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Tune of the year 2016

As a part of my job each year I have to chose top 10 albums of the year. If making such a list is hard, then choosing a song of the year is Mission: Impossible. So that’s why I decided to make one.

Crowning the song of the year (or the album of the year for that matter) is kind of odd because it’s done at the very end of the year and you usually end up changing you mind few months or few years later. But if piece of music has made such an impact on you that you crowned it song/album of the year, then it must be a damn good piece of music.

So what makes a song stand out form the endless line of songs released in a course of any given year? I would say that it’s a song that has it all – melody, music, lyrics, arrangements, production, mix and nonetheless feeling.
Originality is another aspect that often plays a big role when it comes to making top lists. That’s why this year’s choice is somewhat of a surprise for me. I would usually go for the likes of Tool’s “10,000 Days (Wings Pt 2)” or OSI’s “Go”, but in 2016 song that blew me away is a very simple and fairly unoriginal song.

 

 

But don’t be fooled, this songs has so many qualities.

 

Its predictable arrangements work extremely well with the two aspects of simple, but extremely effective lyrical themes. The mellow verses compliment the naive self-serving nature of the protagonist, while the rocking chorus captures and underlines the bizzarity of their actions and consequences of their outside views.

There is also certain intensity in the music that matches the intensity of the vocal performance. It’s as if everything just clicks perfectly in this song, that in its very gist is simply a very good song.

Just about everything in this song is spot on; catchy yet emotional melodies, the pulsing beat whose groove makes it almost impossible not to nod head to, passionate edgy vocals, razor-sharp guitars, perfectly placed and mixed layered guitar noises, simple yet extremely effective lyrics with highly relative (and timeless) themes.

 

If I really try to find aspect that could’ve been done better there are two worth mentioning. Let’s start with the big one.

 

Taking the metaphorical approach to the story of a simple man and his close surroundings the choice of word “sea” in “And they’re following me across the sea/And now they’re stinging my friends and my family…” is utterly unfitting. Keeping up with the style of the lyrics, term “lake” or even “river” would’ve fitted the lyrics far better.

And then a minor one that is also about the lyrics, but in a way it’s also a compliment for lyrics as well.

What do I mean with that? Well, the main story the lyrics deal with is so sharp and focused with enough simplicity and depth to keep everyone on-board. It’s also a story that spans over a verse, the bridge and all three choruses, and therefore the theme described in second verse (and second verse alone) seems bit odd and it takes something out of the extremely sharp lyrics of the song. It does this despite the fact that it thematically fits with the overall story and nonetheless it’s moral.

The main story is so sharp and rapt that “I tried to stick this pin through a butterfly…” simply takes something out of its shrill focus. I understand that it was problematic to build further on that gist, but even the repeating of first chorus would perhaps be a better solution.

Regardless, this song is so good that I have easily chosen it as a song of the year, and taking one look at the honorable mentions, it’s clear that the competition was fierce.

So now that you’ve been listening to me blabber-on about this song, perhaps it’s time for you to give it a listen. You can also see the fine video that accompanies the song as well as study the lyrics below.

 

Thrice – “Black Honey”

Song: “Black Honey”
Album: To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere (2016)
Performed by: Thrice
Music by: E. Breckenridge, R. Breckenridge, D. Kensrue and T. Teranishi

Lyrics by: Dustin Kensrue
Produced by: Eric Palmquist
Label: Vagrant
Link: www.thrice.net

 

 

BLACK HONEY


I keep swinging my hand through a swarm of bees ‘cause I …
I want honey on my table
I keep swinging my hand through a swarm of bees ‘cause I …
I want honey on my table
But I never get it right
No I never get it right


I keep swinging my hand through a swarm of bees
I can’t understand why they’re stinging me
But I’ll do what I want, I’ll do what I please
I’ll do it again till I got what I need


I’ll rip and smash through the hornet’s nest
Don’t they understand I deserve the best
And I’ll do what I want, I’ll do what I please
I’ll do it again till I got what I need


I tried to stick this pin through a butterfly ‘cause I …
I like all the pretty colors
But it just fell apart so I flung it in the fire
To burn with all the others
Cause I never get it right
No, I never get it right


I keep swinging my hand through a swarm of bees
I can’t understand why they’re stinging me
But I’ll do what I want, I’ll do what I please
I’ll do it again till I got what I need


I’ll rip and smash through the hornet’s nest
Don’t they understand I deserve the best
And I’ll do what I want, I’ll do what I please
I’ll do it again till I got what I need


And this time I’ll get it right
Yeah this time I’ll get it right
It’s gonna be this time I’ll get it right


Oh God let it be this time I get it right
So I’m cutting that branch off the cherry tree
I’m singing this will be my victory then I…
I see them coming after me


And they’re following me across the sea
And now they’re stinging my friends and my family and I…
I don’t know why this is happening


But I’ll do what I want, I’ll do what I please
I’ll do it again till I got what I need


I keep swinging my hand through a swarm of bees ‘cause I …
I want honey on my table

 
 

Honorable mentions – in no particular order:

 

 

Minor Victories – “A Hundred Ropes”
Massive Attack – “Ritual Spirit”
O’Brother – “Your Move”
Russian Money- “Brither Days”

 

The Minds of 99 – “Til Dem”
New Model Army- “Born Feral”
Karmakanic – “God the universe and everything else no one really cares about – Part I”
Long Distance Calling – “Rewind”

 

Giving these songs a spin or two … sure did make me smile (despite number of rather serious subjects some of them deal with).