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Saturday, June 25, 2011

SpinTunes #3 Round 1 Review: Glenn Case

#1 - Charlie McCarron - Grandma And Grandpa
Lyrics are bittersweet, melody and chord progressions are both engaging. Wasn't sure I was going to enjoy the delivery of the lead vocal, but it won me over. I would (and likely will) listen to this again. Was in my top three, but takes my top spot because it elicits an actual emotion (outside of irritation) from me: I come close to tearing up when I hear it.
LYRICS – good (2) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – good (2)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – good (2) SCORE: 10 out of 10

#2 - Chris Cogott - Drag Me Down
Like Jason Morris, Chris Cogott has the advantage of production that sounds professional. There are some good hooks and chord progressions in there to boot. I would listen to this outside of the competition.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – good (2)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – good (2) SCORE: 9 out of 10

#3 - Brian Daniell - Cubbies Will Win
I'm definitely enjoying the party atmosphere of the recording. LOVE the originality of the lyrics. Very clever songwriting! You knocked the 'happy song about death' challenge out of the park (pun not intended at first.) Perfectly embodies the challenge and runs with it.
LYRICS – good (2) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – good (2)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 9 out of 10

#4 - Alexa Polasky - You Will Never Die
Good, tight sound and production. The breath percussion in the verses is a VERY nice touch that blends well with the subject matter. There's not much I would suggest outside of recommending a bigger shift in dynamics for the chorus. This song sounds very good as it is, but some big, loud sounding guitars in the chorus would have pushed this over the top into the realm of pop perfection. Great song that could use more dynamic contrast.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – good (2)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 8 out of 10

#5 - Jutze - I Love The Dead
I immediately had a good feeling about this song. The opening guitar set the tone of everything that was to come. Vocal performance isn’t perfect, but fits very nicely with the subject matter and the character. Clever song, and a clever take on the challenge. Catchy, too! It’s still stuck in my head when it’s over.
LYRICS – good (2) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 8 out of 10

#6 - Jason Morris - Burning For You
Stellar vocals, performances and overall production. This song has the advantage of being one of the strongest SOUNDING songs of the bunch, but the chord structure and lyrics aren’t quite as interesting as some of the other entries.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – good (2)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – good (2) SCORE: 8 out of 10

#7 - Ross Durand - No Taxes
Very good concept, expertly crafted lyrics and a good structure. Not particularly fond of the lead vocal, but it definitely works for the song. Has a Bob Dylan feel to it.
LYRICS – good (2) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 8 out of 10

#8 - Governing Dynamics - Alive Again
Nice dynamic shift at 1:45. Nice hooks and good harmonies for the majority of the song. Vocals start to sound strained with the first key change at 2:02, and the harmony vocals become flat at 2:16 with the second key change. A good, catchy song that is short and sweet.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – good (2) SCORE: 7 out of 10

#9 - Edric Haleen - I Hope You Die
Excellent placement of syllables, which is important when the pace becomes so rapid fire in the verses. I was concerned when I saw that "by" was used as the end rhyme twice in the introduction. ("Ev’ry time you happen by." and "That helps me to get by.") I changed from skeptic to believer with the first high note at :56. I could imagine the song as part of a play. I imagine that was the intent.
LYRICS – good (2) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 7 out of 10

#10 - Alex Carpenter - The Day I Died
Excellent concept and lyrics. Everything else about the composition is suitable enough to ensure that Alex Carpenter will probably be around for the next round.
LYRICS – good (2) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 7 out of 10

#11 - Pat And Gweebol - Baby Go To Sleep
Nice use of panning. Good concept and song structure. Male vocal is occasionally off key. I enjoy the female lead vocal.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 7 out of 10

#12 - Godz Poodlz - Wake At The Sunnyside
Thank you for caring enough about your composition to make a second mix. The first one really wasn’t even that bad. Background vocals are often flat. Lead vocal also goes flat once the key change kicks in, Love the concept of the song, and the lyrics are clever.
LYRICS – good (2) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 7 out of 10

#13 - Matt And Donna - Lady On The Gray
I enjoy the lead vocal. That’s a Casio piano tone, isn’t it? Chord structure wasn’t anything particularly special, which stands out when it’s just piano and vocal with some horn sounds thrown in there. A bass instrument might have made a nice difference. Even then, it’s a good performance for what it is.
LYRICS – good (2) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – good (2)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 7 out of 10

#14 - Steve Durand - Die Happy
Vocals are often flat. Adore the horns, ‘though. Love the “’He died happy’ as my epitaph” lyric. Another song that knocked the challenge out of the proverbial park.
LYRICS – good (2) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 7 out of 10

#15 - Dr. Lindyke - Wake Me When It's Over
Good, competent piano playing and a pleasant sounding lead vocal. Touching sentiment in the lyrics too, but wait... Was the "Celebrate the moments of our lives" lyric meant as an intentional nod to the Suisse Mocha Coffee commercials of the late 80's? That pulled me out of the song. Seriously, it's all I can hear now. Listen for yourself (at the risk of ruining the song for yourself.) The pertinent part is 24 seconds into the clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgPFXpKf2N4 Overall, a pleasant sounding piece with the right intentions.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – good (2)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – good (2) SCORE: 7 out of 10

#16 - Ethan Ivey - The Four-Year Itch
I love the sound of the slightly out of tune piano. Not ‘as’ wild about the slightly out of tune (flat) voice. The song’s saving grace is the lyrics. Really like the quick rhythm of the first 5 syllables, followed by the catchy melody that follows.
LYRICS – good (2) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 7 out of 10

#17 - Jon Eric – Birthday
Percussion starts off out of rhythm with the rest of the music, catches up by the beginning of the first verse, but is still a bit of a distraction. Vocals are sharp in spots, and flat in others.
LYRICS – good (2) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 7 out of 10

#18 - Spencer Sokol - Keeping Calm
Vocal goes sharp on several occasions, but I like how the passion and dynamics build throughout the song. I'm a fan of the simulated heartbeat sounds and the tambourine. Sharp vocals aside, it's a pleasant composition.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – good (2) SCORE: 6 out of 10

#19 - Emperor Gum – Frequency
Vocals are flat at times, but interestingly enough, they never sound particularly bad. The song sounds pleasant, ‘though it certainly has moments that sound far from happy, but I would say that this composition still met the challenge.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 6 out of 10

#20 - Gold Lion - In The Afterlife
It's cute and quirky, and I am a fan of the breathy female lead vocals. Not a fan of the way the guitar and drums sometimes threaten to fall completely out of rhythm with one another. The composition is actually quite good, but the performance could stand to be tightened up a bit. I like the concept of the party interlude, but I’m not wild about the execution of it. Sounds forced. A decent ditty, plagued by rhythm issues.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 6 out of 10

#21 - Tally Deushane - My Dead Goldfish
Basic chord structure works for the song, ‘though it gets a little old after a while. Love the lead vocal. I would describe the song as adorable. The toilet flush was a pleasant surprise that I should have expected, but didn’t.
LYRICS – good (2) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – good (2)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 6 out of 10

#22 - Byron Blocker & The Offbeats - She's Dead
Was there an optional challenge of "Write a song that sounds like Tom Waits"? Appropriately creepy, and fairly catchy. Not bad. Sounds like Tom Waits. Sounds a little TOO much like Tom Waits, actually.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – good (2)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 6 out of 10

#23 - "Buckethat" Bobby Matheson - No Worries
Lead vocal often threatens to go out of tune, and sometimes goes flat. The rhythm is suspect, and the instruments don’t sound like they are quite in tune with one another. Thankfully, the concept behind the lyrics is perfect for the challenge, and that is the song’s saving grace. Great concept for the challenge, but everything else is just okay.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 6 out of 10

#24 - Inverse T. Clown - Caroline Is Dead
Not the first “hooray, she’s dead” song I’ve heard in this round, and not the best either. I don’t mean this as an insult, but I swore I was hearing Barney the purple dinosaur at first. Good structure, but everything else is just okay for me.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 6 out of 10

#25 - Caleb Hines - Haven't You Ever
Lyrics are flat more often than they are on key. Funny lyrics, and a decent song structure, ‘though.
LYRICS – good (2) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – bad (0)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 5 out of 10

#26 - The Boffo Yux Dudes - Marked For Death
Lead vocal is Fred Schneider with an accent. Lack of melody means you don’t have to worry about being sharp or flat, but it means the rhythm is even more important… and the rhythm of the lead vocal is suspect.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – bad (0)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 5 out of 10

#27 - Menage' A Tune - Isn't It Nice
Pleasant sounding voice, but it goes flat in many places. Multiple occasions where extra syllables have been shoehorned into the song, which takes away from the melody and makes the song sound clumsy.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 5 out of 10

#28 - Hudson And Day - Silly Baby
An exercise in extremes. Multiple instances of being off rhythm and off pitch. Some vocals are far too quiet and others are excessively loud. That’s a shame, because there is plenty of personality here that probably could have been focused into an effective song.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – bad (0)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – bad (0) SCORE: 4 out of 10

#29 - Matt Walton - We're All Going To Die
Firstly, tune your instrument. Secondly, the vocals are flat in several spots. Lyrics and composition are okay. I understand why the evil laugh might exist at the end, but it still seemed unnecessary. Composition isn't necessarily bad, but the performance isn't necessarily good.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – bad (0)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 4 out of 10

#30 - The Offhand Band - All Over
One potential problem with being intentionally derivative: Comparisons to the original work are pretty much a given. This presents a particular problem when the original work is by one of the most beloved bands in the history of recorded music. Even without such comparisons, this just isn't enjoyable for me. A clever lyric here and there, sure. Vocals are often flat and sometimes grating. A valiant effort that falls flat.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – bad (0) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 4 out of 10

#31 - Bryce Jensen - Thank You
Lead vocals are sharp here and there. Backup vocals are extremely sharp. Abrupt stop makes this seem like a half-finished song.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – bad (0)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 4 out of 10

#32 - Glen Raphael - When You're Dead
I hate to use the term ‘pitchy’ but it applies here. There are several places throughout the song where at LEAST one of the vocals is sharp or flat, and it greatly detracts from the composition. That’s too bad, because it seems like there is probably a decent song hiding in there. The percussion is off, too.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – bad (0)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 4 out of 10

#33 - Wait What - Death: Everyone's Doing it!
The lead vocal is better than I imagined it was going to be, but it’s far too loud in the mix. Morbid concept fits nicely with the challenge. The sudden rap was…unexpected, and had some serious rhythm issues which dragged the performance end of this one down almost single-handedly. Funny? Sure. Well executed? Not really.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – bad (0)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – bad (0) SCORE: 4 out of 10

#34 - Luke Brekke, Esquire - Cannibal
Vocals are flat more often than they are on pitch. The lyrics are wildly grotesque, which is appropriate for the challenge. Interestingly enough, this is the second entry I have heard with an unnecessary evil laugh at the end. I didn't care for that song much, either. The vivid lyrics are the best part, but they suffer by being paired up with an arrangement, chord structure and performance that are all sub-par.
LYRICS – good (2) STRUCTURE – bad (0) PERFORMANCE – bad (0)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 4 out of 10

#35 - Young Stroke aka Young Muscle - My Name Is Death
A rapping grim reaper? Good concept, but the delivery is absolutely awful. The rhythmic flow of the lead vocal is CRUCIAL to a rap, and this is stale and utterly devoid of character. This actually sounds like someone who hates hip hop, and wants to make fun of the genre. This inspires irritation from me.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – bad (0)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – bad (0) SCORE: 4 out of 10

#36 - Happi - The Next Part Of Life
There are rhythm issues all over the place. The lyric “This is a happy song about death” broke the fourth wall and pulled me out of the composition. It’s almost as if it that lyric was meant to be a note to the judges to let us know that you had fulfilled the challenge, but nothing about this composition actually SOUNDS happy. In fact, it would be a challenge to find a composition in this first round that sounds LESS happy.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – bad (0)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – bad (0) SCORE: 3 out of 10

#37 - Doom SKITTLE - A Better Place
Lead vocal is wildly flat for the mass majority of the song. The concept for the song is okay, and that’s about it. Rhythm also seems like it’s nearly an afterthought.
LYRICS – bad (0) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – bad (0)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 3 out of 10

5 comments:

  1. Glenn, I wish I could claim that the "coffee" line was some intentional homage, but I can't. It just felt like a really good line that expressed the message we were going for and I used it... I (Dave) can't even blame William for that line. Now I know why it sounded good. (See children, THIS is why you should always get feedback... your subconscious will betray you!)

    Good catch, Glenn... and we're changing it immediately for our bandcamp page and blog. Fortunately this isn't a rhyming line so we can excise it and replace it pretty handily.

    While I'm at it, we're also replacing the "cry into your beer" line by request. (ok, Barbara?)

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  2. The especially neat part about my "hooray, she's dead" song is that the singer's not celebrating the fact that's she's dead.

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  3. Dave: Thank you for taking the criticism well! I imagine the lyric change would probably improve the song. It's entirely possible that most people would not have even made the connection to the classic commercial, but why take the chance, right?

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  4. ITC: I'll concede that the lyrics don't indicate celebration, but lyrics like "Imagine my relief when I heard that she died" and "inevitably giving half to that whore" make it clear that it's a happy (if not bittersweet) event for the singer. I DO like the balance that is brought with lyrics like "I'm not gonna lie, it brings a tear to my eye, but I get to keep all my stuff."

    I look forward to hearing what you come up with for the next round. Best of luck.

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  5. Graham (Emperor Gum + DonutWorthy)July 4, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Thanks for the review, Glenn! Sorry the vocals sounded flat, I was sick. Also, my song did push the boundaries of 'happy'.

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