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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 

This Weeks Music Video with Kate Bush, Metallica, MØ, A Tribe Called Quest, Riff Raff and Jim James

Metallica – Hardwired… To Self-Destruct Review 

Though undoubtedly many selectively managed sites, magazines and ‘hip’ people instantly dismiss or undermine Metallica as much as they’d denounce anything that reaches the charts or has a dance beat in it, you can’t brush a band like Metallica under the carpet. It’s simply not possible. A giant Metallica shape would simply be under your carpet. Even if you find their sound completely unpalatable, they are one of the biggest bands in the world and they’ll sell out pretty much any venue, anywhere. Now with they’re tenth studio album, they’re being hailed for creating their best work for a long time. For a band that tries to distance itself from religion and politics, even they have now been dragged, literally kicking and screaming into the swarm of debate about their divided nation and a divided world as they see it. The product of this is pretty dramatic.

The drama is encapsulated almost completely with pin one song; their lead single ‘Moth Into Flame’. The metaphors and imagery is very pointed and it’s difficult to avoid the subject. “Sold your soul, Built A Higher Wall… Seduced by fame, A Moth Into The Flame (Burn).” It almost sounds like a biblical judgment of Donald Trump and is almost terrifying in the setting of plunging riffs and crashing persuasion with those lyrics delivered through James Hetfields trademark snarl. Other lyrics include pointed snaps at the President Elect and other “extremes” they see around the world and the oblivious side show of celebrity obsession and with Trump they combine both flanks of their attack. The song works so well as it provides an anger that matches the situation they and many other see it. It’s also something they felt so strongly about that they had to break their silence on Political matters. ‘Hardwired’ is a track that has all the hallmarks of a Metallica track with high firing riffs and snapping percussion and this builds to a peak before accelerating off again. This track is a punch in the face in which Hetfield screams about Paranoia, “a planet burning once upon a flame”, “Crooked Borderlines” and the summation that “We’re so fucked. Shit outta luck.” These lyrics and this imagery comes at a perfect time for those needing to vent and this track is just one massive venting of anger. 

‘Atlas Rise’ is a track that takes their rapidly shifting rhythms and sees them play with the speed to highlight the tearing hooks and then the lead riffs later on. Indeed, this album has been hailed for having the best hooks and riffs they’ve been able to produce for several albums. ‘Dream No More’ becomes a controlled and driven piece of rock music with steady rocking riffs that circle back every few seconds to make for a punchy track, but one that allows them to show their musical prowess. They deliver an aggressive, yet effective harmony and go on to play with the speed of their track to bookmark each verse. The fact that they are able to manipulate their sound so well shows why they should be taken seriously. ‘ManUNKind’ is another example of this and a track that justifies the praise for their riffs on this album as serveral varying riffs are forged together into one rhythm structure. Again the pointed message of “killing of the innocents” shows how much more direct some of their lyrics have become. Of course there are tracks that do act as filler in a way as they could have been from almost any Heavy Metal album and there are moments when they tease something drastically different, but defer to familiarity, The album, however is an album that almost anyone could listen to, at least that is true for most of the album. The messages in some of the tracks range from philosophical to furious and certain tracks are theatrical and unhinged in a spectacular way. This certainly is their best work for some time and for many their timing couldn’t be better. 

Metallica – Hardwired… To Self-Destruct = 8/10 

Owen Riddle

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