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Saturday, July 31, 2010

SpinTunes #1 Round 3 Totals

So here are the links to the individual reviews:

Heather Zink - Julia Sherred - Joe "Covenant" Lamb - Niveous - Sammy Kablam

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

Since 3 people (Godz Poodlz, Gorbzilla & "Buckethat" Bobby Matheson) missed the deadline, those people are eliminated. The bottom 7 from the judges totals are also eliminated.

I really hope we get some shadows in round 4, from people who competed in round 3. If Kevin or Ross fail to enter a song on time, I will be taking the highest ranking shadow song to take their place in round 4. So based on the standing in round 3, if Mark shadows...his song would be first in line as alternate. Followed by Caleb, Edric, etc...

Thank you everyone & good luck guys,

The round 4 challenge will be announced: August 1st 1AM EST (Sun).

The Offhand Band & Caleb Hines both tied, so I went to the popular vote to determine album order & tie breaker...which could be important this time.

37 - Kevin Savino-Riker
34 - Ross Durand
27 - Offhand Band (eliminated)
27 - Caleb Hines (eliminated)
26 - Edric Haleen (eliminated)
25 - Governing Dynamic (eliminated)
24 - Steve Durand (eliminated)
17 - Sara Parsons (eliminated)
8 - Charlie McCarron (eliminated)

Popular Vote Results:
31 - Kevin Savino-Riker
28 - Offhand Band
14 - Governing Dynamic
12 - Caleb Hines
10 - Edric Haleen
11 - Sara Parsons
8 - Ross Durand
6 - Charlie McCarron
4 - Steve Durand

9 - Steve Durand
8 - Kevin Savino-Riker
7 - Ross Durand
6 - Offhand Band
5 - Edric Haleen
4 - Sara Parsons
3 - Governing Dynamic
2 - Caleb Hines
1 - Charlie McCarron

Sammy Kablam:
9 - Kevin Savino-Riker
8 - Ross Durand
7 - Edric Haleen
6 - Caleb Hines
5 - Steve Durand
4 - Governing Dynamic
3 - Offhand Band
2 - Sara Parsons
1 - Charlie McCarron

Joe "Covenant" Lamb:
9 - Offhand Band
8 - Ross Durand
7 - Edric Haleen
6 - Sara Parsons
5 - Steve Durand
4 - Caleb Hines
3 - Governing Dynamic
2 - Kevin Savino-Riker
1 - Charlie McCarron

Julia Sherred:
9 - Kevin Savino-Riker
8 - Caleb Hines
7 - Governing Dynamics
6 - Ross Durand
5 - Edric Haleen
4 - Charlie McCarron
3 - The Offhand Band
2 - Steve Durand
1 - Sara Parsons

Heather Zink:
9 - Kevin Savino-Riker
8 - Governing Dynamics
7 - Caleb Hines
6 - The Offhand Band
5 - Ross Durand
4 - Sara Parsons
3 - Steve Durand
2 - Edric Haleen
1 - Charlie McCarron

SpinTunes #1 Round 3 Review: Niveous

One of the things I always do when it comes to SpinTunes reviews is listen over and over again. Needless to say, this round has been tough because it's repeatedly listening to songs about dead babies and mothers. Please note that the challenge only said a birth. Few people played around with that. I hoped that we'd get at least a few songs that didn't include dead babies (birth of a nation, birth of an idea...) Anyways, so here I am and after repeated listens and pulling the pills from my mouth and the blade from my wrists (damn, these are a lot of depressing songs), here are my reviews in album order.

Offhand Band: Piano. Always a good way to start a song down the pathway of sadness. Gotta say, the hand is a little heavy on this one. The second line talks about expecting that it all goes naturally. Someone should've shouted JINX! right there. Good choice to talk about the helplessness that comes with a birth. Now, I have to admit this- one of my closest friends is living through the 2nd verse right now, so this song is earning extra emotion points. One thing I don't like is the grooviness. I could be really sad and emotional but it kicks into this groove with some heavy bass and it all starts speeding up and I start bopping in my seat and the emotion is gone. Should Offhand advance? No but Offhand Band did a good job here. I'll be curious to hear some other Offhand songs after SpinTunes.

Caleb Hines: The song is set with that sound that starts off 80's ballads. This could've been "Endless Love". There goes the piano. There also goes Caleb's voice which I still can't get into. Interesting choice to do it by the baby's viewpoint. But after the birth, this song gets really heavy handed. I'll die alone. I'll never smell a rose or hear a symphony or be an astronaut. That didn't evoke real emotion from me. It felt like a shove, trying to put me into emotion. The climax is the birth/death and it's not there in the song, so it falls flat. "I guess that this is how its gonna be", that epitomizes how flat the emotion gets. Should Caleb Hines advance? No.

Sara Parsons: Sometimes a lyric falls in a way that you don't expect it to. The lyrics to Sara's song did not set my world ablaze, in fact I kind of struggled through them on listens and even on reads, they lacked some clarity. But there's this one section that come off wrong and leaves me cold when I listen to it. Okay, the song is "It had to be you". I guess that the sentiment in that line is supposed to be equivalent to Gus Kahn lyric. But then comes the part where the doctor reassures the couple that it isn't their fault that the baby died.... It had to be you. Not at all the intent but it was a feeling that came. Anyways, the vocals were good and musically, it was simple which works. Should Sara Parsons advance? No. You earned a fan in me.

Edric Haleen: Edric always brings the Broadway delivery. It's his thing, so I'm not going to hate on that. A big part about this challenge for me was getting the emotion. Here, I was listening and trying to get into the story. So, I didn't get the emotional attachment. It's telling such a big song in so few lines. I know that "The Star" by Clarke isn't a big story either but doing it in song is a daunting task and I think Edric handled it as best as he could but I don't know if it delivers an emotional punch. I don't know if this story was meant to be done in 1 song. Just the idea that Star of Bethlehem was a supernova is heavy enough. Should Edric Haleen advance? No. Edric's a fascinating artist and I'd love to pick his brain about all sorts of music.

Steve Durand: Oh, the set-up. Gets you into the groove. There are only subtle hints of the drama that is about to come. Little musical cues here and there. The first time I heard this, it hit me like a punch to the solar plexus. I forgot for that brief second about the challenge because I was in the groove and then comes the death and the horns, that moment to ruminate and let it resonate. Nicely done. Should Steve Durand advance? Yes. Somehow Steve Durand finds new ways to surprise me.

Kevin Savino-Riker: Strings set a very nice tone. I like the start of the song with the mixed emotions over becoming a parent and leaving the previous stage of your life behind. That huge life change is seldom spoken about. Then there is the set-up, it talks about responsibilities and of course, the chorus of "Could you trade one life for another?". It's very nice how the strings come back when the doctor comes out. There are very subtle touches that work so well like starting the chorus and then dropping out the lines leaving only those strings. This is all so well done. The only thing I could've asked for was to lose the ending. That last lyric should've ended the whole song. Should KSR advance. Yes. I hadn't been won over by KSR until now. He's got skills.

Governing Dynamics: "The last nine months I've wanted nothing more, to shake hands with an angel in a revolving door". This is just one of a whole set of lyrics that left me scratching my head. What does that mean? Musically, I enjoy the sound that Governing Dynamics creates. It's got some drops of inspiration from 90's alternative. But the lyrics are a bit confounded and the emotion doesn't resonate in the song. I feel like this is just a mess that doesn't come together right. And almost 6 minutes long??? Should Governing Dynamics advance? No, but I wanna hear more Governing Dynamics music. They are the one band in SpinTunes would musical style fits perfectly into my jukebox.

Ross Durand: I was wondering if anyone was going to take this route. It's certainly a strong subject matter. And the line about "They'll say I loved you but we'll never know" is one of the most powerful lines in this round. This is solid. It's simple and well done. I don't like the "and that's the end" ending but I guess it was meant to be harsh. Should Ross advance? Good song but in this field, I will say No.

Charlie McCarron: Before I write this, I'm going to take a moment and find out who Sam Bell is....Oh, it's a character from a Sam Rockwell movie called Moon about a guy named Sam Bell who has a crisis while spending 3 years alone mining helium-3 on the moon and misses the birth of his daughter Eve. Then it gets kinda wacky with clone stuff. Research over and now to the song.... That's not the best way to have to start, is it? It's the story of the movie. Now, the challenge is a sad song about a birth. The birth is not in the forefront of the Moon story. Sam Bell misses the birth by 15 years. Well, it's a great song for Sam Bell but misses the challenge objective by a mile. Should Charlie McCarron advance? No. But I do wanna see this movie now. It's got Kevin Spacey as a robot!

SpinTunes #1 Round 3 Review: Sammy Kablam


The music had me impressed off the bat. I was leery of whether or not Mr. Savino-Riker could manage to not rock, but the Irishicity of this song was decidedly not rock. It was also rather effective for setting the mood. The last minute is arguably unnecessary, but I don't think it hurts anything, either. This may be the single best Kevin Savino-Riker song I've heard.

ROSS DURAND - You'll Be gone

At first, I thought this was from the point of view of the doctor that delivered the baby. Whereas that strikes me as both incredibly emo and fairly amusing, it's a lot sadder when it's from the point of view of a mother giving up her baby upon its birth. That's pretty damn sad, Ross. And the song is pretty damn good.


I will be astonished if this hits an iPod; it's not exactly pop music. I like it, it's impressively unique, even with a bit of "Edric's Thing" shining thru. And, perhaps I'm in a minority, but I actually l laughed when Bethlehem came up. Listening to this, I was so enthralled in the story, especially after the description "they almost looked human", that I'd forgotten completely about the "birth" element of the challenge. And, for some reason, the Bethlehem thing struck me as pretty well hilarious. Overall, it's a great performance piece, but it didn't offer the connection that others did.

CALEB HINES - Will You Miss Me

At the first line of the chorus, I got chills. Something about the question and the chords, I guess. The only thing about this I'm not really thrilled with is the rhythm structure on the second half of the first verse lyrics. They just seem...odd. Everything else, though, makes for a top notch guilt trip.

STEVE DURAND - Her Mother's Eyes

The lyrics to this are really great. It's not a bad song. It's just... This music sounds like a road trip montage in a buddy movie. It's very upbeat and...well, jolly. This is jolly music, Steve. And that's perfectly fine. But it made me chuckle when the song ended, thinking about two guys montaging from Jersey to Cailforn-i-a where they plan to "make it big". Again, this is just where MY head goes. Darker, less "keep your chin up" music, and this woulda been higher up my list.


I'm going to be honest, here: I was expecting something sadder. I mean, to me, asking Governing Dynamics to write a sad song about anything is like asking Ray Charles to play piano without looking. I expected something more along the lines of the doctor delivering a baby and accidentally drops it into a wood chipper, and then a radioactive comet hits the hospital parking lot and everyone not instantly incinerated dies a slow, burny, melty death. Perhaps I expected too much. It's not a terrible offering, GD, but it sounds a lot like "I Dropped The Ball" by Maybe Next Time.


The verses are one thing; I like the weird rhyme scheme. I like that there's a birth defect without getting specific about it, and that the parents are disappointed immediately and forever. I mean, I like the concept, not that it happens. I mean, as a fictitious concept. Oh, you know what I mean. Anyway, the thing I can't handle is the chorus. The music there sounds like key mashing, like you're hitting the wrongs notes for the chords you wanted. (It almost sounds like a Sara Parsons chorus.) Almost every chorus note sounds wrong. It's a huge distraction and really hurts the presentation.


Musically, the verses are fine; the chorus is really frustrating. If this was a radio song, I'd be changing the channel every time before your chorus came up. From a technical standpoint, this isn't about birth. This is about crib death. Now, granted, crib death sucks major ass. But it tends to occur well after the birthing process. As judges, we've let a lot of things slide in terms of ranking placements, but this is twice now that you've skirted the challenge, as far as I'm concerned, and that's granting yourself a little too much liberty.


In an attempt to highlight the fact that I'm being much nicer in SpinTunes than I am in my Negative Reinforcement reviews, I will cut out all of my colorful thoughts and strip this down to two points:
1. This is about "Moon".
2. That is a movie about being on the moon. Not about birth.

SpinTunes #1 Round 3 Review: Joe "Covenant" Lamb

So, here's my problem.
I thought the challenge was far too narrow.

I don't know why it changed from what it was going to be.
But, Write a song thats sad? Fine.
Write a song about a birth? Fine?
But both put togther?
And then restrict the use of the words happy and birthday?

Also, the problem is the challenge STATES "make it a real tear jerker."

Well, none of them made me come close to tears, not remotely.
(The only one that had any emotional effect on me was the transition in Offhand Band's)

So, strictly speaking, they all failed the challenge... for me.
However, I have spoken before about challenges and thier *importance*, so...

All that this led to, in my ears, was a series of mostly depressing songs - not sad.
And all about the exact same subject for the most part. Its hard to vary when the challenge is narrow.
Even so, I think this round is the weakest we've had, people I have a LOT of respect for didn't seem to bring their *A* game.

I am NOT putting my points out of ten on these.
So... in order of preference...

The Offhand Band - Will It
Great modulation in the chorus.
Well written, clever lyric, well played, well mixed.
Liked this a lot even though the vocals let it down a bit.

Ross Durand - You'll Be Gone
A solid song. A bit rough around then edges but that lends to the style.
(I'd be very interested in knowing if Ross just records in a one-er.)
It was hard to choose between this and Offhand for the top spot.

.....From here, very little divided the bulk of the pack.....

Edric Haleen - The Star
Chorussed backing was excellent. Well written.
And thats mostly the reason for this placing
What with the name and the challenge and the opening I knew what this was about in the first 30 seconds.
Not a problem though...
What 'was' a problem, and lost a lot of marks from me was...
It was WAY over-dramaticised. Let the *audience* decide if they are affected by it, dont try to force it on them.
(Its another *American-showtune-in-the-style-of-sondheim/whatsisface... But cant mark it on that.)

Sara Parsons - Had To Be You
Vocals seemed oddly muted?
Guitar pretty damn groovy.
But, It's a bit... one paced and a little monotone?
Short unaccompanied bits jarred a little.

Steve Durand - Her Mother's Eyes
Good song. Good instrumentation.
Vocals let it down, drums seemed a bit too harsh.
Brass during song unneccessary (or maybe too far forward in mix?), good brass *solo* however.

Caleb Hines - Will You Miss Me
Instrumentation excellent as always.
This one doesn't seem to suit your voice Caleb.
Overall, it's a bit draggy.

Governing Dynamics - Revolving Door
I can hear a good song in here. But it's not coming out enough.
(Over all its too long and repetative)
Strangely bad mix from GD this time, maybe trying to sound like Snow Patrol too much?
The last bridging uptempo bit was more like it! but that bit was over too soon.
(Flatline was a VERY clever idea!)

Kevin Savino-Riker - My Daughter
Kevin tries to go Trad Celtic... for the layydeeez! ;' )
Is that an attempt at a Scots/Irish accent?
Surpisingly bad mix for Kevin.
A bit too long. Lyric is... well... a bit too simplistic.

Charlie McCarron - A Song For Sam Bell
Hmmm.... This was a hard one to decide on.
On one hand the guitar playing is solid, but the song is a bit monotonous.
And I get what the idea is meant to be, but... it doesn't make much sense.
Charlie, you should let your voice out, don't swallow your vocals.


JoAnn Abbott - Lullabye
OKay, JoAnn, you have GOT to get yourself even a half decent desktop condenser mic.
($5 will get you one!)
This *sounds* like it could be a GREAT song
But the recording takes all the emotion out of it and makes me not want to listen to it again.

Emperor Gum - 1983
This started and I thought.. Wow! This is not bad.
I don't think I'll ever be entranced by the Emperor's voice, but song wise, I was liking this.
Instruments were mixed really well (Vocal too loud or compressed)
...but then, sadly, the bass comes in. and it all goes to hell.
See, I'm thinking the Emperor is having a big joke with us, cos I find it hard to believe that someone
could put the REST of this together so well and NOT know the Bass screws it up!

Brian Gray - Not Even Close
I have NO idea who Brian is.
I don't know where he came from. (Xondor?)
But Im glad he did. This didn't meet that challenge at all.
(Well.. it WAS about a birth)
But I liked this song. It ALMOST made me weep... with laughing.
Had this been in the contest, this would have won this round for me.

Dr. Lindyke - A Special Day
This was good.
A nice melancholic song.
And he got cake in there!
(But it is another *Dave Song*) ;' )

SpinTunes #1 Round 3 Review: Julia Sherred

This round was extremely difficult for me on a personal level. It hits very close to home for two reasons. Some of you are aware of these reasons. Others are not. If you at all curious as to why, you can read about it HERE. As a result, I cannot help but judge this from a very personal point of view instead of an objective one. And I suppose since part of the challenge was to induce tears, evaluating the songs from a personal point of view is not unfair.

I do want to say before I continue, there wasn't a single song that I felt “meh” i.e. neutral about or hated. They either really hit me or I liked them. However, despite enjoying all of them to various degrees, there were a couple of songs that left me with a huge cognitive dissonance, which I will explain. I want to say a huge KUDOS to every one who has participated up to this point in the first incarnation of Spintunes. Whoever advances to the final round, congratulations! You've earned it.

9 - Kevin Savino-Riker

Perfect. I know we are not suppose to compare songs from the current round to songs in past rounds, but I do want to let you know, in my opinion this is the best song out of all the songs submitted to this point. This song left me completely devastated. It did exactly what it was suppose to do. It not only jerked tears from my eyes, but left me a quivering and sobbing mess of a person. It hit way too close to home for two reasons: 1) the allusion to the child almost not making it as well, and 2) being left to tell the stories about the mother when she should be the one alive and telling them herself. There are so many wonderful things going on here, from the music setting the tone from the very first couple of measures driving the story forward, your vocals are very well suited for the style and lyrically... I'm just going to say you hit. I could go on but I would be typing pages. Also, the fading heartbeat at the end... gut wrenching. And a huge kudos for Sid and his fiddle. It openly wept right along with me. I'm gushing. Thank you.

8 - Caleb Hines

You broke me. The very first time you sang “But will you miss me when I'm gone?”, I could have died. I wanted to take that baby in my arms and say, “Oh my dear sweet child. I fell in love with you from the moment I first became aware of your presence. I had dreams about your future. I had dreams about our lives together. I would have given anything for you to be here today, even my own life. How can you think for a single moment that I do not love you with all that I am? My heart died the day you were taken from me. I will love you forever and always.” So very sad to even ponder the idea of your song. I think we all have those thoughts as we get old. People wonder who will show up for their funeral. They wonder if they have left any memorable impression on the world. But the idea that a baby not quite born would have those same thoughts is so very tragic and I never want to think about it again because it is a horrible idea. Excellent job!

7 - Governing Dynamics

I do have a slight critique about this song. It is a bit too ambiguous for my liking considering the challenge. Both Kevin and Caleb smacked you in the face with their content. There was no hiding it or being clever. However, I think I understand why you made the choices you did. It is so very difficult to be in your face on this topic. It is why the song I wrote for this challenge will never see the light of day because it is quite devastating when it is so very in your face. It makes you face things you do not want to face. I have to say, when I heard the lyric, “the last nine months I’ve wanted nothing more to shake hands with an angel in a revolving door” during the listening party, tears were jerked. This song would have probably broken me or even devastated me if it were just a little bit more in your face. Another excellent job!

6 - Ross Durand

This song is why I could never give up a child for adoption. This and the reasons I mentioned in Caleb's review. I fell in love with my boys before they were even born. I really do not know what is worse, death or having to make the choice to give up your child. I think I could probably come to terms easier with the death of my baby and having some form of closure than always wondering, “I know they are out there some where... If only I had a moment to see them. To see how they have developed and grown. Does she have my eyes? My laugh? My smile? Does she have any of my personality?” I was hoping someone would write about adoption. My mother, my aunt and my uncle are adopted. So this again is another song that really hits close to home. Did this song make me sad? Yes. Did it jerk any tears? No. There was something a bit too happy in the music even so the lyrics were really well done. Musically, it reminded me a bit too much like one of those country songs you sing to your daughter while she is sitting on your lap about how much you love her. Yet at the same time, there is sadness in the music as well. It is a fine piece of music, but unlike the first 3 songs, it didn't really help to drive the story forward. It didn't really hinder it either. It is somewhere in the middle. Good job.

5 - Edric Haleen

DUDE! The a capella is fantabulous! But dear me. I think this song serves as further proof that I am a horrible person. Or at least it confirms that I have a very morbid and warped sense of humor. This story is beyond tragic irony. Seriously! An event which is one of the most celebrated events in history, the birth of Jesus Christ, is responsible for the obliteration of an entire planet of beings. Millions of people celebrate the joyous day of the birth of their Lord and Savior but did they know what horrendous event had to occur to make it happen? Did they know for them to reach eternal life and salvation, and entire civilization would have to perish? They do now (or they did prior if they read the story this song is based of it). This is truly sad and tragic. However, the reveal made me laugh. Oh, I'm a terrible person. The song was so morose and then you said the lines “Just so this star’s light/ Would shine down over/ Bethlehem?” and I howled! But it isn't funny! It is terribly tragic and sad. I'm just a sick and twisted individual. So, I have to say the fail is probably more to do with me and not all with you.

4 - Charlie McCarron

I hope I understood what this song was about. It is the only time I wish I had a bio that I could have read after listening to the song and coming to my conclusion. At the same time, if I had learned my conclusion is wrong, the song would not have done so well. The song is about the moment when the guy on the moon goes mad and another identity is born, yes? At least that is what I got from the song. It is a shame that I am second guessing my first thoughts about this song, because musically I quite enjoy it. Your style reminds me so much of Jeff Buckley which is a good thing in my books. The song is quite sad. However, it didn't jerk any tears. And the bit of doubt about the subject of the song doesn't do to many favors either. I think maybe people were afraid to be really in your face with this challenge. Which is totally understandable especially as this round is forcing people to face emotions they really don't want to face. I think this piece to be musically very solid but just lacking a little in lyrical clarity.

3 - The Offhand Band

This is a very sad song. Lyrically, the job was done. However, there was a lot of cognitive dissonance with this song. I couldn't help but to bop to it! The music, even so very frantic and serving to mirror emotional frenzy, it was so bloody upbeat at the same time. The music is good. Don't get me wrong. There are so many wonderful things going on with the music and so many great changes but I do not think it matches the lyrics or the tone of this challenge. The music is too happy. It also reminds me of a song or theme show or something from the 80s which I cannot put my finger on. I enjoy this song. It is just too bad that I find myself wanted to bop to it and my brain has to remind me “This is a sad song, Jules. It isn't something you should be chair dancing to.”

2 - Steve Durand

My critique of your song is the same as The Offhand Band's song. I had a very difficult time deciding who should be ranked where since you both left me with the exact same thoughts. In the end, it boiled down to his song made me bop a bit more. Which maybe should have placed him here. It is a bit of a conundrum. By the way, the horns were fabulous! But they were way too happy and fanfare-ish. Good music but I don't think the tone set by the music matches the lyric at all.

1 - Sara Parsons

It is killing me that I am having to place you here. For once, I feel truly horrible about a placement. Your song is very pretty. The lyrics are quite sad. It didn't jerk tears mind you. But, oh dear me, it is a parent's worst dream come true, SIDS. And that is the issue. You didn't meet the first part of the challenge, writing a song about birth. This story takes place after the birth and the child is home. Or that is at least how it came across to me, with the lyrics “We tucked you in tightly,” and “Above you the comets/ And rocketships flew” (a mobile in a crib, yes?). I appreciate the fact you did not harmonize at all in this. There was a loneliness and emptiness to the vocals. In some parts, the music got a bit happy, but it works with what the mother is recollecting and then it gets oh so lonely again.

I want to say something that really pulled at me in this song and why. The line, “And you’ll let me sing you awake “ is heart wrenching for me. And this is why. Before my boys were born, I wrote them each a song. They are quite silly songs. But I would sing the song to them when they woke up, while I was nursing them, while I was bathing them, while I was diapering and clothing them. We still sing these songs.

So there you have it. Very good song but I don't think it met the requirement re: birth.


JoAnn Abbott

I can't really speak to this. Just sitting here trying to explain and I have tears. Another way too close to home since I almost lost kid2 while pregnant and then again during childbirth. There are a few things that don't quite work for me but that is more of a preference thing, such as the style in which I like a story to be told and there are some rhythm issues but that doesn't mean it is not a good song. I hope more people who are not musicians show the guts you have shown and write music, even if it is just for themselves and nobody ever hears it. Good job, Jo.

Brian Gray

Hilarious! That is really all I can say. This song is so absurd and hilarious. The challenge was not to write a funny song but since it is a shadow, you really are not bound by the rules. I thoroughly enjoyed this song. It was also a much needed bit of comic relief during the listening party. Thank you for that.

Dr Lindyke

It is a good thing this song doesn't sound country to me because country don't make me cry. This made me a bit weepy. I wouldn't say tear jerking, but it pulled at my heart for reasons I am sure you are well aware of.

Emperor Gum

Oh, Graham. I said it to you during the listening party and I'll say it again, I love the music in this. You always make such neat and interesting choices with your music. And those choices may not always be successes, I always appreciate them. I think musically, this is my favorite song of yours. There are a couple production issues again, but I don't care. And another thing I really dig about this song, is the approach you took. It seems to be default that when a child is born, you think about the bright and happy future ahead of them. This song is the exact opposite. The child is born into a miserable existence and what should be a time of dreaming about all the wonderful opportunities ahead for this child is spent lamenting whether or not the end of the world is nigh. Totally grok it.

SpinTunes #1 Round 3 Review: Heather Zink

Kevin Savino-Riker – “My Daughter”
Very nice! Everything about this song was sad and beautiful. The constant and hushed instrumentation never got too repetitive and was actually calming, much like a heart beat (especially the drums, which at the end was really cool!). I really enjoyed the story-telling quality of the song as well, the words of the song and the vocals were very much the focal point and the music just floated in the background. The only thing I didn’t like about the song was the small vocal ‘ooh’ at the end when the story was done, it was a little disappointing, but I’m glad the music went on and didn’t end with that. Really great, Kevin!

Governing Dynamics – “Revolving Door”
The approach you have taken to this song is one that I hadn’t given much thought to and it’s horrifically sad, and honestly, I probably connect most with this one. I really think that this was a good challenge for you, because you typically do the slower, sadder sounding songs, but in my opinion in the past two rounds, your weak spot was your lyrics. With this challenge, you really had to pay more attention to the lyrics and really make them count. I was really pleased with this entry, Travis! Nice job.

Caleb Hines – “Will You Miss Me”
Caleb, this song was really beautiful. I really liked your musical choices as far as the light and flowing parts, talking about the beauty of living, the darker part of reality, and the chorus seems to be accepting but hoping that he will be missed. A song from the point of view of a dying newborn is something I hadn’t really been expecting. Also, the fact that every time you sang, “Will you miss me when I’m gone?” you got quieter was a great dynamic choice! Lesson to all: when you repeat lyrics, convince the audience that there is a reason that they are being repeated, that they are important. You convinced me, Caleb. It was terrifically sad, thanks for the great entry!

The Offhand Band – “Will It”
There was some really great music here! This was another song that was sad and in a way that I hadn’t considered much during my predictions of what people would be writing about. However, it is a very sad reality that so many people have to go through. Your lyrics and the story you told really fit the challenge, but I really how as every new verse came about it seemed to become more real and terrifying for the characters in the story, and you were really able to translate that into the music. Nice job!

Ross Durand – “You’ll Be Gone”
Ross, your songs are always nice and have a good quality to them, but I find that they’re never anything that will really stand out among the others. They aren’t the worst songs by far, but they are never my top picks. I feel like I had a strong, decisive opinion on your songs from the last two rounds, but, this time I’m not really sure how I feel about it. Sure, it’s a sad scenario, but it’s nothing overwhelming and a scenario like this makes me feel that it was thought out and chosen for the better (or maybe I’m just reading into it more than I should?). I feel like it was a really solid entry, as always.

Sara Parsons – “Had To Be You”
This song was pretty generic for me; something I had been expecting from the time we had picked this challenge. I didn’t really feel much of anything during this song, other than I knew it was sad, because it was, but having it be sad was part of the challenge, so I didn’t feel like there was enough sadness. Also, I felt as though the story could have taken place well after birth had taken place, but I feel like it still works, too. Otherwise, you still had the quality production and rich sound that you always do, along with beautiful lines. So, this was another pretty solid entry.

Steve Durand – “Her Mother’s Eyes”
This was a decent song, Steve. Your music is usually quality, and it still is this time, however, it was happy and danceable! It was a sad story, but it had my head bopping the whole time. So, I really wasn’t feeling sad. As usual, nice use of horns. I liked the song, just didn’t cut it for me as far as the challenge goes.

Edric Haleen – “The Star”
The first time I listened to this song, I was having trouble feeling sad because I was mostly thinking, “OH MY GOD, this is SO cool!” This was my favorite song in the round, since it really brought out my choir nerd inside, but not my favorite interpretation for the challenge. I loved the agony in the song, especially the opening line. Using Latin, and using it properly, is another aspect of the song that I highly appreciate. Also, it’s kind of sick how well you pull off a cappella; it’s such a difficult thing to do. Also, a creative approach helps with the points. You’re really talented, as I’ve said before, at emoting, as you know how to put chords together and use notes to sound sad. That being said, the challenge was to write a song about birth, and while there might have been a smidge of that, most of the song was about the annihilation of this other planet/life/civilization. I’m really, very pleased, though, with the direction in which this challenge took you.

Charlie McCarron – “A Song For Sam Bell”
Charlie, I really like your songs more each round. They’re very unique to you and I love the way you can write a very simple and beautiful song. I feel about your song very similarly to the way I feel about Edric’s. There is an element of birth, but I don’t feel like that’s what the song is about. The song is about how lonely Sam Bell was on the moon and how sad he was there. So, there was a hint of that birth requirement in there, but not enough to fully suit the challenge. However, I highly respect your creative approach and by no means is this my least favorite song this round, just not my favorite interpretation of the challenge. Good job.


Brian Gray – “Not Even Close”
This song was brilliant, Brian! I’m so glad you shadowed! As I’m sure you’ve already heard, it doesn’t really meet the ‘sad’ requirement of the challenge, though it is a bit heartbreaking. It was a great approach and the musicianship and quality were there. You really had some cool effects in there as well, and on top of it all, I have another name on the ‘what will I name my baby someday’ list (Khaghlalghah is charming). I hope to hear from you again! Thanks for the music!

Dr. Lindyke – “A Special Day”
You two are such a great team; you always have the most beautiful work. I really liked this song because, though the story was similar to others, the focus was different. While most songs that have a similar story seem to focus on the baby, your song really focuses on the mother. This song is very moving and perfect for the challenge.

JoAnn Abbott – “Lullabye”
Very nice job, Jo! This song felt very personal, not particularly to me, but I’ve noticed that a lot of your lyrics are parental and it’s obvious that being a parent/grandparent is very important to you. I liked the feel of the song, very dark and delicate. The only thing that I wasn’t a huge fan of was the recorder playing the melody line through the whole song. But, I’m glad you’re still trying new things and you’ve already come a long way!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

SpinTunes 1: Round 3 Songs

You can find the "SpinTunes 1: Round 3" album on BandCamp here: --> LINKAGE.

The deadline for the judges to get their reviews done is July 30th, at 11:59PM EST. The reviews & rankings will be posted on the 31st. The popular vote will stay open until the judges deadline.

3 people were already eliminated for not making the deadline, but another 7 will be eliminated by the judges this round. Good luck everyone.

Sunday August 1st @ 1AM EST the round 4 challenge will be announced.


Had To Be You
Sara Parsons made a video for her entry.

Always Be My Girl
Russ Rogers (half of Godz Poodlz) performing a song written for this round.

Promise To My Son
Heather Miller got to perform her round 3 song live at the Rocky Mountain Song School she visited.

Mercy Killing
Denise Hudson made a video for her shadow.

Reviews & Links Of Interest For This Round:
- Dave of "Dr. Lindyke" wrote a song bio for their shadow entry. LINKAGE

- Mark AKA The Offhand Band wrote a song bio for his round 3 entry. LINKAGE

- Kevin wrote a song bio for his round 3 song. LINKAGE

- JoAnn wrote a song bio for her shadow song. LINKAGE

- Travis AKA Governing Dynamics wrote a song bio for his entry. LINKAGE

- Heather wrote a song bio for her shadow entry. LINKAGE

- Caleb wrote a song bio for his song. LINKAGE

- Dave of "Dr. Lindyke" wrote a review for this round. LINKAGE

- Brian wrote a little about his shadow entry. LINKAGE

Listening Party & Deadline News

Listening Party Details
- Tuesday July 27th 8:00PM EST (that's today people)

- Will be held HERE, and hosted by Jules.

- The songs are already uploaded onto the Bandcamp album, and they will be available for everyone to hear & down for FREE shortly after the LP.

Deadline News:
- 3 people were eliminated because they missed the deadline. (Godz Poodlz, Gorbzilla & "Buckethat" Bobby Matheson)

- There are still 9 people in the contest, and that number needs to be cut down to 2. So the judges will be making 7 cuts this round.

- A couple of shadow songs have already been submitted this round, and hopefully we'll get a few more. As of right now there are 11 songs on the round 3 album.

- No screw ups, drama or clarifications to report this time. w00t!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

SpinTunes #1: Round 3 Challenge

Happy To Sad In 4 Seconds - Write a sad song about birth, a moment that is normally a happy moment, and make it a real tear jerker. You can't use the words "Happy" or "Birthday". (2 minute minimum) (your submission is due July 26th 11:59PM EST M)

Even if you are eliminated this round (only top 2 move on), the rankings in this round can have very important implications for round 4. Just in case you missed it before, this quote is right from the rules page:
If 1 of the 2 competitors fail to enter a song, a shadow song from someone who competed in the 3rd round will be judged & have a chance at victory. If there are multiple shadow songs, the person who had the most points in round 3 gets the opportunity.
The final challenge will be fairly difficult, and if one of the two finalist fail to enter a song, this round will help determine who's first in line to take the place of a finalist if they bail. So if you rank 3rd or 4th in this round, you should have a lot of motivation to shadow the final round.

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.

- Song must be sent in MP3 format. If possible send it in a format that Bandcamp excepts as well. (.aiff, .wav or .flac) If you don't, I'll convert it for upload onto Bandcamp myself. Don't complain if my converter sucks & your music suffers though. If you decide to send in that second file, you can find the specific requirements for Bandcamp files HERE.

- Name the MP3 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.

- File sharing options if you need them: ZShare, MediaFire, RapidShare & YouSendIt. 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.

Short Term Schedule: (I'm using EST)

July 26th 11:59PM (M) - Third deadline.

July 27th 8:00PM (T) - Listening party will be held HERE, and hosted by Jules.

July 28th (W) - Songs are uploaded by Heather & me onto the blog & BandCamp.

*During this gap:
- judges will rank the songs
- judges will review the songs
- eliminations will be announced*

Saturday, July 17, 2010

SpinTunes #1 Round 2 Totals

So here are the links to the individual reviews:

Heather Zink - Julia Sherred - Joe "Covenant" Lamb - Sammy Kablam - Niveous

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

Since 3 people (Ryan Welton, Bram Tant & Jon Eric) missed the deadline, those people are eliminated. The bottom 5 from the judges totals are also eliminated. Thank you for submitting your songs, and putting in the hard work to compete. I hope to see you all back for SpinTunes #2 down the road. I also hope you decide to shadow the next 2 rounds.

Thank you,

The round 3 challenge will be announced: July 18th 1AM (Sun).

Gorbzilla & Steve Durand both tied, so I went to the popular vote to determine album order.

80 - Edric Haleen
65 - Governing Dynamics
63 - Ross Durand
61 - Caleb Hines
58 - "Buckethat" Bobby
52 - Sara Parsons
51 - Kevin Savino-Riker
48 - Godz Poodlz
44 - Gorbzilla
44 - Steve Durand
42 - Charlie McCarron
39 - Offhand Band
38 - Jenny Katz (eliminated)
37 - Denise Hudson (eliminated)
21 - Heather Miller (eliminated)
12 - JoAnn Abbott (eliminated)
10 - Emperor Gum (eliminated)

Popular Vote Results:
21 - The Offhand Band
12 - Edric Haleen
10 - Ross Durand
10 - Governing Dynamics
10 - Kevin Savino-Riker
8 - JoAnn Abbott
8 - Gorbzilla
7 - Godz Poodlz
6 - “BucketHat” Bobby
6 - Jenny Katz
5 - Sara Parsons
5 - Heather Miller
4 - Charlie McCarron
3 - Caleb Hines
3 - Denise Hudson
1 - Emperor Gum
0 - Steve Durand

Heather Zink:
17 - Edric Haleen
16 - Gorbzilla
15 - “BucketHat” Bobby
14 - Sara Parsons
13 - Ross Durand
12 - The Offhand Band
11 - Caleb Hines
10 - Godz Poodlz
9 - Governing Dynamics
8 - Jenny Katz
7 - Denise Hudson
6 - Charlie McCarron
5 - Steve Durand
4 - Kevin Savino-Riker
3 - Heather Miller
2 - JoAnn Abbott
1 - Emperor Gum

Julia Sherred:
17 - Edric Haleen
16 - "Buckethat" Bobby
15 - Godz Poodlz
14 - Caleb Hines
13 - Governing Dynamics
12 - Charlie McCarron
11 - Ross Durand
10 - Denise Hudson
9 - Offhand Band
8 - Kevin Savino-Riker
7 - Jenny Katz
6 - Heather Miller
5 - Sara Parsons
4 - Steve Durand
3 - Emperor Gum
2 - Gorbzilla
1 - JoAnn Abbott

Joe "Covenant" Lamb:
17 - Ross Durand
16 - Edric Haleen
15 - "Buckethat" Bobby
14 - Sara Parsons
13 - Denise Hudson
12 - Governing Dynamics
11 - Kevin Savino-Riker
10 - Jenny Katz
9 - Caleb Hines
8 - Steve Durand
7 - Gödz Pöödlz
6 - The Offhand Band
5 - JoAnn Abbot
4 - Gorbzilla
3 - Emperor Gum
2 - Charlie McCarron
1 - Heather Miller

Sammy Kablam:
17 - Edric Haleen
16 - Caleb Hines
15 - Ross Durand
14 - Governing Dynamics
13 - Kevin Savino-Riker
12 - Gorbzilla
11 - Steve Durand
10 - Charlie McCarron
9 - The Offhand Band
8 - Godz Poodlz
7 - Heather Miller
6 - "Buckethat" Bobby
5 - Sara Parsons
4 - Jenny Katz
3 - JoAnn Abbott
2 - Denise Hudson
1 - Emperor Gum

17 - Governing Dynamics
16 - Steve Durand
15 - Kevin Savino-Riker
14 - Sara Parsons
13 - Edric Haleen
12 - Charlie McCarron
11 - Caleb Hines
10 -Gorbzilla
9 - Jenny Katz
8 - Godz Poodlz
7 - Ross Durand
6 - Buckethat
5 - Denise Hudson
4 - Heather Miller
3 - The Offhand Band
2 - Emperor Gum
1 - Jo Ann Abbott

SpinTunes #1 Round 2 Review: Niveous

This round of SpinTunes is something very different. The challenge was a simple one- work in two different time signatures. And that was it. Essentially all the bands had to do was do the verses it one time sig and then do the chorus in a different one and ta-da, they have completed the challenge. But then a much larger challenge arises and I'm not sure it was addressed. The bands were given ultimate freedom to record a song about whatever they please. The big challenge here is do that and still create a song that slays the competition. It's all fine and dandy to pass the challenge but this is a fight. This is not just getting into the next round. This is making the best song you can and blowing away all the other bands and if you don't you can be eliminated. Sure, you can shadow and play along at home. But really, the challenge here is to bring your A-Game consistently.

The Offhand Band: The choice to go between 2/4 to 3/4 brought some charm to the song. Lyrically, this is thin. There aren't any particularly daring poetic choices, no lyrics that create any vivid imagery. In fact, when it starts talking about choosing Column A or Column B, that's encapsulates my feeling about the lyrics. It's just that bland. And I wish that it would open up and bloom into something. Think of this. The verses stay bland and then the chorus with the 3/4 are full of creative lines that fill you with mental images of this other universe. That would hit. This misses but it has potential.

Jenny Katz: This one perplexes me. Clearly it passes the time sig challenge. But what about going in for the kill and bringing a blockbuster song into this round? I question that. I must say that I like Jenny Katz voice. Whenever she goes to the extremes of her range, she pulls back just enough as to never get pitchy and that's nice. Now, there's the choice of doing a love song based around a Hammond organ. It's interesting though it creates a kinda carnival vibe on the verses. I like the choruses but the verses come off as like a carousel ride. It made me think "Is she singing to a Carny whom she misses during the off-season"? It's not a bad song by any stretch. Well sung, well played and the lyrics (except for the tonic/dominants line that takes you out of the song) are okay. Next round, J. Katz needs to bring something more than just what is essentially a generic love song. Give me some story to sink my teeth into.

JoAnn Abbott: The fact that this song is on the album right after Jenny Katz is a bit off horrible luck. It's like the diminished (not the musical term) version of that song. There are some odd odd choices here. The first verse is keyboard and some highly distracting percussion that comes out as shrill within the production (which could use a filtering). The second verse has replaces the shrill with something that resembles a cowbell but loses the rhythm on occasion. The third verse goes over the top with some kind of steel drum type of percussion which is even more distracting than the first percussion. I am all for experimentation, but as someone who experiments in their music you have to be prepared for the fact that not every experiment will be a success. The percussion was not a success. Then there's the lyrical content. One personal note on that is that I had no bloody clue what skeeters were. I had to look that up. The lyrics are okay but at times they were a little too informal like "What jerk was it who thought up algebra?" and sometimes they were too cheesy.

Edric Haleen: My girlfriend Jillian heard my initial reviewing of the songs during the listening party before I snuck out like a thief in the night and was upset about my view of love songs. She said "Wouldn't the world be a terrible place if there weren't love songs?" thinking that I had some hatred for them. I told her that the world would be a terrible place. My problem with some love songs and this applies here is that writing a love song can be so basic. There are so many love songs in this world and for me, if you don't approach the love song in some interesting way, it becomes generic. I might as well be listening to the Cure's "Love Song" which is the more generic love song ever. Edric's song is a timeline of love and while it's not the most bland way to do a love song, it isn't the most interesting either. I think I would rather hear one couple's story or a piece of the timeline rather than the laundry list that makes up what love is. Think of it this way. Which works better: "Boy meets girl. Boy gets girl. Boy marries girl. Boy and girl grow old together. Girl dies" or watching the montage in "Up"? If you've seen "Up", you know the one I'm talking about. The one that makes you cry in the first 15 f'n minutes of the movie (yet they still expect you sit through another hour and a half). Edric's song is the synopsis not the story. Also, I know Edric's style is based in Broadway but since this isn't made for the stage, do we need so much exaggerated emphasis? And yes, he gets a challenge pass.

Sara Parsons: Sara passes the time sig change challenge, though there's something odd about the way she handled the 5/4 that I can't put my finger on. There was a fairly good song. Sara has a good voice and I like her delivery, though I question the use of so much double tracking (less on the verses, perhaps). The music lacked some dynamics. If there was a bassline running through this, it could help it. I did like that there was a bridge with the reverb kicked up. Nice touch. The lyrics were very poetic. The chorus left me scratching my head. Spend your time. Don't waste your time. I don't get that part. Fairly good song. Nice job, Sara Parsons.

Caleb Hines: I went to the listening party and Caleb's song came on and I was really turned off by the vocals. I thought that they were nasally and lacked a good delivery on the verses. So there I was groaning through the song and there was a whole room of people shouting huzzah for Caleb. This must be how non-Songfighters feel when they hear Octothorpe for the first time. Songfighters who have been around have learned to love Mad Dog and Spud's gravely voices, while newcomers to it think it sounds like "Kermit The Frog driven to severe psychological disassociation from years of fronting a death-metal band" (a quote from SPIN magazine). I guess I haven't grown accustomed to Caleb. Perhaps I never will but I don't like his vocals much. So, I didn't like the verses much. Things improved on the choruses were the vocals were double tracked and effected. Musically, this is strong. It works well for the story that its trying to convey, especially with the transitions between the frantic still-awake verses (though the vocal delivery doesn't make the emotion of the music) and the sleepy choruses. I would've liked to hear the song end with a fade instead of the sudden end. All things considered, it was a good song. Caleb's not my cup of tea but I can appreciate how he builds a song.

Governing Dynamics: GD passes the time signature challenge but struggled with it. The verses were well done but the transitions into the 4/4 were awkward and led to messy choruses (which could also use a good dose of energy. Maybe speed up the tempo a little). I like the lyrics though there are occasions in which the lyrics don't the rhythm of the song. There's a story to decipher and with the atmosphere the music builds, I want to take the time and dig deeper. Nice little guitar licks pepper the song which is a good touch. I like this a lot. I feel like GD passed both of the challenges- he worked in 2 time sigs and made an exceptional song that can compete. This will get some more plays from me once Spintunes is said and done.

Emperor Gum: So, what made E-Gum think that starting off a song with the phrase "I'm so bored" is a good idea? A listener hears that delivered in a monotone and is supposed to get hooked into listening more? Not the best choice. Now, I know this is supposed to be the set-up for the song's increase in pace. There's got to be a different way to do this. It passes the time sig challenge but doesn't pass the in-for-the-kill challenge because it's a mediocre tune. It doesn't grasp me. I like the clarinet, it reminds me of Radiohead's trumpet use in "Life in a Glasshouse" (just not with the overwhelming success). Lyrically, there's some substance here but the story lacks some clarity and has some jagged edges. All in all, this is a bit messy but not horrible.

Gorbzilla: Brought the little kids for cute points. I have to admit that it's a great move in a contest like this. Someone is bound to go "Aww, that's so cute. I love that." and rate that a little higher. I dig the guitar. The lyrics are as thin as thin can be. And I'm guessing there are instances of instruments played by small children. Does this all get a great score from me. No. It's cute. Does it get to the next round? Probably. Will I listen to this again. Probably not? Maybe with my kids.

Ross Durand: It's current events time! Hey, where's the rest of that song? The verses are full of great lyrics with strong visuals (except for the product placement). The choruses are flaccid and unoriginal. In a little over two minutes, this song just doesn't hook. I'm bound to forget this song tomorrow. The verses are so good and there are little hints of harmonica but the chorus has nothing going on for it. The chorus is short, cliché, not catchy and lumbers in comparison to the strength of the verses. A better chorus, another verse & a bridge with that harmonica is what this needed.

Steve Durand: Rara avis is a unique thing. I have listened to every single Steve Durand song in the Songfight archives. This song is not a rara avis. This is pretty much his modus operandi. This isn't anything special but it got me to bop to the groove (in Jules fashion). It's funny that it's just as long as his brother's tune but has everything that Ross' didn't. The chorus is very catchy. The lyrics may be simple but it definitely has charm. Throwing a bridge into the short song was a nice touch, even if it's just babble. It makes for a catchy toe-tapper and just what this round needed.

Charlie McCarron: If you are going to give me a love song to judge, it's going to have to be approached in a different way from the norm. Charlie did that. The first verses are quiet and lack something. I swear I heard crickets. But when it jumps into the verse with the hook, I'm sold, American. It takes a plain little guy and guitar (I know there's a little more in the production) love song and took it from a different angle and it works. I wish that the hook more prevalent. Perhaps shortening the beginning and instead of trying to get that reveal out of the chorus' surprise appearance, how about a verse about the singer wanted to write the song and was disappointed, chorus, a verse about life, chorus, and a last verse about the person the singer had written the song about (which is completely forgotten in its current version) and how this is their song. The song currently is solid but it could be something more.

Kevin Savino-Riker: Well, this definitely brought the rock that I've been looking for during this contest. It passes the time sig challenge but I think that it may overdone it. It's very cool that KSR is able to maneuver between so many time sigs so flawlessly, it just takes away from the groove. It can be hard to get into the groove of the song when it's got so many different time sigs. This is definitely a flexing of the musical muscles. I also appreciate that I can feel that KSR is going into this round with all guns blazing. He's coming to win and with solid vocals and extremely good musicianship, he could pull it off.

Heather Miller: Okay, everybody. Fun game. Sing the lyrics of Daydream Believer over the verses. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, the vocals have no delivery. The verse ends, the chorus comes and the punch is just the same. Maybe a minor fluctuation. There's no passion here. No feeling. It's just going through the motions. And then couple it with the subject matter, a pool table love affair. I really do appreciate the fact that it's a love song with a different angle but it makes for some chinsy lines like "Right on target, right on cue" while leaving you to talk about some things that really don't have anything to do with the love story. This just did not come together. And what happened at around 2:20? Was that on purpose?

Godz Poodlz: I like a good electronic song and this is well done. Musically, it hits its target. I just wish that the chorus was more dynamic. This is a song about spies and it's the driest spy song I can think of. Does this song sound like it could be on a spy movie soundtrack? Not really. Maybe the verses but the chorus needs something musically to hook and really stay with the listener. Also, this song passed the time sig challenge but this isn't going in for the kill. Ha, a spy that doesn't go in for the kill. Hmmm. I hear a song in that...

Denise Hudson: The piano powerhouse puts away the keys in favor of other percussion. It's cool but it gets a bit...frantic? scattered? Denise? Yes, even without the piano this is very much what Denise Hudson does. It doesn't have a hook. Instead it's a stream of consciousness or is it chaos. It's poetry. It's madness. It's the soundtrack to the Donnie Darko website (have you ever been there???). I know it's Denise's thing but I just wish that the beam was focused. Imagine the power of that voice, if only the music and lyrics focused it all.

"Buckethat" Bobby: Space Pirates? Spintown warned me from the get-go that this crowd was prone to the comedy and here it is. Okay, I can dig the comedy. The music is just want this calls for. Too bad that the chorus which I see if where most of the har-dee-har's are found is not enunciated so I had to look at the lyrics to get into. But I'm a metalhead so I can't justify too big a deduction for that. Now, why was this space pirates instead of just regular pirates? Just for the Romulan gag? Why complicate the simple pirate song by putting it in space? Speaking of simple, it's not exactly a great pirate tale. It doesn't have a lot of har-dee-har either come to think of it. And you couldn't get rid of the cough?

Finally, the 2 shadow songs.

Dr. Lindyke: I love the vocals in this. This reminds me of something you would find on Painted From Memory by Bacharach & Costello. From me, that is a very high compliment because I just compared your song to an album that I think is mindblowing. There is some similarity in the vocal delivery and great keys but there needs to be something more to put this over the top. If there was more in the production, add some more instruments to build this up. This calls out for some kind of orchestration. If this was in the competition, I would've scored this very highly.

Boffo Yux Dudes: What the fuck is this misogynistic piece of crap. So, a girl dumps you long ago, so you go through extremes to humiliate her. That's the story of the song. It's not funny. It's the kind of sentiment that I just find foul. Put it over what barely amounts to a song and it makes for the lowest point of this round bar none.

SpinTunes #1 Round 2 Review: Sammy Kablam

Very possibly the most legitimately moving thing I've heard from Edric. Damn near started to cry around the 3 minute mark. You big bastard. This is where Edric displays that he is not a songwriter: he is an experience. And you don't want to miss it.

The contrast of hectic verses complaining about restlessness with the smooth, relaxing chorus is fantastic. It pretty well captures the feeling when I can't seem to shut down for the night (or the day). Thus, it is not only a good song, but also very accurate.

As much as I'm not one for contemporary topics, one must derive inspiration from wherever one can. And, as if BP's oil mess wasn't disappointing and destructive enough, Ross has thoroughly made certain that everyone feels that much crappier about it. There's a natural sadness to his voice, and when presenting a topic like this, it comes thru in spades. Other songs had smoother time change transitions, I think, but overall, this wasn't bad. In fact, I'd say this song is pretty slick.

This is not a bad song. But it might be a little too slow of tempo. The beginning of the chorus also tends to feel musically "not there". That is to say, the music doesn't seem to reflect the power of your vocals in the start of the chorus. Feels like time for a powerchord or something, but nothing so impactful occurs. Mostly, though, I'd speed things up and see how it sounds, then.

This submission clearly explored the challenge the most. I have no idea what a polyrhythm is, but it certainly seems to rock. The only thing that I can see threatening your standing (with other judges) is the 4/4 outro, due to it being a third distinct time signature. However, I'd see that as nit picking -- and I don't nit pick. ;) As I see it, this is a big step up from your first round entry; keep this kind of improvement going, and you'll be a tip-top contender in no time!

Obviously, there are more complex and involved works in this round's offerings. But none of them had me smiling as quickly or as consistently as this. This has got to be in the ranking for Happiest Song In Existence. Plus, that ending is clever as hell.

This sounds very 60s. I hear The Doors and maybe The Cowsills. But, I hate The Doors. So, for personal reasons, and not on merit, I can't rank this any higher. But make sure you keep in mind that it's not the song's fault, it's mine. Beyond my burning hate for the 60s and 70s, I can recognize that the song does have pretty decent production value and stands out for good reason.

This is a very quiet but deceptively intricate song. I had a little trouble catching all the lyrics the first time 'round, but there was no qualm in listening to it more than once to pick everything up. Good work, but I think you have better yet to come.

This sincerely makes me wonder what the hell excuses your first round entry. This song would never be seen in public hanging out with that song. This music is impressive as hell and the time changes are perfectly fluid. The lyrics are a little general, maybe, but they're leaps and bounds ahead of what I expected.

Eeesh. I dunno, guys. Anything with a synthetic sound gets immediate love, but this is SO hard to get into. This melody is so stop-and-go, it sounds totally awkward and forced. The chorus melody is fine, although, once again, I feel your chorus is way too short. I dunno. Definitely disappointed.

The chorus and the verses feel like two completely separate entities. The verse appears to just stop, allow the chorus to occur, and then the verse comes back. It doesn't have the flow of one, identifiable song. It's not unbearable, or anything, but it is reminiscent of grinding gears. The action, not the sound.

This is very funny. And very clever. And lyrically brilliant. And incredibly lackluster and sloppy and craptastic of production. I want to hear it again when it's produced right and not rushed for a deadline.

About two thirds of the way in, I had to restart your song to see if there was a point I was missing. But it didn't help. I even played it a third consecutive time, an now, not only do I not get it, I'm annoyed that I had to listen to it thrice. I don't know what your verses are talking about, I don't know what the hell your chorus is supposed to mean, I don't know why your chorus consists of mashing your guitar strings into frustrating noise... I just don't get it. And at this point, I don't want the damn thing.

My favorite part of this is the harmonized scat bridge. The rest isn't bad, but the bridge has all the catch. And that was in a third time signature, so it might simply put you at the bottom of someone else's list. I hate that your verses have to come to a halt before the chorus, because, again, it feels like the time change jars the song into a pause. The song, overall, might be improved with more instruments, but I can't say for sure. I can say that the goofy organ, on its own, makes me want to spoon out my eyeballs just for something new. But that's just me; I'm sure the carnival's jazz band really digs it.

Here's the thing: This song comes across with the same entertainment value as Grampa telling you that one story AGAIN, and you have to sit and listen because mom says it's rude to leave. It's not even that it's a dumb story, it's just not interesting because it has no pzazz and you've heard it a thousand times before. That, and the rhythm section (sleigh bells, it sounded like) wasn't necessarily on the beat for a good portion of the song. It was easier to focus on that than the lyrics.

Denise. As soon as you start singing, you dismiss the tempo set up by the intro rhythm. The rhythm keeps coming and going -- what good are time signatures when the tempo itself isn't solid? I appreciate that it's not another piano bar song -- but even then, it kind of is. It's just a piano bar song on bongos, instead. Chaotic bongos. Add to the tempo flux the fact that I have absoLUTELY no idea what's going on lyrically, and you don't get a very impressed Kablam.

Huzzah! I can hear your lyrics! However... The intro riff at the beginning doesn't do any favors in setting up the rhythm of the verses. And the segue into the chorus is rather jarring. A little bit of timing still seems to be off betwixt your various instruments and that maraca sound that seems to be the rhythm keeper of the verses doesn't seem very accurate. That said, this production is clearly an improvement over your last, so don't be discouraged. Be inspired by your own evolution.

SpinTunes #1 Round 2 Review: Joe "Covenant" Lamb

If I have an overall thought about this round, its much the same as last round. Most of these have simply BRILLIANT musicianship on them. But why are the vocals being overlooked? I have tried very hard not to focus on production too much, but, to me, its *all* involved. Music, Vocals, Lyric, Melody, Listen-Again-quality, Mix. After all... If this were just a songWRITING contest why bother recording them? ;' )

However...this was a MUCH better overall experience than last time. Nothing stood out as awful in this round. So, in my order of preference.

Ross Durand - Waltz With The Devil
A man singing a song with his guitar.
Clever lyric, good tune, well played, and a good mix.
AND its anti The Man!!!
This is my winner for this round.

Edric Haleen - Love
Mike Lombardo is a pretty good pianist.
But his vocal styling on this one is TOTALLY different to anything I've ever heard him do before.
It seemed EXACTLY like a standard Edric Haleen song to me.
And if this was one of the things I judged songs on.... I'd be telling Edric... MIX IT UP A BIT!
Cos it really *is* a typical Edric song. I knew where this was going before it did.
Even though the 'music' was quite unlike anything I've heard him do before, the melody and structure was almost 'cut and paste Edric'.
Here's the thing.
Edric is a brilliant song writer, a damn decent lyricist, an excellent musician and almost as good a singer as... other people. ;' )
So, for an Edric song.. its pretty standard.
But when excellence is your standard, this is what you get.
Great song Mike! Keep it up!
(Psssttt, Edric.. seriously.. write a different song!)
(And I couldn't hear the time signature changes cos I wasn't listening for them cos the song was really good)

"Buckethat" Bobby - Space Pirates
Bobby is a better singer than this...
The overall feeling is, it sounds like its been rushed together.
A man and his accordian... What's not to love?
A fun song, that could be listened to again...
...but needs re-recorded. (Love the coughing all the way through it!)
We are *all* the Space Pirates.

Sara Parsons - A Little Time
Last time I said Sara's voice sounded like butter.
This one was like honeyed butter... with added butter.
Some very nice guitar work, She gets better and better.
This song is really nice. It's not Sara's best, but its still better than a TON of stuff doing the rounds.
The 'chorus' was very interesting, quite unlike any of the other transitions in this round.
A brave song.
(((The Next Three I Had a REALLY Hard Time Seperating. Finally It Came Down To Instinct. Oddly, They Had The Same 'Flaws' For Me.)))

Denise Hudson - Flex Time
This is filthy!!!
(See what happens when we hear your lyrics!) ;' )
How many signature changes are IN this???
Great Melody (s!)
Perverse Lyric. (NOT a problem!)
Drums... not sure.
I think it needs to lose the egg.

Governing Dynamics - Eleyna Dreams
This started brilliantly....
...and kept going.
For me, a bit too bassy in places and the vocals were a bit too submerged.
Only real critiscism was it seemed a little out of the vocal range and almost like he got fed up singing by the end of the song.
(And every "When" had a really weird mic sound during it.)
But it has a guitar solo I could play! ;' )
(Only bit I wasn't really sure about was the "Just over the horizon... go to sleep again" - section.)
I really liked this, even though, personally I think a re mix would really make it soar.

Kevin Savino-Riker - Here At The Door
Kudos to Kev here for being able to sing to the constantly shifting rythmn.
(Unless he sung and then dropped the beats ONTO the vocal! ;' ) )
But it did make for difficult listening.
(And I have NO idea what its about! But that doesn't matter!)
And Kev.. lift those vocals a bit! They're GOOD on this one ! ;' )
Let down a little by the last 30 seconds or so

Jenny Katz - Miss You
This dropped right out of the 60s.
If I had done a shadow I probably would have used the same idea for the transitions.
Vocals sometimes a bit too harsh in the mix though.
(Waiting for Den Hudson to kill me for saying that!) ;' )

Caleb Hines - Insomniac Lullaby
The chorus was the best part of this.
Caleb doing what Caleb does best (and what only he can do) recorder choruses, excellent harmonies.
Great instrumentation. Lyrically a little obvious.
The verses... Now ... I think it was probably the intent to put out the feeling of insomnia through the choices made.
But again, for me this would cut down on the re-listen value. I don't want to listen to a song that makes me feel... twitchy.
Love the chorus. Great Ending! ;' )

Steve Durand - Rara Avis
Steve... I mean this in a nice way.
Get someone to sing your songs.
Its a really good song, but the vocals jar against the BRILLIANT music!
(You know what - bugger it - I'm open to laying some vox down for this if you dont think me too much of a cheeky fecker!)
Great Song. (Mid eight is excellent!)

Gödz Pöödlz - Identities Assumed
This is totally unlike anything else in this round.
I listened to this more than the rest but only because I couldn't make my mind up.
But then I decided if I couldn't make my mind up then my mind was made up.
It was a good, average song. Probably listen again.
Mid 80's Visage/U-vox/M/Howard Jones-ish.

The Offhand Band - Another Universe.
This song infuriated me. Cos it reminded me of somethng I really like but I cant think what.
Great idea, lyric the right side of humour for some of the more obvious rhymes.
I understand the verse being the way it is to counteract the *fun* of the chorus, but they drag just a *little* too much to merit many repeat plays.

JoAnn Abbot - Life
Again, such a shame about the recording quality.
I have no doubt if Jo could have multi/overdubbed or had access to good equipment this it would be amazing.
The retro feel actually would help had it started lo-fi and get better.
A good song, just a little long.
Baby appearance was great.

Gorbzilla (featuring the Godzookies) - Than Infinity
This was almost the reverse of another song in ths round, but with almost the same problems.
A sweet short song but was just a list of things that one loves one more than.
A workhorse melody. Decent Music.
Signature change.. It passes, but is a *bit* of a cop-out.
It was fun... but wouldn't chose to listen to it for pleasure.

Emperor Gum - Smoulder (Yaoya Oshichi)
I could hear what this *wanted* to do.
But it didn't quite make it.
The mix was really bad and too busy and made this hard to listen to.
Which is a shame cos again, I think there's something good in here.
Its just hard to hear it and around 2:30 I really wanted to turn this off.
6/10 (for the actual song)

Charlie McCarron - Sleep On It
This reminded me of early Pink Floyd.
This could have been played by Bram (!)
I liked the idea, but it was a little draggy...
(Was it meant to be Irony?)
Another song I hear potential in.

Heather Miller - Bullseye
An odd one this.
The instruments sounded very strange.
The transitions FROM verse to chorus were okay.
But back again were just. STOP! .. START!
Is the bandcamp upload messed up at 2:20?
Or is that deliberate?
Going with the *Would I listen to this again?" for my final mark.

SpinTunes #1 Round 2 Review: Julia Sherred

17 - Edric Haleen - Love
Without being meta, I love this song. The things I really appreciate about this song are: it is not gender specific, anybody could be singing it about/to anybody else which makes it highly relatable; I adore the 3 parts and how the music under each movement matches the emotional tone; it is real and runs the full journey one could experience when going through love; the transitions are excellent. It is one of the few "love" songs that doesn't cause me to roll my eyes. It does not victimize. It is about the emotions and choices we face. And it made me tear up during the "So now, / ‘Though many things remind you/ Of what you’ve lost;/ Things gone awry -- " section. There are a lot of lines that I just find brilliant. The 2nd person was a very nice choice. It could have gone horribly wrong. When writing in 2nd person, I think you need to take care that it is universally relatable and as I've already stated, I think this is. Gushing Jules is gushing which does not happen often.

16 - "BucketHat" Bobby Matheson - Space Pirates
Paul and Storm watch out! This song is just so fun and brilliant and I can't help but to call it The Captain's Wife's Lament 2.0. You need to redo this when you are not pressed for time. The cough is a bit of WTF but this song is just all kinds of awesome. The lyrics are so smarrrrrt. Space Pirates FTW! I can see a Red Dwarf meets Monty Python type series based on this song. The transitions work well. This song makes me gush as well. It also makes me want to do a little jig and overall puts me in a very pleasant mood. I cannot say enough how freaking awesome this song is!

15 - Godz Poodlz - Identities Assumed
This song doesn't try. It just is. Nice smooth transitions. Unlike a lot of of the songs, my brain didn't get jarred out of the moment when they occurred. It reminds me of something but for the life of me, I cannot think of what that something is. I think the synth works in this one. For me, synth is a very hit and miss thing and I would say this one is a hit. Another thing that really makes me happy about this song, (and this may be a peculiar comment) when I listen to it, I can see choreography in my head. I can see how this song would play out. It paints a lot of wonderful images, colours and flavours in my head.

14 - Caleb Hines - Insomniac Lullaby
Unlike the other songs that jar me from the moment, in this song it works extremely well. Especially as a function to set the tone and discomfort of the character in the song. 5/8 is very nice and uncomfortable, mimicking that awful feeling you get in the brain when you are suffering from insomnia. Then there is the excellent transition to 3/4 and a nice lullaby and just when you think you can fall asleep, you are jarred awake again. Simply fabulous. I really enjoy it when song writers use music to no only move the song forward but to really match what is going the story within the song.

13 - Governing Dynamics - Eleayna Dreams
Something about it I just wasn't feeling. I wish I could say what but it is a feeling thing. The transitions worked nicely. I like the song. I like the lyrics. I just wasn't feeling the emotion of the song. Nothing it in really made me sit up and want to pay attention. It is a very nice song to have playing in the background as a way to relax while working but nothing pulls me into it. I also enjoyed the sound of the choruses much more than the verses and I think that may have taken away from it a bit. Nonetheless, it is a very solid song.

12 - Charlie McCarron - Sleep On It
I dislike meta songs. And in my opinion, this song is plenty meta. BUT I really love the music. It reminds me of the entire Vanilla Sky Soundtrack all balled into one song. This song has that dreamy disjointed ambiance of the entire soundtrack to it. Lyrically, I find it very soft. However, I do get swept away in the dream state of it and could melt into it if I needed a bit of an escape from reality. And even so as a general rule, I would rip this song apart because of the lyrics, this is one of the few songs where I don't care. And at the very end of the song, the lyrics "So thank God/ Life is not one song/ No, life is not one song" made up for the rest. It caused me to smile and agree.

11 - Ross Durand - Waltz With The Devil
I really enjoy the Bob Dylan quality to it. Nice transitions. I like a good protest song even if I don't agree with what the protest is about. There are a couple things you speak about in this song that I could debate over at length. But I'm not going to. It is your protest. The only critique I have of it is the possible non-relevance in a decade or so. And the reason I bring that up is because the some of the best protest songs I can think of stand the test of time. I don't know if this song will and that isn't really here nor there. Overall, I think this song is solid (despite the cliche first time "Black gold, Texas Tea).

10 - Denise Hudson - Flex Time
Despite what I think others may think, I like the drums, shakers and tambourine. However, there is a certain emptiness to it. I think it could have used more percussives. I love the choruses. The verses left me confused even so the whole song just made smile. I have no idea what it is about aside from knowing it is quite naughty and innuendo-y. Choreography also play out in my head while listening to this song, which is good. There is a very slinky and slithery sexual movement to this song. Songs that have a quality of movement to them are very nice, plain and simple.

9 - The Offhand Band - Another Universe
Very interesting use of transitions within verse/chorus instead of in between. I really like that choice. I love the choruses but the verses don't really grab me. I find the piano in the choruses to be quite pleasant. This is another song where I see choreography in a very Broadway Bob Fosse style. I just wish the song had more. Last week I critiqued you for having too much, this week it is the reverse. Some parts feel a bit too empty. There is a dreaminess that I think you are wanting to achieve with this song but it isn't quite there. And for me, it took a bit away from the song.

8 - Kevin Savino-Riker - Here At The Door
I find the transitions to be a bit abrupt. I have no idea what this song is about. The polyrhythm didn't work for me. I think the song would have been much better without them. The disjointed nature of the polyrhythms made my brain twitchy and half way through the piece, it became very difficult for me to listen to. It is a very solid piece of music, no doubt. It just didn't sit well with me. What saved this song from being lower is, despite the polyrhyrthms not working for me, it is a solid piece of music. There is a lot going on but maybe a bit too much. I do appreciate that it is a very complicated and intricate piece. So well done.

7 - Jenny Katz - Miss You
I like the jazz in the choruses. The verses have a bit of circus feeling to them which I find enjoyable. I found some of the transitions (chorus to verse) to be a bit abrupt and it pulled me away from the song. I find the verse to chorus transitions work better. Despite there nothing being overly unpleasant about this song, nothing really grabs me. I find my thoughts wandering while I listen and have to make a conscious effort to listen to it which is a shame because it is not a bad song.

6 - Heather Miller - Bullseye
The transitions are very sudden. Also, the song just seems to end when it shouldn't. I feel like there should be more but instead we get nothing. It left me a bit disappointed because of this. I like that the lyrics say what they need to say without embellishment. You give the bones of the story and allow the listener to add their own flavours and colours. I think it is a very good attempt but it just didn't completely work for me. Though, as I said, the bones are there. It would be interesting to see if you can build on them later down the road.

5 - Sara Parsons - A Little Time
I really hate this song. The lyrics completely killed it for me. The first " Spend a little time with me/ But don't waste your time on me", I rolled my eyes, said okay and I wanted to stop listening. It reminds me of someone who slams the cupboard door and says nothing is wrong. Unfortunately, I couldn't stop listening because I had to critique it. I tried to ignore the pity party and listen to the music. But even the vocals and music didn't do anything for me. The only thing saving this song from being last is I can be objective and can see the appeal for others of your music despite the fact I really do not like it. Regardless, It is a solid piece of music. At least the transitions are good. And this is my nice review of this song.

4 - Steve Durand - Rara Avis
There is something about the timing of all the instruments that just doesn't mesh. I really enjoy the jazzy feel but the syncopation between the different instruments within the choruses seem to be a millisecond off. Or as if some of the instruments are coming in a bit too early. Or maybe it is a balance issue. This makes it uncomfortable to listen to. This also made it difficult for me to hear the vocals,especially in the choruses, because my mind was so occupied trying to figure out what isn't working with the music. Or maybe the vocals are getting buried in the mix. I can't quite tell. If it were not for those things, I would have enjoyed this song more.

3 - Emperor Gum - Smoulder (Yaoya Oshichi)
I really like what you do musically but regardless this song didn't do anything for me. I found the transitions to be jarring. I got bored with the song quickly even so there are a lot of things musically that I enjoy about it. Instead of smoldering, the song kind of fizzles. I really dig the lyrics. There is a lot of nice imagery in it. I really wish I could give you some sort of constructive criticism but I am at a in regards to what you could have done differently to make it better. And even so the production didn't play a factor for me this time, I do want to mention that there are a couple parts where the bass is just way too high and sounds a bit like feedback.

2 - Gorbzilla - Than Infinity
This song made me crack up. As a parent, I LOVE IT! It is so adorable and wondering and would be a great thing to sing to either parent or even your child. But here is my issue. There is a lack of effort in your song that the other contestants put forth. Even so you technically met the requirements, I think it a "just barely" with the one line chorus. This song is so fantabulous and really perfect for what it is but when compared structurally to the other songs, it falls a lot short.

1 - JoAnn Abbott - Life
Such a very wonderful attempt. I have to give you HUGE props. You did very well considering you are not a musician. I can ignore the poor sound and pitchy vocals. I realize that not every one has the equipment needed. I can ignore the lack of ability to play an instrument. The transitions were very sticky but considering the above, I feel horrible critiquing it. You really did make a valiant effort. But there are a lot of things with the structure of the lyrics that does not work. The verses are too long and too wordy. What you wanted to say could have been said in a simpler, more fluid way. The song could have been a lot shorter. And unlike Edric's 2nd person narrative, your 2nd person narrative took away from the song. At least for me it did. I found it difficult to relate to. There were even some lyrics that offended me slightly because at times it seems to be on the cusp of preachy and gave a sense of "this is what you should want with your life" but I was able to get over that. And I doubt that was your intent anyway. It would have been a load better if it were told from 1st person. Excellent effort.

Shadows - Short and Sweet

Boffo Yux Dudes - How Low Will You Go
So wrong! I love it. I can see people getting angry over this song. But I adore songs that shake people from their comfortable zones and step all over socially accepted topics of discussion and what is and isn't acceptable to joke about. Rape isn't funny. But this song is.

Dr. Lindyke - Minutes And Hours
I can hear all kinds of instrumentation behind this song. It is the first Dr. Lindyke song where I can hear how it can be more. It is reminiscent of fantasy movies I grew up with in the 80s. I can float away in it. Very nice jobs, sirs.

SpinTunes #1 Round 2 Review: Heather Zink

Edric Haleen – “Love”
You are amazing. Period. There was no challenge picking the top spot this time. I was into the song the entire time it was playing and every time I listened to it. It’s so fresh and raw. Of course, the important part was there: you met the challenge. I love your dynamics, and while some other people might not see that as important, that’s really what takes a song and makes it music. Music is all about using your devices to emote, and you’re insanely good at that. I could probably write a lot about this song and why I like it so much, but…I have a lot to do.

Gorbzilla – “Than Infinity”
Okay, first off, adorable. Secondly, great transitions between the verses and choruses! I really liked what you did with the guitar and the whole feel of the song was really fun. The lyrics only added onto the fun that I was already having and added a sentimental value that made me smile. What a great gift! Nice job.

“BucketHat” Bobby – “Space Pirates”
I love this song. This was a very visual song for me, I totally could see you telling the story during the verses then when it came to the chorus there are all these crazy pirates dancing and singing in a thought bubble of sorts. The ridiculousness of it all had me laughing the whole time particularly, “We’ll laugh really smugly/We’ll call your mom ugly.” Those are some beautiful lyrics. The challenge was obviously there, it didn’t really flow, but it was acceptable for this song because I feel like you chose to do that stylistically rather than pausing so the time change wasn’t awkward. That’s how I felt it at least. There are so many thing about this song that I like, I don’t want to take up lots of room for small details, but great song Bobby! I’m really glad you got it in!

Sara Parsons – “A Little Time”
I’ve told you before and now I’m going to tell you again: I love your harmonies. You have a really nice talent in the fact that you can write slow, quiet, and delicate songs that don’t bore me. Transitions between the time changes weren’t awkward at all, which is important for this challenge. Fantastico!

Ross Durand – “Waltz With The Devil”
Ross! This is what I’m talkin’ about! You did a great job. The challenge was there, which is of course , the most important thing to have here. The transition was noticeable, but subtle, and pleasing to the ear. Finally, I really liked the message of the song, so that definitely earned some points from me. You have a really nice sound and I enjoy what you have to offer to this competition!

The Offhand Band – “Another Universe”
Really nice job! The transition between time signatures was flawless, really. You had a very creative idea for the song, I just wish there would have been more during the verses, though I thoroughly enjoyed the choruses and I thought the ending, where it was just piano, was great. Very solid!

Caleb Hines – “Insomniac Lullaby”
Wow, do I know that feeling. Highly relatable, humorous idea, AND you got the challenge right! Every time it got to the chorus, I found my eyes drooping and I just wanted to crawl into bed, so maybe I’ll play the chorus on loop for my personal insomniac lullaby. The pause during the transition, I felt again, was a stylistic choice, sort of a moment for the character to stop and calm down. I, personally, didn’t like the sudden ending, but overall, I enjoyed the song.

Godz Poodlz – “Identity Assumed”
POODLZ HUZZAH! You guys have another song with a great transition between the choruses and verses! It was a really creative idea and had equally creative lyrics, though I didn’t really connect on a personal level with the song, obviously, I’m not a secret agent, but there was just something that didn’t click. The music was a little repetitive and that could have been part of the cause for the non-clicking. Still, it was a really great entry and entertaining!

Governing Dynamics – “Eleyna Dreams”
I really liked this song. You have a really unique soft-rock sound for the competition. I also think you have a really unique approach to writing. There’s just something so different from you and everyone else in the competition and it’s a bit of fresh breath getting to your song. You’re another good example of a good transition between time signatures. The only thing I have to be picky about is, it seems that some of your lyrics are out of place. You’re really close, it’s just now and then there are words or phrases that don’t fit like the rest do. But, I really liked it…as I said before! Good job!

Jenny Katz – “Miss You”
This was a very interesting song. I didn’t love it as much as your round one song, but it still has lots of potential! I liked getting a taste of your harmonizing skills and one reason I’m quickly becoming a Katz fan is because of your unique lyrics, I really love them. You can say so much without making it sound awkward or overwhelming. Your shift between time signatures wasn’t entirely smooth. It didn’t feel tripped, fell down, then got back up, but there was definitely a stumble. As far as instrumentation goes, I really didn’t love the music in this one, but your singing was lovely. Otherwise, it was a very nice submission.

Denise Hudson – “Flex Time”
Okay, I feel like I’m repeating a few things from what I said to Jenny. This is SO interesting! Very fun to listen, too! AND, you’re also very lyrically talented. The song was also really sassy, including the transition, it felt like a strut. I, also, really appreciate you going out of your comfort zone and not using piano. You really pulled it off with the drums, but while you nailed the awesome rhythmic part that went well with the challenge, I feel like some of the musicality was lost. Still, I had so much fun with this song!

Charlie McCarron – “Sleep On It”
What a beautiful song. I felt very strange emotions toward this song the first time I listened to it and I felt the same way every listen after. It started out really strong and I really was enjoying it until the chorus. I really liked the melody line of the chorus, and the dynamics, particularly of the first time you sang ‘song’ were great. However, the lyrics for the chorus kind of disappointed me. Then I was excited about another verse, but it was really short, then the chorus again. I liked the change of words from “This is not that song” to “Life is not one song,” it made a big difference it the chorus, but I had not been so happy about the verse. (I hope I explained that well, especially the dynamic part, that was definitely more a visual thing for me.) Oh yeah, the challenge? It was there and the transition was very smoothed over and well done!

Steve Durand – “Rara Avis”
Yet again, another example of wonderful time signature transitions! I wasn’t a of the repetitiveness particularly during the verses. However, I do like the horns, and find that very unique in the challenge, so I’d like to hear more of them. I also thought the lyrics and message were cliché and cheesy. The song felt a little noisy and also rushed. I might have enjoyed it a little more had it been slower and more tender, but, these are obviously just my preferences. It was a pretty decent entry.

Kevin Savino-Riker – “Here At The Door”
There’s so much going on in this song! At some points, it’s really neat. At other points, it feels a little overwhelming to the ears and also makes the song sound choppy sometimes where there’s not even a time change. Also, there was the pause in between the chorus and the verse, and for this one, I felt it was unintentional and that it was something you struggled with. There were some iffy harmonies as well, it sounded they were trying to be suspensions or maybe cool dissonances (which I’m all for both), but in this case they really didn’t convince me. You really seem to think outside of the box, though, and I like that. Pretty solid, Kevin.

Heather Miller – “Bullseye”
You’re another unique voice in this competition. Your subject for the song was so different from everyone else, so points for that! I also, liked you’re small harmony parts for the ‘bullseye.’ I was wearily convinced by the time change going into chorus, however, going back into the verse was awkward and had to stop and wait for that guitar strum to really get the groove of it again. Also, there was a weird stumble between repeating choruses at the end that threw me off. Very original. Good job, Heather.

JoAnn Abbott – “Life”
JoAnn, there are some really great things happening in this song. I’m not entirely sure that it was a unique idea, but I feel you really did justice to the idea. The reincarnation/rebirth was something that definitely took me by surprise. The bell idea was also a creative idea, but sometimes, I also think that it was a downfall. The young, light bells got a little irritating, and the older, big church bells sometimes clashed with the voice. So, make sure when you use elements like that, that they sound good in the song. The chords both during the verse and chorus, though the rhythms were different, got repetitive, and for a song that is relatively long, listeners don’t want to hear the same thing over and over. However, I know that playing is new for you and out of your comfort zone, so I encourage you to continue to work on that, and appreciate that you did it!

Emperor Gum – “Smoulder (Yaoya Oshichi)”
The thing I have to say right off the bat, was I didn’t get much of a time change out of this song, mostly a tempo change. I liked the Japanese feel/sound at the beginning and I actually feel that this was a good song for you. Sometimes, it felt noisy and there was a lot going on. I think that it is a decent song, just not exactly what I was looking for.


Boffo Yux Dudes – “How Low Will You Go”
This wasn’t my favorite song by a landslide. I felt like it went on for a bit longer that it should have and was highly repetitive. Not to mention that it just wasn’t my kind of humor, so there’s a loss of preference points there. I’m still thrilled that you are shadowing, though!

Dr. Lindyke – “Minutes And Hours”
This was another really beautiful song! Kudos on the lovely, thoughtful lyrics to Mr. Hoover and to Mr. Leigh, I really love the emotion in your voice. You have dynamics pulling, pushing, and swaying that makes me get lost in the song. Great job.