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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Spintunes #6 Round 1 Review: Graham Porter

Hello, my fellow SpinTunas! I'm Graham, the man behind the chronically unsuccessful Emperor Gum. You've got the privilege of being subject to my musical prejudices so I thought I'd explain my marking procedure. You'll get one mark for each of the following:

Lyrics
-Poetry for want of a better word (whether or not I think your lyrics are funny or interesting, taken totally independent of the music, try not to use cliches)
-Challenge (do your lyrics do a good job of meeting the challenge, simply name checking the challenge won't do)
-Music (do your words match your music, do you apply them musically when appropriate, general tone of the song)

Music
-Melody (main tune, solos, etc)
-Progression (structure, transitions, touches on arrangement too, try to vary things up, please don't fade out)
-Arrangement (everything other than vocals, one acoustic guitar may be the right choice if appropriate, is it sonically interesting on its own)
Performance/Recording
-Production (doesn't have to be professional standard as its songwriting contest, but vocals need to be clear and the rest of it decently balanced/performed in order for your musical ideas to come across)
 
Getting all seven points is very obtainable though it doesn't mean your song is perfect. For example good lyrics will get you a point, great lyrics will see you higher up the rankings. Once I've ordered everyone by points, I'll make the final list by personal preference. Here's where your production values will really count. I tend to dislike exact repetition of both lyrics and music, so try to colour your choruses, add backing vocals second time around, breakdown the last verse, etc. Creative implementations of the challenge will see you a long way too.
Your songs are the true prize of SpinTunes; be proud of them, be bold with your ideas and be graceful with your results. Best of luck, boppers!

RC - The Philosoraptor (7)
Poetry: “you try to....your own impermanence” is a particularly good section
Challenge: good job of incorporating a dinosaur's idea of thoughtfulness
Music: thoughtful vocal line fits the meme
Melody: nothing wrong with a good guitar solo!
Progression: standard song structure works, interesting tribal/kinda prehistoric intro, choruses could do with less repetition
Arrangement: good use of lead guitar fills, nice breakdown in third verse
Production: good full rock sound, a little heavy on the tambourine I think
-colour your choruses and you'll do fine by me

Jerry Skids – Not A Good Guy (7)
Poetry: some impressive references, never feels unfunny
Challenge: nice take
Music: friendly disbelief matches the acoustic nature
Melody: pretty vocal line, develops nicely
Progression: smart use of backing vocals, feels like it could end in three different places
Arrangement: solo guitar matches feel of song, good mix up of finger picking and chords, gorgeous harmonies
Production: you've got a lovely voice, audio glitch at 2:27?
-good work, tighten your ending, don't be afraid to end after your bridge or third verse

Steven Wesley Guiles - Boom Goes The Dynamite (4)
X Poetry: lyrics seem to be about but unrelated to Brian Collin, just a list of things that rhyme
X Challenge: I don't feel you came up with an interesting approach to this meme
Music: “Boom Goes The Dynamite” is a good line delivered well the first ten times...
Melody: solid melody, some good wonky-in-a-good-way synth work going on
X Progression: awkward transition into bridge, repeat the meme far too often
Arrangement: fourth beat start is a good punch, dropping instruments in and out keeps it interesting
Production: fun vocal performance, guitars bouncing left and right sound good
-your musicianship is solid, find creative ways to meet the challenges and develop your songs

TurboShandy - Piss Lightning (My Canine Friend) (7)
Poetry: “Feeling pain, not feeling hurting”, solid lyrics
Challenge: singer has taken Courage Wolf to heart and is urging others to do the same
Music: song is confident, music is energetic
Melody: good melody, a positively delightful guitar riff during the breaks
Progression: nice development overall, the 'heys' and guitar solo during the third verse especially, the second chorus was unnecessary given the additions in the third
Arrangement: some good hard rocking going on here, subtle backing vocals are nice
Production: sounds like you know the business end of a guitar, though I suppose they're both business ends
-excellent, this song was compact but cutting the second chorus would have made it more so

Andy Glover – Hey, Winnebago (6)
X Poetry: lyrics are pretty bland
Challenge: competent if fairly obvious interpretation of the challenge, really just a description
Music: put me in mind of a quiet, small town, outskirts car dealership, good job
Melody: vocal melody line was whistlable, would have liked the piano breaks to deviate a lot more
Progression: builds and dies away nicely, neat length that doesn't outstay its welcome
Arrangement: the backing vocals rather make this song, strip down instrumentation fits the tone
Production: well performed, you've a good set of pipes, its not a problem that the song was very quiet but you might want to try a little compression
-competent but unremarkable, try and be more ambitious to set yourself apart from the crowd

Foobar - Leeroy Jenkins (5)
Poetry: you made me laugh so you get this mark, transition from second verse to chorus doesn't make any sense
Challenge: appeal to not to judge too harsely, reasonably justifying the pulling of aggro
Music: heartfelt ballad fits the song well
Melody: nice enough song
X Progression: solid structure, but repeats the chorus and certain sound bites to the point of boredom
Arrangement: lovely piano playing, touches of guitar compliment it nicely
X Production: I could have ducked you this point for arrangement but I'll do it here instead, the audio clips from the original video are too frequent, too loud and take the listener out the song
-using sound bytes can add flavour to a song but not like this, please colour your choruses

Jailhouse Payback - Gem Sweater Lady (7)
Poetry: decent wordplay going on it here
Challenge: lyrics paint an interesting portrait of Leslie Hall
Music: evokes the vaguely grotesque nature of the lyrics well
Melody: good movement in the melody, very much enjoyed the guitar solo
Progression: great to hear the break go in unusual directions, nicely compact
Arrangement: guitar fills are excellent, two main guitars play off each other well
Production: sounds fantastic, piano is gorgeous
-very good work overall, don't feel bad I didn't write very much its just hard to criticise without complaint

Ross Durand – First World Problems (7)
Poetry: the progression of the day ties the song togeather well, the Mom line is an excellent addition
Challenge: superfluous, easy to empathise, bang on
Music: blues fits meme perfectly
Melody: solid blues melody and a commendable kazoo solo to boot, oh boy!
Progression: sticking the bridge in the middle works, repeated refrain works well here, succinct
Arrangement: striped back and its all you need, finger picked guitar adds sufficient depth
Production: you play that guitar very well, vocals do a good job of adding flavour to melody

Q - Chuck Norris (5)
X Poetry: lyrics are not funny or impressive enough, relies too heavily on existing puns
Challenge: picking purely musical facts for the verses worked well, would have liked to see you take this meme in another direction
Music: aggressive rock sound matches Chuck Norris' bad assery
Melody: switch between spoken word and singing works, your first line isn't true, I mean none of its true but never mind
X Progression: awkward intro, drum transitions don't into choruses don't work, fading out is almost always an inferior ending to a song, especially if all you are doing is repeating an early chorus
Arrangement: 7/4? good man, rock arrangement works well together
Production: sounds fine, drums sound pretty big, vocals during chorus don't quite work
-try not to lean so heavily on the challenge to write your lyrics, use it as a springboard to something interesting

The Middle Relievers - 2 Eyes 1 Regret (6)
Poetry: yeah, poetry really not the right word, lots of swearing works pretty well here
Challenge: the lyrics are gross...just like the video, well played
Music: switching vocal styles at times for the two viewers works well
Melody: good tune, the solo melody itself is fine
X Progression: song drags, very little development, break adds something but not enough
Arrangement: instruments work well together, backing vocals add a nice touch in fourth section
Production: instruments sound good, you're a decent singer, that's a suspect orchestral font
-props for taking on 2 girls 1 cup, but if you're going to repeat yourself so much you might as well come up with some additional digusting lyrics for a four minute song

Army Defense - Miss Teen USA South Carolina (7)
Poetry: nice heat/beach theme throughout
Challenge: different perspectives adds depth, first person lends sympathy
Music: light, fun nature of music supports the summery lyrics
Melody: there's a lot of great guitar solos going down this round, keep 'em coming!
Progression: good intro, nice mixing up of structure, extended breaks keep it fun
Arrangement: spacious, lots of great phrases coming from a ton of different sources
Production: great full band sound, you did good!
-normally this is where I'd say repeat the lyrics less but I was enjoying the music so much I didn't care

Glen Raphael – Ask A Ninja! (6)
Poetry: fine but forgettable
Challenge: would have liked to have seen you incorporate more giving advise about ninjas rather than just facts about ninjas
Music: light-hearted lyrics match the quick and upbeat music
Melody: fun tune, impeccable use of murder
X Progression: I get that you were playing for time but I'd have cut the penultimate chorus out and died a little slower, the intro was good so why not throw in some more breaks for variety?
Arrangement: vocals and guitar work well together, never feel thin
Production: your good Samaritan deserves more credit
-song needed a little more depth and development for my tastes, its still fun though

Dr. Lindyke - Famous Last Words (7)
Poetry: “That we want...you want it? connection/appeal to the listener works well, thoughtful lyrics
Challenge: an inspirational song for a inspirational speech, works for me
Music: the ballad approach and the nods to the 'A Whole New World' match the tone of the song without feeling over the top
Melody: soaring
Progression: drums kick in for movement, orchestra adds interest, breaking it down to just piano keeps it interesting, fading out is rarely the correct choice
Arrangement: piano and drums are cohesive, orchestra fills out grand nature
Production: vocals are little quiet during the verse, overall pretty clear
-a lovely tune, there's nothing wrong with production values guys, keep exploring them

Jenny Katz - Boom Goes The Dynamite (7)
Poetry: I love the details of this sordid affair
Challenge: an inspired response to the challenge
Music: I have mental picture of this shaby hotel room and I feel like I should be smoking
Melody: lovely jazzy vocal line
Progression: standard structure works well, good bridge, piano and keyboard keep it interesting
Arrangement: the steady guitar comping adds an inevitability, the jazzy accompaniment swirls around it divinely
Production: great, sounds like I'm in a jazz lounge, gorgeous vocals, Michael adds a lot
-this is brilliant, more of the same please!

Edric Haleen – For Zoe
Poetry: profound, touching, the audience almost stealing the memories of this girl is an imposition
Challenge: bold interpretation of the meme, addressing the audience gives a feeling of guilt
Music: tears, actual tears
Melody: still crying
Progression: sprinter intro matches the meme's joke before slowing into the minor discomfit of the song, very yes
Arrangement: stark arrangement perfectly
Production: very pleased to see Zoe Gray returning, haunting vocals match a reflective piano
-you've pulled something tragic out of a joke, that's a powerful accomplishment (continues sobbing)

Brian Gray - Descartes And I (7)
Poetry: reflective, seems a little unfocused and confused, did you actually clone yourself? ARE YOU A DINOSUAR, SIR!
Challenge: I counted three memes, I imagine this is what hanging out with Philosraptor would be like
Music: mellow accompaniment fits the tone of the lyrics well
Melody: sweet vocal line, decent guitar breaks
Progression: breaking down the bridge and developing the drums adds interest, dropping the penultimate chorus and rocking out on the drums sooner would have kept it more succinct and had it be the better for it
Arrangement: gently percussion and finger picked guitar gives a laid back feel, nice backing vocals
Production: well performed, well mixed
-you have all the right ideas and skill, tighten the whole thing up to stand out from the crowd

Godz Poodlz – Miss Carolina
Poetry: “Miss Carolina, you're Miss Information to me” is just right
Challenge: a fun take on the meme, good work incorperating parts of the original reply into the lyrics
Music: Hawaiian serenade works perfectly
Melody: lovely, just lovely, solo timbre doesn't work but the melody itself is fine
X Progression: solo comes to soon, transitions from verse to chorus a little awkward, song drags, that's a long chorus to repeat three times
Arrangement: guitar and ukulele keeps things sweet and simple, your synth solo doesn't really work
Production: balance was fine, each individual instrument was good, nailed the vocal style, your snare was muddying up the beat
-cut the second verse and chorus, pick a different synth and this is a great song

Blimp Exhaust - S.A.P. (Socially Awkward Penguin) (7)
great riff, killer guitar break, effective use of chorus colouring, could do with more musical development, claps in outro
Poetry: simplistic lyrics for simple theme, tells a story, good stuff
Challenge: solid take on the challenge, finds the theme of the meme without trying to force in a penguin (awkwardly)
Music: low fi rock song matches the everyday tone of the lyrics well
Melody: its a good tune, its a great riff and its a killer solo
Progression: an effective use of chorus colouring that demonstrates how it should be done, claps a nice touch at the end, guitar break is good, could have used backing vocals or some guitar fills to complete it for me
Arrangement: simplistic mix of guitars and drums works well, wouldn't have suffered for an addition
Production: well performed, well mixed, sounds great
-great jorb! Add in some additional accompaniment for flair and I will be content

Steve Durand - One Red Paperclip (7)
Poetry: workmanlike, the story progression works, the bridge is the only standout
Challenge: tells the tale pretty well, would have liked something more ambitious
Music: the gradually building song works well with the mem
Melody: melody is a little plodding, wind saves the day
Progression: the drums kicking in after the intro works well, the wind section compliments the rest of the song
Arrangement: a clarinet and a ukulele, you spoil me! Rhythm section puts in good work too
Production: well balanced, the brass sounds exuberant
-musically this was lovely, unfortunately it was let down by some pedestrian lyrics

'Buckethat' Bobby Matheson (7)
Poetry: song sets up a punch in third verse, simple but effective
Challenge: “first world problems are problems, too”, taking a joke meme and making it in earnest serves you well
Music: gentle accompaniment for a mellow song
Melody: good melody, accordion build into a solo is excellent
Progression: accordion adds the necessary interest, doesn't outstay its welcome
Arrangement: sweet, sweet accordion...its been too long, striped back rhythm section is appropriate
Production: competently performed, accordion a little loud
-this is a good song without real fault, lacks a little dynamism needed for a great song

Atom & E.V. - Welcome Wagon (6)
Poetry: if you try to write a funny song and I laugh you get a point, lol
Challenge: interpreting the meme as a country song fits it perfectly
Music: country style music sells the joke
Melody: good tune
X Progression: you were playing for time at the end, key change wasn't enough to keep it interesting, throw in a solo or a bridge, something
Arrangement: simplistic country band works for this song
Production: well balanced and the instruments sound fine, your vocals seem to be struggling to keep up with the song
-solid plan, if you'd mixed up the structure a little, repeated the Winnebago line less and sworn more you would have nailed this
The Orion Sound - Hashtag (Damien's Story) (7)
Poetry: second verse felt out of place at times, pretty good otherwise, please colour your choruses
Challenge: kinda snarky tone fits the insignificant tone of meme well, AIDs isn't a 'first world problem'
Music: cohesive
Melody: catchy melody
Progression: lovely intro, good breakdown, exciting outro, never drags
Arrangement: piano had some good movement, percussion filled out the sound
Production: piano well played, great vocal performance too, balance was okay, recording quality had problems, good equipment is expensive I know, struggled to hear the backing vocal responses
-good work, focus your lyrics on the message you're trying to convey and repeat your choruses a bit less

T.C. Elliot - One Red Paperclip (7)
Poetry: “Trading up for happiness”, singer feeling elevated, lyrics about “destiny” and “feeling brand new” feel cliché and out of place
Challenge: good job of getting some heart out of the meme
Music: song carries a momentum that fits the lyrics' journey
Melody: enjoyable melody, solid guitar solo
Progression: song is energetic and compact, sections follow each other very naturally
Arrangement: bass and guitar riffs compliment each other, off beat rhythm guitar complete the succulent groove
Production: sounds great, well performed, bass guitar in particular
-this is an accomplished song on the whole, just tighten up your lyrics a bit

MC Ohm-I - Down In Plankistan (7)
Poetry: its a fun story that flows naturally and clearly
Challenge: you've spun this incredible tale out of a meme that doesn't lead it to such, good job
Music: Arabian influenced music works perfectly, of course
Melody: good rapping
Progression: nice intro, break down adds some nice variety, third chorus and beyond is totally unnecessary, if you want to get the highest possible ranking from me don't fade out, the end is just as important as the start
Arrangement: interesting mix of instruments, percussion beat sound especially good
Production: sounds great, very good vocal performance
-loved it until the end, you really could have cut the last minute off

Brandon Lorrekovich - Hankey Plankey (7)
Poetry: this is very funny whilst still reading very naturally
Challenge: using the meme in place of something sexual is a great concept
Music: bringing the funk completely sells your lyrics
Melody: great melody, instruments easily carry the song during the breaks
Progression: solid structure, excellent break down, last two minutes of the song are pure indulgence
Arrangement: good stuff, I could listen to that bass guitar all day, subtle elements like the record scratches I think (?) are a nice touch
Production: great recordings, vocals get a little lost in the mix, perhaps try parallel compression, percussion so heavily on the left sounds a little weird
-fantastic song and the best title of the round, entering a six minute song in the same round as potentially forty others is dangerous, reel it in a little

Vincent Black Shadow - Baby Panda Sneeze (6)
Poetry: dreamy lyrics are strangely compelling
Challenge: this was an ambitious take on a difficult meme to make musical and you pulled it off
Music: the accompaniment creates a really interesting mood
Melody: lovely melody, nice synthetic flute motif
Progression: intriguing structure, switching vocals works well, outro went off the rails for no benefit
X Arrangement: simple accompaniment works well until end, if your random animal noises and effects were supposed to be a sneeze they failed
Production: fascinating sonic landscape, sounds fine, good vocal performances
-I enjoyed this gem of song for the first two minutes, then the outro ruined the mood for me, you didn't even need to play for time at that point

The Chocolate Chips - Forever Alone (7)
Poetry: great lyrics, the second verse is fantastic
Challenge: hit the triviality of the general meme's usage in the first verse, then you expanded it into some sincere and melancholic
Music: moody music for angst ridden lyrics
Melody: the vocal line at the heart of this song propels it all the way
Progression: slow build for a bittersweet climax
Arrangement: slow bass line and gentle percussion underneath pizzicato strings, lovely
Production: electronic sources mesh wonderfully, vocal effects don't sound quite right in first verse, sound good for the rest
-this is wonderful, keep it up!

Wait What (The Band) - We R Not Gay (5)
Poetry: I laughed, point
X Challenge: I feel bad because you were reacting to criticism, but nothing about this song says rage guy
Music: dance backing matches lyrics just fine
Melody: solid melody, good refrain
X Progression: a lot of repetition, needed more development
Arrangement: sparse backing works, xylophone nice addition
Production: sounds good, brief guitar sounded great
-this is funny song with a decent beat lacking in musical development, still a lot of fun though

Kevin Savino-Riker - The Ballad Of Andrew Meyer (6)
Poetry: the way the singer changes the direction of his appeal from Kerry to the audience adds sympathy
Challenge: clever rhyming builds up to the meme, good dramatisation that retains Meyer's original political intent instead of just relying on the catchphrase
X Music: ballad works alright for political bit, but as the lyrics get more aggressive the music doesn't seem to match it very well
Melody: good melody
Progression: small additions like the bass guitar and backing vocals keep a short song interesting, would have liked to have heard something more interesting once he get tased
Arrangement: slick inclusion of percussive elements, subtle bass guitar is subtle
Production: beautifully performed guitar, good vocals too
-nicely done, really wished the end of the song went somewhere very different

Josh Holober-Ward (6)
Poetry: the frustrations of being an Internet cat, cute, some good one liners too
Challenge: I think you hit every cat meme here, excellent
Music: the music and lyrics fit like a glove
Melody: enjoyable melody
X Progression: at four minutes the tune and simple accompaniment dragged, percussion eliviated this somewhat but not enough
Arrangement: lovely piano playing, good fills, vocals were nice too
Production: sounds good, piano especially
-this is a solid tune with fun lyrics, music just wasn't enough to sustain my interest
 
SHADOW:
 
Dex01 - I Hate A Meme
Poetry: "his cookie cutter, stupid bullshit really is a bore" is the absolute correct line for this song
Challenge: referencing other memes adds some self-awareness for the character, lyrics come across as more frustrated than angry, still seems to work
Music: aggressive post-punk (is that what its called?) sound well suits the meme
Melody: good melody
Progression: intro rolled out nicely, good structure, outro felt out of place and unnecessary, the shorter the better for this sort of song
Arrangement: backing vocals add good flavour, good rhyhtm section easily carries the song
Production: great crunchy guitar, solid drums, struggling to make out the vocals at times, parallel compress perhaps, slight timing issues with the guitar in the verses
-enjoyed this, needs a little polish but its most the way to a rocking good time


1 comment:

  1. Shadow Review

    Dex01 - I Hate A Meme
    Poetry: "his cookie cutter, stupid bullshit really is a bore" is the absolute correct line for this song
    Challenge: referencing other memes adds some self-awareness for the character, lyrics come across as more frustrated than angry, still seems to work
    Music: aggressive post-punk (is that what its called?) sound well suits the meme
    Melody: good melody
    Progression: intro rolled out nicely, good structure, outro felt out of place and unnecessary, the shorter the better for this sort of song
    Arrangement: backing vocals add good flavour, good rhyhtm section easily carries the song
    Production: great crunchy guitar, solid drums, struggling to make out the vocals at times, parallel compress perhaps, slight timing issues with the guitar in the verses
    -enjoyed this, needs a little polish but its most the way to a rocking good time

    -Graham

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