Randy’s Top 25 Songs of 2016

Thrice#5: “Black Honey” by Thrice (from the album To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere)

And then there’s this song, which has a hook that’s even catchier, as well as the best lyrics Dustin’s ever penned. It’s dark and angry without going overboard on the heaviness, and every single part of the song is close to perfect. In most years (pretty much anything from the past ten years except 2010 and 2014), this would have been the best song of the year, which just goes to show how completely jaw-dropping 2016 has been.
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Filter#4: “Mother E” by Filter (from the album Crazy Eyes)

Nothing In My Hands is the song I always use to show people what Filter’s new album is like, and it really does function as the album’s focal point, but leadoff track Mother E shows you how the album will feel. This song is dark to the point it’s oppressive: the repetitive industrial riff is what cheery would sound like to a Terminator, the vocals are anguished, near-incoherent screams, and the lyrics are the scribbled diary of a madman preparing to engage in a mass shooting, and it takes your breath away (albeit in a fashion more like being kicked in the ribs than swept off your feet). It’s uncomfortable, it makes you feel uncomfortable, and it makes you FEEL. In addition to being a great song all on its own, it also primes you for how political the rest of the album is, and that is an important quality: the entire collection of songs benefits from how incredible this song is.
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Cane Hill#3: “True Love” by Cane Hill (from the album Smile)

Speaking of uncomfortable, Cane Hill have a third appearance on the list with True Love, the most graphic song about extreme sadomasochistic sex I believe I have ever heard (also maybe the only song about that specific topic I have heard). How in the hell does that work? Well, start with a bassline that adds a ton of slither to a near subsonic rumble, and a vocal that rasps and roars like the Devil himself, plus a riff so dirty it sounds X-rated even without the lyrics. Top with a vocal hook in the chorus that makes asphyxiation while taking it in the ass sound like great shout-along fun (and who’s to say it isn’t?), and serve.
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Kvelertak#2: “Nattesferd” by Kvelertak (from the album Nattesferd)

There is no simple way to describe Kvelertak, so I’m not even going to try. On Nattesferd (both the song and the album), they gleefully toy with disparate genres like viking mad scientists hopped up on PBR, mead, and crack, transported to the 1980s, and assuming the identity of multi-platinum rock band Van Halen. If none of that made sense, good, because neither does Nattesferd. It’s a punk rock stoner jam with an attitude that is the aural avatar of Mullets, screamed at you by what sounds like a crazed, street-preaching Keith Buckley. Oh, and the lyrics are entirely in Norwegian. Somehow, this denim-clad monstrosity comes out the other end as the ANTI-2016 anthem. It’s joy in musical form, taking just enough anger and darkness to give the song bite and then pinning it to the most upbeat melody and party-starting riff you can imagine. It’s also worth noting that the riff could not possibly work without all 3 guitar parts, which is a feat of musical engineering I thought impossible (I tend to find 3-guitar songs pretty bloated and muddy, but this is crisp and punchy and a LOT of fun).
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