Features | Awards

The Dark Lord Sauron Award for Missing Our Chance to Seize the One True Ring to Bind Us All

By Corey Beasley | 16 December 2013

Vondelpark :: Seabed

I couldn’t make it through Lord of the Rings. In my early teens, I read up through the first twenty pages or so of The Two Towers and gave up. And it doesn’t make sense, seeing as I was primed to love those books in so many ways: I grew up straight nerding out on sci-fi and creature features; I loved being able to tell girls (definitely not girls) I’d read a book this big why haven’t you; I am full of testosterone and have Frodo hair on my feet. And yet. The books were too indulgent even for me, a Jedi master (sci-fi > fantasy) of self-indulgence, Tolkien going on and on and on about this character’s family lineage, that elf’s fight with this dwarf. The last straw was that endless section on Tom Billabong or whoever, that hillbilly who won’t stop singing and literally speaks in stress-timed meter, just like people who read all three books in Lord of the Rings.

I saw the movies, though. Them shits were good.

But here’s the thing: come to find out, there were legions of Tolkien fans who were furious that Peter Jackson cut things out of the books when making the movies. And the thing they were most upset about Jackson leaving out? You got it. Tom Billabong. That means the thing that I hated most about that first novel, the most masturbatory and unbearable nerdery in all that nerddom, was a vast swath of readers’ favorite part. Dumbstruck. Pulling my best Samwise Gamgee face here.

And I have to think, as you are definitely thinking now, no question you are thinking it—if I had to band together with those fans to defeat Sauron and the forces of evil by finding the one true ring and harnessing its power for the forces of good before destroying it forever to save the universe? Could I swallow our differences and get it done? Man. I don’t know. Motherfucker spoke in meter.

All of this is to say, if it were up to me, in that case—boom. Done. World’s over. Volcano, everywhere. But I don’t feel completely terrible about myself. Because most of y’all slept on the one ring to bind us all, too. Yes, now I’m talking Vondelpark’s Seabed. There is no reason this record shouldn’t be on top tens across the entirety of Internet-shire, all of us holding hands and bobbing our heads along to the quiet storm. It hits everything: sleepy sexy James Blakey vocals, grooves to snake around your whole body like the world’s nicest python, a smattering enough of darkwave and dub textures to minimize the adult contemporary influences and keep things jazz nightclub cool. I’m talking “Seabed,” “Come On,” “Always Forever,” goddamn “California Analog Dream” here. But no. Y’all asleep. And don’t turn it around on me and blame this Vondelpark record, which is definitely good for helping you sleep. No. Sauron reigns. We remain divided. The Dark Lord conquers.


▲ “California Analog Dream”