.

Time is up:

Saturday, February 18, 2017

SpinTunes #12 Round 2 Reviews: Ted Kiper

Intro:

Here is the challenge:

Car-aoke - Write a quintessential road trip song. (2 minute minimum length) (they had 8 days)


Not gonna lie, I was a huge advocate for this challenge. After all, the best time for me to listen to SpinTunes happen to be during my daily commute. This round was brilliantly designed to make judging easy.

And yet, it appears that it was not as easy to complete. When I thought round 1 was filled to the brim with entries, I suppose round 2 looks quite a bit meager. A bit of a shame too, as there could have been many creative routes to reach the destination of this challenge.


And really, what makes a song best heard on the road? No, I didn't think the genre matters, or the words or droning rhythms. My wife and I were talking about it, and I wondered if it might be more about memorable experiences reinforcing each other.

For example: when I was growing up, my father would often take my family in a long drives across the state, and he would plug in a CD and play the whole album of "Chicago - Greatest Hits". As a result, everytime I take a long road trip, I feel compelled to hear "Hard To Say I'm Sorry". And strangely enough, I wouldn't ever want to listen to it unless I happen to be on the road.

Or perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps road trip songs have their own sense of style, developing since the time the radio became the hottest thing to have in a vehicle. Is that why classic rock and country sound so prominantly in this round? Perhaps the sprawling of roads and the popularity of rock reached their peak together, thus starting a connection that one cannot be enjoyed so well without the other.


Who knows. It's 2 AM now and I need to get cracking into my ranks and reviews.


-----

1. Ryan M. Brewer - Existentialism On Senior Spring Break
Interesting: are these college seniors ("wasted youth" and "teenage wasteland"? Singing about mature themes ("borrowed times" and "point of no return"? I guess life is a journey.
Gorgeous vocal harmonies, all the way to the trippy end.
My largest complaint is that the music is all build up, like energy is ready to burst forth into full force, but it never quite does. With just guitar, no drums or additional production, I'm surprised how emotional it is. But where is the climax, the point of the song? Or is the point of the song that there is no point?...
        Underneath it all, I find it very clever and well-crafted, which I believe deserves top spot.

2. Shyfox - Are We There Yet?
When I first heard this song, I found myself singing the chorus "Are we there yet?", stuck in repeat in my head. First time. Success. And that is why this is my favorite submission of the round. Congrats!
Yes, the performance can be improved, which could help the song be taken more seriously. But you've hooked me good, and that's an improvement from last round. Excellent job.

3. Lucky Witch And The Righteous Ghost - Hey Mister
What amazing mood. Although the intro is rather long, the atmosphere is important. Perhaps a better transition from intro to song would be nice, but this song is very, very interesting.
This is really hitting me with memories of Radiohead's OK Computer.
How nightmarish, in a good way. Like that Twilight Zone episode about the "hitchhiker". I'm not sure how quintessential this is, but I absolutely love the concept, the background ambience, and the many many many unexpected chords that twist back and forth from the minor dimension.
Your past submission was instantly accessable and catchy, but this one had to grow on me. This requires patience, and I'm pleased to enjoy it very much.
And no, I don't care how the production and performance turned out. The compositions are worth recording. I don't think I can come up with things this brilliant. It's truly inspiring.

4. Steve Stearns - The Ride
Oh golly, back to the classics! Yes sir, I think I will enjoy the ride, thank you...

...

Really, there's nothing more to comment here, everything worked so smoothly.
Okay fine, I'll just note I'm impressed with how you can handle such different genres with such mastery. 
 
5. Brian Gray - Code Red
Now, this is a funny one, in all sorts of ways. These spoken worded parts played beautifully, accent and all. It sounds rushed and calculated, especially the slide instrument's parts, and I happen to agree with this direction too. Very convincing and nicely produced. Quality work.

6. Sumner Wynn - Singing My Heart Out
I happen to really love this song, and I'm appalled to admit this. 
I don't appreciate hearing words like "beer" and "shit" and "farts". When I listen to a song titled "Singing My Heart Out", I want to go "awww!", not "ewww!" And I would have never thought to put ice cream and Vietnamese together.
But gosh, I really like how catchy it is, and amazingly enough, this is my favorite submission from you. I especially love your very vulnerable falsetto; but if you're "singing very loudly", why go falsetto? Why not try to reach those high notes and sing your freakin' heart out? And those small transitions between verses, with the low hey-ahs, seem to linger so awkwardly.
But, ugh, I really like this song! Like I can really see myself suffering and enjoying all those experiences as described in your usual narrative style. I really REALLY wanted to rank this higher, but seriously, "pre-beer-shit-farts" then "ice cream"?
        But I love it, thanks for submitting!

7. Bryan Schumann - Open Road
Very calming, and this is not a bad thing. Really, road trips aren't going to be eventful most of time, so this is absolutely representative of most long car trips. 
And if you are like me and like to be lazy, this song is incredibly brilliant. This is when very open, simple lyrics with very flowing, simple chords shine clearest for your take on the challenge. Execution and production was subtle and good, excellent job!

8. Megalodon - Accelerator
Tamborines. And now we have two differently produced tamborines. I sense addiction.
The distortion may be a bit heavier than I'd like, but I understand why you needed it. It's balanced with the altered, hollow-out vocals.
I rather like the "crash" ending, including that tooting-pipes motif.

9. James Young - Drive-Thru!
Although it was rather light, I actually enjoyed the humor. Yes, I guess this would be a typical road trip for many people. 
The song is solid in structure, but maybe not so much in substance, particularly in the limited lyrics. Those verses are kind of hiding behind the comfort of the good but nearly repetitive choruses, which makes this submission seem easier to tune out faster. Honestly, it's not bad, but kindly, you've done better.

10. Zoe Gray - Drive To California
Now, you know I love my electronic sounds. But as hard as this is to admit, I find the instrumentation rather one-dimensional. The dynamics is lost. But maybe that's not too bad; after all, roads are one-dimensional too, aren't they? 
This feels very feminized, and that makes this really stand out in the crowd of rockin', folksy tunes. Kudos to your creative direction, even if it doesn't feel like it ever changes course to any new adventure.
There must be a way for clean-cut transitionings of words during the verses. I'm impressed how you managed to sing those 1-3 melody notes so rapidly.
Reminds me of Rebecca Black trying to be La Roux. But yes, ma'am, I happen to like both artists.

11. Ominous Ride - Colipsis
Ooh, a 7/4 time sig. Not often do I get to enjoy such arrangements.
Thanks for the additional info about colipsis. It was definitely helpful and enlightning.
Yes, the echos are quite appropriate. Disorienting, but still very much in control of the song. I appreciate your direction here. 

12. Mick Bordet - Autobahn Hype
Kudos to you on creating a concept song. It's pretty straighforward. Very well produced. I'm not sure if my peers are going to enjoy this as much as I did. Alas, for the sake of art!

(13.) Andy Glover - Highway Memories [Shadow]
Nice and calming, a great way to recall the subtleties of traveling. Quite heavenly. Especially on the delivery for "Highway Memories", even the ending. Good job!
13. Dr. Lyndike - On My Way
Brian Gray's submission may have edged you out in production, but I definitely appreciate the organic feel, much more appropriate.
The harmonica is quite a delight.
This is something that my country Virginian in-laws would enjoy. As for me, I wouldn't mind a tiny bit more energy. Honestly, it's a good and safe song to meet the challenge.

14. Rob From Amersfoort - Still On The Road
Well, I like how different it sounds from the last submission. These sudden tasty transitions within the structure of the song is exactly what I like from you. Pretty production, successful creativity.
(15.) Mariah Mercedes - Runnin' Free [Shadow]
You silly, it sounds amazing. You do such a good job.
Nice and free-flowing. Exactly what we needed. Thanks for the shadow, really!

15. Governing Dynamics - Three Places (I-80)
May I call this pop-punk? I didn't expect this, and I like it.
So is this about a bad relationship during a car trip? How depressing, but I guess it happens.
Guitar solo, works. Falsetto notes, not so much. Admirable, nonetheless.

(16.) Boffo Yux Dudes - Roadside Attraction [Shadow]
Wow, we have these many cool places I can spend my money? I'm sold!
Personally, I've been to the Mystery Spot, it was pretty cool. Too bad their gift ship seemed larger than their attraction.
16. Ross Durand - Till I Get There
I would figure this challenge would fit very well with you, and you did not disappoint.
Despite not having a car, the narrator is pretty brisk and optimistic with his situation. Pleasant.
Pretty safe submission from you, but you faced a competition eager for 
attention with more interesting compositions and storylines. Again, sounds good, all in all.
17. Adam Sakellarides - I Need A Break
I can always count on you to keep the comedy going!
Oh yes, this is very relevent. Who doesn't have this problem in these trips?
Nice beat. Feels perfect for an era where driving was well enjoyed, 50's maybe. In fact, now that I think about it, did they have rest areas back then? Interstate highways, even?
Whatever, an appropriate song for modern times. Thanks for bringing pee awareness back on the table.

18. Kyleen Downes - Taking Daisy For A Drive
Not bad for production on the submission, thank you. Miss Daisy doesn't seem very reliable, does she?
Oddly enough, I find myself embarrassed to explain: I think the only reason why you aren't ranked higher in my list is possibly because a lot of the other entries really stood out. This is a road trip that doesn't seem so memorable to me. Perhaps a couple of interesting and specific events can grab my attention better.

19. Jailhouse Payback - Wall
I see shadows of the past challenge still lingering about?
Somehow, the melody line and the background story is what I care most about this submission. And at least the end hits a wall, of course!
The lyrics seem rather lacking, maybe on purpose. Not much thought other than nouns and images. And as such, besides the ultimate event at the end, it really wasn't all that eventful.

20. Boffo Yux Dudes - The Last Road Trip
Very dancy! Um. Why?
Whatever, I'll forgive you. This time.
I like it. I guess. I kinda wanted fun adventure. This feels like slow death.
Stay cool, guys!

21. Turtle Fence - Best Man
Very nice. Way to go adding some instruments to lighten up the song. And surfer rock is nice direction.
Now, more direction to the melody would be a nicer improvement.
But I have to say, you're heading in the right direction for true competition. Thanks for the submission!

22. Army Defense - Autoreise
Wow, this was not quite I expected from you guys.
Interesting concept. Sounds like you really relied on the production to carry the song through.
I sense The Flaming Lips, Pink Robot-style. Carefree. Maybe a bit too carefree. I would think robots would have more directive and purpose within their programming.

23. Emperor Gum - Singalong
So... when I first heard this, I was very lost indeed. Thank you for writing a song bio, I'm afraid it was very much needed. I'm sorry, but the melody makes very little sense to me. And... neither does the harmonies, despite understanding the implementation of an ethnic key structure. My way to excuse this is by believing that this child is the singer, and these dysfunctional notes are the child's traumatized view of her world. Yes, I think that would work for me.
But I do like the lyrics, you have quite a knack for story-telling. Quintessential? I'm not sure. But this is one heck of a trip!

-----

Conclusion:

Not a bad round, you guys. Thanks for the fun! I can't wait to hear more for the next round.

-----

Ranks:

1. Ryan M. Brewer - Existentialism On Senior Spring Break
2. Shyfox - Are We There Yet?
3. Lucky Witch And The Righteous Ghost - Hey Mister
4. Steve Stearns - The Ride
5. Brian Gray - Code Red
6. Sumner Wynn - Singing My Heart Out
7. Bryan Schumann - Open Road
8. Megalodon - Accelerator
9. James Young - Drive-Thru!
10. Zoe Gray - Drive To California
11. Ominous Ride - Colipsis
12. Mick Bordet - Autobahn Hype
13. Dr. Lyndike - On My Way
14. Rob From Amersfoort - Still On The Road
15. Governing Dynamics - Three Places (I-80)
16. Ross Durand - Till I Get There
17. Adam Sakellarides - I Need A Break
18. Kyleen Downes - Taking Daisy For A Drive
19. Jailhouse Payback - Wall
20. Boffo Yux Dudes - The Last Road Trip
21. Turtle Fence - Best Man
22. Army Defense - Autoreise
23. Emperor Gum - Singalong

No comments:

Post a Comment