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Sunday, July 10, 2011

SpinTunes #3 Round 2 Review: DxDutch

We have a few youngsters who compete in SpinTunes, and a couple of them are YouTubers trying to make a mark for themselves.  So I thought having a young YouTube musician (who has made a mark for herself) as a guest judge would be a good idea.

Hate Falling In Love


Before I start, I’d like to say some things.

I’m a guest judge for a reason. I’m just a young singer/songwriter on youtube (Here's her Channel Link) and I honestly do not have much knowledge of music theory. I will be judging your songs from an average listener’s point of view. Whether the song is catchy, if the lyrics make sense, if the lyrics fit the melody well, if the song can be seen as a whole. Simple things like that but hopefully they will be helpful to you. I’ll try not to focus too much on singing ability, unless it’s just really, really bad. If it’s off I might say so but I won’t hold it against you in rating the songs.

Also, english is my second language. I’m trying my best to write everything as understandable as possible but forgive me if there’s any (grammar) mistakes. If you’re not sure what I meant with a certain sentence, I’m sure there’s a way you can send me an e-mail or post a comment.

Oh, and I haven’t been keeping up with the news lately, so I’m going to assume all of you stuck to your challenge. If you have an article linked to the song or a little bit of information why and how you wrote the song, I will read it because I think it adds to understanding the song and songwriting process better.

The Offhand Band - Program aids food stamp users
I like the concept of the song, making it look like it could’ve been a newspaper article. I know that must’ve been hard to write and props to you for doing it. I like the overall melody, you’ve got some unexpected chords you hit which make it sound interesting and keeps the listener focussed. The lyrics, melody and the instruments sound like it’s a ready made song for a musical. Couple of things that I didn’t really like are in the chorus; the part when you’re singing ‘Johnson said’, kind of sounded like you wanted to add it but you didn’t really know how, therefore you just.. added it. I’m not sure how to explain it because in my head there’s a way where it would’ve sounded better. If you would’ve made the gap between ‘big for us – Johnson said’ a little smaller and chosen a chord that ends the sentence, instead of the chord you’re using that’s creating this feeling as if there’s more to come after this line, it would feel more like it’s actually part of the chorus and would put more emphasis on rhyming with ‘well fed’. Also the transition from the verse to the chorus didn’t feel very strong to me. I would’ve started the chorus higher (as in a higher note) to make the difference between chorus and verse bigger, therefore a little catchier. The last little thing you could’ve changed is something I think you meant to do but just didn’t execute very well (or maybe it’s just the way I received it, I personally just think it would fit much better). The timing of the start of a new chorus, going from verse to chorus, or of a new verse going from verse to verse (in town – health bucks) should’ve been a little later. There is definitely some room to play with the timing, just try it yourself and see if you like it! In the chorus I would like to hear more of a “when-there’s” instead of “when__ there’s”. I’m a fan of the bridge, it’s a perfect build-up but not in a cliché way. At the end of the bridge it builds a little more, then you drop it and then you have a perfect transition to the chorus, I love that! Also, I like the chord you end the song on. It kind of leaves me hanging, wanting more.

Gold Lion - Message For Vivian
That’s a beautiful article you chose to write a song about! But we’re not here to talk about that, let’s get on with the song.
I like that you wrote the lyrics from the perspective of “mr. Precise”. I’d say the lyrics are ok, the concept is good but you could’ve done a lot more. It seems like you’re still too focussed on rhyming the words instead of coming up with a line that is very strong and will draw more emotion. The article you chose almost made me cry when I read it, so I got really excited when I started listening to your song. Right now I kind of feel neutral again, as if the song washed away my emotions. Next time you write a song from someone’s perspective, spend a couple of minutes with your eyes closed, truly thinking about what you would feel if you were in his shoes. Wouldn’t you miss your wife? You have looked at her crying, mourning over you. How would that make you feel when you see the one you love hurt so much? That would make the lyrics come across stronger and would draw much more emotion than the now objective-feeling lyrics you’ve written. I do really like the intro to the song and the overall mood of the melody. It does fit with the article and subject.

Eric Haleen – What about love
I feel that you did this song so well that I’ve got to get into the discussion and questions that you’re asking in the song. I’m not here to do that ofcourse and thus I’ll try and stay as objective as possible.
That’s a very sensitive subject you chose to write about but it’s something almost everyone has an opinion on and it’s always in the news. I think you did a really good job in showing emotion in both your lyrics and the music. The passion you’re singing with definitely gave me goosebumps. I like how the song sounds as a whole. You’ve come up with strong lyrics, original rhyming, good rhyming and it all still makes sense if you take away the music. I wouldn’t call it catchy but it’s a song that can be very emotional to some people and therefore be a very meaningful song. Ofcourse not every song has to be catchy but if it’s not, you’ve got to compensate that, which I think you did great. I like the beginning of your song, with a little talking. I love the bass and the strings in the background. You built up the momentum of the song very well to the ‘love’ part, which I think was very original and creative. Instead of a clear cut chorus you chose to use the momentum to get your message out. I think that is great and I love the way you did it. There are some parts where your voice is too soft and I can barely hear what you’re saying, so you’ve got to be careful with that because that’s a waste of all the work you’ve put into coming up with the lyrics. One other thing you could maybe change is the last ‘Love’, where you’re singing the “if they say..”- parts. I would’ve preferred if it was a little louder, perhaps more instruments, make it sound bigger, more impressive. After all, this whole song is about building momentum, use this last piece to scream out your last messages and then have it fade away like you did.

Jutze - Re: Your Oil
Wow. Of course, at first I never know what to expect, so I kind of read the article and thought to myself, what are you going to write about and how are you going to do that? I think you did it very well. You got your message out in a sarcastic and funny way and also from the perspective from the countries that only care about the oil. Your song kind of reminded me of an amateur version of Bohemian Rhapsody, which is actually kind of cool and fits the sarcastic lyrics pretty well. The slower parts are almost like the countries pretending like they care and then the rock parts is them getting more aggressive and saying, hey, all we want is your oil. That’s a nice way to play with the lyrics in your music and I like it. If you break down the lyrics they didn’t take much thoughts or effort but it works well in this setting and to get your message across. The thing that I found kind of weird is the way you started out the song. It doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the song at all (and I’m talking about just lyrics). I can kind of see why you may think it would fit but.. no. It sure is very catchy though because after writing this whole piece, it’s still stuck in my head!

Dr. Lindyke - Prayer For Peace
First off, I really like the guitar. I love the chords you’re using and also a beautiful chordprogression. It sounds like a beautiful lullaby, which is a nice choice because you’re singing about peace. Your song is about contradiction, I like the sentence “pray for the peace of the City of Peace”, it’s a strong line that gets people thinking, it’s a good way to get your message across. I love the Hebrew phrases you used, it fits the subject and also adds to the mood of the song. Now, I do have to say, the harmonies were horrible. I won’t hold the singing against you in the contest because it’s a songwriting contest but it did take away from me fully enjoying the song. I understand what you were trying to do though, you just had a particular sound in mind but you’ll need to work on the melodies of the different harmonies. I know it’s not easy because you added two different ones and sometimes one harmony sounds great with the main melody but not with the other harmony. So if you’re wanting to add several harmonies, make sure every single note sounds good with áll the other notes. Furthermore, the overall mood is nice and sweet and it’s a simple sounding lullaby that needs not much more added.

Governing Dynamics - Cameras, Streetlights, And Things Worth Fighting For
I read the title and at first I thought “that’s too long”.. Then the song started and I pictured cameras, lights, driving through a city etc. so the title fits really well with the intro of the song, it kind of tickles your imagination, I like it. I love the instrumentals, the song could be really good but unfortunately, that’s not what I thought of it. I’m not a fan of the melody line at all. It felt like you recorded an awesome instrumental song, with beautiful sounds, chords and bells and whistles and then you were thinking “oh right, now I need to add some quick vocals”, so you just grabbed the microphone and sung everything exactly timed with your instrumentals. It makes the song sound really choppy and very long. Make your lines a little longer-sounding (and with that, I don’t mean, add more words) and flowing. You added harmonies everywhere that were just overpowering the main vocals which was kind of weird sounding. If you wanted to go up in the main vocals then remove the lower vocals because they’re kind of confusing. Also, I’m not sure how to explain it but I’m kind of missing the catchyness in the chorus. I’m not even sure if there really is a chorus. So your instrumentals are awesome and the base is there, just work a little more on your melody line!

Pat And Gweebol - The Story Is Mine: Confession Of An Undocumented Immigrant
That was a short, cute and fun song. Very clear cut. I like the subject you chose. You could’ve gone a lot of directions with it but you chose to make it into a happy song. It’s not very emotional, which it could’ve been and I’m still deliberating in my mind if I would’ve preferred to hear a more emotional, dragging, sad song but I basically like the way you did it. You chose to sing from the perspective of the reporter which is fine but the reporter made the article about himself to bring national attention to the plight of undocumented workers. Your lyrics seemed to miss that message. You were basically telling the story but it’s as if you forgot to explain why. Because the song is so short there was definitely still room to get into that. The chorus is very catchy, I especially like the way the last line sounds with the harmonies, great job. Good use of instruments. It’s a happy song and the trumpets and ‘choppy’ piano sound adds to the overall mood of the song. The bridge is too short though, it’s not like there’s a rule to how long a bridge is supposed to sound but the reason I’m saying it’s too short is because it sounds rushed. The transition from “breathe free- I’m lifting” could use a little more space. So I’d say work a little more on the depth of your lyrics and spend some time on ‘relaxing’ the bridge. The rest was good.

Alexa Polasky – Infidelity
I like the verse, the lyrics and melody go well together, it flows very nicely. It all sounds interesting and makes me want to listen to the rest of the song but then, the chorus comes around. Honestly, I’m not really sure what to think about it. There are a lot of songs that just repeat one line but for some reason this one just doesn’t really work for me. I think it’s the ‘everyday’ that is just kind of .. random sounding. It’s just not like it’s a great addition to the sentence, as in; without it, it wouldn’t have made sense or without it, it’s not as great. It’s just ‘people lose their love’ oh.. and they lose them everyday. I’m sorry, I’m not trying to sound mean I’m just trying to explain what I think, I hope you understand that ‘people lose their love everyday’ is just not an interesting enough sentence to hear on repeat. The repeating after every sentence thing too is cool but you overdid it. Next time just add it to the second verse for example or just the third sentence in every verse. You want it to be something special and catchy, you don’t want it to sound like you’re playing the song in a tunnel. Other than that, I like the song, the lyrics are ok, the chordprogression in the verse is very easy on the ears. I know it’s kind of hard for you to do because you only used a guitar but the song gets a little boring at the end. Perhaps you could add harmonies or ‘oohs and aahs’ to get the last bit of attention and then nicely fade out or finish it with an outro. And tune your guitar.

Matt Walton - Take Your Placards Down To London
The melody line is pretty good. I think you tried to make it sound like an irish sounding song with the drums. The idea? Great. The execution? Hurts my ears. When your song first started I was thinking: is this just a mistake in your microphone or something? Then the noise in the background finally changed notes and then I thought: oh, it would’ve been better if it was just noise that your mic picked up when recording.. I do like the whole idea of the song and it fits perfectly with the lyrics but I just couldn’t listen to the full song, I’m very sorry. The bagpipe sounds very harsh and just one note all through the verse is going to make it sound very boring. Try adding other instruments and changing notes/chords every once in a while. Your voice sounds good and the melody too, it really is good but the instrumentals are not.

Godz Poodlz - Independence And Freedom For All
Your song started out really good. I love the lyrics, you chose to write the song from the guy’s perspective and the article is perfect for that. There are some sentences in the verse that don’t really flow as much as the others so that was a little let down but not too bad. Rhyming was good and you integrated some lines from the article really well into your song. The chorus on the other hand was a little disappointing. I just don’t really get the sentence “independence and freedom for all”. The whole article and your song was about the guy that planned his own crime and punishment and he says he’s not a political man, yet you sing from his perspective as if independence and freedom for everyone was his goal. The difference in melody between the verse and the chorus isn’t very big either. The verse is very uptempo sounding and is much better compared to the kind of slow sounding chorus. That’s what you’ve got to work on. If your verse is so uptempo, make sure your chorus takes it to that next level and lifts the song, that it makes me want to get up and dance, or at least makes me think of wanting to dance because it is a happy message after all, the guy got what he wanted.

Chris Cogott - Welcome To Kabul
I love your title. It’s very welcoming (ha-ha, get it?) and it draws me in. I haven’t heard the song yet, writing this first sentence down so I’m curious and looking forward to hearing it.
I love the guitar, it’s a good intro and it sound very crisp. When you started singing it sounded like you were disconnected from the instrumentals and the lyrics though. I’m not exactly sure why but based on the guitar and the sound quality I think I expected a little bit more. The lyrics are okay, they’re very simple sounding and of average length. Then you make it all up again with the chorus. It’s catchy sounding, I like the harmonies. You could play around with the harmonies a little more because right now they kind of sound like they were generated by a computer. The lyrics of the chorus are simple but they are strong, the message comes across very well that way. Then, the ‘slip away’-part. That is awesome! It takes me away to the world where everything is slipping away and it sounds very haunting. Your transition to the chorus sounds perfect too, don’t change anything about that. The last verse sounded a little better than the first, you seemed to be more ‘in’ the song but then the song ended very abruptly, it felt like. I would’ve preferred more of an outro but that’s just personal I guess. I do feel like the song in the beginning maybe sounds a little too happy for the lyrics but it does make the transition to the solo part very beautiful.. It just feels so weird to listen to you sing “bombs explode” all happily. So next time, try to connect more to your lyrics and maybe spend some more time on writing lyrics, especially because your guitar sounds very clean without much emotion, then it all kind of depends on your melody and singing.

Inverse T. Clown - Something In The Air
I love your song! It’s absolutely amazing. I love the instrumentals, it sounds very space-y, which is very appropriate because of the subject your song is about. Your lyrics are well thought –out, I can see you spent quite some time on them, not only rhyming them but also making sure the lyrics flow in the sentences and sound catchy. The balance between your verse and chorus is very good too. I like that you changed the lyrics of your chorus everytime but you kept the catchphrase “there’s something in the air”. It’s echoing in my head right now. I would definitely listen to this song again. The production quality could use a little more attention though. Your voice was a little too overpowering compared to the music. I would turn up the instrumentals a bit more so your voice kind of blends in with the music but make sure it’s still understandable.

Caleb Hines - Too Soon To Say Goodbye
That is a happy, cute sounding song with a little bit of sadness in it. I like it! I think the melody and instrumentals would’ve fit better in a musical/movie about a little kid singing she’s going to sleep and everything will be okay tomorrow, it just kind of reminds me of a situation like that and therefore I’m going to say that I don’t think the lyrics entirely fit the song but overall you did a good job. The singing could’ve been better but that’s ok, just make sure you want to be a songwriter, not a singer- I won’t hold it against you in rating the songs though. I like the recording, it sounds professional and I think there are a lot of people that would like this song. The harmonies were off but from what I could tell you wanted it to sound like, it was good and at the appropriate places.

Matt And Donna - A Tight Spot
When the song first started out it reminded me of the old games I played on a gameboy. I think that’s good though because I knew your song is about two children so it’s cool to involve a little children’s association with your song. I think the intro and the inbetween solo are a little too long but that’s personal, I’m just not a big fan of long intro’s and solo’s. I do, however, have a weak for funny endings and I love the ending of your song. The lyrics are very good, they flow nicely and they all fit into the song. I actually like your voice too, it’s not the best but it’s pleasant to listen to. It’s an original way to write your song too, from a hypothetical brother’s perspective. I would turn up the drums a little more in the verse because the difference in dynamics between the verse and the chorus is a litte big to me. And I’m definitely missing the bass, I don’t know if you have the resources to add a bass but I think it would fit the song really well! And erhh, maybe change your title…

Wait What - Bunny Please Don't Go
I like your song. It’s catchy and well put together. Kind of a funny subject and goes well with the music. Not a fan of the autotuned sound but maybe I would take that back once I hear the untouched version, so I won’t say anything about it, haha. I can’t get the cowbells out of my head though, they are a little overwhelming, maybe you want to turn them down a bit next time. There are some spots in the song that feel a little empty, for example right after the bridge. It kind of feels like you had to start the chorus but you missed it so you just started it the next measure. I especially like the verses and my favorite line is “I just don’t know no better”. It just sounds so unexpected (to hear ‘know no’) yet it’s totally right. Things like that stick out to me and I love it. Good job!

Ross Durand - The American Way
I really like the way the song starts out with the guitar and also the way you keep it going throughout the whole song. You’re playing some nice chordprogressions and it’s very easy on the ears. It sounds like a fun and cute song simply to get the message across. I like the ‘less-is-more’ feeling of your song. I like your melody and voice too, it sounds good and works well with the guitar. You’ve got a good chorus, just listening to it once doesn’t get it stuck in my head but you’re repeating it just enough times to make it catchy but not annoying. One thing I wasn’t crazy about was the bridge. It starts out good but then it just feels like it kind of goes somewhere without much thinking. I’m talking about the part between “rise above it – State’s wrongs” and then you end it as if it were a verse or a chorus. I’d like the bridge to be a little more daring and exciting sounding and to go back to the chorus with which the listener’s comfortable with now. Don’t have much more to say about it, except for I would’ve liked to hear more.

Steve Durand - When Frankie And Johnny Get Married
Your song sounds like a mix between a folksong and a nursery rhyme and a wedding song. It’s a pretty nice mix and I like it. I really like when it started out, you started the first four lines of the verse and then the second four lines had a different melody line, that was quite a pleasant surprise. They seem to fit and go well with eachother so I was happy when I heard that. Then I got really curious to what the rest of the song would sound like because so far I really liked it. Then it just went downhill for me. The instrumentals stayed the same, no exciting chord changes or melody changes, it sounds like this song has no chorus at all. It drags and drags on and get just really boring. I know there is a chorus but it blends in so well with the whole rhythm and progression of the song that it sounds like there is none. I do like the interlude, it’s a nice change. I know you tried to change up the song by changing the key but the first time I listened to it it just went by me, I was so hypnotized by the ‘boom- cha- cha’ rhythm that I missed it. Try and maybe add a bridge that breaks up the whole song, don’t use the choppy lines but make them a little longer to get the listener focussed again and quit the draggy feeling of the song towards the end.

Happi - Double The Fetish
Starting out the song with the chorus was a bad, bad idea. I listened to it and honestly I was thinking Oh My.. That’s bad. Anyway, thankfully it got a little better but you need to work on your singing or let someone else sing. It’s not like you made it any better by harmonizing. Weirdly enough though, I walked away to get something to drink and now it is stuck in my head. It’s actually pretty catchy but that’s probably because it sounds better in my head. Anyway, your rapping isn’t too bad. There are some lines that you kind of played with, probably because you couldn’t find the right (amount of) words to make a nicely flowing sentence so that was a little weak sounding. On the other hand you did have some lines that I really liked and actually sounded really nice. So your song to me is kind of hot and cold. It’s simple, nothing too fancy, it’s not good but not bad either. Just get someone else to sing the chorus for you and I think you’ll make a lot of progress.

Charlie McCarron - The Mountain Will Not Yield
The song sounds very haunting. It’s got a very different feel to it, something I don’t feel a lot with songs and it’s good. It’s making me crave more of the song. The verses are very exciting sounding, I love the combination of your melody line together with the chords. You’re building up to the chorus very nicely, I like the chorus too, love the instrumentals. I honestly don’t have much advice to give you to do it better next time. I guess the one thing I would’ve liked is more space after ‘through the clouds’. You kind of drop all of the instrumentals and there is a little bit of a silence. I think it’s a little too short though, it sounds very nice and I love it, but I’d like more time to realize what’s happening and then you can kick the song back in.

Jon Eric - North Dakota (I. Five Years, II. Fargo, III. Panic, IV. Rain, V. Dry Land)
I gotta give you props for writing that much music and lyrics. It’s a cool song but when I realized how long it was I had to blink a couple of times to see if the computer really said 9 minutes and 22 seconds. Anyway, it’s a nice song and I can’t get around it, it’s very long. Too long if you ask me. Not because I think every song has to end at 4 minutes because all of the songs do but because there just wasn’t much interesting happening. You did stay nicely within the chords that sounded well with your song, used an interesting change here and there but other than that, it stopped. There wasn’t a huge instrumental change or big change in chordprogression, it just all sounded the same but a little different. And if you have to listen to that for 9:30 minutes, it gets old. Overall, your lyrics are ok, you have really good instrumentals and chordprogressions and some nice melody lines so it’s definitely not a bad song. Just do me one favor, don’t ever whistle anymore.

Alex Carpenter - The Last Launch
I don’t know if you’ll take it as a compliment or not but the first thing that popped into my mind is that your song kind of sounds like a Taylor Swift song. The opinions about her vary but fact is, she’s rich and famous because of her songs. I really like your guitar playing in this song. I love the chords, it sounds very pop-like, just catchy and quick. The song is a little short but that’s okay. I’m not crazy about the chorus either but that’s okay too. I’d just say your song is a little average sounding. It sounds like you rushed the whole process of writing this song and maybe you were in a hurry. I just see a song with the potential to be good but still needs quite some work. Maybe you should take a look at your song again and add some more lyrics, perhaps make the chorus a little longer. I think it would make the song a lot better. For now, it’s ok.

1 comment:

  1. I almost didn't submit this song. And you gave it first place? That is crazy.