Super Mario Strikers Analysis


Hoo boy. This is a blog post over a year and a half in the making. I love the video game Super Mario Strikers. It was a sports game released for the Gamecube in December 2005. It was received with a “meh” reaction from critics who found the game extremely shallow. The game’s developers over at Next Level Games clearly agreed and updated the gameplay significantly for the Wii sequel Mario Strikers Charged.

But I loved the original base game, and I’ve played it ever since it came out. And after 13 years of playing it, I decided to test the reviewers’ claims of shallowness and samey-ness. See, you can choose between 9 captains and 4 sidekicks to make a team in Strikers, but it doesn’t seem like there are any real differences between the teams in terms of performance. There aren’t obvious differences in stats between players as there are in Mario Strikers Charged. But I wanted to find out if that was truly the case.

To do so, I played 533 games of Strikers and kept track of the major stats in every game. I wanted to see if there were any differences between teams’ performances. Along the way, I also figured out if there were noticeable differences between stadiums, what captains and sidekicks played the best as opponents, and a billion other small things about the game. Every piece of analysis is written in the Word file below.

Word file with all the analysis: https://www.dropbox.com/s/zny8yr02z0fep6y/Super%20Mario%20Strikers%20Analysis.docx?dl=0

If you’re here for the raw numbers, you can take a look at the incomprehensible Excel spreadsheet I put all the data in.

Excel file of all the data: https://www.dropbox.com/s/nhkj8snr15ri551/Peach%27s%20Perfect%20Team%20SMS.xlsx?dl=0

Finally, if you aren’t interested in these longform pieces of insane analysis, you can watch this highlight video of all the cool goals scored along the way instead.

The cool as heck Youtube video compiling all the goals: https://youtu.be/TmOTqQroqr0

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Even More Quick Album Reviews


I’ve told at least one person that this is a music blog, so it’s about time I get back to writing about music. Especially when September has two albums I’m looking forward to, and October currently has three. Before I get too caught up in reviewing those mystery albums that will go unnamed until released (unless of course they come to me early like The 1975’s second album), I’d like to talk about 12 albums I recently rented from the library. These all came from the local library here at the Great Treee in Boggly Woods, not the one in Poshley Heights (though that library rents out game consoles and boy do I wish ours had the funds to do so as well). So, let’s get on with it.

Celebration Rock – Japandroids

The best thing ever written about Japandroids’ critically-acclaimed second album is the first quote from Skylark on this page: https://www.somethingawful.com/comedy-goldmine/dumbest-music-journalism2012/4/. Celebration Rock is an album to listen to when you feel like celebrating by screaming. There’s only guitars, drums, and the weak but fitting vocals of the lead singer and songwriter to listen to between the album bookends of fireworks. It’s a fun album to listen to… but not much substance. I can imagine why people would like it since it has fun, raw energy and is a “pure” sound in a time when every modern single has 20 different layers, but that’s all it is. The House That Heaven Built is the best track on the album and very fun to scream along with. Just make sure to put this album at the end of every playlist to celebrate listening to the playlist, as Skylark said.

Always Ascending – Franz Ferdinand

I only ever seem to rent Franz Ferdinand albums and never buy them. I’m sure there’s some symbolism there about me and my interest in history if anyone wants to dig. I’ll be ascending to the sound of the title track of this album, which is also a fun rock song. But unlike the fun rock of Japandroids, the songs Franz Ferdinand makes have more than 2 instruments and the lead singer can actually hit every note he tries to sing. The tracks Glimpse of Love and Feel the Love Go are both standout tracks in FF’s latest album. Just goes to show that, even if the lyrics are meaningless, love can still inspire some dang good songs. Truly, 2018 is the year of “love” in lyrics. Anyway, if you’ve heard any Franz Ferdinand song, you already know what this album sounds like, so you don’t need this review. Sorry for writing it!

Distraction – Bear Hands

Most songs on Bear Hands’ sophomore album are about weird guys and their weird ways. From the agoraphobic in Agora, to the extremely lazy man in Sleeping on the Floor, to the violent hypocrite in Peacekeeper, to the lovesick schoolboy in The Bug, to the literal grave digger in Grave Digger, the images of people that Bear Hands paint are both (fittingly) distracting and haunting. What makes it all the stranger is that these portraits are set to rather unremarkable alt rock melodies and sounds. But the distinct sound of the lead singer’s vocals fits with the exact images he’s trying to paint, so… it all works out to a sound that is more than the sum of its parts. Agora and Grave Digger also have really solid hooks which is why I rented this album in the first place. Probably my favorite of the first trilogy of albums I rented.

Ritual in Repeat – Tennis

This is the only album by Tennis that actually exists, in my mind. The Cool TV introduced me to them when they played the album’s lead single, I’m Callin’, on (in?) repeat. Only because of a memory of The Cool TV from 5+ years ago did I rent this album. Honestly, it’s probably the weakest of all the albums I rented. It’s summer indie pop. Which means that it’s easy listening, kinda earwormy, but weak-sounding. I actually like the remorse code sounding hook of I’m Callin’ and Never Work for Free has a fun chorus, but the rest of Tennis’ album fails to hold serve. I’d call it a let and have them try again, but through no fault of mine does the library have any other albums by them. Change court!

Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit – Courtney Barnett

As much as I love New Zealand singer-songwriters, I’ve never gotten into Australian musicians. Courtney Barnett is/was/might again be indie rock’s darling when she came out with this album a few years back. Her songs are simple in melody and style but rich in complex lyricism. As my colleague pointed out, she’s closer to a rapper than a singer. Which feels like an insane thing to write until you hear her rattle off bon mots on Dead Fox or on Nobody Really Cares if You Don’t Go to the Party or on Pedestrian at Best. For some songs, though, she switches to a more traditional, slower singing style that provides an interesting change of pace. Kim’s Caravan, Boxing Day Blues, Small Poppies, and Depreston all feel like half of a different, much sadder album that Barnett could’ve come out with. Instead, she mixed fun sounding songs about self-doubt with very sad songs about self-doubt, making her the Australian female guitarist equivalent of twenty one pilots. I hope that’s the first and last time that comparison ever gets made.

Glow – Royal Teeth

Gonna be honest, didn’t realize Royal Teeth’s name was a play on the word “royalty” until having to repeat the name out loud to a colleague 3 times. The band had a small breakout hit with the song “Wild” which I heard at a Mexican restaurant last year, and that reminded me that the band even existed. Then I randomly saw their only album at the library and decided I might as well see why any Mexican restaurant would even think about playing them. However, the band from Louisiana has some Creole influence, but no Spanish in them. The bright, poppy melodies of their tracks matches what I presume to be the energy of Mardi Gras, but my god the lead man’s vocals are weak. I actually like the woman’s voice way more though she’s usually the backup singer. Not much to say about them other than they are pretty good and shouldn’t have completely disappeared. Mais La, Monster, Vagabonds, and Wild are all pretty good tracks, and I don’t think that’s a wild opinion. Haha, just some Royal Teeth humor.

Trouble Will Find Me – The National

Heh, get this. Heh, heh, heh. You’re never gonna believe this one, heh heh. Heh. So, heh, I was in the library, heh, and, get this, heh, I was looking for another CD when I saw this. And, heh, wouldn’t you know it, I took one look at the title, and, heh, said to myself “trouble is my middle name, and I”-heh-“have found you”. Heh heh heh heh. No one has  ever made that joke before, heh.

The National are one of the few modern bands led by a low-pitched vocalist. Matt Bellamy’s band gets a lot of airplay on college radio stations because most of those DJs can relate heavily to his calm, articulate singing style. I’m unsure if these DJs relate better or worse to the depressing subject matter of The National’s music, I’ll let the comments decide. I can relate to the nonsensical lyrics intermixed with all the sadness, that’s for sure. Trouble Will Find Me is a very solid record full of a lot of slow-paced, sad-sounding songs and two standout fast-paced, happy-sounding but depressing songs. Graceless and Don’t Swallow the Cap will have you sing along to choruses about being alone and depressed. But my favorite track is the straightforward “love” song I Need My Girl that has a really awesome guitar riff looping. Great song on a great album.

What Went Down – Foals

Foals’ most recent album opens with two absolute stunners of tracks in What Went Down and Mountain at My Gates, and then follows with 8 straight songs that I simply don’t remember. It’s kind of a shame that they made the album so top-heavy since the tracks like London Thunder or Night Swimmers or Give it All are pretty good rock songs, but just don’t compare to the anger found in What Went Down or the hypnotic melodies in Mountain at My Gates. It’s a very good album with some very good songs that isn’t sequenced right.

How Does it Feel – MS MR

MS MR had one of the most boring breakout hits I can remember when Hurricane got lots of airtime on my radio. Fortunately, their sophomore album does not have that song, and instead has a bunch of interchangeable indie pop. What differentiates them from any other indie pop is their choice of synthesizers, which heavily sample horn sections rather than more higher-pitched vibrations, and the rather good vocals of the lead singer/songwriter. How Does it Feel opens with the frantic and fun track Painted that brings energy never again found in the album, which is a shame since it’s a great song. That said, other tracks like Tunnels or Criminals are well-written and competent indie pop, but do little in further endearing me to the pop duo. Best of luck to them.

Inanimate Objects – Atlas Genius

I used to run a radio show called The Cautiously Optimistic Variety Show, and I think Atlas Genius’ song titled Molecules is the most cautiously optimistic song I’ve heard. The chorus is “maybe now’s the time to be alive”, for goodness’ sake. That’s also the best song on the album which is full of Killer-esque indie rock. Lots of guitars and synths to be found on this pretty good album. I think the album is a weird sci-fi/dystopian future concept album considering all the strange lyrics like “we are all just friendly apes”. I guess they had to pick something to help them stand out since most of the tracks are written to a tee in how they progress and sound. Which is fine! I like any kind of well-executed ideas, even if they’re old ideas. It’s a good album.

Dope Machines – The Airborne Toxic Event

TATE is often compared to Arcade Fire, and I guess the main guy behind it was sick of it, so he switched to a very machine-esque sound. Lead track and lead single Wrong is an awesome electro-anthem about… being wrong, and it wouldn’t be out of place on a CHVRCHES album. The first half of the album has a lot of bombastic choruses bolstered by synths with songs like Time to Be a Man or Dope Machines, and the second half falls into a more melancholy, dream-like sound with tracks like My Childish Bride and The Thing About Dreams. But the album does end with the spiritual, electronic sequel to Sometime Around Midnight in the awesome track called Chains. All in all, this is one of the best albums on this list in my perspective. It just does everything well and has a great sound throughout.

How to Be a Human Being – Glass Animals

Glass Animals are a weird electro-pop band that spent an entire album writing songs about weird people. Turns out that it’s a pretty good formula. The lyrics are super memorable, and the odd choices for content make for an odd array of sounds. I don’t think the band would’ve written a song that sounds quite like Life Itself or Take a Slice without the very strange images inspiring them. Speaking of, Life Itself is a super fun track that single-handedly got me to like Glass Animals after not liking anything off their debut album. Some songs are a bit too far into being weird and get kind of uncomfortable in both sound and lyrics, like Season 2 Episode 3’s portrait of a very lazy and depressed woman being set to endless samples of video games. But all the weirdness comes to a head with the closing song, Agnes. It’s a more emotional and more articulate version of the Bastille track Good Grief since both songs are about dead people on the singer’s mind. While Good Grief is a joy to listen to, Agnes puts the listener through a wringer, and I love it. With the album being bookended by Life Itself and Agnes, it doesn’t matter what the middle songs are since the album leaves a great first and last impression.

We’ll end this all with the special reveal that I completed my 11th mix CD about a month ago thanks to these CDs and just never got around to getting Q&A to write about it. So look forward to that happening sometime, someday. Maybe. It’s been in the draft folder for about a month with no progress on it. But I’ll try to get them to write!

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Pungry’s Thirsty: Root Beer Flashback Olde Time Soda Est: 2010


Weeeeeeeeeelllll sonny boy, it’s sometime-long-ago Saturday, and olde grampse here ise gonnae telle youe aboute some olde time sodae thate he founde himselfe drinkinge aftere watchinge the Seattle Marinerse lose againe to trye ande forgete. It’s been a little over a year and a half since I’ve last drunk anything, so my tastebuds have atrophied some, but my sense of nostalgia has only grown greater. Flashback’s Root Beer flavored Olde Time Sodae is, like all root beers, trying very hard to make you remember when you were ten and root beer was the best thing you ever had because back in the day your pappy would only give you ten cents a year for allowance and the soda jerk (who was quite rightfully named so) sold his root beer at the tall price of 15 cents so you’d have to wait two years walking up and down hills both ways in the snow with no shoes to earn enough money to get one small glass at the tall price and you forced your tastebuds to think it was the sweetest thing ever at least until you married Maude down at the olde time poste office when she diligently censored your letters home from serving with the army boys and what was I talking about?

Oh yeah, the root beer. Maybe it’s because it’s been a year and a half since I’ve had any root beer whatsoever, but Flashback tastes better than average despite not doing anything interesting. As always, that’s the problem with these root beers that try to imitate a past taste. You can capture lightning in a bottle a million times after first coming up with it, but it’ll only strike once. Or something like that. To reiterate, Flashback is fine, but I want the future of root beer. Why are all the knuckleheads in Silicon Valley trying to disrupt the tech industry when there’s a perfectly old-fashioned root beer industry to disrupt?

e: Holy smokes, gang. Turns out I’d reviewed this very root beer before for this website! https://pungry.wordpress.com/2015/08/10/pungrys-thirsty-root-beer-flashback-olde-time-soda-est-2010/

One of my main complaints was that it tasted like wintergreen. Well, the folks at Flashback must’ve listened since I couldn’t taste anything other than sweet tap water this time around. Must’ve changed the recipe or something. Which is a crazy thing for a brand called Flashback to do! They’re banking on you drinking this soda once, remembering what it tasted like, and then buying it again for that same taste! Changing the flavor doesn’t do that! I ended that review by calling the root beer a dirty liar, and I think it’s fair for me to do that again.

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Breaking the Resumeta: Applying for Game Industry Jobs


Hello! The intern is coming at you with some fresh new content. The main boss is currently too much in a funk to write anything, so he’s handed the content creation reigns to me. This is super exciting, as it’s the first time in the seven years I’ve been here that I get to give my unfiltered voice. See, mom? It took until I was 34, but I’ve made it as a writer.

Anyway, I was brainstorming what sort of content to write with this opportunity, and came to the conclusion that since I was able to find the job I love in this economy, I should give out advice as to how to get other people the jobs in the industries they love. That’s how I came up with the idea for “Breaking the Resumeta”.

What is a “resumeta”, you ask? It’s a combination of the words “resumé” and “meta”. I hope everyone reading is at least familiar with the concept of a resumé; it’s that document you give to would-be employers that outlines your skills, experience, and astrological sign.

The second term is a little trickier to explain. “Meta” is short for “metagame”. A metagame is a video game term. The direct definition of “metagaming” is to “use any strategy, action, or method that goes beyond the supposed limits of a game”. In abstract, that doesn’t make much sense, but I can break it down. See, in most competitive online games, the best players are all roughly at the same skill level. What differentiates them is what playstyle they choose since most online games are balanced around different playstyles competing against each other.

For instance, you have the choice between three playstyles in rock-paper-scissors. If two players are to repeatedly play rock-paper-scissors by randomly choosing what to “throw”, the results should end up with player one winning 33% of the time, player two winning 33% of the time, and the two drawing 33% of the time.

However, no one plays rock-paper-scissors randomly. Instead, each player tries to read the other’s mind to predict what the other person will “throw” so that they can pick the perfect counter “throw”. Like if one player noticed that the other player liked to throw paper after throwing rock, said player would probably throw scissors the next time they saw their opponent throw rock in anticipation of seeing paper. This sort of next-level thinking is called “metagaming”.

Just like in rock-paper-scissors, players playing online games can choose whatever playstyle they feel comfortable with. Playstyles are generally put into tiers, with tier 1 playstyles being the agreed-upon best overall styles. Some of these tier 1 playstyles are tier 1 because they beat every other playstyle the most consistently. However, some tier 1 playstyles are playstyles that may be less likely to beat every other playstyle, but these can beat the agreed-upon “best” playstyle more consistently than any other playstyle. Below is the usual rock-paper-scissors “metagame”.

Normal RPS Metagame Infographic

Going back to the rock-paper-scissors example, imagine if a fourth choice was added called “hammer”. Also, let’s just pretend that rock beat both paper and scissors, hammer beat rock, paper and scissors both beat hammer, and paper and scissors now tie. Because rock could beat half of the choices available, tie the third choice, and only lose to the fourth choice, it would have a 75% chance of not losing, and thus be a “tier 1” playstyle.

However, because of this, other players would expect more people to choose “rock” over any other choice, and thus more players would start to choose “hammer” in anticipation of an opponent choosing rock. These players are said to be making “counterpicks” as according to the “metagame”. As “hammer” starts to be used more, it becomes a “tier 1” choice despite losing to both paper and scissors and only earning a draw if both players choose hammer. In a heavy rock “metagame” the best players will choose “hammer” more often than 25% of the time even though in a “normal” metagame in which all four choices are used 25% it would be the worst choice. Below is another infographic that shows the new rock-paper-scissors-hammer meta based on this data.

Rock Paper Scissors Hammer Metagame Infographic

I hope that explanation makes sense, because I’m here to “break the resumeta” in the same way the hammer would. What this means is that I’ll be looking at examples of the “tier 1” resumés that got members of the industry I’m covering their jobs, really study them, and then provide you guys advice as to how to one-up (gaming industry term!) those exact kind of resumés! Now, tier 1 resumés are whatever is on the first page of Google Images. Let’s see what “gaming industry resumés” are at the top of the tier lists.

This is the very first resumé that shows up when you search “gaming industry resume”, and my god it could not be more boring. We can’t say for certain what job our friend Douglas was looking for, but based on the experience and education listed, it’s probably for a position as a game company’s historian. Which, despite the name, does advertising? Man, the anime club really screwed up its position-naming.

Now, as with all tier 1 playstyles, there are weaknesses in Douglas’ resumé that we can exploit to make our resumé stand out among the sea of similar resumés. The first place to start is the file name. I would bet 100 gil or zenny or coins or rupees that Doug named his file something boring like “Douglas M. Moore Advertising Resumé 2016”. Which is functional but so lame. You’re applying for the games’ industry, man! Spice it up. I recommend to name your resumés in the same format as a video game save file. My personal favorite type of save file formats are those classic RPG ones that go “File Name – Character Level – Time Played – Location”. Here’s an example of a good gaming industry resumé file name.

gaming industry resume file name

Already this hypothetical resumé is poised to break the resumeta! But now, 1000 words into this tutorial level (god, don’t you hate unskippable tutorials??? hit that like button if you agree), we finally get into the meat of the resumé. The resumeat, if you will. As I said earlier, a huge problem with Douglas’ tier 1 resumé is that it is so visually boring. Black and white, Times New Roman, and lacking anything that makes it stand out from literally every other resumé. No, if you want to work in the gaming industry, you have to prove your gaming chops from your font and color choice. Luckily, retro 8-bit font is in, so it’s gonna be super easy to impress your hopeful employers. Check out the naming header (using the great font from this link: https://dafont.com/8bit-wonder.font):

John 3rd Mario Bro Smith

As a gamer, it’s very important to add in your gaming nickname in your headline. You don’t want to look like some n00b. Of course, a cool handle isn’t enough to prove your worth to the king–er, employer. Douglas’ resumé does the traditional thing of listing his “professional experience”, but you’re a gamer trying to get a gaming industry job! List the most relevant stuff: your gaming experience.

Funny

This is my old gaming resumé.

The next section in Douglas’ resumé lists his education. Obviously, this is important to the gaming industry, but instead of being impressed by dumb Ivy League schoolkids who got 4.0s, the gaming industry wants to know who taught you how to game. Let’s take a look at another typical example of what they want.

john education

You’ll notice that part of the text has been colored yellow to make the important names and dates stand out in contrast with the more bland text below. That’s another part of our “tier 1” rival’s resumé I found lacking. His next section reads “computer skills”, but I think it’s far more important to list the most difficult skills in games you’ve been able to master. That’ll definitely stand out compared to everybody listing “Microsoft Office”, “Java”, or “Good with children”. Take a look:

john skills

Douglas continues his resumé with a section of miscellaneous jobs he held that he spun as “leadership experience”. You could do that, or you could break the meta by not talking about the times you were “on the board” of college extracurricular clubs in which the whole point of the “job” was for resumé filler. Let’s just skip to “awards and honors”. If you’re a true gamer, I don’t even need to tell you that the name of this section needs to be “achievements”. If done incorrectly, this section might be redundant with “gaming experience”, so take proper care to space out your storied gaming history like so:

john achievements

Phew! I think we covered all the sections of Douglas’ resumé, but we aren’t out of the Deku Woods (gamer term) yet! The resumé is a definitely half of the boss key (gamer term), but the second half to the final boss is unlocked with the cover letter. Truly, it is the Super Mushroom (gamer term) that you’ll need to power up (gamer term) your application. I recommend making a couple of generic cover letters that outline your most relevant gaming experience with regards to the specific job you want. Then just replace the proper nouns as needed depending on what job/company you’re applying for. Here’s my typical cover letter:

john cover letter.PNG

Alright, now I think we’ve sufficiently busted the resumeta for the gaming industry. If such a 50-Cent Bulletproof (gamer term) resumé and cover letter can’t get you a job, the economy is way worse than I thought. If you do manage to get a job that actually pays and this guide helped you out, please hook me up. I always can get past the application stage but whenever I get interviewed by the gaming industry recruiters, they say that all my memes and jokes are from 2006.

I have a plethora of knowledge as to how to break the resumeta in any industry, not just video games, so if you have a suggestion as to which resumeta to break next, leave a comment. And the years of experience you have for leaving comments, so that I know what terrible suggestions I can easily filter out. Thanks for reading, and happy job hunting!

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8


I recently finished another video game that I liked so much I wanted to write about it. However, I got 800 words in, decided I hated everything I wrote, and all those words and pictures have sat in my draft folder here since.

What I’m trying to say is that I accidentally found out that it was my website’s 8th birthday when I visited this place ten minutes ago, trying to get back on that video game review. Like a dad who forgot it was his son’s birthday until on his way home from work, I’m now struggling to find enough words to fit a small card from the local grocery store.

I recently re-read Jon Bois’ Breaking Madden. It’s a series in which Bois creates ludicrous scenarios in the football video game simulator series “Madden”. During its runtime, Bois spent a week coming up with the scenario, finding Twitter users to participate, record what happens, and then write an article about it. It’s perhaps the funniest bit of web content ever produced. You can read it here: https://www.sbnation.com/breaking-madden/archives/.

I highly recommend reading that, since it is a ball of creative joy compared to anything else ever written, especially when compared to the rest of this post, which will be unending whining. See, Bois’ work is exactly the kind of writing I would have loved to do years ago. “But, wait, Pungry!” my imaginary reader stand-in says, “Why do you say ‘loved’? You could still do this!” See, where some people may get inspired by great work in the field they wish to pursue, I lose all confidence in my own work if I see anything similar to what I hope to do that is, in my eyes, better than what I have. See, I’m a defeatist.

If you read my post about my blog turning 7 (and who are we kidding I completely forgot what I wrote in that until I looked it up to write this; the only person who researches what I write is myself), you would have seen a very pessimistic scrawl about how, despite Pungry.com being more popular than ever, I was quite down on my writing. One year later, the fame has dried up, and so has any confidence I have in this. I don’t think I’ve written one funny thing all year.

That’s obviously something someone writes when they’re fishing for a compliment. I have said a lot of similarly negative things this past year about many things in my life, and, since I’m usually saying this to other people, the other person generally responds with that “expected compliment”. Except I say negative stuff like that because I genuinely feel like that. I seriously think I haven’t written anything funny this year. I don’t want people cherry-picking quotes from articles I wrote last year, reposting them in the comments, and saying “oh, but this line was so funny”. No, I don’t want that. I want validation that this website sucks.

Fortunately, I already have that validation. I already said that this website has lost any semblance of fame. It’s true! I’m on pace for 1300 views this year. In 2016, I had 2500+, and in 2017 I had 2000+. Sure, I’m producing less content, but it’s also a sign that I suck. After all, I have done more publicity than ever for this website this year. I’ll be real with you all for a second. I’ve been aggressively applying to jobs this past month and a half, and I’m listing my eight years as owner of this site as experience with a link to my website in my resume. And yet this website gets no traffic from any would-be employers. I know putting this paragraph on here will probably drive away the one recruiter that clicks that link for obvious reasons, but I want to publish it anyway. It’s my website.

Looking back at my Seven Years post some more, there is one prediction that was accurate. In that post, I called for Insomniac Games to bring Spyro the Dragon back, and earlier this year some generous company bought the rights to remake the original trilogy and it comes out in the fall. Although they did say they’re remastering the entire soundtrack as well… which means no Stewart Copeland… which means probably a worse soundtrack. It’s so easy to find negatives in everything.

But there is a genuine positive, at the end of the day (as one of my two readers loves to say). And that’s that this website has been going for 8 years. Yes, it has only 5500+ views in that time, which is a horrible HORRIBLE ratio. Yes, I don’t actually like anything I’ve written. But, yes, I’ve written it all, and I’ve had the courage to publish all 330 posts that are public. At this point, pungry.com is one of those blogs that’s only impressive in how long it has gone on without any backing whatsoever. It’s the equivalent of one of those houses you find in the middle of nowhere that the owner built by themselves. He/she didn’t understand modern plumbing techniques, couldn’t hook it up to electricity, had no clue what insulation was, but he/she built a dang house without anyone else’s help, and he/she got to sleep in it for eight years. Before a tornado blew it down.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be in my tornado basement if you need me.

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What Love Songs Have Taught Me


Alright, the last post was very negative about a lot of things, including love. But what exactly “is” love? Love is such a vague term that even traditional philosophers have failed to come to a complete agreement about the definition. For me, though, the modern philosopher is the musician. As I said in my review of Love is Dead, I went combing through the lyrics of every song I owned, looking for lyrics about the concept of love itself. Whenever the word was used, I placed the line “love” appeared into a very large poem. The result is this absolute mess of an epic.

Love, no feeling can last forever
Love me last, don’t love me maybe
I’m someone you maybe might love
Maybe I’m too shy I need your love
And you said, maybe we don’t deserve love
And you deserve to be loved and you deserve what you have been given
Give me your heart, and I’ll give you my love
I got a very good friend who says he can’t believe the love I give
I got love for all your hate
Gave you my love, you gave me nothing
I know the love you gave feels cheap and used
But give me love over, love over, love over this
Oh my lover, my lover, my love
Love, love, love, love is just greed

Wait for your call, love
Waiting on love to call
Love is calling
Love is the answer and the one design
Call it true love
They call it reckless love
They don’t know what love is, know what love is
It could be love, I think you’re too soon to call us old
I’ll love you ‘til you call the cops on me
Your sisters loved you
And oh my love remind me, what was it that I said?
My heart is breaking for my sister and the con that she called “love”
So tell me sweetheart, did they teach you all of this in a school, love?

It feels so good to have you back, my love
Love is hard, sex is easy
I know it’s hard enough to love me
And I’m trying hard to make you love me but I don’t wanna try too hard
How can I live with so much love?
So try to love me and I’ll try to save you
I reached out trying to love but I feel nothing
What’s the point of feeling love for you
Don’t hang your head, love should make you feel good
And my love is no good
Every spark of friendship and love will die without a home
And I love you, please come home

This love up down, please believe
Believe in love
And the wonders love can do
Love forever, love is free
Love until you bleed
So love is real like a disease
Loving life turned me insane
With the pain that you drain from love
Hurt the ones you love the most easily
But, mother, you knew, your love kept on hurting me
Some boys get too much, too much love, too much touch
Don’t think about love too much
I love you too, um, hope you’re doing well
Oh we couldn’t keep that love

I know that love is a terrible, terrible thing
I got a love that keeps me waiting
I got a lot to love I got a lot to lose
I was losing my mind because the love, the love
I love (but I love)
I don’t love you just because
I love the rip of nerves
I love it when you come over to my house
Yeah, I love my house
I love these roads where the houses don’t change (and I like you)
I love this country dearly
I love this feeling
I love you anyway

Once I had a love to show, a love they know
First they love you
Yeah they love you when they need you
And everyone’s competing for a love they won’t receive
And they ask how I can love you, when all they see is this
Seeing me rolling, showing someone else love
It seems like our love is too maddening for everyone else
My love made them move, made
Oh my love, don’t be mad
I don’t know how this love should go
Love like ours should never die with years
But how love dies is a place that I’m not going
But you say, “Oh, when love is gone”
Tell me where you love without leaving at all, and I’ll go
There is no love lost here between us
The love I let in, it left me so lost
Fragments of a lost love
Love is lost, love can burn
You should stop loving fire because you got burned
You should’ve seen your little face, burning with love
I will crush my love, let it burn until I get to you
Our love is plastic

Month of May, everybody’s in love
We almost fell in love
I fell in love with a wind-up souvenir
Never fell in love cause I just cut loose
No, love’s not an answer, ‘til it ends up all loose
And I’m not trying to stop you love
If you could show me love
Show me love, fill my cup
I have none to show to the one I love
The one that I love most
The one who showed you love
Cause you’re the one I love
So let’s love for one song
So let’s love
So let’s set out to sea, love
So if you love someone, you should let them know
So do whatever you must, love, do whatever it must take
I will love what you want me to love

So hold on tight to everything you love
I can’t help but love thinking that everyone doesn’t get it
It’s how you think of love
I think I loved you most when we were in my galaxy
Do you think that you could learn to love me anyway?
I wanna learn to love in kind
That distant kind of love
She thinks you love the beach, you’re such a damn liar
What kind of man loves like this?
Who hates what he believes and loves it at the same time
I will remember the times when love would really glow
Real love, a thousand times more
But when you’re in love all the lines get blurred
Our love is underlined
Love and understand me, baby
We can’t make love when you fly around me baby
Baby, you know I’m loving you skintight
If you’re sick, baby girl I would love to be your doctor
But you’re gonna love me baby when you get to know me
You know I love you so
So, darling, if you love me
If you love me, won’t you let me know?

Yeah if you wanna find love, then you know where the city is
Are you in love with the city?
In the city that we love
I never found love in the city
Never thought love could be found
Love has found us
And I found love and fear won’t go
The only love I ever found
Love confound me
No contra to you, my love
The opposite of love’s indifference
To the weight of love
I’m just a prisoner in a reign of love
Words of love and words so leisured
World starts screaming words of love
But I love to read the words you use
A letter to my true love
Someone said true love was dead
Like my true love to feel some made up breeze
Love is the only thing left that’s true

Oh, Ophelia, Heaven help a fool who falls in love
You know God loves the sensitive ones
God I love the way you love yourself
Lie love, live love, lie love thy neighbor
You know I’m nothing without your love, no
Love you more than you know
Is that I love you so
Wish you knew I still love you and could control what I do
And we knew what it meant to be loved
It means that we’re in love and that’s enough now
But if love is enough, could you let it show?

You said our love was written in the stars
I said I love you, you said goodbye
She said she loved me, but she had somewhere to go
And I said, give a little love
She said, “I’d love you to stay but that’s simply insane”
Why wait a minute to tell her I love
I said “I love you”
But when I say I love you, your silence covers me
I wish that I could have loved you then
Tell me you love me
Tell me was it enough when we were first in love to plant the seed and just leave
Say I’m cheapening your love
All this talk of love turns to noise
And in that love, the white noise of a shell
Don’t leave us not in love again

I say goodbye to love again
Goodbye girl, you know it’s only love
Then you turned to say you loved me
Always one foot out when you say goodbye to the ones that you love
By the ones you think you love
May you return to love one day

I love you
And I would love you
If it’s all forgotten love
This is how I show my love
Got loving on my mind
I’m just the sucker who let you fill her mind (but what about love?)
Falling in love filled my soul with fright
I was afraid of the love that you asked for
I’m scared to love what we love most
I’m too afraid to love you
He who taught me to love like a beast
Love like a sunset
With eternal love, stars above
I know it’s me who’s supposed to love you
But I was late for this, late for that, late for the love of my life
We had time, we had love, we had everything
Back then this thing was running on momentum, love, and trust
There’s nothing to fear, now my love
Without your love, I’ll be
Strung up, strung out for your love
Only love can dig you out of this
Never out of love
My love would never
Oh come on love
Stay if you wanna love me, stay
I said, “Don’t fall in love with the moment”
We fall in love again

Wake up to fall in love
Love will wake us, love won’t break us
When we wake up you engulf me in your love
Your love, I suppose, is an ocean the ebb and flow, oh
And the love that I dreamt of
If you love me I can sleep
Sleeping in the clothes you love
It’s that ancient love
Our love was long so long
Our love is getting old
Our love has gone cold
Your other love is gone and you know
Your love is out

And love is blind
Trading in his blindness for the glow of love
Visions of our love pass right by me
But your jealousy is more blind than love
Your love is so loud
Open your eyes, love, you’ve got me crying
Why your love is such a mystery
The love that you give is such a familiar sound
The holy sound of our love
For loving and leaving, I secretly hear them
And the boys trip me up with their heads again, loving them
So start falling in love
She’s loving the smell in the air
You know I love to be in love
Who could love you in the way that you love you?

Remember me? Remember love?
I’ll love you just the same
My love keeps growin’ still the same
Let your love grow tall
We lift our love
If you give up your love now
If you get between someone I love and me
I’ll give you all the love I never gave before I left you
All this love of mine
All my love that I can’t hide
All I need is life, love with you
All we need is love
Love, we need it now
Now we sit in your car and our love is a ghost
Love is the coal
It’s a black, black shadow at the center of love

Is this the place we used to love?
Anywhere you are, my love
But how I’d love to go to Paris again
The only love I haven’t screwed up

It might be love
Someone like you could love a creep like me
I could’ve loved you longer
Yeah, you should be loving someone
And love me (Love me, yeah)
Yeah love’s got you holding on
Her baby’s got the loving arm
A loving hand and daring kiss
From dancing with the one I love
And you’ll never find love in an open hand
I love sex, and I love dancing
I love, I love, I love, I notice
Messy morsels of my self-assured love
Not loving all you see
When your love is right
When you’re too in love to let it go
When love is free
Secretly you love this, do you even wanna go free?
Free from a love that makes me run
Empty loving makes me seasick
Life is a drink, and love’s a drug
She’s in love, come on give it to her!
The chemicals that make her love
As the man she loved
He split his love until it stretches too thin
Deep in the haze of your love high

I sing of a greater love
Every song of love?
Singing how I’ve always loved you, darling, and I always will
The timid proof of things we’d hidden or always knew of love
I’ll be loving you always, always
Why you always wanna love the ones who hurt you?
Don’t wanna love, don’t wanna hurt
You wanted to love, but you didn’t know how
All you ever wanted was love
I wanna love you
To feel your love and never be afraid
I’ve never loved you

Do you love me?
I’m in love, love
I’m loving you
I loved you all
I wanted love
Love you back
Lay me down, love
Tell her you love her, too
You tease this love
For your love
Love was a currency
Give me your love
Give me, give me all your love
And give him all my love
Fall back in love eventually

My love for you is real, I
Nod my head so dumb with love
This is how love really feels
I feel so in love, but not with you
You know I couldn’t love
You don’t love me anymore
Like giving up on love too fast
Promised your love but you lied
Clouds covered love’s barb-wired snare
We tear up the happiness and throw away the love
We don’t care, we’re not caught up in your love affair
About the birds, the boats, the past loves that flew away or started sinking
This isn’t a perfect love
No such thing as ordinary, love
Love has always been a mockery
It’s not love but wait
You’re loving something of a Midas touch
Romantic and drenched in sin, love

This love was so strong it shoulda
This love’s for gentlemen only
That love was a scornful thing
You have loved, you have cared, you’ve been too good to me
But to outplay is not to love
It was for love and love only
Cause I love you dearly
This is full blown love
My love, my love, my love is cruel
But I’ve only loved one person through all
My mother’s love is choking me
But here with your love
Love in my heart is the battle
Should never destroy your love or hopes
With me you’re love-safe
Send my love down in those rays of light
See our love, it remains
I’ll whisper back my love for you
That I’m in love with you
I’m heavy on your love
My love’s behind you
Oh oh love don’t let me go

It was love at first sight
We were waiting on love
We’re common people, we’re common people in love
Long before I knew of love
But I’m alone and so in love
Let him love, the man of faith
That everyone I love is gonna leave me
Except life and the love you make
And you gotta love your way of life
And we can love for the sake of the little one
I know you love it when the hairpins start to drop
I’ve been loving what I see you do at grad school
And this love has grown so restless
Love is not a veil to hide your voids
If we really love ourselves
How do you love somebody else?

Congratulations if you actually read all of that. In fact, congratulations if you even took the effort to scroll down to here. First, let me credit the true artists in this work. Each of the 360 or so lyrics included in this poem was by one of these bands: Arcade Fire, AWOLNATION, Bastille, The Black Keys, Bleachers, Bombay Bicycle Club, Broods, Catherine Warwick, Christine and the Queens, CHVRCHES, Coldplay, The Daylights, Echosmith, Florence + the Machine, Foals, Franz Ferdinand, Friendly Fires, fun., Gorillaz, Haim, In The Valley Below, Keane, The Killers, Lorde, The Lumineers, Metric, Metronomy, Michael Angelkos, Mika, Mumford & Sons, The Naked and Famous, Nona Reeves, OneRepublic, Passion Pit, Phoenix, RAC, Ryn Weaver, School of Seven Bells, Sonic R, Twenty One Pilots, Two Door Cinema Club, Wild Cub, The Wombats, The xx, Young the Giant, and The 1975.

Second, if you did actually read this, can you tell me what kind of conclusions can be made about love as according to modern musicians? I refuse to actually analyze the work I create. I only analyze other people’s work.

Third, yes, the process for this sucked and took forever. But I genuinely like pretty much every song I quoted here, so it was worth it. No, I did not listen to each song individually when compiling. I simply looked up the lyrics for each individual song and “control+f” for love. That said, I could sing you literally every line in this poem as it was sung in the context of its song. I am proud of my musical memory.

Fourth, love is not a real word any more.

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Love is Dead


 

 

Love is Dead is the latest album from the synthpop band, CHVRCHES. No, it’s not my personal feelings. Heck, I even have a draft in here called “Modern Romance” (which would’ve been a review of Aziz Ansari’s book, but…). Regardless, the band isn’t even that aggressive in their feelings. Singer Lauren Mayberry has gone on record saying she would’ve rather titled the album “Love is Dead?”. Though Mayberry may question her own feelings about love within the lyrics, it is no question that this is another solid album from one of my favorite bands.

The questions start within the opening track, Graffiti. Considering the album’s main symbol is a graffitied heart, this seems like the track that captures the literal heart of the album.

Image result for love is dead chvrches

I gotta say, I’m a paragraph and a half in, and I’m questioning my own actions for writing this. Man, this album is powerful. Back to the song, Graffiti is about a young love that faded out. It’s got a nice finishing chorus line: “I’ve been waiting my whole life to grow old/and now we never will”. The implication is that the speaker will grow old by themselves, without their former youth lover. How deliciously tragic. I really like the verses of the song; I just wish it didn’t go to “dubstep” speed for the chorus. Still a pretty awesome track.

Get Out was the lead single off of the album. While Graffiti was about a relationship that simply fizzled out, the couple in Get Out actively destroy what they have. This really set the tone for a much angrier album than what we ended up getting. Regardless, I enjoy this song a lot. My friends keep trying to rephrase the chorus to “get out, get out, I do not hook uhh-up”. That’s all I have to say. Like I said, I’m constantly questioning myself as I write this.

Deliverance is one of a few songs on the album that keeps the tempo quick in the chorus, so I appreciate it for that. I also really like the way Mayberry shouts out the bridge, even if what she is shouting is a trite “you better give up on giving up”. The song sounds like something from T-Swift’s 1989 with lyrics from songs off the album Wild World by Bastille. It’s a warning to anyone that preaches that they themselves are not saved, which is exactly the kind of statement Bastille would make. Regardless, it’s a competent pop song. This is not a competent album review.

My Enemy was the second single off the album, and the one that turned me off the most. It’s a slow duet with Matt Berninger of The National that’s essentially CHVRCHES’ answer to Give Me a Reason. It’s boring. The most use I got out of it was for a project in which I combed through every song I owned on iTunes looking for lyrics with the word “love” in them. The line “but your jealousy was more blind than your love” fit real well in there. I should publish that on here instead of this, but I started doing music reviews a long time ago, and I can’t stop now. Maybe… I’m my own enemy???

Forever’s lyrics are perhaps the worst on the album. Not a single good turn of phrase. But, my god, the instrumentals are awesome. And the way “ever” echoes again and again in the speakers is so well layered. There’s nothing else to say about it, but then again is there anything to say about music in the first place?

Never Say Die was the third single off the album. It was underwhelming at the time, but I’ve grown to really like the verses and bridge. Lauren’s cadence mesmerizes even with the line “wasn’t it gonna be fun and wasn’t it gonna be true”. The lyrics themselves are about a clearly-failing relationship that the speaker wants out of, but somehow convinces themselves to never say die and stay in it. They are also correct in that all I’ve wanted was to play at playing god. With the internet, anyone can be god of their own little blog.

Miracle is the true center of the album, as it is lucky #7 of an unlucky set of 13 songs, and it’s about as cautiously optimistic as you can get. The speaker’s not asking for a miracle! They just want to be shown love. Sadly, I don’t really love the fourth single off the album, since it honestly does not sound like a CHVRCHES song. It has the chorus of an Imagine Dragons anthem. I do really like the verses and bridge, just like Never Say Die, and while I don’t hate it forever, it just isn’t the miracle of sound the band hoped for. My god, that’s the worst line I’ve written in a while. I just keep digging deeper and deeper

Graves is my pick for best track on the album.

The lyrics are in the right place, if a little naive. “If you don’t have a heart, I can offer you mine” is a very noble line, Mayberry. Instead of watching “them” dance on my grave, I will gladly dance on my own to this song, because it is an absolute banger. Uh, bang–this blog sucks, and I just shot it.

Heaven/Heck is a forgettable but palatable five minute track that, again, has its heart in the right place even if it is phrased poorly. While Mayberry criticized the rest of the world in Graves, she turns her criticism inward for this song. “Am I real if you can see through me?” “Is it alright if I save myself and I clean up my own mess?” “Is it right if I’m a perfect actress?”. To all these questions… I feel like the average listener would say “yes”. But, the truth is, that Mayberry is closer to heaven on earth than most of those listeners that would say yes. I don’t know. This isn’t analysis. This is just trying to find fault with something I like so that I’m not as personally invested, should CHVRCHES turn out to be some mega-evil synthpop group. But it’s far more likely I’m inventing my own heck as I write this.

God’s Plan continues the religious “allegories” and is the token track in which the band member with a hat sings; see also: Under the Tide, High Enough to Carry You Over. Just like both of those other songs, God’s Plan has a twitchy synth-base that never quite stabilizes. It also sounds like a cover of Science/Visions rather than Drake’s God’s Plan. I enjoy the drums when the chorus kicks in. Other than that, it’s just too jumpy, kind of like my update schedule on this website. Look, it’s hard to insult yourself in thirteen straight paragraphs. Lay off.

Really Gone is the softest “real” song on the album. It’s basically a sequel to Afterglow in terms of sound. She’ll “try to find another way” in this track, in Afterglow she promised “I’ll find my own way back”. The song as a whole is almost a fleshed-out reimagining of the line in Night Sky in which Mayberry said “once you leave me, you are really gone”. If this focus on the lyrics couldn’t tip you off, Really Gone has little substance, but sounds pretty. So I forgive it. I’m sure every one (and I mean one) of my readers has been really gone for a while. Music posts suck.

ii is a short instrumental interlude with unintelligible lyrics. When the piano comes in alongside Mayberry’s voice in the second half, it sounds like the piano from I See You by MIKA. That’s all the analysis I got. Or, rather, all the analysis all II got. The jokes write themselves.

The album closes with another bang. Wonderland preserves the melody of ii’s piano but transposes it onto a synth. It sounds much more fun. The song itself is the summation of all the cautious pessimism in contemporary society. As it stands, it seems the album had two major strands for themes: disillusion in modern society, and disillusion in a romantic relationship. A majority of songs focus on the latter theme, so I get why it’s called Love is Dead, but the second half of the album makes you wonder if a more fitting title would’ve been “Politics Are Dead” or “Society Is Dumb” or something like that. That way, songs like Never Say Die or Miracle, which have pretty generic lyrics, could’ve been interpreted in a more political light. If that was CHVRCHES intention. Or maybe they did want to make a pessimistic album about love. It’s their call, I’m just the interpreter.

And I interpret the lyrics of Wonderland to be kinda goofy. The couplet “Can’t live forever with my head in the clouds/Can’t predict the weather with my feet on the ground” sounds fine when Mayberry sings them over a lovely synth melody, but when written out each individual line is… goofy. Together, though, the couplet is almost clever for saying some kind of middleground is needed to preserve this Wonderland. Almost as if you can’t pick either extreme. Which is pretty universally true for most decisions. Clearly, I shouldn’t have picked the extreme self-hate, nor should I have chosen extreme self-love for this post. I should’ve simply stayed in the middle.

But that’s a song by jimmyeatworld, and we’re talking about CHVRCHES.

AT THE END OF THE DAY, Love is Dead is a much better album than I anticipated. It is on par with Every Open Eye in terms of quality. Both albums are worse than The Bones of What You Believe, but there are very few albums that can compare to that album. Album album album.

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