Counter Culture

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I woke up as the sunlight began to creep through the curtains, lighting the room in that perfect, soft morning light. It was that feeling of comfort that you can only find tangled up in some white duvet with the girl you loved. I could almost hear Norah Jones' "Sunrise" playing softly in the background.

I studied my Magnolia, still asleep. Her long golden hair was spread out on the pillow, framing her face in an almost angelic halo. She lay on her side, facing me. Her lower lip was pouted in an irresistible way and her long lashes made shadows on her face. I wanted to memorize the placement of each of her freckles, despite the fact she told me they'd fade and disappear as winter came.

She was so damn beautiful. In passing, Magnolia would tell me about the things boys would say to her back at her school or in Nashville. They'd make fun of her height or make fun of her teeth, saying she looked like a horse or calling her "bucky". I'm not exactly sure why anyone would look at her immaculate form and utter any thought of distaste. Despite her fierce love for the city, I knew it wasn't all rainbows and unicorns.

From description, you'd imagine Nola as this conventional "American" beauty (and whatever bullshit that entails). Blonde hair, green eyes, tall, long legs and full lips. But she had the features and look about her that made everyone do a double take while walking back. She reminded me of a Mucha painting. But she had this edge to her look... maybe it was the determination in her eyes.

I didn't know. All I knew was utterly entranced.

Her mumbled something in her sleep, moving closer to me and warmth filled my heart. I noticed she was wearing my shirt and a surge of pride I never knew I had filled my heart.

I sighed and looked at my watch, noticing it was time we got dressed before heading back to the studio.

Too bad. I could stay here in her company, perfectly content, forever.

"Hey Nola, time to wake up," I whispered, gently moving her hair out of her face.

Her eyes flickered open and managed to glare at me as she yawned.

"It is too early," she mumbled grumpily.

I couldn't help but smile as a thought came to my mind. I climbed out of bed and ripped the covers off of Nola. Evil, I know.

She shrieked for a second, and I took the moment to admire her form in nothing but one of my shirts. The moment didn't last long as she practically threw herself out of my bed and rushed toward me, tackling me.


Nothing wakes you up quite like someone ripping your covers off, you tackling them and then that quickly escalating into a makeout session only you realize you're going to be late for your meeting, so you get dressed in whatever you can find and throw yourself into the elevator (of course enjoying the moment alone *wink*) and getting in a taxi.

Honestly, one of the best mornings I've had in awhile, despite contemplating killing Rowen for waking me up so early.

The thing is- I wake up pretty early naturally, I think my natural sleep pattern is like 9:45-7:30, but that bed was soooo comfy, I felt like part of my soul was being ripped from me as I was dragged out of it.

I looked down at my impeccable outfit. Despite spending maybe 5 seconds on it, Rowen and I looked like a fucking 1970s power couple. I was aggressively channeling Anita Pallenburg vibes with my brown corduroy flare pants, chunky belt, and cropped billowing paisley print top. It was epic.

I look over to see Rowen leaning back in his car seat, and running a hand through his still-wet-from-the-shower hair. His white shirt was unbuttoned almost to his stomach (maybe an exaggeration but still). Somehow, his suit coat looked effortless and sexy as he looked out the window of the taxi. He was giving me young Mick Jagger vibes.

"You look hot," I blunted out. I eyed his reaction as his eyes went from lust to a mischief.

I felt my face grow hot as he leaned forward in his seat just as the Taxi rolled to a stop, "Don't get me started on you," He whispered, and said those words in a way that made me flush even harder. He opened the door carelessly and strutted towards the building, leaving me bewildered in the taxi.

Goddamn, when did he become so confident?

I followed him out of the taxi, noticing a small crowd had gathered outside, and were screaming like we were the motherfucking beatles as we walked by.

Because I'm pale as shit (the days of slightly tan Nola are over, welcome to late fall), I couldn't hide the blush from Rowen OR the embarrassment from being screamed at by a crowd. It was so much weirder than people cheering when you're onstage. This is like... when people sing happy birthday to you and you just sit there awkwardly.

We made our way into the studio, chatted briefly with the gang, and got to work. There was definitely less to do today, seemingly the producers got even less sleep than Rowen and I (for other reasons undoubtedly), and had finished the record. We listened to it, made some changes here and there, and finalized it.

We decided we needed a cover shoot, so we called a photographer and the band sat around a table, tossing out album names as we waited for the photographer to show up.

"What about, Room 8?" Laurent offered, referencing the title of one of our songs.

"Mmmm I think not, what about Die Hard?" Matteo countered. That was a very Matteo choice.

"Basement Angst?" Caspian offered.

"I like that one..." I said, my mind whirling with ideas.

"I have an idea-" Rowen said, "What about the name Counter Culture? I think it represents our band well and is sort of a nod to the 60s/70s counter culture, as well as 90s grunge we so heavily play from."

And thus, our baby Counter Culture by Branded was born.

OK! So sorry its been a minute- I personally think the name and band name is ANGSTY as shit but... eh. Ngl I based what Nola wore off of an outfit I had on the other day and it was amazing! 11/10 I love clothing and style so much its probably what I think about on the daily.

Thanks for reading! What would you have named the album OR what would you name an album is you released it? 

Comment! vote! I love y'all!

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