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Archive for the ‘Obsessions’ Category

mortal_instruments_city_of_bones_movie_poster_1As The Mortal Instrument series has progressed I have become more and more angry with the books.  As you can see in two of my reviews on this website.  I have even blogged about my gut reaction of “they casted WHO???!!!”  But I was still holding out hope that perhaps – just perhaps- I would be pleasantly surprised when the first trailer rolled around.  My friend informed me of the joyful news this morning and as I finished watching the final few seconds all ideas of a fantastic movie accompanying an awesome book series were shattered.

Maybe I’m being too harsh, maybe I’m being a bitter fangirl full of wrath.  It happens, I know we all have at least one friend that is so obsessed with something you tip-toe around the subject so not to poke their ire.  And I will admit that I tend to get a little hot headed about all things young adult; but I have a blog about it so it’s kind of my hobby and business to know.  I know that I’m spoiled from Harry Potter.  It’s not everyday that you get a 90% satisfaction feeling from a movie franchise that was based on the books (I still can’t watch Deathly Hallows Part 2 all the way because I don’t want it to be over!)  But surely we have seen, as a society and as directors and producers, what good casting and script writing can give you!  Holy hell even good casting and mediocre screen writing can get you *coughTwilightcough*.  WHY oh WHY do we keep getting these awful attempts at awesome books?

mortal-instruments-city-of-bones-lily-collinsAll the pieces are there: up and coming lead actress, recognizable and rising lead actor, director coming off a success, screenwriter that has a history of success, even the supporting cast looks incredibly promising.  Yet here we are with the first trailer and I am still completely underwhelmed.  Maybe it was bad editing of the trailer, there was a lot of ‘flashes’.  But what I really think is happening is this – Hollywood wants it cash.  The Mortal Instruments series has been a great success on paper so naturally any producer in Hollywood looks at it and thinks TWILIGHT.  Can we all stop comparing everything to Twilight now.  That ship has sailed, the cash cow is over, the teen book/movie bubble has popped.  The only way you are going to ensure that you have success with a book to movie adaptation is if you at least attempt to stay true to the novels.

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From panarmenian.net

I think my problem is I just don’t believe in the casting.  For all I know this is a page by page adaptation that was meticulously overseen by Claire herself.  It could possibly be the best adaptation ever and I’m just stabbing it in heart before it can make it out of the coffin.  But this is the main reason why I think it’s going to sizzle and then snuff out quickly in the box office – Jace.  You don’t read The Mortal Instruments series for Clary…you don’t.  While her casting is spot on and I am actually interested to see what Lily Collins will bring to the table that’s not the reason you slog through 600 pages every book.  You do it for Jace Wayland.  If I can’t look at the actor playing Jace and believe that he is Jace then you have no movie.  It might be personal preference but a guy that is known for being the snooty Volturi and jumping out a window in a Harry Potter movie just isn’t going to cut it for me.

There…fangirl wrath extinguished.  Here’s hoping I can find a babysitter to catch the matinée before it limps out of theaters.

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http://www.paleycenter.org/Do you remember…maybe it wasn’t that long ago for you…when you became absolutely obsessed with a television show?  I can remember what the first one was for me – Dawson’s Creek.  I was a teenager; the WB (now the CW) was in full swing and at its prime.  There was a fantastic lineup of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson’s Creek, and some other rotating show.  But you tuned in for Buffy and Dawson – no matter what.  This was long before the days of TiVo and Hulu, and my mom sure didn’t let me tape them, so if you missed the show you were S.O.L.  I look back fondly on those days.  I look back with such rose-colored glasses that I’m actually afraid to watch these shows again.  It would be heartbreaking if they turned out to be awful.  And the Buffy hate mail begins…

Regardless, I was very surprised to find myself, many years later, actually watching a show with commercials feeling a frenzied sort of appreciation that I had not felt since my angsty, angsty teenage years.  That show is The Vampire Diaries.  If you’ve looked at my blog, or read it, you know that I do a lot of YA reading – so no I have not read the series this television show is based on.  I have no intention of reading the series because I’ve heard it isn’t very good, and that the show has gone in a 180 direction from the books.  I’m totally okay with that, and have no inclination to see just how different they are.

So when my good friend, the same one that introduced me to Paramore, told me that our favorite show on television was going to be at PaleyFest this year I could barely contain my squeal.  PaleyFest is a wonderful festival that happens in Beverly Hills every year that showcases popular shows on a series of panels.  You buy the ticket, you get a great seat, you get to see some clips, someone interviews the cast and crew of the show, the crowd gets to question the cast and crew, and then there is a bum rush to the stage to have the cast and crew sign anything in your hands.

PaleyFest 2012

It was well worth the ticket price for this year’s Vampire Diaries panel.  Almost the entire core cast was there on stage, the creator of the series was also there, and the moderator held nothing back.  The moderator attempted to pry any kind of information out of the cast about the rest of the season but it seems as though everyone has taken a blood oath of secrecy.  That – or they are really afraid of losing their jobs.  I don’t see why they would be, the show is doing great, the fanbase is solid, and it’s one of the best shows on the CW.

Those of us there were privileged to see an entire unaired episode!!  It was all things awesome and amazing and I can’t wait to see it again.  I was also sworn to secrecy not to divulge any details so I’m not going to spill.  If there is anything that bugs me more it’s spoilers.  So let’s just say that it was fantastic and the plot twist at the end both came out of nowhere and made perfect sense – in true Vampire Diaries fashion.

The cast was hilarious.  There were so many sex jokes flying around it was really hard to keep up.  The amount of inside jokes they were referencing was both highly entertaining and thoroughly confusing.  While not much was learned about the rest of the season it was entertaining the entire time they were up there.  And of course Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev were very comfortable with each other.  At one point Ian took his jacket off to give to Nina without much conversation passing between them.  So I think this is pretty much a confirmed thing, at least in my opinion.

It was a fantastic time and once the panel discussion and audience questions were over there was this mad dash to the stage.  Since my wonderful friend had done PaleyFest before she was able to strategize perfectly and we were right up next to the stage.  I was able to get Ian and Matthew Davis’ signatures (although Matthew Davis apparently was using his fanfiction name…), as you can see below.  But then I pretty much stopped trying.  I honestly thought I was going to be trampled or crushed to death at the sheer amount of people pushing to get their magazines and flyers to the front.  It was chaotic, it was madness, it was frightening, and yet exhilarating all at the same time.  Would I ever do it again – HELL NO.  But it was an interesting experience to have.

I honestly can not tell you how fascinating it was to watch the teenage girls around me absolutely near tears as they screamed out the character names and actual names of the actors signing things on the stage.  It was as if they thought their cries could be heard, and that a signature from one of the actors would complete the meaning of their existence.  I mean I’m talking gut wrenching screams here – and tears…real tears.  I was completely flabbergasted.  Didn’t they know the actors couldn’t hear them?  Didn’t they know a signature wasn’t going to change their lives?  Didn’t they realize the actors had spouses, significant others?  Didn’t they realize wearing the sluttiest dress they owned and six-inch heels wouldn’t warrant some kind of special attention from the actors?  Like I said – a real psychological study of the teenage mind was happening around me.

But once the crowd finally let up, the actors left, and my friend and I were examining the signatures with grins plastered to our faces I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe I was being too hard on these girls.  Would I have acted the same way – almost a decade ago – if Joshua Jackson’s junk was eye level with me?  Probably.  To tell you the truth I probably still would today.

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I finished this book a while back.  October 5th to be exact, but my life has been so absolutely crazy with my teaching credential that I decided to throw all caution to the wind and write this with half a brain.  Forgive me if it’s rambling and odd.  But I have such love for this author that I couldn’t NOT write a review!

Let’s get this party started with the man that is number one on my fictional badass list: Percy Jackson.  You read that right – Percy has effectively bumped Harry out of the number one spot (this month), and it is all because of this book.

Because I want everyone to read this book, this series, and the series before it, I am not going to throw out any spoilers – which will be hard – but instead tease you until you feel as though you HAVE to read this book.


This books starts out with a boy named Percy being chased by some monsters.  You might remember Percy from books such as these:

Or you might remember Percy from the end of this book:

But you should never equate this:

For real – just don’t do it.

Poor Percy has been fighting these awful monsters for days now and neither of them seem to be able to die.  Percy doesn’t know why because Percy doesn’t remember anything.  He knows he’s special, he knows he can fight demons, but he doesn’t remember much else except a name: Annabeth.

He remembers that she is important; that she is special only to him, and that he must get back to her.  If you aren’t already swooning at the epic love story building here then maybe you should just slink back into your frozen cave you loveless monster.

Once Percy arrives in…temporary… safety the real adventure of this novel begins.  A prophecy needs fulfilling, a team of demigods receive their quest, and this time it’s a crazy, winding journey to the great white north – where the protective power of the gods can not extend.  This is where pure demigod awesome comes into play, and this is why the new peeps we meet this novel: Hazel and Frank are lucky that Percy is around.  Wild and dangerous is his kind of time.

This novel is full of all your old friends from Camp Half-Blood, a particular demigod from the Underworld, all your new friends from Camp Jupiter, and very little involvement of the gods – except for Hera…and no one likes that bitch.  There was so much action in this novel that I seriously almost read it for 24 hours straight.  I could not put it down because every page was important to plot development.  There is a fantastic weaving of a lot of the old myths that you remember reading such as Phineas, harpies, Amazons, and bad Cyclopes armies.  I could really dive into it more but just know that the usual tongue in cheek humor of Riordan is still out in full force – Amazons running Amazon…amazing!

The same three narrator approach is still being used to its full advantage in this novel and the other characters are so involved when not narrating that you never feel like they are lost within the story.  The climax of the novel is absolutely breathtaking in both the fight sequence as well as the self-sacrifice that happens within each of the characters and if the end of the novel is leading right into the next then I am going to spontaneously combust from happiness due to the epic kiss that will take place.

My book even came with a nifty little brochure explaining to me the wonders of Camp Jupiter…still not sure if it beats Camp Half-Blood.

I’ve tried really hard not to spoil anything here but my hope is that you are intrigued enough to read this series.  You have no excuse if you are a fan of the Percy Jackson series.  These books are engaging, entertaining, enlightening, and…enduring…yes – they will stand the test of time because who doesn’t like a great story with an amazing hero?

Final Score: FIVE FANTASTIC STARS!

Reasoning: Mixing the old with the new, the Roman with the Greek, the whoop-ass with the bad-ass, and everything in between = epic awesome.  If you haven’t read any of these series yet you are missing out on so much my heart hurts for you a little.

Recommended for:  YA fans, Percy Jackson fans, Greek fans, Roman fans, mythology fans, fantasy fans, adventure fans, girls and boys alike, students that are struggling with reading, teenage sons, teachers, educators, parents…have I covered everyone yet??  Because it’s everyone.  This book is recommended for everyone.

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I know I have been MIA for a while.  My teaching credential started and that has basically sent me into a barely contained constant state of panic.  Between Financial Aid, figuring out all my classes, starting online classes for the first time, willing my books to get here faster, and generally just trying to stay afloat I am exhausted.  Plus, I had to stop reading for my Goodreads book challenge (although I’m already two books ahead so I figured I could pause that), and I have been completely blocked up by my current idea for a writing project…I just haven’t been very productive.  Call it the Post-Deathly Hallows blues if you will…

Until I ran across THIS abomination!

Excuse me?!  That scrawny, baby-faced, pretty boy is supposed to play Jace “I’m cooler than ‘The Most Interesting Man in the World'” Wayland?!

Fan art never ceases to surprise me...

Look, I’m not saying this guy is bad actor – he’s landed both Twilight and Harry Potter.  He’s doing something right.  I’m not attacking him as an actor, I’m attacking the casting director for City of Bones!  WTF were you thinking?  Are you going to “go Lautner” on him and just pump the kid full of steroids for filming?  Because there is no way this guy could ever bulk up naturally enough to remind me of Jace.

Now – there was a very lovely, glowing review from Lily Colins about his screen test with her.  She seems convinced that he WAS Jace and therefore deserved the role.  But I think we all remember that Robert Pattinson had the kind of intensity needed for Edward but that didn’t really translate to screen very well…did it?  Constipation face?  Thank you…

I’m not even all that convinced that Lily Colins is the correct casting for this role.  Sure the girl can dye her hair and put some contacts in, and she’s willowy enough for it:

But she has always struck me as a very strong female lead.  The kind of girl that doesn’t get pushed around, the kind of girl that doesn’t LET the boys make her stay behind.  And I think we all know Clary’s biggest flaw is that she is annoyingly girly from time to time.  Clary has her moments…but Hermione Granger she is NOT.  I just don’t see Lily being able to tone that down, it’s too big a part of her personality.  Perhaps they are re-writing Clary to be a little bit more bad ass, that could be good.  But it would be the worst tragedy of movie adaptation if Clary ended up being manlier than Jace.

I’m really hoping for the best here.  I think they could have something really amazing if they did this movie right.  But if I learned anything from the Goblet of Fire and Percy Jackson adaptations I am going to be woefully disappointed.

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My sister-in-law posted an article on her Facebook the other day that at first glance I thought to myself, ‘you know this author is right’, and then once I finished reading it I was filled with such a deep annoyance that I felt compelled to write a blog about it.  I would like to state right up front that my belief on Feminism is the purest form of it: Feminism is the right to CHOICE, and that choice extends out to every decision of a woman’s life.  So buckle up and get ready for this blog post and to my sister-in-law…this one is for you!

There are two Hermione Granger’s.  There is Hermione in the books and then there is Emma Watson playing a re-written Hermione in the movies.  I feel like this is obvious to state but they are two totally different Hermione’s and if it took you getting to Deathly Hallows: Part Two to figure that out then I fear for your sanity and the safety of others around you.  You might be a danger to society because of the unbelievable suspension of disbelief you have going on in your skull.

Did everyone notice that Ron wasn’t the same?  Didn’t anyone notice that HARRY isn’t the same?  Why would Hermione be any different?  I’m not even going to touch the train wreck that was Half Blood Prince in depth because it will just anger me beyond control but that is a shining example of how VERY different everyone is in the movies.  Honestly, if anyone should be angry it should be fans of Ron because Hermione was given tons of his lines, his moments, and his parts throughout the movies to make her seem smarter and braver!

So Hermione has this moment of weakness in the Chamber in DH:2 and tells Ron that she “can’t” kill the Horcrux and all the sudden we need to ditch her completely?  WE DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED IN THE CHAMBER.  If you had read the books you might have remembered that.  For all we know she DID tell Ron that in the Chamber because if you remember correctly she’d just been tortured to the point of passing out, was then forced to transform into her torturer, break into a vault and almost be buried alive by fake coins and trophies (which didn’t scald her skin…), fly on the back of a dragon to escape (she hates flying), only to be thrust into an epic battle on the grounds of the one place that she felt wanted – Hogwarts.  PLUS – the Horcruxes tried to kill Harry, twice now, and Ron’s Horcrux made everyone nearly barf in the theater for what came out of it…so I honestly don’t mind that much that she had a moment of hesitation about killing something so evil that it tried to kill her at every moment of her life over the past year.

A woman being able to have a moment of hesitation is still girl power.  She still did all those amazing things.  She still did keep the boys alive.  She still saved Harry’s and Ron’s life over and over again.  She still bosses Ron and Harry around.  She is still a role model.  Having her tell Ron, the man that she loves, that she thinks she can’t do it makes her HUMAN.  I didn’t know that we were trying to make superhero’s here.  The whole allure of the trio is that they are teenagers thrust into making and living through adult decisions.  And Harry had to tell Ron to kill his Horcrux so why did Ron get off so easy?  Having Hermione have a moment of hesitation and need Ron to help her makes her strong because she was willing to show her vulnerable side to someone she loves and ask for support.  Anyone who thinks differently is living a very rigid and intense life if you ask me.  Oh – and BTW she still killed it by herself so what’s the big deal?

*As a side bar (if you did read the article) how could ANY of the above bad ass moments of Hermione’s existence be diluted by her wearing skinny jeans and perfume?  Really?  You’re going to go caddy on this one and not allow the girl her right to wardrobe and perfume?  Maybe she packed the perfume because she figured they wouldn’t be able to take showers that often and she didn’t want to stink.  Maybe those jeans were the only ones she owned.  Why does what she wear have anything to do with her actions?!  And it’s not even like she was walking around in a mini skirt with her tits hanging out.  She was covered neck to boots for the majority of the movies.  Stupid point article author.  Alright back to my ranting.

Hermione Granger in the books is not the same Hermione Granger in the movies and that is not necessarily a bad thing.  The Hermione in the movies is a little more ballsy and not so bossy, she’s a little more compassionate and not so by the book, and I honestly think that Emma Watson did an excellent job in the last couple of movies of embracing who Hermione is in the books and adding her own little spin on it.  I still believed it was Hermione; I still liked her choices, but was it perfect – no?  But why should that matter?  And why is everyone so up in arms about it?

I am starting to get incredibly irritated by people that keep posting articles and blogs, snide little comments on their Facebook’s, and talking loudly about how different the Hermione’s are with friends at Starbucks.  I have only this to say to these people: if you think, even for a moment, that the books and the movies are even remotely the same you are an incredible idiot.

The books and the movies are two entirely, completely, dramatically, and unwaveringly DIFFERENT things.  I am SICK of people making parallels between the books and the movies and trying to make it seem like they are constructing a valid point. The movies stopped being anything like the books by Chamber of Secrets!  And if you could not pick up on that fact then you are either ignorantly blind or have never read the books.

I understand that you want them to be the same; I even understand that you feel entitled to them being the same but they aren’t.  I had to get over that really fast myself or I was never going to enjoy the movies.  The cast of characters in the movies reacts differently, act differently and sometimes do a completely different thing then they would have in the books and that is FINE.  You want to know why it is fine?  Because JKR thinks its fine and if she (the creator of this entire universe) thinks it is fine then who am I to judge?

I get that people think this was a horribly missed opportunity for girl power (even though I still think they accomplished that), I get that everyone thinks Hollywood is evil and refuses to have a strong, independent, and fierce female lead, I get that brave and smart role models are needed in the media for girls and teens and women alike, but if they needed Hermione to be a role model then they should have been reading the books. PERIOD.

When did it become Hollywood’s obligation to create female role models in television and movies?  I have always had the distinct feeling that they are not in the business of creating role models – they are in the business of making money and sex sells people.  It sold when they first invented film and it sells now.  And this is going to sound harsh but if you are relying on television and movies to create positive role models for your children you are being a lazy parent.  You just have to watch ten minutes of TV to figure out that it will never be a medium where something constructive is going to happen in that department.  Alright – maybe the woman on Mythbusters…she’s a good example of being smart but even SHE is sexualized on that show.

Literature and real life role models are always the best because they are controlled and created for that purpose alone.  Real life role models live their lives by their own rules.  Literature role models are created with the author’s rules.  Television and movies can’t have role models because they are created by a committee of men who need to break even (at least these days).  It will never be something you can sit your daughter in front of and know in your heart that she will have a lasting and important role model to follow.  And honestly if you can find one that hasn’t been sexualized, marginalized, or dumbed down I would LOVE for you to give me examples.  I’ve given up on TV and movies being anything but entertainment for me and I think anyone that thinks differently is lying to themselves.  Including the author of that article that got me so riled up in the first place.

I still feel that there was an accurate portrayal of Hermione in the movies – the smart, brave, loyal, loving, and bossy Hermione that I grew to love.  But if that isn’t good enough for you and you want to find Hermione – the true, amazing, fantastically flawed Hermione – you only need to look as far as Prisoner of Azkaban.  She’s there, and if you could take the time to read and not think the movies were a better alternative you’d find her quite easily.

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It is surreal for me to think that ten years ago, when I was a senior in high school, my father and I ambled up to the local theater early in the morning to see a movie adapted from a book I’d read – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  I remember it still being very cold outside and while I was excited to see the movie I had low expectations.  After all, I was a cocky 18-year-old trying desperately to seem cool although I was becoming obsessed with a series of children’s books.  It didn’t even matter to me that Christopher Columbus, the director of some of my favorite movies from childhood, was at the helm of this potential beast – I knew that movie adaptations were usually horrible.  Oh how wrong I was…

Flash forward to this strangely balmy afternoon in the middle of a California summer and I can barely keep still I am so anxious with the prospect of what awaits me at 12:15AM.  The end of an era.  The end of a saga.  The end of my last few shreds of teenage and young adult overlooked obsessive tendencies.  I have a feeling after tonight, when the final credits roll there will be a sense of loss so acute that at first I won’t even notice it.  I’ll still be in shock, and hopefully awe.  But as the hours will tick by I know that I will become aware of the devastating loss that only a geeky superfan like myself has to go through.  It was different with the X-Files – that ended horribly – Harry Potter has never made a single misstep from books to movies, and that is what scares me the most.

The idea that something I have loved, for almost a third of my life, is about to cease to continue is mind-boggling to me.  It’s like suddenly having the Lakers disband, or having the Steelers move to Canada, it’s like losing Comedy Central.  How do you deal with something like that?  Other than reasonably and with the tact of someone who has ‘hopefully’ come into their own at my age…I suppose the answer was best said by the master herself J.K. Rowling,

“Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

If you haven’t heard her say this perfect response to the panicked longing you might also feel, this is the link to the British premiere where she said it.

Over the years, as I’ve waited between the books and then between the movies there was always something to keep me occupied.  Between the fanfiction, and the flair:

The photoshop:

 

The memes:

Not to mention the hilarity that superfans can come up with:

I think there will be plenty of material for years to come to fill the hole left behind.

Yet, this final movie is the last tangible piece of Harry Potter history that will be a physical event.  Pottermore will surely be fun, and if JKR ever gets around to that encyclopedia I’m sure I’ll wait in line for that too.  But I don’t want to belittle the magnitude of what this cast, crew, producers, and directors did for the books and this franchise.   They all took these movies to an incredible place – a place I like to call “the perfect book-movie adaptation”.  They took this as seriously as they could because Harry Potter is serious business and I will be forever grateful to all of them for the tremendous work they put in and the dedication they had for over a decade.  I will be forever grateful that it was almost the same group of people from beginning to end because it ensured perfection.

Good literature can fade into the mist of obscurity but great literature never dies.  Harry Potter will never die because it is a masterpiece of contemporary literature.  I know that this last movie really is the end, I know that memes and flair, and photoshopped pics will continue to float around, I know that fanfiction will continue to be written and there is comfort in that.  But the reason that I know, in my heart, that Harry Potter might be ending but will never die is the fact that I can’t wait to revisit it, to share it, to spread the love.  I can’t wait to be able to discuss it with my students.  I can’t wait to read it to my nieces.  I can’t wait to put MY books into my children’s hands one day.  Because Harry won’t die, he won’t fade into obscurity, he will continue to inspire and engage and encourage children and adults everywhere…forever.  If there is any way I can find some comfort in these last few days it is there.  Hogwarts will always be there to call me home and one day I’ll be reading Goblet of Fire to my son.

But ask me in the early hours of Friday the 15th if I still feel comfort in the series being over and you might find a messy ball of tears and sniffling…

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I ❤ Paramore

I had always seen this band, Paramore, popping up when I was checking for the new Used album or MCR’s latest extravaganza but never really took notice.  Then I was sucked into the Twilight craze and there was that band again – Paramore.  I thought nothing of it.  Flash forward a couple of years and a very good friend of mine asked if I wanted to go see a couple of different concerts with her.  Kings of Leon – pass (At the time they were bitching about fans only liking their new music – losers).  Lady Gaga – double pass (I appreciate her talent but I just don’t get it).  Paramore…those ‘Twilight” people.  Sure, I tell my friend, I’ll go to Paramore with you.

So in preparation of this upcoming concert, and not wanting to sit there the entire time waiting for that one Twilight song I knew, I bought all their albums.  My friend told me to start with ‘Riot’ because their first album was mostly depressing.

I was completely blown away.  That “Twilight Song” paled in comparison to the rest of their work.  I was not prepared for how awesome Paramore was going to be.

How could THAT voice come out of that redheaded pixie child?  How could a group of kids be that talented and I’ve never heard of them before?  I realize that me calling them kids makes me sound like I’m super old but they were not anywhere near their late twenties when these albums came out – that’s super young to be that successful.  I called my friend immediately and started gushing about how I felt like I had wasted so much time not liking this band.  Needless to say I was converted then and there and once we made it to the concert I went horse because I was scream/singing every single song.  Did I mention that we had amazing seats??

Yeah – that’s how awesome my friend is.

So now that I have a serious girl crush on Hayley and preach the gospel that is Paramore to anyone that will hear I get a text yesterday from the same friend that introduced me to them in the first place:

Heard Paramore’s new song?  I like it.

WHAT?!  How had I let this pass me by?  Quick Internet search and there it is: Paramore – ‘Monster’.  But there were several articles that were also appearing with the song.  And there was a significant lack of band members on the cover art for this single.  With an uneasy feeling in my stomach I clicked on the links and quickly realized that there was a very real reason there were only three people on the cover art for ‘Monster’.  The two brothers that started the band with Hayley had quit the band and there was a major controversy surrounding it.

I’ll let you read the articles yourself if you’re interested but it seemed like a lot of the same he said/she said, managers, labels, singer stealing the glory type of story you hear a lot with bands with a mega-talent/personality involved.  Once I was done reading I started downloading the song to my phone but I was worried.

Sometimes when bands break up like that there’s no turning back.  The magic that made them amazing fizzles away, or they go in a direction that is such a 180 it’s hard, as a fan, to listen.  You never want something you love to change into something you can’t recognize anymore but at the same time you don’t want it to fade into mediocrity because it couldn’t change.  I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when the song was uploading onto my phone but there had been one line in the articles that had stuck with me: they wanted to go back toward the sound of their first album.  Uh oh.

I’m not saying I don’t like ‘All We Know Is Falling’, it’s fantastic for a first album but Paramore and their sound has come so far from that album in such a short amount of time.  To go back to that indie sound where you can tell there is talent just buried under the surface would be horrible.  The song finished uploading and I took a breath and listened to what my ‘new’ favorite band was going to sound like…

Still amazing.  LOL.  Did you even read the title to this post?

Excellent guitar, thrumming drums, incredible baseline, lyrically engaging and Hayley’s voice, do I even have to tell you?  But there were three critiques that I have for this song and here they are:

1)  It does sound “soundtracky”.  ‘Monster’ is for Transformers: Explosions and Spray Tan.  Soundtracks songs have a very…certain sound – I’ve found at least.  General appeal to the masses, catchy hooks, very polished sound and you can totally imagine this kind of stuff happening in the music video:

I’ve still listened to the song about 45 times now but it did remind me of their first LP a lot.

2)  It sounds a lot like ‘All We Know Is Falling’ – and that’s not necessarily a good thing.  The reason that I rarely listen to Paramore’s first album is because you can tell that they are holding back.  There is this manic energy behind the music, this controlled madness that Hayley has with her voice, this general feeling that even they know there’re holding back.  It doesn’t help that by the time you get to ‘Brand New Eyes’ Hayley is singing the shit out of every song.  She opened her voice, she embraced her talent, she takes the songs to an emotional level that is not seen on their first LP with her voice alone.

‘Monster’ reminded me exactly of all of that.  Every time I thought they were going to do a hard stop for drama it didn’t happen.  Every time I thought Hayley was going to unleash the power of her voice she didn’t.  The song is so controlled sounding that it makes me wonder if they were told to do that or if it was for stylistic reasons.

3)  What’s with the new stylistic approach to this song?  Again this could all be about needing to take a ‘soundtrack’ approach to this song but I have a feeling it might be something more.  If you take into account that you can now listen to ‘Brand New Eyes’ like a giant kiss off from Hayley to the brother’s that left, that we know that the band has been miserable for a long time now – even during the awe-inspiring concert I went to and that we know that they are going ‘back to their roots’ or in a ‘new direction’ I couldn’t help but feel the anxiety coming from this song.

The lyrics could be generic unless you knew what was happening with the band.  This song is about breaking free, it’s about gathering strength for a battle, it’s about saving yourself and all around you from some undesirable fate.  The song builds and builds over the three minutes like a battle cry for all who have every been stifled, who have ever been held down and then the very last two words are nearly whispered.

“Now that you’re gone the world…is ours.”

Whispering those words gives the song and entirely new connotation.  Was this a battle cry?  Or was saving the world really what you were meant to do?  Was this ‘monster’ as bad as you thought it was?  There is doubt in her voice, there is uncertainty, there is a hint of fear and there is anxiety in the delivery of two words.  Perhaps this song was meant just for Shia to be running and screaming around trailed by CGI Transformers – but I think this song is actually written about the band breaking up.  I think everything about this song: the controlled sound, Hayley holding back on her voice, the doubt at the end are all pointing to a singular moment in Paramore history where every right step they’ve made was thrown into question as they start to veer off onto this new path.

Am I reading WAY too into it?  Probably.  But that’s what you do with things you love.  You love them to a point of obsession.  You read into it, you absorb everything; you make it have meaning in your life.  I know that Paramore is going to be fine, I know I’m going to keep listening to them no matter what because I love them and I love all that they stand for both musically and socially.  But it was a strange day for me yesterday to feel anxiety in my chest because of a single song that is going to be on a Transformer’s soundtrack.  But in the end that’s just a testament to how incredible Paramore is.

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