An unabashedly biased writeup of the emotional and thematic content brought by each contestant each round during this competition.
My primary metrics I used to view these songs, aside from just how they
made me feel, were whether or not I thought about the track when I
wasn't being actively reminded it existed and whether or not I would
have sex with the personification of said song if given the chance.
.5 Quartet - Sort You Out
Vincent is very adept at approaching their songwriting with creative themes and this is a fantastic example of that. Even at face value alone the concept of the sorting hat of Hogwarts being instrumental in setting up all the conflicts is very interesting and pulled me in instantly. While not terribly difficult to extrapolate, the song definitely communicates more implicitly that this is more than just a clever take on the subject matter, but also aims to expose how Joanna Rowling uses the sorting hat as a literary stand in for her own problematic essentialism, reinforced by the introduction that drops her pen name, associated with stories that are intentionally transantagonistic, and the last line that substitutes her name for Voldemort's in the final chorus. The instrumental is also flawless in supporting the emotional content in the vocals, creating an unsettling and forboding environment that gives the listener a sense of menacing intent. I don't think this song would sweep me off of my feet but I would definitely soften up the more time we spent together and would absolutely share a bottle of red wine, a deep conversation, and most likely a bed with it.
1 Up Funk - Be More
Aesthetically this song has a very playful and light-hearted feel, which matches the character of BMO very well, though I have some complicated feelings on the way the gender talk is handled. Adventure Time is a show that features a number of queer writers and therefore has some very nuanced characters in lot of great ways and being what is essentially a sentient game boy, BMO is a character mostly presented as gender fluid, agender, and sometimes explicitly gendered by characters, using various pronouns for themself in different contexts, sometimes switching over the course of short periods of time. It's a nuanced and complex take that I appreciate but the song starts off speaking of misgendering, which seems to ignore the moving pieces of the way his identity is presented in the source material, then flips through some pronouns in ways that feel as though it's meant to imply a sense of confusion. That verse ends with a mention of dissociative identity disorder, which is a potential piece of BMO's makeup, or at least has been assumed in some popular analysis based on a few episodes. Whether or not that was intended by the writers of the show I feel including that in a way that feels like it means to specifically relate to BMO's gender didn't sit terribly well with me. All of that said, I am absolutely not upset with this song and I only assume the best of intent, I just think this is a good example of how maybe folx that want to relate to more complex concepts of gender that they don't personally relate to could benefit from including genderqueer or nonconforming people in their creative process to help them better understand how to navigate and present what they're trying to say. The respect to the material is very apparent but the actual moves are a bit clunky in ways that deserve some unpacking. This is the kind of song you keep around because you really believe it's trying its best. I don't know if we should really sleep together but I'm fine with being friends with this song, possibly with benefits.
2 Cannonz - In Memoriam of Flotsam and Jetsam
As a queerdo from Baltimore I have a very intense admiration for Ursula the sea witch, who was explicitly based on legendary drag queen Divine, and so I was very very excited for this song. Unfortunately I found the themes here scattered and confused and was unable to get as invested as I expected to. While there were a few handfuls of very well anchored (pun always intended) references and general aesthetic nods to Ursula, the verses were often difficult to parse in relation to the source material. How is this armageddon? Are the veil (vile?) souls that may control her the ones she's speaking to? Triton himself who exiled her? They thought they got the villain as in got rid of her? What does tasting sin refer to? Who's the saviour? Does the seven refer to her and her sisters? When did she control sea nymphs? What does sirening aggression mean? What does completing defeat mean? If Flotsam and Jetsam were defeated how are they going to eat? I have to believe that the efforts to keep multisyllabic rhyme schemes just got in the way of forming a cohesive narrative here and it's too bad because this is a great team and I really wanted to love this song. I just have no idea what I'm even supposed to feel with the direction feeling so aimless. The general aesthetic of the instrumental does support a lot of the in between thematic elements that suggest a general threat and holy shit these have to objectively be the best vocal chops in the entire round, but the drum patterns and sounds also feel like they clash with the better parts of the atmosphere. They sound great but don't support what at least I think is the intended emotional impact. This is definitely a good song but I would love to see it worked on a bit more then released in its final form after the comp. I bet I would love that shit so much. I'm not going to find myself chasing this song down a street but I wouldn't mind if I woke up one morning and found we maybe took things a little too far the preceeding night.
Anti Hero - T
This is one of the many "I'm rapping as the bad guy" songs this round, which is to be expected. I am a bit familiar with the Evil Johnny Bravo character from the Resident Evil series but I never found him particularly compelling so I probably needed something more profound from a song centering him in a narrative than just explaining things he did in the video game. The vocal aesthetic is a little flat and underwhelming but mostly pretty solid. I'd like to see a little more conviction but I also think this one of the better tracks I've heard from this team, who has made mostly songs of this caliber that aren't quite working for me compared to some other VPC entries, but are very seldom not working at all. The instrumental is certainly effective at capturing the unsettling atmosphere the game series is famous for and I have no complaints on the way it sets the scene emotionally. I kinda think the song itself made me feel anything that it meant for me to feel but also maybe this jam was intended to be all aesthetic and little emotional impact, in which case it's just not a song written for me and that's okay. The track totally stands up to repeat listens and while I don't really get terribly excited when it's on I also never get mad. If this song was flirting with me in a bar I don't think I'd regret following it home.
[#%^ __="#" __="#" __="#" __="#" __="#" __="#" __="#" __="#" __="#" __="#" __="#" __="#"] - Space Seed
Khan is such a significantly imposing character that also has an unsettling calm demeanor even when he is being exceedingly violent and I really feel this song captures that dynamic flawlessly. I know Shane was very busy with planning a massive Dungeon Synth festival and that's likely the primary factor contributing to this being a one and done song but it's really effective, even if unintentionally, of conveying the confidence and indifference of Khan, giving me the imagery of him only pausing before effortlessly taking someone's life to satisfy his ego and explain how literally superior he is. This is even more so driven home by the book ending of 1) the uncomfortable intro, brilliantly displaying the (intentionally) cringiest dialogue at the beginning of the episode as casual laughter crowds out Spock's confusion over the romanticism of the same villainous character that would come to haunt the crew and 2) the meandering outro that really drives home the menacing energy that accompanies who is essentially the Thanos of the Star Trek universe. Ultraklystron called this song Dr Octakhan and that's god damn perfect. This song fucks and I would easily spend an evening arguing over which Star Trek series to put on and forget to pay attention to.
Broken Pixels - A.L.L.A.H.
Maybe I'm misunderstanding something about Attack on Titan and the titan forms of each character are meant to be entirely separate but as the Attack Titan is Eren's titan form isn't this still basically from the perspective of the hero? I haven't gotten back to the story since the second season and I know there was a lot still unanswered so please fill me in on whatever context I'm missing because I do assume that's incredibly relevant to my confusion there. Either way nit picking over the challenge details isn't why I'm here. The thing that really makes that manga/show effective to me is just how adeptly it is able to inflict an immobilizing sense of true insurmountable terror and I feel even in the more triumphant moments that overwhelmingly traumatic context is always foundational. I felt the high stakes were well communicated here but it felt the triumph was put forward without the trauma and that kept it from landing for me in the way I wanted it to. That said there is often a bit of a tired strain in the delivery that feels intentional in a way that keeps this far from emotionless. The objectively catchy chorus especially has a certain desperation to it that I definitely appreciate. The rhyme schemes, particularly on the bridge, which really just feels like a shorter verse more so than a true bridge, are a bit monotonous across the whole song in a way that I do think softens the impact, where instead it could really have hit so much harder with some more intentional space made for more dynamic emotional content. The instrumental is again very effective at setting the scene and the energy of the vocals match it perfectly. This is ultimately a good song that hits a bunch of notes, just misses a few important ones too from where I'm standing. I'd still put out but I might not call back for a second date.
Chip & Tune Res Q Rangers - Gunstar Yellow
This is one of the many properties written about in this round that I know absolutely nothing about and again it's very book reporty but in a way that I don't feel I learn anything about the game that makes me care about it. I really love how it all comes in and I was honestly ready to get fucking hype but there was no movement at all outside of the hook (which I'll get to soon). The verses were actually kinda hard to listen to because the delivery was stiff and the fourth wall was broken in very uninteresting ways regularly. This is also one of the many songs this round where the flow was so stiff that it almost sounded quantized and I really hope that all of the teams who will get that criticism from me will do take some time to deconstruct their vocal takes and the more dynamic takes of other teams in order to figure out how to take steps to bridge that gap, even if only a little bit. I want to see everyone win so my DMs are open if anyone wants to hit me up for advice and more nuanced critique. I'm only going into the technical bits here because I felt that the emotional impact on the lines that felt like they weren't meant to be as dry as most of the lyrics in this song were robbed of their ability to convey any sort of feeling because of the robotic delivery. That chorus, though. It's clunky the way it comes in and it's not mixed super well so it's a little jarring, but it's got some goofy ultra hype opening theme to a Saban tv show energy that I fucking love and it might not save this song for me but it is absolutely the most redeeming element and I think just like the previous criticism trying to figure out how to get some of that energy and emotion into the verses, whether that means rapping better or just rapping less, would be an incredible move going forward for elevating this team's impact. As I alluded to earlier the instrumental was really working for me at first and I was bobbing my head so hard but I very quickly got bored with it and that didn't help at trying to stay emotionally connected to the material. I wouldn't hook up with this song but I would come over, help it fill out its Tinder profile, and play wing person while it sends the first message to potential dates.
Cyberfunk 2077 - Valentine Detective Agency
This is one of the songs this round that just felt like the aim was entirely off for me. As soon as it transitioned from the opening sample to the main beat I was confused by the creative direction taken. I feel there's a specific coolness to Nick Valentine that's objectively rooted in and also directly subversive toward a number of noir detective tropes and conventions that seem completely ignored here and this particular song I feel would benefit from finding a halfway point between the aesthetics of the source material and the final product.Anyone reading anything I'm saying here can feel free to ignore any of my criticisms but this one might be the silliest since we did a blown out noise rap track about a Steven Universe character but still... It's a small note but the first few lines not being from Nick's perspective also feel like a bit of a stumble. This is another song that feels book reporty and like many of the others I'll be giving this criticism it made it hard for me to get invested in the song even though this is definitely a character I already feel a connection to. Also despite all of the lyrical material basically just explaining who Nick Valentine is a lot of it doesn't seem to really be talking about him specifically as much as just rolling off cliché rap themes with references to elements in the game worked in. A lot of lines start with one angle and then clunkily shift to another so that there are more multisyllabic rhymes at the expense of a cohesive narrative flow, even just within single lines. This is another song where those technical elements, also combined with a stiff delivery, deaden what little emotional content was able to be conveyed through the vocals. The instrumental is good, though again not feeling like it matches the context of the character being portrayed. Where the shift into the Ink Spots sample after the first verse and the drop after the "good to keep going?" sample into the second verse are god damn perfect most of what happens in between feels inconsistent and yanked me out of the part I felt the most immersed in, which is no fun. I don't think this song is my type but I'm game to go out for a night of dancing or see a movie together as long as it understands that we'd just be hanging out as friends.
Dappersaurus - Redd is the New Green
This song just feels so well rooted in the source material and is simultaneously very much a Dappersaurus track, both in very satisfying ways. I haven't played a lot of Animal Crossing and actually never once interacted with Redd, but I know enough about him to appreciate all the direct references. I still really prefer songs that feel they can stand alone without relying this much on knowledge of a character but this didn't feel book reporty so much as just a potential theme song that Redd could perform in universe. I love An Hobbes and have played dozens of shows with him so I'm probably less sensitive than others to this but this is definitely one of those songs where his flow seems to steamroll the rhythms of the beats a lot and I really feel this one it specifically detracts from the sly fox feels that I think the character deserves, especially with that funky bass line 2Ton is bringing in. That said there's a bunch of moments where Hobbes really sits in the pocket and I get the most immersed in this track then. For the most part Animal Crossing is so surface level and aims way more for cuteness than emotional depth so I have a pretty low bar set for this particular track in that department but I do feel that some tweaks could have been made to make it feel a little more like the musings of a shady art dealing fox than what we ended up with. I can't be mad at it, though, as the beat just feels so connected to what I'd imagine a rap song in that world would sound like that it really does a lot to help anchor itself pretty well. This is another track I wanted to feel a little more but wasn't mad about. I'd make out with this song and see where it goes.
Deshko - Show'NTell
Okay so Desh is obviously obscenely good at a lot of things but one talent you can always expect to be firmly on display in the VPC is that he really knows how to get hype as fuck and it's very obvious that Ryako came in knowing that and built the instrumental of this song specifically to set him up for it. This god damn monster comes in with the intent to break your concentration and make you lean in to figure out what the fuck is going on. Cowboy Bebop is definitely one of those properties I know nothing about so I wasn't going to be able to relate to sort of context, make a connection to the character, or catch any references, but damn that energy really made all of that irrelevant as fuck. I'm sure there's some sort of link in the hook to the source material but it really does stand alone just as Desh flexing and that's exactly what he does in this song. There's a bit of emptiness in the vocal mix during the chorus that makes him sound like he stepped back but it only barely detracts from the aforementioned hype and I am definitely bobbing my head to this relentlessly. 10/10 would bump this track on MySpace. I was honestly thrown off by the All Day reference at the beginning since that was written about a different show? and that made me unfortunately fall out of head bob mode and get into analyzing the content of the verses too much on the first few listens. That was the only point where my lack of familiarity hurt the immersion. I do feel like I was able to get to know some abstract qualities of the character in ways that gave me at least a moderate level of investment simply because of the quality of the imagery presented and the cohesive narrative direction of the verses, though. Like Desh's round one last year this had another double length verse that seemed to slightly overstay its welcome, not because there is any bad material, but because it's just dense to the point that it's hard for a good chunk of the lines to have a chance to make an impact. I don't think this bothered me once while listening but I honestly keep forgetting what happened in the song once it's no longer playing and that was a bit disappointing. The biggest piece that makes up for that, though, and makes it hard to walk away from this song even the slightest bit upset, is that the production is incredibly dynamic and really gives the vocals all the intricate treatment they deserve. This song is a certified fucking banger and this team is going to rock every single round as a significant threat to every single team. The only thing that would keep me from spending a night with this song is being too shy to approach it at the bar. This shit's just too cool.
Dive Bars - Daddy Issues
I want to see Dive Bars grow so I'm going to give every round an fair listen but this is definitely a step back from their round zero, which was pretty disjointed and arhythmic but way less so than this song for me. It doesn't feel like the instrumental and the vocals were made with each other in mind but rather completely separately and then just dropped in a project file, perhaps with Myk at least mentioning what tempo to record to but maybe not giving the correct one? There's more refrains than anything that feels like a verse and it makes it pretty impossible to actually establish any connection to the flow of the song at all. What it does do is give me a very specific wish list of what I want to see from this team. Give me some changes in the energy at the beginning and/or ends of some bars/stanzas/sections, etc so that it sounds like there's supposed to be movement and tension instead of just an endless loop. Stalara is not completely monotone by any means but doesn't really have anything in the instrumental to play off so there's a bit of a kicking in the void feel to the dynamics of the vocals. Also all the drum elements are soft and muddy and blur together so it's probably not the easiest task to get into a groove to really keep a hold on any rhythms. That said there needs to be some more practice on the delivery before recording as this all feels like the lyrics are being read off the paper with very little commitment. Lemme have a little emotional range. As a treat. I feel like romantically I'm out of this song's league but it's probably really sweet and I would pay for its drinks while we chat about whatever obscure arthouse films its been watching lately.
Dubldragon - Bandit's Secret
I definitely am pretty familiar with Hunter x Hunter and enjoyed the Yorknew City Arc so this was one I could react to with some well grounded opinions but wow what a difficult decision on the subject picking Crollo, who is one of the least emotive characters in the Phantom Troupe. I did listen to some demos of this song before submission so apologies to Skeptik that I didn't give more constructive feedback then but I do have some now lol. The narrative feel from this is kind of halfway between book reporty and feeling like the character is performing raps in universe in a way that I only minded enough in repeat listens for it to come out a bit middling in the context of the rest of the submissions. There is a little bit of a flat delivery, again especially apparent when compared to some other offerings this round, but the rhyme schemes are smooth enough in most parts that it helps keep the verses from feeling too stiff. That said there are a few lines that don't land as smoothly as they could have been. This is also another song that feels like there's little emotional depth and it is instead a typical "I'm rapping as the bad guy" The second verse is much stronger but the vocal delivery still doesn't really get emotive enough to make me feel things and this review series is all about those feels. The third verse is definitely the one that's the most dynamic but still doesn't have enough emotional impact so get much shine in the context of these reviews. Next round gimme something to make my little heart a rum pum pum pum a bit more, friends! I dunno, I feel this song is deceptively good in bed but it would have to put in some work to land me.
ExtraDial - playtime
This song maybe has too many feelings and is intensely relatable in frightening ways. The vocalist is obviously great at rap but much more so the producer is god damn brilliant and you should randomly send her a fuck ton of money for no other reason than she's way cooler than all of us. 5/7. Perfect score. Will cry to again. Also we've already seen each other naked.
Fireproof - Frankenstein's Monster
This is another song where I'm especially biased because I really love the source material. Magneto is pretty high on my list of anti-heroes and all of the themes that make for the best discourse on what contribute to the character's greatness are on full display here so it's an easy home run for me. That said while there's no shortage of technical skill on display in the verses they're really not particularly inspiring either. While we're covering all that wonderful "Magneto was right" territory it doesn't feel like a very creative or compelling angle so much as referencing what's already compelling without needing the song to exist. We're firmly in head bobbing territory the entire time and there isn't a single throwaway bar, but not with a lot of emotional impact brought on by the song itself. Literally all of that goes out of the window when the chorus comes in, though. This hook is hype as fuck, dynamic, easily the strongest emotive delivery of the entire round, and really demands respect from the listener in ways I endlessly appreciate. The transition in and out of the verse chorus sections are also so smooth that there's literally no break in the immersion. The second verse literally does not come with any different energy or feeling than the first but somehow the strength of the hook makes bars that are more clever than impactful really hit as hard as possible. "You burn bridges I move bridges in my direction" especially is a fucking haymaker that I would have loved anyway but since the hook really firmly grabbed my attention I feel like I'm more present here and really giving that line, as well as several others, the appreciation it deserves. This is totally one of the strongest songs in this round and the mood set by the instrumental really does just as much heavy lifting as the vocals do. This beat is coming for war but from a sense of duty rather than arrogance. This is a tight ass song and I could totally imagine being swept the fuck off of my feet and being down for whatever.
Floe Riden - I'm So Bored
This song is very appropriately titled. Is that vocal delivery in the hook supposed to be mirroring You's A Hoe? This song is obviously competently crafted. The vocals are appropriately emotive, the delivery is dynamic, the flow is solid, the content is firmly rooted in the source material, though again very book reporty, and the production is well structured and mixed, but... none of it does a single thing for me emotionally. I am literally bored to tears with this song. I know both of these cats are very talented and can craft compelling songs but this is not one of them. All of the aforementioned technically proficient aspects of the vocal and lyrical work feels bare minimum like a checklist for passable rap was used and then everyone washed their hands and walked away. The production hits the same feelings where it sounds like a really well mixed late 90s indie rap beat that would have really needed a much more interesting vocalist for me to care about the song at all then and is distractingly plain now, especially in context of the other competitors this round. I'm sorry y'all, but... I'm so bored. I probably would make an excuse to leave the club early to get away from this song if it was flirting with me, like pretend to get an important phone call or some shit.
Green Lotus - Yujiro
I don't know very much about Baki at all but I'm also not under the impression that it's a story with very much depth so much as a high octane action punch em up anime so I don't know if a lot of familiarity would help at all here with making an emotional connection. I'm not sure there's any way to approach this material outside of "I'm rapping as the bad guy" but this is effective at doing so without solely relying on said dynamic to the point of that not feeling like a short coming. There is a bit of stagnancy to the progression at first that really kills me here, though. I like the sparse flow a lot, especially as someone that syllable crams way too fucking much, but I can also barely tell the difference between the first three sections because the flow, delivery, basic rhyme structure, and energy don't change at all. That does fortunately not continue through the whole song, as halfway through the main verse the flow picks up a lot and is very effective at not only drawing in the listener, but making the "bridge", which really just feels like an alt hook, hit way better. Then there is another layer to the beat that picks up the energy a ton. The song unfortunately drops back out as it goes back into the standard hook again, a section that feels completely unnecessary. In spite of a short list of things I would do differently the song is objectively hype as fuck. Since there's really no purposefully emotional content at all the only thing I really have to focus on is the progression of the ways both the producer and vocalist manipulate the energy levels and really all I can say is I fully expect this song to give me a hell of a night, though I'm not sure I'd call it back for a second date.
Hard Corey and a Dinosaur - Rap Genius
This is another track that's very book reporty and while the vocalist and producer both definitely know what they're doing it again feels very standard and doesn't put in a lot of effort to make me want to listen to it on purpose. Similar to the last song this one is about a character with near zero emotional depth so there's little for me to grab onto here but also the fact that it's less about aesthetic and more just taking over three minutes to explain the painfully simple concept of a cow that's also smart and stuff makes it much harder to really get into. That said, the vocalist obviously has some writing chops and there are a few stand out moments such as "Don't have a cow, we're awful pets" that are definitely much more memorable than most of the rest of the song. The only problem there is there's almost as many that are so clunky I literally rolled my eyes when they hit. At one point there's a reference to something that happened "in season 3" and the end of the last verse, which should really be a much stronger bar, was literally "Here's the chorus". Eye roll city. There's also a huge missed opportunity in a bridge that says "Move Bishop get out the way" when I would have at least laughed if it was moo instead, and it wouldn't have been any less on the nose than a huge chunk of the preceeding lyrics. Similar to the Death Note track this one is a very competently crafted song that I feel absolutely nothing about and will definitely never listen to again. I do feel the instrumental does a lot of work to manage the energy and keep things dynamic enough to reinforce that this is a team with talent, but it's still not enough for me to care at all. I would definitely excuse myself to the bathroom while this song is talking at me about things I don't care about and then just sneak out to go somewhere else to drink.
I'm a big SNES era JRPG nerd so obviously I'm very familiar with Chrono Trigger and was hella down for this song even though I've been side eyeing this purposefully mysterious duo since they sent me an unprompted friend request from their joint facebook account (Be honest. Who got caught cheating?). This is painfully surface level, though, and really only marked down as being from the perspective of an unnamed background character for the sake of maybe satisfying the challenge requirement with a song that is only themed to a specific moment in the game and not actually a character driven song in the least bit. There really aren't even any verses in this so much as three very different choruses, with one of them repeating. It's a fun beat, interesting and weird vocal delivery, and obviously very well recorded and mixed, but it's vapid as fuck and has zero emotional impact aside from being really danceable. I will also say there's no question this song is memorable, for better and worse. That's far from nothing but it's hardly worth writing more about. I still won't be accepting that friend request at this point, much less swiping right.
Ill Capwn & Al Seer - Beam Me Up Team Up
This song sounds like it was written in 1998 by someone who had been writing a cappellas for too long to be able to objectively realize they actually weren't good at rapping when they made this this, their very first recorded song. I am hella pro beginner so if this is literally just an early attempt at figuring out how to make rap please feel free to hit me up for some more detailed feedback and advice on how to level up your skills. As of now these vocals and lyrics are making my poor ADHD brain dizzy as fuck and I hate it. Trying to actively listen to this feels like waking up to a 1000 word single paragraph block of text DM from some rando explaining something I already know to me and I just can't even parse it. I think the worst part about trying to review songs like this is I honestly replay them way more than the ones I actively enjoy because I'm trying to figure out something positive to say but really it just isn't working for me on any level. The vocal delivery sounds like the vocalist is trying to quickly read bad poetry at someone fully expecting them to be amazed. A lot of this also feels like it's less from the perspective of the character than just James Doohan having a rap battle with Simon Pegg and I'm not sure why. The instrumental was competent enough, though not without some issues with the mix, but mostly didn't really have a chance to do much work for setting any specific emotional tone with the cluttered vocals running across it so haphazardly. I feel this song is way more drunk than I am and I'm confused why it keeps touching my arm while it talks at me when I'm just trying to finish my cigarette in peace.
KKMDS - There Was a Guy Named Joel
This is a KKMDS song. That probably communicates more than I need to explain. IDK. This team definitely occasionally surprises me from time to time with songs that I enjoy a lot more than I feel I should based on what's on paper alone but this isn't one of them. I honestly only watched the original MST3k so that probably doesn't help cause I don't actually give a shit about the characters they brought in later trying to make the set up more robust but even still I don't think there's enough good faith creative content put into this song to expect me to make any sort of emotional content. This team is basically more about being weird and having fun than they are making actual good songs and I respect that. I just don't like this one lol. J is definitely getting better and better at production, though. But again that's not really what we're here to talk about. Honestly I'm glad this particular gorilla dick is in orbit or whatever so I don't have to worry about turning up in my DMs unsolicited down here on earth.
Muppet Ronin - Fizgig Piss
This is a Kabuto slash Beaker song. That probably communicates more than I need to explain. IDK. Just about anyone that's spent more than five minutes in this group, especially cats that did so more than six years ago, know that Kabuto is silly good at rapping. That unfortunately puts him at a big disadvantage here where he can do a lot of really impressive rap shit and it just hits to a lot of folx as a dialed in attempt when he's still doing shit dozens of other competitors might not even be able to pull off at all. The bar is set a bit too high for this team to be this good and not better like everyone knows they could be. The verses are objectively dope but very much just moderately Skeksis themed "I'm rapping as the bad guy" again and so like others in this lane I don't have any emotional content to grab onto. The fact that Dark Crystal is one of my all time favourite properties and they rooted this song in the Netflix series, which I found mostly unwatchable trash from a narrative perspective, doesn't help. In general this feels pretty low effort with the exception of the hook, which is pretty fucking hype. I also was kinda surprised that Beaker didn't bring more to this too but I'm not too worried cause I fully expect both to go way harder in future rounds. There's probably still going to be a lot more of that edgelord bad dude raps with little emotional impact but at least I assume I'll enjoy them more cause I enjoy a lot of Kabuto jams in that same category a ton more than this and even with all my gripes this song is still a fucking banger no question. I just don't care about it. I'd set two ground rules with this song. "Must wash hands, must give multis." If the song can do that I'm game to see if it can pause the he man woman hater schtick long enough to at least make me feel something physical.
Muscle Laughing Shrimp - Every Fart is a Work of Art
This is a great example of a very shallow and basic song concept that definitely has a significant emotional impact. This song is built to make you giggle and smile and fuck it's so damn effective right from that opening sample. I tragically still haven't gotten around to watching Bob's Burgers so I don't know anything about Gene but I really feel that I get to know a great deal about him in this song without the song feeling book reporty at all. It definitely is overly dependent on the source material and doesn't entirely stand alone but it's so engaging that I don't mind that as much as I do on others. Beefy has a very bubbly delivery here in his standard cadence that lends a lot to the whimsical rhythms of the instrumental and I'm into that just fine but holy shit when the chorus hits I am definitely surprised in a very good way. These are good verses but this is definitely another one of those songs this round where the hook is what really makes me give a shit about what's going on. I love the way the rhythm shifts into anthemic territory for a few bars vocally and instrumentally. Everything here is so effective and shows that you can have really effective emotional content without requiring anything so pretentious as depth. (note to self tbh) I would absolutely cuddle and giggle with this song until we accidentally turn a spontaneous pillow fight into a mutual orgasm.
Night City Glitches - Mist
Jesus fuck I am so excited that this song was made! As I said above the SNES era was peak JRPG for me and I absolutely adore Final Fantasy IV. More than anything, though, what an incredible perspective to take on, the silent enemy from arguably the most iconic encounter of the game, especially since we learn so soon afterwards that the the fight and even the context surrounding the game's protagonist in general wasn't at all what it seemed at face value. I do have some feelings about the execution, unfortunately. The vocal delivery very stiff, mostly with very uninspiring lines and rhyme schemes, and generally lacking a focal point in general both vocally and lyrically. Noshoes has a great voice and is mixed in so well so I really feel that just some serious workshopping on tightening up the lyrics to make the lines more interesting and also strengthening the narrative flow would do so much, especially coupled with practicing the delivery to add in better dynamics. If the vocals were tailored for a more ambitious flow (no, that doesn't necessarily mean faster, just getting into the pocket of the beat better) I really believe it would be much easier to find a way to find places to add some flair to the vocals and really make this an incredible track. Honestly a day or two rebuilding the raps and taking the time to get the recording work would make this a top track for me for sure because the instrumental is basically perfect. The bookended samples from the game are fucking perfect and flow seamlessly into and out of the main instrumental, which feels firmly rooted in the source material without sounding outdated. This song still made feel a ton of things I really enjoyed feeling but I desperately want to see it rebuilt so it lives up to its potential. I feel like I would really think I had a crush on this song but just find after a few hangouts that we really just weren't compatible and should be friends instead.
Obvious Corruption - Avatar: The Last Cabbage Vendor
Oh fuck. I basically have a very similar relationship with this song as the last song where I am so fucking excited about it in spite of a handful of technical criticisms. I definitely chose the main antagonist of a story for my character because she's just one of my favourites in general but I really appreciate so much how many people took more interesting approaches to this challenge and grabbed perspectives of cats that were way less obvious. Avatar is easily one of my favourite franchises and as goofy as it was literally every time I definitely loved the cabbage merchant gag so much. This song easily made me laugh out in joy more than any other song this round and it's not just because the reference is hilarious to begin with but because Obvious Lee has some legitimately wonderful lines and an infectious charisma that I'm not even sure he's fully aware of? There's more than a few moments that could use a little reworking on the lyrics and several more that could really benefit from a more emotive delivery (Say it from the chest, Keith!) but that's not at all consistently a problem across the song (Cabbage to the people!). Specifically the song comes in with basically perfect energy for the first 4 bars but aside from a few individual lines and the chorus it's a little flatter than I feel it really could be. Honestly it feels for better and worse that Obvious Lee doesn't take himself seriously but it never feels like he isn't taking the song itself seriously. This is a great example of a comedic rap song that doesn't feel like it being a rap song itself is the punchline and I appreciate that. Seriously this song is so damn fun and makes me so happy every time I listen to it. The instrumental mostly works but honestly I'm not really a big fan of it outside of the intro and the percussion loops that really feed the energy. The more melodic samples that come in aren't awful but really don't feel like they're nestled into the mix well and it's a bit distracting. 10/10 would emigrate to cabbage nation. This song definitely fucks and we might end up having a one night stand but I think we're on different wavelengths and it might end up a little awkward by the end of the night. Not bad, just probably not a good fit.
Optimistic Nihilists - Marbles
I swear I am glad everyone that entered a track did so and I really want everyone to win but this was another song that was literally difficult for my ADHD brain to parse and it made it literally painful to listen to. The vocalist is obviously interested in the dynamics of the delivery and is not just cramming syllables into every bar and steamrolling through the beat but it also really feels like they needed to practice their material some more because it doesn't flow in respect to the rhythm of the instrumental at all and it's just so distracting. It's not on the site anymore at the time of writing this but I know there was a dense manifesto tacked onto the lyrics that gave some context to the song but I found that even more difficult to parse so despite being familiar with Fate/Zero I have no idea what's happening here. There's a lot of moments where the vocals are mumbled which makes the overly loose flow even harder to listen to but even I try to read along with it I cannot tell at all what's happening. I don't know if attempting to have the flow and rhyme schemes more complicated is just ruining the narrative flow and clarity or if there's something I simply don't remember from the show that this is referencing? The character isn't listed but based on the title at first I thought it was going to be about Iskandar but once I was able to pick out a few of the more direct references I realized it was probably from the perspective Kiritsugu Emiya between wanting to save everyone, loving Von Einsbern, and the final sampled dialogue that's from the abridged version, right? (I never caught that one tbh) I still don't feel the messy lyrics and vocal delivery is letting me really catch a cohesive emotional expression in this song to begin with but I can't even force myself to find an anchor to Emiya's emotional themes from the show either outside of a few specific words that I could eventually link to his narrative. Again I'm not here to argue about the challenge parameters but Emiya is... literally the protagonist of Fate/Zero? He's literally the hero? Isn't that explicitly not who was supposed to be written about here? I'm sorry but I really really couldn't get down with this song. The instrumental was not terribly dynamic and the mix was on the muddier side so it couldn't do much to help give any emotional depth to the track but again, I don't think it would have mattered much with cluttered vocals so disjointed and distracting. Thankfully I'm done this rant and I don't have to listen to this anymore. Sorry y'all. Please don't yell at me and I hope I like your next song more. This is one date I'm definitely going to walk home confused over.
Perfect Cell - Ten Toes
I have no idea why but for some reason I arbitrarily decided early on in this thing I was going to try to avoid typing in all caps for emphasis when I had a very strong feeling and this is the song that's really making me ready to fight me for that bullshit. I could easily do this whole fucking paragraph in caps cause this shit has me at maximum hype from start to finish. I've said it a dozen times in a dozen places since these songs dropped that I don't even give a flying fuck about Dragon Ball Z but this god damn track is my favourite for sure. I love feeling all sorts of shit and I'm very likely to get pumped over a slow ballad that makes me sob uncontrollably but I really fucking love hip hop and I listen to a fuck ton of hip hop so I also get the fuck down on a "Who the fuck do you think you are standing near me" type arrogant shit and that's what this song represents to me. This is a flex that leaves onlookers bruised without even making contact. Joey Z is putting every bit of his more aggro adjacent skills on display with several flows, rhyme patterns, levels of intensity, and narrative styles that swerve along an ever evolving instrumental that's soaked in the same flippant disdain for the listener's expectations. This is the perfect round one track for a hip hop competition. Tournament themed to begin with and the absolute best (final?) form of the "I'm the bad guy rapping" schtick (I barely know enough about Cell to know this isn't quite his demeanor so it's not really him if he was rapping in universe) and dripping in so much emotive energy and charismatic swagger that I don't fucking give a damn at all that it's a random fap about a character I don't even care exists. This song punches me in the dick and makes me want to say "thank you" afterward. I swear to god I kept screaming at my poor laptop this complete asshole of a track got me so pumped. I want this fucking song to rail me in the back of Ford Escort and break my heart as soon as its done.
Perstrami Persona - Mother Knows Best
This is another one I struggled to process the verse content on. There's definitely a narrative direction but some of the references to the source material that are sprinkled in are distractingly book reporty and the syllable cramming in the delivery throw me off even when I'm reading along and I just struggle to connect with the song. I actually really enjoy the way this song comes in and I at least watched Disenchantment but probably would have a better understanding of Dagmar if I enjoyed the show enough to remember anything. That said the hook is much better and definitely brings me back in. I still don't really care for the lyrics in general and the response bits are a little clunky but the calling sung vocals really work for me a lot, even enough that overall I call this hook a win for sure. The second verse is tighter and flows much better but seems to suffer even more from the rhyme schemes getting in the way of the narrative flow. I do recognize some of the references but they're a bit vague, again probably less for folx that remember more of the show, but again don't feel that the verse is really concerned with whether or not I'm keeping up and really just charges through, almost rushing to get itself over with. There's a bunch of words that are missing silibants or at least those silibants aren't terribly audible and I wonder if maybe reworking some of the lyrics to make it easier to deliver could help not only the narrative flow but also make the verses easier to stay with and connect to. You have a lot to say Steve, stick around to get your point across. Don't just do a rushed pump and dump. The instrumental is beautiful but feels a bit flat dynamically and also makes me want more. Ultimately I just had trouble feeling much on this song and I think we can just stick with a hug for now.
Rad Labs, Inc. - Krang Gang
Like most 80s kids I absolutely grew up sweating Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hard so it took me a second to figure out if the opening bit sounding like Michelangelo was a feature or a bug. I then realized it was supposed to be from the perspective of Krang and got confused. I can see the vocalist goes by Michelangeflow so I guess that's maybe why that happened? Not sure. This is painful book report raps and feels like the vocalist is drunk and freestyling while someone flips through a set of TMNT flash cards. The delivery is also another one where the vocals somehow feel quantized and don't really spend any energy interacting with the rhythm of the instrumental elements outside of using the snare to keep time. The second half of the first verse does sound less quantized but only because it seems to lose the rhythm further and the messier it gets the harder it is to really feel connected at all to the content. The second verse shifts to more of a "I'm rapping as the bad guy" angle than book reporty but also really is hard to maintain any semblance of interest. There's some moments where this song really tries to be fun but it doesn't do anything for me specifically lyrically or vocally. The outro feels completely unnecessary and then just fades out unexpectedly. The instrumental is a bit repetitive and the snare could use more body to give it a little more hype, but I actually really like the elements used, which give me a real SNES vibe that I appreciate. This is just another one of those songs where the vocals and lyrics feel too flat for the instrumental to carry very far. I don't think I would return this song's message and I hope that doesn't mean it's going to just say "hey" every six hours until I block it.
Sailor Doom Remix - Hi There, I'm Janet!
I am absolutely a big fan of Busty Alexa and of Johnny Hacknslash so it's pretty obvious I was going to be hella into this song. Johnny is a vocalist that has a great deal of control over his vocal inflections and you can really hear it in the way he captures Janet's delivery that is subdued without being devoid of personality. A really interesting thing about this character choice is that Janet, in the context of the show, is an exposition dump machine that would fit comfortably into any Shonen, but it literally always works. I don't know how many people that aren't familiar with The Good Place would feel the same but this really made this by far the best of the more book reporty tracks of the round because it just makes so much fucking sense! The verses are literally perfect and have plenty of great rhyme schemes without allowing them to sacrifice any of the narrative flow so I was emotionally invested in every word. The hook is a bit stale and while there's a ton of wonderful elements in the instrumental it tends to feel a bit dynamically flat where some more movement would have contrasted nicely with the subdued vocal delivery that was basically required to be exactly as it was. I would definitely go full Jason Mendoza with this track.
Shawn Solo & Lex Lingo - We Live, We Die
Lex is just as good at giving his all into an emotive vocal performance as he is really committing to material that I absolutely don't give any semblance of a fuck about. And that's okay. This is the second time he's done a VPC song firmly rooted in an obscure comic and I think that's pretty fucking rad but also I still haven't followed up on the material so I really don't know what's happening here in a song that seems to require you to have that familiarity in order to establish a connection on any emotional level. A lot of what Lex is doing aesthetically here reminds me a lot of many other songs he's already done and that makes it less memorable for the most part. I also feel that this suffers from the same problem as the muppet piss track where I've heard Lex crank out way more interesting and technically proficient rhymes so all the lyrics and vocals here are objectively high quality but remind me that I know he can do better. That fucking beat, though. This might be one of my favourite Shawn Solo instrumentals. It's simple yet effective at face value but with so many incredible details crawling around in the back of the mix that just really drive it home for me. The last section, which feels like pure dungeon synth, is incredible and possibly the most gripping soundscape moment of the entire round, with both Lex and Shawn shining bright as fuck. I wouldn't date this song but I'd definitely be down for a good fucking time and it would probably even be worth the hour long rant trying to convince me I should really read whatever comic it's trying to recommend me.
Silkroadrunners - Santoryu Solo
One Piece is yet another property that I don't know anything about at all about and I would absolutely not change that without a salary. I don't know this keeps happening but every time I've been through this playlist I manage to have forgotten all about this song until the vocals kick in. I definitely don't mean to be disrespectful just this song doesn't seem to stick in my memory in a unique way this round. The lyrics feel very book reporty and the delivery is a bit disjointed. There's some dynamics and emotive bits, especially in the bridge (is that solo solo solo solo bit a reference to Ish1da in VPC4R5? lol), but I'd love to hear a flow more in the pocket. The hook is cool aesthetically but I still can't connect to whatever is happening narratively. I do dig the length and how it ends The instrumental is hella interesting and does a lot to build and release tension, especially with that cool ass panning synth bit, though the horns get distractingly repetitive until they are chopped up in the bridge, which is tight as fuck. This song would not be able to bag me but I would be polite in my rejection at least.
Sleater-Kitty - Jiji's Delivery Service
I heard like 30 demo versions of this song from Klop along the way and while the objectively less polished version that could have been considered done on day 3 of the round knocked so hard literally every version following was better and better and I'm so excited for the amazing space where it landed. What an absolutely triumphant track. I've said multiple times that I truly think the world is a better place now that this song exists. The vocals are so care free and uplifting in all the ways I appreciate and I have zero criticisms on 117's lyrics or delivery. I did see Kiki's Delivery service but I found it to be the least interesting Gibli film so I don't remember much about it. That said I don't think this song relies on familiarity with the film at all outside of understanding that Jiji is the cat, and I don't think anyone is confused about that. This song feels like it's the opening of my new favourite Saturday morning anime and even after listening to it more than 50 times I still get pumped as fuck. I'd listen to this song while brushing my teeth in the morning and getting ready to make sure the upcoming day is gonna be fucking tight. Also worth noting that while my kids didn't really react to playtime very much when I shared this with them my 15yo said "Oh! I like THIS song!" lolsob. No question if there was a fuck/marry/kill for this round I would absolutely marry this song.
SlothdubzAndRonin - Alfred
This song is probably the most polarizing regarding creative decisions and risks taken that make it hard to read what's low effort and what's very much intentionally done to subvert popular music "standards." the first couple times I listened I just couldn't get into it at all (the fact that there wan absolute banger of an Alfred song in VPC5, Check My Resume) but somehow after listening further I did start to see what the people that enjoy it were saying. It does have a certain avant garde feel and there's a lot of really clever and playful elements (Punchline!) that do so much for this song and as a team that's making challenging music on purpose this competition I obviously can't fault this song for what sounds more and more to me like an attempt at specifically that. I still can't establish an emotional connection with this song but the way it reads like Wesley Willis and Jon Wayne had a baby puts it a bit further up in my list than I originally expected it to be. There will be uglies bumped with this song but I would absolutely hang out with it and trade some opinions on our favourite weirdo shit.
Spandex Moose - Bill the Pony.
This song typifies the one trope in this scene that makes me feel the most uncomfortable and I am not at all afraid to say I outright hate everything about it. I really get the impression that the fact this is a rap song is the biggest punchline in this joke song so it feels less like comedy and more like outright disrespect. I know a lot of folx are hella into it and I like when people like things so I'm glad that Bill the Pony existing is bringing them joy and I'm sure Spandex Moose had a blast making it so I expect they won't give a shit at all about the way I feel about the song. The fact that the mix is competent somehow makes me grumpier because you can tell that it's not a troll track and a good faith effort. I think I would have preferred it was the prior than the latter. This team will be fine without my support, I'm sure, but not only would I never fuck this song I might even just leave the party if it showed up.
The Crown Joels - By Her Side (Vegeta Mix)
The Phoenix Force - The Heroes Did
This song is fun as fuck and probably has the absolute best "unnamed character" fandom perspective I've ever seen done in this scene. The bouncy Aceyalone delivery and 95 to Infinity style production feel like they kind betray the frustration conveyed in the lyrical content but that does nothing to keep me from thoroughly enjoying absolutely brilliant lines like "Omg who threw my car threw that building!? (the heroes did)". The approach and execution is so solid and cutting here and I appreciate it so much. The one thing that distract me is literally everything about the aesthetics of this song, while satisfying and engaging for me, are also distractingly familiar in ways that break my immersion sometimes. This is anyone's fault but I can't pretend I didn't drift off sometimes over the throwback vibes. Like if you're trying to stand out in a competition you don't want to make music that makes people think of other songs instead of listening to yours. It's like having an external link on your website that doesn't open in a new tab. That song really needs a target="_blank" element in there to keep my brain on their work instead of drifting to the California underground of my late teens and early twenties. I wouldn't go out of my way to flirt with this song but I'd probably let it feel me up if one thing led to another.
The Southern Demon Nerd - Nappa the Rapper
I swear to fuck the first four words of this one by far make for the hypest opener this whole round. This song may not be super high on my list of faves but holy fucking fuck I definitely have been walking around my apartment saying Big. Bald. Thick. Tall. and I giggle every fucking time. I love the delivery on this song so much and feel like it hits a similar level of hype arrogance as Ten Toes in a lot of ways that really works for me. The second and third verses loses a ton of that energy and is a little sloppier in the performance, except for the thriclops bits, which are hella tight. Was this song recorded in one take? If yes it's kinda unfortunately apparent like the vocals sound a bit winded the further along it goes when they come in so strong at the beginning. I don't know if maybe either way that hella intentional since I do know Nappa gets his ass handed to him lol. If so that's pretty fucking cool even if a competition is maybe not the best place for that kind of subtle detail. Back to shit that has me making faces, though, the hook is so heckin tough. I don't even think I like the content that much but the way it's delivered is fucking great and I'm hella here for it. Again, I don't give a shit about DBZ and though I do dig Abridged more than the original (what's not to love? It's way shorter. That's tight.) I'm not going to have much of an emotional connection to a song like this outside of feeling the energy. The beat is really well arranged but the drums are a bit thin in the mix to the point that they don't have the impact I really want from them. I feel I would totally bone this song against my better judgment but I'm not convinced it would have much stamina and I might go home with mixed feelings.
The Storytellers - John & Alexander
Even without taking into the account that this song was submitted right before deadline 36 hours after Paladxn and 0 decided to be a team I am so fucking impressed with this one. I couldn't care less about Hamilton and obviously the founding fathers were all colossal dickheads but it's probably not going to surprise anyone who knows me that I'm incredibly fucking here for a queer fanfic of historical characters. I know I'm fucking ridiculous and I am known to cry at god damn commercials I can't say enough how much this song had me sobbing. This might literally be the best written song in this whole round. The cadence is so dynamic and keeps the listener thoroughly engaged as it dances along but let's be real, it's that heartbreaking tenderness int he vocal delivery that really makes this song drop like a pillowed hammer, somehow managing to crush you without causing one ounce of harm. I really felt like I was in love with that fuck myself. I felt like I was staring into his eyes and getting lost in a way I never wanted to return from. I shook myself. My own heart whispered "John & Alexander". When the last refrain of "Tomorrow there'll be more of us" quivered between my ears I completely melted every single time, ugly crying in such an overwhelming but satisfying way. The content, delivery, and instrumental work in this track are so beautiful. Seriously amazing work and I can only imagine this team is going to do some ridiculously impressive work when they have a whole three weeks instead of a day and a half. This song broke me over and over again and I had a hard time moving onto the next song while reading this because I just had to keep looping it endlessly, never wanting to leave this love I'd found in this place. Sex is cool and all but I want to grow old with this song.
Thot Team Epic - Oracle
I can't say enough how much I really loved Thot Team Epic's round one song from VPC6. Ultimately I was mostly just there for the chorus more so than the verses but that fucking chorus was so god damn great I didn't give a shit. Unfortunately I don't think in general I'm much of a fan of Nursehella's writing or delivery styles, which is too bad because not only do I think she's objectively talented, but Ultraklystron is a serious monster. It probably doesn't help here that I never got around to the Persona series so I couldn't connect to anything happening here narratively and it all just felt vaguely book reporty. Plus the hook was especially underwhelming vocally. That said this song still works for me on a few levels. I seriously love the ad libs in the back of the mix and holy hecking fuck the UK Garage instrumental is so great and brought me back to when I use to fart around with Rebirth in the late 90s. This is definitely one of the songs I wanted to love more than I did and I fully assume with a little tweaking to the lyrics and a more dynamic delivery I absolutely would. I don't even think it would take this team that much effort to be honest. This song doesn't even feel like it would want to have sex with me and that's totally fine, we can still go to the warehouse party and do weird white people drugs together.
Vessels of Light - Other Friends
I've already said this a few times in public but again, I was hella excited this team was also doing a Spinel song and then immediately disappointed that it was mostly a cover with new verses and lines from the movie tucked in, no matter how well they were performed. The more I listened to it, though, I really just stopped caring. J's voice work is so damn good, which obviously surprised no one that is at all familiar with her creative work, and as humongous of a fan I am of Sarah Stiles I really think this slight variation on the performance of the character is really effective at capturing everything that makes Spinel one of my favourite characters to the point that it ended up being something I didn't know I needed in my life. This might be the most dynamic song this whole round, with not only the vocal/voice work but also the instrumental moving so much through so many emotions and levels of energy seamlessly. I would move across the country to share an apartment with this song and we can murder Jenny Schecter together before breaking up and sleeping with half of our other friends.
YNG SLLVN - La Danse Palourdes
Holy hell we made it to the end of this asshole list of 41 fucking asshole teams and what better way to cap it off than getting weird with the biggest asshole song of the round? I love these two dorks so much and it was so cool to see how much they grew by the last VPC. Once Go Down Low dropped it was obvious they were far from done with that growth. I not only don't give a damn about Aqua Teen Hunger Forts but I actually actively hate it but I think this song somehow captures everything I hate about it in a way that I still manage to find thoroughly entertaining so great fucking job, huh? Even on songs I've been into I feel Rafe has had a lot of filler bars but I'm heckin excited to find that's getting so much more infrequent lately. This song has this on full display with a hungry anus filled to the brim with his unapologetically weird and abrasive dick hole punch lines, arguably none hitting harder than "Cleverness? Not detected. My dick? Not erected!" Obviously putting on the voice and barely fleshing out a character that basically only exists to yell a few lines at the beginning of each episode of a holistically shitposty late night cartoon isn't going to have the most emotional depth but there's so much energy and gritty fuckery in this song why the hell should I even pretend to give a shit? This song is that cringe to the core asshole neighbor that you think about when you masturbate then feel dirty about it afterwards. Might not be the thing anyone's quick to admit but we all know we would slip right into downward dog pose in this song's garage converted into a bedroom slash man cave, even if only just to see what the fuck happens.