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Saturday, July 23, 2011

SpinTunes #3 Round 3 Review: Kari Fleskes

I invited Kari to guest judge because I'm a fan of her YouTube channel, and she's a talented young lady who I thought could give helpful feedback. Go check the girl out.

Dr. Lindyke - Politics And Promises *****
Bravo! Firstly, GREAT title. Secondly, what a solid message! I bow to you, Dr. Lindyke. This might be my favorite. :) You've got a great vocal tone for the rapping in particular, great rhythm, a nice beat, wonderful verbal flow, and the lyrics are superb. It has a real honest feel to it, very sincere. Definitely pulls the listener in to the message, even if they've got different opinions. They'll still listen. Wonderfully done! I feel that this entry most thoroughly represents this challenge. Highest of high marks from me for whatever that's worth. :)

Pat And Gweebol - TikiTock (Top Tad) *****
I love this entry both as a listener, and as a writer. I absolutely love the way you've structured the rhythm of your lyric with the rhythm of your track. It's a very modern combination that you've executed perfectly. Great hook, and great melody for it. You've got a strong story, clearly stating the conflict as a specific individual. I love that you even took it as far as naming the guy. The perfect placement of the female verses and perspective makes the listener feel as if they're a friend of these people. They feel connected, might even be tempted to take sides. I love this song as a writer too, as I can admire that you've so clearly and smoothly defined three specific personalities, within two perspectives, within one story. It's completely brilliant. Excellent track. Top marks from me.

Steve Durand - A Place For Love ****
I have a very strong opinion of the proper use and proper amount of specific nouns used as descriptions. I feel that oftentimes it's either done really good or really bad. You, sir, have done it wonderfully. You've got a good majority being bold, common nouns used for a specific description, rather than relying on a proper noun to do the describing for you. Yet you've sprinkled even brand names into your lyric, being very descriptive. Extreme contrast. But it's done RIGHT. You've adding just the right amount, allowing your listener to feel as if he's "in on the loop" of the office romance lingo. This makes the listener emotionally interested in hearing the rest of your song. I also love the chorus. At first it felt a little late, but after hearing how it well it rounded out the track, I take it back. :) Expertly done. I also enjoyed the horns on this track, however the horns were very bluesy. I would have liked to hear them in smaller, designated sections. It rather takes away from your rap intention.

Charlie McCarron - In The Snow ****
What good writers here on SpinTown! I really enjoyed your song. I particularly like the contrast of the slow and moody idea of a spooky concept paired with the "harder" idea of a rap. I believe you combined these aspects perfectly. The lyrics were descriptive and suspenseful, and the beautiful singing of the chorus adds to the supernatural feel. I do wish you would have elaborated a little more as to the source of this suspenseful conflict. I think if you'd been a little more particular in defining your antagonist of the lyric, it would have had a little more emotional substance. I know even though a topic like this isn't an emotional one, you want the listener to become a part of your song. Rap in particular is known for invoking strong emotion. Also the background vocals and the melody is metaphorically rather emotional, so I feel a definite reason for this spookiness would have really brought the song full circle. However, overall, nicely done.

Ross Durand - Camp Romance ****
You, Ross Durand, are a genius. In my opinion, you've successfully woven multiple genres into a memorable creation. And your topic is about something your entire audience can understand: a summer love. You've got just enough nostalgia for the song to be relatable. I really commend your restraint on the metaphors; doing this has intensified the tone of memory without distracting from it. My favorite aspect of your piece was your cleverly placed alliteration. The way you've structured it, there's just the right amount of humor in exactly the right places. I think it also adds a rough, or "gravel" kind of feel to the lyric which really compliments the whole feeling of camp. Even though some might not consider this a "rap" at first listen, I really feel like it's a solid entry.

Edric Haleen - Sarah ***
As incredibly cool as this song was in it's structure, the tone for me was just a bit off. I loved how it began, the first two verses were enough. I wished screw it would have been a little more nervous, maybe an octave higher, or tight and tense rather than resigned. The dangling verse after "Screw It" is awkward. It repeats what is implied in the previous section, so you don't really need it. Trust your listener to be intelligent. They will infer in the first two verses what you're stating in that third one. You don't need it. The first little rap was maybe a bit longer than it needed to be since it was a first attempt, but the content is unique so it works. The second rap section (after "try that again") was the weakest link. Make it stronger, a little more confident than the first. It's tricky because it has to be better than the first, but not as good as the third. So it needs to be stronger, but the "mess up" needs to be funnier than your awkward stumbling in the first section. The third rap is great, I just wish it could have either been shortened, or the music changed to enhance it a lot more. Halfway through, it becomes stale, like we're waiting for something to happen. Go ahead and get to the climax of the song, have the guy go as far as confessing he's dreamed of having her babies, or painted pictures of their wedding day, or something really random and weird. You've started the song at a great point, the guy is timid and nervous, he doesn't know what to say and it's funny. At the end of the song when your character becomes different (more confident and honest) you should still have a little more humor. Your "small" character (at the beginning) has "small" humor (i.e. in what's implied and how he stutters), so your "big" character, or contrast character, should have "bigger" humor. And the ending is brilliant but it'll be even more punctuated if he postpones the crazy speech (or the "big" humor) until tomorrow. Have him go all in, he doesn't really say this to her anyway, right? No reason to have boundaries.

Ethan Ivey - Entry 3 (Shadow) ***
I liked the rhythm of the track very much. It's very easy to get into. The lyrics were superb. Great storytelling abilities and you deliver the lyric with a noticeable build in enthusiasm. I REALLY love this detail. In particular, I like the additions of the foul language to impact the panic of the situation. Very genius. As AWESOME as the ending was, it wasn't punctuated quite the way it could have been. Right now, the rhythm of your lyric doesn't change. And that's okay because you're building tension. I feel that's a suitable time to break the rules. However, the song doesn't actually reach a climax in the story. You need a good, strong, simple hook to break up the monotony of the rhythm. Breaking it up with a good hook will keep the rhythm catchy to the listener and also give you an opportunity to really set up a climax with a lyrical twist. Something ironic at the very end before it cuts out. Make the listener sad it ended, but satisfied with it as a whole.

The Boffo Yux Dudes - It's All About the Benjamins (Shadow) ***
Really nice job. I really liked the play on Benjamin, I think this was done absolutely brilliantly! Perfect balance of funny and clever. However, I do wish you'd had more of a chorus. Even if you just changed the beat behind one of the verses. The verses were excellent; though as a whole song, the lack of a hook was obvious. Overall, I really enjoyed listening to it. You're an excellent writer.

Jon Eric - The Dance **
I really liked the male vocal in this. I feel the attitude, tone, and rhythm was pretty spot on. However, the piano at the beginning was pretty cool, but I don't feel it was technically a rap track. You could have broken it up and used the keyboard to carry the rhythm rather than a drum track. I personally like the piano, but I don't think it's a comfortable fit for your rap. The lyrics were very funny, but I'm not sure the chorus was as informative as it needed to be. I wish you'd have written in a little more specifics as to her intentions during her vocal. I do also like the male clarification towards the end of the song. It elaborates more on the extent of this girl's obsession with him (? I don't even really know what her intentions were). In any case, the rhythm was solid, the verses were very funny, but the chorus didn't quite round out the song the way I was hoping.

Matt And Donna - Anatomy Dance **
I don't know how often I can stress the phrase "A little goes a long way." It's definitely a line to keep in mind when you write a song like this. You, as an artist, are responsible for igniting an emotion in your listeners. Now, I know there's a lot of debate about which emotions to focus on for any given genera, but when you draft a composition that's written so specifically, the majority of your listeners tend to feel intimidated, even stupid. And they stop listening. You definitely want to be unique, but you also want to make sure your listener can keep up. So, as educated as you are, you want to remember your audience: are they as knowledgeable? Will they understand the "message" of my track, and feel good because of it? You don't want to lose the connection with your listener. And too many proper nouns is a common mistake. It makes the lyric heavy and flat. However, I sincerely liked the melody of your chorus. It was bright and catchy. And I really enjoyed the perspective of it and how you turned dancing into a math problem. As a listener who can't dance, I thought this was really fun.

Jutze - My Friend Kay *
I can really appreciate the leap of faith here. Not only are you writing in a tricky category, you're writing about a tricky topic.
There are so many definitions and perspectives of what rap really is and what it should be. My focus as a judge is the strength of the lyrics in particular. This song still reads like a first draft. I definitely commend the brave decision to write about this sexual woman. Your intention of humor and descriptive lines were nicely placed. Now, lyrical content like this is either a big YES for a listener, or a big, flat NO. The audience will either find it funny, or stupid. There's not really much room for someone to settle in the middle. It takes a lot of guts to pair this lyrical boldness with the rough and tumbled audio texture that is rap. There's not really a hook, so a listener's head doesn't really know how to feel about this girl Kay. I personally like your way of describing this girl as a sort of sloppy goof. But then she's not? She's just a dumpee? Well that's not nearly as fun. I sincerely wish you would have committed just a little more and pushed yourself to really stick with that negative image. If you're going to write one of these bold songs, you really have to give it all or give it up. You start the song with how much this girl is a dirty mess, then you try to be polite and say it's just because she's been dumped? As a woman, I appreciate this effort to be polite, but you're capable of a really good story here. If she starts out a mess, have the chorus just go over the top.

Wait What - Six Years Seventeen Days *
I see a lot of potential in this piece. I'm a big fan of the sprinkle of proper nouns you've used as adjectives; though be careful doing this--you don't want to make too many specific references unless the majority of them are entirely and completely well-known. You don't want your audience to feel stupid for not getting the joke. They tend to get irritated when that happens. So use the REALLY unique references REALLY sparingly. A little goes a long way. There's a reasonable level of humor in the lyric. You've got a good theme. However, breakups can be hard to write about. It's a big challenge to keep your lyrics from landing too close to cliche. I feel that, even tough your adjective play with proper nouns is really clever, there's not really much of an emotional point to the song. You're so specific in your writing, there's no excuse not to be specific in your story. In fact, I actually feel that it's more important. If you're going to write well, your topic doesn't necessarily have to be interesting or unique--but your perspective on it absolutely has to be. Don't be afraid to go the distance. For example: She broke up with this guy? Okay. Well maybe now this guy hasn't slept in three months because he can't stop thinking about her. Or maybe he sleeps in the backseat of her car at night just so he can smell her? Or what if he can't help himself from urinating on her back door? Just a few examples of what I mean by "go the distance." Take it to a level no one would expect. You've already got a fantastic setup for it. If you're writing is specific, really set a solid point and throw everything in that direction. A good thing to remember is, "Everything has been said a hundred million times. It's how you say it that makes it memorable." Stay parallel and don't hold back.

The Offhand Band - Not Cool *
I definitely admire the use of proper nouns expertly woven into this piece as adjectives. You've done it brilliantly. However, the impact of this will only be appreciated by a listener who comprehends all the references. With the internet now making sharing original music so easy, the artist really has to consider his audience now. I don't feel you've done this in this project. You've obviously got such a skill for creative writing, but I'm disappointed in this entry. The specifics become repetitious and confusing because they occur in nearly every line. I would have loved to see your genius ability to incorporate these clever specifics used in a more productive way. It would be much more effective if you alternated: Use your proper nouns heavily in verse one, but be sure the verse that follows is a little more neutral. Like in the kitchen: "A little spice goes a long way." Well, so do proper adjectives. Even though this is a characteristic of rap, the amount of them in your song takes away from the rhythm.

Menage' a Tune - Roman Road Trip *
You've got a good solid beat in the background. I admire how you were able to take that same beat and use the melody of the chorus to give it a different feel. I really enjoyed the vocal fade out at the end, I think it was done really well. However, it doesn't feel like a finished piece. Also, writer's have to be constantly vigilant of cliches. Some are alright if used the proper way. For example, I feel that your chorus was an acceptable use of a cliche, just don't extend it too long. However the verses were overwhelmed with cliches. I don't really feel that the tone of this song can be quite considered a rap. It's hard to get a sense of you as a writer with such a minimal composition.

1 comment:

  1. OMG Kari is Paul Abdul to my Simon. Actually I'm more like Randy... "that was pitchy" is about as deep as I get. Kari: "like trying to catch the rain." Kevin: Fart.