• Member Since 27th Feb, 2013
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Sprocket Doggingsworth


I write horse words.

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Jan
1st
2017

Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! - Days Gone By · 3:55am January 1st

As 2016 winds to an end, I want to do something different. Rather than reflect upon the show directly, I want to celebrate a very minor detail in pony apocrypha. Last year, Hasbro released an album, "It's a Pony Kind of Christmas." The songs on it have a wide range. Some are quite beautifully scored, and some are tender, but for the most part, the appeal of the album is its whimsical nature – and unapologetic corniness.

One track on it, however, stands out above the others. The Apple Family's version of Auld Lang Syne. Like all the songs on the album, it's a classic tune with altered lyrics. This version is about family. Nostalgia. Tradition. Solid subject matter for Applejack, for obvious reasons. However, whoever put this song together snuck something else in there. Something deeper. "Days Gone By" is not just a generic song about family. It captures something extremely specific. It is all about paying tribute to family members who aren't with us.

Have a look at the opening lines:
"When family cannot be here
Havin' journeyed far and wide
We sing a song to honor them
To remember days gone by."

The song doesn't say so directly, of course, but it really feels - to me at least – like Applejack is singing about her dead parents. The specific words that were chosen are very reminiscent of the way one talks about one's ancestors, or the recently departed. You don't "sing a song to honor" your cousin who couldn't make it to a New Year's eve party, no matter how much you love them. That's how you celebrate those no longer with us.

The entire song lends itself to duel interpretation. Even the lyrics put in there to be reassuring (that the song is about something other than honoring the dead) – come off as merely metaphorical. The departed are not there because they are "journeying," or in later verses, "across seas far and wide." These lyrics almost paint a picture of death as a sort of new beginning. After all, the moral of the song is that those whom we love are still with us in spirit, and that the way to honor them is to tell stories of days gone by.

If you haven't heard the album, I would strongly recommend, at the very least, to give this song a listen. Why? Because 2016 sucked.

It was a year of tremendous loss – not just of the countless beloved celebrities - people who made remarkable contributions to the world – but on and intimate level too. A lot of us lost loved ones. Family members. Pets. You'd be hard-pressed to find somebody who doesn't, in some way, feel like this entire year is cursed. It's even been a running gag all over the Internet that, this New Year's, rather than celebrating the birth of 2017, we will all be celebrating the death of 2016.

As cute as that sounds, I think we have an opportunity to make more of it than that. Let's take this opportunity to honor those we have lost in 2016 - to celebrate their lives, and the many ways, however small, that our own lives were changed because of their contributions. Let's celebrate that we are still here.

Even as we face what is sure to be a tumultuous and uncertain future, let us look to those who made a difference for us in our pasts, and with those memories, plant a seed of responsibility - a dedication to make a difference for others, and to live out the legacies of those we have lost. I'm not talking about lame resolutions we all break two weeks into December. I'm talking about a way of looking at the world - a way of looking at our heroes, and using them as a source of inspiration.

Few of us get memes made about us when we pass, nor are we talked about on television, but we can leave our own legacies behind through the people whose lives we touch - through lives well lead. And while we're still here, let's look back at those who paved the way for us in our own lives, and raise our cider mugs high.

-Sprocket

SONG: DAYS GONE BY
"Our paths will cross again one day
In time to reunite
For family is always near
Even when the seas are wide
So take your cup and raise it high
Just as surely I'll do mine
And make a toast for family
And the tales of days gone by."

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Comments ( 8 )

Happy New Year, Sprocket! Thank you for making this past year so much more tolerable. Be safe and be well.

like Applejack is singing about her dead parents. The specific words that were chosen are very reminiscent of the way one talks about one's ancestors, or the recently departed. You don't "sing a song to honor" your cousin who couldn't make it to a New Year's eve party, no matter how much you love them. That's how you celebrate those no longer with us.

Even the lyrics put in there to be reassuring (that the song is about something other than honoring the dead) – come off as merely metaphorical. The departed are not there because they are "journeying," or in later verses, "across seas far and wide." These lyrics almost paint a picture of death as a sort of new beginning. After all, the moral of the song is that those whom we love are still with us in spirit, and that the way to honor them is to tell stories of days gone by.

Exactly what I thought. I just bought the album this year, because I couldn't for financial reasons last year, and when I listened to it on the 25th, I had the exact same thoughts.
This song is a huge metaphor for the death of the parents of Applebloom, Applejack and Big McIntosh.
I almost cried when I listened to it and I did so again now and every time I hear this song, I get shudders down my spine.
The song does not really an effort to hide the fact what it's about (not that Hasbro would try, their dead parents are no secret anymore), it's bringing it across in a way that even a young child would understand the tragicness behind the words.
There's only one thing here I have to put a little correction in:

Even the lyrics put in there to be reassuring (that the song is about something other than honoring the dead)

I strongly doubt that was the intention. The lyrics don't speak about death directly, because "Auld Lang Syne" doesn't either.
They wanted to stay to the metaphorical lyrics of the original song as close as possible, that is the only reason why the lyrics don't speak about death directly.
While the show has not done an episode about their dead parents, yet, and we never heard them talking about their dead parents and never had the show dealing openly with it, it neither did any efforts to hide that their parents are dead ever either.
Additionally, Kora Kosicka, character designer of the show working at DHX, confirmed their deaths blunt and directly last year at a con:

http://www.equestriadaily.com/2016/09/character-designer-kora-kosicka-rainbow.html

The respective parts are at 01:06:24 (Confirmation of them being dead) and 01:08:12 (Her answer on the question about how they died).

Considering that the script of that episode about their dead parents she hinted on was perhaps already written or, that a plan for such an episode in Season 7 existed, at least, when this album was put together, it is even possible that Hasbro chose this song for the album to prepare for that Season 7 episode.
Simply put, what it boils down to, is, that neither Hasbro nor DHX make a secret out of the fact they're dead. And from what it looks like, Season 7 will finally shine a light on everything that happened back when they died, so, this song will probably hurt even more soon. :applecry:

4363916

Lauren Faust confirmed years ago that AJ's folks were dead, and that the writers were instructed to write consistently with that backstory without ever mentioning it. The reason was that, in order to tackle the subject directly, Hasbro would have sent in grief consultants, and done everything by focus group. Ms. Faust went on to say that she'd lost her own father when she was young, and because the subject matter was personal to her, she would rather not do the episode at all, than be forced to do it poorly.

The shooting stars in "Apple Family Reunion" were a big deal because the show finally acknowledged that her parents were gone (in a sideways way), and the line at the end of "Crusaders of the Lost Mark," made it even more overt. I wouldn't mind them musing at an old photo, and making reference to the fact that her parents are gone. However, I don't think an entire episode should be devoted to it. I hope they don't go there.

I'm a Faustian Loyalist. :twilightsheepish:

As for your point about the lyrics being not meant to reassure listeners that it's not about the dead, I concede. You're right. I think it's more about being metaphorical so as to slip under people's radars - people who don't especially want anything death-related in a Christmas album meant for their six-year-olds.

Happy New Year.

4363722
Be safe as well.

You flatter me. I'm glad I was able to make 2016 better for you. :pinkiehappy:

However, I don't think an entire episode should be devoted to it. I hope they don't go there.

I'm a Faustian Loyalist. :twilightsheepish:

As much as I am thankful for what Lauren Faust brought to us and as much as I honor her work for the show, what I'm first and foremostly loyal to is the show and its quality.
An episode about their dead parents, that puts the topic in front and center and without excuses or covering up stuff "to make it more bearable for the poor children to see death in their favourite TV show" (except that plenty of actual kid shows did this and no child was ever scarred by it) would make the show so much better than it already is by finally crossing that one dramatic line I hope for it to cross since Season 1 and by making it even more serious and, as a consequence, bring it more popularity and attention which might just make it last a few seasons longer than Hasbro currently plans with.
Especially now the show could need such a groundbreaking episode, with Season 6 a lot of bronies seem to turn their back to the show because they run out of breath to follow such a long, on-going show, and even start to imagine that the show is "repeating episodes", while it never did such a thing, not even now, to justify their leave and in an attempt to beware themselves from coming across as petty for doing so.
So a heart-shattering episode about their dead parents that gets memorized for crying for hours after watching it in Season 7 might just be the right thing we need now to throw the fandom out of its doomsday thoughts and to kick the fandom into gear and renew its trust in the show again.
And luckily, this seems to be exactly what we will get in Season 7.

I'm really more loyal to the show and to its quality here, than loyal to Lauren Faust. If MLP: FiM would be less great than it could be because of the hesitations and wishes of its creator, this would essentially be like Lauren Faust sabotaging her own work by limiting it and never letting it live up to its full potential, and this would be a terrible, devastating thing.

I think it's more about being metaphorical so as to slip under people's radars - people who don't especially want anything death-related in a Christmas album meant for their six-year-olds.

Well, no, that's not what I meant. What I wanted to say is, the reasons for them being so metaphorical in the song's lyrics is that they wanted to preserve the soul of the original song they ponified. An artistic decision, not one made to appease moral white knights.
Although, the fact Hasbro wouldn't want to have a small album openly dealing with their deaths before the show does and thus, stealing the show the spotlight, definitely has something to do with this decision as well.

Happy New Year.

To you as well and don't forget what's best for the show we all love. :raritywink:

4364687

I have doubts as to whether or not they could pull the episode off. Faust specifically didn't do this episode because Hasbro would have meddled too much, and in doing so, ruined it. Granted, the writing staff has gained a lot more freedom since Season One, but Hasbro does still have a habit of injecting themselves into the creative process from time to time, and I would hate to see an episode like this taken over by suits.

Yes, it has the potential for greatness that you dream of, but it also has the potential to fall flat if it's not executed just right. You've seen my blog. I'm not a neigh sayer. I'm an extremely upbeat guy on the subject of pony. I sincerely hope that the episode is amazing. However, learning of its existence worries me a little, because they only get one shot at doing something like this, and I really don't want them to mess it up. The episode, executed poorly, might have the opposite effect that you are hoping for. It might drive more people away.

4364687

I just checked the link you sent. Are you sure that's confirmation? It sounds to me like he's saying we will find out someday.

4366019

Absolutely. She specifically said "it's a spoiler".

And the episode will be excellent, like everything DHX sets its hooves to. Hasbro waves almost everything that DHX comes up with through and barely demands any changes and if it does, then it's vague stuff like "Twilight needs a castle" or "Make those spears look less sharp" according to Big Jim Miller and DHX has not messed up MLP: FiM one single time so far, so it won't mess up this episode either.
You are upbeat, yes, but I still see a lot of the brony fandom's famous and uncalled for scepticism towards the show in your comments, so my advice is, trust DHX to pull that off. :twilightsmile:
After six splendid seasons that make pretty much any other TV show of nowadays hide in a hole, it would be time for a bit of trust. :raritywink:

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