Riffs VS Arrangement

what would you say is more important?

that the parts itself has all the power needed, It is interesting memorable and/or technically impressive
that the different parts of the song elegantly connect with each other and that the general concept and feelings of the song gets properly put through.

  • riff
  • arrangement

0 voters

(if someone has a better name for the thread please DM me)


Arrangement. Mediocre riffs can be elevated with good arrangement, but one good riff does not extend it’s graces to an entire song.


its visual kei not a egyptian orchestra. All of this is based on guitars and drums, a bit computer beep boops too and wham bam done modern rock song. So yes, you better have some good fuckin riffs.


There is as much art in creating great riffs as there is in seamlessly gluing them together within the same key of the song and the context of the chord progression. This is visual kei; it’s not uncommon for bands to gain fans based on looks before they ramp up activities. Aesthetics matter.

Musical arrangement is good aesthetics in sonic form. Great ideas presented clumsily fall flat. A lot of the secret sauce that goes into the playlists I give away for trade-offs is strong arrangement of the songs I choose, so that even the weak songs are elevated by the songs that come before and after. Composition is just one layer down, and killer riffs are the first ingredient.

I could write three great riffs that don’t transition into each other. Getting over this issue would require composing more music, but by using (the barest of) musical theory to understand what you need and where. You still have your fills, licks, hooks, sequences, choruses, solos, ostinatos, vamps, etc.

I’m still sticking with arrangement :slight_smile:


Albeit for me to act obstinate we both know the fundamentals of visual kei is catchy hooks and choruses, since the fall of the music industry its always been like this. I could tell you ummu gulsum a misir mucisian who with her orchestra stopped a coup because she simply had a concert that day, with 2 million fans visiting her grave on her death or I could tell you when I contrast a song and its cover for example Neil diamonds solitary man and Johnny cashes cover version, to someone who I could say my tastes are on par with mine always preferred Johnny cash because of his brassy voice and simply he gave out what he set out to do with only a guitar and his sorrowful voice. Neil diamond on the other hand had a orchestra yet still doesn’t compare to Johnny cashes verison despite him being the original composer.

It’s because his elements are stronger, his experiences reflects on his voice. He simply gave a scope of view that he couldn’t have done.

If you want a transparent and coherent example take UK mega rockers oasis. Their first 3 albums were smashing hits despite being nothing but guitar and drums. Yet when they shared composition with each member with their last 2 album contributing their sounds like a rap outlet they fell out.
Their last album is the biggest proof of my point.
A phenomenal record yet its not what the medium wants. The time for music and talent is long past.
Just listen to falling down and their biggest hit wonder wall. Not saying this to be a rebel, it’s pretty obvious you could tell they gave more effort during their last year’s. And obviously falling down is the superior song.
That’s why riffs are more important, you’re not big or strong enough to be more because anywhere where these people aspire to be. Someone’s already there, the last 20 years it’s the same bands, names and divas, look at their ages and they’re as old as my father.

Hell I don’t even like buglug that much the only reason I follow them is they bring something new each time, not because they’re good.


It really is just like that sometimes. A battle of who can bring the most attention to their songs simply by being intriguing it’s no good to have bad quality songs but sometimes the look and diversity is everything.


Back in my more straight-laced metalhead days I would’ve easily said “riff” but the more music I’ve listened to, I’ve come to the conclusion that most of the time the arrangements make or break a song.


Fun and cool riffs or sections are all well and good, but if it isn’t a cohesive song then it’s just riff salad.

Things don’t even need to necessarily have a “normal” song structure to it with a verse and a chorus that get repeated at different points. But the transitions need to make sense, they need to naturally bring you from one section to another and be giving the song momentum to move forward. I like a good riff just as much as anybody else, and when I write songs I want to make the individual parts both fun to hear and fun for me to actually play. But if the arrangement doesn’t complement the song, it’s kind of just a mess.

When some people point to bands that are super riffy, especially more technical bands, I think they’re often missing some critical, and that’s the art and skill of putting those riffs together in a way where it works, and are missing all the bands who do so with less skill and ultimately fail.



I’ve heard some killer riffs all over, but the arrangement really sells the song. It would also explain why certain bands really catch on with English listeners who aren’t big VK fans, what with the classic Poppy Intro > Verse > Chorus > Unexpected deathcore/metalcore/djent breakdown with screams > Bridge > Chorus2 > Outro which is a guilty pleasure of mine.