DCP listens through the worsts of the year
By DCP Audible Writers
Photo: I See Stars’ Treehouse
Can’t Stop the Feeling’ from the ‘Trolls’ soundtrack
by Justin Timberlake
By Tim Walker
Thanks a lot, 2016. Not only did you go and take away a bunch of our more brilliant musical talents, but then you turn around and give us what promises to be the nadir of Justin Timberlake’s recording career, his supremely annoying slice of kiddy-pop fodder, “Can’t Stop the Feeling, from the soundtrack to Dreamworks’ “Trolls” movie. (Cue the dancing toddlers.) Saccharine sweet, bouncy, and perky enough to give you a migraine, “Can’t Stop the Feeling” is the sort of song that carloads of Pre-K tots sing along with ’til Soccer Mom begins to gnash her teeth and pull out her hair. I swear, the young man from Tennessee hasn’t sunk this low since dating Britney Spears. I’m not suggesting that I expect high art from a Justin Timberlake release—Lord knows I don’t—but the former Mouseketeer does have a good voice, and he’s released an interesting white-boy-funk song or two in the past. (Remember “Sexyback?”) And don’t think I don’t appreciate a well-crafted pop song. This one, however, may go down in history for one thing—being the first step in Justin’s slide into pop
‘Lucky Man’ by Emerson,
Lake and Palmer
By Gary Spencer
My choice for a song that reflects the suckiness of 2016 is “Lucky Man” by legendary prog rock trio Emerson, Lake and Palmer from their 1970 eponymous debut album. I chose this song for a couple of different reasons. The most obvious being that 2016 claimed the lives of both keyboardist Keith Emerson (suicide) and bassist/guitarist Greg Lake (cancer), leaving drummer Carl Palmer as the sole surviving member. However, I also thought this song was apt for this playlist, as, lyrically, it seems to reflect the year itself—the lyrics tell a tale of a man who started out with everything a person could want out of life, a person of morals and ideals, only to lose it all unceremoniously, which is a feeling of defeat and loss that I imagine many people experienced as 2016 came to a close. Sonically, “Lucky Man” seems to emit a metaphorical tone of sorrow and despondency, which, yet again, seems to be what many people took away from the year 2016. May 2017 be truly lucky for us all. We can only hope.
by Aoife O’Donovan
By Joey Ferber
We all need music to push through. There are days where the most attainable goals can’t be envisioned, and doses of sweet satisfaction seem to be the only remedy for long-term uncertainty. For sure, 2016 has had its trying times, with consistent reminders that change is the only constant. Sometimes the momentum I’ve needed from others has been offered through music. While we cannot always feel the utmost uplift from those who know and love us the best, there is beauty in the layers of small messages. In the form of a birthday present, I was gifted Aoife O’Donovan’s latest studio record, In the Magic Hour. This moment of transition when a vinyl exchanged hands was hardly fixed in time—there and gone, never to be seen again. No, this offering held the unknown in the form of 10 songs that would occur at the most synchronistic times over the months between August and December. I have come to believe less in idea of things being “timely”; more-so, I believe in being tuned in. The fifth song on the record is O’Donovan’s song “Magpie.” Written in five verses, it is attention-grabbing and captivating with the images that create the song’s setting. The places evoke peace and serenity, as momentum builds into the chorus. Finally, and seamlessly climactic, the chorus’ lyric utters a familiarity with the ultimate unknown, as O’Donovan’s chillingly beautiful melody asserts, “I think I know where you go, when you die,” as the tune cycles back into itself.
When I hear this track, I feel inspired to see what’s on the other side of whatever mental limit is hiding from me that day.
‘Stranger in a Strange Land’
by Six Feet Under
By Mike Ritchie
Six Feet Under is a veteran death metal band led by former Cannibal Corpse vocalist Chris Barnes. It’s done several covers albums called Graveyard Classics. In 2016, the band released The Number of the Priest, focusing on songs of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Though death metal covers still carry somewhat of a novel appeal to those that have never heard songs with death vocals or a non-genre tune played in that style, death metal itself has always been an acquired taste.
Judas Priest and Iron Maiden are both known for iconic vocalists, who sing with banshee turbine powered, pitch, volume, and range. Even if done with respect to their own spin, some songs should not be done with growls. Case in point is Maiden’s “Stranger in a Strange Land,” a standout track, on its 1986 futuristic classic Somewhere In Time.
The limitations to death metal vocals might seem self-evident to many, but it’s just plain wrong to cover a globally respected vocalist without being able to do justice to the nuances in delivery and pitch in such an iconic song.
It’s one of the few times I’ve listened to a death metal song, face-palmed, and just started laughing.
‘Mobbin’ Out’ by I See Stars and ‘The Black’ by Asking Alexandria
By Allyson B. Crawford
For a lot of people, 2016 was a terrible year. From the ugliest and most divisive political season anyone can possibly remember to losing so many of our favorite musicians to personal tragedies aplenty, a lot of us were happy to kick 2016 to the curb when the ball dropped, ushering
Through it all, music—especially metal—had the ability to turn a bad day good… or at least make it tolerable. A couple of songs were on constant repeat at my house during 2016. The tracks helped me escape and pretend I lived in a better, wiser America.
I See Stars released Treehouse (Sumerian Records) during June 2016, and the track “Mobbin’ Out” became a lifeline. Not only is the song loud and aggressive, it also has its mellow moments. Complex layering helps give the track depth, but the core is metal—and that makes this song great for running, lifting weights, or rage tweeting. The track is one of the heaviest of Treehouse and also its best.
Asking Alexandria released The Black (Sumerian Records) during March 2016. The album marks the band’s first with new singer Denis Shaforostov. Despite the change behind the mic, the metal core band’s sound remains intact on this release, especially on the lead track, “The Black.” A beautiful mix of clean singing and metal screaming, “The Black” is the perfect five-minute antidote to a horrible day. The complex breakdown at the song’s mid-point inches the track dangerously toward ballad territory until pulling back for a little more brutal metal, after all, metal makes the world go ’round.
To listen to the DCP Frack You 2016 playlist, please visit DaytonCityPaper.com/FrackYou2016Playlist.