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  #1  
Old 10-22-2014, 01:25 AM
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Default I suck at power ballads.

I just realized how unconvincing I play power ballads. You know those Star Search/Showtime at the Apollo/America's Got Talent etc... songs that repeat the chorus at least six times with the big cymbal crash key change towards the end.
I think it's because I never like them and that's why I don't play them well. I have yet another new challenge as a musician.
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  #2  
Old 10-22-2014, 02:40 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

What makes you think you are unconvincing Mr. Jeremy Bender?
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  #3  
Old 10-22-2014, 03:16 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

It's just the way I feel about the songs I guess. I can keep time, play with dynamics and I understand the song structure but there's a musical disconnect for me.

Maybe I need to learn to embrace this style and get on with it.
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  #4  
Old 10-22-2014, 04:18 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

Is it possible that the way you play them is fine but you just don't enjoy it?
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  #5  
Old 10-22-2014, 04:38 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

That may indeed be the case.
Drummerworld is like free therapy sometimes!
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  #6  
Old 10-22-2014, 04:47 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

Well, I wasn't going to bring it up but....

(see what I did there?)
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  #7  
Old 10-22-2014, 05:45 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

Tell us about your childhood Jeremy. You can lie down if you like.
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Old 10-22-2014, 06:03 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy Bender View Post
It's just the way I feel about the songs I guess. I can keep time, play with dynamics and I understand the song structure but there's a musical disconnect for me.

Maybe I need to learn to embrace this style and get on with it.
The way I see it you can do one of 2 things:

1. Never play another power ballad in your life again. So long Celine Dion, bye bye Bette Midler, bog off Bonnie Tyler.

2. Stifle the dry heaves and do your damnedest to wring out every over-stressed syllable of feeling by beating those cymbals like unloved stepchildren.

In the band I'm in we selected some songs by giving everybody a vote for a song. You want your song played? Name it! I had a recalcitrant band member who felt one of the other members' choices was not to his taste, which made it hard for him to muster up enthusiasm. Tough! Suck it up Buttercup!

(If it were me, I'd be trying to make option 1 work.)
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Old 10-22-2014, 07:25 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

When you play a power ballad, light up a cigarette and put it near your drum kit.
Close your eyes when you play.
Imagine you are in a Chicago nightclub in 1950.
Pretend you are playing the blues.

.
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  #10  
Old 10-22-2014, 03:04 PM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

I love ballads. "Stairway to Heaven" is a power ballad.

What makes a ballad....a ballad anyway?
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  #11  
Old 10-22-2014, 03:17 PM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

Maybe this will help!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNCiXKpO94g

or this (a full version)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCDuCrr2Ljs
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  #12  
Old 10-22-2014, 03:46 PM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

Could be because they tend to sound easy but to wring every ounce of "Emotion" from one is a thing of horror and beauty, at the same time.

My fav would have to be "Bed of Roses" by Bon Jovi. If you have to do a power ballad this is the one.

I hate big hair rock but BoR gets me every time. Guilty secret is out.
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  #13  
Old 10-23-2014, 12:07 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

I read a long time ago in Modern Drummer, when playing a slow song (or any other type you have trouble with), pretend that you wrote it. It has worked for me. Peace and goodwill.
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  #14  
Old 10-23-2014, 12:28 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumolator View Post
I read a long time ago in Modern Drummer, when playing a slow song (or any other type you have trouble with), pretend that you wrote it. It has worked for me. Peace and goodwill.
Yes.

Learn the words of the song and own the emotion. Then you can be part of the emotion of the song as you play it.

.
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  #15  
Old 10-23-2014, 12:28 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

Never been a fan of the power balad, but I have to admit that on those occasions where I'm practicing along to random stuff on the radio, I almost always stop and play along to them, or at least the ones that don't make me puke lol. Journey's always good since there's 30 years of them being burned into my brain so nothing but the groove to think about.

What I really like is that it's like an inverted kind of practice, if you will. Instead of a lot of notes with few spaces, these are a lot of spaces with few notes.

A different kind of fun for sure, but really useful. Plus, being able to comfortably play slow with conviction and authority directly transfers over to Melvins-y stoner/doom material, so I've programmed myself to ignore the cheese factor and just try to nail it.
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  #16  
Old 10-23-2014, 12:40 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

You have to get your stick spins down, and having power toms helps too, lol
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  #17  
Old 10-23-2014, 12:45 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
A different kind of fun for sure, but really useful. Plus, being able to comfortably play slow with conviction and authority directly transfers over to Melvins-y stoner/doom material, so I've programmed myself to ignore the cheese factor and just try to nail it.
Yes, learning to play slow is very useful. And learning to play slow and loud and make it sound good is hard to do.


.
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  #18  
Old 10-23-2014, 07:25 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

Power ballads can be hard to lock in - with the dramatic faux timpani fills being very unforgiving, and it's easy to get scrappy coming out of them and returning to the groove.

Just as jazz is difficult - playing lightly with intensity - it's not always easy to play slowly with intensity either. There's always a temptation for someone in the band (including drums) to push the tempo and lose some of the spaciousness. Andy has talked about how Comfortably Numb is the hardest song for him in his band's set, yet you'd think some of their other tunes like Jump would be tougher.

It's also easy to tense up with all the drama (contorted face, James's unloved stepchildren cymbals) but, as always, staying relaxed gives a smoother result.
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  #19  
Old 10-23-2014, 11:01 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

I always have problems with key changes too.... :)
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  #20  
Old 10-24-2014, 02:25 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
What makes a ballad....a ballad anyway?

Today, people say "ballad" when they mean "slow song", because somehow it seems like a more 'official' jargon word. For centuries, "ballad" meant a song (or even just a poem) that tells a story. "Ode to Billy Joe", "Devil Went Down to Georgia", "Frankie and Johnny", "Bad Bad Leroy Brown", etc. Ironically, usually NOT very slow, more medium to up-tempo.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballad
http://examples.yourdictionary.com/e...-a-ballad.html
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  #21  
Old 10-24-2014, 07:50 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

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Originally Posted by Anon La Ply View Post
Andy has talked about how Comfortably Numb is the hardest song for him in his band's set, yet you'd think some of their other tunes like Jump would be tougher.
Nah, "Jump" is real easy Grea. Even the solo section that nobody seems to get right is easy when you know the downbeat accents. "Comfortably Numb" is a right bastard, & here's why:

1/ Starting tempo. Oh so critical. Get that even slightly wrong, & you're screwed. There's nowhere to go, no natural adjustment point. So many of the song signature elements don't work if dragged or rushed. Almost unplayed ralls are featured frequently (at least, in the version we play).

2/ You need to groove, but almost not. The groove needs to be an undercurrent, an orchestration accompaniment, not a foot tapper kind of deal.

3/ Feel changes. Verses range in feel from doped out to elation. Chorus has a release vibe to it. First solo should ooze sadness & abandonment, second solo should grow in authority & intensity, then end in slow celebration.

4/ Dynamic changes. Not only does each section have it's own foundation level, it also changes according to the lyric.
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  #22  
Old 10-24-2014, 09:07 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

Is the answer to the power ballads question not wind chimes?

I'm pretty sure it must be.
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  #23  
Old 10-24-2014, 09:44 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

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Originally Posted by JustJames View Post
Is the answer to the power ballads question not wind chimes?

I'm pretty sure it must be.
YES! (even though I don't use them in Comfortably Numb) Release your inner chime!!!!!
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  #24  
Old 10-24-2014, 04:05 PM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

Comfortably Numb is quite the piece of work. I love playing along to that one. From the same album, Mother has to be my favorite though. Word is that Jeff Porcaro played on that one and it's just stunning. Only thing that could have made that masterpiece of a record even more of a masterstroke would be if JP had played on the whole thing. MHO, of course.
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  #25  
Old 10-24-2014, 04:09 PM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

The second guitar solo I ever learned was the solo to 'Mother'. It's quite a piece of work, that one. Most power ballads suck but when they're good, they're really good.
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  #26  
Old 10-24-2014, 04:24 PM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

Thinking about the power-pop ballads of the past I've realized that if I can live comfortably at 72 BPM I should be okay.
Beware...behind the turbo toms, wind chimes and timpani that accompany the big hair and fog machines lurks a much greater sin. Sleigh bells.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAlUVosDkMU
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  #27  
Old 10-24-2014, 05:03 PM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

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Originally Posted by Jeremy Bender View Post
much greater sin. Sleigh bells.
Yes!!!! Something to take the heat off my wind chimes & quell the hoard of sad b&$%ds who lack the imagination (& frankly, the talent) to put me down on anything wholesome ;) ;) ;)

Yippee! Sleigh bells - a fate worse than wind chimes :) Just wait a minute though, there's hand claps, & those disco "boo boo" E-toms, & random tambourine action by otherwise unoccupied backing singers, & why does almost every pop latin section have to have a whistle, oh, & percussionists who think timbale = relentless soloing, & while I'm on a roll ------------------------------- ;)
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  #28  
Old 10-24-2014, 05:25 PM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

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Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
Yes!!!! Something to take the heat off my wind chimes & quell the hoard of sad b&$%ds who lack the imagination (& frankly, the talent) to put me down on anything wholesome ;) ;) ;)

Yippee! Sleigh bells - a fate worse than wind chimes :) Just wait a minute though, there's hand claps, & those disco "boo boo" E-toms, & random tambourine action by otherwise unoccupied backing singers, & why does almost every pop latin section have to have a whistle, oh, & percussionists who think timbale = relentless soloing, & while I'm on a roll ------------------------------- ;)
No, just no....everything is a step above wind chimes. the only thing worse would be if Guru started making chimes....( is that already in the works)
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  #29  
Old 10-25-2014, 05:59 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

Thank you all for reminding me about one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs. I'm listening to it right now. Why do the drums always sound so good?

To the OP; I'm pretty sure that DW makes some hideous floor tom snare thing to solve your problem. It probably costs $1000.
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  #30  
Old 10-25-2014, 06:10 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

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the only thing worse would be if Guru started making chimes....( is that already in the works)
Segmented ovangkol frame curved in a golden ratio spiral with precision-machined chromed T6 aluminum bars with logarithmic-scale lengths and harmonically tuned to the planets' alignments. Also the bars are suspended by magnets...space-future aluminum magnets...to maximize resonance. Evans heads included.

Andy told me on the DL but I just couldn't keep it to myself any longer.
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  #31  
Old 10-25-2014, 07:14 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

I too used to poo-poo not just power ballads, but all types of ballads in general. They sounded boring to me.

What I figured out was the amount of emotion you can put into a ballad, especially a power ballad. Some of my loudest playing had been playing those things, and no one complains because we're all "in the moment" so to speak.

Steve Smith has some good insight into playing ballads, keeping them solid and keeping or increasing their intensity when you play a drum fill.

The dynamic contrast is what works for me. I play verses really softly, choruses, a bit more, then to bridge a bit louder. Sometimes it will get softer or completely silent before the "WHAM BAM THANK YOU MA'AM" fill that you play to get into the last chorus and coda. And you're playing the same thing you did before, just 100x's louder. Then you build even more! and more as it slows doooowwwwwwnnnn CRAAAAAAASH!!!!! High note! Loudest note! Huge floor tom roll into the Big CRAAAASH to end the tune (that one will be even louder than the previous loudest note)

aaaaand...you're spent.
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  #32  
Old 10-25-2014, 10:37 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

Quote:
Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
Yippee! Sleigh bells - a fate worse than wind chimes :)
Jingle bells are wonderful :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13L6sjk080c

Quote:
Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
Just wait a minute though, there's hand claps, & those disco "boo boo" E-toms, & random tambourine action by otherwise unoccupied backing singers, & why does almost every pop latin section have to have a whistle, oh, & percussionists who think timbale = relentless soloing,
A solid list of objectionable percussives there, Andy, though I'm a fan of well placed whistles, though probably not in power ballads ...
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Old 10-29-2014, 01:35 AM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

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Originally Posted by MileHighDrummer View Post
I always have problems with key changes too.... :)
I literally laughed. Stupid question, what decade were you born in? That could play a role. Being born in the 80's, I heard this all the time and they remind me of childhood things. My dad, however, see it as the death of music.
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  #34  
Old 01-10-2019, 02:50 PM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

Ah - a nostalgia blast. Wind chimes, old friends, & flagrant windups = sorely missed :)
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  #35  
Old 01-10-2019, 03:42 PM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

Yes - dragged from the archives (by either spam or troll - not sure which)
I too own wind chimes - although not currently on the kit as no power ballads in the set list at the moment.

Comfortably Numb falls into my list of great songs.....that should not be done by covers bands!
See also Jeremy by Pearl Jam, I am the Highway (Audio slave) Grounds for Divorce (Elbow).......

No matter how good the band - Fired Up as an example - some songs never seem to project the same energy/feeling and end up being depressing rather than moving.
Maybe they are great songs,just not for a Friday/Saturday night out??

Anybody got any more to add to this list?
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Old 01-10-2019, 05:06 PM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

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Originally Posted by KEEF View Post
Yes - dragged from the archives (by either spam or troll - not sure which)
I too own wind chimes - although not currently on the kit as no power ballads in the set list at the moment.

Comfortably Numb falls into my list of great songs.....that should not be done by covers bands!
See also Jeremy by Pearl Jam, I am the Highway (Audio slave) Grounds for Divorce (Elbow).......

No matter how good the band - Fired Up as an example - some songs never seem to project the same energy/feeling and end up being depressing rather than moving.
Maybe they are great songs,just not for a Friday/Saturday night out??

Anybody got any more to add to this list?
We keep Comfortably Numb in the set for approximately half our gigs. It's definitely there in a rock orientated festival set, but I'm also surprised how well it goes down in the most unlikely of venues, & with the most unlikely of audience demographic. It's not the floor emptying song you think it's going to be sometimes.

A couple of gigs back, we had upwards of 30, 18 - 25 year old girls singing along & going nuts for it. Ok, perhaps not the most discerning sector of the audience, but nevertheless, gratifying on multiple levels!

As for our performance of it, it's nearly impossible to recreate the original vibe, but I've seen floyd struggle on it to, albeit they're entitled to, we're not.
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  #37  
Old 01-10-2019, 05:10 PM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

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As for our performance of it, it's nearly impossible to recreate the original vibe, but I've seen floyd struggle on it to, albeit they're entitled to, we're not.
I think these guys nailed it.
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  #38  
Old 01-10-2019, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

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I think these guys nailed it.
It has a certain magnificence to it ;)

I guarantee most bands would struggle to recreate that version more than the original!
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Old 01-10-2019, 06:12 PM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

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I think these guys nailed it.

Oh my...................
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Old 01-10-2019, 06:23 PM
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Default Re: I suck at power ballads.

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I understand what you feel. I also have trouble, I must write a william shakespeare essay. Seems to me, it's not a very interesting topic for reading and for writing also. Maybe somebody can make it instead of me?
Here you go. Romeo wants Juliet. King Lear said no and hires Othello to kill Romeo. Romeo then buys an illegal AK-47 from Tibault and goes on a killing spree. The end. Now stop being lazy and read it yourself.
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