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Red Dress
Written by Nick Llanes

Woke up with your red dress still in my dreams,
fresh in my memory.
That night, when we were dancing on the floor,
It’s something, in my mind I always see.

Holding hands in the dead of the night,
Your glow shines brighter than the lights.
Beating hearts and magical comebacks
Nothing ever felt that right.

And when you went away
I was dancing in the pain,
It’s something in my mind I’ll always see.
Ain’t I, A man; A man that you could love?
Someone that I thought I’d always be.

Every time that I see that red dress
All I think about is you
So I hope that when you think about me `
You don’t think of me like a fool.

‘cuz everytime that I think of your smile
Something inside me dies.
If you could see the tears in my eyes
You’d call off your baleful goodbye.

And when you went away I was dancing in the pain,
It’s something in my mind I’ll always see.
Ain’t I, A man; A man that you could love?
Someone that I thought I’d always be.

She’s gone now
She’s gone now
She’s gone now
She’s gone away

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A poem.

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Jessica’s Lamentations of a Day in Hell

by Nick Llanes

I.

Prologue: Fields of the Mundane

 

Every day we toiled in sad Asphodel—

The mournful fields, bitter fields, evil fields.

Every day we sowed seeds in this grey Hell,

and we ate bitter grain as daily meals.

It was but an imitation of work

From our old lives, to try to forget that

We’re trapped in  places where evil things lurked.

And ‘twas ungodly, this dark world of rats.

We ended up here, refusing to repent,

Prideful men and prideful women, we had

Chosen freedom over the heaven-sent

Words of redemption. I asked, were we mad?

And woe–the hell people chanted:

“We were mad with anger.

We were mad with pride.

We were mad before we died.”

 

II.

A Chorus Line of Wrathful Pigs

I was the prideful one; the jealous one,

hidden underneath the shadow of my

very own brother, the wrathful  one.

He who led me into the paths of pigs.

Paths of pigs, paths of lies.

Paths of pigs, paths of flies.

Paths of pigs, paths of —

Drugs, which took me high! High into the skies,

Like a sky-carriage, flying through blue:

Corrupting hallucinogenic lies.

He had destroyed me inside, so I knew.

So I knew—

So I knew.

So I knew.

That his stark success was not through vice.

He knew each name in every special place

And I knew. On that cold night, he should die,

For I could not stand to see his smug face.

His smug face—

His stupid face—

His elvish face—

His damned pudgy nose and flabby cheeks,

The way he laughs as he displays his wealth,

God should have helped me—I was so damn weak,

I believed he should die a painful death!

A painful death!

A painful death!

A painful death!

So many ways presented themselves to me,

Gunshot, drowning, knives, and poison were there.

“Which of these do you want to use?” asked he.

I shrugged at the thug, saying, “I didn’t care.”

 

III.

An Infernal Fate

Long story short, saved for another date,

I’m left to suffer this infernal fate.

Lady in black, the magister in white,

They judged me to leave; I put up no fight.

Last I saw of brother, he wept in hell,

Like a child under our mother’s dark spell.

Thousands of tears falling down his damp cheeks,

When Death tapped his shoulder, I had felt so weak.

The Judge had put him there to save my soul,

Before I died, when he came back a ghost,

He was trapped within that grey, sullen place,

Not breaking apart, through the Judge’s grace.

In the dark, as I saw Death lift him up,

Dark arms pulled me in before I screamed “Stop!”

Death-woman and my brother walked away,

And I whimpered, as the demons said:

“Stay.”

 

IV.

Epilogue: True Freedom and Cosmic Horrors

Welcome to Absolute Freedom, daddy-o.

Hell.

That’s what we call this place.

We call it Dis, we call it that,

Hell, some even call it pandemonium.

Do you hear that?

Beyond the sound of the wailings of the suicides,

The criminals, the murderers,

Is a sound I always cringe to hear.

I always hear it, daddy-o.

Squirming tentacles  millions of miles wide, and

Mouths

 wailing in the

darkness, gaping maws

with rows and rows

of razor

 sharp

teeth.

Eyes that could shatter your very sanity

Breath that smelled like a million rotting corpses.

Bodies that ran from galaxy-to-galaxy.

These were the gods in these parts, daddy-o,

And we’re just dust in the wind.

Lucifer ain’t got no real power here, daddy-o.

He’s the same as us—a prisoner. A prideful, spoiled king, but still a prisoner.

Puppet for the things wailing in the darkness.

‘cuz you see, daddy-o,

In that lil’ white room we called the Judgement Room,

When we refused to repent,

Our souls were sucked into this damn void,

the very void where God did not exist.

An’ because of that, daddy-o,

Things also came to replace God in the order of things.

An’  they ain’t friendly.

An’ they ain’t got no morals.

In the end, daddy-o,

Being humble ain’t such a bad idea after all.

A Crawling Chaos Monologue

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I wrote this for my Stage Arts class in college. We had to write/find a monologue for our…monologue performance, and I wrote a monologue about Nyarlathotep. To be honest, the mere fact that I wrote this scares the shit out of me. Your Mileage May Vary.

NYARLATHOTEP: A Monologue

By Nick Llanes

I look upon you and grin. Your follies. Your loves. Your hideous rituals. You constantly reassure yourselves of your own significance. From up there—out in the stars, dearest Ant, you are nothing but a mere speck of dust one flicks away in annoyance. My master does not even comprehend your existence, the Blind Idiot that He is.

Yet I, the Haunter of the Dark, do. And I laugh. And I laugh. And I laugh.  Each and every little paramecium here, has set up a whole plethora of barriers—hindrances, and you call them “Morals”.

Morals?

What are Morals but barriers? See us, in our true forms, and let us see what “Morals” are compared them.  So many questions linger in the air, answers rendered meaningless.

What is beauty?

What is horror?

What is Good?

What is Evil?

All this are meaningless when we take that of which is ours. We are things bounded by no such creation—such concepts are incomprehensible to us as our appearances are to you.

The Great Old Ones are sleeping. Azathoth is slumbering. The underwater cities of old are sunken. Yet we shall rise again. What would your puny minds comprehend of us, then? Your gods will not protect you from the True powers of this Universe.

One day, the Old Ones shall rise from their death-like slumber, and the seas once more will be frothing in madness. The Deep Ones shall rise and claim their birth-rights—their lands. The Shoggoths will consume your cities, like alien tidal waves. On that day, humanity shall be rid of their morals, killing and revelling and laughing merrily. Great Cthulhu, from his risen house at sea, shall teach Man new ways of fear.

You look at me now, little dust mites, as if I was some hideous aberration. Point your guns. Point your blades. Point, even your sharpened sticks.  My mask is mortal, but my essence is immortal.  You look upon me in fear, bacterium, yet I am merely a voice. An echo. A consciousness, able to take forms you measly creatures can comprehend. There are things sleeping underneath the earth, in the depths of the sea, and even in the black void of space, that you must fear more.

Yet I suppose I may say that I am fear.

For when Man lay shivering in the caves, afraid of the black, I was the thing lurking in the dark. When men stare in to the Abyss, I am the Thing staring back. I was the daemon who whispered into Hitler’s ear. I was the one who told Nero burn the Christians in Rome. I have been here, dearest insects, since you were mere apes, and I shall be here when you—all of you—shall realize that you are merely a miniscule electron in this universe of universes.

I have many names and many faces. I am Nephren-ka. I am the Black Pharaoh. I am the Devil. The Haunter of the Dark. The Whisperer in the Darkness. The Walking’ Dude. The Howling God. I am the crawling chaos.  I am the Messenger, Will, and Voice of the Outer Gods.

I am Nyarlathotep.

 

 

Lovecraftian Fiction, and why it’s terrifying, P1.

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Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fhtagn!

He dreams. (Art by TristJones)

 

Size matters, they say.

To the lowliest of ants, we are dreaded gods, looking down from our Olympian thrones. To the littlest paramecium, ants are the gods, and we are little more than horror stories for their children. This leads us to the next, horrifying question—“Who looks down on us?”  Who, in this universe, looks down on our civilization, and sees our folly? This, in turn, leads to more questions, such as “Are they benevolent?” and “Can we comprehend them?” This is the plight of Lovecraftian Horror. This sub-genre of horror, as stated by Tvtropes.org, “depresses you with the fatalistic impression of being insignificantly powerless before the vast, unknowable and fundamentally alien entities.” It was named after the esteemed horror fiction writer, Howard Phillips “HP” Lovecraft, who codified the Lovecraftian Horror genre.

What, then, makes it so scary? I argue that Lovecraftian Horror is a terrifying sub-genre of Horror fiction due to the psychological horror of the unknown, the pervading sense of cosmic dread and doom, and the fate of the protagonist.

Psychological Horror

Psychological Horror, by definition, is a subgenre of horror that focuses on fears and emotional unstableness in order to build the tension. It focuses mostly on the more subtle aspects, rather than the traditional “Pop-up” horror.  While it may have all the essential aspects of horror, it builds up slowly, eating away at one’s mind. Most of the terror is left to the person’s imagination.

This is the Horror of the Unknown. Lovecraft, in his essay, Supernatural Horror in Literature, once wrote: “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” It shows in his works—Lovecraft wrote of hideous, alien abominations that are “indescribable” and “incomprehensible”, leaving the viewer to imagine the finer details for themselves. Lovecraft also used a variation of the literary convention in the most conventional of ways, as shown in his story The Music of Erich Zann. It is about a musician who plays strange music at night. In the story, nothing happens—no creatures burst out of unnameable dimensions; no alien horrors emerge from the deep, dark creases of the earth. The Threat, while implied to be lurking within, is not shown within the story. The reader is left to imagine what happened, instead.

 

Cosmic Dread and Atmosphere

Atmosphere plays a major role in Lovecraft’s works. It is there to set the mood of the story, as with any other work. Lovecraft wrote stories full of unspeakable horrors, and the mood followed. There was a sense of cosmic dread hanging in the “air” of his stories—a sense of hopelessness in the midst of a vast, uncaring Universe. It was so prevalent in his works that it was made into a literary philosophy—Cosmicism. This is the main emphasis of most of his works; the backbone, one could say.

Lovecraft took inspiration from the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Lord Dunsany, Arthur Machen, and Robert W. Chambers, and as such, his works gave off a gloomy, ghostly, and gothic vibe. This coincides with the psychological horror aspect of Lovecraftian Horror—his settings are unnaturally creepy.  Lovecraft often used New England (which was his home) as the setting of stories.

Sanity’s fragility and the fate of the Protagonist

Lastly, there is the concern of sanity. In Lovecraft’s works, where eldritch abominations lurk within the threshold of Human reason; where the monstrous, malevolent beings are apathetic to the existence of men; where there are beings so enormous in size that it would be maddening to fathom them; there would obviously be a lot of insane people. This is interconnected with the atmosphere of doom and the psychological aspects of the subgenre.

The doomed protagonists, at the end of the story, are either rotting away in an asylum, driven into insanity, or worse, killed by the very forces they uncovered. Then, there is also the concern of the “Unreliable Narrator”—it could be possible that some of Lovecraft’s characters were merely hallucinating. While not (to this author) explicitly stated, it could be possible that some of his stories involve hallucinating characters within an asylum. What makes this aspect of the subgenre so terrifying is the broken perception of reality—you do not know what’s real anymore.

Lovecraftian Horror, while sometimes seemingly obscure, is one of the most influential subgenres of Horror fiction. It is, also, one of the most terrifying, due to the subtleties, the atmosphere of cosmic dread, and sanity’s fragility. In my opinion, this subgenre is the ultimate form of Horror fiction—a world where everything could kill you with one swipe of a tentacle hand; a world where the things we perceive as “gods” are nothing but bigger fish in a small pond, and that there are even bigger fish swimming out there, in the great ocean that is the Universe. There are things man was not meant to know, and Lovecraft—and his subgenre—is here to show it.

Line up of articles.

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Hey, guys. Haven’t been too active nowadays. It’s either I’m too lazy or I just don’t have the time. But, I feel like prioritizing you guys–whoever you are–and start writing the hell out of stuff.

So here’s a line-up of articles that I’ll (hopefully) write about.

Prometheus: The Lovecraft Connection.

Lovecraftian Horror: Why is it so scary? 

The Slender Man Mythos overview

Marble Hornets review 

SLENDER review 

Take an umbrella. Rainy as hell nowadays.

 

No one’s too old for Fairy Tales.

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This is a  short story I wrote. I hope you guys like it.

Goodnight, Moon
(Sometimes, the Magic Comes Back.)

No one is too old for Faerie Tales. Care for a story, love?

She was falling. Running and falling. The stars gaped at her, as a shadow—her lover—pursued her through the darkness of space. In the Dark One’s despair, he tripped over cosmic specks of stardust, and threw off newly-formed planets along the way. He had been pursuing her for days now, worried sick and tired of all her stupid games.

Her name was Elune, and she gave light to the Earth at night.

The Dark One called out her name. Screamed it out into the Heavens, and into the Nightly Void that separated each realm. But Elune never noticed. She fled, in fear.

For somewhere, beyond the farthest reaches of the cosmos, an Unspeakable Thing shifted in its sleep.

It stirred in its slumber, groaning. It was because of this cosmic monstrosity that the goddess was running away.  The old prophesies told stories of how the God of the Void would awake with the union of Black and White. Elune could not, for the life of her,  bring forth the destruction of the Universe due to their love.

So she ran.

There was another god in pursuit. Sol was the Steward of the Brightest Star of the cosmos—the Sun. He was coveted by everyone; from the littlest dwarven stars to the largest dragonstars. He was lovely. On Earth, all the folken sang songs of praise and thanks, as the Sun gave them the chance for life.

As he saw the two running through space, he immediately thought, in his haughtiness, that the moon-ward was running away from her dark pursuer. Sol, in a hazy mixture of anger and adoration (for Elune), ran in pursuit, a trail of flames behind him. This gave Elune more reason to run.

Terra—the Earth was near. It had lost its magic a thousand years ago. She could probably hide there, she reckoned.

Elune, in a fit of panic, leapt into the blue world. Her stardust-laced dress burst into flames. She was not hurt as her whole body was engulfed in fire.  Her memories faded away as the ground slowly rose up to meet her.  The Dark One screamed out for her once more. He screamed so loud, that the Dead momentarily woke from their graves. He couldn’t get to her—he was too weak to enter the Earth.

Sol arrived just as the Dark One was contemplating. Wondering where the beautiful Moon-Girl could have been, he seized the Dark One with his fiery right hand. The Dark One, in his cold sadness, looked into Sol’s flaming eyes, in despair. He muttered a sentence—a phrase, really.

She’s gone.” He said.

Sol, in a fit of blazing anger, threw him into the deepest pit of the Earth, and into his own kingdom, the Underworld.

On Earth, the locals who witnessed the event called it the “Most beautiful thing the gods have given us,”. Scientists of every related field began investigating and pinpointing the location of the comet, only to be disappointed. The comet crashed into the earth, and exploded in a brilliant display of white light.  The Historians have already started writing about the event as the “Greatest atmospheric phenomenon since the Golden Age of Magic”.

Alas, without a Steward, the Moon fell into despair. The once-docile moon-beasts became vicious creatures, and without a Steward to tame the little satellite, the ecosystem of the Moon became a ravaging mess. The once-mighty white ball that lit up the night sky slowly faded away.

Sol, in his anger, went back to his Star, brooding. He would wait.

In her little crater, Elune slept, dreaming. She dreamed of her lover, the Dark One, who also slumbered. They communed in their dreams.

He swore to find her. He would leave the Underworld for her. He would do anything for her. They dreamt together of the wild things they did in the name of love—riding across the stars with their stellar horses, witnessing the birth of stars and galaxies. They even witnessed the simpler things; sunsets, sunrises. They fought the Star-Beasts and the Moon-beasts and the Sky-Beasts and even jousted for each other.

In a brief instant, the Dark One saw her fears. Images moved through his mind—The Void Thing; the maddening screams of the star-men as they are wiped out from the Sky; the sharp pain of seeing the Thing rise out of the event horizon, and materializing in their dimension. The immensity of the thing itself was horrifying.

It was that very same reason that the Dark One never made love to her. The Union of Dark and Light was the final signal. The Key to the End. Finally, he understood. Understood why she had been running, all this time.  And he knew that they could never be together. Not if he wanted a Universe still standing.

So before he woke up, in the very same room that they slept in, he gave her an astral kiss, and whispered. All the memories she had disappeared in that instant, along with her powers.

Somewhere, on Earth, a beautiful, pale woman awoke. Magic awoke with her.

Prometheus: Impressions

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I like Ridley Scott. The mad genius who contributed to Sci-fi, horror, and, in general, the Film Industry, has been working on a little project for quite some time now.

Wait, scratch that.

Prometheus is anything but a little project. The multi-million dollar block-buster was my most anticipated film in the last decade. Before the film was released, though, massive hordes of fans (of Ridley Scott’s Alien franchise) were anticipating a sort of ‘prequel’ that led to the said franchise. Some, like me, expected a more philosophical twist to the old sci-fi genre.

The question is: did we get the movie of our expectations? Did we get that philosophical hook? Did we find this gigantic epic that would both raise questions and answer them and raise more questions?

For the most part, the answer would be NO.

Much of the excitement, the culminating tension of wanting to see it adds up to a disappointing thing. I was expecting some kind of movie a la Blade Runner. Y’know—one that really makes you want to question something.

But no. We got an Alien prequel. As in, an Alien film with a different Alien and/or Aliens. Not that it wasn’t good on its own. It was good in its own right. But the thing is, after watching it in an epic movie theatre, you are bound to ask: “Is that it?”

Still, a few things stand out. There was this interesting scene within that movie that truly stood out from all the other horror movies that I’ve watched. Usually, there’s this invulnerability of a Final Girl in a horror movie. Either they survive to the end, unscathed, or with a few scratches.

But this one…man, this was terrifying. So you’ve got the obvious Final Girl, who is apparently immune to the trope death by sex. Elizabeth and whatshisname screwed each other the other night, and being barren, it was unprotected. Sadly, whatshisname was infected by this black-oil sludge virus thing, and infected Liz with it.

A few hours later Liz finds herself to be pregnant. It was obviously freaky, since she was barren.

So, she shambles towards this Auto-doc machine—a machine that operate on ones self—and does a C-section on herself to extract the monster. We witnessed this gruesome scene from the beginning to the end.

A few actors stood out (Michael Fassbender as David!).The plot wasn’t as bad, but it was cut up.  For the Alien fans, there’s also a lot of references to the old films, and a “proto-xenomorph” appears at the end.

So in the end, P R O M E T H E U S isn’t a bad film. Just one that doesn’t meet up to expectations.

 

Zombies in Fantasy: Diablo (Retrospective)

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I won't mention Diablo III because I haven't played it yet. So stop asking.

It was his SLED. [Spoiler] That’s one of the zombies you fight in Diablo 2.

I like Diablo. And as of my previous article, you know I like Zombies. Not the zombies you see in horror films, although I enjoy those as well. No, I like the undead as staple in fantasy, because let’s face it: zombies would make a brilliant addition to a fantasy setting — hell, they might even be needed. It also suspends disbelief in the air— if you can set fire using incantations, or summon unholy beasts from beyond Space and Time; you most certainly can wake the dead.

The stories of the Undead stretched back as far as every Legend in culture, but the game Dungeons and Dragons was one of several that made the trope popular for the fantasy genre. Zombies, as always, are dark, deadly creatures that will fuck up your day if you let them. They’re also obviously a part of the fantasy genre. So, it would be fitting to insert them in Diablo — a Dark Fantasy series about fighting the forces of hell.

Zombies have always been aligned to the dark side, apparently—in Diablo, you have these Walkers shambling around with their less-skinned brethren, Skeletons, while in Diablo II you have foes that raise the dead. I don’t like the misconception that the raising the dead are necessarily evil—they could be used for good, too. I remember one bad-ass moment in the fifth installment of Percy Jackson wherein the god of the Dead, Hades, sets loose his army of skeletons to aid the Olympians. So it isn’t unheard of that necromancy is necessarily evil—it just lies very deep in Anti-Heroic territory, that we misconceive it to be evil. In short, it isn’t evil all the time.

Unless you want a bone spear tearing through your flesh, and the feeling of anguish as your body explodes, you probably don’t want to mess with this guy.

Which leads us to Diablo II, and the surprisingly-fun-to-use Necromancer.  I downloaded this game the other day, and I find it a lot of fun to play as the Necro, specifically the Summonmancer build. In the said build, my skills usually revolved around skeleton mastery and summoning thralls to fight for me. Which was totally the reflection of my personality.  (Hehe) And possibly, a stylistic preference.

A usual sight in Diablo 2: Skeletons, armed with scythes, running around your vicinity, killing everyone that isn’t your Friend, while you idly stand around and watch them do their thing, or even participate in the battles yourself. I certainly did that, cleaving other Undead, mutant beasts or demons in my way. Or blowing the crap out of them using my Corpse Explosion spell.

Anyway, I still love fighting the general Undead—there was a part in the second act where you fight these brilliant-looking (and not to mention Menacing) Greater Mummies, Undead that previously grafted animal parts on their bodies so that their powers would double in the Un-life. Their very appearance gives me this sudden feeling of dread, until I kill one, and I realize that if I could down one, I could use the aforementioned corpse explosion spell and blow the others up to bits.

I think Diablo is a very good example of how the Undead can be used for the side of good (or, atleast, it can be used for Anti-Heroic deeds), and still be menacing enough to be a horrifying foe. But that doesn’t make killing them less satisfying.

 

Aiodeus, the Necromancer!

This screencap is from my kick-ass adventures in the land of Sanctuary. My minions (excluding my sellsword) aren’t as outfitted with the state-of-the-art undead weaponry.

Edit: NO, I haven’t played Diablo III yet. Don’t wank about not finding it here, please. This is a retrospective. Diablo and Diablo II fit perfectly, since this is a retrospective article.

It’s Indie Rock n’ Roll for me…

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The Killers say it all.

People think I’m a hipster.

The key word here is think. People think I’m a hipster so much I think I’m a hipster. Or, at the very least, a person with the musical tastes of a hipster. Or indie. Or whatever the hell you can call it. I don’t know why they think I’m part of that subculture, since I don’t have their brilliant fashion sense. Hell, I don’t even have clothes that look the type. But if you strip down the Indie/Hipster to their roots, they are, essentially, people who like Indie Music. Although I’m pretty much  restricted to the Indie Rock genre.

So maybe I’m not a hipster—just a guy with very discriminating taste in music (although I do listen to general rock), who loves Indie Music.

I don’t know. There’s something awesome about the Indie scene; its ‘unconventional’ kind of music. Depending on the song, it gives you this strange, goosebump-like feeling of euphoria, vintage-ness or just a quite different feel to it. Again, I think the best word would be Unconventional.

But I gotta admit that I don’t know much bands from the genre — I just stick with the basics; Bloc Party, Foster the People, the Morning Of, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, that kind of stuff.  Then again, there’s always something for everyone.

I think my Favorite has to be Mumm-ra and their song, She’s Got You High. Sadly, they broke up.

And now I weep.

Sometimes I don’t understand what constitutes as ‘Indie’. I hear people defining ‘Indie’ as being in an Independent Label, but I digress. Yes, a song on an Independent Label is indie, but, paradoxically, it is not indie.

A song is Indie, in the sense that the style is unconventional, experimental, even, such that there’s this certain vibe in it that makes you feel a certain kind of emotion through these techniques.

In retrospect, I think it’s pretty hard to analyze Indie Music, hell, Music itself, without being pretentious or having a wide knowledge of notes and whatnot. Then again, I am the listener, and I listen to music.My kind's your kind, oh stay the same!

What I feel about Indie Music is simple:

It’s this Euphoric feeling that can only be taken by a mixture of leads, synthesizers, bass, and a wonderful voice, something that other genres can’t doto me. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Maps is a big example of this strange euphoric feeling. It’s something you’d want to play driving in a vintage car with your horn-rimmed glasses and stubble, as the sun started to set.

Edit: Okay scratch that, She’s Got You High isn’t my favorite. It’s Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.