11 Most Bone-Chilling Reprises By 'The Dear Hunter'

11 Most Bone-Chilling Reprises By 'The Dear Hunter'

Songwriter Casey Crescenzo has a knack for dropping bombshells in songs you've heard before.

If there is one word to describe The Dear Hunter's concept albums that I've heard most used by first-time listeners, it's "theatrical." And it's hard to deny, especially considering over forty-three minutes of the band's albums are made up of reprises of their previous songs. The band is known for using this musical technique to unite the Acts albums, a series which, when listened to in order, describes the full life and death of a boy (known from here out as "the Boy," though his name is more or less accepted to be Hunter) as he ventures to the City, falls in love, is shipped off to World War I, and returns in the guise of the brother he lost in battle to free the city from the hands of the corrupt Pimp and the Priest. Though some of that comes across through lyrics, a good portion of the story's plot twists and major moments are told through dozens of carefully placed reprises. Out of those forty-three minutes, though, there are a few reprises that stand out.

Warning: This list contains major spoilers for the plot of the Acts albums. If you'd like to figure the story out on your own, enjoy the reprises linked below with your hand covering the paragraphs beneath them.

11. "The Pimp and the Priest" in "Rebirth"

There were nearly six years between the release of Act IV (2015) and the cliffhanger left behind by Act III (2009), when the Boy left the war and took the identity of the Son with him, so when Act IV was finally released, it needed to open with a bang. The first song in Act IV, "Rebirth," began with the same a capella that kicked off previous albums, was swiftly joined by the band's signature instruments and, eventually, the orchestra that had gone from a small treat in Act I to a key element of the band's music in the last few albums. Once the band's voices dropped out and "Rebirth" became purely orchestral, though, it was clear that this album would be on an entirely different level from the past three acts. The orchestra crescendos into a chaotic reprise of "The Pimp and the Priest" from Act II, fading in and out of the song's quiet, "Sing softly, sing/bring me to the lake" tune and accompanied by the same drums that carry the majority of the villain's introductory song. Since the Acts albums had not returned to the City and the Pimp and the Priest's storyline since the end of Act II, the return of his song as a marker of the return of the Acts and of this story is a fitting and exciting invitation back to the land of the river and the lake.

10. "Father" in "If All Goes Well"

You might want to get your headphones out for this one, because it's a little hard to catch. In "Father," the Boy uses the poison he was given in "The Poison Woman" to kill his father in one of his lowest moments, singing, "I knew that I kept this for a reason." An album later, in "If All Goes Well," the Boy meets a rare high moment and takes power as the city's new mayor, this time singing, "I knew that I did this for a reason." On one hand, the songs pair well together, since the Boy sings the first as he kills the Father and the second as he takes his first steps toward destroying the Pimp & the Priest (the Father, in a religious sense) and his hold on the city. In the other, the reprise carries particularly haunting connotations both in the fact that the original song was surrounded by so much emotional turmoil and the fact that the Boy's belief that he did all of this for a reason is lost in the voices of the City's people, who ask the Boy to "love us all in spite of what we'll do to you," heavily foreshadowing the fact that all is not, in fact, going to go well.

9. "Son" in "Bitter Suite VI: Abandon"

Though the tune of the song is changed, the opening lyrics of "Abandon" mirror "Son" so closely that I often find myself mixing them up. This flashback to the Boy burying his brother and taking his identity appearing the first time that he finds that identity threatened since his return to the City invokes the Son in the moment it is most important his presence be felt and carries a dread that makes the Boy's disguise feel completely transparent. As soft as both songs are, the Pimp and the Priest's brief words with the Boy in "Abandon" feel sour and ominous even before he reveals that he knows the Boy's identity.

8. "The Pimp and the Priest" in "Mr. Usher (On His Way To Town)"

This one is shocking mainly because it's completely unexpected. "Mr. Usher" is unique among The Dear Hunter's discography in that no other song has been written in the same style. You wouldn't expect a reprise from their usual work to be adapted to match the swing of "Mr. Usher." Think "King of Swords (Reversed)," a disco track that only includes a reprise once the song is basically over. In "Mr. Usher," the Pimp and the Priest's leitmotif is dropped directly in the middle of the song, suddenly pairing the newly introduced Mr. Usher with the Pimp and the Priest and providing new malice to the already villainous description of Mr. Usher imagined in the first half of the song.

7. "Bitter Suite 2: Through the Dime" in "Bitter Suite V: The Sermon in the Silt"

In retrospect, the intro to "Bitter Suite V" isn't all that subtle about who is about to re-enter the story. Upon first listening to Act IV, though, the process of putting together the opening lyrics and hearing the Pimp and the Priest reveal himself through a reprise of the "Hey, kid!" tune from "Bitter Suite 2" directly after a reprise of the Oracles leitmotif is so rewarding, especially after that long wait for the return to the City arc. While I'm personally partial to the reprise in Evicted (simply because of my love for Ms. Leading), this reprise is incredibly well placed. This is also the first time we really get to see the Pimp and the Priest in his role as a priest, and the slight change in the lyrics in "Bitter Suite V" lyrics from "get a job" to "get a god" feels so delightfully wrong that it's impossible not to smile upon first hearing it.

6. "Mustard Gas" in "He Said He Had A Story"

This reprise comes just two songs after the original tune is played, but it remains one of the band's most effective. Where "Mustard Gas" illustrates the horrors of war as the soldiers question how God could allow the pain of WWI's introduction of mustard gas, "He Said He Had a Story" takes a piece of "Mustard Gas" and makes it the basis for the Father's story about raping Ms. Terri. The entirety of "He Said He Had a Story" ends up carrying all of the anger and emotion of "Mustard Gas" as a result, equating the two scenarios and making "He Said He Had a Story" one of the band's most successful villain songs. So successful, in fact, that most fans associate the tune with "He Said He Had a story" rather than "Mustard Gas," and turned straight to the former upon hearing it reprised in "The Most Cursed of Hands."

5. "The Bitter Suite 1: Meeting Ms. Leading" in "A Night on the Town"

The sudden transition from the upbeat tone of "A Night on the Town" into a reprise of "Bitter Suite 1," the song that first introduced us to the Acts' leading lady, Ms. Leading, is easily one of the most exciting reprises to stumble upon. You can just picture the Boy noticing her so clearly, and the reprise's abrupt appearance delivers the same shock as that moment likely does for the two of them. With a few piano notes, the band manages to send its audience into the same turmoil of emotions that their main character experiences, and then continues to let those emotions play out until the reprise ends near the end of the song. When "A Night on the Town" was released as a single before Act IV came out, it was no surprise that a good number of fans confessed they'd been brought to tears by the song's final three minutes.

4. "Melpomene" in "The Flame (Is Gone)"

While the nearly hidden reprise of "Where The Road Parts" in "The Flame (Is Gone)" is the first hint that Mr. Usher and the Pimp and the Priest are going after Ms. Leading, the minor reprise of "Melpomene" at the end of the song is truly evil. "Melpomene" is such a sweet, uplifting love song, all gentle hope as the Boy regains some of the optimism of his youth, that hearing it used to convey the presumed death of Ms. Leading feels like a knife in the back. The ancient Greek muse Melpomene transformed from the Muse of Chorus to the Muse of Tragedy over time, though, so the reprise only makes too much sense. Still, I am continually in denial and foolheartedly believe Ms. Leading survives to take down Mr. Usher in the end. Don't try to fight me on this.

3. "The Old Haunt" in "The March"

The entirety of "The March" could be on this list, to be honest, since it manages to fit at least ten reprises into a four minute package and every one kills me. However, though the use of the chorus of "The Old Haunt" as the bridge of "The March" may be the most obvious reprise, it is still one of the song's most poignant. The boy's thoughts in "The Old Haunt" echo his mother's as he re-enters the city knowing the danger that lies there. "The March" takes those thoughts and throws them back in the Boy's face, taunting him with the fact that all of his and his mother's fears have been made a reality as the Pimp and the Priest reveals the Boy's secrets and turns the City against him. (If you were wondering, a few of the other reprises are: "Ouroboros," "Smiling Swine," "The Oracles on the Delphi Express," "Wait," and "King of Swords (Reversed)"/"The Most Cursed of Hands.")

2. "The Oracles on the Delphi Express" in "Blood"

The Oracles' leitmotif is one of the most commonly reprised in the Acts, coming back every time something the Oracles predicted, either in the songs they sing to kick off each album or in the actual song "The Oracles on the Delphi Express," comes true or is set into motion. Consequently, every time the Oracles' leitmotif makes an appearance, it is upsetting, painful, and/or worrisome. Their tune somehow manages to be all of those things as well as completely satisfying the last time it is heard, as the Boy kills the Pimp and the Priest and seals his fate in Act V's penultimate song, "Blood." The Boy's line, "For you, I am a killer," followed directly by this reprise is both triumphant and slightly sorrowful, harkening back to the first time we heard it as the Oracles warned the Boy of his future so that he might take a different path. While the moment should be a release after years of waiting for this conclusion, the reprise ends up feeling like the final nail in the Boy's coffin.

1. "The Moon/Awake" and "The Lake South" in "A Beginning"

I'm sorry, the final track on Act V melds these two together too perfectly and I couldn't choose just one. Back in "What It Means To Be Alone" in Act III, the Oracles warned that the Boy would "die with the moon," so when the tracklist for Act V featured "The Moon" as its second song, fans were understandably concerned. Rather than use that title for the album's finale, though, the album's final track transitions into a reprise of "The Moon" as the Boy dies in "A Beginning" and transitions from that reprise into a reprise of "The Lake South" (a reprise commonly associated with "City Escape," since it appears whenever someone manages to flee the City, whether that be through setting their room on fire, going to war, or dying). Even though there is going to be an Act VI, "A Beginning" closes out the Boy's story on Earth, and the combination of these two songs to create such a bittersweet finale that it's hard not to feel stunned when it kicks into gear in the final two minutes.

The 42 minutes of reprises that exist outside of this list are just as thought out and exciting to spot, from "The Lake and the River" reprise in "The Old Haunt" becoming "Waves" to the sweet piano reprise of "Mustard Gas" at the end of "A Night on the Town," so which reprise gave you chills the first time you heard it?

Cover Image Credit: The Dear Hunter

Popular Right Now

The Logan Paul Fiasco Is Just A Symptom Of A Much Larger Problem

In the wake of Logan Paul's suicide forest debacle, I decided to explore how this could even happen in the first place.

Wow, 2018 sure has started off with a bang, hasn't it? First, Donald Trump seemingly threatens North Korea with nuclear annihilation. Then, all these stupid memes about tide pods and Knuckles the echidna circulate across the web, and finally, Logan Paul decided that he would not be outdone.

Yes, the YouTube star decided to vlog in Japan, and every foreigner who has ever hated American tourists for their arrogance and ignorance has been validated. When he arrived in the country, Paul stated that Japanese culture was all about respect. He then proceeded to run around streets in traditional Japanese attire, buy a Game Boy Color from a store only to immediately spike it on the road like a football, and oh yeah, went to the suicide forest, and decided to film the body of a man they found who had recently hung himself in the forest.

Yep, Logan Paul found a dead body and decided to post it on YouTube. I imagine this is what the end of "Stand By Me" would've looked like if it were written today, and by a trash person. Paul has since apologized after lots of backlashes.

Logan Paul is one of, if not the fastest growing star on YouTube, and this controversy has barely affected his ascent in subscribers, some of which defended his actions, and even sent threats to those who didn't. Also, I feel I am justified in saying that both Logan and his brother Jake Paul (a former Disney channel actor turned YouTuber) are both arrogant pricks who make their livings messing with people and being an overall nuisance to anyone they encounter and have no concept of consequences for their actions, but this article isn't about them.

I believe that their popularity is only a result of several fundamental problems with YouTube.

First, I want to get into YouTube's algorithms. It's how the site decides what videos are recommended for you, and more importantly to this story, what videos are on the trending page. Logan Paul's suicide forest video, the one with the dead body in the thumbnail, and the one with the words "dead body" in the title was NUMBER 1 on trending.

YouTube's algorithm exposed millions of people to this deplorable video.

YouTube wasn't even able to take the video down; this was a video that had to have been flagged thousands of times, and it was only removed because Logan Paul himself took it down after all of the backlashes. YouTube was simply unable to do anything about this, and there have to be changed to ensure that they don't let things like this slip through the cracks again.

The real question, at least to me, is why even make a video this ridiculous and ignorant and disrespectful in the first place?

The answer, of course, is for the content. Unfortunately, this is not new. YouTubers have been doing shocking things to get views for years now, and this has led to the bar being raised. Many things that were shocking before simply aren't anymore. We've seen it so many times we get numb, so creators come up with even crazier things to do. Eventually, it becomes normalized, and the cycle continues on and on until we have people filming dead bodies in haunted forests.

YouTubers are trying to get a rise out of us so that we click on their videos, and they're seeing how much they can get away with. It seems that on the internet, no matter which site you go to, the loudest, most obnoxious, most divisive voices always rise to the top, but they don't have to. We can resist that knee-jerk angry share that they want from us.

We don't have to give these idiots the light of day, and we can tell them that we have had enough of their crap, not with our voices, but with our views, because once those go away, they'll have no choice but to listen up.

Cover Image Credit: Esther Vargas

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"Reputation" Brings Taylor Back From The Dead

10 verses that assert Taylor's dominance.

Taylor is NOT dead. In fact, she's come back harder and stronger than she ever has in her 2017 album, "Reputation". This album is full of disses and self-confidence as she points out those that have wronged her as well as she has asserted her dominance. She is one of the most talked about celebrities in popular media as she's one of the most controversial and drama-filled artists as well.

Here is a list of the best kick-ass verses from each song off of "Reputation". The old innocent Taylor evolves anew as fierce and fiery Taylor. Here are the top ten badass verses that assert Taylor's dominance and fierce flare.

1. …Ready for it?

“Every love I’ve ever known in comparison is a failure// I forget their names now, I’m so very tame now// Never be the same now, now”

This song is perfect to put as #1 because it shows Taylor's new rocker vibe as well as her fight against all those who have doubted her.

2. End Game (feat. Ed Sheeran and Future)

“I swear I don’t love the drama, it loves me// And I can’t let you go, your handprints on my soul”

Here's Taylor asserting her dominance in the guy she hopes to end up with. She not only sells herself to be valuable but also confident which is something that everyone should look up to.

3. I Did Something Bad

“I never trust a playboy but they love me// and so I fly ‘em all over the world// And I let them think they saved me// They never see it coming what I do next// This is how the world works// You gotta leave before you get left”

Taylor sings proudly of her conquers of the guys she's hurt over her life.

This is the perfect anthem for doing what the f*** you want to do because there's always going to be someone who doubts you anyways. In the end, you have to do what makes you happy.

4. Don’t Blame Me

“I’ve been breaking hearts a long time// And toying with them older guys// Just playthings for me to use// Something happened for the first time// In the darkest little paradise// Shakin’, pacin’, I just need you”

I think I can say for all of us who have experienced a love that it has made us do crazy things and think crazy thoughts from time to time. Falling in love is one of the most addicting times which is why Taylor refers to her love as a drug.

5. Delicate

“Sometimes I wonder when you sleep, are you ever dreaming of me?”

This song is about finding a new love to spend your time and energy on. It's about seeing the person that you daydream over, even if it was lust at first sight.

6. Look What You Made Me Do

“But I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time// Honey, I rose up from the dead, I do it all the time”

On the reputation Album Release Party, Taylor revealed that “Look What You Made Me Do” started out as a poem:

It actually started with just a poem that I wrote about my feelings, and it’s basically about realizing that you couldn’t trust certain people, but realizing you appreciate the people you can trust. Realizing that you can’t just let everyone in, but the ones you can let in, you need to cherish. And it had all the verses in it, just basically as is.

7. So It Goes…

“cause we break down a little, but when you get me alone, it’s so simple// cause baby, I know what you know, and we can feel it”

This song is about Taylor's relationship being strong enough to withstand even the publicity and circumstances thrown their way. She's so infatuated with her beau that she even talks about how they met and the way he makes her feel. This song is definitely for you if you need some loving.

8. Gorgeous

“And I got a boyfriend he’s older than us// he’s in the club doing I don’t know what”

This song is about lusting after someone that you see at the bar and you want to talk to but you are too nervous to. This song is the song to listen to in order to gather up the nerves to talk to that attractive stranger that you see across from you but are too nervous to say hi to.

9. Getaway Car

“But you weren’t thinking, and I was just thinking”

This song is about being in an intense and romance-filled relationship that is crashing and has red flags all along. Sometimes relationships are fun rides but they come to a point where they crash.

10. King of My Heart

“Up on the rooftop with a schoolgirl crush// drinking beer out of plastic cups”

We often fool ourselves by saying we're fine by our own until a cute boy walks into our lives and begin to consume our thoughts and desires. It's that boy that makes you feel youthful and fulfilled despite all of the walls you've put up since you've been hurt so many times before.

11. Dancing With Our Hands Tied

“So baby, can we dance? Oh, through an avalanche? And say, say that we got it// I’m a mess, but I’m the mess that you wanted// Oh, cause it’s gravity, oh keeping you with me, I could’ve spent forever with your hands in my pocket”

That one love that you would be willing to climb mountains for, as long as it meant you got to be with them.

12. Dress

Flashback to my mistakes, my rebounds, my earthquake// Even in my worst lies, you saw the truth in me// And I woke up just in time// Now I wake up by your side// My one and only, my lifeline’’

Sometimes, it takes a friend or a lover to make us feel better. Regardless of whatever your past may be, you can always be born again.

13. This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

“There I was, giving you a second chance// But then you stabbed me in the back while shaking my hand”

To that one love that you don't necessarily want to trust in the first place and they end up letting you down like you expected. Yeah, we see you. And no, you don't get a second chance.

14. Call It What You Want To

“You don’t need to save me, but would you run away with me?”

During the iHeartRadio reputation release party, a clip of Taylor saying the following at a reputation Secret Session was played:

The way I feel the album is, as far as a storyline, is I feel like it starts with just getting out any kind of rebellion, or anger, or angst, or whatever. And then, like, falling in love, and realizing that you kind of settle into what your priorities are, and your life changes, but you welcome it because it’s something that matters to you. And this last part of the album feels like settling into where I am now. So it started with where I was when I started making the album, and ends with kind of my emotional state now. And this song, I think, really reflects that probably the best on the album, and it’s called “Call It What You Want.

15. New Year’s Day

“Don’t read the last page// But I stay when it’s hard or it’s wrong// But I’ll be cleaning up the

bottles with you on New Years Day”

During the iHeartRadio reputation Release Party, a clip of Taylor saying the following at an earlier Secret Session for select fans was played:

We threw a big New Year’s Eve party in London this year, and I was thinking about how everybody talks and thinks about who you kiss at midnight. Like it’s this big romantic idea of like, ‘Who are you gonna kiss at midnight, like ring in the New Year.’ And I think that is very romantic. But I think there’s something even more romantic about who’s gonna deal with you on New Year’s Day. Who’s willing to give you Advil and clean up the house. I think that states more of a permanence. So I was thinking about that, and I wrote this song called ‘New Year’s Day.’ There are two lines in this song that I had been saving for a long time, for the right moment, and I had picked them for this song, and I’m really excited about them. The first one is, ‘Please don’t ever become a stranger whose laugh I could recognize anywhere.’ And the other one is, ‘Hold on to the memories, they will hold on to you.’
Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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