Nine years ago, way back in 2005, Craig Thomas and Carter Bays somewhat painted themselves into a corner. Unlike, say, Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof of Lost fame, Thomas & Bays already had an idea of how How I Met Your Mother was going to end. So confident were they in this idea that, for the sake of continuity, they had Lyndsy Fonesca and David Henrie record their scenes as Ted Mosby’s children being told the story by an off-screen Future Ted (voiced by Bob Saget), towards the start of production; this included the final scenes of Penny and Luke that appear at the end of last night’s finale. And so it was pegged at the show’s conception that the titular Mother was going to die, thus being the reason why widower-of-six years Future Ted is telling the story to his kids. 

The problem is that no one back in 2005 really expected the show to take off how it did. The two part finale “Last Together” which aired last night signalled the end of a show that lasted for nine seasons and almost a full decade on air; something which is becoming an increasing rarity in today’s TV landscape, especially for a sitcom. Throughout that time, we’ve watched a group of friends twist and turn, adapt and survive through the end of their twenties into their thirties. They’ve been promoted or changed jobs entirely, got married, nearly got married, dated around a lot, or just slept with a lot of people but in the end, the core was just these five friends - Ted Moseby, Robin Scherbatsky, Barney Stinson, Marshall Eriksen, and Lily Aldrin - sat in their regular booth in a pub. It’s this reason why “Last Forever” doesn’t feel like the finale this show deserved, and one that fans were disappointed in (as evidence by any HIMYM Twitter search will show you), as it doesn’t do justice to these characters we’ve spent nearly ten years following. 
To point to other disappointing finales of beloved shows, Lost’s Cuse & Lindelof, as well as Battlestar Galactica’s Ronald D Moore, created endings that weren’t satisfying merely from a story point of view, particularly BSG’s which I still to this day find utterly ridiculous, whereas at least the over-arching themes of Lost work with the finale. How the characters of these two shows ended their personal stories, on the other hand, felt natural to their personalities and, although the characters were surrounded by a finale story that was wrapped up in often ludicrous concepts, they stayed true to the attributes and personalities we had spent so long watching develop (save for, perhaps, Sayid who ends up in the afterlife with Shannon, a relationship that always felt to me like just a “thing” that happened that the show never really invested in as opposed to his relationship with Nadia). How I Met Your Mother’s finale, however, is one that doesn’t seem to conform with the characters that we’ve come to know and, in that regard, feels rather cold and empty and, in some cases, like we’ve wasted our time.
To begin with, it’s probably best to focus on Barney and Robin, the relationship that was the centre of this final season and the breakdown of which would act as the catalyst for that final scene that closes the show; a mirror of the final scene of the pilot. The final 24-episode season took place, in an surprisingly daring and interesting turn, over the course of one weekend as Barney and Robin prepare to get married at an inn in Farhampton, Long Island, I having gotten engaged in Season 8 two-parter “The Final Page”. Throughout this season, we followed the two, as well as the rest of the gang, as they tried to make sure the wedding went off without a hitch, dealing with the usual sitcom scenarios of crazy parents, distant relatives, missing guests, band problems, Karate Kid stars, etc, as well as dealing with the pair as a couple and how they see their future together. Penultimate episode “The End Of The Aisle” sees the two finally tie the knot but, with the dust barely even settled from that, “Last Forever” sees Barney and Robin divorced before the first half of the two part finale is even over! It’s difficult not to feel cheated; after following the trials and tribulations of the Stinson-Scherbatsky relationship over the last few seasons plus an entire season dedicated to their wedding, the whole relationship is torn apart in merely a few smash-vignettes. 
In creating this season, the writers were creating a relationship that we as the viewer were meant to invest in despite them knowing full well that, in one quick sweep, it will be put aside for the sake of the long-planned over-arching story. It’s particularly disappointing when noting that the season did have some incredibly beautiful moments between Barney and Robin, particularly the scene which saw Barney shedding his playboy ways by promising to never lie to Robin about anything. It negates many of these moments, leaving a bitter sense that the writers could not just stick with what they had laid out, and makes the whole thing feel like a big waste of time for many. The idea of a season set over just one weekend was one that piqued my interest, just to see how they would do it, and, after a stuttering start, it worked exceptionally well, producing some of the best episodes in HIMYM’s recent history. But when the core of the season is ultimately pointless, you can’t help but think that there must’ve been a better way to construct the final run that isn’t so heavily invested in a relationship the writers were ready to pull the plug on almost immediately. 
This leads on to what the dissolution of Barney and Robin led up to, the rekindling of the Ted and Robin flame that burned brightly through much of the first few seasons but had been blown out for years by this point. The chemistry between Cobie Smulders and Josh Radnor in the first few series was undeniable and infectious. It was that will-they-won’t-they ‘Sam & Diane’ style thing done extremely well and watching the two develop over the first three seasons was fantastic. This relationship faded out in a wonderfully natural way in Season 3’s “Slapsgiving” before Ted moved on to one of my favourite relationship arcs with Stella (played by Sarah Chalke). It was a relationship I was happy was over and, even though this final season brought back some of those residual feelings that may never leave when you think someone is ‘the one’, it once again put them to bed with the ultimately poignant but poorly executed episode “Sunrise” in which Ted finally lets go (in one of the season’s most unintentionally hilarious scenes which sees Robin float off into the sky, soundtracked by The Bangles’ “Eternal Flame”). I know that it’s all in the spirit of the cyclical nature of the show, with the finale ending with Ted outside Robin’s window in 2030 with the infamous blue French horn from the pilot, but the idea that the story Future Ted is telling his kids is merely a façade for him to pluck up the courage to ask them if it’s OK he starts dating Robin now The Mother has been dead for six years feels like a betrayal of everything this season had worked up to, particularly that floating Robin scene, as well as Ted’s personality which leaves me, again, feeling a little cold.

Though it does make sense as to why the story so far had been less about The Mother and more about “everything else”, it’s incredibly unsatisfying when Thomas & Bays managed to get the casting of The Mother so completely spot on. The introduction of Cristin Milioti as The Mother (finally given a name in the finale: Tracy McConnell) was a shot in the arm for the show. Every scene she was in since her introduction in the finale of Season 8 (being merely a shot of a pair of legs or an bright yellow umbrella up until now) was elevated by her chirpy, infectious presence, be that meeting the characters in the present day or interacting with Ted in flashforwards. It would be criminal not to focus on The Mother-centric episode, “How Your Mother Met Me”, now one of my favourite episodes, which manages to give an emotional rollercoaster of backstory to a character who was more of an idea than a person beforehand, all in the space of just one episode which really let Milioti shine. Though it has been rumoured since pretty much forever, and then heavily hinted at in “Vesuvius”, that The Mother would die, I was less annoyed at the fact that she did but more at how they dealt with The Mother and her death in this finale. The Mother was always a plot point before this final season; she was the end goal for Ted Mosby and his story. But Season 9 turned her into a proper character, one we grew to love and looked forward to glimpses of each episode. Cristin Milioti brought something to the character that made it ‘her’ role, a role that you could never see anyone else playing anymore. 
To then portray her as a mere footnote in the finale feels like, in the end, it was the story of Ted and Robin the showrunners wanted to tell, and Tracy was a mere obstacle. The final meeting of Ted and Tracy, a moment fans had been looking forward to since the show began, was as touching and beautiful as one might expect, with lots of callbacks and a nice reveal of The Mother’s name, but their actual life together after that took place mostly off-screen, particularly the moment they find out she is sick and then her death; her illness completely unexplained and her death barely even mentioned. The progression of Ted and Tracy throughout the decade in which they are together doesn’t appear to be of any interest to the writers, who would much rather get back to trying to set Ted and Robin up once again. There’s barely any hint of mourning on Ted’s part which seems utterly ridiculous and completely against his character. Had their casting of Tracy not been so perfect, I doubt I would’ve been as bothered by this; my investment would be much less. But as is, I feel the finale did not give her character the dues she deserved. Altogether, it painted How I Met Your Mother as a show of misdirection; this was never a show about how Ted met his future wife, it was always, right from the start, about Ted and Robin; a relationship that had already been neatly wrapped up not once but twice. The final scene was a very typical How I Met Your Mother scene, soundtracked to The Walkmen with plenty of callbacks, but the idea is just not one I can get behind.
This disappointment about how the finale panned out is all the more when you look back and see that there are actually some great moments in this finale that works as finale moments. Barney seeing his newly born daughter for the first time and declaring his undying love for her using the exact words he used to mock that he would never declare his undying love for anyone is an incredibly sweet moment, as was Ted and Tracy’s first meeting on the Farhampton train platform as they realised how intertwined their lives actually were despite having never met before, and there are plenty of great callbacks to such things Ted’s Hanging Chad Halloween costume and the Cockamouse loose in Lily and Marshall’s apartment (speaking of, Lily and Marshall had some fantastic moments together throughout the finale proving that they really are the show’s best couple). This finale was capable of hitting the right marks yet, on the bigger points, it missed the board completely, putting holes in your wallpapered wall. 


As much as I didn’t like “Last Forever”, though, I doubt it will mar my enjoyment of the show as a whole. How I Met Your Mother was Friends for a new generation, updating all the social norms and graces to something we could relate to in a world of changing technology and general social acceptance. From the many rules and principles, such as The Olive Theory, The Slap Bet, The ‘Nothing Good Happens After 2AM’ Rule, to the general view of the modern dating scene and of friendships, How I Met Your Mother painted a great picture of this world. Though it may seem that the old adage “the journey is always better than the goal” would not apply here, seeing as the point of the show is the goal itself, the journey was still a fantastic one. A poor ending isn’t going to put a dampener on my enjoyment of the running slap bet, of Ted’s two minute date with Stella, of Barney’s ridiculous ways to flirt (namely the full scuba diving suit in McLaren’s), of the search for the Best Burger In New York, of the casting of Milioti and everything she did as Tracy, and of one of the best pilot episodes of a sitcom I have ever seen; so perfectly setting up this world and this group of friends that seemed like they had been a gang for years already, before we even learned anything about their backstory. I may not have enjoyed the way it ended, but I sure as hell enjoyed the journey. Farewell, McLarens, I’ll probably be back soon to revisit the journey all over again.

Nine years ago, way back in 2005, Craig Thomas and Carter Bays somewhat painted themselves into a corner. Unlike, say, Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof of Lost fame, Thomas & Bays already had an idea of how How I Met Your Mother was going to end. So confident were they in this idea that, for the sake of continuity, they had Lyndsy Fonesca and David Henrie record their scenes as Ted Mosby’s children being told the story by an off-screen Future Ted (voiced by Bob Saget), towards the start of production; this included the final scenes of Penny and Luke that appear at the end of last night’s finale. And so it was pegged at the show’s conception that the titular Mother was going to die, thus being the reason why widower-of-six years Future Ted is telling the story to his kids. 

The problem is that no one back in 2005 really expected the show to take off how it did. The two part finale “Last Together” which aired last night signalled the end of a show that lasted for nine seasons and almost a full decade on air; something which is becoming an increasing rarity in today’s TV landscape, especially for a sitcom. Throughout that time, we’ve watched a group of friends twist and turn, adapt and survive through the end of their twenties into their thirties. They’ve been promoted or changed jobs entirely, got married, nearly got married, dated around a lot, or just slept with a lot of people but in the end, the core was just these five friends - Ted Moseby, Robin Scherbatsky, Barney Stinson, Marshall Eriksen, and Lily Aldrin - sat in their regular booth in a pub. It’s this reason why “Last Forever” doesn’t feel like the finale this show deserved, and one that fans were disappointed in (as evidence by any HIMYM Twitter search will show you), as it doesn’t do justice to these characters we’ve spent nearly ten years following. 

To point to other disappointing finales of beloved shows, Lost’s Cuse & Lindelof, as well as Battlestar Galactica’s Ronald D Moore, created endings that weren’t satisfying merely from a story point of view, particularly BSG’s which I still to this day find utterly ridiculous, whereas at least the over-arching themes of Lost work with the finale. How the characters of these two shows ended their personal stories, on the other hand, felt natural to their personalities and, although the characters were surrounded by a finale story that was wrapped up in often ludicrous concepts, they stayed true to the attributes and personalities we had spent so long watching develop (save for, perhaps, Sayid who ends up in the afterlife with Shannon, a relationship that always felt to me like just a “thing” that happened that the show never really invested in as opposed to his relationship with Nadia). How I Met Your Mother’s finale, however, is one that doesn’t seem to conform with the characters that we’ve come to know and, in that regard, feels rather cold and empty and, in some cases, like we’ve wasted our time.

To begin with, it’s probably best to focus on Barney and Robin, the relationship that was the centre of this final season and the breakdown of which would act as the catalyst for that final scene that closes the show; a mirror of the final scene of the pilot. The final 24-episode season took place, in an surprisingly daring and interesting turn, over the course of one weekend as Barney and Robin prepare to get married at an inn in Farhampton, Long Island, I having gotten engaged in Season 8 two-parter “The Final Page”. Throughout this season, we followed the two, as well as the rest of the gang, as they tried to make sure the wedding went off without a hitch, dealing with the usual sitcom scenarios of crazy parents, distant relatives, missing guests, band problems, Karate Kid stars, etc, as well as dealing with the pair as a couple and how they see their future together. Penultimate episode “The End Of The Aisle” sees the two finally tie the knot but, with the dust barely even settled from that, “Last Forever” sees Barney and Robin divorced before the first half of the two part finale is even over! It’s difficult not to feel cheated; after following the trials and tribulations of the Stinson-Scherbatsky relationship over the last few seasons plus an entire season dedicated to their wedding, the whole relationship is torn apart in merely a few smash-vignettes. 

In creating this season, the writers were creating a relationship that we as the viewer were meant to invest in despite them knowing full well that, in one quick sweep, it will be put aside for the sake of the long-planned over-arching story. It’s particularly disappointing when noting that the season did have some incredibly beautiful moments between Barney and Robin, particularly the scene which saw Barney shedding his playboy ways by promising to never lie to Robin about anything. It negates many of these moments, leaving a bitter sense that the writers could not just stick with what they had laid out, and makes the whole thing feel like a big waste of time for many. The idea of a season set over just one weekend was one that piqued my interest, just to see how they would do it, and, after a stuttering start, it worked exceptionally well, producing some of the best episodes in HIMYM’s recent history. But when the core of the season is ultimately pointless, you can’t help but think that there must’ve been a better way to construct the final run that isn’t so heavily invested in a relationship the writers were ready to pull the plug on almost immediately. 

This leads on to what the dissolution of Barney and Robin led up to, the rekindling of the Ted and Robin flame that burned brightly through much of the first few seasons but had been blown out for years by this point. The chemistry between Cobie Smulders and Josh Radnor in the first few series was undeniable and infectious. It was that will-they-won’t-they ‘Sam & Diane’ style thing done extremely well and watching the two develop over the first three seasons was fantastic. This relationship faded out in a wonderfully natural way in Season 3’s “Slapsgiving” before Ted moved on to one of my favourite relationship arcs with Stella (played by Sarah Chalke). It was a relationship I was happy was over and, even though this final season brought back some of those residual feelings that may never leave when you think someone is ‘the one’, it once again put them to bed with the ultimately poignant but poorly executed episode “Sunrise” in which Ted finally lets go (in one of the season’s most unintentionally hilarious scenes which sees Robin float off into the sky, soundtracked by The Bangles’ “Eternal Flame”). I know that it’s all in the spirit of the cyclical nature of the show, with the finale ending with Ted outside Robin’s window in 2030 with the infamous blue French horn from the pilot, but the idea that the story Future Ted is telling his kids is merely a façade for him to pluck up the courage to ask them if it’s OK he starts dating Robin now The Mother has been dead for six years feels like a betrayal of everything this season had worked up to, particularly that floating Robin scene, as well as Ted’s personality which leaves me, again, feeling a little cold.

Though it does make sense as to why the story so far had been less about The Mother and more about “everything else”, it’s incredibly unsatisfying when Thomas & Bays managed to get the casting of The Mother so completely spot on. The introduction of Cristin Milioti as The Mother (finally given a name in the finale: Tracy McConnell) was a shot in the arm for the show. Every scene she was in since her introduction in the finale of Season 8 (being merely a shot of a pair of legs or an bright yellow umbrella up until now) was elevated by her chirpy, infectious presence, be that meeting the characters in the present day or interacting with Ted in flashforwards. It would be criminal not to focus on The Mother-centric episode, “How Your Mother Met Me”, now one of my favourite episodes, which manages to give an emotional rollercoaster of backstory to a character who was more of an idea than a person beforehand, all in the space of just one episode which really let Milioti shine. Though it has been rumoured since pretty much forever, and then heavily hinted at in “Vesuvius”, that The Mother would die, I was less annoyed at the fact that she did but more at how they dealt with The Mother and her death in this finale. The Mother was always a plot point before this final season; she was the end goal for Ted Mosby and his story. But Season 9 turned her into a proper character, one we grew to love and looked forward to glimpses of each episode. Cristin Milioti brought something to the character that made it ‘her’ role, a role that you could never see anyone else playing anymore.

To then portray her as a mere footnote in the finale feels like, in the end, it was the story of Ted and Robin the showrunners wanted to tell, and Tracy was a mere obstacle. The final meeting of Ted and Tracy, a moment fans had been looking forward to since the show began, was as touching and beautiful as one might expect, with lots of callbacks and a nice reveal of The Mother’s name, but their actual life together after that took place mostly off-screen, particularly the moment they find out she is sick and then her death; her illness completely unexplained and her death barely even mentioned. The progression of Ted and Tracy throughout the decade in which they are together doesn’t appear to be of any interest to the writers, who would much rather get back to trying to set Ted and Robin up once again. There’s barely any hint of mourning on Ted’s part which seems utterly ridiculous and completely against his character. Had their casting of Tracy not been so perfect, I doubt I would’ve been as bothered by this; my investment would be much less. But as is, I feel the finale did not give her character the dues she deserved. Altogether, it painted How I Met Your Mother as a show of misdirection; this was never a show about how Ted met his future wife, it was always, right from the start, about Ted and Robin; a relationship that had already been neatly wrapped up not once but twice. The final scene was a very typical How I Met Your Mother scene, soundtracked to The Walkmen with plenty of callbacks, but the idea is just not one I can get behind.

This disappointment about how the finale panned out is all the more when you look back and see that there are actually some great moments in this finale that works as finale moments. Barney seeing his newly born daughter for the first time and declaring his undying love for her using the exact words he used to mock that he would never declare his undying love for anyone is an incredibly sweet moment, as was Ted and Tracy’s first meeting on the Farhampton train platform as they realised how intertwined their lives actually were despite having never met before, and there are plenty of great callbacks to such things Ted’s Hanging Chad Halloween costume and the Cockamouse loose in Lily and Marshall’s apartment (speaking of, Lily and Marshall had some fantastic moments together throughout the finale proving that they really are the show’s best couple). This finale was capable of hitting the right marks yet, on the bigger points, it missed the board completely, putting holes in your wallpapered wall. 

As much as I didn’t like “Last Forever”, though, I doubt it will mar my enjoyment of the show as a whole. How I Met Your Mother was Friends for a new generation, updating all the social norms and graces to something we could relate to in a world of changing technology and general social acceptance. From the many rules and principles, such as The Olive Theory, The Slap Bet, The ‘Nothing Good Happens After 2AM’ Rule, to the general view of the modern dating scene and of friendships, How I Met Your Mother painted a great picture of this world. Though it may seem that the old adage “the journey is always better than the goal” would not apply here, seeing as the point of the show is the goal itself, the journey was still a fantastic one. A poor ending isn’t going to put a dampener on my enjoyment of the running slap bet, of Ted’s two minute date with Stella, of Barney’s ridiculous ways to flirt (namely the full scuba diving suit in McLaren’s), of the search for the Best Burger In New York, of the casting of Milioti and everything she did as Tracy, and of one of the best pilot episodes of a sitcom I have ever seen; so perfectly setting up this world and this group of friends that seemed like they had been a gang for years already, before we even learned anything about their backstory. I may not have enjoyed the way it ended, but I sure as hell enjoyed the journey. Farewell, McLarens, I’ll probably be back soon to revisit the journey all over again.

You’ve heard it before. It’s a situation that can make or break a great song. An artist releases a song, and it becomes relatively popular. A bigger, more famous artist catches wind of the track and falls in love with it — so much so that it leads to a guest verse, hook or remix. The new version becomes infinitely more popular. The song is everywhere. No radio station, TV commercial or website is safe from it. The song starts to become recognized for the feature guest or remixed version, outshining the original artist. 

Sure, it gives some lesser-known artist more shine, eventually leading to other opportunities (like producer Young Chop with Chief Keef’s “I Don’t Like”). But this trend doesn’t come without its faults. Recently, a lot of artists have decided to add their “stamp of approval” to their favorite songs. Nicki Minaj added a verse to Young Thug’s “Danny Glover”. Jay-Z and Jay Electronica recently took over Drake’s “We Made It” to talk shit to the Toronto rapper, so on and so forth.

Usually it’s a dream for an upcoming artist to register a blip on a big name artist’s radar  (don’t mind the Drake example — he can fend for himself on this one). This can sometimes be a negative thing for the original artist, diss tracks aside. No one wants to see his or her hard work and passion overshadowed by someone more famous. It’s probably difficult to only be remembered for a remix version or a guest feature on your song. The exposure is almost always welcome, I’m sure. Overshadowing takes away from the artistic integrity in the same way as not being credited for a sample, to some varying degree. No one likes not being credited for his or her work, even if the situation helps to boost your reputation. You could almost liken it to an unpaid internship or ghostwriting — you do all of the work for an unfair amount of credit. But it helps to build your portfolio, right?

At the end of the day, these major artist endorsements are (for the most part) consensual agreements between artists, lawyers, God and their mothers. It’s the price artists pay for industry and public exposure. In the best case scenario, it’s the chance for fans to live out their dreams of working with their favorite artists. The industry, somewhere underneath all of the grit and grime, is one based off of the fans. Artists are fans of other artists, no matter their place on the fame spectrum. And it’s not impossible for major artists to be fans of the lesser to unknown — it’s how many artists were discovered.

I just hope that in these features or remixes, major artists are careful not to outshine the artist still trying to come up in the world. After all is said and done, every big artist was a nobody at one time. There’s enough fame to go around.

You’ve heard it before. It’s a situation that can make or break a great song. An artist releases a song, and it becomes relatively popular. A bigger, more famous artist catches wind of the track and falls in love with it — so much so that it leads to a guest verse, hook or remix. The new version becomes infinitely more popular. The song is everywhere. No radio station, TV commercial or website is safe from it. The song starts to become recognized for the feature guest or remixed version, outshining the original artist.

Sure, it gives some lesser-known artist more shine, eventually leading to other opportunities (like producer Young Chop with Chief Keef’s “I Don’t Like”). But this trend doesn’t come without its faults. Recently, a lot of artists have decided to add their “stamp of approval” to their favorite songs. Nicki Minaj added a verse to Young Thug’s “Danny Glover”. Jay-Z and Jay Electronica recently took over Drake’s “We Made It” to talk shit to the Toronto rapper, so on and so forth.

Usually it’s a dream for an upcoming artist to register a blip on a big name artist’s radar  (don’t mind the Drake example — he can fend for himself on this one). This can sometimes be a negative thing for the original artist, diss tracks aside. No one wants to see his or her hard work and passion overshadowed by someone more famous. It’s probably difficult to only be remembered for a remix version or a guest feature on your song. The exposure is almost always welcome, I’m sure. Overshadowing takes away from the artistic integrity in the same way as not being credited for a sample, to some varying degree. No one likes not being credited for his or her work, even if the situation helps to boost your reputation. You could almost liken it to an unpaid internship or ghostwriting — you do all of the work for an unfair amount of credit. But it helps to build your portfolio, right?

At the end of the day, these major artist endorsements are (for the most part) consensual agreements between artists, lawyers, God and their mothers. It’s the price artists pay for industry and public exposure. In the best case scenario, it’s the chance for fans to live out their dreams of working with their favorite artists. The industry, somewhere underneath all of the grit and grime, is one based off of the fans. Artists are fans of other artists, no matter their place on the fame spectrum. And it’s not impossible for major artists to be fans of the lesser to unknown — it’s how many artists were discovered.

I just hope that in these features or remixes, major artists are careful not to outshine the artist still trying to come up in the world. After all is said and done, every big artist was a nobody at one time. There’s enough fame to go around.

Say what you want about Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover if you’re more familiar with his acting and writing with Community and 30 Rock) and say what you want about his most recent album Because The Internet, but it changed the state of the hip-hop release to date. Not only did the 19-track release come with its own screenplay and an app only to be used during his on-going tour, but it might be responsible for hip-hop’s first pre-sample.

"Telegraph Ave", by R&B singer Lloyd, plays as Gambino sings along during an angsty drive to an unknown lady friend’s place in Oakland, California. It goes through the activities and emotions leading up to this fateful meeting that Gambino knows is a bad idea, but lust compels him enough to make the drive. The song was never recorded in its entirety, as Gambino made the feature for the sole purpose of the initial track sequence. The song garnered an overwhelming response, with numerous Internet forums and blogs searching for a link to the original song. But recently, Lloyd received the green light from Gambino to record a full-version of the song for his upcoming album, The Playboy Diaries Vol. 2. 

Childish Gambino managed to go around the commonplace activity of sampling a full song. Instead of taking an already complete song and using it for the relatively short sequence, he created a song performed by someone else to fit within the context of his story. Sure, there are probably hundreds of other songs that could have fit the emotion he was trying to convey. But what better way to ensure listeners knew how he was feeling in the moment than to cater it specifically to the album.

There are a few reasons why it was genius. It eliminated the need to pay for redistribution rights to another artist. The song didn’t have to be altered in order to get through a loophole in media law. It not only gave Lloyd new material for his upcoming album, but without trying, it helped to promote it. “Telegraph Ave” was possibly one of the best songs on the album, and ushered in hip-hop’s first pre-sample. 

Does this mean we can look for more cleverly placed, strategically created tracks/collaborations in the future? We can only hope so. Maybe some other artist will catch on, allowing another artist to get some shine on their album and possible material for their own project. 
If the Internet has anything to do with it, like in this scenario, I think we can look forward to more pre-samples.

Say what you want about Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover if you’re more familiar with his acting and writing with Community and 30 Rock) and say what you want about his most recent album Because The Internet, but it changed the state of the hip-hop release to date. Not only did the 19-track release come with its own screenplay and an app only to be used during his on-going tour, but it might be responsible for hip-hop’s first pre-sample.

"Telegraph Ave", by R&B singer Lloyd, plays as Gambino sings along during an angsty drive to an unknown lady friend’s place in Oakland, California. It goes through the activities and emotions leading up to this fateful meeting that Gambino knows is a bad idea, but lust compels him enough to make the drive. The song was never recorded in its entirety, as Gambino made the feature for the sole purpose of the initial track sequence. The song garnered an overwhelming response, with numerous Internet forums and blogs searching for a link to the original song. But recently, Lloyd received the green light from Gambino to record a full-version of the song for his upcoming album, The Playboy Diaries Vol. 2.

Childish Gambino managed to go around the commonplace activity of sampling a full song. Instead of taking an already complete song and using it for the relatively short sequence, he created a song performed by someone else to fit within the context of his story. Sure, there are probably hundreds of other songs that could have fit the emotion he was trying to convey. But what better way to ensure listeners knew how he was feeling in the moment than to cater it specifically to the album.

There are a few reasons why it was genius. It eliminated the need to pay for redistribution rights to another artist. The song didn’t have to be altered in order to get through a loophole in media law. It not only gave Lloyd new material for his upcoming album, but without trying, it helped to promote it. “Telegraph Ave” was possibly one of the best songs on the album, and ushered in hip-hop’s first pre-sample.

Does this mean we can look for more cleverly placed, strategically created tracks/collaborations in the future? We can only hope so. Maybe some other artist will catch on, allowing another artist to get some shine on their album and possible material for their own project.

If the Internet has anything to do with it, like in this scenario, I think we can look forward to more pre-samples.

2014 has been already been pretty good to rap collective and record label, Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE). Kendrick Lamar kicked ass at the Grammys (despite not winning any well-deserved awards for Good Kid, M.A.A.D City), Schoolboy Q finally released the widely anticipated Oxymoron, and set off on a nationwide tour, whilst Ab Soul is working on releasing a new project this year. But it’s the alluring female presence of newest member SZA who’s bringing a welcome new sound to TDE’s roster. 

SZA’s mixture of R&B, dream-pop and hip-hop in what she calls “glitter trap” gives the normally hard collective a soft side. She’s different from what we’ve been seeing out of the female side of hip-hop. She joins the ranks of Odd Future offshoot The Internet and Jhené Aiko, crossing the border where hip-hop and R&B meet. Her piercingly beautiful voice and honest, descriptive lyrics give a quasi-Frank Ocean vibe, you know, while being a woman. 

She doesn’t present herself in a sexual manner, like we’re so used to seeing with women in the music industry. She comes off as more of a tomboy with touches of femininity and hippy-like qualities, with sexuality finding a place within the context of her music. Her videos take you on a journey through the introspective lyrics, telling you a story while making you feel like you’re on a ‘shroom trip. SZA has a way of making you feel like you’re in a daze, searching for meaning in life along with her through a series of brooding and whimsy. She’s raw, honest and fascinating like the other members of TDE, while being some hidden force in her own right.

The visuals that accompany her music have a way of making you feel as if you’re suspended in a daydream-like state. The hazy melodies and hard bass beats combined with strong visuals draw you in, making you curious about who she is. SZA has the ability to tear your heart out and make you fall in love with her simultaneously. She’s honest, raw, and fascinating like the other members of TDE, while being a force all her own.

The reason I think she’s such a great fit for TDE is because she’s a great creative force; it only makes sense that she’d be a part of one of the biggest forces in hip-hop at the moment. The state of women hip-hop went through a bit of a stagnant point, with a lot of bold and brash sexuality or the fifteen minutes it seem like white girl rappers were running things. I definitely can’t knock the hustle of any lady in the game, but with an already marginalized industry — it’s nice to see something different. 

And sure, you can argue about SZA’s sound being more R&B than hip-hop, mostly because she sings instead of rapping. But in a day and age where R&B/hip-hop crossovers are omnipresent, her sound fits in the cross-polinations of genres just fine. If Drake, Nicki Minaj, Missy Elliott, Frank Ocean (this list could go on) can do it, why the fuck can’t she?

Nevertheless, SZA is the perfect mixture of different, current and talented that TDE needed in a female counterpart. The match was definitely made in some glitter-filled heaven, and I look forward to seeing her progress as an artist.

2014 has been already been pretty good to rap collective and record label, Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE). Kendrick Lamar kicked ass at the Grammys (despite not winning any well-deserved awards for Good Kid, M.A.A.D City), Schoolboy Q finally released the widely anticipated Oxymoron, and set off on a nationwide tour, whilst Ab Soul is working on releasing a new project this year. But it’s the alluring female presence of newest member SZA who’s bringing a welcome new sound to TDE’s roster.

SZA’s mixture of R&B, dream-pop and hip-hop in what she calls “glitter trap” gives the normally hard collective a soft side. She’s different from what we’ve been seeing out of the female side of hip-hop. She joins the ranks of Odd Future offshoot The Internet and Jhené Aiko, crossing the border where hip-hop and R&B meet. Her piercingly beautiful voice and honest, descriptive lyrics give a quasi-Frank Ocean vibe, you know, while being a woman.

She doesn’t present herself in a sexual manner, like we’re so used to seeing with women in the music industry. She comes off as more of a tomboy with touches of femininity and hippy-like qualities, with sexuality finding a place within the context of her music. Her videos take you on a journey through the introspective lyrics, telling you a story while making you feel like you’re on a ‘shroom trip. SZA has a way of making you feel like you’re in a daze, searching for meaning in life along with her through a series of brooding and whimsy. She’s raw, honest and fascinating like the other members of TDE, while being some hidden force in her own right.

The visuals that accompany her music have a way of making you feel as if you’re suspended in a daydream-like state. The hazy melodies and hard bass beats combined with strong visuals draw you in, making you curious about who she is. SZA has the ability to tear your heart out and make you fall in love with her simultaneously. She’s honest, raw, and fascinating like the other members of TDE, while being a force all her own.

The reason I think she’s such a great fit for TDE is because she’s a great creative force; it only makes sense that she’d be a part of one of the biggest forces in hip-hop at the moment. The state of women hip-hop went through a bit of a stagnant point, with a lot of bold and brash sexuality or the fifteen minutes it seem like white girl rappers were running things. I definitely can’t knock the hustle of any lady in the game, but with an already marginalized industry — it’s nice to see something different.

And sure, you can argue about SZA’s sound being more R&B than hip-hop, mostly because she sings instead of rapping. But in a day and age where R&B/hip-hop crossovers are omnipresent, her sound fits in the cross-polinations of genres just fine. If Drake, Nicki Minaj, Missy Elliott, Frank Ocean (this list could go on) can do it, why the fuck can’t she?

Nevertheless, SZA is the perfect mixture of different, current and talented that TDE needed in a female counterpart. The match was definitely made in some glitter-filled heaven, and I look forward to seeing her progress as an artist.

Since about 2012, there’s been speculation across the Internet about the state of rapper Chief Keef’s mental health, more specifically about a possible mental disorder. Although mostly just rumours at this point and unconfirmed by the rapper himself, videos and interviews (like one conducted by fellow rapper Childish Gambino) displaying Keef’s strange mannerisms and inability to communicate well with others could suggest the potential that he has a condition known as Asperger syndrome, a higher functioning form of autism. 

Now, I’m not a medical professional; I can’t really substantiate a real diagnosis or anything. But if Chief Keef really does have the disorder, I think that he could be an unlikely but positive role model for other young people with it. For starters, those with Asperger syndrome are not incapable of living normal, fulfilling lives. Not too often, mental disorders are and their carriers are stigmatized as being unable to function on their own or be productive members of society. 

Chief Keef shits on this notion. 

Despite awkward mannerisms and difficulty communicating with others, he was able to establish one of the most notorious rap careers of the young decade. His elusiveness both on and off camera made him more sought after by the media and fans. He signed a $6 million deal with Interscope Records for three albums, based entirely on a career he built from releasing YouTube videos while being on house arrest.

Critics will argue about his violence-and-drug-charged lyrics being a catalyst for the rising crime rate in his native Chicago, but too often these criticisms ignore the societal reasons, the rapid decline of educational, health and safety resources in the area that produce these crime-ridden life styles as a means of survival. I’m not glorifying a life of crime as a positive influence for Asperger syndrome, or a productive means of survival. I’m just noting the complexities of the infamous rapper.

Criminal history aside, Chief Keef managed to take his difficult surrounding and turn them into entertainment, enabling him to turn his situation around and eventually leave the lifestyle altogether. Stories like his are perfect for inspiring hope, in any situation, especially if afflicted with Asperger’s. That doesn’t mean that everyone has what it takes for a lucrative rap career, far from it, but they show that passion, hard work and being yourself can take you places that you never imagined were possible. 

It isn’t the cliché success story you see in campaigns for disorders like Asperger syndrome. It’s a raw, in-your-face and slightly scary look at a young man’s rise above his circumstances, despite his (possible) disorder holding him back, on top of all of his other obstacles. Even if Keef doesn’t have the disorder, his story is one of perseverance and determination that anyone could admire, even if it’s only slightly. And if he does have it, his story is so different from the normal portrayals of people with the disorder that it can speak to people in a new and profound way. His testimony could reach people with the disorder whose circumstances currently or previously mirrored his own upbringing. Not everyone with Asperger syndrome shares similar circumstances or back stories. Media representations too often (with any disorder) suggest otherwise, ignoring various sects of society.
Chief Keef could change this, with a hot ass song as the background.

Since about 2012, there’s been speculation across the Internet about the state of rapper Chief Keef’s mental health, more specifically about a possible mental disorder. Although mostly just rumours at this point and unconfirmed by the rapper himself, videos and interviews (like one conducted by fellow rapper Childish Gambino) displaying Keef’s strange mannerisms and inability to communicate well with others could suggest the potential that he has a condition known as Asperger syndrome, a higher functioning form of autism.

Now, I’m not a medical professional; I can’t really substantiate a real diagnosis or anything. But if Chief Keef really does have the disorder, I think that he could be an unlikely but positive role model for other young people with it. For starters, those with Asperger syndrome are not incapable of living normal, fulfilling lives. Not too often, mental disorders are and their carriers are stigmatized as being unable to function on their own or be productive members of society.

Chief Keef shits on this notion.

Despite awkward mannerisms and difficulty communicating with others, he was able to establish one of the most notorious rap careers of the young decade. His elusiveness both on and off camera made him more sought after by the media and fans. He signed a $6 million deal with Interscope Records for three albums, based entirely on a career he built from releasing YouTube videos while being on house arrest.

Critics will argue about his violence-and-drug-charged lyrics being a catalyst for the rising crime rate in his native Chicago, but too often these criticisms ignore the societal reasons, the rapid decline of educational, health and safety resources in the area that produce these crime-ridden life styles as a means of survival. I’m not glorifying a life of crime as a positive influence for Asperger syndrome, or a productive means of survival. I’m just noting the complexities of the infamous rapper.

Criminal history aside, Chief Keef managed to take his difficult surrounding and turn them into entertainment, enabling him to turn his situation around and eventually leave the lifestyle altogether. Stories like his are perfect for inspiring hope, in any situation, especially if afflicted with Asperger’s. That doesn’t mean that everyone has what it takes for a lucrative rap career, far from it, but they show that passion, hard work and being yourself can take you places that you never imagined were possible.

It isn’t the cliché success story you see in campaigns for disorders like Asperger syndrome. It’s a raw, in-your-face and slightly scary look at a young man’s rise above his circumstances, despite his (possible) disorder holding him back, on top of all of his other obstacles. Even if Keef doesn’t have the disorder, his story is one of perseverance and determination that anyone could admire, even if it’s only slightly. And if he does have it, his story is so different from the normal portrayals of people with the disorder that it can speak to people in a new and profound way. His testimony could reach people with the disorder whose circumstances currently or previously mirrored his own upbringing. Not everyone with Asperger syndrome shares similar circumstances or back stories. Media representations too often (with any disorder) suggest otherwise, ignoring various sects of society.

Chief Keef could change this, with a hot ass song as the background.

For almost two decades, Netflix has provided the world with a convenient, cheap way to stream a wide variety of TV shows, movies and documentaries. But over the past two years, the subscription service started integrating original, Netflix-exclusive programming into the mix. Series such as Orange Is The New Black and House of Cards have captivated viewers and left them begging for more. This list of made for Netflix programming is rapidly growing, and I have eight reasons why that’s a good thing.
No extended waiting times between television airings and Netflix picking up a seasonThis is great for people who’ve opted out of traditional cable services for Internet subscription services. Original programming also eliminates the need to dodge certain websites and/or social media to avoid spoilers from people who still have cable and can’t wait to discuss the latest episode, ruining for viewers who wait until the entire season is on Netflix. The only negative side of this is just waiting for the new season to air (like the OITNB fandom desperately waiting for June 6). At least the entire season is released all at once.
Adoption of great series that would have otherwise been canceledNiche shows like Arrested Development and Trailer Park Boys have Netflix to thank for their continuation after being let go by their respective TV channels. Netflix is often the last vestige of hope for viewing a lot of shows and movies, but only recently have they taken on the task of making new episodes for the enjoyment of the masses.
You can watch at your own paceAll of the episodes of a season are released at once as opposed to waiting week-to-week, sometimes longer if a show decides to take a break. There’s no anxiously counting down the days between each episode, or tortuous marathons of re-runs because a channel needs filler programming. Aside from the few months wait (as mentioned in reason number one), an entire season is delivered nicely in a convenient package for you to view with all your justified pauses for important text messages, snack runs and bathroom breaks, just as God intended.
Shows are created without TV censorship in mindCensorship guidelines vary from country to country, but they still play an important role in what TV producers place in their shows during the writing process. Without TV airings, there’s not as much of a burden on what can and cannot be placed in a show. This enables shows to feature more graphic language and elements as producers see fit. Shows can be as dramatic, bloody, sexual, political or any of the other aspects producers (who are at their core, artists) see fit to convey the message they’re sending to their viewers. Programming can be marketed to wider (or more segmented) audience based on this.
Character developments are strongerThis reason can arguably be a part of number four, but I decided to make it a reason all its own. Where reason number four heavily emphasises the plot component of a show, character development is an equally important but separate part. But my reasoning behind both four and five is the same — Netflix allows producers of a show to do more since they don’t have to follow the same guidelines that TV broadcasts do. A good example of this is season four of Arrested Development. Although the season didn’t follow the same formula as the previous three, the show focused on each character’s story in a unique way, tying all of their stories together at the end of the season. The plot seemed to drag at first because of this, but once the stories started tying together, I appreciated Netflix’s adaptation even more.
Suggestions for other great, but similar showsThis is a pretty standard feature after finishing any of the programs on Netflix. An entire queue of programming is generated based off of your viewing patterns, changing with each new show you watch. You don’t get this luxury with cable TV. With TV, you either watch what’s up next after your preferred program, or you search blindly through a guide that doesn’t always give you an accurate description. Netflix helps you stick to your viewing preferences in the nicest, most convenient way possible.
No commercialsYou never have to deal with commercial breaks that leave you dangling precariously on the edge of suspense for a show that you’ve already waited long enough for the next part of the plot arch. Made for Netflix series might as well be virgins to the concept of advertising during actual air time. You’re hour viewing block is realistically cut down to the 42 actual minutes of programming, so you can schedule your life accordingly.
They’re surprisingly better than you’d expectI, like many people I’m sure, was shocked when I heard that Arrested Development was being brought back for a fourth season, but as a Netflix exclusive. I didn’t know what to expect when friends and co-workers desperately urged me to watch made for Netflix drama Orange Is the New Black. I was slightly concerned when my boyfriend decided to turn on Hemlock Grove to get us out of our viewing rut. And I was skeptical of all of the hype surrounding House of Cards. But each of these shows surprised me with how well they kept me intrigued, how much I kept laughing and the fact that I didn’t stop watching after the first couple of episodes. Netflix put a lot of time, thought and effort into delivering quality programming to the masses, careful not to squander its reputable in the process. These shows are among a host of original series, specials, films, and miniseries used to  further draw people into the glory that is Netflix.
If you spend as much time as the average, Internet obsessed individual scrolling through your Netflix queue trying to find something new to watch, I recommend trying one of the original series. You might get sucked into another 11-hour watching spree that leaves you dazed, lethargic and desperate for more.

For almost two decades, Netflix has provided the world with a convenient, cheap way to stream a wide variety of TV shows, movies and documentaries. But over the past two years, the subscription service started integrating original, Netflix-exclusive programming into the mix. Series such as Orange Is The New Black and House of Cards have captivated viewers and left them begging for more. This list of made for Netflix programming is rapidly growing, and I have eight reasons why that’s a good thing.

  1. No extended waiting times between television airings and Netflix picking up a season
    This is great for people who’ve opted out of traditional cable services for Internet subscription services. Original programming also eliminates the need to dodge certain websites and/or social media to avoid spoilers from people who still have cable and can’t wait to discuss the latest episode, ruining for viewers who wait until the entire season is on Netflix. The only negative side of this is just waiting for the new season to air (like the OITNB fandom desperately waiting for June 6). At least the entire season is released all at once.

  2. Adoption of great series that would have otherwise been canceled
    Niche shows like Arrested Development and Trailer Park Boys have Netflix to thank for their continuation after being let go by their respective TV channels. Netflix is often the last vestige of hope for viewing a lot of shows and movies, but only recently have they taken on the task of making new episodes for the enjoyment of the masses.

  3. You can watch at your own pace
    All of the episodes of a season are released at once as opposed to waiting week-to-week, sometimes longer if a show decides to take a break. There’s no anxiously counting down the days between each episode, or tortuous marathons of re-runs because a channel needs filler programming. Aside from the few months wait (as mentioned in reason number one), an entire season is delivered nicely in a convenient package for you to view with all your justified pauses for important text messages, snack runs and bathroom breaks, just as God intended.

  4. Shows are created without TV censorship in mind
    Censorship guidelines vary from country to country, but they still play an important role in what TV producers place in their shows during the writing process. Without TV airings, there’s not as much of a burden on what can and cannot be placed in a show. This enables shows to feature more graphic language and elements as producers see fit. Shows can be as dramatic, bloody, sexual, political or any of the other aspects producers (who are at their core, artists) see fit to convey the message they’re sending to their viewers. Programming can be marketed to wider (or more segmented) audience based on this.

  5. Character developments are stronger
    This reason can arguably be a part of number four, but I decided to make it a reason all its own. Where reason number four heavily emphasises the plot component of a show, character development is an equally important but separate part. But my reasoning behind both four and five is the same — Netflix allows producers of a show to do more since they don’t have to follow the same guidelines that TV broadcasts do. A good example of this is season four of Arrested Development. Although the season didn’t follow the same formula as the previous three, the show focused on each character’s story in a unique way, tying all of their stories together at the end of the season. The plot seemed to drag at first because of this, but once the stories started tying together, I appreciated Netflix’s adaptation even more.

  6. Suggestions for other great, but similar shows
    This is a pretty standard feature after finishing any of the programs on Netflix. An entire queue of programming is generated based off of your viewing patterns, changing with each new show you watch. You don’t get this luxury with cable TV. With TV, you either watch what’s up next after your preferred program, or you search blindly through a guide that doesn’t always give you an accurate description. Netflix helps you stick to your viewing preferences in the nicest, most convenient way possible.

  7. No commercials
    You never have to deal with commercial breaks that leave you dangling precariously on the edge of suspense for a show that you’ve already waited long enough for the next part of the plot arch. Made for Netflix series might as well be virgins to the concept of advertising during actual air time. You’re hour viewing block is realistically cut down to the 42 actual minutes of programming, so you can schedule your life accordingly.

  8. They’re surprisingly better than you’d expect
    I, like many people I’m sure, was shocked when I heard that Arrested Development was being brought back for a fourth season, but as a Netflix exclusive. I didn’t know what to expect when friends and co-workers desperately urged me to watch made for Netflix drama Orange Is the New Black. I was slightly concerned when my boyfriend decided to turn on Hemlock Grove to get us out of our viewing rut. And I was skeptical of all of the hype surrounding House of Cards. But each of these shows surprised me with how well they kept me intrigued, how much I kept laughing and the fact that I didn’t stop watching after the first couple of episodes. Netflix put a lot of time, thought and effort into delivering quality programming to the masses, careful not to squander its reputable in the process. These shows are among a host of original series, specials, films, and miniseries used to  further draw people into the glory that is Netflix.

If you spend as much time as the average, Internet obsessed individual scrolling through your Netflix queue trying to find something new to watch, I recommend trying one of the original series. You might get sucked into another 11-hour watching spree that leaves you dazed, lethargic and desperate for more.

Oh em eff gee.
If you watched Heroes (like a decent human being) then feel free to carry on reading, if you’ve never heard of it then I guess that’s kind of acceptable, but what are you, a hermit? Either way, go and watch it and then come back (you might be a while). However if you’re one of these “Oh yeah I watched that for the first season or two but then it went bad” kind of people, then just leave, you’re not welcome here. Yeah I get that it may have trailed off a little bit, and some bits were just down right crazy. But hey, this is Tim Kring, eventually you just get to do whatever the fuck you like with your shows, and why not? He’s done his hard work just for bringing Hiro and Sylar into my life.
But alas, onto the topic at hand…
I saw one of the best 21 second-long youtube videos of my life today (if you haven’t already, watch it here). Ever since Heroes ended way back in 2010, every time I saw the image of a solar eclipse, I stood up and proclaimed “Finally! It has happened! Heroes is coming back!” …as it unfortunately turns out, that’s quite a popular bit of iconography, and it’s been on a few film trailers/music videos/adverts, so yeah, it’s been four years of crushed dreams (and public embarrassment from jumping up and shouting at screens so much). Today though, it happened, and I almost wee’d. Sure there have been rumours of a possible spin-off film, or an internet mini-series, but hearing that it’s going to be back on TV for (supposedly) thirteen whole episodes, damn, just… damn.
Once again, as I said, if you’re not familiar with the show, I guess you’ll be a bit like, “oh, erm, this guy seems to like this a little bit too much”, and you’re probably right, but don’t let my overenthusiastic words and love for Zachary Quinto put you off the best show of the pre-Breaking Bad era (to be known to future generations as B.BB). Hopefully though most of you will at least have a clue to what’s going on here, which is superlative; you should share in my glowing happiness until 2015 when the series kicks off once more.
Yep, that’s right, the trailer revealed pretty much only two things: the title, and that I have to wait nearly a year for this. That’s the kind of thing that can physically and mentally wound people. I wouldn’t really care if I had to wait until December to find out Heroes was returning, but is it really necessary to start the hype this early? Really? It’s like finding out what you’re getting for your birthday next year… The day after your birthday this year, but then you also haven’t had a birthday since 2010 (people with leap year birthdays, I now understand your pain).
And I’m also a bit sceptical about the title. Heroes Reborn? Why isn’t it still just Heroes? What are parts of the vital elements of the show are you messing with to require a title alteration? I’ve heard rumours that some of the old cast might “pop in”. Pop in? They’re not a distant relative, callin round for a brew and a chat, they’re the foundations of the show! They’ve given me what I’ve been waiting for, for four years (alliteration bonus) but they’ve provided it in such a way that it’s made me automatically suspicious. And I don’t want to be suspicious, I just want to look forward to my favourite show, I really do. There’s so few things for me to look forward to, I just want one. Please, just give me this, NBC?
I suppose I can’t really complain, the one thing that Heroes actually did well was have a half decent character-turnover rate, mainly because one of the main characters was going around and killing everyone.. But hey, it worked. Kring has been confirmed to be returning to his showrunner’s chair for the reboot, but apart from that details are relatively low on the ground, and NBC have made a point of telling everyone that that’s how it’s going to stay, at least until shit gets sorted (I don’t think that’s their exact wording, but it’s close enough).Seems like it’s going to be a year of anticipation and turmoil for me. Wonderful.

On a final good note, Masi Oka has hinted as delicately as a ticking clock (see what I did there), that he might be coming back, tweeting that it might be “time to dust off the sword”, what a guy.

Oh em eff gee.

If you watched Heroes (like a decent human being) then feel free to carry on reading, if you’ve never heard of it then I guess that’s kind of acceptable, but what are you, a hermit? Either way, go and watch it and then come back (you might be a while). However if you’re one of these “Oh yeah I watched that for the first season or two but then it went bad” kind of people, then just leave, you’re not welcome here. Yeah I get that it may have trailed off a little bit, and some bits were just down right crazy. But hey, this is Tim Kring, eventually you just get to do whatever the fuck you like with your shows, and why not? He’s done his hard work just for bringing Hiro and Sylar into my life.

But alas, onto the topic at hand…

I saw one of the best 21 second-long youtube videos of my life today (if you haven’t already, watch it here). Ever since Heroes ended way back in 2010, every time I saw the image of a solar eclipse, I stood up and proclaimed “Finally! It has happened! Heroes is coming back!” …as it unfortunately turns out, that’s quite a popular bit of iconography, and it’s been on a few film trailers/music videos/adverts, so yeah, it’s been four years of crushed dreams (and public embarrassment from jumping up and shouting at screens so much). Today though, it happened, and I almost wee’d. Sure there have been rumours of a possible spin-off film, or an internet mini-series, but hearing that it’s going to be back on TV for (supposedly) thirteen whole episodes, damn, just… damn.

Once again, as I said, if you’re not familiar with the show, I guess you’ll be a bit like, “oh, erm, this guy seems to like this a little bit too much”, and you’re probably right, but don’t let my overenthusiastic words and love for Zachary Quinto put you off the best show of the pre-Breaking Bad era (to be known to future generations as B.BB). Hopefully though most of you will at least have a clue to what’s going on here, which is superlative; you should share in my glowing happiness until 2015 when the series kicks off once more.

Yep, that’s right, the trailer revealed pretty much only two things: the title, and that I have to wait nearly a year for this. That’s the kind of thing that can physically and mentally wound people. I wouldn’t really care if I had to wait until December to find out Heroes was returning, but is it really necessary to start the hype this early? Really? It’s like finding out what you’re getting for your birthday next year… The day after your birthday this year, but then you also haven’t had a birthday since 2010 (people with leap year birthdays, I now understand your pain).

And I’m also a bit sceptical about the title. Heroes Reborn? Why isn’t it still just Heroes? What are parts of the vital elements of the show are you messing with to require a title alteration? I’ve heard rumours that some of the old cast might “pop in”. Pop in? They’re not a distant relative, callin round for a brew and a chat, they’re the foundations of the show! They’ve given me what I’ve been waiting for, for four years (alliteration bonus) but they’ve provided it in such a way that it’s made me automatically suspicious. And I don’t want to be suspicious, I just want to look forward to my favourite show, I really do. There’s so few things for me to look forward to, I just want one. Please, just give me this, NBC?

I suppose I can’t really complain, the one thing that Heroes actually did well was have a half decent character-turnover rate, mainly because one of the main characters was going around and killing everyone.. But hey, it worked. Kring has been confirmed to be returning to his showrunner’s chair for the reboot, but apart from that details are relatively low on the ground, and NBC have made a point of telling everyone that that’s how it’s going to stay, at least until shit gets sorted (I don’t think that’s their exact wording, but it’s close enough).Seems like it’s going to be a year of anticipation and turmoil for me. Wonderful.

On a final good note, Masi Oka has hinted as delicately as a ticking clock (see what I did there), that he might be coming back, tweeting that it might be “time to dust off the sword”, what a guy.

When a sitcom gets nine seasons into its run, it becomes incredibly hard to avoid becoming entirely self-referential and tedious. With a lot of shows, the quality of the show becomes purely about the fans’ attachment to its characters, but thankfully, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia has set itself such a strong foundation of character that in being self-referential, the comedy of the show comes back to the same principles - how ridiculous The Gang’s morality and mentality is. 

So here we are - breaking the 100 episode mark in Always Sunny’s quality back catalogue in Season 9. Notably from the first episode of this season is that the production values have skyrocketed. Guest appearances this season came from Sean William Scott, Conan O’Brien, Burn Gorman (Torchwood and Pacific Rim) and Oscar from the Office (in an episode poking fun at The Office-style comedies and at Always Sunny’s own lack of awards). 

A pleasant step up from the sometimes lackluster Season 8, Season 9 has undoubtedly reached the highest in terms of concept and ambition. “The Gang Saves The Day”’s martial arts section and fully animated Up pastiche are massive lea[s looking back to the first season. There’s a big variety in location this season with the gang visiting planetariums, comedy clubs and gun stores - sometimes the location is a bit of an unnecessary distraction from the almost stage show-esque charm of the show. Highlights of the season are “The Gang Broke Dee” in a beautiful piece of character exposition and “The Gang Gets Quarantined” which escalates more than any episode of Sunny has potentially ever escalated. 

Lamentable however was the return of Mac in blackface (Macface?) in “The Gang Films Lethal Weapon 6” which is probably the poorest episode of Sunny to date and simply not good enough, even for a show which toes the line almost all of the time. A couple of episode-wide swings and misses - thanksgiving episode/season finale “The Gang Squashes Their Beefs” was a potentially excellent concept executed poorly as returning characters come together with the Gang to make amends. The news that Game Of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had penned an episode caused a lot of excitement and interest in fans, being the first people outside of the regular production crew to write an episode, but whilst “Flowers For Charlie” is a brilliant idea which is almost all punchline, it’s simply stretched too thin for the short runtime of the episode; perhaps a two-parter could’ve been a preferable alternative to “…Lethal Weapon 6”. 

Season 9 is a step up from last year’s episodes and shows that The Gang still has it, but it’s a far cry from the lofty heights of the classic Seasons 5 and 6. 

SEASON GRADE: B

There are two things that always appear to be synonymous with horror, both lying at either end of the spectrum of sound. One is the scream, the very vocal representation of fear. An often involuntary expression, it is a sound that, if the work on screen is effective enough, comes as much from the audience themselves as the characters on screen; a sound so linked to horror that an entire series of films was simply entitled Scream. The other is silence; the complete absence of sound, it is the exact opposite of a scream but is no less terror-inducing. Silent horror films such as Nosferatu and The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari are equally as terrifying as their ‘bump in the night’ and ‘jump scare’ fuelled modern counterparts. The imagination fills the gaps in the lack of sound and that, in and of itself, is enough to set the mind whirring as to what’s out there. The highlight of Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s fourth season, Hush, manages to use these two motifs almost perfectly to create something incredibly eerie.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer had never really been a show that scared me. It mainly used ghost stories, old fairytales and big bad monsters of the week for more allegorical purposes, particularly focusing around the loss of innocence and the usual day-to-day goings on of teenage life. It was essentially a John Hughes movie with vampires; a dissection of the progression into adulthood stuffed full of witty authentic-sounding dialogue (so much so that it named a trope) and some pretty cool action. That is until Hush, an episode that not only managed to terrify its viewers but also showed that creator Joss Whedon was willing to take risks from the usual formula he had developed and really put the entire genre on its head (something which he would later repeat in the season finale, as well as in fifth season episode The Body and sixth season episode Once More With Feeling). There’s a reason why the aforementioned episodes in particular are ranked amongst Buffy’s best. Hush in particular was seen as a big middle finger from Whedon to the critics who said Buffy relied too much on dialogue, with very little throughout the episode’s running time.
The episode focuses around the arrival of a group of monsters known as The Gentleman, impeccably dressed with terrifying rictus grins plastered across their faces, who glide into Sunnydale with no discernible motivation other than to literally steal hearts from the residents while removing everyone’s ability to speak or make sound. They’re the ultimate bogeymen; unwilling to negotiate or be reasoned with and can only be killed with a scream, made impossible thanks to their tiny wooden box stealing the voices of their victims. They ooze sophistication, with their on-point tailoring and exaggerated, theatrical movements, but it’s a sort of chilling sophistication, the same type you’d associated with the multiple incarnations of Hannibal Lecter or Count Dracula, who could probably charm you were it not for their ghoulish features.  The monsters in Buffy have always been more terrifying for what they could do, rather than how they looked. Due to the low budget, many often looked rather comical but, with The Gentlemen unable to express what they would do through words, as all these other monsters before were able to do, they had to portray their evil through how they look and how they moved, feeling more like delicate mimes than lumbering behemoths.
But it’s not just the look of these villains that makes Hush so terrifying, though they contribute massively to that fact, it’s the use of sound, or rather the absence of it, which really adds a creepy edge to the episode. It seems to strike right at the fears of its audience. If the ability to alert others to some form of trouble is taken away, it makes that oncoming trouble that more terrifying because it removes any ability to stop it. Even in the direst of situations, The Scooby Gang have always been able to talk things out and come up with a proper plan. Here, they know something is wrong but they can’t accurately communicate what it is or what they can do; the scene in which Buffy and Xander try to talk on the phone is equally as worrying as it is funny. Whedon’s dialogue, for me at least, has always acted as something to compensate the horror. A little quip here or there usually helps to alleviate the tension but, with that ability removed, the tension is ramped up to the nth degree.
This lack of dialogue also ramps up the other foley sounds, accentuating that ‘bump in the night’ fear. A glass smashing on the floor is exaggerated when there are no other sounds around it. Although we don’t see The Gentlemen remove the heart of their first victim, a UC Sunnydale student who tries to call for help to no avail, we can hear in almost too much gory detail the scalpel being plunged into his chest, which makes it slightly more terrifying that seeing the action itself. This is what makes the final scream that destroys The Gentlemen that much more impactful; it’s a real blood curdling scream in this vast, void of nothingness, breaking the silence as that glass bottle did at the start of the episode. The soundtrack also helps to convey what the lack of dialogue can’t, the fairytale piece used as The Gentlemen glide down the street or the Nightmare on Elm Street-like children’s song being stand out pieces for me. It seems to be homage to the silent horror films, which used orchestration to convey emotions with ease (removing both orchestration and dialogue is a particularly good way to ramp up tension, a trick Whedon would later use in The Body and Vince Gilligan would use throughout the run of Breaking Bad).
Yet, amazingly, as terrifying as this episode is, it’s still riotously funny. As mentioned before, a lot of what makes Buffy The Vampire Slayer funny is the dialogue, the witty putdowns or sarcastic moaning, but Hush has no dialogue and yet retains those laughs, a credit to Whedon’s writing. One of the most memorable scenes of the entire show for me is Giles giving the Gang a lecture on The Gentlemen through the power of an overhead projector with slides that get more and more gruesome as “Danse Macabre” plays in the background. Not a word is uttered yet the visual jokes of Buffy’s annoyance at the size of her cartoon, a sly as anything masturbation joke and the increasingly gruesome slides bring as many laughs as a Xander putdown might, proof to Whedon’s detractors that he doesn’t just need to fall back on dialogue. Similarly, a number of romantic plots begin in this complete absence of communication.

Hush is almost a microcosm of Halloween, equal parts fun and terror. It’s an episode that will hopefully be remembered for many years and should become mandatory viewing as we approach Halloween.

There are two things that always appear to be synonymous with horror, both lying at either end of the spectrum of sound. One is the scream, the very vocal representation of fear. An often involuntary expression, it is a sound that, if the work on screen is effective enough, comes as much from the audience themselves as the characters on screen; a sound so linked to horror that an entire series of films was simply entitled Scream. The other is silence; the complete absence of sound, it is the exact opposite of a scream but is no less terror-inducing. Silent horror films such as Nosferatu and The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari are equally as terrifying as their ‘bump in the night’ and ‘jump scare’ fuelled modern counterparts. The imagination fills the gaps in the lack of sound and that, in and of itself, is enough to set the mind whirring as to what’s out there. The highlight of Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s fourth season, Hush, manages to use these two motifs almost perfectly to create something incredibly eerie.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer had never really been a show that scared me. It mainly used ghost stories, old fairytales and big bad monsters of the week for more allegorical purposes, particularly focusing around the loss of innocence and the usual day-to-day goings on of teenage life. It was essentially a John Hughes movie with vampires; a dissection of the progression into adulthood stuffed full of witty authentic-sounding dialogue (so much so that it named a trope) and some pretty cool action. That is until Hush, an episode that not only managed to terrify its viewers but also showed that creator Joss Whedon was willing to take risks from the usual formula he had developed and really put the entire genre on its head (something which he would later repeat in the season finale, as well as in fifth season episode The Body and sixth season episode Once More With Feeling). There’s a reason why the aforementioned episodes in particular are ranked amongst Buffy’s best. Hush in particular was seen as a big middle finger from Whedon to the critics who said Buffy relied too much on dialogue, with very little throughout the episode’s running time.

The episode focuses around the arrival of a group of monsters known as The Gentleman, impeccably dressed with terrifying rictus grins plastered across their faces, who glide into Sunnydale with no discernible motivation other than to literally steal hearts from the residents while removing everyone’s ability to speak or make sound. They’re the ultimate bogeymen; unwilling to negotiate or be reasoned with and can only be killed with a scream, made impossible thanks to their tiny wooden box stealing the voices of their victims. They ooze sophistication, with their on-point tailoring and exaggerated, theatrical movements, but it’s a sort of chilling sophistication, the same type you’d associated with the multiple incarnations of Hannibal Lecter or Count Dracula, who could probably charm you were it not for their ghoulish features.  The monsters in Buffy have always been more terrifying for what they could do, rather than how they looked. Due to the low budget, many often looked rather comical but, with The Gentlemen unable to express what they would do through words, as all these other monsters before were able to do, they had to portray their evil through how they look and how they moved, feeling more like delicate mimes than lumbering behemoths.

But it’s not just the look of these villains that makes Hush so terrifying, though they contribute massively to that fact, it’s the use of sound, or rather the absence of it, which really adds a creepy edge to the episode. It seems to strike right at the fears of its audience. If the ability to alert others to some form of trouble is taken away, it makes that oncoming trouble that more terrifying because it removes any ability to stop it. Even in the direst of situations, The Scooby Gang have always been able to talk things out and come up with a proper plan. Here, they know something is wrong but they can’t accurately communicate what it is or what they can do; the scene in which Buffy and Xander try to talk on the phone is equally as worrying as it is funny. Whedon’s dialogue, for me at least, has always acted as something to compensate the horror. A little quip here or there usually helps to alleviate the tension but, with that ability removed, the tension is ramped up to the nth degree.

This lack of dialogue also ramps up the other foley sounds, accentuating that ‘bump in the night’ fear. A glass smashing on the floor is exaggerated when there are no other sounds around it. Although we don’t see The Gentlemen remove the heart of their first victim, a UC Sunnydale student who tries to call for help to no avail, we can hear in almost too much gory detail the scalpel being plunged into his chest, which makes it slightly more terrifying that seeing the action itself. This is what makes the final scream that destroys The Gentlemen that much more impactful; it’s a real blood curdling scream in this vast, void of nothingness, breaking the silence as that glass bottle did at the start of the episode. The soundtrack also helps to convey what the lack of dialogue can’t, the fairytale piece used as The Gentlemen glide down the street or the Nightmare on Elm Street-like children’s song being stand out pieces for me. It seems to be homage to the silent horror films, which used orchestration to convey emotions with ease (removing both orchestration and dialogue is a particularly good way to ramp up tension, a trick Whedon would later use in The Body and Vince Gilligan would use throughout the run of Breaking Bad).

Yet, amazingly, as terrifying as this episode is, it’s still riotously funny. As mentioned before, a lot of what makes Buffy The Vampire Slayer funny is the dialogue, the witty putdowns or sarcastic moaning, but Hush has no dialogue and yet retains those laughs, a credit to Whedon’s writing. One of the most memorable scenes of the entire show for me is Giles giving the Gang a lecture on The Gentlemen through the power of an overhead projector with slides that get more and more gruesome as “Danse Macabre” plays in the background. Not a word is uttered yet the visual jokes of Buffy’s annoyance at the size of her cartoon, a sly as anything masturbation joke and the increasingly gruesome slides bring as many laughs as a Xander putdown might, proof to Whedon’s detractors that he doesn’t just need to fall back on dialogue. Similarly, a number of romantic plots begin in this complete absence of communication.

Hush is almost a microcosm of Halloween, equal parts fun and terror. It’s an episode that will hopefully be remembered for many years and should become mandatory viewing as we approach Halloween.

I’m unsure of how to go about writing such a personal opinion piece like this without it sounding masturbatory. I have so many favourite songs that I love for so many reasons, some of which are obvious to those who know me and some of which come as a complete surprise. The issue here as I sit here hammering away at my keyboard is that I have to figure out what I consider to be a beautiful song and why. I know the exact songs I want to talk about - ones that tap into the odd reserve of emotion located around my solar plexus and reach right up to the lump in my throat. There’s some songs that make me feel like the best place to be is alone on a field in the middle of nowhere at night, others that make me want to find the tallest building in London and stand right at the top of it and breathe in the brown London air. For the life of me, I have no idea why these songs do these things. Isn’t music neat? Aren’t humans neat to be able to respond to collections and arrangements of sounds in such a way? Anyway, in no particular order here are two of the songs that I consider to be the most beautiful songs in the world that I know of:
 The Polyphonic Spree - “Lithium” We all know the Nirvana original. If you take it at face value as I did when I first heard it, it’s a weary, cynical view of religion and its presentation of itself as an omni-cure for the hopeless; an aural sneer. You can easily imagine shiftless, bored teenagers reacting similarly after being canvassed by members of their local congregation, saying “come down to church, man! We’re not trying to sell you anything, just help you get some peace of mind!” and the kids will mumble an excuse from beneath their fringes and mutter “Yeah, right” once out of earshot.
That’s what the original song was; a “yeah, right” and a middle finger to religion, a dismissive shrug of the shoulders towards old and dusty churches. It’s your average New Atheist’s favourite Nirvana song. At least, that’s what it was in Nirvana’s hands. Don’t get me wrong, I do love Nirvana. It’s just that in The Polyphonic Spree’s hands, the song takes us much further into the dark heart, into a strange opiate-addled trance.
Where Kurt Cobain mumbled and whined, his screams of “yeah, yeah, yeah” in the chorus sounded bored and dismissive; The Spree sound positively sinister, almost diabolical. Where Nirvana’s rhythm lumbered from bone-trembling thud to bone-trembling thud, the Spree give the song a joy and lightness that is so much more seductive and so much more menacing. Perhaps it’s because they grasped that cults, or organised religion, are at their most ‘dangerous’ not when they’re trying obviously to recruit, but when they’re inwardly focusing on their own membership. It’s the take-it-or-leave it message, the idea that if you’re so dumb as to not see an obviously good thing on your own, then we’re not interested in you joining our club. That’s what the spree does. It has a whole lot of fun performing this song, and if you can’t tell what fun it is, then it’s clearly not for you. All serious analysis aside, It’s not the elevating of the original intended message that makes this song beautiful to me. Simply put, it’s just the music. It’s simply the joyous chorus and the string arrangement. I dare you to listen to this song without having a fantastic time, without wanting to lift up your own voice and sing “YEAAAAAAAAAAAAH YEAAAH, YEAAAAAH YEAH” along with it.
 Mogwai - “Mogwai Fear Satan” This song is a little harder to write about. Being an instrumental piece, lyrical analysis flies right out of the window. It’s hard to know where to start when writing about a song like this, because I’ve never thought while listening to this song - I’ve only felt. I’ve felt this song while sitting next to my dad in the car at sunrise, and I’ve felt this song when I’ve been unable to sleep in the depths of winter. I’ve even bonded with people over this song, though mainly in the context of “this song is fucking great to listen to after a spliff or three”.
It’s odd to me that I can remember the exact first time I heard it. I was feeling cooped up, it was a cold weekend in November three years ago and my mum had a friend round. I was feeling itchy, like I needed to feel fresh air in my lungs, so I rolled myself a joint and headed off to the park. In my local park, there is an enormous old fallen tree stripped bare by wind and rain that used to be surrounded by a ring of tall evergreens.
 Deftones - “Mascara” Who’s surprised by this choice? Nobody. Absolutely nobody. My younger brother popped his head round my door to ask what I was writing and I told him of the two previous songs I’d written about and all he had to say was “Cool. Which Deftones song are you going to be writing about?”. Incidentally, I did have a difficult time choosing which Deftones song to write about. It was either this song or Knife Party, but I felt this song had been part of my morning commute so many times that I couldn’t leave it out.
I’ve never been able to pinpoint what this song could be about. Certain elements would indicate that it’s about a mutually abusive and unhealthy relationship - others would indicate it’s a love song about all of the faults that Chino’s willing to overlook in his lover.
In any case, I personally find that there’s a strangely sexual element to this song. It sounds slightly unclean, like club dirt on your palms after a night out. Like having blood in your hair. Like wearing an enormous bruise on your face. It’s incredibly intimate - there’s all these things he lists about his partner that he can’t stand about her, and yet he croons "but there’s something about your long shady eyes/I’m all about your shade tonight" and shortly after he whispers to the listener, like a lover, "well it’s too bad you’re married to me". I don’t know if I should be uncomfortable with the fact that I love this song as much as I do, but it makes me want to get on a train to see my boyfriend and wrap myself around him like a loving python.

I’m unsure of how to go about writing such a personal opinion piece like this without it sounding masturbatory. I have so many favourite songs that I love for so many reasons, some of which are obvious to those who know me and some of which come as a complete surprise. The issue here as I sit here hammering away at my keyboard is that I have to figure out what I consider to be a beautiful song and why. I know the exact songs I want to talk about - ones that tap into the odd reserve of emotion located around my solar plexus and reach right up to the lump in my throat. There’s some songs that make me feel like the best place to be is alone on a field in the middle of nowhere at night, others that make me want to find the tallest building in London and stand right at the top of it and breathe in the brown London air. For the life of me, I have no idea why these songs do these things. Isn’t music neat? Aren’t humans neat to be able to respond to collections and arrangements of sounds in such a way? Anyway, in no particular order here are two of the songs that I consider to be the most beautiful songs in the world that I know of:


The Polyphonic Spree - “Lithium”
We all know the Nirvana original. If you take it at face value as I did when I first heard it, it’s a weary, cynical view of religion and its presentation of itself as an omni-cure for the hopeless; an aural sneer. You can easily imagine shiftless, bored teenagers reacting similarly after being canvassed by members of their local congregation, saying “come down to church, man! We’re not trying to sell you anything, just help you get some peace of mind!” and the kids will mumble an excuse from beneath their fringes and mutter “Yeah, right” once out of earshot.

That’s what the original song was; a “yeah, right” and a middle finger to religion, a dismissive shrug of the shoulders towards old and dusty churches. It’s your average New Atheist’s favourite Nirvana song. At least, that’s what it was in Nirvana’s hands. Don’t get me wrong, I do love Nirvana. It’s just that in The Polyphonic Spree’s hands, the song takes us much further into the dark heart, into a strange opiate-addled trance.

Where Kurt Cobain mumbled and whined, his screams of “yeah, yeah, yeah” in the chorus sounded bored and dismissive; The Spree sound positively sinister, almost diabolical. Where Nirvana’s rhythm lumbered from bone-trembling thud to bone-trembling thud, the Spree give the song a joy and lightness that is so much more seductive and so much more menacing. Perhaps it’s because they grasped that cults, or organised religion, are at their most ‘dangerous’ not when they’re trying obviously to recruit, but when they’re inwardly focusing on their own membership. It’s the take-it-or-leave it message, the idea that if you’re so dumb as to not see an obviously good thing on your own, then we’re not interested in you joining our club. That’s what the spree does. It has a whole lot of fun performing this song, and if you can’t tell what fun it is, then it’s clearly not for you. All serious analysis aside, It’s not the elevating of the original intended message that makes this song beautiful to me. Simply put, it’s just the music. It’s simply the joyous chorus and the string arrangement. I dare you to listen to this song without having a fantastic time, without wanting to lift up your own voice and sing “YEAAAAAAAAAAAAH YEAAAH, YEAAAAAH YEAH” along with it.



Mogwai - “Mogwai Fear Satan”
This song is a little harder to write about. Being an instrumental piece, lyrical analysis flies right out of the window. It’s hard to know where to start when writing about a song like this, because I’ve never thought while listening to this song - I’ve only felt. I’ve felt this song while sitting next to my dad in the car at sunrise, and I’ve felt this song when I’ve been unable to sleep in the depths of winter. I’ve even bonded with people over this song, though mainly in the context of “this song is fucking great to listen to after a spliff or three”.

It’s odd to me that I can remember the exact first time I heard it. I was feeling cooped up, it was a cold weekend in November three years ago and my mum had a friend round. I was feeling itchy, like I needed to feel fresh air in my lungs, so I rolled myself a joint and headed off to the park. In my local park, there is an enormous old fallen tree stripped bare by wind and rain that used to be surrounded by a ring of tall evergreens.




Deftones - “Mascara”
Who’s surprised by this choice? Nobody. Absolutely nobody. My younger brother popped his head round my door to ask what I was writing and I told him of the two previous songs I’d written about and all he had to say was “Cool. Which Deftones song are you going to be writing about?”. Incidentally, I did have a difficult time choosing which Deftones song to write about. It was either this song or Knife Party, but I felt this song had been part of my morning commute so many times that I couldn’t leave it out.

I’ve never been able to pinpoint what this song could be about. Certain elements would indicate that it’s about a mutually abusive and unhealthy relationship - others would indicate it’s a love song about all of the faults that Chino’s willing to overlook in his lover.

In any case, I personally find that there’s a strangely sexual element to this song. It sounds slightly unclean, like club dirt on your palms after a night out. Like having blood in your hair. Like wearing an enormous bruise on your face. It’s incredibly intimate - there’s all these things he lists about his partner that he can’t stand about her, and yet he croons "but there’s something about your long shady eyes/I’m all about your shade tonight" and shortly after he whispers to the listener, like a lover, "well it’s too bad you’re married to me". I don’t know if I should be uncomfortable with the fact that I love this song as much as I do, but it makes me want to get on a train to see my boyfriend and wrap myself around him like a loving python.