Oliver Twisted is looking to be a disruptor. Not in the punk rock sense of the word but, instead, an artistic wrecking ball capable of giving listeners pause to reconsider what hip hop music crossed with a singer/songwriter sensibility can accomplish. “Wrath of a Winner”, the title number from his soon to be released album, gives us more than a glimpse into the beating heart of Twisted’s talent – it’s a panoramic view of his skill set that, likewise, reveals a depth of spirit not often found in the genre. Twisted, surely, has a bevy of influences he draws from to make this track successful, but it’s remarkable how we never hear his reference points making their presence overtly felt in the performance. Instead, Twisted owns everything here and proves himself more than equipped to carve out his own niche in the modern music world.
Everything begins with the song’s first class production values. It’s one of many hats Oliver Twisted comfortably wears and there’s steady balance between the assortment of instruments fueling the song’s progress; we never get any sense that the arrangement is merely a vehicle for his singing but, rather, works alongside his vocals to make for an even more complete recording. If Twisted has to deal with any sort of technological or financial limitations in the recording of this song, it doesn’t show. The level of sophistication present in this recording emphasizes its strengths without ever drawing attention to itself.
It provides a great platform for Twisted to weave vocal magic. He doesn’t confine himself to a strictly hip hop delivery and, instead, exhibits some genuine vocal chops during the song’s first half before ever treating listeners to his rap talents. The singing during the song’s first half never slips into bathos, but it does have a strongly emotional quality that makes this an even more involving listening experience for the audience. His hip hop delivery is every bit as effective. It isn’t all that common for artists in this vein to manifest such emotion in their voice, but Twisted is an uncommon performer.
The writing is truly revealing of both Twisted’s personality and character. His internal strength and commitment to his art comes through, but there’s plenty of vulnerability present in the performance as well. His apparent commitment to crafting five star songwriting results in a lyric that, like the musical arrangement, has no wasted motion. Some may hear the arrangement as a rather spartan, but he gives “Wrath of a Winner” exactly what it needs to get under listener’s skin and no more than that. The dynamics present in this four minute song pivot around the piano playing, but the drumming has a light touch that, nonetheless, imbues the song with a much needed sense of urgency/ This is a song Oliver Twisted can be proud of for years to come – it embodies his artistic ambitions while still opening its heart and thoughts for the audience. It, undoubtedly, will stand tall as one of the album’s marquee tracks and if the remainder of the release is even half as good, we’re still in for quite a treat as listeners.
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