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Saturday, March 4, 2017

SpinTunes #12 Round 3 Reviews: Ted Kiper

From the lyrics of Zoe, judging this round has been nothing but "oh-me oh-my"'s. When Spin wants to give a good challenge, he delivers. And you guys have jumped many hoops to impress, and yes sir I am impressed. Most people seemed to have taken the overall challenge with stride:

Something Old, Something Knant - Create a new word, and write a song using it prominently. It can't be a proper noun. Your song must also use borrowed chords. (2 minute minimum length) (they had 8 days)

But as you can see, there are THREE requirements: new word, borrowed chords, and CANNOT be proper noun. And many of you seemed to have neglected to clarify the third.

It can't be helped. As I explained to fellow judge Joe, I believe we assume that the unnatural words we see everyday in our language tend to be names. Unique names are proper nouns, and your made-up words are pretty unique too.

But some of you made very little effort to ensure that your made-up nouns are common. And some steps could've been taken:

* Do not capitalize the word.
* Make it plural. (Then the word won't be unique.)
* Don't use it as a name, even if it is a condition, state of mind, or a feeling.
* Don't leave it alone--use and abuse it, make it seem normal. Make a story about it, or use it in multiple contexts.

The judges and I spent all week arguing about who failed this third criteria, and nearly half the entries were in question. And the more we looked into your lyrics, the more questions were brought up. It was catastrophic.

Or at least it could've been. We were very lucky. Most of you should thank Spin for having the grace to prevent this "musical holocaust". (Well, those are two words I never thought I'd say.)

For more of my thoughts about the challenge and how well you handled them, you can check them out in your reviews.

(Because I thought the challenge was an important, dynamic feature, I decided to employ a point system, loosely based on Brian Gray's format, that would lean towards people who succeeded to meet all the criteria. "Word Choice" is about what word you created, did it sound right, and did you use it enough. "Borrowed Chords" is how RESPONSIBLE you are with the borrowed chords, so that I didn't have to look intensely for it or I didn't feel completely overwhelmed by them. And "Proper Noun Ban" is how well this word did not seem like a proper noun. "Judge's Whim" is a combination of how much I personally liked it and how well-crafted the song was made. 17 is the highest score, 1 is the lowest.)



1. Kyleen Downes - Pondle
Word Choice (7) - It's simple, really. If I could define it, it's like thinking with more physical involvement. Perhaps it's a mix of "ponder" and some other word. This proves that there is no need for crazy hodge-podge of syllables and stutters. Who says made-up words has to be literally unspeakable?
Borrowed Chords (16) - What's amazing about the chords here is that the song doesn't seem to play any borrowed chords. But then I inspect the chords that you so thoughtfully added into your lyrics, and I realize that you've incorporated them so brilliantly. It's a true sign of responsibility when handling these chords, and you made them sound so natural. It may not seem like the most original set of chords, but the subtle smoothness of the transitions shows what could be the best songcrafting of the round.
Proper Noun Ban (17) - When the rest of your peers fiddled with all sorts of nouns, you were the only one that made your word very clearly a verb. As a result, you were one of the few that was never mentioned about being DQ. Whether your word choice was by luck or by design, you easily outsmarted the rest.
Judge's Whim (8) - It's the chorus that I love the most. There is enough variety of guitar playing that keeps the song fresh. And yet, in a round full of amazing ideas, this entry was a little too safe for my liking. But I guess it doesn't matter; your cautiousness may have kept you focused on the challenge and take my top rank.

2. Army Defense - Splyng
Word Choice (13) - I am not sure what is this "splyng". Sure, it's a beverage or drink of some form. I might argue it's a drug. Like alcohol? That makes singers sound goofy and robotic? Simple, accessable, fun to say, and fitting to the tune, I'd say you picked the right word.
Borrowed Chords (14) - That chorus is a dizzy trip of chords, very enjoyable. Somewhat clear, but mostly smooth.
Proper Noun Ban (8) - You silly, silly people. When you say "Splyng, the legendary drink of Kron", you confused many of the judges thinking it's a brand name. Almost DQ'd you. Thankfully, you added in equally mysterious "booglets" and "brtlys". It's a sidestep, but you passed.
Judge's Whim (13) - Someone from the LP chat said this sounded like The Doors. I absolutely agree, but yours is even more fun.

3. Steve Stearns - The Ineffable Moment of Mazoom
Word Choice (9) - Yes, "mazoom" seems pretty appropriate for the direction of the song. Better yet, you've used some pretty uncommon words to pair with this fun word, which lets the word sit comfortably in the lyrical dreamscape.
Borrowed Chords (15) - Lots of borrowed chords, presented in a casual pace that allows me to digest it all. And the genre takes full advantage of this challenge.
Proper Noun Ban (11) - I'm not sure what this word is, maybe a period of time or a state of mind. But I don't see any clues that it would be a proper noun, so that's good in my book.
Judge's Whim (11) - I sense the Final Four for you. Some on the LP chat say you sound like the Beatles. I also happen to agree with this. But I think I like this better. Once again, your mastery of genre-switching is amazing.

4. Ominous Ride - Wrenchion di Gnausque
Word Choice (10) - When I first read the notes, I got the impression that these new words were just re-spellings of older words. I'm hoping that's not true, probably not, but that impression is very hard to shake from me. (I don't know, maybe I take you too literally. I guess you make such a strong impression on me.)
Borrowed Chords (6) - The F# is common enough as a borrowed chord, but the juicier chord would definitely be the A#dim. I do feel that the song rides a tiny bit much on the common chords more, or maybe they were used in a catchier fashion.
Proper Noun Ban (12) - I'm glad you mention how to pronounce it, the translation, and the context of how it's used. This clearly couldn't be a proper noun.
Judge's Whim (17) - Congrats! Not only is this my favorite submission from you, it's also my top favorite entry of the round. With more variety of borrowed chords, this may have been ranked much higher; but it's already so sweet that I wouldn't really want to change a single thing.

5. Jailhouse Payback - Nojrelias
Word Choice (11) - "Nojrelias" is definitely made-up. Where you came up with it confounds me, though.
Borrowed Chords (17) - This is the smoothest pace of using the right amount of borrowed chords. Nothing too complicated, nothing too subtle. The entry serves as prime example of responsible usage of borrowed chords.
Proper Noun Ban (7) - Not clear if "nojrelias" is a noun for "the feeling" or an exclamation (at the end). If the feeling was called "sadness", would the word sadness be proper? It's not something I want to think too long about.
Judge's Whim (9) - Not a bad song, even if the lyrics make little sense to me. Not all too catchy for me to relisten, unfortunately, but if I had to relisten to it, I wouldn't complain at all. If anything, I'm amused of how meta it gets.

6. Governing Dynamics - [broken/lost/alone/adrift]
Word Choice (17) - No, creating a new word wasn't enough. You had to claim a whole new language too. And it was a genius move. Title, choice of words, choice of instrumentations--all was thought through.
Borrowed Chords (4) - I hear the chords, but they show up a little too subtle for my ears. I'm hoping the other judges were able to pick them up better.
Proper Noun Ban (16) - From your "translation", I'd say they are adjectives. And if not, then at least they are very obviously not nouns. You make completing this challenge look so easy.
Judge's Whim (6) - So... I love the first half of the song. Absolutely loved it. And then the guitar kicks in at the middle, and completely leaves me in the dust. I get it, the guitar part, I do; but I really, really wanted to keep the first half mood.

7. Adam Sakellarides - Delbajifrasticderigibalistic
Word Choice (12) - Well, that's a word that I don't think anyone has ever heard of. God help anyone trying to recite it.
Borrowed Chords (11) - A healthy amount of borrowed chords, just a bit on the overwhelming pace of using them.
Proper Noun Ban (13) - Although you say it's a feeling, I find it more like an exclamation. I can't see how this be proper at all.
Judge's Whim (5) - It's pretty creative, employing a waltzy scherzo. I'd like it a little more it wasn't so musically repetitive. But at least it's more down-to-earth, besides the spleen part. You ranked well because you followed the challenge very closely.

8. Bryan Schumann - oblagetauta agmepulot
Word Choice (15) - Not only are the words enchanting to look at, but the definition and the source are mind-blowingly cool.
Borrowed Chords (1) - I have no clue where the borrowed chord is. I'm surprised none of the other judges have brought up the issue, so I'm pretending that some borrowed chord is in there and it's just too subtle for me. In my ears, it sounds like all one chord with a whole bunch of pitch bends and rapping. Super imaginative, but dangerously not what we asked for.
Proper Noun Ban (15) - No, I can't see how a mystifying phrase of syllables could be a proper noun. I think you're safe here.
Judge's Whim (10) - I love dreams, so if this really came out of a dream, I'm incredibly interested! Very fascinating backstory! Although this genre is not easy for me to swallow, the sheer creativity of the song cannot be denied. And this is from the same guy who did "Open Roads"? Amazing job!

9. Boffo Yux Dudes - Bilpm - The Ballad of Don Martin
Word Choice (16) - You have so many weird, weird words, you might have over-achieved yourself. I think the subject of Don Martin was an excellent pick.
Borrowed Chords (2) - Call me crazy, but I'm not sure if there are too many borrowed chords or if there is any at all. The chords are so unconventional. The progression may work for the topic of the song, but it's too difficult to say if it works with what I thought was borrowed chords.
Proper Noun Ban (14) - No, I can't see how excalamations of made-up action noises be considered anything like proper nouns.
Judge's Whim (1) - I know you like to pride yourselves as the funny guys who like to go just beyond the edge of sensibilities. At this moment, I don't even see you guys in the same solar system. In fact, this might as well have been an anthem for aliens. At least I like ze wierd.

10. Ross Durand - Amoreliebephilia
Word Choice (6) - It's a pretty cool word, considering it is three different languages that say love. But among other more creative words, this was a tad bit too safe for me. Clever, perhaps, but still not bold enough for my taste.
Borrowed Chords (5) - Your borrowed chords worked well, clear and smooth. But with so few in the song, isolated mainly in the bridge, I'm afraid several other songs have edged out more creativity and boldness.
Proper Noun Ban (6) - It was this song that made me wonder if diseases can be proper nouns. They are usually named and unique. But my wife, who was probably so very smitten by your song, insisted that your word represented more of a condition than a name. This song took a while to clear through the judges, and I disapprove of the confusion.
Judge's Whim (14) - It's quite a beautiful song. This might be my most favorite submission from you yet. And I'm very grateful this entry isn't as infected with weirdness like the other songs. It's fresh, it's clean, it's sincere, it's heart-felt.

11. Zoe Gray - Lullaburbia
Word Choice (4) - There is nothing wrong with the word, it is your baby after all. But I'm surprised that it didn't show up in Google anywhere in the web. There just happens to be more interesting words I've been hearing on this round.
Borrowed Chords (9) - This has a fair amount of twists and turns for the chords. Nothing too crazy, but this brings me right at the edge of feeling like not needing so many borrowed chords.
Proper Noun Ban (3) - This was one of the hardest songs to clear. Your use of "lullaburbia" appeared to be leaning more proper than common. It seemed like such a specific place! If you used it in a plural form, I imagine this wouldn't have been as big of an issue as it was.
Judge's Whim (15) - Oh yes, Depeche Mode is what I feel here; more specifically, it reminds me of the song "World In My Eyes", with the production from the "Sounds Of The Universe" album. You did not disappoint.

12. Rob From Amersfoort - The Ignorists
Word Choice (1) - "Ignorist" is not too far off from "ignorant", only this is dangerous form of a noun.
Borrowed Chords (13) - It has a fair amount of borrowed chords, but I really enjoy the chord progression mostly. Some borrowed chords come clear, some more rewardingly subtle. Very enjoyable for my ears.
Proper Noun Ban (1) - Your word was the hardest to clear. "Ignorists" sounds either like a religious cult organization or a political party, and either one is typical capitalized like you do in your song. Why did you capitalize it if it isn't a proper noun? It was a very unfortunate choice.
Judge's Whim (16) - My goodness, I really love the beat, like some form of robotic jungle. It fits so well with the topic. And I haven't a song this juicy good from you since "Girls In Leggings". I'm glad this wasn't DQ'd, this was very closely tied to my favorite song in this round.

13. Shyfox - Am I Yurtinforfum?
Word Choice (14) - Well that is quite an interesting word. I am quite confident that no one would ever think of it.
Borrowed Chords (3) - I'm not sure where the chords want to go, especially . And the only borrowed chord I can discern is at the end of the chorus.
Proper Noun Ban (10) - I actually find this word more like an adjective or a mental condition rather than a noun.
Judge's Whim (3) - I found this either too sleepy or too timid. Even the mix doesn't want to come through. I kind of like the sincerity, though, and I float well with the ending.

(14.) Lucky Witch & The Righteous Ghost - Dissomnience
Word Choice (6) - I actually really like the word, like I don't need the definition to understand what the word means. But your lyrics do a good enough job explaining the feeling anyway.
Borrowed Chords (15) - Well, this certainly has the borrowed chords throughout the song, with contemplative pacing and cautious delivery. Your band has such a bizarre way of piecing your chords together, and in here, it almost works.
Proper Noun Ban (5) - It seems to be a state of mind more than a proper noun, but it's hard to tell with such limited context. Thankfully, you didn't deliver this song as the official when considering the proper noun criteria.
Judge's Whim (4) - I actually like the direction of the song slightly more than your original entry, which I knew would happen. Yeah, I can see what you mean; the song length does seem rather long, like a uncut personal vlog. But thank you for submitting it!

14. Ryan M. Brewer - Mareno (The Biggest Little Casino On The Seven Seas)
Word Choice (5) - The story is rather captivating, that I keep forgetting the point of the word "mareno". Worse still, "mareno" sounds too much like "marina" to me, and this drains my view of creativity from your word.
Borrowed Chords (8) - Very clear and prominent in the chorus, and I like clear chords for simple judging. But that was pretty much it. Very safe, almost too safe.
Proper Noun (5) - Perhaps because your word sounds like "marina", some of the judges may have mistaken it to be a place. And since it is weird, they may think it is a name. And what doesn't help is your title, which pairs your word with a specific place, as if it is a direct subtitle to "mareno".
Judge's Whim (12) - I appreciate the bold songcrafting with a rather developing intro and various changes in rhythms. Not sure about those pirate voices, though. Just a bit too gimmicky for my taste. But the narrative style is pretty cool.

15. Lucky Witch & The Righteous Ghost - Hatebaby
Word Choice (2) - I see where you derive "hatebaby", but more creative new words have been presented in this round.
Borrowed Chords (12) - The chords make more sense here than in your shadow, but it still harbors some unpredictability.
Proper Nouns (9) - Thankfully, your noun was quite easily convinced to be common rather than proper. This may further enforce my point that normal words like "hate" and "baby" doesn't encourage the idea that something unique will be made when the two words combine.
Judge's Whim (4) - The lyrics are so depressing for music somewhat bouncy. Reminds me of The Cure. Unfortunately, this isn't nearly as addicting as "Spoiler", nor as thoughtful as "Hey Mister". Strangely enough, I'm beginning to see why you call this song our hatebaby.

16. Brian Gray - St. Wendigo's Day
Word Choice (5) - At first, I thought it was "Wendigo", but some judges have been claiming that the created word was "cann'tabil". If that's true, I don't find much of a creative leap to that word from "cannibal".
Borrowed Chords (10) - This is certainly a cool blend of cool chords, especially from a chord-master such as yourself. It's actually quite delectable, considering the topic! I don't think I could've come up with any ideas of what to do with those chords, so it's rather impressive.
Proper Nouns (4) - I didn't like the confusion whether it was "Wendigo" or "cann'tabil" as the created word. (Yeah, I had no idea about the word "wendigo".) It was confusing enough to be discussed for DQ, so something went wrong somewhere.
Judge's Whim (7) - I'm not sure how this song managed to be ranked so low here. I thought it was very creative and delightfully epic. I think what killed it was the vocal performance/production, which seems unusually low quality for you.

17. Mick Bordet - Gazebonea
Word Choice (8) - I would've never thought of using a word that sounded like "gazebo". Really, my question is: why?
Borrowed Chords (7) - There are so many borrowed chords, I'm not even sure what key this song belongs in. I'm just going to assume you're way more advanced in music theory than I am. But at least I can tell you I like where it compositionally goes.
Proper Nouns (2) - Your entry was also very difficult to clear from being DQ'd. "Gazebonist" sounds like a title, especially when you capitalize the word in your lyrics; and "gazebonea" sounds like a place, but we can't tell because it isn't properly used in any context.
Judge's Whim (2) - This is another case where abstract ideas are hit-or-miss situations. I'm afraid the numerous questions about how this song passes the challenge had devastated the chances for me to enjoy this song.

(17.) Alex Forger - Televice
Word Choice (5) - Yeah, I like the topic and I understand the mashup of the words involved. Sounds futuristic in name, even though it seems very relevant today.
Borrowed Chords (1) - As a Shadow, I guess it doesn't matter if I almost missed the borrowed chords here. Finding them was like an audio game of "I Spy".
Proper Nouns (5) - You seem to treat "televice" very proper. But either word in the mashup would be a common noun, and since this is a shadow, I don't have any concern whatsoever.
Judge's Whim (3) - That is such a beautiful voice for such a strangely uncomfortable subject. I love creepy, but the subtleness takes it to a new, unexpected level, at least to me. It was about as cute as a daycare for dead children. I'm very confused, it has the intensity of a deep satire. Was that even where you going?--cuz you went so far in that I couldn't catch up. Again, beautiful voice.


This round will not be so easily forgotten. This is challenging for me to judge as it was for you guys to write. A lot of failures could've taken place, on both ends. But I think this was worth it. Some of these songs have amazing creativity oozing out, and I've found some more addicting favorites.

And I'm shocked where these songs placed in my ranks. I'm really not sure who will be the Final Four, but I wish them luck. You've survived longer than I would have.

Until next time!

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