iReview: American Horror Story: Hotel – Season 5 – Episode 1

THE WAIT IS FINALLY OVERRR OMGYAS

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For those of you who have read certain posts of mine, you’d have noticed by now that I’m a huge fan of Lady Gaga. She’s so freakin fab! I promised once that I’d write a post about how we crossed paths, but I don’t think now’s the appropriate time for other multi-part life stories of mine. 

Last February, it was announced, in true Gaga fashion, that she would be starring in the upcoming first season of American Horror Story entitled HOTEL. The fandom, and the interwebz as a whole, went wild.

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I myself wasn’t a huge horror fan and had never watched any AHS episode, but the prospect of watching Gaga grow into an actress on TV was so exciting. Plus, has there even been a better match than Gaga and Horror? Most of her music videos would fit seemlessly in any horror flick. She has a very dark and wicked side and it’s one of the things I love best about her.

As the months went by, we sat there waiting for updates. Lately, these weren’t hard to come by. In fact, every other day there seemed to be new teasers and spoilers appearing. It was soon known that Gaga would be playing Elizabeth, the owner of Hotel Cortez. Plus, she’s apparently a blood-sucker. Cool. 

Well, it sounded cool at first. But when I came to know that they actually are filming a foursome scene involving her and her lover slaughtering their partners and feasting on their blood, my excitement turned into anxiousness.

I wasn’t really a big fan of blood and gore. There’s a reason why I refuse to become a doctor in the future, or why I rarely watch any horror films. Will I be able to cope with these scenes? Or will I just stop watching after the first episode or two despite Gaga being in it?

Still, all of that didn’t stop be from being eager to watch that first episode.

On the 7th of October, it finally premiered. But I was sleeping when it aired. So I waited until the next day after school to watch. I gathered my laptop, earphones and an assortment of horribly unhealthy snacks and clicked that mothaeffin play button.

It all starts out with two blonde tourists stepping out of a cab to check into the Hotel Cortez. From the moment I laid eyes on them, I knew, I just knew that they were gonna die in a matter of hours. The limited experience that I earned from the few horror flicks I’ve watched had taught me enough.

So they step into the hotel, and the lobby is completely empty. It’s dark, but has an air of grandeur and class to it.

They went up to the reception desk to check in. There was no one there. They rang the bell, apparently more times than they should have, according to the receptionist who goes by Iris (played by Kathy Bates). 

She leads them to their room, while informing them that the hotel has no cell service or wifi. If it were me, I’d have been out of there in a matter of seconds.

They see little creepy pale kids standing in the hallways, but that doesn’t seem to bother them too much.

Once they’re in their room, they smell a rotting ‘animal’, which turns out to be a murderous mutant-human-goblin-creature-thingy that has been living in their mattress. 

So what do they do? They just move into another room, like any sane person would do in such a situation. It’s Room 64. Remember that room.

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So everything seems to be going alright. That’s until one of the girls wakes up to find the little creepy kids casually eating her friend in the bathroom. No biggie.

I’m watching. While I’m interested in the story, I also start to wonder where Gaga is. Isn’t she supposed to be important? Am I watching the wrong show?

At long last, the Countess (Gaga) is introduced in the most fabulous of ways. She’s shown getting ready for something, while snorting up an amount of meth that would make even Jesse Pinkman gape. (Please tell me someone gets that reference.)

So she’s finally ready, and so is her partner, Donovan (Matt Bomer). They have such a strong sex appeal together. Amazing match.

So these two seem to be heading out for an open-air movie night. There, they meet (well, technically, make creepy eye contact with) a couple, and they start smirking at each other. Finally, Gaga starts to pretend she’s licking an invisible vagina, and the other couple takes it as cue to go with Gaga and Donovan, two complete strangers who look somewhat medieval. They didn’t even know where they were taking them. They just seemed to enjoy vagina-licking imitations.

Gagz takes them to the Hotel, naturally. By the way, she’s the owner.

The three of them who aren’t Gaga are seen laying naked on a kind sized bed. Then, Gaga appears.

Appears is a big understatement: Gaga fucking makes an ENTRANCE up in this bitch. She’s wearing nothing but her wavy blonde locks on her shoulders, a beautiful black see-through Alexandre McQueen veil all over her, a huge diamond necklace, tiny black panties, and diamond pasties for modesty.

Naturally, the veil comes off. She climbs into the bed, and then the four of them start doing what any four people in a bed would do. Hint: it’s not talking about the weather.

Then, midway through, Gaga and Matt exchange meaningful glances and then suddenly slash the poor other couple’s throats. The foursome soon turns into a massive blood fest. Even though I already knew that was coming from the teasers, it was still shocking to watch.

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Meanwhile, our tourists are being held captive by Iris in some sort of medieval torturing devices. I don’t know if I missed something, but somehow the girl who was being eaten by the children looked like she had never been eaten by anything or anyone. (I know what you’re thinking pervs. Shame on you. And yes I do think she has been.)

Out of nowhere, a crazy chic called Sally appears (Sarah Paulson) and demands to feed the girls. For some reason Iris gets all mad and bitchy and says ‘fine feed them if ur so insistant u bitch’ and leaves. Sally lets one of the girls escape, again for no apparent reason (now I get why this show has confused so many).

Fortunately, the Countess happened to be standing in the doorway and again casually slashed the girl’s throat as she tried to run (told you she’d be dying). 

All of this is sort of an introductory plot, I guess… Because the main plot seems to be about a detective who has been trying to catch a maniac killer who takes the 10 Commandments very, very seriously. Take adultery. He had found a non-married couple having sex, so what does he do? Plants an arrow through the woman’s torso, killing her, takes out the eyeballs and the tongue of the man who is 1) still alive and 2) still ‘inside’ the woman. Oh, and he also nails their hands to the wall.

I guess he didn’t get the memo that killing is the most awful sin of them all. 

Anyway, this detective starts receiving calls from the killer, and all the signs point to Hotel Cortez. So he decides to move there to continue his investigation. Oh, and which room does he take? 

Room 64.

Also, that detective happens to have a missing son called Holden, who we discover has been ‘adopted’ by the Countess. He lives with his siblings in a secret kid room at the hotel filled with video games and candy. One more reason for me to wish Gaga would adopt me some day.

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There are many other disturbing things that take place throughout the episode, like a little girl walking into a room to find two men hanging from the cealing with their guts wrenched out of their bodies, or a Hotel maid casually cleaning blood off sheets like she does this every day (Blood Still Stains When The Sheets Are Washed, anyone?) and most importantly a guy being raped by a featureless zombie monster with a drill-bit penis.

Oh, and there’s this thing where 20-something years ago Sally kills Donovan, and Iris kills Sally because Donovan was her son, but they’re still alive somehow and haven’t aged. My guess is that they’re some sort of solid ghosts. There’s also a theory out there that no one can die in the Hotel – they just turn immortal.

Yup. Mindfuck.

But the complication only makes it more compelling for me. I love a good mystery.

While there has been much I wasn’t fond of in these scenes, and even some that made me look away, it was so captivating. I’m guessing they chose to tell their story with horror elements because it keeps the viewer interested. It sure worked.

Gaga was absolutely amazing in her role, and by the looks of it, her next performances will be even more majestic.

I can’t wait for this Thursday afternoon to watch the second episode! And the next. And the next next.

I recommend this show to all Gaga fans, all horror fans and AHS fans. Also,  for those who like dark themes and have no problem with graphic violence.

What is your opinion of this first episode of AHS: Hotel? Are you going to be renewing your residency at Hotel Cortez, or will you check out at the nearest opportunity?

However, remember… “You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave!

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Alright, now it’s time to ruin your childhood:

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iReview: BADLANDS by Halsey

Good evening, young lads and ladies!

A while ago, when I reviewed Cry Baby by Melanie Martinez, a fellow blogger and music lover gxxdbyeagony (check out her blog!) suggested that if I liked Melanie’s music, I’d love this artist called Halsey. I looked her up, saw that he had just dropped her first album and that many other people compared her to Melanie, who I loved. So I downloaded the album, and have been eager but reluctant to hear it.

First off, I don’t want to let go of my precious Cry Baby just yet. And I also was afraid that I just wouldn’t connect with this and understand it like I did with Cry Baby, which was all coherent and clear.

Nevertheless, I want to see – or listen, for that matter – for myself and make my own opinion. Who knows, maybe I’ll love it!

Leggo:

1-Castle

Okay… Spooky…

Wow. Awesome beat.

Is this opera? Church choir? What is this?

Oh god, her voice sounds just like Melanie! Which is certainly a good thing.

I feel like this is the grown up version of Cry Baby? (the album I mean. Maybe it’s too early to judge)

I think I’m going to read the lyrics as I listen, much more easy to understand.

I wasn’t wrong. This is about the industry and its rulers and she just wants to break free from them and do whatever the hell she wants. The people want her to be their ‘queen’ but the ‘man’ won’t let her. So she broke free, and now her ‘neck is open wide, begging for a fist around it’. These are great lyrics.

You go girl! Great album starter.

2-Hold Me Down

Okay… Still kinda crybabyish… 

Is this about kidnapping or sexual assault like in Tag, You’re it? Nah I feel like there’s something else…

Hmmmmmm

I can’t help but thinking of ‘Nobbareh Nobbareh can drag me downnn’. Damn you 1D.

Wow. Well, at first this song confused me. But it still has one of the most infectious pop beats I’ve heard recently.

Upon re-listen, I find that this song is kind of a follow up to Castle. She’s free, she’s trying to reach the top, but something’s holding her down. Is it me, or do I see no sign of resistance? Is she just giving in to her demons?

I guess we’ll find out later.

3-New Americana

Balenciaga! I know this brand! I think.

Oh my god I love this chorus.

This is the best rhyming ever. Americana and Marijuana. She knows her shit.

GOSH I LOVE HOW SHE SAYS AMERICANA

The production is just awesome. Beautiful. Love it. 

I think this is throwing shade at America/ns more than being a pride anthem? I’m not sure. 

Or she may be talking about how SHE grew up and rose to fame… Or she could just be naming the things that have been made famous in America -or made America famous- like Nirvana, the fashion brands, Football teams, gay marriage, bubblegum pop… 

Maybe it’s a mix of them all?

4-Drive

OMG YASSSS

THIS IS GREATNESSS

The music is just so rustic and creepy and old-school-horror-movie-y.

Oh yas gurl preach. As I said it before, this girl knows her shit. All we do is sit and drive and feel all the feels.

Noooo. You disappointed me a little. I don’t really like these songs that go like ‘and we say aaaaahhhhohhhhh’ like really? What is that supposed to mean?

The second verse has so much sounds. It’s really like a movie.

Wait who is this guy?

Does anyone feel like there’s a guy singing with her in the chorus? Or maybe that’s her lower-pitched voice… Either way, the effect is great and this sounds epic.

Twitwututwitwutu

What’s happening? This is weird. This is the album version of a horror movie.

LOVE IT.

5-Hurricane

The chorus is great… but I almost feel like it’s the same as another song before?

But I say that at the first listen of every album. I’ll get over that later.

There are just too many echoes and sounds and buzzes… it’s hypnotic. I love that little whistling sound.

I still feel like this is Melanie’s voice and it’s so amazing how they’re not the same person.

OH GOD YES

EARGASM

The last bit of chorus is so full of goodness. It’s dreamy. More like nightmareish. But in the good way. Eerie.

Now, I don’t really get where she went with this right away. At first I thought she’s being sexually exploited, but then in the chorus it turns out that she’s some sort of gypsy who goes around fucking everyone because she can and causing storms and hurricanes. And she must have something special about her, because men are literally begging her to destroy them.

The grim music fits the lyrics perfectly. 

6-Roman Holiday

Wait. Roman holiday… I thought Nicki Minaj invented that name? so it’s a real thing?

Oh well.

At least there are no horrible singing voices in this one telling roman to take his medication.

Wait… did I not hear the roman holiday part or does she not even mention it?

Shush im trying to concentrate.

Yup there it is. Let’s get away on a roman holiday.

The song is pretty straightforward, it’s just about two friends/lovers escaping their lives for a short time, going on a ‘holiday’.

ORRR... This could very well be a break-up track. Going on a holiday could be a metaphor for taking a break from the relationship. This makes more sense if you look at the verses’ lyrics.

This song sounds like a movie soundtrack. Like the part where they’re all happy and carefree until something dreadful happens.

Let’s hope it’s not foreboding for the next song.

7-Ghost

Nope. This one isn’t dreadful. At all. It’s pretty great actually.

It’s also the first one where I could clearly make out the lyrics by myself.

I don’t undertand. Does she love him? Did she love him but not anymore? Did he change?

Ohhh yeah I get it. Nice comparison. His former self is dead. He has changed and she can’t recognize the man she once loved. He has ‘a million number’ on his phone, which means the douchebag is probably off screwing other girls.

8- Colors

This is like a mix of Dollhouse and Sippy Cup. UHMAZING!

Oh my gosh! In the chorus she now sounds like Taylor Swift!

I love it so much. Bluuuuuuuuuuhouwowuhuu (or at least I think its what shes saying)

Wait. He has grey hair? Is this about a creepy grandpa?

I love all the use of color in here!

I wish she had called this song Blue. Then I could have two of my favorite songs called Blue (this and Marina’s).

This is the song I’m having most trouble understanding.

In a weird way, it sounds as though she’s talking to -or about- a fictional character from a book. It’s probably not that but it makes sense with the lyrics! And I’d love it if anyone would actually make a song about being in love with a fictional character. Ah…

9-Colors, pt. 2

Wait I thought this was supposed to be a second part, so like it connects to the previous one?

This one is just sad and scary… no color. Like at all.

Ohhh there it is. Everything is-

What? Everything is what?

OH MY GOD. Another eargasm. This is like a twisted remix. I’m not sure which I prefer. Both perfect!

10-Strange Love

Yassssss. Awesome beat to match the title.

Wow. That was straightforward.

Yep. Just fuck em all. Nun o’ their bidness.

Ouuhh she’s afraid of speaking his name. Is he Voldemort?

This is one of the more subdued songs on here. But it’s still kinda crazy.

The song’s meaning is very clear. Everyone wants to know about her lovelife. She just doesn’t want anyone to know because it’s really none of their business. Glad she’s taking a stand.

11-Coming Down

Badlands radio? What?

Ohh the name of the album.

Okay.

This is comparing her love to religion.

Like literally everything in this song is religious references in a relationship. Quite interesting.

By “he’s coming down”, does she mean like the Second Coming? Or I don’t get it…

I really like how calm this is. Suits the song. Her voice just flows through.

Itscamadandancamadaawn. So gruuvy.

He must be underground already if he keeps coming down *badumtss*

12-Haunting

Yep. This is definitely haunting.

And now I think I’m possessed.

What a literal album. That’s not a bad thing.

Gold boyfriend? Sell him you stupid hoe!

Oh shit what has she done that’s so serious.

Her voice really does sound strained and scared. By the power of Jesus, get out of that woman you awful demon! Thank you.

Or stay, if that means more awesome music.

Ah well, I did really think there’s gonna be a scream like in Pity Party on here. Would have made it 10 times better. Still awesome though.

On second listen, I just realized that the weird sounds at the beginning of the song is the same during the chorus, and it’s not just a weird sound, it’s saying ‘Keep On Haunting Me‘. That was strange, but okay.

I love the idea of a former lover ‘haunting’ her in her new relationships. What’s more intriguing is that she’s encouraging him to haunt her. Does she want them to get back together? One could only guess. So far all her songs have alternate meanings, and I feel like it’s really up to the listener to understand them the way he wants.

13-Gasoline

Wow. Track 13 already?! This flowed right through so easily.

I love this asian feel! More pls.

Yep. I feel like I’m in some Chinese castle.

And with chorus, a fight just breaks through in the kingdom. It really feels like a movie.

How many times have I compared this album to a movie already?

Yes, I am strange like you. Though not as much.

The chorus is really everything. It reminds me of Princess of China by Rihanna. For obvious reasons.

But wait… what’s gasoline got to do with this?

Oh. Everyone’s treating her like a machine. Like she’s not human, just for being a celebrity. And like all machines she runs on gasoline – our love and praise for her.

14-Control

Power and controoool, im gonna maaake you faaaaaalll

Okno.

Oho. You’re sure as hell not bigger than Madame Maxime’s bones (if you got the reference, you rock. Lemme know.)

This is Milk & Cookies of this album, in terms of disconcertingness. I’m uncomfortable. But then again, as someone fancy and famous once said, art is supposed to make people uncomfortable.

Oh wow. This last chorus is really powerful. It feels like a movie where she finds out about her powers, and she’s really scared of them. Like Frozen! Nope? Kay.

Oops. Yet another movie comparison.

I don’t really understand this song. Is she being possessed? Is she not in control of her actions? Wow. Intense. She’s even scaring kids.

15-Young God

What is this? Backwards talk?

Im scared. Whats gonna come after this build up…

Oh not much. Meh.

This song isn’t picking up! Bitch pick up! I’m waiting!

I want a steady beat! This has so much potential.

Oh wow what the hell did I just hear.

If you fuck me right now you’ll go to heaven?!

What is this? This is far more twisted than Cry Baby.

I don’t get it. I just don’t. These last few songs are confusing. 

Is he sort of just persuading her to fuck him?

What do young gods have to with this?

And to top it off the song just stops in the middle of a sentence!

16-I Walk The Line

Yet more weird sounds…

Oooo piano. Finally something sorta familiar. This sort of sounds like Heaven by Beyonce. I feel like I’ve compared another song to it before. Meh.

I love this. This beat, this pace, the lyrics, perfect.

Oh. That was just the pre-chorus. The chorus is even cooler.

This is great. Great song. Dark romance. At least I think it’s romance.

Could be anything really.

***

That was my review! As always this was a first listen and I wrote down everything I felt while listening.

However, this time I decided to sleep on it and really try to understand the songs more on second listen, which makes for a more substantial review (that’s why the first part of each song review is initial reactions and the second part is my interpretation).

This is also my first time reviewing with my new headphones (gift from a generous friend), and it’s awesome because they give more bass and I don’t have to stick them in as they slide out of my ears every few minutes.

So the album was good, even better the second time around. I could definitely see how it all connects. I really loved some parts, some were a bit confusing, some just too much, but overall I got what I expected and I couldn’t ask for much more.

I guess my favorite is Colors because I’ve played it many times already and it’s so fucking good and fulfilling.

I don’t know if this will match up to my Cry Baby standards and I’ll start playing it all day… we’ll see!

Rating: 4.25/5 Stars.