Frankenstein’s Album

So, turning an entire musical album into something that relates to a novel…fun task indeed. Of course, my mind being mine, the first thing I leapt to was a Frankenstein version. My favorite musical artist — both due to style and song content — is Gavin Dunne, better known as Miracle of Sound. Cross Frankenstein with Miracle of Sound, and you get the fake band/artist “Miracle of Life.” There’s a certain irony there, as well as a genuine meaning. On one hand, Victor genuinely created life in the shape of his monster. He succeeded in doing something no one else had, creating life from nothing. He achieved a miracle. Yet both he and his daemon agree that said life was a curse more than a miracle. So the artist name can be taken literally, or said in a cynical tone to reflect Victor’s feelings towards his achievement.

There’s a bit of trouble when it comes to the album title, however. Miracle of Sound creates original songs based on video games and movies, the former being the majority. As such, he entitles his albums with levels: Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and so on, his most recent being Level 6. So the challenge comes now: how do I convert Level 6 into a Frankenstein reference? After a bit of thought, I got it: Level of Sin. This came to my mind namely because a good amount of the novel seems to weigh the severity of the “sins” of the two central characters: Victor and his daemon. The latter engaged in murder and psychological torture, but felt his very existence to be damning when it was in solitude. Victor, meanwhile, felt guilty of hubris, selfishness, and indirect murder. He felt that the creation of the monster was the greatest sin he could ever commit, and so felt responsible for everything the monster did, to say nothing of what his own actions led to. So yes, “Level of Sin” is a suitable Frankenstein-ian album title, as both Victor and his monster weigh their respective sins against themselves and one-another, crushed under the burden of their perceived and legitimate wrongs.

Onto song titles, then. Level 6 has 15 songs for me to work with. So, let’s run through them in order and see what we can make. For all the songs that have a Youtube presence, I’ll put in a link so people will know what I’m going on about.

Song 1: “Don’t Say a Word

The first song on the album, “Don’t Say a Word,” is a song based on the recent Metal Gear Solid game. Gritty and dark in theme, the song is meant to show the struggle of Metal Gear characters through their dangerous missions, triumphing despite the high risk. For the sake of Frankenstein, this song could be rebranded as “Don’t Tell the Truth.” This comes from how often, and to how many people, Victor lies to. Minus telling his tale to R. Walton, and to the magistrate he hoped would capture the monster, Victor tells no one the truth about his life’s events, not even the woman he loves and marries. On a darker note, Victor and Walton both assume that the daemon lies about his pain and sadness, thinking the daemon only says what he needs to to draw in prey. And so, “Don’t Tell the Truth” feels a suitable renaming.

Song 2: “London Town

“London Town” was based off of Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, themed to signify the rebellious nature of Assassins against the corruption of the industrial Templars. This title is a bit more basic to rebrand: seeing as how it’s Victor’s hometown, “Geneva Town” would suit Frankenstein better, if superficially. Though, in fairness, London itself bears minor importance to the novel, so the change wouldn’t entirely be necessary.

Song 3: “Lady of Worlds

“Lady of Worlds,” a song based on Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, showcases the mindset of a character named Ciri as she tries to keep a handle on chaotic events while maintaining her own course of action. This alone draws a slight parallel between her and Victor, but I would choose to rebrand this song as “Lady of Words.” Why? The entirety of Frankenstein is contained within letters the character R Walton writes to his sister, Margaret Saville. She is the recipient of this entire tale, and can be presumed to be the person who releases the narrative to the world — it helps that Mary Shelly could use her own initials, MS, to help this along. As such, Mrs. Saville can be considered as having power over the novel, much as a noble lady would have over her fiefdom. A “Lady of Words” indeed.

Song 4: “Road Rage

On the surface, this song seems fairly hard to turn Frankenstein-ian. “Road Rage” is a song based on Mad Max: Fury Road, styled with a hard, rebellious streak. Post-apocalyptic car-fight lyrics don’t seem to translate to a 1700s mad scientist. Yet, one thing does: rage. If rebranded as “Grown Rage,” then the song takes on a new meaning. Victor and the monster grow to hate one another, Victor’s rage never doing anything but increasing at his creation. Their hatred for the other grows and grows, catching innocent bystanders in the backlash of their warring tempers. And though the monster repents by the novel’s end, Victor never loses his fury at the daemon. The anger and hatred, carefully cultivated, is fully grown by the novel’s end. Hence the renamed song.

Song 5: “Stay by My Side

This is one of my favorite songs off of the album. Based on the game Journey, the song is designed as a haunting tribute to the companionship that players form between each other, though randomly matched with complete strangers. It also pays tribute to the ultimate futility of the game, the fact that [spoiler removed]. So, off of that name and theme, I would rename it “No One by My Side.” The daemon, for all the crimes he commits and all the hatred levied at him, has but one desire: companionship. He wants a friend, kin, something or someone to spend their days with him. Of course, he never receives such a compatriot. He leaves the novel as he enters: solitary and hated. I can just imagine him lamenting his solitude in the cold arctic wastes, which in and of itself is a good link to the way that the characters in Journey [spoiler removed] on a frigid mountain top.

Song 6: “Going Nuclear

This one I need to skip. “Going Nuclear” is a two minute song based off of Fallout 4, styled in a jive-y 50s vibe. Not only is the name hard to convert, but there’s no way any part of the novel is happy enough to fit the music.

Song 7: “Friends

Ah, here’s one with some irony. This song, based off of Guardians of the Galaxy, is an 80s-style feel-good piece about how friendship helps one through tough situations. Friends are negligible in Frankenstein. Victor’s one friend is murdered, and the daemon has no friends. Even R. Walton is lacking in friendship, though he hopes for some towards Victor. Off of all that irony, I don’t think I’d change this song title at all. I’d just shift the song’s tempo down, change key into something more sombre, and let the lyrics have a hefty amount of sarcasm to them.

Song 8: “I Am the Night

The eighth song on the album is a tribute to Batman: Arkham Knight. Its theme is dark, gritty, and brings out Batman’s increased violent tendencies in the game versus his previous ones. I can immediately make this into a Frankenstein reference: “I Am no Knight.” While not only having some nice wordplay, it relates directly to Victor and the monster. Neither, not one, has a shred of chivalry. Victor tries to play his pursuit of the daemon as a quest for vengeance, just as the monster considers his murders to be vengeance for his creator’s spite. But neither are pursuing justice, neither bear any honour towards the other. The one thing that can be said about them that would be remotely knightly is that they cling to their beliefs. But then, does not a mercenary cling to his belief that money is king of all materials? Adherence to a belief does not make defending or pursuing that belief honourable or just. It simply makes one narrow-minded. Hence, “I Am no Knight” could easily be a duet between the monster and the maker, comparing their falls from grace.

Song 9: “Evacuate

I’m skipping this one too. The song is a happy, bouncy, supportive song — an original without inspiration, mind you — that reminds people that they’re perfectly at liberty to abandon toxic friendships. Considering the message, and the song’s style, this song is unsuited to Frankenstein. Next!

Song 10: “My Shooting Star

Here’s another tricky one. “My Shooting Star” is a tribute to the TV show Firefly, its lyrics conveying Malcolm Reynold’s reliance and affection towards the Serenity…or Inara, depending on how one would like to interpret the lyrics. If I had to contort this song into a Frankenstein version, I’d turn it to “My Corrupting Star.” My reasoning is rather metaphorical, so bear with me. Stars are often used as symbols of heavenly perfection and beauty, something to aspire to. “Reach for the stars” and all that. Victor’s star was his original goal: to create life. And he succeeded. But his star, his ambition, corrupted his entire life — from his perspective. As such, his lofty goal is corrupting, and so “My Corrupting Star.”

Song 11: “Paleblood Moon

This song gives me chills every time I hear it. Haunting and gothic in style, “Paleblood Moon” is a tribute to Bloodborne, and all the dark, twisted themes that go with it and the Dark Souls franchise. But for all its suitable themes and sounds, the title is hard to work with, considering how closely it’s related to the game of origin. I’ll probably give it a skip for that reason, though the music would be perfect for some dark Frankenstein adaptation.

Song 12: “Friends to Foes

Though I’m not much a fan of the Halo series, “Friends to Foes” is actually a fairly good song. Based on the fifth installment of the series, Guardians, the song is meant to convey the slight bitterness inherent with being at-odds with someone, and is mixed with a rock backing to fit the game’s aggression. Thus, I could imagine this song as being redesigned to represent Victor’s mindset once he begins chasing his monster. As such, to show his depression-driven aggression, a good swapped title would be “No Friends, Only Foes.”

Song 13: “Metasonic”

Not bothering with this one. For starters, it’s all instrumental. Secondly, that title. How am I supposed to transform that into Frankenstein? Next.

Song 14: “I Am Pudge

Oh, this had so much potential. Off of the title, I was going to go for “I Am [insert reference to daemon here].” But the song itself…tuba-heavy, comedic, and sung in a Cockney accent. Not suited at all to an existential ramble from the monster.

Song 15: “Hard Cash 2015

Here’s a fun one. The original “Hard Cash” song was based off of Grand Theft Auto: 5, specifically from Michael’s perspective. It was part of a trio of songs, actually, one for each protagonist. The 2015 version was simply re-edited to fix a few mistakes, and remastered for better sound. But the song itself is in a classic rock style, meant to show Michael’s unwillingness to give up his criminal pursuits. And lo, I have the perfect altered title: “Hard Science 17__.” Let me explain. The whole 17__ bit comes from the unknown timestamp of the novel. We know the century, but not the precise date. So it’d be a bit of a nod to the novel to leave the date as such. As for “Hard Science,” that comes straight from Victor. Firstly, it was obviously an incredible feat for him to create life in the first place, “hard science” to get to work. But the second time around, when he attempts to make the creature’s mate, it becomes “hard science” for moral reasons. So Victor’s bitterness and unwillingness to cast off science at first would then be flipped on its head, and turned to bitterness at an inability to be free of his achievement. Which, actually, I think is a rather understated theme of the novel: that which we accomplish is held over us forever, regardless of good or bad outcome.

Lyrics

Now, the final piece of this project is picking one of the songs I successfully turned into Frankenstein references, and alter all the lyrics to suit the new theme. Technically, I’m also supposed to remix the album cover, but…my lack of visual artistic skill makes me loathe to ruin this beauty.

Anyway, back to lyrics. I think I’d quite like to go with Song 1, “Don’t Tell the Truth”. Here are the original song’s lyrics, in case one wants to see what I’m working off of:

Fire on the ocean 
Reprisal in motion 
From the quiet awake

The sins of the father 
Are hitting me harder 
Every strike I take

The silence is deafening… 
Don’t say a word

The venom inside us 
Strives to deny us 
Just a moment’s peace

From ocean to land we 
Are learning to stand on 
Our own two feet

Not to be heard 
Don’t say a word 
Restrain… 
Cut out the phrase 
Only a haze 
Remains…

The silence is deafening… 
Don’t say a word

These syllables slither 
Like snakes in the sand… 
These words they will wither 
The world in your hands

You are the voice in the song yeah 
It’s yours when you sing along…

The silence is deafening… 
Don’t say a word

You are the voice in the song, yeah 
It’s yours when you sing along…

So, here are my lyrics, meant to be Victor addressing Walton while on his deathbed. Hopefully, they’re enjoyable.

Death on the ocean 
Foul bitter potion 
 From my sins is made

Pursuit of science 
 Has driven my conscience 
 Deep into shade

My past is my damnation… 
 Don’t tell the truth

This being I have hated
 Monster created 
 From my two hands

The burden I bear, that 
 Unholy affair that
 Stalks these lands

I cannot tell 
 Break my own spell
 I fear…
 Deaths that he’s wrought 
 Vengeance I’ve sought
 Not here…

My past is my damnation… 
 Don’t tell the truth

His lies will take root 
 Like a daemon’s might 
 His words are not truthful
 Cling to what’s right

You are the one I can tell, lad
 Don’t let him kill you as well…

My past is my damnation… 
 Don’t tell the truth

You are the one I can tell, lad
 Don’t let him kill you as well…

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