REVIEW: Fangz 2 Raven

In this article, I will review the digital musical disc online entity known as Fangz 2 Raven: An EP About My Immortal, by I Speak Tree/Tianna and the Cliffhangers. But before I can tell you about that, I have to tell you about this:

I T  K E E P S  H A P P E N I N G

Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff is a webular comic for the web that you read with your eyes. However, as you may have noticed, reading it with your eyes can be a dicey and painful proposition. To put it bluntly, Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff is bad.

007

Really, really bad.

006

Really, incredibly bad.

005

Like, seriously, it’s really, truly awful.

010

And I love it so goddamn much. It is beautiful in its ugliness, glorious in how slipshod it is, truly a masterpiece, it is one of the finest modern examples of dadaism ever created. Like, certain SBaHJ panels should be hung up in the goddamn museum, as well as The Goddamn Museum, named for Samantha J. Goddamn, of course. It reaches a level of awfulness where it not only becomes good again, it transcends the very concept of quality. More than just being simply bad, however, it often attempts to be the very worst it could possibly be, especially as an example of webcomics. The main characters are two stoner white dudes with a fascination for sport, video games, and hot moms. They have a literal token black friend who never speaks. Panels and assets are reused, over and over. Just look at this comic:

004

Doesn’t everything about this comic, from the ham-fisted attempt at political commentary to the absolutely dismal punchline seem like every terrible webcomic rolled into one and cranked up to 11? Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff doesn’t just try to be a bad comic. It aims for nothing less (or, I guess, more?) than being The Worst Comic. And we know this for sure, because who know who made it. Andrew Hussie, the man behind Homestuck, created SBaHJ specifically to make fun of terrible trends in webcomics. We know for certain that this is a work intended to be bad. We have no such luxuries with my prior love and obsession – My Immortal.

Widely regarded as the worst fanfiction ever created, My Immortal has been a subject of debate and controversy for over a decade. Like Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff, it’s bad, but it’s bad in all the ways that typify the worst examples of its medium, and then exponentially made even worse. It’s so bad one has to wonder if it’s possible for something so bad to be made on accident – or even made on purpose. It’s a work of art that transcends human understanding, that shakes our very ideas of what it means for human beings to create things.

And Tianna made an album about it!

It’s pretty good.

First known in our community as I Speak Tree, and later rebranded as Tianna and the Cliffhangers, Tianna is one of those artists in wizard rock I’d known of for awhile, but never actually gotten around to listening to. I’ll admit, since about 2012 I’ve been a lot more likely to relisten to old stuff than explore outside my comfort zone, and that’s only if I actually decide to listen to wizard rock. However, I am absolutely pissed at both myself and everyone who has ever known me that I was never informed that there existed an EP dedicated to the greatest fanfiction of all time. Silly as it may be, I have a very personal connection to My Immortal, and I’m still kind of stunned that I didn’t know about this album until a few days ago. I was already planning on doing a TatC review as part of The Hit List, and as soon as I saw Fangz 2 Raven, I knew I had to put it inside of me as vigorously and as soon as possible.

tumblr_npjzcvmltf1rtcfaqo1_400

“Flamaz Stop Flamin” is at times about the character of Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way, but as the name implies, it is truly about the author of this magnus opus, XXXbloodyrists666XXX, possibly also known as Tara Gilesbie. For the rest of this article, I shall refer to the author as Tara to save myself the headache. The dual protagonist nature of this song bleeds into some of the other tracks on this record, which is only fitting, as Tara’s presence constantly bleeds into the story, from the constant A/N interruptions to fact of Ebony herself being the urtext of a Mary Sue. In most other contexts and songs, the constant and haphazard shifting from viewpoint to viewpoint would be a problem, but here it’s only in keeping with the subject matter. As an introduction, “Flamaz Stop Flamin” works for both character and author. The basics of Enoby’s look and motivations are covered, while Tara continually interrupts to chastise the reader/listener and offer explanations for the unexplainable, all presented by Tianna’s able voice and acoustic guitar.

This brings us back to Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff (for the penultimate time, I swear). Like My ImmortalSBaHJ captured the imaginations of internet-goers and spawned many fanworks, one of which is shown above. From tattoos to cakes, fans have tried to bring their favorite brand of wonderful terrible into the real world, and music is of course not left out. Pretty much every single song created about SBaHJ tries to replicate the awfulness, and are all pretty much unlistenable. You would think that this makes sense, and is the proper course of action. However, when the creator decided to make a print collection, he didn’t do what many expected and use the worst paper possible, maybe bound with nails and gravy. No, he made this:

mspa-sbahj-hardcover

It’s hardbound and beautiful – because the comic itself was just the set-up. Presenting it as a coffee table book, something to be treasured for generations, that’s the joke, and it’s the best way to present something like this. I brought all this up to discuss the music on Fangz 2 Raven – it’s good! Not, like, fall-down weeping at the majesty amazing, but quite good. Tianna could have easily taken some of the best bits of My Immortal, shouted them at an on-board laptop mic, thrown some Audacity filters on there, and called it a day. Made a bad-sounding tribute to a bad-reading fanfic. But instead she, if not pulled out all the stops, at least caused a few car crashes due to missing signage. Still, while the music is done seriously enough, you can tell Tianna isn’t taking or herself or this project too seriously. Especially in the first song, there are times you can hear the laugh in her voice. I’m always a fan of songs where the singer’s voice has inflection and personality, and this is definitely one of those times. If I had to voice a complaint about this song, it’s the fact that Tianna misquotes one of the best lines in the fic, changing “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING YOU MOTHERFUKERS!” to “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING YOU UNDERAGE WIZARDS?” I get that she was trying to avoid cursing or whatever, but like, motherfukers isn’t even a real curse word. Whenever I read My Immortal out loud, I pronounce motherfukers the way it’s spelled – incorrectly.

“Gurl U So Kawaii” mirrors the first song in some respects – while starting out from Tara’s point of view, imploring the listener to take a quiz to find out if you’re goffik, it shifts to Ebony’s point of view, and firmly stays there. Unlike the hazy point-of-view miasma of the first song, this track flows a lot more like a chapter in My Immortal – unrelated and somewhat concerning A/N at the beginning, suddenly ceding to the actual story for the rest of the song. Tianna continues to have fun with the vocals, replacing the operatic backing “ooooohs” with overlapping and echoing on the chorus, as well as some much more subtle backing work. Instrumentally, we’re pared down from the guitar, tambourine, and xylophone-or-xylophone-esque-device to just an acoustic, but it works in terms of flow of the album, as well as giving Tianna’s voice more room to shine – especially since she’s hitting higher notes this time around.

“Ode To Joel Madden” is where the album really starts to pick up. The first two songs are completely acceptable, and there is a certain annoying hypnotic rhythm to the chorus of “Hurl U So Kawaii”, but the third track on the EP is the first to be truly catchy and relistenable. While nominally an ode to the inventor of football, it’s really about how much Ebony hates Hillary Duff (and also how Draco is hot but really just fuck Hillary Duff). This is expressed as a full-bodied acoustic ballad, complete with multiple layers and strands of backing tracks. It becomes truly operatic, and thus all the more hilarious when this amount of production is all serving lyrics like “You make me want to spill blood all over my corset (all over my corset)”. Case in point – treating this terrible stuff with reverence and pretending it’s worth all this production and care makes it all the funnier. The end of the song is truly memorable, and the catchiest moment of the album. Tianna, if you’re reading this, and you better be because you were complaining about me not writing any articles about you just a few days ago, I’d love for this song to be played at Leaky, because I really really want to sing along to “I hate her ugly blonde face (ugly blonde face)!” Point is, this song proves that when it comes this Hillary, Ebony is certainly Not With Her. Eh? Eh? Topical humour? Eh?

Alright, moving on. Sorry.

“Back in Tim (It Was a Mistak)” is about my favorite section in My Immortal, and is probably my favorite song on Fangz 2 RavenMy Immortal is kind of like Yu-Gi-Oh, in that not too much of consequence happens for the longest time (i.e. pretty much the entirety of Season 1/all of the on-again off-again relationship stuff with Drako), and then suddenly, when you least expect it mountains of Plot come rushing toward you with dire consequences (all the God Card end of the world stuff plunked halfway through Season 2/what I’m just about to talk about). After chapter upon chapter of badly spelled drama, suddenly Enoby is tasked with saving the entire wizarding world, and possibly also dooming all of causality. That’s right nenslurs, it’s time-travel… uh, time. Time for time-travel! Hooray! And honestly, time-travel plots are not that rare in Harry Potter fanfic, nor is even the idea to seduce Voldemort so he’ll know about love or whatever (though that seems to crop up more in the rated E fics on AO3 than the rated T fics, if you catch my drift). But up to this point, My Immortal is, plot-wise, honestly boring as fuck, and a sudden shift into high gear to go back in time and entrap the Dark Lord with those pesky feminine wiles makes it feel like the fic is suddenly careening out of control. It’s bizarre and stupid and glorious and I love it.

More than recounting the best part of the best fanfiction ever written, “Back in Tim (It Was a Mistak)” takes the opportunity to cash in on a lyrical trick teased but not yet fully explored, and takes advantage of the inconsistent spelling of basic words and incorporates that into the lyrics, and importantly, the rhyming scheme. Usually, “serum”, “time”, and “him” would not rhyme, but lop off a few letters here, add a couple there, and it all works. This focus on the inconsistent spelling pays off in other ways as well – I will never not grin at the line “Gonna waste my tim going back in time”. There have of course been shout outs and quotes of particular lines before, but this song really hones in on that aspect of My Immortal, and it all works beautifully. And it all comes to a head at the conclusion, with an ending so epic I actually cheered out loud the first time I heard it. For those poor fools who haven’t read the story, I’ll spare you the spoiler, but it’s literally my favorite twist in all of literary history. While some of my favorite lines were left out of this EP, I’m so, so glad that this one made it in.

“Gurl U So Kawaii” lyrically mirrored the first song, and “Volxemort and the Death Dealers” musically mirrors it, bringing back a more complex instrumentation and melody. The opening instrumental section of the song is really catchy and fun and always sets my feet to tappin’. The chorus has some pretty voicework, but the increased complexity of the melodies doesn’t all quite work here, and the verses are really the best part of this song. Still, it’s hard to dislike this track because so many of the individual pieces work so well, it just doesn’t quite come together as well as it could. Also, it’s following a song about time travel, so it definitely had some big shoes to fill. Like the previous song, however, the ending is pretty good and funny. So what’s this song about? Not much, really – and that’s okay, because the ending of My Immortal is also not much. It just… kind of… stops.

The worst thing I can say about Fangz 2 Raven: An EP About My Immortal is that it’s an EP – that is, it’s too short. While “Volxemort and the Death Dealers” deals with much of the ending of the fic, there’s still a little more room to be explored there at the end. It’s true that the bulk of the beginning of My Immortal is pretty boring plotwise, but there are some absolutely phenomenal lines being missed out on. I would have loved for there to be songs along the lines of “Dumblydor’s Avril Lavigne Hoodie”, “Loopin and Snap Sitting On A Broom (M-A-S-T-I-C-A-T-I-N-G)”, “Mediocre Dunces/Ludicrous Fools”, or “YOU DON’T HAVE ANY! (There Must Be Other Factors)”. The list goes on. Another vein of songwriting left untapped by this EP is the section of My Immortal where the fic actually gets hacked by another author (allegedly) and two completely different chapters are slapped there in the middle… and the fic just continues where it left off. Having a song in the middle of a hypothetical full album by a completely different wrocker with a completely different style would be a lot of fun.

The thing about this complaint is that it’s not really a complaint – if the worst thing you can say about something is that you want more, you know you’re dealing with something pretty damn good. This EP is a lot of fun, but there’s also a lot of potential for more. Add in the fact that Fangz 2 Raven was released nearly 5 years ago, and there’s great potential for a full album incorporating this EP and sliding some new tunes in as well. In the meantime, however, definitely do yourself a favor and check it out. And like, buy it. As stated in my previous review, I have long since dispensed with scores and grades with big pictures and all of that stuff. However, this album is different, and I feel really deserves it. Don’t expect to see the grading system back permanently, but this case was so special I had to make an exception. And that is why I’m proud to announce that I am giving Fangz 2 Raven: An EP About My Immortal a score of 12 Incorrect Prayers, out of a possible Sweet Bro Hug Bumps.

027

Wrock Snob out.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Laugh At My Lack of Updates!

October 2016
M T W T F S S
« Sep   Nov »
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

NUMBERS

  • 116,786 skulls fucked
%d bloggers like this: