Oliver Twisted – Wrath of a Winner
The title track from Oliver Twisted’s forthcoming album release Wrath of a Winner realizes, in its own individual fashion, Twisted’s avowed intent of disrupting the musical world. Some may fall into the easy trap of labeling Twisted a hip hop artist and stop there, but it’s a poor description for what Twisted offers with this track – or, at least, grossly incomplete. “Wrath of a Winner” amply demonstrates Oliver Twisted can express himself in a variety of styles – the song certainly incorporates a strong hip hop influence, but the musical substance of the song is unquestionable as well. This isn’t just a rhythm track for Twisted to lay a vocal over – instead, it’s a fully fleshed out musical experience invoking mood and atmosphere while still entertaining listeners.
The track improbably begins with evocative piano with some slight echo laid on for effect. Percussion soon comes in with accompanying synthesizer playing with a decidedly string-like quality and the same echo accentuating the piano wraps around Twisted’s voice to an even greater degree. The intensely personal nature of his lyrics is apparent from the first and, even if the song isn’t strictly autobiographical, Twisted would still deserve fulsome plaudits for his ability to clearly delineate the song’s emotional terrain. Significant parts of this tune, in many respects, possess a haunted introspective quality – Twisted is definitely sizing up where he’s been, how he’s arrived at this point, and the changes his journey have wrought upon his life.
The piano continues underpinning the song as it continues and when Twisted turns his vocals towards hip hop, the pairing continues to strike gold. He keeps things musically minimalist and clearly places a higher priority on creating a palpable mood for the track rather than astounding listeners with raucous, but ultimately meaningless, sonic fireworks. His ambition is quite real, but it’s admirable how understated it remains throughout the entirety of “Wrath of a Winner”. We never really hear the “wrath” referred to in the song title – if you want to discover that side of the song, you need to focus your attention on the lyrical content. It’s there for anyone who cares to hear it.
There is a smattering of electric guitar buried in the mix and its placement illustrates how skilled Twisted is at adding color to his compositions without ever doing so in an obvious way. The best musical artists write and perform songs that, even when they are literally beating their chest and announcing themselves in the brashest manner possible, still retain reams of nuance distinguishing them from cruder, less refined efforts. It is quite clear Twisted entered the studio with a clear idea of what he wanted this song to sound like and there isn’t a single misstep over the course of its four minute duration. Instead, Oliver Twisted sounds like he was born to do this and bring together a satisfying variety of musical voices without any stitching ever showing in his recordings. “Wrath of a Winner” is a formidable single and launches the next chapter of his musical life in the best possible way.
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