Monday, 5 November 2012

Rap, Screamo, and Spoken Word

Currently, my favourite album is Love Riot by Worth Dying For. I love every song on it, and I listen to it all the time, there's a bit of rapping, a bit of screaming, and a bit of spoken word.

None of which I have ever enjoyed until now.

I was trying to work out what the difference between these songs and others I've heard is that makes rap, screamo, and spoken word okay.

I came to a simple conclusion, that the rap, screamo, and spoken word should not be the centre of the song, but should compliment it. What I mean is that the song definitely shouldn't be entirely rap, screamo, or spoken word, and it shouldn't be the focus of the song.

Some good examples are putting a tag in the middle of the song with rap, screamo, or spoken word. It can be used to just break things up, build a climax, change from one mood to another, or other things. It works in the same way that an instrumental works. A well known example is Ludacris' rap solo in the middle of Justin Bieber's Baby. It doesn't take away from the song, but rather, adds to it

Another good way to include those three elements is to have it underpinning the melody, like a harmony almost. Breathe Carolina's The Dressing Room is a good example. At key moments during the verses, a screamo vocalist comes in and out, almost like another instrument. During the screamo solo, the melodic vocals do the same thing, I've seen other examples where one vocalist screams the entire chorus, but it's turned down so it's not overpowering, and doesn't distract from the melody during the chorus.

It can also be used as an introduction. One thing that's very popular in American Christian bands is having a spoken word song to start off the album. Love Riot's Destroy opens up Love Riot nicely. And it's a brilliant example. One line in the second song is repeated over and over during the first song, to create a seamless transition between the two.

The bottom line is that a song should never be only rap, only screamo, or only spoken word. There needs to be a balance. There needs to be a melody or you can hardly call it music. There are some things in life that need to be taken in moderation.

I usually can't stand rap, screamo, or spoken word. I certainly never listened to them on a regular basis. But I know now that when used properly, it can be quite powerful.

It's interesting because I can't stand dubstep either. I call it the rap of techno music. But since my opinion of rap has been changed somewhat, I'll be less judgemental of dubstep, I might even look out for a good example of dubstep being used properly, in the same way that I found rap, screamo, and spoken word being used properly.

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