"Tangled" is a song by the band Native Nod, appearing on their Answers 7" EP. The song is one of the absolute benchmarks of the genre that was once referred to as emo, although that word has since taken on connotations that have little to do with music like "Tangled."

"Tangled" is in the same vein as "Kick The Can" by Moss Icon and "Angry Son" by Indian Summer, two other songs that can be called definitive in the emo genre (if there really is such a thing). This isn't really the place to debate the ins and outs of what emo once was, but suffice it to say that it had a few key characteristics: young men playing intricate, often-beautiful guitar-based music with a lot of gut-wrenching catharsis. You might argue that such a definition could apply equally to the Replacements, and you wouldn't be wrong. Trace that line of thought across Minnesota to Hüsker Dü and you'd be getting warmer. Take that thought and trot across a few state lines to Washington, D.C. and you turn hot, tripping over Rites of Spring. Drift outside the capital into Maryland and you're burning up, looking for The Hated. Wander into New Jersey and you might burst into flames, finding Native Nod in the basement, screaming and kicking over mic stands.

They only released three records. Three seven inch pieces of vinyl. If Black Flag had done that, they would've stopped with "Six Pack." Maybe some people would prefer it that way, but there would've been no Damaged and how can you countenance that? Native Nod only released nine songs. If Sonic Youth had only had nine songs, they would have gotten less than halfway through Confusion is Sex. If Minor Threat only had nine songs, they would've screeched to a halt with "In My Eyes." No Out of Step.

But honestly all that's beside the point, because even if Native Nod had only recorded "Tangled" and nothing besides, they'd still be legends. Or maybe more accurately, they'd still be legends to me, and also to everyone else I've ever met who has heard "Tangled." And that's the thing about a lot of the best emo bands: one song can be enough. I can't imagine a world without every single Heroin song, but if they had only left behind "Has Been" or "Head Cold" as a record, I'd still marvel at them. If Julia had only left "End", it'd be enough. Because it's like that line that gets repeated in "Angry Son": "this is the moment."

The song starts with a wash of dissonant guitar, framed by a nervous minor-key bassline. It's prickly, like pine needles. You might say, "where are we going?" But before long the drums pick up speed and Chris Leo's voice slices through it all. It's an awkward introduction: this is Chris Leo, the new student in class. You might know Chris' older brother, Ted Leo (of & the Pharmacists fame). His voice is disarming, and it's unforgettable. He sounds like a kid who's never stood up for himself before, speaking up for the first time: his voice strained, worried, and wracked with everything that's unsaid. The guitar just echoes out around his shaking voice, gorgeous melodies overlapping with dissonance and tension. Those distorted bits of guitar are like snaking vines of kudzu. They wrap around your trellis, creep across your window, hide away the sun. But you're not afraid, not even when they tighten into jagged power chords and Chris is screaming, he's admitting everything. "I'm not saying I know the answers, besides it's not up to me..." The music surges ahead, falls back and begins again. It's like the tides; it's like the seasons. Those notes, those textures, they're like the leaves changing color and floating down to the concrete. And Chris sounds on the verge of giving up: "This puzzle's too big, it's all around me." The music holds up a mirror to his frustration, the band falling away into silence and letting the ominous guitar notes ring out. Everything stops: the future's uncertain. Like Sarah Connor said, it rolls towards us, unknown. And Chris comes back, but he's disenchanted. He's having trouble expressing himself. But he lets go, he's cutting through the pretense. "I love you," he screams at the top of his lungs. The music is tentative, but it builds. It gets serious, like a kid learning how to kiss a girl or tie a Windsor knot. Suddenly the words are rushing out again, tumbling over themselves, like we're about to part and Leo wants to get it all out because he's afraid it might be his last chance. Finally, he's happy.

And then it's over. But the moment remains.
Disney Animated Features
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Release Date: 24 November 2010

The film that would become known as Tangled had an unusually troubled journey to the screen, as far as Disney animated features go.

It began as a film called Rapunzel, in the days when Disney had shuttered its hand-drawn animation studio and switched entirely to computer-animated features (starting with Chicken Little). Legendary Disney animator Glen Keane was put in charge of the film, and early on he voiced a desire to incorporate the best aspects of both hand-drawn and computer animation techniques. Test renderings were created in a painterly style based on that of Fragonard's The Swing, with special attention paid to Rapunzel's hair.

But while Keane was refining the animation techniques, the development of the story encountered problems. Disney wasn't happy with the progress, and at various times Keane was taken off of his producer's role; the film was reworked to become a fractured fairy tale-style story like Shrek; the film was renamed Rapunzel Unbraided; and voice actors were going on and off of the project like a revolving door. The delays even caused The Princess and the Frog—a film that hadn't yet been conceived of when Rapunzel was already deep into development—to be pushed up into Rapunzel's place in the schedule.

But eventually, a workable script came about, Keane and the animators settled on a style, and the resulting film is, while not quite a classic, still a very entertaining work and a worthy companion to Disney's stable of "princess films". (In an attempt to stave off young boys refusing to watch another such "princess film", the movie underwent one last rename, to Tangled.)

The story deviates significantly from the original fairy tale, but does so without introducing excessive pop culture elements. In the film, Rapunzel is a pretty, slight 18-year-old girl whose boundless enthusiasm is not dulled one bit by her perpetual imprisonment in a tall tower—nor by the 70 feet of uncut blonde hair that grows from her head. Her captor is Mother Gothel, an ancient crone who uses the magic of Rapunzel's hair to retain her youthful appearance. Mother knows best, Gothel insists, and Rapunzel obeys because she's the only family she's ever known.

But her real family—monarchs of a nearby kingdom—miss her terribly, and every year on her birthday launch thousands of floating paper lanterns into the sky. Rapunzel, who watches from her distant tower, doesn't know why the lights appear on her birthday each year, but she knows she wants to see them up close for once. Her opportunity arises when Flynn Rider, a charismatic thief, stumbles upon her tower while escaping the local authorities.

As she finds adventure away from her tower for the first time, Rapunzel eventually must decide whether the outside world is full of promise... or of betrayal.

Pop singer Mandy Moore voices Rapunzel with aplomb, capturing the girl's exuberance and sensitivity; Zachary Levi as Flynn does his best to keep up but might overdo the charming rogue schtick ever-so-slightly. Broadway veteran Donna Murphy is suitably scheming as Mother Gothel. A few other names—Brad Garrett, Ron Perlman, Jeffrey Tambor—voice minor characters, but there's really very little dialog beyond that of the three leads.

Returning to tradition, Disney went with Alan Menken for the songs, who teamed with Glenn Slater (as he did for Home on the Range). Not quite a full-fledged musical, the film features just four songs: one "heroine's motivation" song for Rapunzel, one villain's song for Gothel, a love song, and a rowdy show-stopper.

The film was virtually snubbed at the Oscars, not even garnering a Best Animated Feature nomination. The requisite Alan Menken love-song ballad, "I See the Light", was nominated for Best Original Song but lost to a Randy Newman piece from Toy Story 3.

Nonetheless, the film was a success and proved that computer-animated films don't have to be laden with pop-culture references or focus on non-human characters. The animation of Rapunzel's hair turned out to be a great technical breakthrough, and Disney learned a lot about combining the newest techniques with the old traditions. It may not go down as a classic, but Rapunzel still hits the mark as a worthy addition to the Disney canon.

Information for the Disney Animated Features series of nodes comes from the IMDb (www.imdb.com), Frank's Disney Page (http://www.fpx.de/fp/Disney/), Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org), and the dark recesses of my own memory.

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