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05 November 2010 @ 06:55 pm
[FST] Hetalia - Gunpowder Tea  
EDIT: REUPLOADED 25/10/12 -> Sorry for the delay to those who commented asking for it - I didn't have it and eventually, after being nagged by RobinRocks, I got a disc of it off her. So here it is again, guys~!

So this wasn't a fandom or fandom-project I ever envisioned myself being involved in, but it's happened nonetheless!

This is a collaborative project with RobinRocks@FFNet.

Now with added bonus fic from RR @ FFNet
Perhaps one of the reasons USUK (or UKUS!) is so popular is that it's often considered ‘practically canon’. This is what we were interested in when we put this FST together – because Hetalia is (by and large) historical and any “practically canon” pairings in this series are so presumably because the characters involved have some sort of actual history between them. Or, in the case of the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, a lot of history.

So we made this FST, Gunpowder Tea, to highlight the main points in the historical relationship between America and England, with 13 tracks for the original 13 colonies – think of it as a soundtrack to read your textbook by as you study for your test on the American Revolutionary War—

Or as a soundtrack to read your stack of downloaded USUK doujinshis by. <3

(Ah, and we put it up today – 5th November – because it’s Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night here in the UK, commemorating (the failure of) the Gunpowder Plot. See V for Vendetta for more details. XD Our FST has nothing to do with the Gunpowder Plot and we picked the title more because of the Boston Tea Party connotations but, you know, the day was right there looking at us...)


Gunpower Tea
A US*UK history!Fanmix

Discovery of/Colonial America
The Hands That Built America - U2
Last saw your face in a watercolour sky
As sea birds argue a long goodbye
I took your kiss on the spray of the new line star
You gotta live with your dreams, don't make them so hard

While the real message of this song is more about the millions of forgotten immigrants who toiled on America’s land to build what is, by and large, the country today, we took this song as being more of a metaphor for the creation of America as a new, unblemished world away from the corruption of Europe, a sort of untarnished shell for England to pour all of his unrealised dreams into – the original “American dream”. This song also evokes a sense of goodbye, separated by the sea, reminiscent of Hetalia’s canon whenever England (frequently) leaves America to return to Europe. and there’s shota yay

Revolutionary War

Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) - Green Day
Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go;
So make the best of this test and don't ask why
It's not a question but a lesson learned in time
It's something unpredictable but in the end it's right
I hope you had the time of your life

The title of this song alone ought to speak for why we chose what is still, to this day, probably one of Green Day’s best songs for the American Revolutionary War. This song isn’t bitter and it isn’t angry – in some ways it is very gentle, sort of fond, and ultimately it’s about accepting that the separation needs to happen and, even if you didn’t see it coming, it will end up being for the best for everyone involved.

America's resulting freedom/breaking away from England’s influence
Can't Go Back Now - The Weepies
Yesterday when you were young
Everything you needed done was done for you
Now you do it on your own
But you find you're all alone
What can you do?
You and me walk on, walk on, walk on
'Cause you can't go back now

Calm and uplifting, Can’t Go Back Now is about growing up and going out by yourself to begin making your own way in life; more importantly, it’s about freedom but it doesn’t revel in it, acknowledging that being on your own can be difficult and there is a historical truth to this notion, given that the United States didn’t just spring up into Teh Best Country Evar the moment the British left. In the end, though, this song is about perseverance against the odds and learning to be strong.

England’s post-Revolutionary War woes
It Doesn't Matter - Alison Krauss
'If you've made up your mind to go
I won't beg you to stay
You've been in a cage
Throw you to the wind
You fly away

It’s canon that England cried when America left him. It’s canon that he never really got over it, at least to the extent that he rants about it when drunk. However, the gradual mending of their relationship in Hetalia itself from WWII onwards, portraying them as sort-of-friends, is proof that, somewhere along the line, England at least started to acknowledge that America wasn’t his colony anymore and had grown up. This song is very sad but it’s also accepting – the first step towards recovery.

War of 1812 (specifically the burning down of the White House)
On Every Street - Dire Straits
And the fireworks of liberty explode in the heat […]
Every victory has a taste that's bittersweet
And it's your face I'm looking for on every street

...That said, when you put this period of history into a Hetalia context, it makes England appear to have a very odd pattern of recovery that is really more like revenge. Akin to burning all of America’s CDs and jeans, England burns down his boss’ house. Ouch.

Rise of the British Empire

Battle for the Sun - Placebo
I, I, I will battle for the sun, sun, sun,
And I, I, I won't stop until I'm done, done, done.
You, you, you are getting in the way, way, way,
And I, I, I have nothing left to say, say, say

England’s complete turnaround in behaviour towards America reaches a head here. The truth is that, historically, losing America didn’t actually damage Britain all that much – the fact that the British lost was more of an embarrassment than a financial disaster. Throughout the 19th Century, through wars and invasions, Great Britain continues to expand its empire until it is the most powerful country in the world and the largest empire that has ever existed – battling for the sun, or, at least, the title of an Empire so vast that the sun never sets upon it. As far as the relationship with America goes, this song also contains lines such as ‘I will brush off all the dirt/And I will pretend it didn’t hurt’, ‘I have stared down the barrel of a gun’ and ‘dream brother’, which reference the American Revolution episodes and their earlier bond.

USA’s pre-WWI/post-WWI Isolationism stance considering world affairs
Building a Wall - Pet Shop Boys
I'm leaving the world, it's all wrong
Not so much what men are doing, much more what they're not
I'm building a wall, a fine wall
Not so much to keep you out, more to keep me in
(Through the woods, the trees and further on the sea
We lived in the shadow of the war
Sand in the sandwiches, wasps in the tea; it was a free country
Who do you think you are, Captain Britain?)

Given that we imagine this song to be from America’s perspective, it’s a shame that Pet Shop Boys are so blatantly British. XD In the 20th Century, when all the European countries couldn’t go a year without a war breaking out, the United States didn’t want to know. At all. Canada was entered into WWI automatically when Britain declared war on Germany – America, free of Britain’s influence for well over a century, said “No thanks” to Britain (and France) repeatedly until 1917. When the war was over, the United States didn’t even join its own brainchild – the League of Nations – and went back to being Isolationist pretty much until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 brought it into WWII.

WWII/formation of USA-UK military alliance and ‘Special Relationship’
Piper to the End - Mark Knopfler
We watched the fires together
Shared our quarters for a while
Walked the dusty roads together
Came so many miles
This has been a day to die on
Now the day is almost done
Here the pipes will lay beside me
Silent will the battle drum
If friends in time be severed
Someday here we will meet again
I return to leave you never
Be a piper to the end

Mark Knopfler, lead singer of Dire Straits, makes it onto this FST a second time with Piper to the End, a song about camaraderie between soldiers. Arguably it was WWII – and the real-life friendship between Churchill and Roosevelt – that properly repaired US-UK relations, ending with the formation of the ‘Special Relationship’ after the war; and, as far as Hetalia itself goes, whilst England and America still argue and disagree during the WWII segments, they are seen together an awful lot and probably have the closest relationship out of all the Allies. Oh, and there was that whole thing in the dub where France accused them of releasing “sexual tension” in a meeting by fighting. XD

Post-WWII decline of the British Empire
Viva La Vida - Coldplay
I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own
I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing
"Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"
One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand

One of those songs that actually fits a lot of characters in a lot of fandoms, this surely needs little explanation. Inevitably, massive war debt and damage caused by WWII meant that Great Britain could no longer afford to keep its empire and it was slowly dismantled. The United States took Britain’s place as world power and, over the new few decades, Britain sank further and further down the world “food-chain”.

Cold War
Start a War - The National
We expected something, something better than before
We expected something more
We were always weird but I never had to hold you by the edges like I do now
We were always weird but I never had to hold you by the edges like I do now
Walk away now and you're gonna start a war’

We imagine this being from England’s perspective as he watches America become more and more powerful – nothing like he ever was as the British Empire – and facing off against Russia in the dangerous and unstable aftermath of WWII – after the Allied victory, they had expected something better but instead the future seems just as uncertain as before, constantly teetering on the brink of nuclear war and with America constantly throwing himself into bloody proxy-wars such as Korea and Vietnam.

Fall of the Berlin Wall/emergence of a globalised world in the 1990s

Welcome to the World - Kevin Rudolf
All the time that you were gone
I thought about how things went wrong
Now that you're coming down to Earth
(Okay, hello) Welcome to the world

A very modern song with an odd sort of 90s feel to it, Welcome to the World has yet another harking back to the original split between the USA and the UK (the first two lines) but also fits Cold War-era America from England's perspective (as in, he was so wrapped up in the Cold War and hating Russia and has only now come back to Earth and remembers that destroying it actually wouldn't be such a great idea) AND also fits post-war Britain from America's perspective. Britain didn't really get back onto the world stage properly until the 80s/90s, debatably revived by Thatcherism/Blairism – so from America's perspective, as a world power, it's like "Welcome (back) to the world, UK". Thirdly, “welcome to the world” is like a greeting to welcome you to a collective “world”, brought on by both the dismantlement of the Berlin Wall which separates East from West and the rise of technology in this period.

O America! - Celtic Woman
O, America, you're weeping,
Let me heal your wounded heart:
I will keep you in my keeping,
'Til there be a new start

A lot of the things George W. Bush said were questionable but he did say, in the aftermath of 9/11, that the United States had no greater friend than Britain at the time of the tragedy. Needless to say, when the USA declared war on Iraq, the UK tripped over itself to link arms with its BFF and go prancing off to the Middle East to blow up some mosques. We digress. It’s a lovely song nonetheless – ‘I will take your hand’, ‘We will be as one’ and ‘You are beautiful to me’. Whoever wrote this song needs to join the ranks alongside Winston Churchill as an accidental USUK fangirl (not to mention how much innuendo the title has, amirite?).

Modern-day relationship
One Week - The Bare-Naked Ladies
‘It's been one week since you looked at me
Dropped your arms to your sides and said I'm sorry
Five days since I laughed at you and said
You just did just what I thought you were gonna do
Three days since the living room
We realized we're both to blame, but what could we do?
Yesterday you just smiled at me
Cause it'll still be two days till we say we're sorry’

In Hetalia’s canon, the modern-day relationship between America and England seems to be a bit like this – they love to hate each other because they actually love each other. Or something. Well, either way, this songs fits them and we can’t be the first to have noticed it – it’s about a happy-go-lucky idiot with the attention span of a flea being in a relationship with someone who is a huge tsundere. It also sort of reflects modern day US-UK relations; you’re all over our Harry Potter, our Sherlock Holmes and our accents but that whole BP thing didn’t go over so well, did it? Oh, and we moan about over-Americanisation and pretend to hate your High School Musical and your McDonalds and your endless glossy TV dramas but we don’t. Not really. Even if we won’t admit it because we’re tsundere like that. <3

These are alternate songs that didn’t make the final cut but we figured we’d include them anyway at the end for being such good sports. ^^ There are no explanations for them, though, since they didn’t make the final cut for a reason.

Alternative for England’s post-Revolutionary War woes: 1000 Miles - Vanessa Carlton
Alternative for US Isolationism: When I Come Around - Green Day
Alternative for WWII: Our Solemn Hour - Within Temptation
*Legit just-for-fun bonus track*: Tea Party - Kerli

That is all! Thank you for looking/reading/downloading! Happy 5th November/Guy Fawkes/Bonfire night, wherever in the world you happen to be! <3
(seperate in case you just want the main mix!)
P.S. Please help me to properly credit the fanartists whose artwork we've used for the covers?
This entry was originally posted at http://autumndynasty.dreamwidth.org/4965.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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(Deleted comment)
(Anonymous) on November 6th, 2010 08:50 pm (UTC)
Yayz, we're so glad! This is RR! We really hope you liked at least some of our song choices, haha~! ^^
Cheese.popehippo on November 7th, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC)
*Legit just-for-fun bonus track*: Tea Party - Kerli

*HISS* D8<

anyway, nice fanmix, ty.
noirevalkyrienoirevalkyrie on November 8th, 2010 05:49 am (UTC)
That's why they're seperate~!

You're welcome.
we_are_zombies on November 7th, 2010 06:50 pm (UTC)
What a pretty cover! And the songs look great . :)
Downloading, with thanks.
noirevalkyrienoirevalkyrie on November 8th, 2010 05:49 am (UTC)
Thank you! Enjoy! :)
bunny_tofubunny_tofu on November 8th, 2010 06:56 am (UTC)
This is awesome. I love your descriptions regarding each of the songs and why you chose them. They seem very well thought out and carefully arranged. I'm a Canadian so my knowledge of American history is very rusty, so the fact that this came off so well despite that is a definite credit to you.

Thanks so much for sharing!
noirevalkyrienoirevalkyrie on November 8th, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC)
We aim to please (and teach/remind)! :D We're glad you enjoyed the descriptions, and hopefully the songs! ♥
once again, misfortune has humped my leg.: MISC thomas jefferson invented americacata_clysmiic on November 8th, 2010 06:45 pm (UTC)
Coolest mix EVER.
noirevalkyrienoirevalkyrie on November 10th, 2010 04:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Mimihelena_13 on November 9th, 2010 10:25 pm (UTC)
Awesome mix. :D Could you maybe upload "It Doesn't Matter" separately, if it's not too much trouble? I'd be forever grateful. :)
noirevalkyrienoirevalkyrie on November 10th, 2010 04:48 pm (UTC)
Mimihelena_13 on November 10th, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D
berseker: uk/us_huggingberseker on November 10th, 2010 01:11 am (UTC)
I took it <3 SOUNDS AWESOME <333
noirevalkyrienoirevalkyrie on November 10th, 2010 04:48 pm (UTC)
Glad you like it!
Manga  Trades and Salestamaki_holic on November 11th, 2010 07:22 am (UTC)
Very Nice. ^ ^ Definitely gonna check it out.
thecrazyalaskan: pandathecrazyalaskan on November 27th, 2012 04:56 pm (UTC)
I was grinning so much reading over the tracks and the stories behind them. Definitely downloading this-- it looks wonderful!