We Bring The Storm

(Score as a PDF)

Lyrics in text:

Our ways may be subtle upon the flames and snow
The numbers aren’t with us but a power we know:
A respect for Pokémon and a trust in them to release
The flashes of instinct inside the hearts of beasts

Now that rhythm of electric strikes will rock us through the fire and ice
Feel the thunderclouds gathering to throw bright light across the skies
We’ll fly high above the swarms; we’ll show our might and fight the norms
Tonight, we bring the storm

Some claim that all we do is hatch eggs all day,
A dull misconception towards which the gyms say nay
Those that underrate us are in for a shock
‘Cause the great lightning symphony plays ’round the clock

Yes, this rhythm of electric strikes will rock us through the fire and ice
Feel the thunderclouds gathering to throw bright light across the skies
We’ll fly high above the swarms; we’ll show our might and fight the norms
Tonight, we bring the storm
Tonight, we are the storm!

UPDATE (CL73.07.24): fixed score, which said ‘towards’ instead of the correct ‘towards which’.

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Favorite n Lists: My Favorite Works of Metal Music

This is a list of my favorite songs of the four metal bands I most frequently listen to: Amaranthe, Dragonforce, Dragonland, and Nightwish. Some commentary on my thoughts comes after the list for each band. This commentary is generally short, except in the section for Nightwish, for which it appears I am just gushing feelings even though I told myself I wouldn’t write too much.

It’s likely Within Temptation deserves to be here too, but I only recently started to have a liking of that band, and haven’t even listened to all the band’s music yet, so I don’t feel I should list out my favorites there yet. For now, I’ll just mention that I particularly like In the Middle of the Night, Memories, What Have You Done, Paradise, and The Truth Beneath the Rose.

There’s many more songs I like from most of these bands beyond the ones I’m listing here. For a song to make it onto the lists below, they have to be at least somewhat breathtaking. I considered adding Honorable Mention sections to these lists, but decided that would just make the lists too long. Also, numbering only starts somewhat down each of these lists, where I really want to point out the very best. I generally don’t like giving too many things a numerical ranking, because there should really be overlapping margins around these items; even where I start writing explicit numerical rankings, they’re still intended to be rather squishy orderings.

I have opted to follow more conventional title capitalization standards, even though the official names of many of these titles capitalize every word.

Finally, some songs I include in these lists are covers by the band of an original song by another band, which I decided I will list while not counting the song towards the total count of the list for the band.

Favorite 13 Songs of Amaranthe

Razorblade (8th track of The Nexus)
Supersonic (10th track of Maximalism)
Hunger (2nd track of Amaranthe)
Leave Everything Behind (1st track of Amaranthe)
Invincible (2nd track of The Nexus)
Call Out My Name (7th track of Amaranthe)
1.000.000 Lightyears (3rd track of Amaranthe)
5. Stardust (5th track of The Nexus)
4. Afterlife (1st track of The Nexus)
3. Automatic (4th track of Amaranthe)
2. Amaranthine (6th track of Amaranthe)
1. Infinity (12th track of The Nexus)

Album distribution:
Amaranthe: 6
The Nexus: 6
Massive Addictive: 0
Maximalism: 1

You may realize that my opinion of Amaranthe drops significantly for works after its 2nd album, The Nexus. I think my thoughts are best approximated as “it really got too much pop in relation to metal at that point”.

On a music video note, I like the double fade at the end of the video for Amaranthine.

And on a music-orthogonal note, I appreciate Amaranthe as a band where Danes and Swedes work together. I’m sure there was still plenty of room to continue the friendly rivalry, though.

Continue reading “Favorite n Lists: My Favorite Works of Metal Music”

Answers

If you have enough context, you can deduce the questions.

  1. black
  2. raven
  3. Hangul
  4. Python
  5. 21G.611
  6. Building 6C
  7. “Jabberwocky”
  8. Edgar Allan Poe
  9. Henry David Thoreau
  10. Voltaire
  11. Richard Stallman
  12. George Washington
  13. Sweden
  14. New Hampshire
  15. CGP Grey
  16. Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
  17. Romanticism
  18. V
  19. Soren
  20. The Martian
  21. “Forbidden Friendship”
  22. Nightwish
  23. Under the Grey Banner
  24. “Sacrament of Wilderness”

Opinions

0. Introduction

This post is a massive listing of my levels of like or dislike on a huge variety of items, reduced and approximated to this nine-point scale:

+4 Intense Positive Opinion
+3 Strong Positive Opinion
+2 Positive Opinion
+1 Slight Positive Opinion
0 Neutral Opinion
-1 Slight Negative Opinion
-2 Negative Opinion
-3 Strong Negative Opinion
-4 Intense Negative Opinion

. These opinions are listed without explanations or rationale because it would take way too long to explain all of them, although if you’re interested in discussing some of these, I may be willing to go into conversational detail there.

There are, of course, a lot of problems with trying to compactly present opinion information on a nine-point scale. For one thing, the most important contributing factors, of which there are usually many, to my opinion drastically varies from category to category of entities, thus at the very least making opinions across categories very incomparable. Even within categories, the variety of different factors that affect opinion are completely clouded away by rating in just a number, and thus, for instance, would fail to demonstrate my opinions of certain items under various contexts, for which when some often-irrelevant factors are taken away my opinion could massively change. The best simple explanation for what the numbers reflect is really a holistic reaction, positive numbers representing items for which I feel approval or enjoyment, the strength of which increases with the number, and the opposite for negative numbers.

The two main practical purposes of this post that I imagine:

1) as reference for potential group decision-making

As much as it is unlikely, if all people made a list like this for, say, their opinions on restaurants, a group of people could compare the listed ratings of members of the group and calculate a decision in much lesser time than is often taken by a large-enough group of people when deciding where to have dinner (or even better, to have a rotation of highly-rated places for a group of people, reflecting individually inputted value-weightings of variety versus solid ratings). I figure I’ll at least do my part to clearly list out my opinions.

2) for the exchange of suggestions among people of similar tastes

If you and I find that we have rather similar likes and dislikes in a category, we could relate and converse over these and our underlying feelings and make suggestions to each other for media we also like that the other might not have been aware of. (We could even do this rather effectively if we find our opinions are very close to exactly the opposite of each other.)

I. Opinions on Games

In this section, I list how much I enjoy various games, in terms of their gameplay, their ideas, and their design.

Opinions on Board and Card Games
+1 Backgammon
0 Battleship
-2 Betrayal at House on the Hill
+2 Bridge
+2 Bughouse
+1 Cards Against Humanity
-1 Checkers
-3 Chess
-2 Chinese Checkers
+2 Chinese Chess
+3 Codenames
-3 Connect Four
-3 Dominion
+2 Egyptian War/Rat Screw
+1 Hearts
-3 Mao
-1 Master Mind
0 Monopoly
+2 Napoleon
0 Pandemic
+2 Revolution
0 Ricochet Robots
-2 Robo Rally
+4 Rock Me Archimedes
+1 Scrabble
-4 Settlers of Catan
+1 Spades
+3 Taboo
-3 Trouble
+3 Weiqi (-2 for when it is called Go)

Opinions on .io Games
+4 agar.io
+3 generals.io
+2 minesweeper.io
-1 slither.io

II. Opinions on Other Media

Here, I list how much I enjoyed various movies as well as certain musical works.

Opinions on Movies
-2 2012
+3 Ant-Man
0 The Avengers
-1 The Avengers: Age of Ultron
-2 Big Hero 6
-2 Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
-1 Brokeback Mountain
0 Captain America: The First Avenger
+2 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
+1 Captain America: Civil War
+1 Citizen Kane
+3 Deadpool
+3 Ender’s Game
+2 Fight Club
+1 Finding Nemo
+3 Frozen
+2 The Grand Budapest Hotel
-1 Guardians of the Galaxy
0 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
+4 How to Train Your Dragon
+3 How to Train Your Dragon 2
0 I Am Legend
+4 Imaginaerum
+2 Inception
+1 Inside Out
+3 Iron Man
-1 Iron Man 2
+1 Iron Man 3
+1 Kung Fu Panda
+2 The Lego Movie
-4 Life of Pi
+1 Lilo & Stitch
+2 The Lion King
+1 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
+3 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
+3 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
+3 The Lost World: Jurassic Park
+4 The Martian
+3 Monsters University
+1 Mulan
+2 National Treasure
+3 Penguins of Madagascar
0 Peter Pan
+3 The Princess Bride
-2 Pulp Fiction
+3 Requiem for a Dream
-4 The Room
+2 Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
+2 The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
-1 Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
+1 Tangled
+4 V for Vendetta
+1 WALL-E
+2 Wreck-it Ralph
-1 Zootopia

Opinions on Amaranthe Albums
+2 Amaranthe
+1 The Nexus
-2 Massive Addictive
-3 Maximalism

Opinions on Dragonland Albums
+2 The Battle of the Ivory Plains
+2 Holy War
+4 Starfall
+1 Astronomy
+4 Under the Grey Banner

Opinions on Nightwish Albums
-1
Angels Fall First
+4 Oceanborn
+3 Wishmaster
+1 Century Child
+4 Once
+3 Dark Passion Play
+3 Imaginaerum
+2 Endless Forms Most Beautiful

Opinions on Singles that Have Been Billboard Top Singles
0 “Umbrella”
0 “Apologize”
0 “Don’t Stop the Music”
0 “Viva La Vida”
-2 “Disturbia”
+2 “So What”
-1 “Let it Rock”
-1 “Just Dance”
-2 “Don’t Stop Believin'”
-4 “I Gotta Feeling”
-2 “Down”
-1 “Party in the U.S.A.”
-4 “Whatcha Say”
-3 “Paparazzi”
0 “Fireflies”
+2 “Bad Romance”
0 “Russian Roulette”
-1 “Need You Now”
-1 “Tik Tok”
-3 “Sexy Chick”
-3 “Blah Blah Blah”
-2 “Hey, Soul Sister”
-4 “Baby”
-4 “Imma Be”
0 “Telephone”
-4 “OMG”
-3 “California Gurls”
-2 “Alejandro”
-1 “Love the Way You Lie”
-4 “Teenage Dream”
-3 “We R Who We R”
-3 “Firework”
-2 “Black and Yellow”
0 “Fuckin’ Perfect”
+1 “Born This Way”
+1 “S&M”
0 “Judas”
+1 “The Edge of Glory”
-3 “Party Rock Anthem”
-3 “Moves Like Jagger”
+1 “We Found Love”
-2 “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”
+2 “We Are Young”
+1 “Somebody that I Used to Know”
-1 “Payphone”
+1 “Titanium”
-3 “Whistle”
+3 “Some Nights”
-3 “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”
-1 “Gangnam Style”
-2 “I Knew You Were Trouble”
-3 “Harlem Shake”
-3 “Radioactive”
-3 “Gentleman”
-2 “Applause”
-2 “Royals”
+1 “Let It Go”
0 “Chandelier”
-3 “All About That Bass”
-4 “Shake It Off”
-4 “Anaconda”
-1 “Blank Space”
-4 “Uptown Funk”
-1 “Shut Up and Dance”
-3 “Bad Blood”
-2 “This is What You Came For”

Continue reading “Opinions”

The Pure Emotions, in Piano Music

Below are 13 emotions and dispositions along with a work that I feel comes closest to epitomizing and capturing that particular emotion in piano music.

Joy
Beethoven: Piano Sonata, Op. 81a, III. Vivacissimamente

Grief
Chopin: Nocturne, Op. 48 No. 1

Serenity
Schubert: Impromptu, Op. 90 No. 3

Rage
Scriabin: Etude, Op. 8 No. 12

Terror
Chopin: Polonaise, Op. 44

Jocularity
Beethoven: Piano Sonata, Op. 31 No. 1, I. Allegro vivace

Snark
Prokofiev: Piano Sonata, Op. 14, II. Scherzo: Allegro marcato

Insanity
Liszt: Transcendental Etude, S. 139 No. 8

Unstoppableness
Prokofiev: Piano Sonata, Op. 83, III. Precipitato

Grandeur
Liszt: Transcendental Etude, S. 139 No. 11

Valor
Chopin: Polonaise, Op. 40 No. 1

Gratitude
Beethoven: Piano Sonata, Op. 90, II. Nicht zu geschwind und sehr singbar vorgetragen

Wonder
Chopin: Fantasie, Op. 49

I have actually only played four of these pieces, and only three of them in serious study. (Guess which ones if you want to.) Also share your opinions on pieces that exemplify these emotions if you wish!

189 Days to the Wolves

Over the course of the summer, I played Nightwish’s “7 Days to the Wolves” 27 times on the SIPB office music printer. That’s a total of 189 days to the wolves in just about 90 days of summer! And this doesn’t count all the times I listened to it without using SIPB’s music printer.

In particular, from July 14 to July 19, I queued it a least twice each day.

I am very fond of Nightwish, as many of you already know. I have been meaning to write about why I love Nightwish and the emotional relation I feel to Nightwish’s works, but really, this stack of blog posts I’m partway through drafting is unbearably huge and it might be a while before I get to that.

The Significance and Impact of Beethoven

A while ago, one of my friends had a class where the question “What makes Beethoven a great composer?” came up. I think I’ll go cover this in length here.

Beethoven lived in a time of revolution in the European subcontinent (sidenote: calling Europe a continent is absurd). His life of only 56 years saw (and was at times directly affected by) the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, and the build-up to further revolutions to come. He approved of many of the transitions in political thought at the time (he originally named his 3rd Symphony the ‘Bonaparte’, until angrily tearing apart and rewriting the title page upon news that Napoleon has declared himself emperor), and often benefited from them. But reflections of the changes of his times can be seen not only in his life but also in his music.

The musical context of the beginning of Beethoven’s compositional career was the heart of the Classical Period, where Vienna has shed the fanciful and byzantine musical tenets of the Baroque Period, to have the musical world reflect ideas brought about in the Age of Reason: the new standards for quality music were that their melodies were simple and their forms well-structured, for music to be sensible and not needlessly flowery, for music to reach to all people rather than concentrate on the upper classes. This was the time of Haydn and Mozart. But the simplicities and structure of the Classical Period, although reflecting changes Beethoven may approve of, come short of being able to reflect the extremes of emotion. The Classical Period could keep a well-beating heart happy, but was no land for the heart in heart-stretching times. The ideals of good music in this time fell miserably short of a just depiction of epic heroism and devastating tragedy.

Beethoven’s life itself was a story of heroism and tragedy. His life, as well as the path of his music, followed the miserable choice of fate that the one sense, hearing, most important to him as a composer would slowly but surely vaporize, and his astonishing heroic struggle as a composer facing these odds to not only remain relevant but also become ever the more magnificent. What history remembers as his greatest works tend to fall in times when his hearing was deeply in the shadow. And these greatest works were revolutionary, unlike that of any music before his time. And his music changed so much over the course of his life because he had to endure the tragedy of hearing loss, and his heart told him that the constraints of music in his environment were too much, a set of rules to pivot away from, and eventually shed in entirety.

Beethoven’s works rewrote the principles of good music, transitioning the Classical Period to the Romantic Period, a time to say that simplicity and sensibility should not restrain the full expression of emotion and experience in art. Beethoven paved the way for the further expansion of Romantic ideals in the work of Schumann, Mendelssohn, Chopin (as much as he liked to distance his music from Beethoven’s), Liszt (his grandstudent, through Czerny), Dvořák, and many others. Many of the last works of Beethoven were way out of his world (sometimes literally unplayable in the instruments of that time), because through his style transitions he has looked that far ahead in the evolution of music, and was helping the world catch up. He was a man whose life caught the current of revolution and who channelled it into new musical frontiers in a way that he left music in a completely different, newly ascended place like no other has done.