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Time is up:

Sunday, February 28, 2016

SpinTunes #11: Round 4 Challenge

Photo Finish - Write a song inspired by the Everett Leigh photo below:


(2 minute minimum length) (your submission is due Sunday, March 6th 11:59PM)

Submitting Entries:- Entries must be received by the given deadline. Otherwise it'll be posted as a shadow. Received means that it has to appear in my e-mail inbox by the given deadline. I will be going by the time stamp on the e-mail in my inbox. PLEASE do not wait until the last hour to send me something. If there is a blackout in your area, your computer crashes, or your dog actually eats your thumb drive...I will not care. You are allowed to send in a draft of your song early just in case something horrible happens & you miss the deadline. Then you can add polish to your song & send in a better version closer to the deadline. 1 minute late is still late, people.

- Send your file in a format that Bandcamp accepts. (.aiff, .wav or .flac) (at least 16-bit/44.1kHz) You can find the specific requirements for Bandcamp files HERE.

- Name your file the song's title, but without spaces & punctuation.

- Title of the e-mail should be the title of the Challenge & your band's name.

- Include the song lyrics in the body of the e-mail. (If your song doesn't have lyrics...consider yourself eliminated. Instrumentals can be pretty, but SpinTunes does require lyrics.)

- Include information on anyone that needs credited if you collabed with someone.

- If you have a BandCamp account, you can just send me a link to your song on BandCamp if you include all the info I mentioned above. Make sure you have it set as a free download, and have it set so that I don't have to put in an e-mail to download it if you pick this option. THIS IS THE BEST FILE SHARING OPTION!

- Other file sharing options if you need them: Sound Cloud & Drop Box. Please send an e-mail as I already stated, but with the download link if you need one of these services. Please follow directions so your file doesn't wind up in my spam or trash folder accidentally.

Side Notes:

- Remember that you are allowed to send in a little background about your song. Some people don't like to do that, and you don't have to, but if you want to write a couple sentences about your song I'll post it on the BandCamp page for people to see. Some judges will look at the lyrics & this extra info, but they aren't required to.

- If you didn't sign-up in time to compete in SpinTunes #11, you can still complete the challenge & send in a song. It'll be uploaded with the other entries as a "Shadow Song". Check the FAQ if you don't know what that means. You can even complete past challenges from previous contests.

- The only other way to get your music played at the LP is to cover "Today's The Day" by Inverse T. Clown.

- Feel free to leave any questions in the comments.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

SpinTunes #11: Round 3 Totals

Here are the links to your reviews:

Official Judges:

Guest Judges: N/A
Alternate Judge's Review: Spin

You can listen to all the wonderful songs from this round by checking out the free album HERE.

Feel free to check for mistakes in my math...as always...Heather could have made a mistake.

Remember, with the SpinTunes 10 rules the total number of points possible in round 1, is the same amount of points possible for rounds 2 & 3.  So with 23 competitors in round 1, and 11 in round 2 we divide 23 by 11 to get 2.09.  That's gap between each place in the standing this round.  If your name is in bold, you made it to the finals. Congrats, and well done everyone!

(There was a typo on one of the judges rankings so I can't give scores to a couple people yet.  But I worked out the best case scenario & those 3 couldn't have made the top 4.  I'll post the updated scores after I get in touch with that judge.)

Overall Leaderboard:
Jailhouse Payback - 61.72
Governing Dynamics - 60.68
Ominous Ride - 56.83
Megalodon - 53.93
Glen Raphael - 52.1
Edric Haleen - 46
Mark Humble - 42.43
James Young - 40.51
Ross Durand - 32.86
Jon Eric - 27.81
Emperor Gum - 23.7
Pigfarmer Jr - 19.75
"BucketHat" Bobby - 14.62
Rob From Amersfoort - 14.27
Ellie Sparrow - 13.87
Adam Sakellarides - 13.31
Steve Durand - 10
Sam Rodewald - 8
Jeff Brown - 7
Keen Sid - 4
The Boffo Yux Dudes - 3
Ben Taggart - 2
Turtle Fence - 1

Dave - Rachel - Ted - Spin - Kally
Governing Dynamics - 10 - 11 - 11 - 9 - 6 (47)
Ominous Ride - 11 - 8 - 10 - 7 - 11 (47)
Megalodon - 7 - 9 - 9 - 11 - 7 (43)
Jailhouse Payback - 4 - 6 - 4 - 10 - 8 (32)
Edric Haleen - 6 - 3 - 5 - 8 - 10 (32)
Glen Raphael - 9 - 1 - 6 - 6 - 9 (31)
James Young - 8 - 5 - 2 - 4 - 5 (24)
Ross Durand - 3 - 10 - 1 - 5 - 4 (23)
Emperor Gum - 5 - 4 - 7 - 3 - 3 (22)
Mark Humble - 2 - 7 - 8 - 2 -  2 (21)
Rob From Amersfoort - 1 - 2 - 3 - 1 - 1 (8)

Round 3 Scores:
Governing Dynamics - 23
Ominous Ride - 20.9
Megalodon - 18.81
Jailhouse Payback - 16.72
Edric Haleen - 14.63
Glen Raphael - 12.54
James Young - 10.45
Ross Durand - 8.36
Emperor Gum - 6.27
Mark Humble - 4.18
Rob From Amersfoort - 2.09

Dave:
Ominous Ride - 11
Governing Dynamics - 10
Glen Raphael - 9
James Young - 8
Megalodon - 7
Edric Haleen - 6
Emperor Gum - 5
Jailhouse Payback - 4
Ross Durand - 3
Mark Humble - 2
Rob From Amersfoort - 1

Rachel:
Governing Dynamics - 11
Ross Durand - 10
Megalodon - 9
Ominous Ride - 8
Mark Humble - 7
Jailhouse Payback - 6
James Young - 5
Emperor Gum - 4
Edric Haleen - 3
Rob From Amersfoort - 2
Glen Raphael - 1

Ted:
Governing Dynamics - 11
Ominous Ride - 10
Megalodon - 9
Mark Humble - 8
Emperor Gum - 7
Glen Raphael - 6
Edric Haleen - 5
Jailhouse Payback - 4
Rob From Amersfoort - 3
James Young - 2
Ross Durand - 1

Spin:
Megalodon - 11
Jailhouse Payback - 10
Governing Dynamics - 9
Edric Haleen - 8
Ominous Ride - 7
Glen Raphael - 6
Ross Durand - 5
James Young - 4
Emperor Gum - 3
Mark Humble - 2
Rob From Amersfoort - 1

Kally:
Ominous Ride - 11
Edric Haleen - 10
Glen Raphael - 9
Jailhouse Payback - 8
Megalodon - 7
Governing Dynamics - 6
James Young - 5
Ross Durand - 4
Emperor Gum - 3
Mark Humble - 2
Rob From Amersfoort - 1

Popular Vote:
Jailhouse Payback - 3
Rob From Amersfoort - 3
Governing Dynamics - 2
Megalodon - 2
Ominous Ride - 2
Ross Durand - 1
Edric Haleen - 0
Glen Raphael - 0
Emperor Gum - 0
Mark Humble - 0
James Young - 0
Total Votes: 13

SpinTunes #11 Round 3 Reviews: Rachel Clark

Governing Dynamics - Wax Wings
Fantastic use of the music/ guitar riff to pull the listener in to (and through) the song. The vocal harmonies were also a nice addition with the build-up, to the instrumental drop; I felt this gave the song the space it needed and still kept me intrigued. It lost my attention a little at the 5min mark as it is quite a long song but did pull me back in with the music at 5:15.

Ross Durand - Sympathy For Hades
The music really took me visually into the world of Hades, well-crafted lyrically. Very well written first person perspective – Track has a lot of potential.

Megalodon – Cassandra
Very Catchy, particularly good hook – You have strong word choices and creative use of Rhyme.
The music was very fun and upbeat which was quite peculiar with the lyrical content – An overall enjoyable track.

Ominous Ride - Sisyphus
Good use of style/ music to set the mood; Lyrical content and music complimented each other nicely. Set the scene and story well. The voices through the conversation were also clearly portrayed and solidified the story. Overall, a crafty and entertaining track.

Mark Humble – Waiting for Persephone
Beautiful melody and use of harmonies – I felt this track was lyrically and musically a very poignant song – Set the scene of waiting and longing in a very beautiful and romanticised way.

Jailhouse Payback - The Story Of Xenu And The Revolt In The Stars
This track was a very fun and enjoyable country song. Quirky choice of topic but captured the story and told it really well; both with the musical choices and the vivid story-telling within the lyrics.

James Young – Unbound
The driving guitar in the space between lyrics gave this song a strong feel.  The lyrics in the third verse were particularly strong/ well-written. This song had a great (and rocky) feel that crafted a very visual image of the fallen diety bound in chains.

Emperor Gum – Pyramus
Lyrics are beautiful and well-written but the melodic choices of the vocals were sometimes slightly off with the music. The musical composition itself was quite intriguing

Edric Haleen - Is That Too Much To Ask? (An appeal To The American People)
Very strong voice and theatrical presentation but the story didn’t really resonate clearly; While the lyrics allow us to know who the character portrayed IS the character of Jesus – being written from the first person perspective it tells a story but does not encapsulate that figure in history  as they are represented in history – I felt it was more about this person in modern day society than a story of an ancient figure in history . Still a strong/well-written song

Rob From Amersfoort - Pygmalion & Galatea
Lyrically quite simple but well said from the perspective of Pygmalion and his drive behind the art he created. Some nice musical choices and changes.

Glen Raphael – Elisha the Prophet
I enjoyed the catchy repetition of “Elisha was a prophet” without it being a chorus – Though, when using a catchy repetition with the name of the song (about an ancient figure)– I would double-check how to pronounce Elisha.

SpinTunes #11 Round 3 Reviews: Kally O'Mally

Eric Hadeen - Is it too much to ask
4
Again, great talent ‐ great key changes and job overall…great vocal delivery/ you should be writing for musicals

Glen Raphael - Elisha was a prophet
4
Nice work, good writing and delivery. The vox needs more development which take this from good to almost great.

Emporer Gum - Pyrasmus
3
Nice opening and good idea, keep working on those vocals.

Jailhouse Payback - Xenu
4
Good writing, funny topic choice and you do it well.

Megalodon - Cassandra
4
Good lyrics, love the hook, What's the point of knowing what tomorrow may bring If nobody's listening, excellent lead guitar

Ross Durand - Sympathy for Hades
3
nice guitar sounds and lyrics and progressions

Rob from Amersfoot - Pygmalion & Galatea
3
good topic but I feel like the sections are kind of fractured which prevents it from having continuity.

Governing Dynamics - Wax Wings
4
Strong production, nice descents and instrumental sections, the pitchiness of the vocal can be a bit distracting and don't let your instrumental lines
become a form a mental masturbation

Mark Humble - Waiting for Persephone
3
I feel like this has potential if you keep working on the melody. It feels a little chunky and it should flow like water through a creek, with less effort.
Great lyrics and sort of like a fairy tale

James Young - Unbound
4
Good section breakdown and nice transitions. This could grow into something strong…

Ominous Ride - Sisyaphus
5
Love the harmonies and tough subject matter done really well.

SpinTunes #11 Round 3 Reviews: Dr. Lindyke

OK, we're up to Round 3, and down to 11 competitors. The challenge:
Greek Chorus - Write a song with no chorus based on an ancient mythological figure/story. (2 minute minimum length) (they had 8 days)
Before I get on with the reviews and rankings, here's what went through my mind when we selected this challenge. In other words; once again, here are my biases:

The songs
"No chorus" is pretty straightforward. For me, that's no stanza repeated. You can swap out tunes, have a hook, etc... you just can't repeat a group of lyrics. Obviously we can't say the same for the music, or strophic form would be out, leaving us to allow only through-composed tunes. That's not what we're looking for. So personally, I'm fine with it being in a verse-chorus format musically, so long as every verse is lyrically distinct. I'm also fine with short refrains and callbacks no more than a line in length.

As for the content. I'm looking for exactly what we asked for... a song based on an ancient mythological figure or story. We got some questions early on as to how "ancient" is defined, and I was pretty clear that I felt that 500 years or so would do it, particularly if you were going to pull from some lesser-known mythology. Any older than that and you'd start dropping off some mythologies such as those of the New World civilizations or the Norse. For my tastes, the older and more obscure the better.  I don't mind looking something up, and am very happy to learn something new. So I was hoping for some bit of Aztec or Akkadian lore. I also prefer stories to purely emotional or allusory lyrics in this case. And though the song itself doesn't really have to be ancient, I think you'd have to really get my attention if you're going with a modern theme.

So before I listen, that's what I'm looking for: a song with no chorus based on ancient mythology. Let's see what we got...


--==//oOo\\==--


Ominous Ride - Sisyphus
Oh, yeaaaaaahhh.... you got me with the opening guitar. Then again with the vocals, though a little more distinction between Sisyphus and Death would be nice. What I like about this is how fully formed it is. It brings in a number of characters and gives them voice. It follows the principle of "show, don't tell" nicely, and goes full-on Rock Opera to do it. I'd expect to see this on a themed vinyl LP. Reminds me very much of Pink Floyd's The Wall and of Alan Parsons Project's Tales of Mystery and Imagination.

Governing Dynamics - Wax Wings
I'll have you to know that Procol Harum was one of my favorite bands back in 70s. You caught my attention with the organ, Travis. Prog rock suits you. You've got a good start on a three-act piece here. I know you were worried about the length, but honestly, something like this cries out for a longer piece. Though six minutes is pushing it for a competition, you could easily double it (or more) on an album with no problem.

Glen Raphael - Elisha The Prophet
OK, Glen, I'm diggin' this. Ancient mythological figure: check. Clever, entertaining lyrics and catchy tune: check. The song is so good in my estimation that I'm going to be picky, perhaps unfairly. It sounds ever-so-slightly rushed, and it's heard mostly in the guitar work. I know you were actually rushed to get onto the JoCo cruise, so it's understandable.

James Young - Unbound
I gave my three of my top four spots to retro rock. Sue me. This has a nice slow start that steps up in exactly right spot. You'd have edged out Glen into my number three slot had it not been for the first part of the fourth verse, which I think could probably use a little tightening. Don't ask me how... it's a feeling.

Megalodon - Cassandra
The intro dragged a bit, but I forgot about it when the song started. The challenge does say "based on" ancient mythology, and that's what you went with here. A "modern-day Cassandra". I'm actually surprised that you're the only group that took the allegorical approach. I did say you'd have to really catch my attention with a modern theme, and you did it with that groove.

Edric Haleen - Is That Too Much To Ask? (An Appeal To The American People)
Through-composition is a sure-fire way of meeting the technical challenge. Of course, Edric, for you this means basically, "write a song". This is your briar patch, after all. ;) That said, the final "WAR!" was probably over-the-top. It might actually have a bigger impact coming from Jesus if it were under-stated. Generally I'm finding that I like the subtlety of Elisha a bit better.

Emperor Gum - Pyramus
Topic-wise, this is what I'm looking for! Ancient and story-based. Told in Emperor Gum's trademarked very-private-conversation perspective. Musically, this was a great arrangement. Vocally, I wish you'd gotten a guest singer. But I have to judge the song, and I like this. It sounds very much like it would be intended as a musical drama, and though you've used this structure before, it took me a while to figure out why it doesn't work as well for me in a stand-alone song as it would in a play. To explain, take a look at Edric's theatrical approach: it's to sing to you, the audience. Governing Dynamics tells a two-person story, but you feel as though you're one of those characters because he limits himself to "I"/"me" and "you". It may sound odd, but as I see it, first person implies that you're speaking to the audience directly, as does second-person directed at the audience. Even third person implies that you're talking to the audience about someone. All of these are inclusive in some way. But in this case your characters are so focused on each other that it feels as though the audience is excluded. It's a private moment and my gut reaction is to mind my own business. Incidentally, that is my theory regarding the Beatles' runaway popularity in the early '60s. Prior to them, most songs were sung to a specifically named person. But the Beatles sang "I Wanna Hold YOUR Hand", "She Loves YOU", etc.. They made it personal.

Jailhouse Payback - The Story of Xenu And The Revolt In The Stars
Guys, this song had me screaming at the Moon as it was playing in the listening party from the moment the word "thetan" was first uttered. You get banjo points, you get Ray Stevens pastiche-points, you get entertainment points, and you get all of that deducted for screwing with the "ancient" requirement.  Yes, I know Xenu is supposedly 75 million years old, but you and I both know "the Commodore" dreamed up this story around 1966. If I let you get away with this one, then what's to say someone couldn't just up and invent a brand new story about character like "Smeghead, the Magic Caveman" and claim that even though he was conceived yesterday he's obviously "ancient" because he "lived" in the Neolithic age 10,000 years ago? That's pretty much identical to what's happening here except that it was another guy, not you, who dreamed it up recently. So although you squeak by on a very slim technicality... although I love your song more than any other song on this list... although if the challenge had omitted that one word you'd have come in first place by a Country-and-Western mile... *sigh*

Ross Durand - Sympathy for Hades
Ross, it's a nice homage to the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil". Got a little out-done this round, though. Could have benefitted from a little more out-of-the box treatment.

Mark Humble - Waiting For Persephone
I usually like your stuff more, Mark... and I like this one to a point. It actually sounds longer than it is. I was surprised that it's only two and a half minutes long. I think it could benefit (oddly enough, given this criticism) from some more length that you could take advantage of with a softer opening and a brighter, more joyous Spring.

Rob From Amersfoort - Pygmalion & Galatea
It's a good topic. The lyrics are thin, though, and the music is a little more video-game than either storytelling or emotion.


--==//oOo\\==--


Jeff Brown - Orion (Shadow)
Perhaps could use a little variety, but very nice. Would be a good piece on an album between two more energetic pieces.






SpinTunes #11 Round 3 Reviews: Ted Kiper

Welcome again, this time to Round 3! The past two rounds weren’t so bad, were they? Not when compared to this one: “Write a song with no chorus based on an ancient mythological figure/story”. Some of us judges had great pleasure creating and inflicting this challenge to your talents, and I have to admit, I knew perfectly well it would be no easy task. Some artists are perfectly content writing nothing but freeform verses anyway, and some had previous experiences with mythological concepts. Good for you. But some, such as myself, would probably find the challenge too daunting to join. So to those of you who submitted an entry for this round, you deserve my utmost appreciation. Goodness knows my work would be garbage compared to your brave masterpieces. (Yes, they would really would be garbage; my past submissions on similar rounds seem to confirm these failures.)

It’s unfortunate to see less competitors for this round; not only did some of the dropped had cool ideas, but it also makes picking out the best even harder.

Many songs had good myths, but the ones that made the biggest impressions to me are the myths that are clear and unheard. I love learning new myths, and I was interested to research some for the fun of it. And as for the chorus-free requirement, I probably didn’t care for verse-only songs as much as I did for ones with an evolving structure.

Understanding the limitations of the round, I was prepared to listen with lenient ears and to accept whatever projects were pushed forward. Thankfully, you guys have made a good effort sticking close to the challenge. Even to those who’ve I felt skirted close to getting in trouble, I didn’t have to think hard whether you passed the challenge or not. Again, excellent job!


Reviews


Governing Dynamics – Wax Wings
Rank: 1
Score: 46

Challenge – 10
Actually, I haven’t heard any songs about Icarus, or at least I don’t think so. Heard of the myth, but not the details of the story. I hope it pleases you that you are the first person to tell me the myth.
Lyrics - 5
Part I reads vague and shapeless, Part II seems lofty, and Part III plays drastic regret—and they all fit rather well in a progressive platform.
Composition - 6
This was quite a journey, from beginning to end. I can feel the change of settings between the parts like the shifts of biomes in a video game. Quite imaginative and extensive.
Songcrafting - 7
What elevates this song to the top spot is the audacity to turn this Greek tragedy into three succinct acts that stand well apart or with each other. Part II is my favorite. Best piece of the round.
Arrangement - 4
Diverse and refreshing. New sounds for new parts, showing how much you cared to make this epic.
Performance – 4
What is that instrumental (?guitar) solo in Part 2, with the weak attack/bendy effect? I must know how you did that.
Recording - 4
I couldn’t have asked for a better mix.
Judge’s Whim - 6
It’s not a perfect song, but isn’t that the beauty of the myth? Reaching for epic but falls apart by its mortal weight? Regardless, this took the challenge head-on and successfully transformed your idea into the most memorable entry of the round. Brilliant job.


Ominous Ride – Sisyphus
Rank = 2
Score = 45

Challenge = 10
I actually never heard of the story of Sisyphus, so I’m glad you have clarified the story. Despite a repeating tag ending, I sense no chorus here, so excellent job.
Lyrics = 6
The right kind of words for an ancient setting. The characters are well crafted and differentiated.
Composition = 7
There is a grand variety of music. Nothing wild or out of control, but enough transformations to deliver the change of situation for Sisyphus.
Songcrafting = 6
One type of verse after another, a duet of narrators, a rolling tag line. It’s quite a form of elaborate story-telling, and yet everything ties together quite smoothly.
Arrangement = 3
The arrangement does well to keep the song flowing.
Performance = 4
The Zeus part was a brave performance. It reminds me of a judge delivering a sentence. Very, very effective.
Recording = 3
Nothing wrong can be pointed out. I’m glad the vocals and their various doubling tracks carry the song more than anything else.
Judge’s Whim = 6
I don’t find it as charming as your first entry, but this song managed to be even more intelligent and thoughtful. This came very close to take my top rank for the round, by marginal differences. And to top it all, I wished the ending hadn’t ended so soon. Let him keep pushing!—Sounds too good to stop.


Megalodon – Cassandra
Rank: 3
Score = 45

Challenge = 8
I really loved this pick! Not sure how I’ve come across this myth before. So you got the myth requirement done pat. Unfortunately, out of all entries, this managed to tread dangerous waters for non-chorus. The tempo appeared slow enough to make out the last two lines of the stanzas seem like a chorus. It’s especially tricky when you repeat them at the very end.
Lyrics = 6
I’m not sure if this really describes the actual myth of Cassandra, but I really admire how you connect it to modern society. I am also amazed with the rhyme scheme—smart and fun. And the Stevie Nicks’ tricks line is my favorite of the round.
Composition = 6
Everything fits the feel of what I expect from the myth, but what really stands out is the off-beat bar for the secondary lines. It gives such a master touch.
Songcrafting = 7
Flowy and smooth. I can’t find any problems, but if I had to pick on it, I suppose I should note it’s not as bold as previous entries. Not a bad decision. Should you make it, you’ll need to reign some of this control for the last round.
Arrangement = 4
For some reason, I find this as a strange but good Greek taste. Down to last ding.
Performance = 4
The guitar solo was kinda funky, but it was well executed and the song needed it.
Recording = 4
Everything is well blended.
Judge’s Whim = 6
If only the chorus-crisis was resolved, this would’ve been my top rank. I didn’t know it, but this is the song I was hoping to hear. Thank you for making it.


Mark Humble – Waiting For Persephone
Rank: 4
Score: 43

Challenge - 8
I’ve heard of Persephone, but I didn’t realize her role in the whole Greek mythology. After doing my research, I can conclude you did well to reflect the myth. I wonder, though, what you call those stanzas. Verses? I would’ve thought they would then need to be more descriptive. It doesn’t matter; I hardly feel them as choruses.
Lyrics - 6
I’ve always been a fan of minimalism. Simple words bring clear imagery.
Composition – 6
Excellent tempo and time signature for a waiting mood.
Songcrafting - 6
The gentle delivery really brings a pleasant maturity.
Arrangement - 4
Excellent blend of instruments. Very calming.
Performance - 4
Very controlled, but still organic.
Recording - 4
Can hear nothing wrong.
Judge’s Whim - 5
Goodness, you can do any style! From heartbreak to harshness to holistic. You’ve made quite a fan out of me.


Jeff Brown – Orion (Shadow)
Potential Rank: 5
Score: 41

Challenge – 9
Having taken various space classes, the story of Orion is more familiar to me than most myths. But your description on the Bandcamp page adds a couple more details that was worth remembering.
Lyrics - 5
I’m nervous how many times you’ve used the line “The Archer and the Thief”. It consumes almost as much as a third of the song. But the minimal approach leaves more room for the pensive imagination to take over.
Composition - 5
Chord-wise, this isn’t so much more different than the previous effort, despite a stronger strum rhythm. Yet somehow, this time, I feel the simplicity adds a primal element. Very reminiscent of a mature camping setting under an open night sky.
Songcrafting - 6
I found the song a little on the long side, perhaps because it was a little on the slow side. But to be sincere, I can’t imagine how it can be shortened or hastened any more.
Arrangement - 3
The very subtle guitar track under-laying the rhythm guitar makes such a good difference, like the warmth of a campfire glow.
Performance – 3
With very minor faults, nothing significantly detracts from the effect of the entry.
Recording - 4
Much cleaner than your last entry. Some white noise during the quitter attempts, but honestly, not a big deal.
Judge’s Whim - 6
I was really impressed with this entry. The dynamics, especially the cut off at the “Draw fast” line, seriously elevates the song. Sucks that it’s a Shadow. But that’s how it goes in Spintunes: some of the best songs I’ve heard were Shadows. Thank you so much for sharing!


Emperor Gum – Pyramus
Rank: 5
Score = 40

Challenge = 8
I’ve never heard of Pyramus, yet I feel like I should have. So this was before Romeo and Juliet? Interesting. Well, you get points for making me research. It’s a myth I think more people should know.
Lyrics = 5
The lyrics cover the myth generally and well enough, even though I might have desired more specific storytelling. Although it seems a little on the light side, perhaps I should be thankful. Shorter myths seem slightly more attractive.
Composition = 6
Much like a play about a myth, the music is creatively segmented, and the change of tempos between the sections highlight a thoughtfulness to the feel of the story. Quite fresh.
Songcrafting = 6
My favorite part is the “Thisbe” motif, which is played at the very end for her death. A simple addition to a song that resonates well with me.
Arrangement = 4
Instrumentation fits the theme nicely. Low woodwinds seems perfectly brooding for the upcoming death.
Performance = 2
The last lines feels like an unraveling in the singing. I suppose that matches the instability of the story’s situation.
Recording = 3
I sense nothing wrong here to note.
Judge’s Whim = 6
The “We’ll run away” tempo-shifting made the whole song shine a bit more. It’s not a technique I typically see on Spintunes, so thank you for adding the nice change.


Glen Raphael – Elisha The Prophet
Rank: 6
Score = 38

Challenge = 8
Using a biblical character was to be expected, but the story of Elisha is quite a pick. However, I find this song dancing uncomfortably close to the no-chorus boundary of suspicion. Twice, in fact: first felt at the lines of “holiest of holies”, which take the stanzas in strong parallels; second felt at the very end, which I will conclude is a tag line without a verse between the repeats.  
Lyrics = 6
It’s not the most cohesive story, but I appreciate all the little narrative nuggets throughout the song.
Composition = 5
The composition is creatively OK. I guess I was hoping for more magic/miracle exclamations of sound.
Songcrafting = 5
It gives the impression that Elisha was all over the place, practicing his many magical powers. I’d say this was successful.
Arrangement = 3
I didn’t know if I liked the choice of style of the song, but for some it fits perfectly with the imagery of kids getting mauled by bears. It’s like a gruesome scene where the music says “yeah, so that happened”.
Performance = 3
Quite a gospelly “saved” on the third stanza. Something fun about that.
Recording = 3
Pretty clean and nothing wrong.
Judge’s Whim = 5
Aside from the humor in the third verse, the consistent tone throughout the song isn’t as fun as I want it to be. But I do think it is enjoyable, despite some dark bits here and there.


Edric Haleen – Is That Too Much Too Ask? 
Rank: 7
Score = 38

Challenge = 6
I suspected someone would pull the Jesus card on the mythological scene, an idea completely understandable. What makes this song special is how it brings the myth to present day, and no other song seems to see connect the mythology to the people who celebrate it. A very creative angle.
Lyrics = 6
I’d be a fool not see the many layers of wit. My only point I’d like to make is that this song focuses a lot into the development of the myth, and not so much on the base of the story or character.
Composition = 7
Classic Edric. It’s the stuff that makes you the myth to celebrate. Wonderful work.
Songcrafting = 6
In your dramatic fashion, both sides of words and tunes blend well into excellent storytelling. Just when I think you’ve reached the pinnacle of your skills in dynamics, you come out with another song that expresses even more emotion.
Arrangement = 2
I guess I was expecting something that sounded more in the style of Christmas. Perhaps that would really complete the satire.
Performance = 4
The “War” bit is riveting. It’s very powerful amidst the expected message of “peace on earth” for the holiday.
Recording = 3
Yes, the piano is well welcomed back.
Judge’s Whim = 3
It feels a little more Edric and a little less Jesus. And I happen to love Christmas. Brilliant song, though.


Jailhouse Payback – The Story Of Xenu And The Revolt In The Stars
Rank: 8
Score: 37

Challenge = 8
Xenu is an interesting pick, as I think many people today still hold this to be true. Although I’m not one of them, I was very enlightened with your descriptive narration. I guess the lack of exposure makes this feel like a myth.
Lyrics = 6
The story sounds so crazy I want to believe it’s not true. I imagine the myth is very extensive, perhaps too much to capture in a three-minute song. Still, the amount of details were stitched together in such a personal way quite successfully.
Composition = 4
I’m not so thrilled with the music. Such complicated vocabulary deserve a more complex composition. Otherwise, it’s a looped-up repeat of music with very subtle addition of layers. It sounds like you were afraid to explore outside of verses.
Songcrafting = 5
Despite my disapproval of the unchanging music, the whole concept of the story-telling singing sounds oddly fitting for the lengthy story of Xenu. In fact, most of the dynamics of storytelling is found in the singing. But when the title claims “Revolt in the Stars”, I’m expecting to feel the revolt. This just sounds slightly complacent.
Arrangement = 2
Banjo, take three. Not sure if Xenu would approve. I think he wanted something more mystical.
Performance = 3
Not too shabby in the country delivery.
Recording = 4
Clean and tasty. Nice and punchy.
Judge’s Whim = 5
Please be safe. After this song, I don’t want to hear on the news how scientologists bagged you away.


Rob From Amersfoort – Pygmalion & Galatea
Rank: 9
Score = 37

Challenge = 9
Pygmalion is not a foreign concept to Spintunes; I believe I heard a couple of takes on the story in past competitions. It works well here in this round.
Lyrics = 5
Tricky to put the stanzas with the “fantasy” lines. They appear like some sort of pseudo-chorus, but I’m trying to be lenient.
Composition = 5
I’m kind of disappointed with the simplicity, when compared to your last entries. I’m not sure why you stuck with an A-B format, even with the instrumentals.
Songcrafting = 5
Everything fits how a song should be. Very safe, but aside from the very beginning and end, it is unfortunately not as memorable as I wished it could be.
Arrangement = 3
It’s a clean blend, nothing much to note.
Performance = 3
No faults could be found. Good job!
Recording = 2
I can’t hear the vocals very well.
Judge’s Whim = 5
Well, I like the song. But it’s so clean, when I’ve grown quite fond to the psychedelic twists and turns of your usual music. For a Round 3 entry, this was the time to pull out more creative risks.


James Young – Unbound
Rank: 10
Score: 36

Challenge - 8
At first, I wasn’t sure what the myth was supposed to be until I went on the Bandcamp page for the lyrics. Prometheus is a good pick, especially when, I hate to admit, I only heard lightly about him.
Lyrics - 5
The lyrics successfully explains the role of Prometheus to society.
Composition - 5
The heavy rock sound feels a tad bit too slow to grab my full attention. Leans more on dreamy than on strength.
Songcrafting - 5
There isn’t anything particularly wrong with it. It actually reminds me of Creed, but much better and much more focused.
Arrangement - 3
Yes, it’s the right instruments for the important Prometheus.
Performance - 3
Pretty daring to bring some harsh vocals.
Recording - 3
Sounds pretty standard.
Judge’s Whim - 4
I know this was going for power, but I can’t bring myself to follow along. I apologize for this analogy, but it reminds me of the last motorcyclist in a riding gang of bikers, seemingly struggling to catch up to the front and gain the star attention.


Ross Durand  – Sympathy For Hades
Rank = 11
Score = 35

Challenge = 8
A song for Hades is satisfying enough, but inviting me into his point-of-view was an intelligent mode to show me his mythological world. I didn’t get it at first, but you convinced me that this direction of the song was definitely the way to go.
Lyrics = 5
The point-of-view gives the song a personal connection, with lots of “you”s and “I”s. It was unexpectedly pleasant.
Composition = 4
Although there are times of well-placed slow-downs in the music, it feels rather bread-and-butter for a dark song about Hades.
Songcrafting = 5
No, I don’t see or feel any choruses, but I have a hard time distinguishing any stanza from another verse.
Arrangement = 2
The blend doesn’t sound as dark as I expected. It sounds like a fun ride with Hades.
Performance = 3
Nothing to note here. Well done, especially the ending.
Recording = 4
Sounds clean.
Judge’s Whim = 4
This is not a bad song in any respect, and I think you know that. But this is Round 3, and in my world of how I rank, your tune may have turned out too safe among the bolder entries.


Conclusion
Well, thankfully, I didn’t need to pull a third all-nighter for this review. But this round was not easy to judge. I found the submissions from the previous round much more addicting. Here, it’s about the creativity to make a good song while completing a difficult challenge.

Good luck to the four finalists. But to those who stayed with us every round, despite making it or not, I want to send my personal thank you for your hard work. It was a lot of fun to listen!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

SpinTunes #11 Round 3 Songs

Another listening party went off without a hitch.  Big thanks to Joe Lamb & The Look for doing such at great job.  Remember, this round there is a popular vote, but it'll only be used as a tie breaker.

The songs are now available for FREE download. Until the round 4 songs are posted I will only allow people to download the round 3 album as a whole. But even after that, PLEASE download the entire album vs downloading just a handful of songs while the contest is on going. BandCamp limits how many free downloads I can give away, and 1 album download counts the same as 1 song download.

We had 11 total entries turned in before the deadline & we had 1 shadow turned in.  The top 4 overall scores after this round will move onto the finals.  Good luck to everyone.



(Album cover by Matt Schubbe)

- Judges & guest judges need to turn in their reviews & rankings by February 26th by 11PM (F).

- Reviews & scores will be posted February 27th before 11PM (Sat).

- February 28th 1AM (Sun) the Final challenge will be announced.

Videos: If anyone wants to make a VIDEO for their song, I will include it here:

Links Of Interest:
- Edric Haleen posted a song bio for his song.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Round 3 LP & Deadline News

For now you should know:
- There are 11 official entries on the album.
- There is 1 shadow on the album.
- The listening party will be hosted by Joe on The Look tonight at 8PM EST. Keep an eye on the Twitter feed for any possible changes.  There will be a 1 hour preshow that starts at 7PM if you want to get there early.

Listening Party Location: http://thelook247.com/listen/
http://thelook247.com/chat/

Sunday, February 14, 2016

SpinTunes #11: Round 3 Challenge

Greek Chorus - Write a song with no chorus based on a ancient mythological figure/story. You must identify the mythological figure in your email when you submit your entry. (2 minute minimum length) (your submission is due by Sunday, Feburary 21st 11:59PM)
Examples of Mythological songs include "Flight of Icarus" by Iron Maiden, "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac, and "A Whiter Shade of Pale" by Procol Harum. Examples of songs with no chorus include "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin, "The Sound of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel or "Rapture" by Blondie.

Submitting Entries:- Entries must be received by the given deadline. Otherwise it'll be posted as a shadow. Received means that it has to appear in my e-mail inbox by the given deadline. I will be going by the time stamp on the e-mail in my inbox. PLEASE do not wait until the last hour to send me something. If there is a blackout in your area, your computer crashes, or your dog actually eats your thumb drive...I will not care. You are allowed to send in a draft of your song early just in case something horrible happens & you miss the deadline. Then you can add polish to your song & send in a better version closer to the deadline. 1 minute late is still late, people.


- Send your file in a format that Bandcamp accepts. (.aiff, .wav or .flac) (at least 16-bit/44.1kHz) You can find the specific requirements for Bandcamp files HERE.

- Name your file the song's title, but without spaces & punctuation.

- Title of the e-mail should be the title of the Challenge & your band's name.

- Include the song lyrics in the body of the e-mail. (If your song doesn't have lyrics...consider yourself eliminated. Instrumentals can be pretty, but SpinTunes does require lyrics.)

- Include information on anyone that needs credited if you collabed with someone.

- If you have a BandCamp account, you can just send me a link to your song on BandCamp if you include all the info I mentioned above. Make sure you have it set as a free download, and have it set so that I don't have to put in an e-mail to download it if you pick this option. THIS IS THE BEST FILE SHARING OPTION!

- Other file sharing options if you need them: Sound Cloud (set to download a format BandCamp is ok with) & Drop Box. Please send an e-mail as I already stated, but with the download link if you need one of these services. Please follow directions so your file doesn't wind up in my spam or trash folder accidentally.

Side Notes:

- Remember that you are allowed to send in a little background about your song. Some people don't like to do that, and you don't have to, but if you want to write a couple sentences about your song I'll post it on the BandCamp page for people to see. Some judges will look at the lyrics & this extra info, but they aren't required to.

- If you didn't sign-up in time to compete in SpinTunes #11, you can still complete the challenge & send in a song. It'll be uploaded with the other entries as a "Shadow Song". Check the FAQ if you don't know what that means. You can even complete past challenges from previous contests.

- The only other way to get your music played at the LP is to cover "Today's The Day" by Inverse T. Clown.

- Feel free to leave any questions in the comments.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

SpinTunes #11: Round 2 Totals

Here are the links to your reviews:

Official Judges:

Guest Judges: Jonathan NelsonMiray
Alternate Judge's Review: N/A

You can listen to all the wonderful songs from this round by checking out the free album HERE.

Feel free to check for mistakes in my math...as always...Heather could have made a mistake.

Remember, with the SpinTunes 10 rules the total number of points possible in round 1, is the same amount of points possible for rounds 2 & 3.  So with 23 competitors in round 1, and 16 in round 2 we divide 23 by 16 to get 1.4375.  That's gap between each place in the standing this round.

Round 2 Judges Scores:
Zoe - Dave - Ted - Kally - Jonathan - Miray
Jailhouse Payback - 14 - 15 - 11 - 16 - 9 - 13 (78)
Glen Raphael - 8 - 16 - 13 - 9 - 15 - 15 (76)
Megalodon - 12 - 10 - 15 - 13 - 10 - 12 (72)
Governing Dynamics - 15 - 7 - 16 - 12 - 3 - 11 (64)
Mark Humble - 9 - 13 - 9 - 14 - 7 - 9 (61)
Jon Eric - 16 - 1 - 3 - 10 - 16 - 14 (60)
Edric Haleen - 5 - 8 - 10 - 15 - 14 - 6 (58)
Ominous Ride - 2 - 14 - 6 - 11 - 8 - 16 (57)
Ross Durand - 13 - 11 - 8 - 5 - 12 - 5 (54)
James Young - 10 - 5 - 14 - 6 - 2 - 8 (45)
"BucketHat" Bobby - 11 - 9 - 5 - 3 - 5 - 10 (43)
Rob From Amersfoort - 4 - 4 - 12 - 8 - 11 - 2 (41)
Pigfarmer Jr - 1 - 6 - 7 - 7 - 13 - 1 (35)
Adam Sakellarides - 6 - 12 - 4 - 1 - 4 - 7 (34)
Ellie Sparrow - 3 - 3 - 1 - 4 - 6 - 3 (20)
Emperor Gum - 7 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 1 - 4 (18)

Overall Leaderboard:
Jailhouse Payback - 45
Glen Raphael - 39.56
Mark Humble - 38.25
Governing Dynamics - 37.68
Ominous Ride - 35.93
Megalodon - 35.12
Edric Haleen - 31.37
James Young - 30.06
Jon Eric - 27.81
Ross Durand - 24.5
Pigfarmer Jr - 19.75
Emperor Gum - 17.43
"BucketHat" Bobby - 14.62
Ellie Sparrow - 13.87
Adam Sakellarides - 13.31
Rob From Amersfoort - 12.18
Steve Durand - 10
Sam Rodewald - 8
Jeff Brown - 7
Keen Sid - 4
The Boffo Yux Dudes - 3
Ben Taggart - 2
Turtle Fence - 1

Zoe:
Jon Eric - 16
Governing Dynamics - 15
Jailhouse Payback - 14
Ross Durand - 13
Megalodon - 12
"BucketHat" Bobby - 11
James Young - 10
Mark Humble - 9
Glen Raphael - 8
Emperor Gum - 7
Adam Sakellarides - 6
Edric Haleen - 5
Rob From Amersfoort - 4
Ellie Sparrow - 3
Ominous Ride - 2
Pigfarmer Jr - 1

Dave:
Glen Raphael - 16
Jailhouse Payback - 15
Ominous Ride - 14
Mark Humble - 13
Adam Sakellarides - 12
Ross Durand - 11
Megalodon - 10
"BucketHat" Bobby - 9
Edric Haleen - 8
Governing Dynamics - 7
Pigfarmer Jr - 6
James Young - 5
Rob From Amersfoort - 4
Ellie Sparrow - 3
Emperor Gum - 2
Jon Eric - 1

Ted:
Governing Dynamics - 16
Megalodon - 15
James Young - 14
Glen Raphael - 13
Rob From Amersfoort - 12
Jailhouse Payback - 11
Edric Haleen - 10
Mark Humble - 9
Ross Durand - 8
Pigfarmer Jr - 7
Ominous Ride - 6
"BucketHat" Bobby - 5
Adam Sakellarides - 4
Jon Eric - 3
Emperor Gum - 2
Ellie Sparrow - 1

Kally:
Jailhouse Payback - 16
Edric Haleen - 15
Mark Humble - 14
Megalodon - 13
Governing Dynamics - 12
Ominous Ride - 11
Jon Eric - 10
Glen Raphael - 9
Rob From Amersfoort - 8
Pigfarmer Jr - 7
James Young - 6
Ross Durand - 5
Ellie Sparrow - 4
"BucketHat" Bobby - 3
Emperor Gum - 2
Adam Sakellarides - 1

Jonathan:
Jon Eric - 16
Glen Raphael - 15
Edric Haleen - 14
Pigfarmer Jr - 13
Ross Durand - 12
Rob From Amersfoort - 11
Megalodon - 10
Jailhouse Payback - 9
Ominous Ride - 8
Mark Humble - 7
Ellie Sparrow - 6
"BucketHat" Bobby - 5
Adam Sakellarides - 4
Governing Dynamics - 3
James Young - 2
Emperor Gum - 1

Miray:
Ominous Ride - 16
Glen Raphael - 15
Jon Eric - 14
Jailhouse Payback - 13
Megalodon - 12
Governing Dynamics - 11
"BucketHat" Bobby - 10
Mark Humble - 9
James Young - 8
Adam Sakellarides - 7
Edric Haleen - 6
Ross Durand - 5
Emperor Gum - 4
Ellie Sparrow - 3
Rob From Amersfoort - 2
Pigfarmer Jr - 1

Round 1 Results:
Ominous Ride - 23
Jailhouse Payback - 22
Mark Humble - 21
James Young - 20
Governing Dynamics - 19
Glen Raphael - 18
Edric Haleen - 17
Emperor Gum - 16
Megalodon - 15
Pigfarmer Jr - 14
Ross Durand - 13
Jon Eric - 12
Ellie Sparrow - 11
Steve Durand - 10
Adam Sakellarides - 9
Sam Rodewald - 8
Jeff Brown - 7
"BucketHat" Bobby - 6
Rob From Amersfoort - 5
Keen Sid - 4
The Boffo Yux Dudes - 3
Ben Taggart - 2
Turtle Fence - 1

Round 2 Results:
Jailhouse Payback - 23
Glen Raphael - 21.56
Megalodon - 20.12
Governing Dynamics - 18.68
Mark Humble - 17.25
Jon Eric - 15.81
Edric Haleen - 14.37
Ominous Ride - 12.93
Ross Durand - 11.5
James Young - 10.06
"BucketHat" Bobby - 8.62
Rob From Amersfoort - 7.18
Pigfarmer Jr - 5.75
Adam Sakellarides - 4.31
Ellie Sparrow - 2.87
Emperor Gum - 1.4375

SpinTunes #11 Round 2 Reviews: Miray

Searching through BandCamp I stumbled onto Miray.  I listened to a few tracks & loved her song "Colourblind".  Ended up buying a copy & decided to see if she would be interested in guest judging a round of SpinTunes.  While you're sifting through the reviews below, I'd suggest listening to the embedded song as well.

- Spin


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just wanted to note here is that most of these “songs” pretty much sounded like some commercial jingle rather than a song to be honest so I’m ranking it based on less literal-commercial jingle-esque to more relatable, tastefully written artistry.

#1 Cheap Wine 
Solid format, relatable, the list of drinks at the end was a nice touch
Catchy and not overly specific. The intro catches the listeners attention.
Overall the song was most likeable and very much fits well with the theme. Well done!

But side note: On the contrary I would say expensive wine would be my guilty pleasure…just saying…

#2 Building an Orc Army
The verses are very rhythmic and melody is very catchy throughout the entire track. I can see this being in a viral video with equally catchy visuals. I can imagine some nerds liking this (including some friends of mine) Young kids would love this.

#3 Glen Raphael | Cadbury 
Hilarious. It's got that traditional Keltic/folk vibe to it but when you listen to the lyrics it's very much modern like "Amazon.com"
But because it's very specific I can see this in a TV commercial for Cadbury...Maybe if it was more generalized like "chocolate" that would have been better and expand the audience demographic.

#4 Candy Cigarette
Very cute. But the title should maybe be changed because it seems to be less prominent in the track. Title of the song perhaps should be "your so sweet!"

#5 Lockdown 
Cool. The harmony is well put together, unlike other tracks I heard it sounds more like a "song" that's less product commercially (if that's a word). The lead to Chorus

#6 Exact Change
My mom does this all the time and it annoys the hell out of me. So I wouldn't say I can relate to this song but the writer definitely wrote something…niche. A little too niche more me though.

#7 Ireland Delay
I like the title. I think they could have used the title more often and use less words. Just simplify things more and let the audience do the guessing work. Like Ireland Delay ay ay ay ay ~~~ (repeat)

#8 Ode to Internet
Sounds like “Under the Sea” lol
The Ukulele sound and hand clap is very cheesy but it’s very commercially appealing (for commercials). It’s like a song you hear on a comedy skit.
But sonically got that commercial vibe thats very “current”. It’s easy to listen to.

#9 Secret Desire
I’m not an expert in this genre but the chorus is very clear and the bridge was cute. Didn’t really get it though but that’s just me (lol).Melody needs to be more clear.

#10 Love Actually
I think I saw this movie long time ago but don’t remember much so for those who never saw or have any interest in this movie whatsoever (like myself) quickly lose interest. I really wouldn’t call this a song. It’s like a trailer? The flow is cool but the context altogether is a little to niche and too many actor names. It’s like more so a comedy song to be brutally honest. a joke. (sorry but I couldn’t listen to the whole thing…)

#11 Guilty pleasure
Reminds of the Juicy Fruit commercial song.

#12 My Dear Wife. 
I would change the title first. this song is more like a script for a musical.

#13 Uh Oh
I think kids would like this. The Chorus line. like Raffi’s baby beluga.
(I think he can be the next Raffi. That’s where I was going at.)

#14 Electricity
The title needs to be used as a main ingredient here but it seems like I can’t really find it…Melody needs work.

#15 Bathe in Media
Need to work on melody and the flow is not there…words are hardly memorable its just way too descriptive. Too much focus on the theme and trying too hard get the message across was probably the problem here.

#16 leggings 
Again, very poorly written song. Too many same words like “Leggings” and it just sounds…creepy.

#17: “I like Porn”
….ya…no sorry I just don’t think this is artistically tasteful whatsoever. Surprised that this made it to 2nd round. lol Tell this dude to be a comedian…I’m just slightly offended here.

SpinTunes #11 Round 2 Reviews: Jonathan Nelson

Stumbled onto Jonathan's FAWM page recently.  It took me to the Blomberg & Nelson SoundCloud, and I really enjoyed their music.  So I did what I do when I find musicians I like...I asked him to guest judge SpinTunes.  Give a listen to the embedded track as you read his reviews.

- Spin



---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I’m coming to SpinTunes fresh, never having been a judge before. I’ve enjoyed this very much: you all are amazing. As a songwriter myself --I’ve taught songwriting seminars, and written in styles from folk and salsa to R&B and music for a Gospel choir-- I try hard to listen with a sympathetic ear, from the inside. I ask myself: What was this artist trying to achieve, even if they haven’t fully accomplished it? I’m well aware of the hard work and the fragile ego (speaking for myself) that’s laid out there for everyone to pick apart. So this SpinTunes thing takes guts.
While a sympathetic listener will say, “I can see where you’re trying to go with that”, out in the real world every element of your song has to sell your song’s vision, and your vision has to be crystal clear, original, and memorable, so the listener is able to come along on your song’s journey, and wants to come along. That, in essence, is what I’m looking for, and it’s something we can all achieve with practice.

My specific criteria are:
1. Challenge: Does your song do what the challenge asked you to do? Beyond that, does it meet the challenge in a clever or unique way? Did it surprise me?
2. Message: Is your song’s message clear? Does everything in the song develop the message? Did you “write to the hook”? Your song should do more than repeat a single idea (no matter how clever). It should take me on a journey.
3. Songwriting artistry: Does the music of your song support the lyrics and vice versa? Does your song have at least one hook-- something memorable lyrically or musically, preferably both?  Does your song have originality and surprise? Are your images unique and memorable? Does your song make me feel and care, or are you just giving me information?
4. Musicianship and Production: Can I clearly hear everything that’s going on in the song? Do I know what you’re singing without looking at the lyric sheet? Are your instruments in tune? Are there mistakes or distractions in the recording? Is your recording rhythmically tight (unless looseness makes the song better)?


The songs
1. Bathe in Media
Challenge met: yes. The title is intriguing. The topic is clear and writing focus is good. The contrasting verses --relaxing v. staying connected-- sets up the conflict nicely before the first chorus. There’s a nice spare sound especially at the beginning. A very appealing vocal style. “What I’m wearing when it’s just me” is a great line. There’s also a fun punch line in the very last couple of beats of the song that changes the story unexpectedly. Unfortunately, the vocals get somewhat buried by too-loud strings and piano. The kick drum syncopation is nice, but the bass isn’t working with it. I’d also consider doubling the vocals at key points to give them more punch on the important lines.
Ranking 12

2. My Dear Wife
Title: prosaic but potentially interesting.
Challenge met: definitely. Title is prosaic but potentially interesting. However, as the song develops, it becomes clear that it isn’t really about the singer’s wife, but about a video game. To me, this is the song’s only weakness. The message takes a few lines to develop and only becomes clear on the last word of the intro lines, “played”. After than, the storyline moves along very well, and has real emotional punch at the end, with the line, “I’m not sure I’d want it to anyway.” Did you rhyme “levels” with “levels”? ...Hmm. Other than misleading title and that rhyme, the songwriting artistry is top notch. Musicianship and production are excellent, first class. The varieties of intensity in the song make it memorable, almost a hook in themselves. I loved the quirky whistling sections. Loved this song.
Ranking 4

3. Watching “Lockdown”
Challenge met: yes. Regarding the title, it’s was hard at first to know what to make of it. About halfway through the first listen, I realised it was a movie reference. There’s a good storytelling flow, with a unique viewpoint of living the jailhouse life vicariously through a film. “Solitary for both of us” is a good line and adds a depth of meaning to the story. The third verse is intriguing, adding new elements: Is the singer also a criminal? Outcome is unsure. At the end of several listens, I’m still not sure why the singer’s eyes are “guilty”. I wish I knew just a little more. This song is melodically and rhythmically strong. Very singable and memorable. Recording is a little muddy to my ears, but overall a good solid sound.
Ranking 9

4. Exact Change
Challenge met: Yes. The title is just what it should be. Without hearing the song, it’s a title that promises to lead somewhere interesting. The message of the song is clear and focused. High marks for originality and for capturing the essence of an obsessive-compulsive attitude and what it does to other people. Great use of detail and observation. Good jangly pop guitar and overall sound. Very strong chorus. The intro gave me a great first impression, but then it seemed to switch styles and become a different song. Both are great but I’m not sure that intro works with this song. Same to a lesser degree with the ending. As for the mix, the guitars and voice seem to be too much in the same sonic space.
Ranking 8

5. Ireland Delay
Challenge met: definitely. The title is rather obscure: a guitarist’s reference that may not to work with a general audience. The lyrics take awhile to get to the point. Very poetic and evocative, but I felt I needed to know where we were going sooner. I didn’t really know until the first chorus. Verse 2 works well as an evocation of U2 titles, and the bridge personalises the theme. Guitar sound is excellent; a good use of a musical device to support the message of the song. Vocally, the singing works well for the verses but needs more power on the choruses. Having set up the U2 sound as a device, the vocal needs to follow through; for example, I missed hearing typical Bono “aahs” over the guitar solo. The mix is clean. Emotionally, I’ll be honest: this left me a bit cold. The evocation of the U2 sound is very good, but the singer seems philosophical rather than passionate, so as a listener I felt detached too.
Ranking 15

6. Cheap Wine
Challenge met: definitely. The title is prosaic and average but it works, especially as the theme develops. As for the message-- Bang! It jumps right into the theme on the first line: “I’d like to make a confession”. That’s great. Love the “Mercedes / ladies” rhyme. High marks for originality of approach to what could easily have been just a wino’s ode to cheap booze. That said, the story didn’t go quite far enough for me. I wanted more a reason or explanation than just, “It tastes alright to me”. The pre-chorus and chorus are VERY strong, very singable. The vocalist isn’t quite up to the high notes at a few spots. The voice is mixed to thin, so it’s not always easy to follow the story line without looking at the lyrics. There seems to be a bit of a mistake with voices coming in near the end. Synth solo a bit clunky.
Ranking 10

7. Uh Oh!
Challenge met: definitely. Title: funny and intriguing, which makes up for it not giving a clear idea of where the song is going. Wherever it goes, the title says it will probably be fun! This is catchy from the beginning. Good story set-up in verse one. Verse two uses good description and vivid images. Verse three revisits verse one, but is saved by the “I’m gonna eat what I like” attitude. There are many deft rhymes and fun word-play, like “a little bit loopy”. The title is definitely the hook, lyrically and musically. A perfect example of what a hook should be. The mix is a bit out of balance. Nice addition of electric in v. 2; nice build using background voices in the hook. The title promises fun and the song delivers.
Ranking 6

8. Love (Actually)
Challenge met: Yes. The title, though, is too derivative. Wouldn’t it be better to play with the movie title, something like “Love (Actually) Love” or “Loving Love (Actually)”? The message is clear and focused and the song delivers on the title, without a doubt. I like the device of singing directly to the listener (“you can borrow my BlueRay” etc.), and of referring to the characters in the movie by their names in other films the listener is more likely to have heard of. That’s all good. The basic problem is that the song doesn’t take me on a journey anywhere; it’s simply a series of descriptions. The film “hits the spot” but I never really feel WHY that happens to the singer. The musical beginning and ending are nice, and the vocal delivery works well for this style. Overall, the song is pleasant but leaves me a bit cold because it’s a series of descriptions without development or emotional punch.
Ranking 16

9. Girls in Leggings
Challenge met: Yes. The title is simple and fun. Not great poetry, but it lets us know where we’re going with this! The song jumps right into the topic. Great rhyming from the start; nice rhyme-- “begging / legging”. Paints visual images much more than talking about the subject, which is great. The whispered part at the end helps get across the somewhat obsessive feeling of the singer. Still, musically I needed more of hook, something to really lift the song. I like the vocal mix: there’s a lot going on musically but still the voice is easy to follow and understand. Good instrumental variety. Well produced and fun to listen to.
Ranking 7

10. I Like P0rn
Challenge met: yes. The title is pretty basic and obvious; after listening I think it could have been a little more creative; say, “Porn and Beer” (a line that appears in the chorus). Very solid playing and sound. The song gets straight into the topic. Very focused and clear. Doesn’t go on a long journey emotionally, but captures the scene and feelings well. Gets the guilty pleasure aspect perfectly (I suppose this topic is kind of a dictionary definition of guilty pleasure), especially being a first person, as-it’s-happening narrative. Good hard-hitting mix in the intro and throughout. Excellent overall sound.
Ranking 5

11. Electricity
Challenge met: unsure. The title is simple and not suggestive of very much. What direction will it go to? Is “electricity” the guilty pleasure? The message is a familiar one, about society’s enslavement to technology. But does it fulfil the “Sorry Not Sorry” challenge? I hear the “guilty” part but not the “pleasure”. The music does a good job evoking anger and frustration in a technological dystopia. Impressive playing. Yet I get the feeling that the song takes second place to the instrumental chops, when it should be the other way around. Mix is a bit muddy. Good things going on here, but I’m not sure that the song meets the challenge.
Ranking 17

12. Ode to Internet Explorer
Challenge met: yes. The title is a bit prosaic but potentially interesting. At least it lets me know where we’re going. Verse one sets the topic up fairly well, along with the title. There’s good close rhyming, especially on the last verse. The storyline is a series of descriptions that don’t really progress or take me anywhere. There’s no punch line to the story. Basically the punch line is the title. The melody is a bit derivative (reminds me of “Under the Sea”) and needs polishing to give it a strong melodic hook at the title line. Handclaps, glockenspiel-- good! The recording is spoiled by an out of tune guitar. Vocal delivery is appealing and works well for this style.
Ranking 13

13. Secret Desire
Challenge met: Yes. Title is generic. Where’s it going to go? A very impressive beginning, excellent instrumentation. As far as the message, there’s quite a long set up in verse one that eventually pays off at the end of the first chorus. That’s a bit too long for me; I’d like to get to the chorus after the first two lines of the verse. Really nice contrast in the break. And the whole concept is funny and absurd. Playing and singing are great. Hey, a fade-out! You don’t hear those too often nowadays.
Ranking 11

14. Candy Cigarette
Challenge met: definitely. The title is intriguing, poetic, and perfectly captures the essence of “guilty pleasure”. The message stays perfectly on track all the way. Excellent rhyming. “Creme filled game of craps” is a fantastic line. I loved the self-referential “in this metaphor” and the rhyme with “petit-four”. Brilliant. Overall, writing is brilliant. The crazy dance hall piano solo is so cool. Timing of instruments a bit loose at times. Mix needs to be cleaner. Wish I could have heard more handclaps on the last chorus. Overall, this is a fantastic song and I loved it. It edged out very strong competition for number one in my ranking because the title image absolutely nails the essence of the challenge.
Ranking 1

15. Guilty Pleasure
Challenge met: Yes. As for the title, in the context of this challenge, it’s too generic; but in the wider context of the world of music, it’s fairly good. The song takes its time getting to the point, not really there until after two verses and two pre-choruses that hint at some legal setting, but nothing more. The minor key of this first section makes the chorus very unexpected, almost jarring, when it arrives in a major key and makes the big reveal about what the guilty pleasure is: Judge Judy. Nice intro though: simple drum hit and short bit of music. I like that. Very nice musical riff under the verses. And the chorus is catchy, well written, and humorous. “Should have got it in writing” is a great line (though the stress is wrong). The chorus is the solid core of a good song. My problem is that the verses seem to come from a different song, and they just take too long getting to the point.
Ranking 14

16. Cadbury Shanty
Challenge met: Yes. Title: interesting and provocative. It telegraphs both the guilty pleasure idea and the song style. A clear, concise set-up. Story-telling moves through the stages really well, from recollections to a future application or “moral” at the end. “Keister / Easter” rhyme-- ha ha! Clever poetic references to “Easter window”, “whipped eggs”, etc. Beautiful folk guitar accompaniment. Voice perfect for this style. Nice spoons percussion at end. Excellent sound. One question: why did you choose to have verse one describe weight LOSS when the whole point of the song is an obsession with weight gain? That threw me a bit. Loved this song.
Ranking 3

17. Building an Orc Army (Shadow)
Challenge met: Yes. The title is fan-interest, which narrows the appeal of the song.  But hey! There was no way the title prepared me for the super-tight Prince style funk, deft rhymes, and word play. This is without a doubt the best example of perfect lyric-music synthesis of any of the songs in this round. The best song lyrically. Top marks for tight rhythms and word manipulation. Sax solo-- yeah! As far as the mix, I would have liked more vocal prominence on the hook/title line. Overall the mix doesn’t “pop” and is a bit flat, which is a shame considering the superb writing and performance. Loved this song.
Ranking 2

SpinTunes #11 Round 2 Reviews: Dr. Lindyke


SpinTunes 11, Round 2. The challenge: "Write a song about your favorite guilty pleasure".
Playlist

This round I'm looking for sincerity. We did say "your" guilty pleasure, after all. Now, there's no way we can check up on that, so I don't really care if it's your actual guilty pleasure or not. I'm looking for you to convince me that it IS with a marriage of lyrics and style. And hell, if you can make ME like your guilty pleasure, then that's just icing on the cake.

That's the part I write before hearing the songs. Now that I'm hearing them, I don't know what to say... once again, there's no way these should be spread into 16 slots, but them's the rules. So here are the rankings, top to bottom. And if you see less verbiage from me than usual, it's because you guys (and gal) seem to know what you're doing. So I'm just sitting back, chillin', and enjoying the songs this round.


--==//oOo\\==--


Glen Raphael - Cadbury Shanty
You brought the troubadour in strength, Glen. Clever lyrics, a tune with nice contour, an addictive rhythm. And spoons. Yeah.


Jailhouse Payback - Watching "Lockdown"
C'mon... a band named "Jailhouse Payback" jointly writing a song called 'Watching "Lockdown""? A song with genetics like this cries out for a smokin' C&W sound with banjo? AND THE DELIVERED! What's not to love about this? A favorite.


Ominous Ride - Cheap Wine
There's that great sound again! I could go for Mogen David myself. http://bumwine.com.


Mark Humble - Secret Desire
LOL. Mark, I never knew you were such a meme person. Heavy metal, sweat, long hair and cheezburgers. Meow.


Adam Sakellarides - Guilty Pleasure
JUDGE Judy -- GUILTY pleasure -- oh, you're killing me. I can't believe I'm putting this here.


Uh Oh!
Ross Durand - Uh Oh!
Oh, wow... This fun number is a callback to the classic commercial. It's also an effective defense of childhood comfort food. :)


Megalodon - Exact Change
Oddly enough, my mother had this same mania. She'd dig around in her purse until the entire queue was tapping their toes like Fred Astaire. Then she'd beam at the clerk, pleased with herself beyond all reason. I like this song. It's got a nice beat, it's easy to listen to. It doesn't jump up and demand anything from me, but it doesn't languish either. Good stuff.


"BucketHat" Bobby - Ode To Internet Explorer
I hate the browser. I don't know why I like the song. Maybe it's just that vague resemblance to "Under the Sea". Maybe it's the hand claps. Maybe it's the fact that I was never cool enough to use Piczo. Whatever. I still like it.


Edric Haleen - My Dear Wife
Candy Crush is addictive, or so I hear. I wouldn't know: as with heroin, I've never tried it. And here I am on the day before St. Valentine's, submitting a review of an Edric Haleen song in which he blames his wife for wasting his time. I hope Edric has a recovery plan.


Governing Dynamics - Ireland Delay
When I heard the first line I could have sworn I had heard the phrase "City of Angels" from you before.  Probably just deja vu. It's the sort of phrase you can get away with once, so check it off your bucket list. Smooth rock, with more than a touch of U2's distinctive style. Oh, let's face it, you nailed the style. And a good pastiche goes far.


Pigfarmer Jr - I Like p0rn
Everyone loves p0rn, even the people who are offended by it. And pleasures don't get much guiltier than this. The music outdoes the lyrics here. I guess that's not a bad thing... a friend of mine commented that it has an "appropriate" rhythm. Don't ask. Really. Just don't.


James Young - Love (Actually)
Really nice rhymes and near-rhymes. I was kind of getting into the schtick where you're calling out the actors for other roles, and I wish you'd kept that up. It would have helped with the awkward "Billy Bob Thornton" line. Musically, there's nothing *wrong* with it, but it doesn't grab me. I'm pretty sure the other judges are going to rank this higher.


Rob From Amersfoort - Girls In Leggings
This has a nice, quirky sound. I can't quite be as enthusiastic about the so-so lyrics. To make it up to you, here's a link: http://www.girlsinyogapants.com.


Ellie Sparrow - Bathe In Media
I like the simple accompaniment, but the instrumentals still overrun the vocals. Not as bad as in round 1. Ellie... PLEASE... your voice is nice. We want to hear it. Don't bury it.


Emperor Gum - Electricity
I don't quite buy this as a guilty pleasure. I'm not even sure it's what we meant by "guilty pleasure", but it's certainly an interpretation of the phrase. Congrats on the musical departure... this was a big change for you, and well done. It's particularly clever to bring the electric sound into a song about electricity... but I can't shake the feeling that it was soft on meeting the challenge.


Jon Eric - Candy Cigarette
Argggghhh... I hate it when this happens. I don't think this song meets the challenge. If I got it wrong, I apologize, but I've got to be able to say "challenge met". This kills me because the song is catchy and poppy, and very cool. It's as sweet as the lyrics. It's titled like it should be, but you're singing about the girl, and metaphorically compare her to the candy cigarette exactly once before comparing her to other candies. That's not what we asked for. You're supposed to write a song about your guilty pleasure. Now, the girl might be that, but that's not where the song went with it. Rather than being guilty, the singer's flat out enthusiastic. It's doubly sad because this would have been perfect for Spintunes 9, round 2: "Write a song about unconditionally loving someone who plainly isn't worth it." The first verse and refrain easily nails that challenge.


Shadows


Brian Gray - Building An Orc Army (Shadow)
Intricate tight rhymes that would make Eminem bow out! Speedy delivery! Funky beats! If this hadn't been so long in the making and had been written for this challenge, you'd get another number one ranking from me. I might even buy it as being a guilty pleasure. I mean, after all, Saruman *did* hide his dirty misdeeds as long as he could, and obviously took pleasure from his megalomania. But you didn't write it for this contest, so you'll have to content yourself with being the very best shadow of this round.