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Saturday, July 31, 2010

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!


  1. Thanks Niv,
    You got what I was going for exactly.

    I guess I had a challenge comprehension problem because I was focusing more on the "happy to sad in 4 seconds" than the tearjerker aspect. That's why the music strikes a happy tone to start off with.


  2. "To shake hands with an angel in a revolving door" - The "handshake" is brief meeting, the "angel" is the character's newborn daughter.

    The "revolving door" is between this life and the "beforelife"/"afterlife".

    And maybe that still doesn't explain it.

    Some people seem to love this line, others hate it or are confused by it. I think it might be the single greatest line I've written, actually, but I might also think it's crap by next weekend (or sooner).