Zoe Gray - Country Of The Sun. Zoe, you didn’t take the easy road here, you did something different. And you really nailed it. I lostened to the song once, and then immediately wanted to listen to it again. I rarely do that. By the time I'm sending this in, I’ve listened to it about 5 or 6 times, maybe 7. The recording is so raw, I feel like I can hear the paper shuffling with your lyrics written on them. But it seems to me you don’t need all kinds of bells and whistles on your recording, or to do 15 takes of the vocals. Just hit record and go. It’s a very intimate song so it totally works. It's not perfect, but at the same time, the imperfections make it better. Damn, why can't I have that quality?
Brian Gray - St. Agnes. Brian, you sing like a girl. Wait a minute, that’s not Brian. The vocals started out a little shaky, but jeeze, you really nailed it once the song got going. And those harmonies. I am jealous. Beautiful song. Absolutely gorgeous song. Chills. The lyrics are interesting. But I swear, I almost don’t care because those harmonies are performed so beautifully. Very simple arrangement. Awesome. I almost rated this number one. Very close. I doubt you would mind finishing second. You should be a slam dunk to advance (then again I'm terrible at basketball), I can't wait to hear what you come up with in the next round.
Army Defense - Kron. Sweet ass guitar riff, dude. Ridiculous. That guitar riff alone is just sick. As far as the rest of the song, I am laughing my ass off. It’s really funny.. Just one of the best songs here, hands down. Lesson one of songwriting, the song should be enjoyable. This one is. Seriously, I will give you $100 if I can have that guitar riff. This may be one of the best songs I've heard all year. Who else was willing to take a risk like“Some kind of rotten horse”? I also appreciate that you don’t drag the song out like so many of these anthems. But I’m only ranking it third because I'm a hard ass.
TurboShandy - Oitopia. It’s catchy as hell. The lyrics are a little simplistic but you hit it out of the park with the music. Excellent job guys. I’m no expert, but Oitopia is everything I think punk rock should be. The singing is on key, the harmonies are just right. But you still rock. Again, I can’t get too excited by the lyrics, but nothing about them stands out in a bad way either. I enjoyed listening to this, and as I said before, that’s huge for me. If you met the challenge, but I don’t enjoy it, what’s the point? I love this one! You should make a video.
The Boffo Yux Dudes - Latveria, We Bow Before Our Doom. This sounds like something straight out of Monty Python. It’s a little repetitive. I feel like you could have stretched yourself with the melody a little bit. Like, there really aren’t that many notes in the song. But I'm being nit-picky here. The lyrics are cool, and overall it’s a fun song. Overall, it's actually one of my favorites this round. I liked it more the second time after having heard all of the other competitors. Maybe BYD songs just age well.
Governing Dynamics - Roland Lives! (Battle Hymn Of The Crimson Nation). I like the opening riff. Something about the recording is a little rough, but I can’t quite figure out what. The singing is ok. You slur your words a little too much. But the song is really well written musically. Awesome guitar riffs, although there is too much guitar going on over the vocals. I'd like to hear your vocals cut through the mix a little better. I’m being critical of the production quality, but I do think it’s a very well written song. Very nice job.
Jerry Skids - The Island Is My Home. Very cool melody, nice harmonies. It’s a pretty simple arrangement with just vocals and acoustic guitar. I’ll admit, with what some of the other musicians are doing, I do miss the sound of a full band. However, I like what you did with the layered vocals. It’s a really enjoyable song. It doesn’t sound like a national anthem, but that doesn’t bother me. Maybe anthems have sucked until now, it’s your creative license to write the music however you want it. It’s a really nice song and really well done.
Caravan Ray - The Lonelystani National Anthem. Very clever song idea. Hilarious chorus. This could be a weird Al Yankovic original, which you should take as a great compliment because Al is genius. However I am not a genius and that works against you here. On the whole, this doesn't stand out as much as some of the others, but nonetheless, it's a strong effort. I hope you make it to the next round, I would look forward to your next song.
Heather Zink - Bless Our Land Hyrule. Great singing. Harmonies are awesome. Possibly the only acapella effort this round? Gotta give you props for that. Creative effort, taking on the legend of Zelda. As I’ll say with some of the others, it’s a little straight-forward and I’d like to hear something more unexpected along the way. Again, I will really look forward to hearing another one from you Heather, hopefully it will take a few more risks, because you definitely have some skills!
Sid Brown - The Shire. The style of song here fits the Shire pretty well. I feel like you could put more into your singing… like you could sing from your gut a little more. You sounds like you’re just sort of reading the lyrics from a sheet, but not REALLY singing. You sound like you actually have a nice singing voice, so keep at it. I want to hear you belt it out. This is a really good song, I just want to hear you harness your voice a little more. I like this better than a lot of the others.
Benajmin Spencer - Alcoholia. You guys sound like you were actually drunk when you performed this. It sounds a little like a hockey fight song I know, but definitely works as an anthem. Nice job, Cool guitar work. I love the guitar interlude near the ending. After that, the ending kind of goes off the deep end, but it will do.
Mr. Gee – Mordor, O, Mordor. First of all, why do the vocals sound like they are sung over a telephone? Did they have phones in Mordor? I’m not a fan of distorted vocals. Lyrically, this totally works. I could totally see these being used in the movies, other than the distorted vocals. Although I like the lyrics, musically I do not really *enjoy* listening to this. It’s droning and awfully repetitive. But the lyrics are pretty awesome dudes.
MC Ohm-I - Plankistan National Anthem. Kind of a genre defying tune. Major kudos for creativity. The mix kind of bothers me here, I can’t hear the vocals clearly enough. A song about planking doesn’t really get me excited creatively either. I do like the fact that your sound is so different and unique. I’d clean up the mix a little bit.
Kolton H. – Oceania Prevails. The underlying music here is infectious. But the melody does not exactly grab me. Also, I’d like to hear your vocals more clearly. I’ll say it many times this round, don’t distort your vocals. I can’t understand you unless I read along the lyrics. I’d rather not have to do that to get your song. I love the beat and what you’re doing musically. But again, the vocals and melody don’t do it for me. It’s a little too long too. Lyircs are well written. If this were a HS Class assignment, I’d give you an A-. But it’s not, so I don't.
Steve Durand – Oceania, Tis For Thee. Good choice, fun song. I feel like with 1984 you could have done something a little more creative rather than just reiterating what we all know about it. Still, it’s a good song and well done. Nice job. The competition this round is pretty tough and there are some very creative efforts. Overall this was a little too straightforward and expected for me.
Megalodon – Digitalistan. I’ll say it again, I don’t like distorted vocals. Your melody is kind of wandering around. However, I won’t deny the creativity in what you’re doing here. It doesn’t sound like other songs. It’s creative. But in the end, it’s not really very catchy. Musicially, there are definitely some cool sounds. But to me, the melody doesn’t exactly compliment your singing.
The Roy Hammer Trio- Costaguana. Roy Hammer, you guys nailed this one. Then again, you might get screwed by us judges. I've really got you in my vice grip. Trust me, this is all on the level. But let me drill this into your head-- I SAW what you did here. Your song is gut wrenching. Can I borrow some pliers?
Felix Frost- Croton Alley. You sound a little like they might be giants. But I have to say, it doesn’t really have an anthem feel to it. And I actually don't like They Might be Giants. Your song is creative, but it’s a lot to deal with. Not exactly an accessible tune, which an Anthem probably should be. I mean, it doesn’t HAVE to be accessible to me, maybe to the people of your country it’s accessible. But I am the judge. Anyway, I like your effort. It’s a fun song and you put a lot into it. It’s just musically not quite rising to the occasion for me. I’m sure I’m being nitpicky, but that’s just my gut reaction. I didn't connect with it.
James Young - Elbonia. This just doesn’t do it for me. I can’t really connect with your singing. I like the lyrics, but musically I just don’t hear much going on here that stands out creatively. It’s fairly basic and doesn’t really take any risks. Good idea for a song though.
Pigfarmer Jr - Zamunda National Anthem. Dude, I love Coming to America. I give you credit for your song idea. That being said, I didn’t really enjoy listening to this all that much. There’s not a ton going on here lyrically. It’s kind of too slow moving. The song should be funny if it’s going to be about a comedic film, and you didn’t really get funny, but sort of dragged it out.
Dr. Linkdyke - O Hail To You Fidonia (Shadow). Somebody has obviously been taking voice lessons. Great song idea. Hilarious. Nice job.
Plenitude - Santa Prisca National Anthem (Shadow). Me gusta. This song has me under its spell. I need Carlos Santana to come in with some guitar.
Adam S. – The Terran Empire National Anthem (Shadow). Today the alpha quadrant, tomorrow the mirror universe! Exactly what I was thinking.