Thursday, 22 December 2011

The Top 50 Albums Of 2011, Reinterpreted As Short Stories (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1

Top Albums Of 2011 - 40. Snowman - ∆bsence

Snowman - ∆bsence

22 April
Experimental Rock

That night Gillian’s vivid dreams came to surface once again. Visions of her parents abandoning her in ways she would never understand gave her sleep the shudders, and she eventually awoke covered in cold sweat, warm urine and breaths of panic. She lay there for a few moments, and concluded she would not be getting anymore sleep that night, especially in her own wet stink. Instead, Gillian decided now would be a good time to take a walk around this unfamiliar building, inspecting it without any supervision for a change. She was still relatively new to this orphanage, and the threats of the Devil punishing this type of behaviour did not scare her—why would it? She was of a young mind and the concept of a heaven and a hell were far from important to her.

Hence why we see her now, creeping down the endless corridors of texture, exploring her new home excitedly as any young child would. Every step echoed in the darkness and brought as much fear as it did anticipation. Noises of the sleeping came from each room she passed, and she had fun guessing what each sound might be. Is that someone snoring, or a monster in the dark? Was that her footstep or someone else's? She loved it as much as she couldn’t stand it.

Her imagination immediately stopped running away with her once she found herself in front of a large door with a crucifix nailed to the front, the figure of Jesus looking deep into her eyes as if urging her not to go any further. Behind this door came a noise she couldn’t place anywhere in her memory, perhaps resembling the coughing of a sick baby or the growling of a wolf—neither of which seemed quite right to her. Curiosity was her greatest weakness, so she lightly pressed her ear against the thick wood in an attempt to hear better, almost screaming when the door creaked open at her touch. A yellow light poured out and a small warmth hit her face. It was so inviting despite the overbearing rotten smell and evil atmosphere which seemed to come with it. She couldn’t help herself, and her little eyes peered around the corner at their own will, finding themselves gazing at a man with his back turned, fiddling with something which she couldn’t quite see. The scene had a very mysterious and unsettling aura about it which made her want to scream again, but she cupped her hand over her mouth and continued to observe this man from a distance. “What is he doing?” her thoughts begged. She had to know.

Her bare feet arched onto their toes as she quietly stepped into the large room. She noticed right away that this was a small cathedral of sorts, as she had seen pictures of them in those Catholic books, the stunning decoration sticking to her mind. And whatever this man was doing, he was doing it at the altar, the so-called holiest part of the room. Slowly she approached him, desperate to know what he was so intently focused on, the intrigue too overwhelmingly strong to ignore despite her instincts to throw up right there. Closer and closer to the man her quiet feet lead her, the need to run taking great effort to hold back, but the yearning to view this hunchback’s activity without entering his peripheral vision overrode all of her intuition. She held her breath to keep silent, gradually approaching the movement, ignoring the smell which grew thicker with each step. This man’s frantic mumbling and the panting of some other creature drowned out her footsteps until she was only a few feet away, and there she paused. She could see it now. The man’s hands worked with pliers, painstakingly pulling apart at a cage which contained a little horned animal unlike anything she had seen before. It was the size of a large rat yet looked more like a varnished cow or a deer, with mouths within its mouth, and tongues flapping over rows of teeth fixed into a smile. Its eyes were deep green holes in the side of its head and it ran around in miniature circles within its cage, visibly excited and hyperactive over the prospect of being freed.

“What’s that!?” her voice coughed out of her control, and the man spun around to face her. His attire was that of a priest except his head was bloodied, covered in bandages, and his pliers were pointed straight at her throat.
“Gillian. You made it,” he spluttered. And then she screamed for real.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 39. Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones

Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones

06 June

“I took a bullet right here,” General Turner boasted whilst lifting his up shirt, revealing a circular scar, faded, but definitely the reminder of some deep wound. “Bastard shot me from a tree. Didn’t even see it coming.”
“So what happened?” one of the younger listeners asked curiously.
“I shot him in the face!” Turner laughed, and the lads responded with respectful cheers, raising their pints and smashing them together, quickly followed by man-sized gulps.

Frank Turner loved telling his war stories to these teenage boys. He felt like an advanced historian, offering them insights within the reality of battle which no book could accurately convey in quite the same realistic way. He had been there, and he was proud of it, the wars had made a man of him even in his retirement. Further more, the crew of boys who frequented his same local pub always concentrated on his wisdom with adoration. They too had a passion for their country, and General Turner’s older words were much like Shakespeare to them; as patriotic as they were poetic, and always captivating. There was a special intelligence and sincere charm about his way of talking, even the most gruesome of his stories executed in a manner of optimism and dedication to his heritage. Which is why they were all here on yet another weekday afternoon, listening.

“Ah, England. I love this country. I’d die for it with admiration,” he sighed nostalgically, looking into his glass.
“God bless England, sir!” another boy chirped up, and then coward back into his chair. He had felt Turner’s demeanour shift frigidly at his words, his mannerisms becoming uncharacteristically defensive.
“God? Let me tell you something about God, my boy!” sudden aggression tainted his usual smooth voice. “There is no fucking God on the war-plains, you hear me? There is no fucking God out there!” General Turner had begun to shout, and upon realising this, leaned back in his seat to recompose himself. He hardly ever swore, so when he did, it was with such furious impact that the boys knew not to speak again until spoke to. They sat there in silence, sipping their beers, the acoustic melodies from the jukebox the only audible sound.

“Mr Turner, sir?” a female voice called, and the General looked behind him to see the pretty bar lady calling his name. “There is a phone call for you.”
“For me?” he asked confused, and then stood up slowly as his old legs had seen far too many steps in their time. He made his way over to the phone placed precariously on the edge of the bar, and picked it up.
“Frank Turner here,” he answered.
“It’s time, General,” was the response.
“Time for what? Who is this?”
“It’s D. It’s time for the portal. We are going to open it now, The President has given the order. I figured you would like to be here, seeing as you were the first leading figure of the mission, General...”
“The Portal??” Turner’s voice rose, and bar lady glanced at him from the corner of her eye. “How is that possible? We never even managed to work out that damn code...”
“We got the code, General. Some Priest named Giles in New York gave it to us, and it seems to be legit. So what you say, Frank? You wanna finish this off once and for all?”
Turner took a deep breath. He looked down at his hands, trembling and frail. He looked over to the lads, and they raised their glasses back. He looked outside, the beauty of the place he lived filling him with an internal peace. Then he turned back to the phone.

“Don’t you ever call me again, you understand?” he whispered. Then he calmly hung up and turned back to the boys, ready to continue with more of his story-telling.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 38. Tennis - Cape Dory

Tennis - Cape Dory

18 Jan
Twee Pop

After a long afternoon of roller-skating in what felt like a mid-1970’s summer breeze, no amount of candyfloss or soda pop could shelter our young couple from the hot LA sun anymore. It had been a long day, and the two spoke and laughed as they walked home to their quaint boat-house. Here, they sipped on simple cocktails with all their deliciousness and admired the soft sunset in its Prozac innocence. With their arms around each other and over-joyed by their love, they blissfully smiled, enjoying the moment in full knowledge that the day would soon be over. There, she leaned into him and said “Honey, I think we are luckiest boy and girl in the world.”

Top Albums Of 2011 - 37. Oh Land - Oh Land

Oh Land - Oh Land

15 March

James woke up with a jump and glanced at his alarm clock. Three in the morning. He fell back into his pillow and covered his face with his hands. This was the third time this had happened to him in the last week, and while it was impossible to remember exactly what was going on or just how it made him feel, the resonance was one of either the sweetest nightmare or the darkest dream he’d ever had. His mind clawed at the reoccurring images, and as with each time this had happened, those images had become clearer and clearer, albeit still somewhat sugar coated.

Once asleep, it was almost as if everything had been carefully woven together by a mature and well traveled figure, seemingly wearing James’ heart on his sleeve, playing with the strings at his will. Perhaps this act was with love, perhaps it was with evil—but regardless, it was definitely unintentional. For this figure seemed to hardly take any notice of James’ presence in his own dreams, instead taking old memories and manipulating them, perfectly stitching them together, merging good and bad thoughts like colourful paint, now turning grey and messy in parts. Even now as James lay in his bed, he found it hard to recall which of his memories were real and which ones were not. Did he truly lose his family? Was he really once a hero to many? These ambiguous and surreal versions of his experiences confused him, but only on the surface. On a deeper wiser level, however, it seemed to make more sense than anything that may have actually happened. Which naturally confused him even further, if that makes any sense.

No, it doesn’t really. This was just his mind was going in circles, and he was unable to stop thinking about this madness—nor did he really want to. With tired eyes and a stupor smile, he got out of bed and turned his lights on, reaching for a drink. He wouldn’t be sleeping anymore tonight.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 36. The Roots - undun

The Roots - undun

06 Dec
East Coast Hip Hip

Jimmy had officially become a high-roller since the ups and down of High School. Money was finally flowing in more steadily and he could even afford to move Erika and himself into a larger apartment, eating more than just tinned food and water. Erika was getting much better as well, or at least that’s what Jimmy kept telling himself. Her native tongue had almost begun to clumsily form English words, and her previous timid movements had become a little more seamless and natural. Sure, she was still very emotional, spending most nights crying, missing her family, confused by the large city which ate souls and ran on crime ... but Jimmy could see an intelligence dying to get out from behind her beautiful blue eyes. He spent every second with her that he could—which wasn’t much while he was busy selling crack to the desperate streets just to reach ends meet. Yes, it wasn’t ideal, he was aware of that. But when he first met Erika as a stranger at that troubled party, he knew that the fun and safety of a normal life had to be forgotten. And when he carried her to his home that day, he had made a promise to protect and take care of this girl no matter what it took. And in these parts, sometimes all it took was a life of crime.

Fortunately, crime does pay, and he found it almost too easy to get involved with the gang he now called his family. He started from the bottom, riding a rusted car through the bleakest parts of his ghetto, looking for potential customers and ensuring orders were met. But he was focused. He worked hard and struggled through, which eventually paid off with a promotion from the boss, who (despite his cutthroat policies) was quite an inspirational character. And just like that, no longer was Jimmy the runner-boy, forcing the teenagers to pay their debt and dealing with the influx of counterfeit money. Now he had a team working under him—he was a middle man of sorts—with added power and less risk of getting caught. This extra responsibility meant longer hours, sure, but also meant more time to relax and reflect on the inner turmoil that was his home life, allowing himself to make elaborate plans so that one day he and Erika would get out of this godforsaken town once and for all.

Because in her own quiet way, she loved him. Jimmy knew this. Neither of them quite understood why—they could hardly even communicate and had absolutely nothing in common—but it just felt right. Almost as if their meet was written in the stars, vibrating to some ancient prophecy decided many centuries ago.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 35. Foster The People - Torches

Foster The People - Torches

24 May
Indie Pop

And then in a sudden flashback, Jimmy had been thrown into a High School musical again. It was the hottest of summers and the kids skateboarded past him, giving high fives and sneaking loose cigarettes behind the teachers’ backs. He remembered this time clearly now. He was one of the popular kids, dating a cheerleading chick, wearing the latest fashion, and more than anything, well aware that today was Friday, baby. His friends surround him, laughing and singing vocal melodies of such a high quality that it felt like they were directing all their words solely to him. This filled Jimmy with so much joy that he couldn’t help himself, and got up onto the cafeteria table, dancing to the sound of his peers’ claps and cheers. The gay kids were making out in the corner but nobody gave them any trouble. The teachers were begging everyone to go back to class, but nobody could hear them. This was their movie.

Certainly, as with any script in this genre, there were some holes in the plot and the whole performance sagged a bit in the middle—as it was to be expected. But when the end of day bell rang, the unmatchable care-free feeling of youth returned to these kids with a vengeance. Yup, it’s back to all smiles and beautiful faces, jumping into their cars with the tops down, full of vibe and completely aware that they were having more fun than they could ever have on purpose. They were now liberated, and for the rest of the weekend it was about short skirts and beer in plastic cups, making-out and prematurely falling in love. Sure it was superficial, but it’s all Jimmy had back then, and what’s wrong with superficial anyhow? This was the happiest he had been, or would be, for years.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 34. The Dø - Both Ways Open Jaws

The Dø - Both Ways Open Jaws

14 Nov
Indie Pop

Lead by his courageous heart alone, the Prince had effortlessly chopped through his enemies’ faces with nothing more than a smile and his golden sword. The attack on this kingdom had been easy and painless, because King Jay had let his guard down, preoccupied with other matters. This ensured a swift take over for King West, the Prince’s father, who had done so with the aid of an evil pact written by the Devil himself. But these politics were of little interest to the Prince, as his ventured up staircase after staircase, knocking over piles of scrap metal which clattered and echoed in the hallways.

“What are you doing here, mister?” a tiny voice sounded behind him, and he swung around, surprised to find that the tip of his sword was pointing directly at the face of a little deer.
“What in the gods’ names are you?” The Prince responded to the question with a question.
“I’m a deer!” the deer stated the obvious. “I am here to help you. Please accept my services?”
The Prince laughed at this strange creature, as if today hadn’t been weird enough already. “You wouldn’t understand, deer. I have a destiny to fulfill.”
“What is it?” The eager deer pried, and the Prince laughed, deciding there would be no harm in humouring this cute animal.
“Whispers on the wind have it that there is curse placed on the Princess who lives here," the Prince explained. "A curse that can only be lifted by a kiss from the authentic chosen one.”
“This is true,” the deer responded with confidence. “But what has this got to do with you?”
“Are you a fool, deer?” The Prince asked frustratedly. “I am the chosen one! I received a message in the form of a dream, a few moons ago. A man told me that I must seek out the Princess and kiss her, and by the hands of fate, that is why I am here. Do you understand?”
The deer barked in joy and excitedly jumped in a circle. “The chosen one! Well, why didn’t you say so? I will guide you to her!”
“You know where she is?” the Prince doubted his luck. “Are you sure?”
“Yes! Follow me!” the deer sang, and then skipped through a side-door, almost falling down a winding set of stairs with the Prince following close behind.

This continued for a while, the deer running in seemingly random directions and the Prince losing his breath only a few feet behind. And just when he began to lose confidence in this absurd chase, the deer stopped in front of a small wooden door. “She’s in here!” the creature exclaimed and then jumped in a quick circle again. “Go on! Go kiss her, chosen one!”

Suspiciously, the Prince gently pushed on the door, which opened quite easily and revealed a quaint white room, filled with assorted crafts and arty pottery. And sure enough, lying on a large bed in the middle of this quarter was the Princess, still stiff from the freeze-spell and as pale as the snow which had begun to fall outside. Yet she was still strikingly beautiful. The Prince cleared his throat and slid his sword back into its sheath. This was the moment he had been waiting for. He walked towards her, passing a mirror and quickly fixing his hair and licking his chapped lips into a presentable state. When the Princess awoke, he wanted to look his best, and then they could leave this wretched place together on his horse, never having to face the battle of their ancestors ever again. They would treasure each other and live happily ever after.

He sat down next to her and stroked her cold hair, excited that his destiny was finally upon his fingertips. He had wasted enough time. He bent down and his flustered red lips met her blue-tinged mouth, their temperatures so vastly different that they almost stuck together, giving the Prince such a fright that he quickly pulled away.

Curiously, he watched the Princess’ face, waiting for any movement or a sign that the action had worked. Had he kissed her for long enough? Did he need to kiss her again? Was he even the chosen one?? These thoughts of doubt flooded into his mind for a few moments, and then he got his answer. The Princess’ eyelids began to flutter which filled his stomach with such comfort and adoration, an egotistical peace in the knowledge that his dreams were right. He was the chosen one.

Unfortunately this relief was short lived. Only seconds later, the Prince felt all of his breath sucked abruptly out of his mouth as if punched in the abdomen. He tried to scream but no sound came, and he looked at his hands which had become an autumn brown. “What is happening?” he thought in panic, as his skin began to crawl and turn into dust, slowly falling from his muscles and evaporating into thin air. He was disappearing. And by the time the Princess was fully awake and her eyes had opened, the Prince was completely gone.

Just then a magical beaver jumped onto the stone windowsill, and addressed the room. “I guess The Prince didn’t hear about that part of the curse, hey?” he giggled, causing the deer to burst into a fit of laughter.
The Princess never got the joke, and was raped and murdered later that day.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 33. Adele - 21

Adele - 21

24 Jan
Pop Soul

It'd been some time since Erika had left Jimmy (or Buck Jacobs, as he liked to be known as by this point) and something was wrong. At first she felt so sure and strong about her decision, but not long afterwards she fell ill, and was now consumed by a deep sickness. As anybody could guess, the emotional weight of the break-up was a huge factor in her deteriorating health, but it went even deeper than that. Her actual body was rejecting the absence of this man—and she was dying. Her eyes had turned yellow for some reason, and since this morning her intestines had begun spawning armies of tumours, some of which rose slowly up her throat until she was coughing blood. She was tearing apart inside.

In that moment, she knew that she had to escape everything, forever. And she did so in the only way she had always known how. She opened her mouth and began to scream. She screamed and screamed until her spirit leaked out of her oesophagus and then her body began to disappear. Her raspy voice far beyond her years needed no outside trickery, instead holding her deep soul together by its power alone. Her physical self consistently evaporated into nothing but sweet hooks of sound, and eventually her entire existence had morphed into one solid melody, packaged and ready for mass consumption.

And boy, did she get mass consumed. Little pieces of her soul were sold around the world—12 million pieces, in fact. Her face was instantly embedded into the minds of the entire world, and yet no one knew who she was, let alone how such a hurt melody could exist. But everyone loved it, and as a result, her sound topped every chart and broke all records, quickly becoming the most popular product on the planet. They all begged to meet her. They all yearned to hear her opinions on everything. They all cried for another melody. They all just wanted to see her.

What they didn’t know is that they would never see Erika again. She was gone forever, transformed from human into the very items they kept in their living-rooms. And it was only a matter of time before they all found out.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 32. Chelsea Wolfe - Apokalypsis

Chelsea Wolfe - Apokalypsis

23 Aug
Etheral Wave

After what feels like days, you awake in a graveyard, tied up by your hands and confused as to how you got there. A dark and eerie atmosphere of weirdness fills your lungs, and in that moment you know you are in trouble. Mist surrounds everything and your vision begins to play tricks on itself. Cloaked figures with glowing white eyes appear to surround you, and the longer you stare at them, the more they start to take shape. “Who are these creatures?” you wonder out loud to yourself, but it doesn't matter. Because despite their creepy Gothic exterior, you know none of this is just for show. You are not here just for the sake of it. These things mean serious business, and as it should, it scares you.

You concentrate even harder, and slowly start to notice that they are chanting, a sort of low mumbling in unison, but escalating louder and louder the more you focus on it. And then without warning, one of them appears close behind you, and a nauseating tingle crawls all over your body. She introduces herself as Satan, and then runs her witchy nails down the center of your neck. You quiver at the touch, and then squeal in sharp pain as her fingers pierce through your skin, plunging deep into your back. She begins to rub a chalk like substance between the vertebra of your spine and you howl like a wolf. You beg her to stop until your throat cracks, the pain roaring into your mind as you struggle, attempting to escape in vain and in complete incomprehension of how something so unsettling is happening to you. More people should definitely know about this kind of practice.

And as the chalk sinks in, the sins of the world pour into you like the lava from hell itself. The overwhelming strangeness you felt only seconds ago, now replaced with some form of respect for these beings. You start to enjoy the moment, finding an almost catchy trait within their chants and attire, suddenly feeling proud to be part of this truly rare and unforgettable experience. As soon as this realisation hits you, everything stops, leaving you surprised and gasping for air in the silence. The girl pauses for a second, and then pulls her hand out of your back, leaning forward as she does so, whispering.

“You’re one of us now. You’re one of us now. You’re one of us now...”

Top Albums Of 2011 - 31. Dumbo Gets Mad - Elephants at the Door

Dumbo Gets Mad - Elephants at the Door

02 Feb
Psychedelic Pop

They said the sailing ship was unsinkable, they did. For starters, its solid structure was built out of the most indestructible wood on record, created out of dragon trees (or so they said). But it was the hard-wired state-of-the-art equipment that people found the most impressive, ensuring that this was not only a fast and safe ride, but also a strong enough vessel to carry an elephant. However, all the bleeping noises, psychedelic lights and other fancy trickery wasn’t really what sold the thing to Raymond, Plumy and all of their children. No, what they loved above all else was that they had never experienced such a smooth ride on a boat before. In fact, this was the first time in all of their sailing adventures that the kids had slept so soundly in their soft beds, giving Raymond and Plumy time to do the things they enjoyed the most. Things like watching trippy 70’s porno flicks, listening to percussion-heavy jazz music, or even practicing the theremin. This was the good life for them, out in the nature of the ocean, and far away from where anyone could reach them.

That was until the night they got hit by a giant whale-like creature, which not only knocked a gaping hole in the wood but also created a massive whirlpool beneath them. They spun around and around in a cartoonesque manner until they all felt dizzy and sick like they had eaten too much sugar. The boat got torn to pieces from underneath their feet and they fell into the swirling water. The suction got bigger and bigger, louder and louder, softly burying their vocals and beginning to drown them in the most original of ways.

They nearly died, and would have too if Buck Jacobs hadn’t heard the commotion from a few miles away, already busy saving lives from similar accidents. And before they knew it; Raymond, Plumy and all their kids had been swooped up by Buck’s powerful arms and were soaring through the air, headed towards the safety of land. They were one of the lucky ones who escaped that night, as the Ocean War swallowed many other less-fortunate individuals who were just too far out of reach. This beautiful tragedy most definitely happened, and yet hardly anyone ever hears about it, hence why I felt the need to tell you. Thanks for listening.

Click Here For Part 3

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  1. The next parts!

  2. You mean someone is actually reading these?? :D :D
    Will do them as fast as possible, I promise!!