a tattoo. They find each other to be different than how they used to be, but still somehow the same.

A/N: Part two! Part one is here.

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[STARCAST] ‘SUPER SHOW’ How far did you go in the whole world – From 140226

SuperJunior world tour ‘SUPER SHOW’ set a record of holding 97 sets of performances in 26 cities for about 73 months since 2008. The traces of ‘SUPER SHOW’ that is creating new history every time and every year and glorious records, from the moment of leaving the airport after finishing ‘SUPER SHOW 5’ finale “SUPER SHOW5” in BEIJING successfully and to hot performances, be with STARCAST for all those~!!

Through ‘SUPER SHOW’ for past 6 years, SuperJunior went to not only Asia but South America and Europe and met with various fans around the world. The driving force that was able to spread new performance culture in many countries that has different languages and cultures might be because of the endless development of ‘SUPER SHOW’ that is fully equipped with SuperJunior’s passion, teamwork and cheerfulness. ‘SUPER SHOW’ was held in various cities around the world for 6 years and recorded accumulated audiences of 1.35 million and became the center of attention with the biggest South America 4 countries tour out of all Korean singers, holding first exclusive concert in France first time ever as Korean group, special lecture at University of Oxford in England and they made not only ‘SuperJunior’ known, but also Republic of Korea to the world.

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