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Saturday, November 13, 2010

SpinTunes #2 Round 3 Review: Jeff MacDougall

This rounds challenge is to write a about a secondary character in history (actual or fictional). Since meeting the challenge is paramount, I’ll be giving you an extra bump in the ranking if I knew who the actual historical figure your character is related to was without having to think too hard or look it up. All other aspects will be judged according my previous letter grade system (refer to round one for a breakdown) and, like the last round, all songs will be reviewed in order of the album and then placed by rank at the bottom of the page. Let’s begin:

Governing Dynamics - Los Alamos
Challenge: B – Technically this meets the challenge, but I had a hard time wrapping my head around it because there is no primary historical figure to attach to your lab assistant. (i.e. Oppenheimer’s assistant)
Lyrics: A – Good solid rhymes. A little to “on the nose” for me though (too plainly stated)
Structure: A – Solid structure.
Melody: B – Not bad… but it doesn’t stick in my head.
Nice mood. Matches the theme of the story. I think this song will grow on me as I listen. Very Radiohead in feel (which is a little ironic given the last rounds entry.

Inverse T. Clown - I Have A Leap
Challenge: A – Nice interpretation of the challenge. Love me some Quantum Leap
Lyrics: A – Solid rhymes.
Structure: B – Not bad but a little repetitive.
Melody: A – Good. Easy to remember.
I like this song. Nice melody. Not much to say other than I wish it was a little more dynamic with the arrangement. Nice job.

Charlie McCarron - Queen Of Heart
Challenge: A – Great. Got it after one listen.
Lyrics: A – I enjoyed the lyrics, but the rhymes were a bit odd.
Structure: B – Unusual structure. Not bad… but left me feeling perplexed.
Melody: B – Really liked the melody on the chorus but the melody throughout seemed to ramble. This could be due to the odd arrangement.
Good song, great subject. Wishing it was a little more traditional in it’s arrangement. Reminds me of a Stephen Bishop tune.

Ryan Ruff Smith - The Driver (Dallas, 1963)
Challenge: A – Solid. Knew exactly what who this song was about.
Lyrics: A – Great lyrics. Rhyming was a bit odd. Not that songs technically have to rhyme, but your structure worked against you in this regard.
Structure: B – Very odd. Which, in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing... I just never knew where we were going next.
Melody: B – Pleasant but didn’t stick with me.
I really enjoyed the production on this. I like the turntable scratches and the nostalgic feeling… but the melody and chord progression seemed to meander and I felt lost. But perhaps that’s exactly how you wanted us to feel.

Edric Haleen - I Was There
Challenge: A – Great. Obvious from the first listen
Lyrics: A – Big. Emotional.
Structure: A – Musical theater.
Melody: A – Grand. Easy to remember.
What are the odds that two contestants would write from the same (or may as well be) secondary character(s)? Really like this. Very poignant.

Ross Durand - Ivan Vaughan
Challenge: A – If you don’t know who this song is about, then you are living in a cave. Nice.
Lyrics: A – Good.
Structure: A - Good. Solid folk/rock.
Melody: B – Not bad but a little plain.
I like this song but I felt like it could have been stronger somehow. It sort of feels like an album cut from a 70’s vinyl album that everyone talks over because they are waiting to listen to the “good” songs.

Chris Cogott - Final Flight
Challenge: A – Nice.
Lyrics: A – Nice references.
Structure: A – Unconventional. But in a good way.
Melody: B – Chris’ melodies are usually superb. This one isn’t bad, but doesn’t stick for me.
Enjoyed the production on this one. Brought me back to the 80’s. Wish the melody was a bit stronger though. Nice work.

Mitchell Adam Johnson - Pictures Of Love
Challenge: A – Awesome. Really enjoyed the first person perspective.
Lyrics: A - Solid. Great story and visuals
Structure: A – Loved this arrangement. The oddly placed “Harrison” guitar solo was perfectly “off”
Melody: A – Wonderful. I love when you get a nice subtle hook in the middle of your verse.
Very nice. Really great work. One of my favorites this round.

Steve Durand - Cuban Missile Mambo
Challenge: A – Great. Couldn’t miss it.
Lyrics: A - Fun. Silly approach to a not so silly moment in time.
Structure: A - Solid. Latin mambo.
Melody: B – Good but I wish it took some more turns. It doesn’t really go anywhere.
Fun song. I really enjoyed it. Nice horn work.

Rebecca Brickley - Oh Mercy (Judges Mix)
Challenge: A – Good. Couldn’t be more clear.
Lyrics: A – Nice perspective. Great imagery.
Structure: A – Classic pop structure.
Melody: A – Love this melody. Found myself humming it well after my first listen.
This is powerful song. I imagine this as an anthem of some sort. Really wonderful work.

Zarni DeWet - Eric
Challenge: A – Good. I’ve give you credit for tackling such a controversial figure’s mother.
Lyrics: A - Great. Very powerful.
Structure: A – Solid ballad. Arrangement keeps us tied to the mother and not the event.
Melody: A – Wonderfully memorable.
Very sad. Very beautiful. Great work.

Gweebol - She Said, As She Handed Him The Telephone
Challenge: A – Good. Perfectly obvious.
Lyrics: B – Interesting but odd.
Structure: B – Pop structure but strange
Melody: B – Not bad but didn’t stick for me.
This one left me feeling lost. Never knew where we were going. Feels like it was born from a jam session instead of a crafted song.

It’s been a hectic and busy week for me personally, so due to time constraints, I wasn’t able to take the time to write reviews for the shadows. However, I hope to write shadow reviews for this round and post them to my blog in the coming weeks, so if you shadowed this round, keep a lookout for that.

As you can see, many of the songs end up on equal footing using my letter grade system. This leaves me to rank many of these songs based on my subjective enjoyment. So here we go:

Zarni DeWet – Eric
Mitchell Adam Johnson - Pictures Of Love
Rebecca Brickley - Oh Mercy (Judges Mix)
Edric Haleen - I Was There
Chris Cogott - Final Flight
Inverse T. Clown - I Have A Leap
Steve Durand - Cuban Missile Mambo
Ross Durand - Ivan Vaughan
Charlie McCarron - Queen Of Heart
Governing Dynamics - Los Alamos
Ryan Ruff Smith - The Driver (Dallas, 1963)
Gweebol - She Said, As She Handed Him The Telephone

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