This Weeks Music Video with Grimes feat. Janelle Monae, Kings of Leon, Chance The Rapper, M.I.A, Depeche Mode, Dirty Projectors, Goldfrapp and The Staves

Musicandotherthingz Best Single of 2016

There’s been a almost too many rhythmic and hook-laden tracks in 2016 and they cover quite a wide range of genres from the Joyous Electro-Pop of Röyksopp to the reinvigorated, late era Punk Rockers Green Day. The classsic Eighties Pop thrills and undeniably infectious vocals from Tegan and Sara were a popular choice amongst voters as was dark Pop of The Weeknd with Daft Punk. They just missed out on getting into our top three however, which features very familiar and new acts below. 

3. Chance The Rapper – Angels (11.63% of the vote)

This year has been a strong year for Rap and Hip Hop music and nowhere is this more evident than with the success of Chance The Rapper. ‘Angels’ is a song bursting with joy and optimism about his home of Chicago. It is full of soaring brass, steady beats and enthused lyrics with a cool and easy contribution from Saba. 

2. Kanye West feat. Kendrick Lamar – No More Parties in L.A (21.00%) 

What made this single so popular was hearing someone as egocentric as Kanye getting fed up of the general excess of the party scene around him in Los Angeles which is mighty refreshing, but also a little comedic when his own personal excess is never far from mention. Kendrick Lamar adds context to Kanye’s message as he raps about the culture shock of coming from nothing and being thrusted into a distant and excessive high class society. There is slick use of sampling throughout and this ties the heavy verses together seamlessly.

1. Christine and the Queens – Tilted (30.23%)

‘Tilted’ is about not finding balance in your life, feeling out of place or feeling uneasy with yourself, even dealing with depression. It hardly seems like the appropriate lyrics for a Pop song, but sits this uncomfortable subject matter comfortably into this stylish and refined Pop song. As you’ll find with Christine, she can make so much from so little and she does that again here, with only nudging synths and gentle beats. Not only did she make a great Pop song with these lyrics and small amounts of music, but she made an oddly rhythmic song that has become of one the most popular dance tracks of the year and undoubtedly the most unique. 

Owen Riddle

Musicandotherthingz Best Arrangement of 2016

A new category for 2016 was the Arrangement category as we felt that the pure musical map of a song and its delivery was a pretty damn important aspect of a song, indeed there would be no song without it. This was another area in which Christine and the Queens shone, demonstrating her wide skill set. Tegan and Sara’s emotive piano ballad an Radiohead’s ominous shrieking string sections earned them a lot of votes and they appear in the long list. They didn’t crack out top three though who appear below. 

3. Metallica – Moth Into Flame (16.22% of the vote)

Despite their legendary status, many a hipster keyboard warrior will scoff at this group of talented artists who will sell out any venue anywhere. From Mexico City to New Dehli. This year has seen them at the best they’ve been for well over a decade, reenergised by what they see as the ever chaotic world around them. Lyrically Moth Into Flame is far from subtle and James Hetfield’s crosshairs are firmly on one orange stained individual. The arrangement on this track may haunt his nightmares as it meets with the blunt lyrics. The track is purely theatrical with wiry lead guitars tumbling from their heights into the meat grinder that is the rhythm section. Via pounding drum fills, they relentlessly deliver an intricate piece of music from which they stay contained and disciplined. 

2. The Last Shadow Puppets – Aviation (21.62%) 

Even the most ardent fans of Alex Turner and Miles Kane will admit that Everything You’ve Come To Expect appeared exactly as advertised, but there were flashes of brilliance and Aviation is one of them. Hiring the talented and diverse multi-instrumentalist Owen Pallett was a smart move as he energised many of the tracks with his cinematic arrangements. From quaking strings to soaring strings, he takes the somg greater depths and heights from the snappy, classic rhythm section produced by Turner and Kane.

1. Chance The Rapper – Same Drugs (24.32%)

Chancelor Bennett and his collaborators produced one of best albums of the year with Colouring Book and from it, he has made an album that showcases hopeful and nostalgic imagery at a time when his home city of Chicago has had a hard year. The subtle piano chords chime aside every lyric and creates a close and intimate track. Almost by stealth however, the song rises in tone and opens up with added choir and backing vocals and is simply a beautiful track that gradually flowers over its duration. 

Owen Riddle 

Noname – Telefone Review 

It seems like the phrase “Chicago born rapper” is quickly becoming a mute term simply because of the sheer number of interesting artists coming out of the city. Noname now adds her name to the list alongside the likes of Chance the Rapper, Mick Jenkins (who she has collaborated with on their respective albums) and Saba. In these collaborations Noname didn’t quite standout as an obvious “next big thing” on the Chicago rap scene and this was probably down to her very understated, relaxed and down to earth delivery. Never in your face or trying outdo anyone, noname comes across in a very relatable fashion and now that she has room to breathe in her first solo effort we can really get a feel for who noname is.

 Her personality is unsurprisingly reflected even more so in her intimate lyrics and production style. These two elements contrast on certain tracks like “Casket Pretty”, “Bye Bye Baby” and “Shadow Man” where the super sweet production style is matched with deep emotional topics. In the former she raps about the racial violence in Chicago. Scared to even pick up the phone, she hopes her “casket pretty” friends will make it home alive. “Shadow Man” too touches on some of these aspects as noname, Saba and Smino take turns in describing their own funerals. “Bye Bye Baby” is the closest noname gets to a ballad as piano chords accompany her as she talks us through her feelings after having an abortion saying she can’t wait for a “play date up in heaven soon/ Soon I will see the King/ He reminds me/ Some give presents before they’re even ready”. 

 Noname doesn’t always take herself so seriously though and tracks like the aptly named “Sunny Duet” is both warm, sweet and catchy with its acapella-like riff and lyrics about a former crush of hers. Noname keeps it light hearted on the follow up track “Diddy Bop”, in which she takes us down her childhood memory lane when her “whole neighbourhood did the diddy bop”. Musically smooth, laid back and uplifting it encapsulates the album perfectly.

  However, comparisons between Noname and Chance will inevitably be drawn considering their stylistic similarities and in some ways she could improve by having a more engaging rapping style like Chance. Although her understated style is part of her charm, she could perhaps be a little more engaging without losing out on that element. The only other fault on “Telefone”, despite it’s extremely good production value is its small rare losses in sharpness although this can be excused on a debut mixtape. Yet, this is just nit-picking and it is hard to criticise the mixtape since it’s so full of her infectious happiness and personality.  

Noname – Telefone = 8.5/10

Callum Christie

Chance The Rapper – Colouring Book Review


Chicago born rapper Chancellor Bennett, better known by his pseudonym Chance The Rapper, announced his entrance into the music industry with his 2012 mixtape 10 Days and his LP from 2013, Acid Rap. Filled with vibrant rhymes and high energy, jazz inspired beats as well as his powerful personality, clever witticisms and his unique high pitched delivery, Chance quickly became the favourite of many on the rap scene. So much so that since then he has contributed to many established artists such as Kanye West, Action Bronson and BJ the Chicago Kid as well as on Justin Bieber’s Journal LP. AcidRap showed Chance’s creativity on tracks like Everbody’s Somebody’s Everything and Cocoa Butter Kisses but it also showed some less than imaginative hooks on tracks like NaNaNa. Overall, it was an immensely impressive debut album on all levels. Can his follow-up, Colouring Book, improve on his already strong discography.
Chance continues with this high-energy soul style on this LP but strengthens the gospel elements, which is perhaps no surprise given his collaborations with Donny Trumpet & The Social Experiment on their LP Surf. Angels is symbolic of all these different elements as Chance delivers his catchiest song so far. Like on AcidRap, Chance shows his vulnerable side when he admits being the “blueprint to a real man” before bigging himself up some.
The gospel feel reappears on How Great, which opens with a gospel choir singing “how great is our god”. Whilst the auto tune in the background pulls from the track a little bit we do eventually get two impressive verses. In the first Chance drops some Harry Potter references when he raps about electrifying ‘the enemy like Hedwig till he petrified/ Any petty Peter Petigrew could get the pesticide” but it’s Jay Electronica’s verse which is the stronger with a more consistent narrative. Jay raps about how religion was there for him when he was “lost in the jungle” and “prayed and prayed and left message but never got no hear back/ or so it seemed” before saying that “Jay Elect would’ve never made it” without it.
Chance shows his singing chops on Same Drugs where he uses drugs as a way of talking about how two childhood friends went in different directions later in life. Heartfelt, vulnerable and creative, this track shows Chance at his best. Chance stretches himself on the LP too, his collaboration with Knox Fortune, All Night, is perhaps his most dance inspired tune yet. We do also get some of the eccentric production style that was so dominant on Acid Rap and No Problem is perhaps the best representation of this. Chance’s trademark witticisms are evident throughout the LP but especially on Blessings where Chance comments on the state of the music industry where music is more readily available for free than ever before (“I don’t make songs for free, I make ‘em for freedom/ Don’t believe in kings, believe in the Kingdom”).
However, it is the quality of production which lets Chance down repeatedly on this LP. The opening track, All We Got, starts well as Chance raps over booming drums. Unfortunately, the song is soon ruined by what can only be described as a choir of auto tuned Kanye’s. This tendency for poor auto tune again weakens the song Summer Friends whose decent beat is almost ruined by Francis & the Lights abrasive high pitched auto tune. Again, on Smoke Break Chance uses it on his own voice which is rather strange given how well he has proven he can sing on his earlier tracks. Another problem is the huge inconsistency in the contribution of the other artists on the LP. As well as the two above, Young Thug and Lil Wayne prove to be relatively disappointing.
A little more of Chance, who’s powerful, entertaining personality, intelligence and eccentricities made his first album so good would have gone a longer way to improving this LP. Colouring Book, as it is, remains a strong but flawed album from one of raps most exciting artists.

Chance The Rapper – Colouring Book = 7.5/10

Callum Christie

This Weeks Music Video with Bat For Lashes, Chance The Rapper feat. 2 Chainz & Lil Wayne, The Kills, Ty Segall and Braids

This Weeks Music Video with David Bowie, Death Cab for Cutie, Chance the Rapper and Tim Hecker