I Tell the Story of “Hamilton”

This weekend marks somewhat of a culmination of over a year of hype for me.

Yes, a little over a year ago, I was sitting in my AP U.S. History class, discussing the Federalist/Anti-Federalist debate, when my teacher put on a NPR documentary about a peculiar little musical soon to hit Broadway, “Hamilton.”

At the time, I regarded the segment with mild interest. Even though I wouldn’t consider myself a history or musical buff, I have a passing interest in both topics, and even though I’m very much not a fan of rap, the melding of these three ideas was so out there I couldn’t help but pay attention. The video sparked an interesting conversation regarding the differences and similarities in ideology of the Federalists and Anti-Federalists, and also, unknowingly, a curiosity in the back of my mind.

Several weeks later, while browsing Twitter, I noticed a great deal of hype surrounding a familiar name. It seemed that NPR had uploaded the entire soundtrack of “Hamilton” to its website as an early look. I was assured by many sources that, since almost the whole musical is in song, I could hear the entire story just from listening to the soundtrack. Remembering the video clip from class and how it intrigued me, I pulled the NPR page up on my phone and set myself to listen to all of it.

It did not click immediately for me, in all honesty. On my first listen I was confused about whose voice was whose and didn’t understand a lot of the story. (For example, I thought Angelica and Eliza were the same person, making “Satisfied” an incredibly confusing first experience for me. Didn’t she just get married to him? Why is she complaining about giving him away now?)

Yet, when I reached the end I found myself oddly moved by this modern take on the life of Alexander Hamilton, and some of the songs appealed to me enough on the first listen to persuade me to listen through a few more times. Suddenly, I found myself texting a few friends in something like confusion, lamenting why this “Silly rap musical about Alexander Hamilton” had so neatly taken over my thoughts and time.

Goaded on by the first group of enthusiastic fans of the musical, I tried to convert a few of my friends. It was easy enough for me, honestly, since I know a lot of people who love musicals. For one friend, I played the soundtrack for her on the bus to one of our marching band competitions, and it soon became a tradition for the two of us to share earbuds and loudly sing along to the entire soundtrack. For another friend, it was just a matter of constantly talking about it and pointing out how much it would appeal to him as a fan of both history and musicals. For a few others, it was rambling to them over text about the musical and constantly talking about it – it wasn’t hard, because it was a singular obsession of mine for an extended period of time.

Suddenly, it seemed all of my friends had come over to the cause of “Hamilton.” We would spend hours at parties quoting the lyrics, discussing the story, and starting impromptu sing-alongs. We would assign certain characters to each person so that the parts were split evenly for songs featuring a large cast. We even had a short-lived but surprisingly serious plan to do a “Hamilton” group cosplay.

And of course, I told the teacher who showed us all the clip in class about the entire soundtrack being available on NPR, and I was the reason she became a huge fan of the musical too. That was me, even if she would later give the credit to a certain someone.

And then, just as our personal hype was dying down a bit, it seemed the rest of the population of the world caught on. Every social media site was filled with excitement about it, and I got to feel the smug satisfaction of being one of the first to call myself a fan. The Tonys rolled around, and I organized a fancy dress party with a few close friends. We snacked on fancy hors d’oeuvres and watched as “Hamilton” took home nearly every Tony it was nominated for. It seemed fitting that a musical that had taken over our lives was recognized on such a national platform.

And this weekend, I finally got to go see it.

Me and two close friends took a weekend trip to Chicago, getting a hotel, shopping, and checking off one of the things on my bucket list. And for this momentous occasion, I couldn’t help but take a moment to talk about how important this musical has been not only in my life but in the lives of clearly so many others.

I haven’t really talked much about politics on this blog – partly because it stresses me out pretty heavily and partly because I don’t feel like I’m enough of an expert to say anything particularly new or productive on it. But I don’t think it’s out of my comfort zone to say that it’s hard nowadays to consider myself proud of my country. There’s too much conflict and petty drama and injustice to feel anything but cynicism about America. Plus, I’ve had years of U.S. History classes to convince me that there’s nothing in our past to be proud of. With every small step forward we have taken as a country, it seems there are twice as many avalanches backwards. And to make matters even worse, most of the “movers and shakers” of the past are hard to connect with now.

Yet, each time I listen to “Hamilton,” I feel something that almost seems like patriotism. For a little while, the “American Dream” is in reach. In the fast-paced, frenetic beats of the music, between each beautiful performance from the talented actors, I can understand exactly what country our founders were picturing. And maybe that country looks different to me than it did to them – maybe there’s a bit more diversity, a bit more innovation, a bit more globalization – but the feeling is the same. A feeling of hope, that there’s something for us all to work towards. A feeling that I am capable of helping the progress toward that shining image.

It’s that feeling that has had such a profound effect on my life. It’s that feeling that drove me to share this musical’s message with all of my friends. It’s that feeling that made me so excited to finally see it performed in the flesh.

I don’t think I’m wrong to think that it’s that feeling that has propelled “Hamilton” to success. In this time of conflict and division, of fear and sensationalism, that feeling is so important to so many people. We need that kind of hope and drive if we are to move out of our current sad state of affairs. For that reason, I expect to see this musical go down in history as something that united and inspired a nation. I am proud to be a part of that history.

(…Even if the show totally made me cry in public.)

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Character Spotlight: Camilla – Princess of Nohr, Queen of my Heart

If you’re wondering why I haven’t yet talked about Fire Emblem Heroes yet, it’s twofold. One, I didn’t really have anything I felt was meaningful to say, and two I honestly hadn’t played much of it. It wasn’t a testament to the quality of the game, per se, just a testament to how busy I’ve been… and also how disappointed I was in my summons. For awhile I had to get through the game with one five star Merric, one four star Donnel, and a three star Lissa and Henry and it was… disheartening to say the least. I have some experience with luck-based pull style games (coughcoughLoveLivecoughcough) and I’ve never been the luckiest with them.

And then, lo and behold, last Sunday, my luck changed completely.

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Yes, the beautiful goddess Camilla has finally blessed me with her presence. And because I know a lot of people playing the game don’t know much about her and why she’s such a wonderful character, I’m here to provide a loving thesis on the princess of my heart, Camilla, so that when you are lucky enough to draw her, you know just how appreciative to be.

The Story so Far

Camilla comes from Fire Emblem Fates. It’s a really great game that I highly recommend, but I know not everyone has played it, so I’ll give you a quick rundown of the plot so that you can understand where Camilla fits into it all.

Fates tells the story of two warring kingdoms, Hoshido and Nohr. You play as a young prince(ss) of Nohr, who, for their entire life, has been kept in a tower far away from the Nohrian capital and the main castle. However, war is brewing once more between the two kingdoms, and they want to help. Unfortunately, on the front lines of your character’s first battle, they are captured by Hoshidan forces. In the beautiful, prosperous capital of Hoshido, they learn that they’re actually not Nohrian royalty by blood… instead, they were captured from their true family, the royal family in Hoshido by Nohr’s King Garon many years ago. The player is faced with a choice, and two game routes – stay with their birth family and defend Hoshido or return to the family that raised them in Nohr. (There’s also a third route where you can choose neither and attempt to reconcile the two forces… but that route is only available if you’ve played through one of the first two routes.)

Camilla is a princess of Nohr, your character’s older sister. Depending on which route you choose, she becomes either an ally or an enemy, but exactly how she plays both roles is what fascinates me.

The Kingdom

If you want to understand Camilla’s character, it’s important to understand where she comes from. Nohr is a super fascinating location in the game. It’s definitely painted as “the bad one” of the two options with its dark, gothic imagery and violent, warlike tendencies. Plus, its ruler, King Garon, is definitely  Not a Nice Guy™. Yet, throughout the game, it’s heavily implied that Nohr’s warlike tendencies come from a place of necessity. Nohr is not a very fertile land and has very few resources compared to their neighbors in Hoshido. This can be inferred in several places in both routes, but this is also seen in the collectibles available in each route. In both games, the player can collect crops to exchange for items, and the crops available say a lot about each kingdom. On Nohr’s route, the player can collect meat, wheat, cabbage, milk, and berries, while Hoshido sports soybeans, fish, daikon radishes, peaches, and rice. As you might be able to tell, Nohr’s only two “crops” are cabbage and wheat. Wheat is of course used for bread, but that’s not the most luxurious of foods. And then there’s cabbage. Which is, you know, cabbage. The other available “crops” are simply animal and foraging products.

Compare this to Hoshido, which grows the staple rice and beans as well as a fruit and vegetable for the side and fish. While yes, Hoshido is a paradigm of peace and harmony, it’s also pretty clear how they can be. When your kingdom has a history of being able to provide for all of its people, it’s easy to preach pacifism. Yet, while Nohr isn’t excused for its actions, it’s at least implied that there’s a reason for them.

So, when am I going to talk about Camilla?

I Finally Talk About Camilla

So, Camilla, right. That’s who this whole post is about. Camilla.

As I said, Camilla is the player character’s older sister from Nohr. Of the four Nohrian royals, she’s the second eldest, and acts as a motherly figure to her three younger siblings (the player character, Leo, and Elise). She cares deeply for her family but shows no mercy to her enemies. But… I’m pretty sure you could guess that last part. I mean, she rides a giant undead dragon, wears hardcore black armor, and swings a big ol’ axe around – I’m fairly certain just about anyone could see she’s a bit of a bruiser.

But, of course, the elephant in the room regarding Camilla is not her personality. Right, yes, her looks. Her appearance is… a little exaggerated, I understand. Fire Emblem has always had a little difficulty giving its female characters realistic battle outfits, especially recently, but Camilla’s appearance is perhaps one of the most out-there designs to date. It caused quite a stir when Fates was first being teased. And yeah, I have some issues with the way she’s depicted at times, but when it comes down to it, there’s a pretty interesting reason why Camilla looks (and acts) the way she does.

See, Camilla, as well as three out of four of the royal Nohrian siblings, are not actually full-blooded heirs to the Nohrian throne. It’s not like anyone cares succession-wise, because they’re all still children of King Garon, but Camilla, Leo, and Elise are all illicit children of Garon’s various concubines. While none of these concubines are ever seen, they’re discussed in detail by Leo and Elise in a few of their supports. Basically, after the eldest Nohrian royal and only child of the late Queen Ekaterina, Xander, was born, there was a power struggle known as the Concubine Wars, where several of Garon’s lovers hoped to take the queen’s place. Leo specifically discusses how his mother tried to use him to gain power.

Judging by the fact that none of these women actually appear in-game, and the word choice in “Concubine Wars“, I’m assuming it didn’t end well for Leo and Elise’s mothers, and while Camilla never really talks about her own mother, I’d be willing to bet a hearty sum of cash that her mother probably was caught up in this conflict as well. In fact, I think of the three Nohrian royals who came from the wars, Camilla seems the most affected, even if she never even talks about it.

For one, Camilla’s motherly instincts immediately calls attention to hers and her siblings lack of a mother figure. And while yes, Camilla does really care for her siblings, there’s something… just a bit sinister about her method of motherhood. I mean… one of her lines when you invite her over in-game is literally “Tell me who I need to kill to make you happy, sweetie!” Camilla seems to very often confuse love and violence… and it brings me to some interesting conclusions not only about her but also about the world around her.

See, if we make the assumption that, like Leo and Elise, Camilla’s mother was a concubine hoping to take advantage of the power vacuum by Garon’s side, and if we add on the idea that Camilla’s mother was hoping to use her as a weapon to achieve this purpose, it sure does make sense why Camilla would so often confuse love and violence. I mean, if your own mother tried to use you for her own selfish means, and then presumably died in what must have been some sort of violent conflict, it would probably mess up your perception of what motherly love really is.

But Camilla’s problems with love and violence extend far beyond just an explanation of her personality. Her role in the story too hinges on this, excuse the pun, conflict, especially in the Birthright route. If the player character chooses to side with Hoshido, Camilla’s first appearance is… jarring, to say the least. She is at first loving and warm, seemingly happy to see her runaway sibling, but she very quickly becomes hostile.

Plus, this particular clip brings up another important point about Camilla’s character – her sexuality. Yes, Camilla is a very sexual character, but it’s something I once again relate to her background. Consider the fact that her mother tried to use her sexuality to gain power and Camilla’s own behavior becomes clear.

Her incredibly volatile attitude is one of the most fascinating parts of her character, to me. It’s pretty clear that she’s not the most mentally healthy character. Really, none of the Nohrian royal siblings are – probably due to the less-than-stellar parenting they received from their father. However, Camilla in particular seems to struggle the most with the player character’s betrayal. Throughout the route, she is shown falling into bouts of depression. Elise mentions her refusing to leave her room. Even at the end of the route, when the sudden death of Xander gives Camilla the chance to take the throne, she gives up the throne to Leo, apparently due to her lack of confidence in her own ability to rule.

Honestly, it all seems connected to her upbringing. It’s pretty clear that Camilla’s main motivation is her family, so experiencing the betrayal of one of her beloved siblings sends her into a tailspin that is simultaneously interesting and tragic to behold. While all of the Nohrian royals suffer if the player decides to side with Hoshido, it seems Camilla is the one who is dealt the worst hand, losing three siblings and losing an entire war.

Plus, her character parallels Nohr itself surprisingly well. Remember what I said about Nohr having to resort to violence out of necessity, because they don’t have any other choice? Well, Camilla seems pretty similar, doesn’t she? Yes, she’s very violent and merciless, but what she does is not without reason. The turmoil and dysfunction in her family life has led her to clutch onto her loved ones with an iron grip (literally) and defend it with blood if necessary. Like the kingdom she hails from, Camilla has had to fight to survive all her life, so it makes sense why she acts the way she does. (Plus, just look at her design. She’s the only one of the Nohrian royals with purple hair – and it sure does connect her pretty easily with the purple-and-black color scheme of Nohr proper…)

Obviously, she’s a character with a surprising amount of emotional depth and complexity, and it really makes me love her. Despite her relative silence on her own background, the conclusions one can draw on it based on the ways she looks and acts make her a fun character to analyze. That’s why I love Camilla… yes, boob window, brutality, and all.

 

Why I Love Love Songs + Absoludicrous Valentine’s Day Community Playlist

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Happy Valentine’s Day from Absoludicrous!

Okay, technically it’s in two days, but it’s always been one of my favorite holidays, so I’m starting the celebration early.

Valentine’s Day gets a bad rep, which sucks because it’s actually one of my favorite holidays. Yes, I know, if you’re single Valentine’s Day is just another reminder of how lonely you are, but look at it this way. In just a few days, there’s gonna be pounds of very cheap, delicious chocolate in beautiful heart-shaped boxes lining the shelves of every grocery store in the United States.

Plus, Valentine’s Day has that great red and pink fluffy pastel aesthetic that I love. And! Who said you had to have a significant other to spoil someone you love on Love Day. Man, just take a bag of chocolates to school/work/whatever and pass them out. That’s what I do.

And of course, we have the topic of this post. Ballads. Love songs are basically everywhere. I dare you to find a single relevant artist that doesn’t have at least one in their repertoire. Actually… don’t take me up on that. I’m sure there’s some hipster punk band out there that hasn’t yet felt love in their cold, dead hearts.

My original idea for this post was to talk about ten to twelve of my favorite love songs with maybe a few extra suggestions from friends and family. And then I realized that basically everyone has like a whole playlist of love songs they enjoy, and suddenly I had a playlist of over 130 love songs!

I want to take a moment to thank all of the people who suggested songs. It was a blast compiling them, and while I haven’t yet gotten a chance to listen to them all, I’ve dug into a few of them and they’re all super great. There’s all sorts of genres and decades of songs on this list, and I’m sure everyone can find something to enjoy! If you want to check out the playlist, click right here. I will also be including a full song list and every contributor’s name at the bottom of this post!

I thought I might also provide some thoughts on a few of the songs I personally added to the list.

Simple Song – The Shins

I almost forgot about this one until the very last minute, which is something that I honestly cannot believe. How could I forget about this one? As perhaps suggested by the title, is nothing too complex, but it’s earnest and has this really powerful quality to it I really enjoy. There are some really gorgeous lyrics in here too – it seems to tell a story about a love based in friendship, trust, and mutual respect, and if that’s not #relationshipgoals I don’t know what is.

Helpless – Hamilton

This one was another last minute realization. (I won’t take all the blame for this, though. I cannot believe nobody suggested this one either. What’s the deal? I thought, like, all of my friends were obsessed with Hamilton!) Either way, this song is really sweet. You don’t even need to be familiar with the plot of this musical to understand the bubblegum pop feelings of love at first sight this song chronicles. Of course, you would have to be familiar with the musical to understand just what Eliza Hamilton is getting herself into in this relationship… but I digress. I love Lin Manuel Miranda’s rap in this but the real star is of course Phillippa Soo, whose beautiful voice brings makes this adorable ballad perfect.

I Need My Girl – The National

I’m going to come back to this idea for a few of the songs in this little personal list here, but I love when love songs use little specific details that suggest it’s for a real person. I’d bet actual money that the situations described in this song were based in reality – and that’s one of the best parts of the song. That, and the quiet, contemplative tone set by the simplistic instrumentation and echoey sound effects. This one is just beautiful.

The Gambler – fun.

fun. is an older favorite of mine, but I always come back to the song. It’s cheery and catchy and sweet as all get-out. It tells the tale of two lovers’ entire lives together – their meeting, falling in love, and eventually raising a family and enjoying domestic bliss together. It’s like the auditory equivalent of Valentine’s Day chocolate… sweet and addictive.

I Want You To – Weezer

This is another love song that gets very specific with some of the details of the lyrics. Plus, it’s a fun, upbeat, tongue-in-cheek sort of song that still manages to keep some really sweet and sentimental ideas. I’m not the biggest fan of Weezer, but this song is a real gem.

Arms – Christina Perri

This has always been a song that has resonated with me, especially recently. It’s an earnest and lovely song about learning to trust and love. It’s nothing grand, but I love the sentiment of this song. It feels really real, talking about the confusing feelings of fear and joy that comes with a first love. (Also, a bit relatable, gonna be honest.) Adorable.

Death of a Bachelor – Panic! at the Disco

Gosh I love this song! Have I talked about how much I love this song? Oh man do I love this song. With a classic swagger that can only be delivered by the one and only Brendon Urie, this song is a sentimental look at getting married and casting aside your old single life. And those horns… yes those horns…

In Another Life – Vienna Teng

I recently showed this song to my dad, who told me he thought it sounded very “broadway.” This was kind of a wild realization to me, but it totally explains why I dig this song so much. Vienna Teng is kind of a master at telling some incredibly-written stories through song, and this one specifically tells the tale of two lovers as they are repeatedly reborn throughout history and brought together. Despite the sometimes morbid subject matter of the lyrics, the song ends on a surprisingly sweet note, giving these two ill-fated lovers a happy ending in the present. Plus, some excellent clarinet playing.

Aquaman – Walk the Moon

My boys! Walk the Moon is my favorite band and they’ve had no shortage of love songs – some a bit more crude or awkward than others… but I had to pick this one because I love the sentiment. The idea of letting go of your fears and being able to love someone without restraint is really so well articulated. Plus, because it’s Walk the Moon, it has that fun 80s sound that just cheers you right up.

When the Day Met the Night – Panic! at the Disco

More horns! Also, Brendon Urie is back. Can you blame me? His voice is basically like listening to romance… yeah, I know that was lame. This song can best be described as a Beatles-esque parade of nature imagery. This is a really unapologetically joyful song, one that always brings a smile to my face. Plus, it seems to preach compromise in relationships, which is always a good thing.

The Only Exception – Paramore

Paramore isn’t exactly known for their stripped-down ballads, but I can’t help but love this one. Haley Williams sings about finding that one person who gives you the strength to move on past heartbreak, and does it in such a powerful, emotional way. Plus, the song builds to this really heartwarming climax toward the end, really playing with the build of the instrumentation to carry a listener through the song. Just gorgeous.

Thunder Clatter – Wild Cub

I saved this one for last because it’s kind of my favorite love song of them all. This one was written by the lead singer for his actual wife, which means it’s definitely a real love story, making it already a million times cuter in my book. Plus, the drums and rhythmic sound of the whole song keeps it light and joyful. Also, I must admit, I’m a sucker for the bridge… how could hearing a man sing “you’re the love of my life” to his wife not tug at your heartstrings?

But of course, there’s a lot more love songs than that (Like more than 120 more, basically). If you feel like these twelve songs aren’t enough, check out all the other songs that were submitted to me! They’re definitely worth your time!

The Playlist

  1. Just an Old Fashioned Love Song – Three Dog Night
  2. Perfect for You – Next to Normal
  3. Simple Song – The Shins
  4. Why Stay?/A Promise – Next to Normal
  5. Stop the World I Wanna Get Off With You – Arctic Monkeys
  6. Helpless – Hamilton
  7. Hey #3/ Perfect for You (Reprise) – Next to Normal
  8. Waterloo – ABBA
  9. Fuckin’ Perfect – P!nk
  10. Kiss on My List – Hall & Oates
  11. Love Me Like You Do – Ellie Goulding
  12. I Melt With You – Modern English
  13. Take My Breath Away – Berlin
  14. I Won’t Say I’m in Love – Disney’s Hercules
  15. Hello My Old Heart – The Oh Hello’s
  16. Cassiopeia – Sara Bareilles
  17. Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley
  18. Your Love is My Drug – Kesha
  19. Gravity – Sara Bareilles
  20. Lush Life – Zara Larsson
  21. I Choose You – Sara Bareilles
  22. Latch – Sam Smith (Acoustic)
  23. When You’re in Love – Karina Pasian
  24. Like Real People Do – Hozier
  25. Lay Me Down – Sam Smith
  26. Jackie and Wilson – Hozier
  27. Dangerous – The xx
  28. From Eden – Hozier
  29. Lover’s Carvings – Biblio
  30. Dear No One – Tori Kelly
  31. Cherry Wine – Hozier
  32. Color – Todrick Hall ft. Jay Armstrong
  33. Celestial – Tori Kelly
  34. Someone New – Hozier
  35. Naive – The Kooks
  36. Stained – Tori Kelly
  37. Till the End – Jessie Ware
  38. A World Alone – Lorde
  39. I Need My Girl – The National
  40. Chasing Pavements – Adele
  41. Daydreamer – Adele
  42. Poetry Man – Phoebe Snow
  43. All About Us – Jordan Fisher
  44. Rhythm Of Love – Danity Kane
  45. Find Me – Sigma ft. Birdy
  46. Color in You – Copperlily
  47. 1, 2, 3, 4 – Plain White T’s
  48. Outlaws – David Lambert
  49. Teenage Dream – Katy Perry
  50. Fall for You – Secondhand Serenade
  51. Take a Chance on Me – ABBA
  52. Maybe I’m Amazed – Paul McCartney
  53. It Only Takes a Moment – Michael Crawford
  54. Every Little Thing She Does is Magic – The Police
  55. The Way You Make Me Feel – Michael Jackson
  56. In Your Eyes – Peter Gabriel
  57. God Only Knows – The Beach Boys
  58. Let’s Stay Together – Al Green
  59. When a Man Loves a Woman – Percy Sledge
  60. Unchained Melody – The Righteous Brothers
  61. When We Dance – Sting
  62. Unforgettable – Nat King Cole
  63. You’re My Best Friend – Queen
  64. L-O-V-E – Nat King Cole
  65. My Cherie Amour – Stevie Wonder
  66. Your Song – Elton John
  67. Stardust – Nat King Cole
  68. Fly Me to the Moon – Frank Sinatra
  69. Photograph – Ed Sheeran
  70. Can’t Help Falling in Love – Cover by twenty one pilots
  71. With or Without You – U2
  72. When the Night Comes – Joe Cocker
  73. The Anthem – Good Charlotte
  74. Check Yes Juliet – We the Kings
  75. Can’t Get Enough of Your Love – Barry White
  76. Marry You – Bruno Mars
  77. Wouldn’t it Be Nice – The Beach Boys
  78. We Found Love – Rihanna
  79. Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol
  80. I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston
  81. True Colours – Tom Odell
  82. Do You Love Me Too – Tessa Violet
  83. Follow Through – Gavin DeGraw
  84. You’re the Only One – Maria Mena
  85. When the Sun Goes Down – In the Heights
  86. Would You Be So Kind? – Dodie
  87. I’ll Cover You – Rent
  88. Somewhere Only We Know – Keane
  89. What the Heck I Gotta Do – 21 Chump Street
  90. Tell Me Who to Be – Cosmo Jarvis
  91. Talk About You – MIKA
  92. Sunlight in a Jar – The Lucksmiths
  93. Private Fears in Public Places – Front Porch Step
  94. Make You Mine – PUBLIC
  95. Love at First Sight – The Brobecks
  96. Nobody Does it Better – Carly Simon
  97. L-L-Love – He is We
  98. I Wanna Be Yours – Arctic Monkeys
  99. Girls Like You – The Naked and Famous
  100. Love Me Do – The Beatles
  101. Gimmie Love – Carly Rae Jepsen
  102. From Afar – Vance Joy
  103. Almost Hear You Sigh – The Rolling Stones
  104. Faster – Matt Nathanson
  105. Under the Same Sun – Ben Howard
  106. Love Song – The Cure
  107. I Would Die 4 U – Prince
  108. Waiting for a Girl Like You – Foreigner
  109. Always – Panic! at the Disco
  110. The Gambler – fun.
  111. Your Body is a Wonderland – John Mayer
  112. Only Wanna Be With You – Hootie and the Blowfish
  113. Lost in Love – Air Supply
  114. Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
  115. Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen
  116. True Companion – Marc Cohn
  117. Beth – Kiss
  118. Fall at Your Feet – Saint Raymond
  119. Arthur’s Theme – Christopher Cross
  120. Elephant Love Medley – Moulin Rouge
  121. Reminiscing – The Little River Band
  122. Something Wild – Lindsey Stirling ft. Andrew McMahon
  123. Zurui No Magnetic Today – Love Live
  124. I Love You – The Climax Blues Band
  125. Happy Together – Turtles
  126. I Want You To – Weezer
  127. Arms – Christina Perri
  128. Honeybee – Steam Powered Giraffe
  129. Fairytale – Alexander Rybak
  130. Death of a Bachelor – Panic! at the Disco
  131. In Another Life – Vienna Teng
  132. Aquaman – Walk the Moon
  133. When the Day Met the Night – Panic! at the Disco
  134. Home – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
  135. The Only Exception – Paramore
  136. Thunder Clatter – Wild Cub

Special Thanks

Finally, I could not have complied this amazing list without the help and suggestions of these wonderful people:

  • Angela Paxton
  • David Paxton
  • Caroline Heyl
  • Marie Hamilton
  • Zach Wang
  • Susan Sveen
  • Russ Sveen
  • Madison Sveen
  • Pepper LaPaglia
  • Leigh Heck
  • Kirby Fleitz
  • Megan Cline
  • Brianna Greenman
  • McKenna Edwards
  • Oscar Bridges
  • Gabby Emberton
  • Taylor Williams

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! I hope you all spend it with the people you love the most!

Review: “Gakkou Gurashi!” is Surprisingly Good

gakkougurashi

I finished “Gakkou Gurashi!” or “School Live!” about a week ago and, let me tell you, I was not expecting to ever be able to type that sentence truthfully. To be honest, this show looks nothing like something I’d enjoy (I say, very hypocritically, as I realize that it resembles “Love Live”, an anime I adore, even down to its name… but whatever.) This show is… definitely surprising to say the least.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Since this is my first review, I thought I’d speak a minute on how reviews are going to work on this blog. Since I think reviews are great ways to recommend good stuff to people, I want to make sure to give readers an easy way to avoid spoilers. For that reason, each of my reviews will be two parts. The first part will be a general recommendation with no spoilers, and the second will be a more in-depth review of what I thought, spoilers included.

For this anime, that means the spoiler-free part is going to be very vague, just because about 90% of what I can say about it is a spoiler.  So, uh… sorry in advance?

General Overview [Spoiler Free]

“Gakkou Gurashi!” is an anime about Megurigaoka Private High School’s School Life club, and its members Yuki Takeya, Yuuri Wakasa, Kurumi Ebisuzawa, and Miki Naoki as they go about their daily routine and club activities. Along with their teacher and advisor Megumi Sakura and high-spirited dog Taroumaru, the girls of the School Life club live at their beloved school and take part in all of its activities. And… that’s really all I can tell you. Anything more, and the completely fascinating first episode of this anime is spoiled, and I would hate to do that.

What I can tell you is that this anime is certainly worth you time. It has its flaws – namely a cliche main cast, some really hyper-stereotypical character interactions, and cheap fanservice – but I was honestly able to overlook this just on the strength of its storyline alone. If you’re thinking you might want to check this show out, though, DO NOT, I repeat, DO. NOT. google search it. Do not look up anything about it. Just go to whatever anime streaming website you prefer, put on your blinders and click the first episode without reading anything else.

Even if you’re not too interested by the synopsis alone, I highly recommend you at least check out the first episode. Wait until you’ve seen the entire first episode to judge this one – I promise you won’t regret it. Honestly, the experience of going in blind to this anime’s first episode was enough for me to justify watching the rest of it, even if it never quite ventured into any genres I particularly enjoy.

… And really, that’s all I can say without giving too much away. This anime really does wait to show its hand, so give it a chance, at least. I recommend it.

More in-depth, spoilery review under the read more!

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