The New Black Gold

I don’t believe I’ve done many music reviews, mainly because most people already know how I think of songs, and I let it out indiscreetly in my blog entries anyway. However, for today I will focus on just 1 song, and it’s a song that I’m not already biased towards (meaning not Japanese, for one). I hope my judgment will thus be objective, or at the very least value-neutral. Maybe, we shall see!

So first of all, to keep things in perspective, the recommended song I received is The New Black Gold, a song from the game Deus Ex. You can find it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-CoE46ZsD0&hd=1

I shall try to rate this song in terms of several factors.

1. Lyrics

Game songs, if they have lyrics, tend to be rather well-written. The words suit the feel of the game well, as well as fitting in with the music in general. I particularly like this set of lyrics because they talk about the setting of the game without mentioning it in direct terms. It doesn’t say anything about the city being futuristic, or that androids and robots have taken over. It just rants about the economic system, and then delves deep into a single person, with his “metal fingers gripping his heart so cold”.

Also, lyrics that manage to rhyme without sounding strained are always a plus. That said, there are certain sections where the word sounds stretched, as if the lyricist could have fitted another word in.

2. Tune

As the YouTube uploader said, “The general reception to New Black Gold 2013 has been that it is technically superior & with fewer errors and flaws – at the cost of some of its raw humanity. It’s almost as if that was the point… ;)”, I feel this statement applies perfectly to the musical composition of the song. It is technical and doesn’t fall into any pitfalls, but its perfection is just a little unnerving. I would compare this song to The Fox by Ylvis, much to your probable astonishment. The ending part of this song sounds just like the mellow bridge of The Fox, where the singer starts to slow down and sing the verse in a slower pace before quickening his pace again for the chorus. The overall arrangement and song structure sound quite similar, really. I think this kind of music suits the trend that English music is going into, so this song should be quite well-received by the community. It’s action-packed enough, but also at a suitable speed to allow for introspection and mood generation. Well done there!

3. Voice

Now when the YouTube commenters said things like, “Well, the main character of the Deus Ex series had his arms and eyes replaced with robotic implants, so technically he is a cyborg, therefore his robotic nature was emphasized in the nature of the vocals of the song,” I find it completely contrary to what I had in mind. I felt that the man’s voice in the song was the only human thing in there. It was so distinctively human that he faltered at a few notes. I agree, some parts sounded utterly boring and monotonous, which probably was meant for the robotic effect. However, I think the robotic effect would have been carried off much better if a high female voice had been used, but maybe that would be too clichéd and obvious. This is a manly game, and a sad manly singer fits just fine, but no I don’t believe his voice was any different or uniquely mechanical.

The harmony of the song is quite good, though the voice doesn’t always blend into the other aspects of the song, namely the lyrics and tune. Maybe it’s because I know now that the song was meant to be jarringly mechanical, but the voice itself is so everyday and well, not really something extraordinary to listen to twice, that I develop a higher expectation which it has not met. However, the song itself is good to listen to, if you don’t think of the setting and background behind it.

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