Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1979 – V – It’s Just A Game

If you are super keen to see the previous 4 posts, here they are;

1979 – The Highway To Hell Begins

1979 – II – Somebody Get Me A Doctor

1979 – III

1979 – IV – Lights Out In America

And here is part five.

Toto – Hydra

Toto got success with their debut, and there were expectations they would repeat the hits. I guess no one told the Toto guys, who went and tried something different.

The band came into my life because of Steve Lukather. He was always in the guitar magazines and he interviewed really well. But I didn’t start buying or getting access to the albums until well into the 90s.

There are a few songs on this album which are progressive and man, they work great in Rock and Metal circles and credit to Dave Paich for bringing the prog.

Hydra

At 7 minutes, this song shows a band following their muse and not conforming to what the label desired.

Like all good songs, the intro hooks me in.

And seriously, you wouldn’t expect lyrics about a Dragon lord, a summer solstice and a young man in love with a lady who descends down into darkness, especially after they hit the charts with “Hold The Line”.

99

It’s a love song about a futuristic movie made by George Lucas before Star Wars. You can hear the embryo of “Africa” in this.

The piano arpeggios with the subtle jazz fusion lead break works good.

All Us Boys

It’s just a feel good technical rock and roll song. And that repeating line from 3.10 up to the end (with a lead break chucked in) is super melodic and addictive.

Molly Hatchet – Flirtin’ with Disaster

The cover didn’t give me the impression that this album or band would be a rock and roll boogie band.

One Mans Pleasure

The intro musically blew me away. It started off with a “Another One Bites The Dust”, before morphing into an Aerosmith groove like “Sweet Emotion” and a Chorus from “Sweet Home Alabama”.

One man’s loss is another man’s gain.
One man’s pleasure is another man’s pain.

It’s about hitting the road with the band and leaving your woman behind. Your loss is another mans gain, because she ain’t waiting around.

Boogie No More

It’s got this Rolling Stones vibe merged with Bowie’s “Suffragette City” in the intro. Then it morphs into a speed blues jam song with a guitar solo that references “Free Bird”.

Flirting With Disaster

The way the song starts off with the drummer playing a 16th high hat beat hooks me in. It’s unconventional from the Southern Rock vibe and very Rush like.

I’m out of money, out of hope, it looks like self-destruction
Well, how much more can we take with all of this corruption

Corruption and money go hand in hand. People will lie, cheat, kill and steal for it and the ones who have it would also lie, cheat, scheme and kill, just to keep it.

And the way we run our lives, it makes no sense to me

Living from pay to pay, building someone else’s dream and believing that if you put in more hours, you might just get your turn to make it.

I’m travelin’ down that lonesome road
Feel like I’m dragging a heavy load
Yeah, I’ve tried to turn my head away
Feel about the same most every day

In the end, the road is lonesome and you might walk it with a lot of regrets or “what if’s”.

Long Time

It’s got this “Don’t Fear The Reaper” vibe in the verses which hooks me in.

Triumph – Just a Game

Ric Emmett, underrated guitarist and songwriter. Like, Toto and Asia and Yes, Triumph came into my life because of interviews in the Guitar mags I purchased with their prospective guitarists.

Moving On

That intro riff is in every 70s song. Free, Bowie and Rolling Stones immediately come to mind.

And that section when the backing vocals are singing “on and on”, the tempo is slowed down, Emmett is in the groove bending and picking those strings and I’m reminded of The Beatles “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” but its just a small reminder.

On and on and on
You’ve got to keep on movin’ on

It’s what life is about, moving on, taking chances, failing and succeeding, embracing changes and doing it all again.

Lay It On The Line

A simple catchy repeating chorus line with chords that would become famous with “I Love Rock N Roll” and you have the gift that keeps giving royalties.

Young Enough To Cry

I once thought that only the Brit guitarists could play this kind of blues rock. Emmett shows that Canadians are more than capable.

And how good are the lines “I’m too old to get hurt baby, Oh but I’m young enough, young enough to cry”.

Just A Game

And that slowed down tempo from “Movin On” which reminds me of The Beatles kicks off the title track. It has enough of a progressive touch to make me listen. And the lyrics are the reason why this song grabs me.

But the corporate strings that make them dance
Lead up to an ivory tower

We sing the song of the corporation daily, so we turn to music as an escape, only to see our heroes suffer the same fate.

And those bosses who we dance for, and pretend to like, live in a world so fake and so out of touch with reality.

Try hard to remember all that glitters is not gold
You can pay the piper, but you cannot buy his soul

Remember the legend of the Pied Piper who abducted all of the children in the village because the people of the town refused to pay him for catching all their rats. Well if you don’t pay your debts, someone will come and collect.

It’s just a game, and all I can do…is play

Play the long game. More so now. Streaming pays over the long run and it pays forever. Be in it and get your fans to stream because no one wins by dominating the news or being the social star or TV star for a month.

Who remembers “The Voice” winners?

And the labels are here to sell the same mainstream pop, hoping that sales and dollars makes them winners. Hell, this derivative method alone killed hard rock, hair metal and whatever kind of metal you want to call it back at the start of the 90s. A market saturated with rubbish is due to be cleaned up.

What you do choose, now, what do you believe, now
Who are you gonna trust?
All you dreams and fancy schemes
Just crumble into dust

To me it’s about free will and free choice. And it’s a touchy subject. People believe because they live in a democracy they are free. But they have a loan, which they need to pay monthly for the next 30 years. It doesn’t sound so free right now when you have a 30 year sentence. And I get it, they had freedom to make the choice to get into debt. But to counter-argue, that choice wasn’t so free because the only way a person could enter the housing market is to get a loan, or a large family donation or an inheritance.

And then in order to pay the loan, they need to ensure they have a job which pays a steady income. Which if they lose the job, all of their dreams and fancy schemes just crumble into dust.

Calm and cool and computerized to calculate and collect
We wait and watch and wonder
Just which puppet they’ll select

Like the movie “Dark City”, their are people we cannot see who manipulate and control what happens.

Science tells us global warming is real and leaders from democratic nations ignore it and call it a lie. Someone with deep pockets controls the narrative, and money rules this game.

Like the moth, too near the flame,
Who learned his truth too late
We’re all too deep into the game
That is the master of our fate

Learn to play the game better than others and maybe we’ll succeed. But remember our time on Earth is limited, and the game ends when we take our last breath.

Blackfoot – Strikes

The melodic rock side of the band is what I liked.

Left Turn On A Red Light

And as I buy myself another ticket, Lord
For somewhere else on down the line
Well I’ll always be a rambler
Well the ones I love always keep tellin’ me

It was a rite of passage once upon a time, to leave home and go your own way. It’s why so many songs with those themes connected. Today, the majority stay at home, because it’s comfortable and risk free.

Wishing Well

How good is this song from Free?

It’s been covered to death, but, what can I say, you can’t keep a good song down. So kick off your shoes and lose yourselves.

Highway Song

The lead breaks from about 4 minutes to the end is the reason why this song is here.

“Solo to the end” was a musical sectional once upon a time. Lost when MTV took power. In saying that, Skid Row brought out the “solo to the end” section in “Quicksand Jesus” and “In A Darkened Room” from “Slave To The Grind”.

Blue Öyster Cult – Mirrors

The album is ordinary except for “Lonely Teardrops”.

That funky riff which reminds me of “Superstitious” and “Play That Funky White Music White Boy” is catchy.

I seem to see a rose
I reach out then it goes
Now in its thorns I roam

Brilliant lines to describe the pain of being away from home.

38 Special – Rockin’ Into the Night

For me, only “Stone Cold Believer” is the highlight.

I speak my mind. I don’t hold it back,
That’s how I am, and I’m hopin’ that’s where you’ at.

Do we really speak our minds?

Research out there reckons that Google and other search engines know more truth about us via our search results than our partners know.

And these days what is truth?

We have battle lines drawn, our view points backed up with our research and away we go, trying to shout louder than the others. It makes great viewing, it might be fun, but it will not change the other persons view.

Viewpoints can change, but not by picking a fight.

Wanna climb that ladder, y’ wanna make it to the top,
Takes only one thing, gotta give it all y’ got.
Knew a man who couldn’t lose, ’cause he never gave in,

You get to the “top” or to your “defined top” by being a lifer. You need to be in it, even when the times are tough and you feel like you should leave.

In saying that if the business venture is costing you money, you’ll need to walk away and cut your losses, but still be in the game and restart again.

Amazon walked away from developments that cost them billions and restarted again. It’s okay to fail and succeed.

Well that’s it for another 1979 section. I think I have a few more to do before 79 is a wrap and I move to 78.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1983 – Episode 8 – A Mixed Bag

We keep marching forward and what seemed important once upon a time may be irrelevant tomorrow.

My physical music collection (LP, Cassettes, VHS videos, magazines and CD’s) seemed important once upon a time.

In one of the houses I lived in, I even had my physical music collection locked in a room, in the middle of the house, that was alarmed. That’s how important my physical music collection was. Actually I still have my physical in a place that’s pretty secure. But those physical copies just don’t hold the same value as they once did. Those feelings and opinions I had about holding a physical copy got totally ignored by the future. I still love music, but it’s all about access for me. Even back when I started buying music, I never woke up in the morning and said to myself I need to go out and buy some music. I always said, I want to hear, this song or that song.

In 2017, I can look back at 1983 and sort of loosely trace what the world would become with the internet. Back then, the magazines and the TV music channels started to push us to listen/watch to what was the “hit” of the day. A lot of music consumers forgot about the album and started to take in the popular. This led to many consumers missing out on what was important or useful.

Because if the aim was to write pop songs, the writer normally dumbs it down and leaves out the “message” of the song. It’s an exchange that needs to be made for attention. But if every music fan looks into their music catalogues, they will see the soundtrack of their life is not made up of the Chart Hits. As the saying goes, popularity doesn’t mean it’s the best, it just means it’s popular.

“Blizzard Of Ozz” is popular today and known as one of the best-selling Ozzy albums on par with “No More Tears”. The truth is “No More Tears” sold more quickly while “Blizzard Of Ozz” percolated and kept on breaking through to a new audience for two reasons. New fans of Ozzy went to check out his back catalogue and new guitar players went to check out the influential albums of Randy Rhoads.

Anyway, here is part 8 of my 1983 historical review and here is the Spotify playlist for it.

The previous parts can be found by clicking on the number. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

The Revölution By Night – Blue Öyster Cult

There is a saying that the most common way to deal with the future is to try to predict it. The techies have morphed this saying to be, “The most common way to deal with the future is to invent a small part that’s big enough to make a difference”.  And I believe Blue Oyster Cult was trying to do just that with “The Revolution By Night”. To me, the album is a new wave/hard rock mash-up and it works for a few songs and not for others.  If only other bands got creative and experimental and innovative. But then again, being experimental doesn’t always lead to dollars and dollars is what the record labels are after.

Bruce Fairbairn is on hand to produce, before his massive “Slippery When Wet” success.

Take Me Away

It has a cool groove, a new wave rock riff that just works for me, cool vocal melodies and a pretty progressive solo middle section. But it has no attention from listeners. It’s co-written by Eric Bloom with Aldo Nova.

Strange shapes light up the night
Never seen them though I hope I might
Don’t ask if they are real
The men in black, their lips are sealed

It’s way before the “Men In Black” movies.

I turn my hopes up to the sky
I’d like to know before I die
Memories will slowly fade
I lift my eyes and say
Come on, take me away

Umm, I don’t think many of us did say to the sky for it to take us away.

Eyes On Fire

It kicks off like a piano jamming and then it goes to melodic rock AOR heaven. It’s got all the check boxes ticked for a bonafide hit, but it wasn’t to be. It’s written by Gregg Winter who is from Long Island and contributed several songs to one of Blooms side project. “Eyes of Fire” was written for that project and when it ended, it became a Blue Oyster Cult song.

But she don’t look at me
With eyes on fire
Glowing like coals in the night
Hungry eyes
Burning with love and desire

Un-requited love.

The album is always referred to “the album didn’t do go Gold in the U.S after the success of the previous two albums.” And sales equalled success once upon a time. No wonder people at the top are struggling to comprehend listens = success.

The Hurting – Tears For Fears

I got this album in 90’s and again via the second-hand record/book shop.

“Pale Shelter” stuck out straight away and “Memories Fade” (with that drum/bass groove) was a close second. The main singles like “Suffer The Children”, “Mad World” and “Change” didn’t really connect and still don’t.

Pale Shelter

It’s basically a rock track recorded as a new wave pop song.

And I can’t operate on this failure
When all I wanna be is
Completely in command

So true. There is always someone who wants to be in charge of the relationship.

You don’t give me love

God damn love. We are in it, we are out of it, we seek it, we find it and the cycle repeats until our time comes to check out of life.

Memories Fade

That bass/drum groove is played throughout the song and it’s progressively addictive.

There’s only need
I love your need
So much I’m losing me

Relationships are like this. One partner’s light sometimes gets lost in another partner’s light. And they do it willingly, without really knowing it’s happening. So when it all goes to hell, what’s left.

Engulfed by you
What can I do?
When history’s my cage
Look forward to a future in the past

We all look back into the past and see it in a different light today. Like it was better. Do we really want to go back to an era without the internet, only three TV stations and all the rest that goes with the era.

Mercyful Fate – Melissa

Isn’t it funny how Mercyful Fate ended up on the Filthy list in the U.S and lead vocalist King Diamond had no idea he or his band was on the list. Goes to show the Filthy 15 list had a zilcho effect on the artists involved.

Evil

The “Evil” intro reminds me of “The Four Horseman” intro and then other sections of the song remind me of Metallica. Did Lars have a demo copy of an EP that had this song?

I was born on the cemetery
Under the sign of the moon
Raised from my grave by the dead
I was made a mercenary
In the legions of Hell
Now I’m king of pain, I’m insane

It’s structured like a blues verse and it tells a story like a blues song. The words form a visual in the mind.

You know my only pleasure
Is to hear you cry
I’d love to hear you cry
I’d love to feel you die

I never took lines these seriously. It’s art. It’s no different to a graphic painting or a horror movie. You can look at it, appreciate it or be disgusted by it. Lyrics are the same.

Love the musical section from 2.48 to 3.32 along with the vocal melody. And that lead break fits the song to a tee. It includes Thin Lizzy style harmonies that segues into an UFO inspired blues rock lead.

Curse Of The Pharaohs

The “Curse Of The Pharaohs” intro reminds of the “Two Minutes To Midnight” intro, which reminds me of “The Power And The Glory” intro from Saxon, which reminds me of two Ted Nugent songs called “Out Of Control” and “Stranglehold”, which reminds me of “Welcome To Hell” from Venom, which reminds me of “Looks That Kill” from Motley Crue, which reminds me of “Young Girls” from Dokken, which reminds me of “Tell The World” from Ratt. I guess you can’t keep a good riff down.

All that’s needed is a person who didn’t create anything to own the rights of one of those songs and start suing all the others for plagiarism.

Away out in Egypt in the valley of kings
Where the mummified pharaohs
Pretend dead in their sleep

Again, the scene is set with story-telling lyrics.

Don’t touch, never ever steal
Unless you’re in for the kill
Or you’ll be hit by the curse of the pharaohs

The long-held belief that anyone who disturbed the tombs of the pharaohs ends up dead.

Into The Coven

The intro is baroque to a tee. Then the riff comes in as the drums build it up and once the whole band is in, the music and the groove of the song makes me want to snap my desk in half.

Howl like a wolf
And a witch will open the door
Follow me and meet our high priestess
Come, come into my coven
And become Lucifer’s child

You can see why Mercyful Fate was on the Filthy list. Even though the band only had a limited audience in the U.S at the time, the lyrics in this song went against the Bible belters beliefs. Suddenly, challenged by artists preaching for the fallen one, the Bible belters built up a coalition of Senators to fight this evil.

Undress until you’re naked
And put on this white coat
Take this white cross and go to the middle of the ring

Again, art is art. How many movies have people watched with a scene like the above and not cared much about it?

The harmony lead break was used by Metallica as inspiration for another lead break.

Melissa

“Melissa” has a great intro. You can hear where Metallica got the idea for an intro lead in “Fade To Black” over the Pink Floyd inspired riff. Influences and homages lead to new little creations, which will become future influences. And I’ll pre-empt that other artists had lead breaks over an arpeggio riff before Mercyful Fate, but those artists weren’t a large influence to early Metallica in the way Mercyful Fate was/is.

The section from about 2.40 to 3.20, you can say the section influenced “Aerials” from SOAD. It’s that good that it appears again from about the 5.30 mark to the end.

So Melissa was a witch, killed by a priest and her followers are seeking revenge. Again, storytelling at its simplest and finest.

Genesis – Genesis

Phil Collins solo success was the prequel/catalyst for the pop stardom to befall Genesis.

Mama

It’s a great song as it builds consistently over a synthed out electronic drum machine loop until it merges with a real drum groove in the “We Will Rock You” style vibe merged with Phil Collins solo hit “In The Air Tonight”. And Phil Collins is on fire vocally. I also believe that the “Mama” he refers to is not his real Mama, sort of like how Mama is a nickname for Sharon Osbourne, so when Ozzy sing’s “Mama I’m Coming Home”, he’s really saying, Sharon, I’m coming home.

That’s All

It’s got a feel good pop hook.

Truth is I love you
More than I wanted to
There’s no point in trying to pretend

I read on one of Seth Godin’s post that truth is real, it’s measurable and it happened. Truth is not in the eye of the beholder. So can “how much you love someone” ever be truth? To me it is not measurable, so it can’t be real truth, which means its truth in the eye of the beholder. It’s truth based on a belief. Sort of like how, if you believe that the music you are listening too is great, then it’s true. It’s a placebo and it works. I believe in nurture over nature. I believe that no one is born with gifts or is a prodigy. I believe that with the right practice, all of us can achieve greatness. And our beliefs give us joy. And it’s enough to make us do amazing things. But it’s not truth.

Men at Work – Cargo

Coming off their mega hit, “Down Under”, Men At Work delivered a social conscience album in “Cargo”.

Overkill

It’s the standout track, with a sleazy saxophone lead.

I can’t get to sleep
I think about the implications
Of diving in too deep
And possibly the complications
Especially at night
I worry over situations
I know will be all right
Perhaps it’s just imagination

Laying in bed and unable to sleep leads to anxiety because our brains are so good at turning smoke into fires.

Day after day it reappears
Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away

Over thinking things.

220 Volt – 220 Volt

220 Volt formed in 1982 and of course are from Sweden. CBS signed them on the strength of their own independent single release and by 1983 their self-titled debut hit the streets.  This album is a great hard rock listen musically. It’s melodic and hard/heavy enough to satisfy the metal heads. It wasn’t as popular as other releases of the era however it doesn’t mean it isn’t quality.

Lonely Nights

I’ve tried so many times
To reach you by the phone
But your line is always busy
And I can’t get through

The song starts off with a platonic love relationship and due to constantly being ignored it ends up hateful.

How true are the verse lines above?

In the days when households had just one phone and service was far from perfect, the busy dial tone was a common thing.

No Return

The main riff is familiar and I am sure I have heard something similar in bands that came afterwards. The feel of this song reminds me of the John Sykes “Spellbound” era of Tygers of Pang Tang.

You broke my heart
When I needed you most
But you just turned and walked away
I thought that we
Could work out together
But you didn’t even wanna try

Once it’s broken, it’s broken. Move on, even if it hurts like hell.

Running around
I’m so restless, don’t know what to do

You suddenly have time and don’t know what to do with it.

The End Of The World

I swear Malmsteen would have had to be influenced by this band. The main riff in this song is similar to a lot of the songs on Malmsteen’s first three solo albums.

Think of these days
That we are living
And try to find out
What’s right or wrong
Your highest dream
Is peace everywhere
But there’s no chance
For that at all

Even in 1983, artists questioned the world they lived in. The every elusive “peace” is what everyone wants. But how can that be when our brains are designed to be negative in order to survive.

‘Cause the world is full of evil
And there’s nothing we can do

Yes the world is made to believe evil exists. Religion thrives on it and for democracy to survive, it needs an enemy. In my time, war has been a constant. When I did history at school, we studied the Vietnam War, the Korean War and the two World Wars.

From the 80’s, off the top of my head, we’ve had the Iran-Iraq war, Falklands War, Lebanon War, invasion of Grenada, Invasion of Panama, Gulf War, Rwandan Civil War, Balkan Wars (Slovenia, Croatian and Bosnia), Algerian Civil War, Somali Civil War, Georgian Civil War, Chechen War, Afghanistan Civil War and Iraq War after 9/11. Add to the list, all of the uprisings, revolutions and even drug wars. Guess the world is full of evil.

Gypsy Queen

It’s a good listen about boy finding girl who then finds out the girl he found can look into her crystal ball and see the future.

Nightwinds

The time we had
Was the happiest part of my life
But you’re not gone
There will always be a light in my heart

He’s not ready to let go of the relationship.

Child Of The Night

Child of the night
You’re looking so lonely
Why did you ever leave home

A lot of people left school early and left home early, trying to find their place in life. Some did and others didn’t.

Stop and Look Back

You fight so hard
You wanna be a superstar
Dreamin’ daydreams of your own
You won’t be pleased
Until you reach the top
You won’t give up, never stop
Never stop

What is the top when it comes to being a superstar? Some would say Metallica reached the top with the “Black” album. I would say yes to that for recorded sales, however from a live point of view, they are getting bigger and bigger. You would think the 5 year “Death Magnetic” World tour would be the top, but their show and tour looks bigger.

You’re ready now
To meet the big success
You worked so hard for many years
Let’s hope that you
Can stand the pressure
So your dream will come true
Will come true

Once people taste success, they try to recreate it, forgetting that their success originally came from being creative and not re-creative.

Woman In White

Musically, it’s impressive. Melodically it’s impressive. Lyrically, it’s not impressive about a woman in white who steals the light and guarantees satisfaction.

Marc Jordan – A Hole in the Wall

While the whole album is too light for my liking, “A Hole In The Wall” is a good crossover melodic rock song, similar to the Jersey Jovi sound that would appear on the debut in a years time.

Robert Plant – The Principle Of Moments

Basically, the stand out tracks for me on this disc, are the ones that continue in the vein of what Plant did with Led Zep. The other more drum machine stuff and new age synth rock doesn’t work for me.

Other Arms

One of the better ones written by Plant and Robert Blunt.

Lay down your arms
Oh, now baby let me sleep at night

Is Robert Plant saying shut the fuck up and let me sleep?

Words you been using, hurting me so
Someday you’re gonna regret
Way friends are talking, I guess you’ll never know
This battle ain’t been won yet

Interpretation of words is a relationship killer. How many apologies are started with the words “I didn’t mean to say”?

Fussing and fighting is leaving me sad
That’s not the way it should be

We argue over the rubbish, the toilet seat, the cleanliness of the house, what people said, why people said what they said, how come people didn’t say what they should have said or why you didn’t stand up for them. And then kids come along and the same arguments exist with a few new ones.

Wreckless Love

It’s basically a Led Zep track with reference to Page’isms’ throughout the whole song, but for me, it’s the groove and feel of the verses. It’s progressive and exotic and cool. Basically, it’s “an unsafe” style of verse for a musical world moving into an MTV world. It’s also written by Page and Blunt.

Dance through the coloured razzamatazz
Spin alone desert affairs
Reckless love is creeping on you

As usual Plant is cryptic as ever in his lyrics. I got no idea what razzamatazz, desert affairs and a creeping reckless love have to do with each other, but somehow, Plant makes it work.

Horizontal Departure

It’s got the “Kashmir” riff in the verse. You know the riff I’m talking about. The one that moves up chromatically. Then in the verses, it feels like The Police and the solo break is like Dire Straits and “Sultans of Swing”.

And you said you’d never leave me
In fact you said you’d be my only one
I said you’d never grieve me baby
For things done when you are only having fun, fun.

It’s hard to keep a relationship going when you spend a lot of time away.

I don’t know, so you turned around and found another

And by the end of song, they had gone their separate ways.

Big Log

One of the better ones and even though it’s got a drum machine, the guitar lines and the bass playing set up a moody song that would make Chris Issak proud. Plant as usual delivers a stellar vocal.

My love is in league with the freeway
Its passion will ride as the cities fly by
And the taillights dissolve in the coming of night
And the questions, in thousands, take flight

A very un-clichéd look at life on the road.

1983 was a year that kicked off a lot of careers, however it also resurrected a lot of 70’s careers. And MTV was the airplane that accomplished it. While others complained about the gatekeepers, the unfairness, others who played the game got on board and reaped the rewards.

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