Thursday, 5 December 2019

Sounds of 2012: Nos. 27 to 22

Today, "Sounds of 2012" is moving into the top quarter of Everfree Radio's Top 100 fan-voted songs from seven years ago. Below you can see what's covered this time and read a bit more about each track, but as usual I'll begin by giving you my criteria for inclusion:

Rule 1: Still available in the same or (1b) similar form direct from the artist
Rule 2: Available from a third party, with reason to believe the artist is fine with this
Rule 3: So famous that it would be plain silly to leave it out
Rule 4: Being unlisted is not, on its own, grounds for exclusion

27: The L-Train – A Symphonic Metal Tribute to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
26: Twitch – Flutterborn
25: The Living Tombstone – Octavia's Overture
24: The Living Tombstone feat. Lauren G. – Magic
23: Dasha and The Living Tombstone – Good Girl
22: All Levels at Once – Pony Should Pony Pony

I expect most of you know the form by now, but for those who don't – or who need reminding – I'll have videos and a bit of writing about each song after the page break.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Ponyfic Roundup 274

Read it Later story count: 233 (-1)

And we're back! I read one story last week when I wasn't feeling very well, and I added another four this week. That means there are five fics under the microscope this time around – the first time for a little while that I've managed that. I'll also quickly remind folks that my star ratings are largely a measure of how much I enjoyed reading a story, not an attempt to measure the story's objective literary worth. With that in mind, let's get going!

Keeping Your Hooves on the Ground by InsertAuthorHere
Save the Records by TheBandBrony
The Derpy Files by Soge
The Gift of Winter by Banana Prince
RadioActivity by Zh3sh1re

★: 0 | ★★: 4 | ★★★: 1 | ★★★★: 0 | ★★★★★: 0

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

My Little Repeats 9: "Bridle Gossip"

This is a noticeably detailed and colourful episode for so early on
S1E09: "Bridle Gossip"
Written by Amy Keating Rogers
10 Dec 2010

My original rating: N/A
IMDB score: 7.7

The one with "Appletini" riding Rainbow Dash.

Thoughts: Hasbro's veto on exploring more of zebra culture means Zecora, who debuts here, is the only one in show canon, and indeed nearly the only one in all official stories.* One oddity near the start: AJ tells her sister not to mention the name Zecora, then almost immediately does so herself! Anyway, Twilight is pretty solid in this (and amusingly S1-snarky), though her Super Naturals stubbornness feels a little forced. It's also a notably good pre-CMC ep for Apple Bloom – but the other Manes are pretty thick: not even knowing what a zebra is? One of my favourite bits of lore, though: the Everfree forest "ain't natural" because its plants, animals and clouds move without pony intervention. A real shame that stuff got left behind later in the series. It's the Poison Joke stuff that everyone remembers, of course. Probably fair to say the show team wouldn't have risked Twilight's floppy horn problem if they'd known about the fandom at the time! Flutterguy is funny to this day, especially her song. First mention of "Rainbow Crash", too. And Applejack gives us a "Thank Celestia" at one point – one for the "Is Tia a goddess?" debate, I guess. Still, overall I think this episode has dated slightly. It's still amusing, and "Don't judge a book by its cover" is a fair, if hackneyed, moral – but it doesn't fit together quite well enough to feel like a classic. Three stars, then.
* Braze, the male zebra in the Rainbow Dash and the Daring Do Double Dare chapter book, is the only other one I can think of who gets a speaking part.

Choice quote: Spike: "I got nothin'. Twilight Sparkle. I mean seriously, I can't even work with that."

New rating: ★★★

Next up is "Swarm of the Century", the debut of one M. A. Larson. Another I haven't rewatched for years and only vaguely remember as "a bit silly".

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Flashfic 150 is go for December!

For once I'm remembering to promote this thing, so Flashfic 150's December contest is now live. The prompt this month is "Things Unwritten".

Very briefly, FF150 works like this. You write a story of no more than 150 words in response to that month's prompt. After three weeks, the contest closes. Anyone who wishes is welcome to provide feedback on the entries. I read them all and pick a winner. That winner gets to choose the following month's prompt. (You can't win two months running, which also means you can't win if you pick the prompt.) There is very deliberately no prize beyond that.

Stories must be E- or T-rated, must be related to MLP and cannot be crossovers (because judging those is near-impossible). Anyone with a Fimfiction account is welcome to join the Flashfic group, and anyone in the group is welcome to participate. There is no compulsion to enter regularly – if you just want to write occasionally, that's entirely fine. In theory the Flashfic group can also be used to discuss flashfic in general, but in practice it's almost entirely about these little contests.

At the last count, we had 152 members in the group. Only a minority are regular participants, but if the concept appeals then you'd be more than welcome to join their number!

Saturday, 30 November 2019

My Little Repeats 8: "Look Before You Sleep"

"Rarity, do y'all realise what we're startin' here?"
S1E08: "Look Before You Sleep"
Written by Charlotte Fullerton
3 Dec 2010

My original rating: N/A
IMDB score: 7.4

The one with Truth or Dare.

Thoughts: Another new writer joins the team – in fact, only two more would be added during S1. This is an episode that in the past was widely disliked for being "too girly", and I wasn't a huge fan. Now? I like it rather more. It's the real kick-off for the long-running Applejack v Rarity sparkiness, for a start. (Though AJ using "y'all" in the singular still sounds odd.) I like the little scientific bit about why being inside that tree in a thunderstorm is okay. Twilight's wide-eyed enthusiasm about the slumber party is really cute, plus we get an early, pre-fandom Parental Bonus in her book's title. Twi also introduces us all to the legend of the Headless Horse. Although not Rarity's first "Oh. It. Is. On" (that was "Boast Busters") this is the one most people remember, thanks to the funny pillow fight sequence. The other three Mane Sixers don't appear at all. I'd classify this episode as simply nice – a gentle, domestic story with plenty of warmth, something that S1 often did pretty darn well.

Choice quote: Rarity: "It is a ghost story. They're all made up."

New rating: ★★★

Next up is "Bridle Gossip", another popular "gateway drug" to FiM as a whole. It's a very long time since I've seen it, so I have no idea how it'll hit me now.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Sounds of 2012: Nos. 32 to 28

Still not feeling great, so have another pre-prepared post. I'm pleased with myself for having a small stock of these ready – if only I were like PaulAsaran and could say the same for Ponyfic Roundup! Anyway...

Here we are again with another "Sounds of 2012" post. To remind anyone who's forgotten, this is a series wherein I look at the songs that Everfree Radio's listeners voted into the Top 100 tracks released in 2012. As ever, a quick reminder of the criteria for inclusion:

Rule 1: Still available in the same or (1b) similar form direct from the artist
Rule 2: Available from a third party, with reason to believe the artist is fine with this
Rule 3: So famous that it would be plain silly to leave it out
Rule 4: Being unlisted is not, on its own, grounds for exclusion

32: Lenich & Kirya – Pinkie's Brew Russian Gypsy Jazz
31: Aviators – Friendship
30: The Living Tombstone & Bronyfied – Stuck in Time
29: PrinceWhateverer ft. Liquid Cobalt and ISMBOF – Between Fairytales and Happy Endings
28: Assertive Fluttershy – Boooring!

Just the five songs featured here today, but beyond the cut you'll find videos of them all, as well as where (if anywhere!) you can pick the songs up in better-than-YouTube quality. Let's go!

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

My Little Repeats 7: "Dragonshy"

Where's Ponyfic Roundup? Well, I haven't been feeling well off and on recently and have only finished one story, which isn't enough for a PR! I'll bring the feature back as normal next Wednesday. Since I had this MLR piece ready to go, you're getting that instead today. Sorry for any disappointment.

Talk about eye
S1E07: "Dragonshy"
Written by Meghan McCarthy
26 Nov 2010

My original rating: N/A
IMDB score: 8.4

The one with Angel kicking his carrot.

Thoughts: The first adventure since the premiere, Meghan McCarthy's debut and and Fluttershy's first real Crowning Moment of Awesome. Before that, though, we get the A Team-style montage, one of the show's funnest. Then it's off up the mountain. Flutters is a bit over-the-top timid even for S1 – but Dash isn't very nice to her, especially given that they go way back. (Okay, we don't know that yet.) Still, 'Shy is the one who confronts the dragon and stares (though not yet Stares) it down when it really matters, and that is something nopony can ever take away from her. The others aren't much help in the cave, and it's decidedly not Rarity's finest hour. In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene about two minutes in, we first see Lyra sitting human-like on a bench – though she's with a blue earth pony, not Bon Bon! (The two are seen chatting shortly thereafter, though.) Also seen: Angel being a pain, Rainbow saluting and Rarity being incompetent at noughts and crosses. I do think the gang are a bit mean-spirited to Dash at the end, though, scaring her so close to the ball-bouncing record. But it's a minor problem in a generally excellent episode, to my mind the first classic ep.

Choice quote: Fluttershy: "I guess I forgot to jump."

New rating: ★★★★

Next up is "Look Before You Sleep", which I used to find dull but have warmed to considerably in recent years. Let's see whether that continues.