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*2

::Closure - Fiction vs. Reality::

Friendships lost.

A legacy tainted forever.

Music and art forgotten and left to be swept under the rug or destroyed.

Denial.

Confusion.

Betrayal.

These are just some of the many thoughts that I’m sure all supporters/ex-supporters and friends of the alt metal Welsh band, Lostprophets, have been thinking about since lead singer, Ian Watkins plead guilty (approximately two weeks ago).

It’s been a sad, shocking, and turbulent two weeks on an emotional roller coaster ride. 

My warm thoughts and prayers go out to the band, their families and friends, Ian’s family, and anyone who was directly affected as well as those in similar situations.

It’s a very heart-breaking situation on many levels - not just for the families, but from a longtime supporter perspective - so many questions that may always remain unanswered keep popping up and cannot be pushed back further into the recesses of one’s brain.  

While I never considered the band or Watkins, himself, a ‘hero’ or that great inspiration, I did greatly respect and appreciate the band for their artistic integrity, intelligence, and passion.  I was very impressed on a personal note with Watkins’ and other band member’s writing style (yes, I was one of the few who eagerly would read the band’s MySpace messages and chuckle upon reading their website notes back many moons ago) and was heavily inspired by their boldness to even the smallest monikers, including all of the quirky and witty comments made in the band’s interviews. 

Their music was catchy, fun, energetic, intelligent, inspirational and along with their videos, was, overall, fairly clean content.  I also liked Watkin’s artwork for the albums and the phoenix had such a great meaning and was a very cool idea. I also respected the fact that Watkins did the artwork himself for the albums and the band’s merchandise.  I also thought his Made In Hell (MiH) wearable art (not to be confused with a clothing line) was a very unique and creative idea.  Hate Couture, indeed.

I also greatly appreciated and respected the band a lot as, at least, two of the band members (Ian and Jamie) , that I know of, had pursued higher education  prior to starting the band.  This really resonated with me on a personal note and it validated for me that you can pursue higher education (which is something I greatly value), and still follow your dreams, regardless if they deal with your educational or career pursuits.

Now…in the midst of this recent news and as more information is released on an ongoing basis, while I cannot muster to play a Lostprophets’ song, lyrics come and go inside of my head.  I beckon to question if some lyrics had greater hidden meanings - tracks like Can’t Get Enough and A Better Nothing, which are unarguably, in my opinion, perhaps two of the most darkest of Lostprophets’ songs re: lyrical content…were they not what  I thought they may be about? Do they discuss the very hidden agenda Watkins apparently had over the past few years?  Or, were they secretly cries for help from Watkins and no one suspected a thing?

The world may never know.

While many feel they’ve lost their ‘hero,’ I will say, for the record, for anyone reading this tonight, tomorrow, or whenever…let this be a lesson.

At the end of the day, a musical artist, and/or any artist or someone you look up or greatly admire  are still human.  Being human, we are all prone to make mistakes and/or can be inclined to make the wrong choices in life.

It can happen to any of us, you me, Bobby McGee, that kid next door, a teacher, a friend, a relative, an enemy…an admired musical artist, perhaps?

If you always act like a god, it is only in due time that the devil catches up with you and takes your hand to lead you in the opposite direction you are going.

Then, it is only in due time, justice will be served and you have to pay for the  consequences of your own actions.

Always remember, that as humans, we are all accountable for our own actions.  Not someone else, a Higher Power, or your cousin twice removed - you.  Just you.  People can always be succumbed to peer pressure, or they, perhaps, are just too arrogant and think that nothing can happen, or, maybe, just maybe, they may think that what they’re doing is not wrong, but actually, right. 

Regardless of what you do in life, especially in the art and/or music world, always remember to ensure that whatever path you choose and choices you make, go along with your beliefs and morals.  If you have to question your decisions or cannot ascertain whether the choice you are making is morally right or wrong, then that is when you need to seek guidance and help.  Talk to a parent, a trusted friend, mentor, teacher, counselor, religious leader, etc…

And, if you cannot do any of that for comfort’s sake or whatever reason you may have, then perhaps it is best to not make that decision in the first place and choose an alterative choice.

However, if you do feel the choice you are not making is not wrong, it’d be encouraged to still discuss it with someone - maybe they have another perspective for you to look at, and/or they can offer you some other advice, and/or if it is a morally wrong choice, that person you confide in can reach out and tell you that.

All of this aside,  I’d like to remember Lostprophets and their music and art in a positive light, despite the betrayal, hurt, anguish, denial, and confusion many, including me, are thinking.

I’d like to always remember Ian Watkins as the man and musical artist I thought he was, not the person he so horrifically became/was behind closed doors.

Best and may you always be guided down the right and moral path in life.

M:)

"If the first inward thought is not warded off, it will generate a desire, then the desire will generate a wish, and the wish will generate an intention, and the intention will generate the action, and the action will result in ruin and Divine wrath. So evil must be cut off at its root, which is when it is simply a thought that crosses the mind, from which all the other things follow on."

Imam Al-Ghazali, Ihya Ulum al-Din (Revival of the Religious Sciences), 6/17

*2

::End of An Era - “To Every Broken Heart In Here…”::

Hey World::

I know I’m about 20 days too late on this…but better later than never, right?

As I’m sure you all know by now, Lostprophets, (or Wales’ finest as I used to call them many moons ago), announced on their Facebook page on October 1, 2013, that they decided to part ways and no longer be a band together, anymore.

Let’s just take a moment to let that sink in. 

I’ve been a large supporter of the group since around 2004.  I had known of them about a year ago before, and maybe even had seen snippets of Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja on MTV once, but I honestly cannot recall 100%.  I remember being into Chevelle (band, not car :), bee tea dubs, Wonder What’s Next is a good album), and seeing a picture of Lostprophets from Ozzfest.  My initial reaction, as my reaction had been to many bands in that time period, was, “who is this nu-metal crap band? They’re just trying to be like Incubus.”  I don’t even know still what ‘nu-metal,’ is…I just knew the term as that was this new genre back in the hey day of the early 2000s.

(Funny thing was, I also did not like Icubus originally either, but then I heard Pardon Me randomly on the radio and it just grew on me, but that’s another story for another day…)

Ha, that’s what has happened with a lot of music I listen to — I either love the song immediately or hate it.  Then, as fate always has it, I decide to listen to it again, and maybe after 1-5 spins (approximately) of repeat listening, I really start to enjoy it. (The same thing has happened with Black Veil Brides, Escape the Fate (specifically There’s No Sympathy For the Dead and anything pre-jail time for Ronnie Radke.)

Anyway, flash forward to 2004, and I kept seeing the end of this music video on Fuse.TV (remember when they used to play all rock and metal and had that show IMX? Good times…that music stock exchange was a genius concept - I never understood it, but it seemed genius.)  I remember watching a video and thinking "okay, this chorus has really trite lyrics… ‘still tomorrow/forget the sorrow’…what?"  …and, of course, after deciding one day to not flip channels, as I was curious to know who this band actually was, it turned out to be Lostprophets.

You can imagine my surprise as I thought to myself, “Wait, this is not nu-metal crap, at all! This is rock…I think I like this song!”

After learning more about that song (Last Train Home - a song that still means a lot to me, to this day), and researching a bit more about Lostprophets, I realized this band was not just your typical rock band… They were from a small mining town (Pontypridd, Wales), had intelligent responses in their interviews, had a sense of humor, and, what honestly impressed me the most, was that, along with getting higher education, I eventually found out, a few of them, (at least at that time), were something called ‘straight-edge.’ 

I remember reading an article about Last Train Home - I always felt I connected with the band in some way from that moment on.  Perhaps it was how the interviewer had typed something along the lines of that song sounding like the lead singer had his heart ripped out and had it thrown in the trash can, (which, coincidentally enough, had also been my same reaction when I first heard it) - or perhaps it was their sense of humor and, as I said, intelligence, integrity, and honesty as artists - but the band, as a whole, really meant and still does mean something special to me.  They were just ‘cool’, I guess, my far away ‘friends,’ even though I never have met them. 

They were also one of the first bands I got into that, well, screamed a bit in their work.  It was a bit surprising for me - as they sounded a bit different than some of the music I had been listening to (Blink 182, Incubus, Linkin Park, and, of course, long-time favorites, Matthew Good (formerly of Matthew Good Band) and Butch Walker (formerly of Marvelous 3).  Maybe, upon looking back, they were not all that different, but to me, at that time, they were. 

…What really sealed the deal, though, was, I remember, once doing my intermediate statistics (STAT 350) homework on the computer before I went to class, and I managed to find a copy of To Hell We Ride to listen to. 

I remember hearing it as I did my homework.

The song played.

And…believe it, or not, immediately after it ended, I hit ‘play,’ again. 

At that time, and perhaps, even now, it is very rare for me to like something immediately - first time, no questions asked and/or arguments in my head (e.g. ‘really, Maria, you like that?!).

So…that are  some of my first memories of

I’ve followed their work ever since - when they were on MySpace (hey, Tom), I eventually joined.  I also was on the band’s web message boards for a while.  I loved their bold way of writing to their fans, in particular. Later on, I was really impressed with the design work on their albums (that Pheonix still is pretty awesome), their clever song titles, and their honest and down-to-earth interviews minus the arrogance, or the ‘we want to be the best band ever,’ kind of vibe. 

I think at the end of the day, given the current circumstances, a choice had to be made…while situations like these can go one out of three ways, (e.g. either the band breaks up, they wait, and/or the band gets a new lead singer), I think as long as the band is collectively satisfied and in agreement with the choice they made as a band, then, at this time, that’s the right choice.  Sometimes you have to do, what you have to do.

Life is full of obstacles, challenges, moments of despair, loss, and confusion - the important thing is to be able to rise above all of these things and do what is best for you.

In this case, the band had to do what is best for them -  individually, collectively, and perhaps, most importantly, artistically and for the sake of their own artistic integrity. 

Despite all the hulabaloo, and chit chatter, the most important thing, here is, if the band can continue going on not just as artists, but people in whatever career paths they choose to go in and be there for their families, (as anyone else would do) - that’s the most important thing.

I wish Lee Gaze, Stu Richardson, Mike Lewis, Jamie Oliver, and Luke ‘Jocko’ Johnson and their families the best with their future endeavors.  Thanks for being my far away friends in the rock world and also inspiring me creatively - along with Matthew Good and Butch Walker, this band really taught me that concept of artistic integrity and helped me realize that musical artists are just that - they are artists creating music - however, they are people, too.  They are not ‘celebrities,’ or monkeys to sing and clap on command on stage - they have feelings, dreams, aspirations, morals, values, beliefs, and ideas just like the rest of us.

Now, if only the rest of the world realized this about any musical artist, actor, actress, and/or any ‘entertainer,’ think of how much nicer the rest of the world would be.

Really — think about it.

As for me, I have to go now - otherwise, I’m going to miss the last train home. 

xXx (I also learned this ‘x’ thing from Lostprophets -  I think it means ‘straight-edge,’ but I just do it, because maybe I think it cool - it’s the Maria way of showing just a little bit of affection - or, maybe, it means x marks the spot…? Hmmm…I’m still not sure :)

Thank you and until next time…(or as Lostprophets sang, “even through your doubts, we will still be here…”),

M:)

PS - To read the band’s departing statement, please go to www.facebook.com/lostprophets

*2

Hello World::
I honestly can’t get enough of Lostprophets’ Can’t Get Enough off of their 2012 album, Weapons.  Incredible.  

Upon hearing it quite a few times, the opening, while it sounds a bit haunting (and awesome, might I add), reminds me of tracks from the band’s second album, Start Something.  That album heavily used orchestra to make the music ‘sound harder,’ as well as had instrumental intros which featured electronic mixing.  (Refer to Make A Move and Sway, two key examples off of Start Something.)

Swiftly moving on…let’s talk about Can’t Get Enough.

This song describes a lot of emotions.  I feel the lead singer, Ian Watkins, harbors a bit of a grudge. It’s a song about himself to himself, but also, I feel the lyrics are words of caution to his…how do you say…ah..yes, “haters.”  He seems to have a great amount of disdain (“hate,” if you will) towards the ones who have either wronged, mistreated, and, even perhaps, misunderstood him.  Despite these individuals’ possible jealousy and strong dislike of the path he has taken (which the exact road is unknown to the listener), Watkins alludes he will still stay on his path and not back down.  Further, though, this “hate” (perhaps disguised as anger) he just can’t get enough (pun intended) of is something he keeps inside.  Perhaps these feelings are the “fuel to his fire,” as it helps him continue to stay on his path…but I also think there could be a different meaning.

He may not necessarily want to have this grudge - Watkins repeatedly states he still “needs it,”….this anger is something he cannot let go of.

Questions still remain though…why does he still feel he needs to continue feeling this way?  Is it because he is still angry at the way things worked out in his past and how he was treated?  Or, perhaps, let’s look at it from another perspective.

Maybe he is upset at himself.  Maybe he realized he should not have done what he had done in the past…maybe he had let go or shrugged off emotions and incidents one too many times…and, now, this is payback to himself to continue feeling angry….and he needs to continue feeling this way as it helps him  hold his own in order to not let anyone walk all over him again.  Maybe, as well, he still needs to feel this way, because, well, if he didn’t…he would not be able to be who he is and would fall apart.

Hmmm…interesting.  I feel like this song is a great song for anyone going through a difficult time or has felt wronged and/or mistreated by anyone they care about and/or who cares about them.  If you think about it, the content of the song also greatly deals with communications and possible psychological concepts.  Perhaps, this ‘hate’ is the lead singer’s coping and/or defense mechanism…it’s a wall from protection from those who have done him wrong.

I, of course, am just interpreting the song the way I hear it, others, and of course, Watkins, himself, has differing views.  This song may not even be in the first person but it could just be a general song that is purely fictional. 

Despite what the exact contents of the song is about, like with primarily all the music I post, it has a lot of powerful concepts in it, as noted above.  I would recommend this track to anyone who’s a fan of Lostprophets, who likes UK (specifically Welsh) rock, intellectual rock (rock music that makes you think!:), and/or is a fan of songs with heavy emotions.  These emotions in this song seem to be a mix of positive and negative, but regardless, I really enjoy it. I think a lot of people who have felt they should have acted differently ('for the times, I never walked away'), in a particular situation or situations could relate.  Also, this song can be helpful to those who also hold this kind of anger inside of them.

While, I don’t promote grudges of any kind (eventually, I think, you need to let it go and come to that realization that no one’s perfect. However, it’s easier said than done!), this song is fun, catchy, and full of meaning.  

Further, it is very reminiscent of the band’s previous work as seen on Start Something but lyrically, it reminds me of the lyrics from the band’s 2010 album, The Betrayed.  That album was actually primarily all autobiographical to Ian Watkins, lyrically, and I feel this song is a continuation of his ‘dark’ personality which was seen very heavily on that album.  (However, as I mentioned above, these are just my thoughts..as Radiohead said, I Might Be Wrong)!

Lastly, I’d also recommend this song to folks who may not like traditional rock music but music with a slight twist (note the introduction and the orchestra in some parts of the song, as well as the ‘heaviness’ of it…it’s not a light pop song.) 

Overall, it’s a powerful track and I’d suggest you all to listen.  Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments. 

Best, X

M:)

*1

Hello world, been a while!

Many updates — so, be prepared (not to be confused with Scar from The Lion King) for a few posts all at once, here!

New Lostprophets video for Jesus Walks is available for viewing now.

"Jesus Walks, but baby, he’ll just walk away…"

(Not to be confused with Kayne…)

:)

I think the video is simple enough - it appears to be about a relationship and trying to work things out? If there is some greater message, then, well, that’s beyond me…any thoughts on this are welcome!

Please note though, the video actually cuts off the second verse (and an excellent verse, at that…which may even change the whole meaning of the song…Ooooo…see, what I did there? How’s that for some mystery!)


Overall, it’s a great song - a very catchy tune with an interesting message…possibly about some type of relationship (be it romantic, or possibly about a friend/mentor talking to someone who’s learning about many of life’s lessons all at once.) The beginning honestly reminds me of Katy Perry’s 'Teenage Dream,' (the first five seconds, literally) but that could be just me.

If you have read my previous posts, you should know by now I’m a big supporter of this band due to their unwavering passion and hard work ethic, amongst many other things.  Jesus Walks is a very strong highlight from their 2012 album, Weapons, which was released in Spring earlier this year (and in June in the United States).

This song is recommended to anyone who likes Lostprophets’ music or UK Rock, in general.  The track may also be geared towards those who likes that poppy type of alternative rock (no guttoral screaming in this track, emo fans!).  It is also for anyone who just wants something new to listen to (I think it’s very different than what’s playing in mainstream today).  This song can also be good to listen to for those who are going through any relationship or friend problems. Not saying the song may provide help (but, hey, sometimes music is the key to the soul), but it may provide a comfortable solace knowing that someone else in the world wrote what you may or may not be thinking about.

Enjoy!

Best,

M:)

PS - While this song may or may not have some religious connotation, then that is beyond me. Any intellectual insight on this song is welcomed (as with any of my posts).  Please note, I’m talking about the work as a whole (as a work of art), as opposed to anything controversial.  If this song is seen that way, then that is your opinion.  However, I will say this (as the voice of reason, once again):

At the end of the day, artists create the type of work they want to create.  Only they know the real meanings, definitions, and interpretations of their work as they are the producers of their artistic products. As with anyone in real life (or internet life, quoi-ever), always try to think about things first before swiftly judging an artist and what they have created - there may be more to the story than what we see or hear.  At the end of the day, only the author(s) know.

Thank you.

*22
Styles change…people change.  
Picture change. Re-arrange.
You don’t wear the same clothes you did ten years ago, do you? 
That style was the ‘in-thing’ back then…I personally miss the short hair instead of the ‘my hair is in my face, let me help find you a book, though’ kind of look…but, those jackets are pretty rad and I do love to read. :)  Full support of the band; lack of understanding of hair styles, tight jeans, and just the entire fashion trend going on these days…but that’s another story.  
Kerrang mag, you are a funny one.  Is there a TV along with that sofa? 
Just wondering… :)
lostprophetsdaily:

THEN: Guffaw. Is that a sun visor? Baggy jeans, skate shoes and tight tees were the order of the day for the fresh-faces of Pontypridd sextet Lostprophets, back when they were still calling themselves Lozt Prophetz. Smiles were not allowed, but sofas in the middle of the street were obviously coo. And the look wouldn’t be complete without a cheap beaded chain around the neck, now, would it? Just what were they thinking? NOW: Dark pastels, woolen scarves, overcoats and waistcoats? The post-modern librarian look is so hot right now, at least as far as Lostprophets are concerned. A little make-up here and there to compliment the teased and tousled barnets helps too. Gotta keep the inexorable march of time at bay somehow, right guys?

Styles change…people change.  

Picture change. Re-arrange.

You don’t wear the same clothes you did ten years ago, do you? 

That style was the ‘in-thing’ back then…I personally miss the short hair instead of the ‘my hair is in my face, let me help find you a book, though’ kind of look…but, those jackets are pretty rad and I do love to read. :)  Full support of the band; lack of understanding of hair styles, tight jeans, and just the entire fashion trend going on these days…but that’s another story.  

Kerrang mag, you are a funny one.  Is there a TV along with that sofa? 

Just wondering… :)

lostprophetsdaily:

THEN: Guffaw. Is that a sun visor? Baggy jeans, skate shoes and tight tees were the order of the day for the fresh-faces of Pontypridd sextet Lostprophets, back when they were still calling themselves Lozt Prophetz. Smiles were not allowed, but sofas in the middle of the street were obviously coo. And the look wouldn’t be complete without a cheap beaded chain around the neck, now, would it? Just what were they thinking?

NOW: Dark pastels, woolen scarves, overcoats and waistcoats? The post-modern librarian look is so hot right now, at least as far as Lostprophets are concerned. A little make-up here and there to compliment the teased and tousled barnets helps too. Gotta keep the inexorable march of time at bay somehow, right guys?

(Source: tracy1)