The Holy Trinity: Alice in Borderland

I have, once again, decided to hurt my own feelings. In four days, I watched three of the most popular dramas on Netflix: Alice in Borderland, Sweet Home, and Squid Game. These shows have reignited my love for screenwriting, and each time I finish one of them, I find myself in awe of the creators and their skillful writing. I want to review the techniques that made these shows so memorable for me, starting with the one that has been out the longest: Alice in Borderland (2020). There won’t be any spoilers in this review, but if you want to go in blind, this is the place to stop.

To make something great, a writer needs a genuinely interesting premise, and the creator of the manga, Haro Aso, had just that. An obsessive, apathetic gamer and his two friends unexpectedly find themselves stuck in a barren version of Tokyo, and they are forced to compete in a series of deadly games in order to extend their visas, which are the only things sparing them from execution. It speaks directly to a generation of video-game enthusiasts who are constantly searching for ways to immerse themselves.

Yoshiki Watabe and Yasuko Kuramitsu created the actual Netflix series. They have a distinct way of making the audience care about the characters, despite their flaws and the limited amount of time we got to know them. While the main character, Arisu, wants an escape from his life, he does not choose to enter this post-apocalyptic city; neither does anyone else who is forced to join it. This makes us automatically sympathetic to most of the people we are introduced to, as they are all frightened and confused by the circumstances they find themselves in. Because this is a survival drama, we go in knowing that not all of the characters we have grown attached to will make it to the final episode. However, the character writing is so compelling that we allow ourselves to care anyway, which amplifies the intensity of the emotions we feel when they inevitably lose their lives to the game. It also fuels our hatred for the antagonist, the gamemaster, and the fact that we share this feeling of anger with the protagonist emphasizes our connection to him. We, the audience, have the same desire as he does: for him and his comrades to survive.

In my opinion, one of the most interesting literary devices used in the story’s creation is the use of foreshadowing with the playing cards. After a player has registered for a game, they are shown a digital version of the playing card they are competing for; the type of card indicates what the player will be tested on, and the number determines the difficulty level of the game. Spades are a challenge of physicality, clubs of teamwork, diamonds of wits, and hearts of betrayal and heartbreak. Depending on which character you have come to favor, seeing the cards will either excite relief or dread in you, as each person has their own weakness, whether it be a lack of physical strength or a hothead that prevents them from thinking clearly in stressful situations. It builds anticipation, leaving the audience on the edge of their seats. The heart cards in particular strike with dread because without a doubt, it will result in tragedy.

With a script full of compelling dialogue, situational irony, and enticing flashbacks, Alice in Borderland is the perfect binge watch. After I pressed play, I lost the will to tear myself from a screen, whether it be my phone or laptop, or television in the common area. I slammed through the series in a matter of hours, refusing to acknowledge the world around me. As the creators intended, I ended the show in a similar fashion to how Arisu started it: completely immersed and undoubtedly addicted to my preferred choice of entertainment.

Heart of the Woods: A Mostly Ghostly Romance

If you’ve talked to me in the past couple weeks, you know I’ve been obsessively talking about and playing one of the latest visual novel releases from Studio Élan, Heart of the Woods. So, what’s a better way of progressing my obsession than reviewing it on my monthly blog assignment?

Heart of the Woods Promotional Image
Heart of the Woods Promotional Image

Heart of the Woods is an LGBTQ+ romance visual novel that tells the story of four young girls meeting in unusual circumstances and fighting against an evil force trying to rip them apart. The main protagonist of this story, Maddie Raines, is the manager of a paranormal web-show hosted by her best friend, Tara Bryck. However, Maddie has bigger plans for her future than running a mildly successful web-show for years about something she doesn’t even believe in for the sake of her best friend.  So, she announces her departure from the show before her last big episode, and Maddie and Tara enter a largely unspoken grudge on the ride to a whole new country. The two instantly strike the player as opposites, and it makes you wonder how they became such close friends in the first place. Maddie is professional, logical, and cold, while Tara, on the other hand, is brash, positive, and energetic.

Maddie and Tara on the way to Eysenfeld
Tara (left) and Maddie (right) on their way to Eysenfeld

The pair arrive in Eysenfeld, a quaint, isolated village in Germany. An eager fan of the show had invited Maddie and Tara out to her small town to investigate paranormal happenings in the woods around Eysenfeld, calling it a “ghost-hunter’s paradise.” This fan, as we’ll soon come to learn, is Morgan Fischer. 

Morgan is, well, different. She’s not interested in antiques, yet runs an antique shop (that no one shops at), claims to own a talking cat, seems to show little to no emotion, and the entire town of Esyenfeld treats her coldly and as if she’s some sort of stain on the town’s reputation. However, she has her quirky charms o her. Tara is quick to dismiss this, but Maddie is wary of her. Maddie instantly regrets coming on the trip. It’s unbearably cold, far away from home, and they’re even staying with who she believes is a lunatic.

If only there was something, or rather someone, who could convince her to stay a little longer…

Abigail reaching out to Maddie.
Abigail reaching out to Maddie.

Fast forward a bit, and you’ll soon meet Abigail, the ghost of a young woman trapped in the heart of the woods, as you may say. Maddie encounters her in the forest of Esyenfeld one day while trying to clear her head, and the pair quickly become close friends. Abigail had not spoken to another person in over one hundred years, so Maddie is wonderful company to her. Even after all that time, she is still mostly herself—meek, kind, and playful. Maddie is unable to hear or touch Abigail, but Abigail can understand her. Maddie finds out her name by bringing a book of baby names and reading them out one by one until the ghost girl confirms: Abigail. Maddie continues to read to her at an abandoned church every day, and the pair grows closer each visit. The two agree to keep Abigail’s existence a secret from everyone.

Abigail pointing out her name in the book.
Abigail pointing out her name in the book.

So, now that you know the basics of the game and its characters, let’s move on to the review!

Overall, I enjoyed Heart of the Woods a lot! Abigail and Maddie’s romance in particular was really intriguing, and not once was I bored with the story or characters. The game description calls it a “take on a fairy tale,” which is absolutely well executed. The whole story is magical, and the forest makes you feel as if you’re stepping into another world. The descriptive writing is phenomenal, and all the characters are fleshed out and feel like real people. (Except for, in my opinion, the main antagonist, but I’ll get to that later.) The music was also EXCEPTIONAL! I listen to the OST all of the time now, and I cried while listening to the ending song by In Love with a Ghost. (A very fitting guest appearance.) It just felt as if the team truly did put their heart and soul into the project, and I would heavily recommend it to everyone. It’s safe to say I’m super excited for my Maddie x Abigail keychain to arrive. 🙂

The group notices a strange faint light in the sky.
The group notices a strange faint light in the sky.

The pacing of the story starts off pretty slow, but I never saw that as a bad thing. However, the pace very quickly speeds up towards the end, and it felt almost as if the game was trying to shove as much into the last chapter it could. The multiple endings were based on one decision towards the end, and it felt quite forced. Maybe it was just me, but I felt very overwhelmed, and I believe it might have flowed a bit better if it was drawn out just a few thousand words more. Another thing I noticed was the varying quality of the voice acting. Some voices felt much more fitting and experienced, while others felt almost mediocre. However, all the voices were fine, in my opinion, and didn’t take away from my playing experience at all.

Now, my major issue with the story was the main antagonist. I can’t reveal who it is at risk of spoiling the game, but you’ll probably be able to guess. The villain was very one-dimensional, and while the reasoning for their power-hungry and violent character is explained through their “moonsickness” and desire for immortality, the game never really gave them any redeeming qualities or humanity at all. It’s possible this was to parallel old fairy tales, but I’m just the type to enjoy complex antagonists. 

Thanks for tuning in, and I hope you check out my next blog, whatever that may be. I hope you had a good read and that I encouraged you to purchase this wonderful piece of art for yourself!

Maddie and Abigail in front of the forest lake.
Maddie and Abigail in front of the forest lake.

Lord, Oh Lorde Part Deux (2)

Here I am again with the next installment of analyzing the Solar Power album, by Lorde. I hope you’re finding your paths, and if it led you here, well you’re more than welcome to stay. Last week I mentioned how this is going to be my initial listen to the songs, and then I will put in my raw thoughts. Last post’s ending song was California, so we will continue from there. Again, feel free to listen along as you read my personal takes. 

4.  Stoned at the Nail Salon


Got a wishbone dryin’ on the windowsill in my kitchen
Just in case I wake up and realize I’ve chosen wrong
I love this life that I have, the vine hangin’ over the door
And the dog who comes when I call, but I wonder sometimes what I’m missin’
Well, my hot blood’s been burnin’ for so many summers now
It’s time to cool it down, wherever that leads
‘Cause all the beautiful girls, they will fade like the roses
And all the times they will change, it’ll all come around
I don’t know
Maybe I’m just stoned at the nail salon
Maybe I’m just stoned at the nail salon again
Got a memory of waitin’ in your bed wearin’ only my earrings
We’d go dancin’ all over the landmines under our town
But the sun has to rise, when it does, we’ll divide up the papers
Two former hell-raisers, I’m still crazy for you, babe
Well, my hot blood’s been burnin’ for so many summers now
It’s time to cool it down, wherever that leads
‘Cause all the music you loved at sixteen, you’ll grow out of
And all the times they will change, it’ll all come around
I don’t know
Maybe I’m just
Maybe I’m just stoned at the nail salon again
Oh, make it good
Oh, make it good
I’d ride and I’d ride on the carousel
‘Round and ’round forever if I could
But it’s time to cool it down
Whatever that means
Spend all the evenings you can with the people who raised you
‘Cause all the times they will change, it’ll all come around
I don’t know
Maybe I’m just stoned at the nail salon
Maybe I’m just stoned at the nail salon again

Raw Thoughts:
This one. As I was listening to it on Spotify getting ready to type, I was reading the little quotes from her about the song’s inspiration. Lorde was mentioning there about how this song came to her after the end of a tour. Usually during this time all these grand questions and worries of life begin to come at her. I think it comes across in the song very well.
There is still the uncertainty at certain parts when she’ll sing something profound and then follow it with, “I don’t know.” It seems reminiscent of when someone younger, or even a child, wants to express their emotions but isn’t quite sure how their feelings will be taken. This doesn’t lessen the value of the lines in anyway. If anything it adds to the depth of growing up. There are all these ideas of what “grown up” should be. Sometimes disregarding age, we’re just lost and/or confused. I do think this song is about that growing up moment when all the sudden realizations start hitting right in the feels.
This one’s deep.
5. Fallen Fruit
To the ones who came before us
All the golden ones who were lifted on a wing
We had no idea the dreams we had were far too big
Far too big
And we will walk together
Psychedelic garlands in our hair
Through the halls of splendor where the apple trees all grew
You’ll leave us dancing on the fallen fruit
The fallen fruit
The fallen fruit
The fallen fruit
From the Nissan, to the Phantom, to the plane
We’ll disappear in the cover of the rain
Took the great minds and the vapers
And a pocketful of seed
It’s time for us to leave
And we will walk together
Psychedelic garlands in our hair
But how can I love what I know I am gonna lose?
Don’t make me choose

Raw Thoughts:
I read the very little detail from Spotify from Lorde, and she said this song is about the environment and the parent generation. 
I love how it begins with how the- I’ll refer to the newest generation as “us” and “our” because I am part of it- anyways, the way it describes our generation’s dreams as too big is great imagery. It could mean our dreams are too big because they expand beyond Earth’s lifetime.
( Really though, all the song has great imagery and metaphors for the topic at hand. ) 
Along with how she is blaming the past generations by saying how they took advantage of the apple trees, and now we are left “dancing on the fallen fruit.” As in, the trees no longer bare fruit due to the climate problems. It is all very environmental political without being overly rude I think. She is stating the problems and expressing her ideas, but still politely. That may be my own bias talking because I’m not the one being put on the spot in this song, but it’s an amazing message told in amazing chords and melodies.
6. Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen it All)
Dancing with my girls, only having two drinks then leaving
It’s a funny thing, thought you’d never gain self control
Guess it’s been a while since you last said sorry
Crying in the dark at your best friends’ parties
You’ve had enough, gotta turn the lights up, go home

Couldn’t wait to turn fifteen
Then you blink and it’s been ten years
Growing up a little at a time then all at once
Everybody wants the best for you
But you gotta want it for yourself
My love

You can take ’em if you want ’em, these are just
Secrets from a girl, who’s seen it all
Secrets from a girl, who’s seen it
Secrets from a girl
Secrets from a girl, who’s seen it
Secrets from a girl (Secrets from a girl)
Secrets from a girl, who’s seen it all

‘Member all the hurt you would feel when you weren’t desired?
(Doing anything for more touch)
‘Member what you thought was grief before you got the call?
Baby girl, no one’s gonna feel the pain for you
You’re gonna love again, so just try staying open
And when the time comes, you’ll fall
Yeah, when the time comes, you’ll fall

Your dreams and inner visions, all your mystical ambitions
They won’t let you down
Do your best to trust all the rays of light
Everybody wants the best for you
But you gotta want it for yourself
My love

Couldn’t wait to turn fifteen, then you just go
Secrets from a girl, who’s seen it all
Secrets from a girl, who’s seen it
Secrets from a girl
Secrets from a girl, who’s seen it
Secrets from a girl (Secrets from a girl)
Secrets from a girl, who’s seen it all

Welcome to Sadness
The temperature is unbearable until you face it
Thank you for flying with Strange Airlines
I will be your tour guide today
Your emotional baggage can be picked up at Carousel Number 2
Please be careful so that it doesn’t fall onto someone you love
When we’ve reached your final destination, I will leave you to it
You’ll be fine
I’m just gonna show you in, and you can stay as long as you need to get familiar with the feeling
And then when you’re ready, I’ll be outside, and we can go look at the sunrise by euphoria mixed with existential vertigo?

Raw Thoughts: 
Wow. This one hit me a little differently. It is almost hard for me to analyze it because right now I’m so in my head emotionally about what secrets Lorde just let me in on. Although, I think that’s good writing! It’s thought provoking and kept me engaged from the lines.
The song does a great job of following the album’s theme of journey and getting older. There are so many shifts of mindsets throughout after she has learned “the secrets.” It’s a lot of meaningful messages too, in my opinion. All the messages are things that seem obvious, but while in a teenage mindset… just aren’t. Although I am not a girl, I still just felt a certain type of way when I heard “the secrets.” 
I think this song should be a part of the education system for teens. If this song was heard across the masses then so many heartbreaks might be prevented. We could elevate as a society. Just an idea ♥
7. The Man with the Axe
If I had to break it down
I’d say it’s the way you love to dance
Moving the furniture when my back is turned
A flick of the lights and the world falls away
And your office job, and your silver hair
But our shapes in the dark are the reason I’ve stayed for all these years
I thought I was a genius
But now I’m twenty two
And it’s starting to feel like all I know how to do is
Put on a suit and take it away
With my fistful of tunes that it’s painful to play
Fingernail worlds, like favorite seashells
They fill up my nights and then they float away
I’ve got hundreds of gowns, I’ve got paintings in frames
And a throat that fills with panic every festival day
Dutifully falling apart for the princess of Norway
But you with your doll’s lashes, your infinite T-shirts
I should’ve known when your favorite record
Was the same as my father’s, you’d take me down
I guess I’ll always be this way
Swallowed up by the words and halfway to space
But there by the fire, you offered your hand
And as I took it, I loved you, the boy with the plan
You felled me clean as a pine
The man with the axe
And the light in his eyes
We’ve been through so many hard times
I’m writing a love song
For you, baby

Raw Thoughts:
This is definitely the ballad of the album.  My primary thoughts were how this love song correlated with the rest of the album. I suppose this is showing her personal life, so we as an audience understand her own personal growth. I feel like with the other songs we only got glimpses, but in ways that also helped us. This song seems a lot more personalized and specific. 
It seems like a mood for love that is young, or at least it still has that giddy feeling of young love. 
A metaphor I thought was very clever, “But our shapes in the dark are the reason I’ve stayed for all these years.” She had a way of using the figurative language to tell so much without saying it. I love the illusiveness. It almost in ways keeps the full experience her’s. This song is so revealing yet not at all at the same time. That’s an amazing trait for a piece of writing to have. It’s hard to explain.
I really enjoyed this segment of analyzing Lorde’s magnificent new album, Solar Power. Diving in to the journey of listening to an album about a journey is very cool. I feel like as Lorde is revealing, yet more of her life, I’m still growing along with her. It’s so rad. 
Well that’s all for this post, but I want you all to keep learning helpful secrets and maybe…don’t eat all the fallen fruit 😉

Literature Review – Dirt

‘Dirt’ by the Collection (Official Music Video)

In this song, Dirt by The Collection, multiple biblical figures are named and their stories are hinted at. Well after I heard this song it inspired me to look deeper these people’s stories – and what I found is only the surface. 

Abraham was scared to die, forsook his wife within the lie
Think I know the reasons why; cause he was made of dirt.

These two lines are talking about Abram (whose name was changed to Abraham) when he and his wife doubted that God would fulfill his promise to make their descendants as numerous as the star because of their old age. They decided to make the promise come true themselves in own way (through Sarah’s servant) instead of waiting for God’s timing. Chapters 15 – 18 and 21 in Genesis. 

And Joseph's coat was full of pride, the blood of goats won't wash you white If I was his brother, I'd have lied, and left him in the dirt

These two lines are talking about when Joseph’s brothers (who were jealous that Joseph was spoiled) trapped him in a hole, sold him to slave traders, and convinced their dad that Joseph had been killed by wolves by tearing up Joseph’s special coat and smearing it in goat blood. 

And Moses never entered in to land he thought was promised him
He took his people 'round again, to pick manna from the dirt.

These two lines are hinting at the time that Moses used God’s power without God’s command to do so (he split a rock open and made water come from it) when giving a lesson to the Israelites. They had forgotten what God had saved them from and became ungrateful, so God told them they weren’t allowed to enter the promised land yet and that they had to roam the desert for 40 more years. 

And Solomon became so wise, with many wives and concubines
He fell for every single lie, yeah, his head was full of dirt.

These two lines are talking about how Solomon had many women in his life who did not follow God and how Solomon allowed them to influence him and his way of ruling. Solomon allowed sinful things to happen in his kingdom because of his wives’ influences.  

And David's where I got my name, abusing power, abusing fame,
He stole a girl, her husband slain, left six feet in the dirt.

These lines talk about when King David spied on a woman (while she was bathing) and then about how he used his status as king to send the woman’s husband to get killed in the frontlines of the war they were in. After the woman’s husband was dead, David took her to be his wife. 

And Peter fell to his own shame, denied his love, denied his name, He ran away, when the people came, to nail him to the dirt.

This part of the song is talking about when the Disciple Peter denied that he knew Jesus three times before a roster could crow twice. This was on the morning of Jesus being taken to be crucified, after Peter had been told he would do exactly what is described above – this is also after peter had promised that he wouldn’t deny that he knew Jesus.

And Samson only thought it fair, to let the witch come cut his hair And look through eyes no longer there as he crushed them in the dirt. 

Here the song is describing the moment that Samson told his philistine wife what the source of his incredible strength was. Once he was asleep, his wife cut his hair and the Philistines were able to capture him – the philistines also plucked out Samson’s eyes. Later when the all the philistines had gathered for a celebration (where they had Samson chained to the temple walls, on display for all to see that the philistines had won), Samson asked the severest to place his hands on the temple pillars and he asked God to give him the straight to kill the philistines. Then, with God’s strength, Samson destroyed the temple and killed all the philistines and himself in the rubble. 

And Paul would sit upon his throne and kill us with the biggest stones And wrestle with the thorn unknown, a thorn up from the dirt.

These lines are hinting to the apostle Paul, who watched the false prophet Stephen get stoned to death, right before Paul started traveling to spread God’s message. Paul taught mostly to the Romans and the other people who lived there, and he was basically the spiritual leader for that time, era, and place. 

But if the nations had a father, Joseph would redeem his brothers. Moses held the waters up, and David would become your love. Solomon would build the temple, Samson came to destroy evil, Peter soon became the rock and Paul would lead the roman flock

The next couple lines of lyrics can be stated as this: Abraham became the Father of Nations , Joseph forgave his brothers, Moses held up the waters, Solomon built the temple, David was still beloved, Peter became a strong foundation, Samson destroyed the Philistines, and Paul taught in front of Romans. 

And it's all that I can do to keep my eyes off You,
And it's all that You can do to keep me, keep me, keep me ne

All that I can see is that You can't see the dirt in me
All that I can see is that You can't see the dirt in me
All that I can see is that You can't see the dirt in me
And all that I can see is You.

And with these last repeating lines of the song, I will tell you this: even after all that these men did and after all that happened to them, God still kept his promises. God still delivered them. Doesn’t matter what people do, act, say, believe, God can use people for his glory. Even if they don’t know that he used them. God uses messed up and broken people to do his good works. Doesn’t matter what we think. God is sovereign. 

Hercules by Livingston Review

Today I will be reviewing the song ‘Hercules’ by Livingston.


Hercules, also known as Heracles or Herakles, is a hero of Greek and Roman Mythology.  He was a demi-god, born from Zeus and a human mother, Alcmene.  Zeus disguised himself as Alcmene’s lover, and slept with her, thus making Hercules.  Hercules was born with inhuman strength, thus forming the preface of the song.


While we’re here / Give me something that I’ll never forget / We would fly / Through the years / As if they never would end / Jumping over the fence / Before we knew where to stop.  Livingston sings of being in love, and how it can make time pass quickly and make you do rash things.  While we’re here / Tell me something that you’ll never regret / Your words went over my head / But they remind me of then / Jumping over the fence / Before we knew where to stop.  The song continues about love and sharing secrets.  


Now I’m alive, but I’m lonely / I’m not the child that you showed me to be / I’m terrified ’cause you know me / Better than I know myself.  Livingston is saying how love has shown him a lot of things about himself, and that he is afraid to lose it.  Love often brings out the best parts of us, so much so that you do not feel like yourself without your partner.  Ships in the night / When I found you / Now it’s city lights / Where I’m finding myself /Send me a sign, and I’ll come back / Give me a chance to bleed / I can’t be Hercules.  Comparison between when they first met and now.  Livingston is using Hercules as a symbol of pure strength, saying he is not Hercules is showing how he is simply a human and cannot be strong all the time; he needs time to heal from things.  Nowhere to hide / Or to turn to / I’m trying to find / What you see in myself / Send me a sign, and I’ll come back / Give me a chance to bleed / I can’t be Hercules.  He has no one to help him with this issue and he is trying to figure out what his love saw in him.  He wants her back and is willing to come back if she wants.  Now I’m gone / Sold my heart to still not know what I’m worth / New York sees through my facade / She knows that you loved me first / No, I could never pretend / As if I knew where to start.  He has trouble understanding his value, and has put on a type of fake personality that can be seen through.  


After a repeat of the chorus, we have a bridge off: What is the point of changing / If I only lose the one I love? / I counted my stars to make it / But I couldn’t become more than who I was.  In the myths of Hercules, he is struck by a curse of madness and kills his wife; I believe this is what it is referring to.  However it is also metaphorical for how he also lost his love.  After this the chorus repeats one more time for lasting effect.

My Love/Hate Relationship With John Mayer

You are an expert at sorry
And keeping lines blurry,
Never impressed by me acing your tests,
All the girls that you’ve run dry
Have tired, lifeless eyes
‘Cause you burned them out
But I took your matches before fire could catch me,
So don’t look now,
I’m shining like fireworks over your sad, empty town

Lyrical genius Taylor Swift poured these words from the very deepest crevices of her heart, and the world went crazy. Justifiably so, because this is one of the best bridges Blondie has ever released. Various twitter polls have confirmed that it’s a fan favorite, partially due to the whole song being an absolute masterpiece, but also due to the nature of her growing lyricism.

Blondie released “Dear John” as a loud and clear callout to John Mayer, down to the name. At just 19 years old, Taylor found herself between the grips of 32-year-old John. As history has proven, the law is not a gauge for morality. 19 is a pivotal time in any young person’s life, especially a young woman who had spent over 5 years in the spotlight.

The rest of the song goes on to explain in vague detail how he took advantage of her, and how she consistently felt like he was just using her. Looking at their age gap from the outside, it’s not hard to believe her and not uncommon for similar instances to have happened in the industry before. The song also explains how he acted like a completely different person all the time, implying that she had to walk on eggshells all the time for fear of upsetting him.

Against what I would hope to be his better judgement, John joined Tik Tok in March of 2021. Better late than never, right? Well… he was promptly met with a slew of Swifties ready to aim fire at his every move. As a proud Swiftie, I would like to say here and now: I took no part in either side of the altercation.

Until September of this year, my one (1) guilty pleasure was that I listened to and enjoyed “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” because hello?? It’s so good, and for what? Anyways, a good friend of mine recommended some songs to me, and because I’m desperate for new music, I reluctantly obliged. I was… regrettably and pleasantly surprised. To the surprise of absolutely no one, spoiler alert: none of these highlights are “Why You No Love Me.” Just putting that out there right now.

– Rosie –
At first, I had no idea what to think. It was either going to be very very good or very very bad, no in between. Until it was. “Rosie” is the in-between song, but its status makes sense for what it is. It’s written from the point of view of a man who ruined his previous relationship with alcoholism. He shows up to her doorstep, drunk, asking for another chance, and she doesn’t give it to him. However, the lyrics also apply to various situations, including the narrator’s knowledge that Rosie has moved on with another man. He’s okay with making bad decisions, even though he knows he’ll regret it in the morning. The versatility of this song is incredible, and I wasn’t expecting it to hit some of the mental spots that it did. It’s not an absolute 10/10, but it’s for sure a song that I naturally gravitate toward – maybe a 7.

– Half of My Heart –
Ironically, this song features Taylor Swift herself, and it’s lyrically fantastic. I will say, the foreshadowing to real-life events is a bit eerie, but because Blondie is featured, I guess I’ll let it slide. The story follows a man who has to swallow his pride in order to let go of the woman he loves, because he knows he can’t love her to the depths that she deserves. On par with his versatility pattern, it could very well be an allusion to relationships where one party still has lingering feelings for someone else, and they decide to cut ties with the current partner. Regardless, it’s a uniquely selfless song (considering the artist), and I’d give it a 9/10, including the added point for Blondie.

– Shouldn’t Matter But It Does –
This song came as a specific recommendation, and honestly I’m still kind of mad about it, because I did not need to wallow in this for as long as I did. It reminisces the end of a relationship and his hesitation to admit how he feels. Arguably, it’s one of his most complex lyric compositions, balancing ideas of toxic masculinity, blame, regret, and the white-knuckle grip you can have to something of the past. Most importantly, he focuses on his own introspection, asking himself why he’s still struggling and why he feels the way he does. He beats himself up about having normal human emotions, and it speaks volumes about the way men’s mental health is approached in society. Overall, 10/10, no exaggeration.

– Something Like Olivia –
Great, so this song is, in fact, the polar opposite of the selflessness observed in “Half of My Heart.” It speaks from the perspective of a man who spends his time searching for someone, particularly a woman similar to the one he speaks about in the song. She very clearly has a boyfriend, and he doesn’t act upon his desire for her, but his allowance for mental roaming is… questionable. However, the longing for someone who is similar to someone else is a quite universal experience, so I can’t really fault him for that. Despite being somewhat unethical and selfish, it’s a fantastic reflection of human flaws and our tendency to want things, but having the moral consciousness not to act on it. I’d give it a solid 7.5/10.

Part II available upon request…

Milk and Cookies Analysis

Trigger warning: mature themes and a bit of cursing.

In this blog I’m going to be analyzing ‘Milk and Cookies’  by Melanie Martinez.  

One, two, melatonin is coming for you.   Melanie references the popular kids rhyme ‘One, two, buckle my shoe’.  Melatonin is also the chemical that induces sleepiness.  In the previous song, “Tag You’re It,” Cry Baby is kidnapped by the Big Bad Wolf, in this song she is planning her escape.  Three, four, baby, won’t you lock the door?  Crybaby is being held captive and she is reflecting on this fact.  Five, six, I’m done with this. Seven, eight, it’s getting late, so close your eyes, sleep for days.  Cry Baby refuses to be held captive anymore and so she plans to kill the Big Bad Wolf so she can escape.  

Art Credit: NastyaMun on Deviantart

Hush, little baby, drink your spoiled milk.  This references the popular children’s lullaby ‘Hush, Little Baby’.  The wolf wants Cry Baby to make him cookies, the spoiled milk references the fact she plans to poison him.  

I’m f***ing crazy, need my prescription filled / Do you like my cookies? They’re made just for you / A little bit of sugar, but lots of poison, too.  Crybaby is going crazy from being held captive.  Here she explicitly tells us she is going to poison the wolf so that she can escape.

Ashes, ashes, time to go down / Ooh, honey do you want me now? / Can’t take it anymore, need to put you to bed / Sing you a lullaby where you die at the end.  This references the children’s rhyme “Ring Around the Rosy,” which has been theorized to be about the bubonic plague; however this has not been confirmed.  Cry Baby, like the plague, will take the wolf out.  Ironically Cry Baby is referred to as “The Best Girl” in ‘Tag Your It’ when it tells us the wolf is trying to pick out the best child to kidnap.  Ironically this girl will end up defeating him in the end.


Nine, ten, never want to see you again / Eleven, twelve, I pull off black so well. Continuing the rhyme scheme of ‘One, Two, Buckle My Shoe’, Cry Baby mentions she is wearing black, hinting at the wolf’s impending doom, and that she is not mourning it, but rather admiring her craftiness.  Sh** behind the curtain that I’m sick of sugarcoatin’ / Next time you’re alone, think twice when you grab the phone.  Cry Baby is sick of playing along with the wolf and decides to do whatever she has to do to escape.  In this case it is decided she must kill her captor to be able to escape; as this seems to be her best option.  She is unleashing the dark side of herself, just like her mother and father do.  This also may be a reference to her earlier song ‘Dollhouse’ about a dysfunctional family who appears picture perfect from the outside.

At this point the chorus, Ashes, ashes, time to go down / Ooh, honey do you want me now? / Can’t take it anymore, need to put you to bed / Sing you a lullaby where you die at the end, repeats itself twice to hammer in the outcome with repetition.  Cry Baby tricks the wolf with poisoned cookies, and now she can finally escape as he is no longer a threat to her.


Art credit: Jazmin Baez on We Heart It

Lord, Oh Lorde

Hello everyone! I am here to give my Literary analysis of Lorde’s new album, Solar Power. Feel free to listen to the tracks along with me as you read, or just vibe to your own thing while reading 🙂

Starting off, the New Zealand based singer, Lorde, has grown up with generation Z through her music. Ever since her debut album, Pure Heroine, in 2013, she captured the essence of the rambunctious teenage years. Years later, she released her sophomore album, Melodrama. This album reflected more of the mindsets as we encroached adulthood and growing up.

Her most recent album? Your guess is as good as mine. Lorde has always maintained a certain humanity in her music that focuses on universally felt emotions. I think this is why her music has become so popular, and she has stayed that way. 

Her tracks always have had a signature Lorde feeling, or recognizable tone, but each album has had its own vibe at the same time. With this new album we’ve had three releases before the album, but they all varied in their own ways. It’s hard to tell what might be in store for this review of Solar Power, but here we go.

For this review I will be putting my raw, in the moment, thoughts as I hear the track for the first time and read the lyrics. Then, I’ll give my overall thoughts. I haven’t looked at any Easter Eggs or anything so if I misunderstand some of the lines, my bad  😉

  1. The Path
Born in the year of OxyContin
Raised in the tall grass
Teen millionaire having nightmares from the camera flash
Now I’m alone on a windswept island
Caught in the complex divorce of the seasons
Won’t take the call if it’s the label or the radio
Arm in a cast at the museum gala
Fork in my purse to take home to my mother
Supermodels all dancing ’round a pharaoh’s tomb
Now, if you’re looking for a saviour
Well, that’s not me
You need someone to take your pain for you?
Well, that’s not me
‘Cause we are all broken and sad
Where are the dreams that we had?
Can’t find the dreams that we had
Ah, ah, ah-ah
Let’s hope the sun will show us the path, ah-ah, ah-ah
Let’s hope the sun will show us the path, ah-ah, ah-ah
I just hope the sun will show us the path
Saviour is not me
I just hope the sun will show us the path
Saviour is not me
I just hope the sun will show us the path, ah-ah, ah-ah
Path, ah-ah, ah, path
Raw Thoughts: 

Okay, I hear cicadas or snakes? All these lines seem abstract at first, but I feel like they still correlate to each other some way. It makes me wonder if she’s talking about herself and reflecting on her beginning rise to stardom.

Even if it’s another character, I like the message that even this star, is just living life. It reminds the audience through lines like, “Fork in my purse to take home to my mother,” that there is also humanity and relatability in the seemingly famous character. The narrator of the song seems to be categorizing themselves with the listener in a way that signals they both are on the same path toward self-exploration.

Lastly, the song’s suggestion that the sun is the guiding light and solution really drives the theme for the album’s name, Solar Power. I think it was a really smart choice to put this song first and could even suggest that the rest of this album is the path to finding the solutions to the problems presented in the song.  

Lorde on writing The Path: “I just felt like the absurd, beautiful nature of being alive was really starting to present itself to me.”

       2. Solar Power


I hate the winter, can’t stand the cold
I tend to cancel all the plans (so sorry, I can’t make it)
But when the heat comes, something takes a hold
Can I kick it? Yeah, I can
My cheeks in high color, overripe peaches
No shirt, no shoes, only my features
My boy behind me, he’s taking pictures
Lead the boys and girls onto the beaches
Come one, come all, I’ll tell you my secrets
I’m kinda like a prettier Jesus
Forget all of the tears that you’ve cried
It’s over (over, over, over)
It’s a new state of mind
Are you coming, my baby?
Acid green, aquamarine
The girls are dancing in the sand
And I throw my cellular device in the water
Can you reach me? No, you can’t (aha)
My cheeks in high color, overripe peaches
No shirt, no shoes, only my features
My boy behind me, he’s taking pictures (he’s taking pictures)
Lead the boys and girls onto the beaches
Come one, come all, I’ll tell you my secrets
I’m kinda like a prettier Jesus
Turn it on in a new kind of bright
It’s solar (solar, solar, solar)
Come on and let the bliss begin
Blink three times when you feel it kicking in
That solar-olar-olar power
Solar-olar-olar power
Solar-olar-olar power
Solar-olar-olar power
Solar-olar-olar power (oh)
Solar-olar-olar power

Raw Thoughts: 
This song, also the title track, really has this disconnecting vibe that I like. If we think of story progression from the past song, it could be signaling the effects of following the guiding sun to look for answers.

The connection to the narrator and the sun is definitely proving to be an obvious staple and connection that the songs are all following. 

There was a message on Spotify that said Lorde used organic instruments for the production of the song. I think that it really makes this song feel more genuine, and it makes the scene seem more obtainable of an experience as well.  It was just such a smart move in presenting the art.

I love that through the positivity and message, the song itself evokes warmth. The description of this beach scene, and everyone in this “new state of mind” helps get this message across even further. 

I wonder if this is the scene after everyone has found their dreams once again. Alternatively, I wonder if it is just the beginning of the journey that is being illustrated…

       3. California


Once upon a time in Hollywood when Carole called my name
I stood up, the room exploded
And I knew that’s it, I’ll never be the same
That’s when the door swung open
And a voice said, “We’re glad you came”
Now I’ve spent thousands on you darling
All the hotels and the jets
And I’d pay it all again
To have your golden body back in my bed
But I don’t miss the poison arrows
Aimed directly at my head
Goodbye to all the bottles, all the models
Bye to the clouds in the skies that all hold no rain-
(Don’t want that California love)
(Don’t want that California love)
(Don’t want that California love)
Once upon a time the Canyon Store was where my world began
All that mystery and beauty
Gleaned from desert flowers and gifted children
But it got hard to grow up with your cool hand around my neck
Now in my hotel, we’re sunbathing
My girlfriends, and my baby
But every time I smell tequila
The garden grows up in my mind again
Goodbye to all the bottles, all the models
Bye to the kids in the lines for the new Supreme-
(Don’t want that California love)
(Don’t want that California love)
(Don’t want that California love)
(Don’t want that California love)
(Don’t want that California love)
(Don’t want that California love)
It’s just a dream
It’s just a dream
It’s all just a dream
I wanna wake up, I wanna wake up

Raw Thoughts: 

Wow. This song has a strong message. There are many meanings behind the lines.

Beginning with -well the beginning-the story starts off with the narrator gaining this fame. I believe the Carol could be referencing when Lorde won her first two Grammys. This signals when she realized things would never be the same again in her life.

The “poison arrows” mentioned could be other artists or even the music industries in California that weren’t supportive of her? I think that would make sense with the fact that she is wanting to escape this “California love” that is superficial?

This is definitely written as a farewell to California though. I do appreciate how the negative emotions expressed on this track are through cold sensations. This is shown in the line, “But it got hard to grow up with your cool hand around my neck.” The cold seemed to be holding her back, and she needed to make her way back to the metaphorical warmth. 

I really enjoyed being able to share my initial, fresh thoughts on the album. This seems like it’ll be a fun adventure. Lorde always fascinates me

Thank you so much and if you go follow that guiding sun, make sure you don’t look at it for too long ♥


Too Poppin’ 2 Be Sad On Your Birthday: Breaking Down Amine’s Dr. Whoever

Coming in as the opening single of Amine’s EP/LP/Mixtape/Album (his words not mine), ONEPOINTFIVE, which was released on August 15, 2018, is a song that would touch base on mental health and wellness within the black community. Amine calls this song a “therapy session” between himself and the listener of the song. He releases his most vulnerable thoughts in the style of song that he dare not discuss with his homies. This song is none other than “Dr. Whoever” which features an opening monologue by Youtuber, model, and influencer, Rickey Thompson. 

The opening lines of Rickey’s monologue begins with him saying, “Sad on your [redacted] b-day?…Don’t you realize you popping?”

Rickey Thompson GIF by Coach - Find & Share on GIPHY


This opener definitely hit home for me and I bet a lot more people can find it relatable. While birthdays are meant to be a day of celebration for an additional year of life, I, just as many others, often feel a sense of dread that comes along with it. Rickey’s monologue basically tells the reader that they are too fly to be having a birthday pity party. And Rickey is most definitely correct. 

Amine released this song just a little over a month before my 15th birthday. With little else to do, I was quick to learn this song and it’s become a tradition that I listen to it the day of my birthday before doing anything else just for the opener. 

Although “Dr. Whoever” starts off on a light note, Amine jumps right in with his therapeutic flow of words that will be shared with the listener. The first few lines, “I sit here and tell you my problems…I’m s’posed to be open and honest” is Amine’s way of letting his more vulnerable side be shown to his fans and a way to let down his guard so the therapeutic nature of the song is on full display. Further into his first verse he explores his growing up. He speaks of his firsts, his lasts and even his current situations involving family and love. 

“Dr. Whoever’s” chorus follows the first verse further deepening the illusion of this song being a therapy session between he and his fans/ listeners.  Amine said in a  GENIUS interview, “‘I gotta make sure every intro I do, you and me connect at least.'” Amine delivered on his promise with this song as the introduction song for his album, ONEPOINTFIVE, as “These intros ain’t meant to be bangers; They meant for you and me so we’ll never end up as strangers.” acts as the opening line for his chorus. While these line are pretty straightforward, they further reveal the vulnerability he has as a black man in his music.

Verse 2 of “Dr. Whoever” transitions into a more up tempo beat as does Amine’s subject of rapping. He does this with many other songs of his. It allows the beat to match his words and for the listener to feel more connected to it. Amine speaks on his unexpected success and accomplishments to show just how ‘popping’ he is, which I’m sure made Rickey Thompson proud.  This verse serves as reasons not be so sad and down on your birthday and be thankful for growth and success.

Period Reaction GIF by MOODMAN - Find & Share on GIPHY


The chorus plays again after the second verse as the beat dies back down to a more mellow one as verse 3 plays. Verse 3 is where Amine closes out the song with the original message of the lack of mental health knowledge and access to therapy within the black community. He asks of the rest of the black community to open up and be vulnerable about their emotions, because often in the black community we are told to brush them aside. “To all my [redacted] with some melanin, let your feelings settle in.” Even though he preaches of this action of ‘feeling’ he realizes that he “should take that advice.”

The song closes out with yet another monologue from Rickey Thompson. This outro to “Dr. Whoever” states that the person should gather their thoughts and turn up for their birthday. “Dr. Whoever” serves as a way for Amine to connect more with his fans, but I also found much needed comfort in the relatability of his words. I definitely recommend that you should give this song a listen, especially if you would like more insight into the struggle of mental health within the black community, and if you want to discover a dope new artist.  Links will be left down below of the song and his GENIUS video breaking down the song himself.

Until Next Time,

A Girl Who Wants An Amine Hoodie For Her Birthday 🙂


The Chaos Chapter: Fight or Escape

Introduction to TXT

On August 17th, 2021, Tomorrow X Together released their first repackaged album, The Chaos Chapter: Fight or Escape…and it was an experience, let me tell you.

I started listening to TXT this summer around July 10th (according to a message I sent my friend–happy one month, besties <3), and to say I became an instant fan is an understatement. The connection I felt to their songs reignited my love for music in general, and I think that speaks volumes about their influence and skill as artists. If you’ve been in my dorm–which you haven’t because we don’t break Covid protocol in this house–you’ll see that I’m very…open about my support for them: a proud MOA. So, every other month, I’ll be posting a lyrical review of each of their albums, starting with their most recent (as of August 2021) and working my way back to their debut album, The Dream Chapter: Star.

But before I get into the actual analysis, I’ll give a bit of background on the group and a guide to the members/the roles they have in the band, though there are no fixed positions in terms of their talents–they’re all considered visuals, rappers, singers, and dancers.

They were formed under BigHit Entertainment in South Korea, and they debuted on March 4th, 2019. However, they were trainees at the company for many years before this, with the first member, Yeonjun, joining in 2014. Speaking of our 4th Generation It Boy….

Who’s Who?

First up is Choi Yeonjun, the oldest member of the group!

He recently was honored as July “Artist of the Month” by Studio Choom, and a few weeks ago, the showcase he prepared for the studio was released. He also film a video diary of his experience of preparing for AOTM, and the hard work he put in paid off in this powerful performance!


Then, there’s Choi Soobin, the second oldest; as the leader of the group, he is the only one with a set position. 

He’s currently an MC of the show Music Bank, where artists come on to be interviewed by Soobin and co-host Arin and to perform their most recent releases!


This is everyone’s favorite middle child, Choi Beomgyu.

There’s a mutual agreement between TXT and MOA that in addition to his many musical skills, Beomgyu is the funniest member in the group…until you admit that you like mint chocolate. That’s when things get real.


The second youngest member is Kang Taehyun.

He has the kind of emotional vocals that make you feel like you’re listening to him go through his third divorce. He has several covers out that are just *chef’s kiss* beautiful. This is his most recent one!


And finally, we have our diamond maknae, Huening Kai.

Hyuka is the s̶e̶l̶f̶-̶p̶r̶o̶c̶l̶a̶i̶m̶e̶d̶ “cutie of the group.” Thank you, Kamal, for giving yourself this title so I could type it out for my teacher to see. His version of “Youngblood” by 5 Seconds of Summer is one of my favorite covers of all time! 


With introductions out of the way, let’s get into the part that I actually assigned to do! T_T 

Note: I will be using the English translations of the songs when unpacking the writing, to make it easier for my audience to understand the points I make without having to translate the lyrics themselves. This means my quotes may not be perfect translations, but I’m using the most reliable sources I have access to at this time!

If you’re unsure about what a repackaged album is, it is essentially the re-release of a previous album with the inclusion of a few more songs and/or a new concept behind it. The first version of this album The Chaos Chapter: Freeze will be up for review in the next edition of this series. For now, I’m going to analyze the three new additions: “LO$ER=LOER”, “MOA Diary (Dubaddu Wari Wari)”, and “0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You) feat. Seori (Emocore Mix)”.

The Chaos Chapter: Fight or Escape


This song is about a narrator who considers himself a loser and his desire to be a sufficient lover to his partner. He feels that he has failed his partner by being a loser in the eyes of the world, and he wishes to let go of the pain that only his love provides sanctuary from. The chorus says, “Lover with a dollar sign / Is a loser.I interpret this line, and in turn the title, as a commentary on the commendation of love. The narrator fears this relationship he values so deeply will become materialistic, and that instead of staying together because they truly care about each other, the strength of their love will be determined by how much extrinsic value they place on each other.

At the suggestion of Bang PD, Choi Yeonjun wrote the rap verse of this song. In an interview, Yeonjun explained, “I gained inspiration for it through Netflix’s The End of the F****** World…I tried to express “LO$ER=LOER” in a more sorrowful way.” I feel like he captured the essence of TEOTFW perfectly: a love affair between two young people who’ve been hurt through the world’s rejection of their personalities. The lines “Wings spread and broken (Wings) / Flyin’ to eternity / But I can’t help falling / Even with you (Even with you) / Falling is beautiful” draw parallels to the scene where Alyssa and James, the protagonists, reunite after individually coming to the conclusion that they feel more safe and more like themselves when they’re together than they do when they’re apart. It has these conflicting themes of apathy and intense adoration, defeated by the world but victorious in each other.

The concept of choosing to brand yourself a love when the world has declared you a loser is inspired by Steven King’s hit film franchise It; in the first movie, a bully writes “LOSER” on the cast of a character’s broken arm, and his friends help him take back his power by writing a ‘v’ over the ‘s’, branding him a “LOVER.” Overall, it’s an excellent song with tragically beautiful and captivating lyrics. TXT has not a single skip in their discography, but within the first twenty seconds of listening to this song, I knew it would soon become one of my favorites. In addition to the stunning vocals and hypnotic raps, the song also has a great flow to it, which can be attributed to the diligent team of writers who contributed to the creation of this piece. If there’s one song that’ll get you into Tomorrow X Together, I think it’s this one.

LO$ER=L♡VER – song by TOMORROW X TOGETHER | Spotify 

“MOA Diary (Dubaddu Wari Wari)”

The eighth track in this album is dedicated to MOA (Moments of Alwaysness), which is the cherished collective name for their fans. The placement of this song is thought to be intentional, with the ‘8’ doubling as an infinity sign–solidifying TXT’s promise to be with MOA forever. Since late July, the community has been celebrating our August 22nd birthday with the hashtag “LOOKBACK_MOA”, where both fans and the artists have been sharing their favorite memories of their time together. The slogan makes an appearance in the chorus: “Look back / The time of you and I that feels like a dream / Forever MOA / Until we’re shining again…” This and lines such as “Even these ordinary days/  These days when we lost the summer / Record it in our diary tonight / It’ll be our consolation, our summer night…” encourage their fans to remain hopeful throughout the ongoing pandemic, which has separated the members and MOA from interacting in-person for well over a year. “We Lost the Summer” is also the name of a song from their latest EP,  min1sode: Blue Hour which further explores the ways in which the global crisis of Covid has affected the way performers interact with their audiences. In a recent interview with Jessi, Soobin specified that the song is written as though MOA is reading the group’s diary, hence the alternate title.

MOA Diary (Dubaddu Wari Wari) – song by TOMORROW X TOGETHER | Spotify

“0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You) feat. Seori (Emocore Mix)”

Ah, the song that is sending TikTok MOAs back into their emo phase–please remove all of the “How to Cut Your Bangs at Home” videos from YouTube before we all start to look like Coconut Head from Ned’s Declassified with a bad dye job. Like the title implies, this is a rock remix reminiscent of the alternative pop music that peaked in popularity between 2015-2017;  “0X1=LOVESONG” was originally song originally released on The Chaos Chapter: Freeze back in May of this year. In an article by TeenVogue, Yeonjun comments on how the stylization has brought a new meaning to the remixed version: “…this song captures the passion to fight for the one they love, or to run away with them. So I think the difference between the two songs is, someone who was frozen, and someone who is now actively pursuing and fighting for their love.” This commentary prompts listeners to completely reimagine the song they have been looping for the past two months. Lines such as “In this world of ice / You’re the only shining glow / Now I can’t stop thinking ‘bout you / When I’m sinking alone” no longer express the narrator’s desperation; instead, it is fuel for him to take an active role in his pursuit of forever with his partner. The narrator is more resolute when discussing the stake he has in this relationship with phrases like “Till the end of the world (I love you) / All or nothing, I want all of you / I know I love you (you).” The selection of intense words and phrases reinforces that this is the narrator’s ultimate connection, and therefore leaves a heavier impact on the listener.

0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You) feat. Seori (Emocore Mix)


These are amazing, impactful additions to the already-impressive setlist of the original album. 100% worth waking up three hours early to catch the premiere of the “LO$ER=LOER” music video–I have no regrets. This is a link to the entire album on Spotify, so you can listen for yourself! 

The Chaos Chapter: FIGHT OR ESCAPE – Album by TOMORROW X TOGETHER | Spotify