Big week! I’ve got anime, music, and a video game to talk about. Plus, in some personal creative news, this week I finished the first draft of the fantasy novel I’ve been working on since mid-April. Now I’ve got the fun job of editing it for an eternity. Hooray! Anyway, read on and enjoy!
Creativity is one of the most important things a human being can express. It’s good for our brains, our hearts, and our souls. It allows people to explore themselves and others in a deep way, something introspection and discussion can’t always do. When consuming others’ creative works, you’re getting a piece of who they are as a person, whether they wanted or intended that or not.
Creativity allows us to function as a society. We’re not merely surviving—we’re living, hour to hour and day to day. How we spend our time digesting others’ creative works—whether that’s a movie, a novel, or a collection of poems—is important to how we grow as people and a community of human beings. I hope reading about the creative content I enjoy (or don’t) gets your creative juices flowing and inspires you to make something great and uniquely your own. At the very least maybe you’ll discover something new you might be interested in.
The Legend of Korra
I’m not sure The Legend of Korra qualifies as an anime, but it fits better in this category than in cartoons, so there it is. This show is the sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender, one of the best shows Nickelodeon has ever produced. Avatar was about a boy and his two friends trying to save the world with powers that allowed them to bend the four elements (water, air, fire, and earth) to their wills. The Legend of Korra is about…well, I’m not sure. There’s a new avatar and she fights baddies and does stuff, but the story isn’t as concentrated—which isn’t bad, but the story is plagued by weird romance subplots and other things that kind of bog it down. I’m in the second season and definitely enjoy the show, but I don’t think it meets Avatar’s charm and quality.
Cults is a pretty unremarkable indie pop band, which feels weird to say because until I listened to them, I hadn’t heard an indie pop or rock band where I couldn’t appreciate at least one of their songs. Sadly, after to listening twice to Cults’ Static album, I found nothing worth noting. That’s not to say they’re bad, or even not good—they’re simply bland and not my style.
Grimes is a weird artist, but I like her anyway. Her first two albums are basically just electronic noise with vocals mixed in; there’s nothing amazing there. Her latest album, Visions, though, has just enough good tracks to make me say I’m glad I gave her chance. Will I await her next record with bated breath? No. But I have faith whatever she produces next might really catch my attention. Give Genesis and Be a Body (侘寂) a listen. (But maybe don’t watch the video for Genesis because it almost taints the good music. Yes, that’s how weird she is.)
I took four listens of male and female duo MS MR’s (geddit?) debut album Secondhand Rapture to truly appreciate them. The record starts out strong with Hurricane and, unfortunately, never reaches that level awesomeness again, but that’s not to say there aren’t other good songs worth noting. Something about the fact that the two of them alone produce this complex music makes me respect them as musicians. It doesn’t hurt that one of their powerful, swelling songs (Ash Tree Lane) is apparently a reference to House of Leaves, one of my all-time favorite novels. Besides those two songs, check out BTSK.
I’m not very good at categorizing the sub-genres of the mess that is the electronica style of music, but Porter Robinson is some good, ol’ fashioned trance/house/techno/whatever you wanna call it, and I can’t say I don’t love me some of that. His EP, Spitfire, has some sweet melodies—until they inexplicably turn into less-than-great dubstep. If you’re into dubstep, you might get a kick out of that EP, but his first actual album, Worlds, is where it’s at. He’s got some great tracks with talented vocalists, and the final song, Goodbye to a World, is actually somewhat touching seeing as it’s about a computer or robot saying goodbye as the world—and, in turn, he—dies and disappears forever. Other good tracks include Divinity, Sad Machine, and Sea of Voices.
What can I say about this masterpiece that countless other better than I haven’t already said? And who reading this hasn’t already experienced the wonder that is BioShock? Nothing and no one, I say. Still, I’ll throw in a few thoughts. I decided to replay this game—for, what, the fourth time?—after beating Burial at Sea and wanting to enact my revenge on Frank Fontaine. I enjoy so much the world Irrational Games created with this game. The atmosphere is genius. The entire world makes me long for a time when it wasn’t rotting and destroyed by genetically spliced maniacs, but the creepy vibe Rapture gives at any given moment made me not want it at any other way. The story and environments are amazing, and even the gameplay is fun all these years later. If you haven’t played this, please slap your own face, go out and get a copy, and experience everything it has to offer. Now. You won’t regret it.