Rant of Valakut: Second Sun Ben Iverach-Brereton December 7, 2020 Rants of Valakut Originally published in Rolling Stoneforge Magazine* In 2010, the band Smash Mouth began work on a new batch of songs. They wanted them to be a love letter to their favourite trading card game, and named their album “Magic: the Gathering” after it. They quickly shortened it to “Magic” to avoid any copyright issues, but the idea remained the same: these songs would be about the game that was so near and dear to their hearts. Members of Smash Mouth would later reminisce about their early writing sessions, and how fitting it was that they had games of EDH going on while tossing ideas back and forth. By 2011 most of the new songs were ready, and Smash Mouth went to 429 Records to begin recording. The original track listing for Magic looked like this: 1. Perfect Opener 2. Love to Live Another Turn 3. Magic (the Gathering) 4. Jace Beleren 5. Out of Mana 6. Tappin’ Out 7. Paying X Life 8. Better with Timewalk 9. The Game 10. Spin into Myth 11. Don’t You (Forget Your Upkeep) Bonus: Second Sun As one might expect, however, the final version of this album looked very different. “The game’s problems could have a negative impact on the album sales.” While Smash Mouth was busy working on their songs, Magic: the Gathering was facing a crisis. The player base in 2011 was growing more and more disenfranchised with the game; Standard had become a stale nightmare thanks to the ubiquity of the now-infamous “Caw-Blade” deck. Several producers at 429 Records where Standard players themselves, and knowing that Smash Mouth was recording an album about this game, took note of this shift in the community’s attitude. There was a growing concern at 429 Records that the game’s problems could have a negative impact on the album sales. The producers approached the band and advised them to abandon their card game theme. Even with this portent, Smash Mouth was reluctant to change things; the early recording sessions for Magic were going really well, and everyone was enthusiastic about the lyrics. The positive vibes quickly changed with the banning of Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Stoneforge Mystic in June of 2011. “If the game failed, their album was sure to follow suit.” The sudden banning gave the members of Smash Mouth pause. Maybe the producers were right. Was this a sign that Magic: the Gathering was finally dying? If so, they needed to take the album in a different direction; if the game failed, their album was sure to follow suit, and they would need a way to appeal to a wider audience. No matter how proud they were of it, years of work would be wasted if sales tanked. The band went back and forth on this decision for quite some time, weighing their options. Maybe the game could recover from needing to ban cards in Standard? It had done so previously with the original Mirrodin bans, after all. But even if the game recovered, the player base might not recover enough to warrant producing an entire album about a trading card game. This was already going to be a niche product, and it looked as if Smash Mouth’s market was going to be much smaller than they thought. After several meetings, the band finally made the difficult choice to rewrite their songs. By 2012, all of the revisions were done and they finished their recordings. The album released on September 4th of that year, with new titles and lyrics. The album also had one less song than planned. “The group had no alternative but to remove the track…” The bonus track, Second Sun, was cut from Magic near the end of production. It was initially going to be an ode to the Mirrodin card “Second Sunrise,” but according to the band members, rewriting the lyrics for this song was “like trying to fry eggs with a candle;” they took far too long to complete. Combined with all of the other last-minute revisions they still needed to do, the group had no alternative but to remove the track from the final album. Years later, Smash Mouth reunited to complete work on Second Sun. The band finished the song with new lyrics, updating them for a modern audience by replacing the references to the now-banned card Second Sunrise. Unlike the rest of the Magic album, the band decided not to compromise their vision this time: the new lyrics for this track would still reflect their passion for Magic: the Gathering. According to the band, the new lyrics felt like they had come full circle: “Several lines in the song are direct references to [their] most memorable EDH games [they] played while working on the Magic album.” Second Sun was released as a single in the fall of 2020: SECOND SUN To the tune of Walkin’ on the Sun Disdainful Stroke can’t stop your Island-hating Choke Or teach a Wurm to ping with auras costing three Or Breach a World to Snuff Out Sires and the Squires. Hey I know it takes too long, but I’ll Search through the whole City. This is a bad attack. I know it died but it’s back, And with my Mimic Vat, I’ll tap it to make a Cat. My Adaptation names Assassin for the Scarblade Elite; If you Waste my lands I’ll tap and float it just to flash in the Clique. [Chorus:] So don’t Delay, Track Down: Scry three to find your outs And now if you’re still alive, stick two hate bears to survive, And if you Harrow there may be a D. Veto but if they’re playing Jund, You might as well Approach the Second Sun. [Funky instrumental] Twenty-five turns ago they Root Out on your Cast Out For possession of Oppression to discard your Merfolk. And they Forked Oust with their cards an’ cast a Bonfire, Just Clingin‘ a Captain, Man, what the hell happened? Then some were Arcbound Some still say “Hound” Some play face down And then Morph back up Or Flashback on the Rebound. And the kids with combat tricks love Hippogryffs, But their passion is smashin‘: the Gruul meaning of it. [Repeat Chorus:] So don’t Delay, Track Down: Scry three to find your outs And now if you’re still alive, stick two hate bears to survive And if you Harrow there may be a D. Veto but if they’re playing Jund, You might as well Approach the Second Sun. [Synthesizer solo] It ain’t no joke when my Bloodchief can’t put on a Cloak, Or move gear, because Phyrexians had them Revoked. Soulbond a Construct And Corrupt A F’ro-cious little wee Pup. Coastal Wizards set the norm: an Omnath Locus-focus! So tap Springjack, Kick that And watch the Goblin Bushwhack; Down to ten, your Robin Hood goes on the attack. Gotta pay for Pact before the Pact makes sure you pay. You need to beware when they Merchant Scroll again for Negate…! [Repeat Chorus:] So don’t Delay, Track Down: Scry three to find your outs And now if you’re still alive, stick two hate bears to survive And if you Harrow there may be a D. Veto but if they’re playing Jund, You might as well Approach the Second Sun, Or Mighty Leap over a blockin’ Thrun To get in your commander’s twenty-one. With Rhystic askin’ you to pay the one, You might as well Approach the Second Sun. For additional information regarding the impact of early Standard bans, Rolling Stoneforge Magazine recommends A Brief History of the Standard Banned List. For up-to-the-minute bans, please consult the current Banned and Restricted List. And finally, for more music related content, please check out the recent articles about Wizards’ Double Masters Musical and its Double-Faced counterpart. *Author’s Note: This article is a work of fiction, written for entertainment only. My apologies to Wizards of the Coast, Rolling Stone Magazine, 429 Records and Smash Mouth. I hope you enjoyed the new lyrics. Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName Email Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.