so long no more pitchforks for them!

Pop-Rock in the Late 90s

By the end of the 1990s, alternative rock as a mainstream flash point had stretched itself out into a very, very thin umbrella term that covered a lot of different sounds. In terms of radio and the charts–both the Hot 100 and ‘Modern Rock’–the arena-sized aftermath of grunge was petering out by '96, but it would take a few more years before nu-metal really came to dominate radio and the garage rock fad led by The Strokes and The White Stripes took off. These were also the final years before Napster, a peak point in major label album sales (as well as some of the highest sales of singles since their peak in the early 80s), so there was a lot of financial room for labels to take on upstart bands with maybe a decent song or two and try to make something of them. Because 'alternative’ as an idea was so broad and ill-defined at this point, there was a fair amount of novelty, miniature fads, and free-flowing crossover between top hits on modern rock radio and the wider pop charts. There seemed to exist a certain brand of artist who fit into the cracks and glued these different worlds together. The term pop-rock has been used perennially to describe bands that do this, but from 1997-1999 there was a slippery yet distinct flavor that seemed to unite them even more.

We’re not talking about ascendant indie bands or, really, anyone with much connection at all to the underground. These were almost all bands with explicit pop ambitions, and as you can see from the above playlist, most of them were one-hit wonders. The songs were upbeat and generally sunny, even when they dealt with darker subjects (“Semi-Charmed Life” is about crystal meth addiction, “The Way” is about an elderly Texas couple who were found dead in a ravine, etc.). In terms of imagery and videos, it was very common for acts at this time to invoke a lot of mid-century suburban Americana: white picket fences, Airstream trailers, driving in convertibles (or, if you’re really young and hip, mopeds), dressing in thrift store bowling shirts or ironic matching suits, and going to pools, beaches, or amusement parks. There was supposed to be a little bit of snark to it—subtly skewering their parents’ generation to position themselves as young, edgy, and ‘alternative’—but it never really came off that way because there was nothing very rebellious or political about the music. Looking at it now, this imagery plays more like jokey homage and warped nostalgia, with a lot of young people having fun the same way young people in America have for decades. Think of it like the way The Simpsons at the time was both a loving mockery of middle America and a fairly straightforward sitcom that appealed directly to it.

Musically, this stuff exists in a kind of middle ground between different sounds that were prevalent at the time. They run the gamut from really simplistic guitar pop like Everclear or Semisonic to what was essentially dance pop from acts like Len or Fatboy Slim, who although he was part of the breakbeat thing that was exploding at this time, was played alongside these pop-rock bands with much higher frequency than, say, The Prodigy or The Chemical Brothers. There were a handful of pop punk bands making big waves on the modern rock and pop charts at this time, as well as a slate of mellower, more acoustic and ‘grown up’ acts that were also scoring hits. Today, a lot these sounds wouldn’t overlap or bleed into each other in the same way that they did on the radio and on MTV or VH1 in the late 90s somewhere under this vague canopy of ‘alternative.’ That’s one of the big reasons I tend to lump them together as a kind of stop-gap genre.

I was in middle school from ’97-’99, so while it’s true that FM radio played a much bigger role in most peoples lives than it does today, it was also my main personal gateway to pop music. At that point, I don’t think my sense of taste was developed enough to distinguish between what I actually liked and disliked and what was a function of social interaction and peer weight. None of this stuff was seen as particularly cool or uncool at my school, but it was more socially acceptable for boys to like Blink-182 and Green Day than, say, Sugar Ray, whose appeal was too close to boy band territory for the comfort of most of us. Besides, Mark McGrath was/is a huge tool and Sugar Ray had inflicted “Fly” on the world, still one of the stupidest and most annoying hits of my lifetime. Fatboy Slim, Semisonic, and Fastball were all OK, but when it came to one-hit wonders most of us preferred the novelty of “Tubthumping” or “One Week.” Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life” was all over TV and movies in those years, so everyone knew it and would hum the “do-do-do, do-dodo-doo” part, but I liked “Jumper” a little bit more because of the drumroll part, which appealed to me as a beginning percussionist. Everybody loved “Sex and Candy.” In the bigger picture, though, these bands weren’t touted as huge favorites. Britney Spears and N’Sync were happening, as well as Puff Daddy, Aaliyah, DMX, and the beginnings of Destiny’s Child, all of which carried far more weight among students at Discovery Middle School.

And hey, it turns out those acts still carry more weight in the history of pop than something like Everclear or Cake. This pop-rock stuff didn’t have a lot of value beyond its moment, not because it wasn’t particularly deep or artistic—though it wasn’t and isn’t—but because there were bigger and more culturally significant things happening elsewhere. The upside to the disposable nature of this music is that you can use it for your own ends as long as it holds up. For me, it evokes memories of the late 90s, but it doesn’t radiate them so brightly that I can’t appreciate these songs as simple, successful pop either. I’m surprised how well the songs on the above playlist still hang together. Some of that comes down to my own editorial picking and choosing—and some of these songs did indeed receive the Pitchfork stamp of approval when they put up their big 90s list a few years ago—but history isn’t going to and doesn’t need to celebrate or even vindicate these bands. They serve as an aesthetic marker for what was happening in music and how Americans were feeling at the end of the 20th century, through good songs and bad ones. Also, when sideburns and soul patches make a comeback in a few years, we can point to this and know why.

Tracklist:

1. Third Eye Blind - “Semi-Charmed Life” - June 17, 1997
2. Everclear - “I Will Buy You A New Life” - September 27 ,1997
3. Marcy Playground - “Sex and Candy” - November 4, 1997
4. Fastball - “The Way” - February 24, 1998
5. Semisonic - “Closing Time” - March 10, 1998
6. Harvey Danger - “Flagpole Sitta” - April 21, 1998
7. Fatboy Slim - “The Rockafeller Skank” - September 22, 1998
8. Cake - “Never There” - October 13, 1998
9. New Radicals - “You Get What You Give” - November 10, 1998
10. Third Eye Blind - “Jumper” - November 24, 1998
11. Fatboy Slim - “Praise You” - February 16, 1999
12. Sugar Ray - “Someday” - June 15, 1999
13. Len - “Steal My Sunshine” - July 22, 1999

Iz Clarifies Context and Background in Captain America 1 So You Don’t Have To!

Hey everyone! So a few days ago I went on a little rant about the spoilers for Cap 1 that now everyone has heard about. That post blew up (not my intentions opps) and as a result, I feel a little responsible to help clarify some things about comics and other information I’ve seen people be unaware of. If you’ve read comics this will be mostly an entertaining rehash except for the little segment about how Cap is probably Hydra, so feel free to skip. But if you don’t read comics and want to know what this means, I’m here to help!

1. Fuck you, you haven’t read a comic-

Slow down there, angry anon. I’ve read a lot of comics. A LOT. I’m a comics blog. Take your “fake geek girl” rant and shove it up your own ass. 

2. This is Captain America 1? What does that mean? I thought Captain America had been going for a long time?

It means it’s the first issue of the new series. As of late, comics have been renumbering their issues once they start to get high as a marketing tactic to attract new readers. It’s kind of BS. But what you need to know is this marks a new series.

3. A new series. Does it carry any backstory with it?

Yeah, it does, which is also super misleading. This isn’t a fresh start of a series- this is a loose continuation of the previous Captain America run. Instead of thinking of it as a new series, it’s probably best to consider it as a new season to a long running tv show-;we have a new story arc but old plot threads carry over.

4. So what’s the backstory?

I’m not a fan of Captain America comics in recent years due to the (in my opinion) terrible writing, but with some quick detective work (pun intended) all you need to know is that Red Skull got his hands on a cosmic cube sometime during the last run that probably gave him the ability to fuck with the timeline. We don’t know what he fucked with.

5. Wait, Red Skull fucked with the timeline? Does that mean-

I’ll finish your sentence there. I would bet $100 that Red Skull went back in time and indoctrinated Sara and Steve into Hydra when Steve was a boy, thus causing the current timeline. Thus the Steve in the comic now isn’t the Steve Rodgers from the last 75 years; he’s a Steve where Red Skull got his hands on him as a kid and converted him to Hydra.

6. So this isn’t Steve?

If my theory pans out, eh, pretty much. Not our Steve at the least; entirely different backstory, motives and rules. 

7. Why the fuck are they saying it is our Steve then?

Sales. Outrage and controversy makes comics rise in value which means more sales for Marvel. Plus outrage causes the comic to get more PR causing people to pick it up and see what all the fuss is about. If they just flat out said “this is Steve corrupted by the timeline” it wouldn’t make any news.

8. That’s terrible.

Yep. Welcome to comics. 

9. If Steve is only Hydra cus of a recent time fuckery, does that mean the criticism about this storyline is invalid?

Nope. Still really shitty to try to pretend Steve could be Hydra without brainwashing and given interviews, they’re trying to sell Steve has been Hydra this entire time rather than this being a different timeline Steve. Which makes all the crit still super valid because they’re still trying to sell Steve as a possible Nazi for 75+ years. Plus, with recent cases of antisemitism in Marvel comics as a whole bunch of other bloggers have brought up, this is a disturbing trend. 

To say to wait the storyline out is pretty belittling to people who feel tricked and hurt by this decision. In real life, minorities get this fake out a lot from people they feel are their friends only to find out they’ve been against them all along. To do the same with a fictional character who has always suppose to have stood up for these groups is a slap in the face, even if it is a fake out.

As for the argument this is suppose to show the power of hate groups on people at young ages, that argument flies if the story was presented as such. If we knew from the start this was the Red Skulls doing, this could be great commentary (in the right hands) on how Steve’s creators shape his impact on the world and how the fact Steve’s creators were Jewish was a huge part of who he is today (i.e the Red Skull messing with his origin representing co-opting of his narrative by white america, and the removal of Erskine from his narrative showcasing the importance of the identity of Steve’s creators) . And even then, people would have the right to be upset. Instead they’re approaching it as “PLOT TWIST SHOCK VALUE” which is lazy. 

For information about the crit and antisemitism in Marvel see, here and here

10. Okay, so we know how the fuck this happened. Will it last?

Probably not past this arc (which usually run 5-7 issues). When comics say something is permanent, they usually mean for one year max before they chicken out and recon the whole deal. So this is a sit and wait kind of deal.

11. Will this effect the MCU?

Nah. The MCU actually effects the comics a lot more than the comics effect the movies these days, so don’t worry, MCU Steve is still safe. They also take place in separate universes, so this comic has no baring on the MCU.

12. Will kids read this?

Nah. Comics are for teens+ these days, with specific comics being reserved for the younger crowd, which our current comic fuckery isn’t for. They’ll be fine as long as no parent picks it up for them on accident not understanding how comic ratings work (entirely possible).

13. I hate this and the writer is to blame!

Before everyone throws the pitchforks at just the writer, it is important to note that in comics writers don’t have all the power over their own storylines given the power of editorial. Editorial makes a lot of decisions about storylines and plot, and given they released this comic right during DC Rebirth, it’s fair to say this storyline was probably made by the company to overshadow their press with a “shocking twist.” The writer still wrote it, don’t get me wrong, but I’d bet good money Marvel pitched the idea in the beginning, supported the idea with everything they had if the pitch remained the same or strongly influenced it’s presentation. (this is pure speculation, but speculation from years of watching this kind of shit go down). So like, Marvel is highly to blame too. Don’t give them a free pass.

14. Wait. So this whole clusterfuck is because Marvel wanted to overshadow DC? The presentation, pretending Steve has been a nazi forever, the whole press is about Marvel vs DC? Really?

Probably. Welcome to comics!

anonymous asked:

I saw this awesome idea on @tallestsilver's page and would love to see your take on it. What do you envision Erik and Christine to look like at a Disney themepark?

Haha, sorry this took so long to respond! I am not quite certain…but there would be chaos of some sort…

Christine: “We…should probably go save them.”

Daroga: “I thought we were on VACATION.” *eats more dole whip*

The Oort Cloud

Title: The Oort Cloud

Rating: T

Timeline: Home Again

Category: MSR

Summary:  She wants no light just now, wants no familiar scents or sounds intruding. Mulder’s weight only, Mulder’s sweat and breath and heavy heartbeat at her breast.

Author’s Notes: Thanks to the lovely @dashakay for the inspiration.

***

Their room overlooks the inlet where the waves sweep her parents back together, their atoms mingling in the bellies of fish. Somewhere else her mother’s lungs breathe, her kidneys keep delicate metabolic balance. Somewhere else her soul has risen.

Scully clutches the quarter at her neck, her five-gram mystery.  Darkness bleeds from her, bleeds back into her. She transfuses herself.

Keep reading

STORY OF SEASONS - Localization Blog #7, GOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Hey, prospective farmers, we’re entering the final countdown, with just a couple weeks left ‘til the release of Story of Seasons. Now, you were probably expecting this week’s Story of Seasons blogger to have been Nick or Ryan, but ‘tis I, Danielle, the in-house QA Tester for XSEED and fellow Bokujo fan! I’ve been working behind the proverbial curtain for a while now, but I figured I’d have to turnip to the party sooner or later.

My introduction to the series started with the Game Boy Advance game, “Har- I mean… Game We Can’t Mention by Name, but Rhymes with ‘Briends of Brineral Brown.’” Yeah. Now don’t get me wrong, the older Bokujo games will always have a special place in my heart, but it’s been great to see all the improvements the series has made since then. I know I was happy when character customization became a feature, and it looks like it’s here to stay, too! (I’m looking at you, Pokemon.) The 3x3 planting/harvesting system, which makes your basic chores go way faster, is a welcome addition too.

Although I’ve been a fan of the series for all this time, my introduction to the game industry was much more recent. It was very exciting for me to actually get to work on a Bokujo game behind the scenes. Before this project, I’d had no experience within the game industry to speak of, so this was quite the learning experience for me. As the office newbie, my work included various “gopher” tasks (as in “go fer this, go fer that”), but my main job from October to around December has been to work with Nick and Ryan on QA’ing Story of Seasons. And let me tell you, QA testing is a lot more extensive than I was expecting. Right off the bat, I was given a Google Doc comprised of the entire Story of Seasons script. All of it. All 35,849 lines.

Throughout the testing, any time I’d encounter a new line, I’d look it up on the Google Doc and mark it as pass or fail based on grammar, spelling, context, and/or whether or not there were any text overages.  Incidentally, with each line passed or failed, you’d have to sign off in the relevant spreadsheet cell with your name and date. Anytime someone asked me what day something happened, I knew. Although it did get to the point where my name stopped looking like a word.

Story of Seasons does a good job of taking the concepts of the previous installments and introducing, expanding or changing them in fun new ways. One of my favorite new features to the Bokujo series is the “Conquest” system, an all-out farming battle royale between Oak Tree Town’s farmers. (Joust with pitchforks to the death! THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE. Ok, no, not really.) Truthfully, Conquest required a lot more forethought and planning than I originally anticipated. For example, certain Conquest awards go to the farmer who ships the most goods on a certain day, so stockpiling goods to ship on that day, and taking the financial hit in the meantime, becomes a good long-term strategy. Finally, my tendency to hoard things is paying off!

The purpose of the Conquest system, besides giving you more fields to work with if you win, is to bring the village together in the spirit of friendly competition. Fritz and Elise, two of the four farmers you’ll find yourself competing against, are as different as night and day. Fritz is a former student from the city who found his way to Oak Tree Town the same way the main character did. He doesn’t exactly have it all together yet (who does though, honestly), nor does he have the most assets, but his determination more than makes up for that.

Elise, with all her riches and frills, doesn’t quite seem to fit in to the “hard-working, down-to-earth farmer” archetype. She also has the advantage of having her horde of maids doing all the dirty work of farming for her.  If only a true blue-collar farmer would show her the error of her ways through example! No, not you, Fritz, sit down.

We all have our favorite characters and events from the game, really. I like to think we all took a piece of the game with us, especially Nick. (Incidentally, you guys should ask him what his favorite color is.) As for me, I’ll keep on digging, watering, and looking forward to the next great harvest.

- Danielle