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Saturday, July 23, 2011

SpinTunes #3 Round 3 Review: Mike Lombardo

This round's reviews are once again brought to you from the tour van, this time between Austin and Dallas.

Jutze - My Friend Kay
Rather interesting and offbeat subject for a rap. The banjo loop was funny, but I'm not sure if that's the reaction that you want because it doesn't fit with anything else. A commen method of rap production is to use 2 vocal tracks, overdubbing every other line so you have room to breathe in between. You might want to give this a shot as sometimes you're struggling to get the lyrics in. The additional section at the end adds nothing and is clearly there to make the time requirement. I'm not sure about the odd measure lengths in the chorus section - odd time is generally a no-no in rap and I don't think it adds anything here other than some confusion.

Edric Haleen - Sarah
Another interesting approach here. The intentionally off-kilter and awkward beats work well under the 'failed' sections of the rap. The opening non-rap section is just a bit long for my taste, if only by two lines or so. There is a healthy amount of variation in the rhyme rhythm.

The Offhand Band - Not Cool
This song is LOONG. The chorus could be trimmed down a bit without losing any impact. There are some very good internal rhymes and rhythmic variation, particulary in the andrew lloyd weber stanza. The bridge is waaaaaaaaay too long. A bridge is generally one or two lines that change the pace and summarize the song. The musical development in the track behind the bridge does keep it from being too tedious, however.

There are a handful of awkward settings but overall it's very good. Despite a need to have some fat trimmed, this is one of the best constructed entries.

Russ Durand - Camp Romance
This is probably the creepiest thing I've ever heard in my life. Technically, it is constructed well... I wish the loop was longer than one bar. I'm not sold on the chorus. I think there are some better options but it doesn't hurt the song. The length is good and the last verse is particularly solid.

Wait What - Six Years Seventeen Days
Construction-wise, this is solid stuff. Almost all of the pacing and rhymes work well. The ending seems a bit abrupt, but that's minor. My biggest complaint is that it feels too long. There's a lot of good material here, and thinning out some of it might make this song a lot more effective. Right around the last verse I found myself checking the timer, amazed that it was still under 4 minutes. Relatively little new information is added at this point in the song, but it's just elaborating on the situation that the listener already clearly understands. Thinning this down and shortening it up will turn this into a really great number.

Pat And Gweebol - TickiTock (Top Tad)
+5 points for use of "ass-clown" in a song.
Not a huge fan of the three-phrase chorus section. 2 or 4 would sound much more natural. "McFly" is mis-stressed pretty badly to the point of being a distraction but for the most part the rhymes are pretty solid and interesting. The female part did a particularly good job of staying in time but also sounding somewhat like normal speech patterns, which is a nice effect for the particular story element of this song.

Matt And Donna - Anatomy Dance
I really like the 2 major chord at the end of the chorus. This has a Justin Timberlake feel to it, especially with the doubled vocals and the great harmonies. This is a great idea. The verses look much more meaty on paper than they are in performance because they go so fast. For greater effect I'd recommend considering combining some or all of the verses together to make one big long cluster of anatomical terms. I think that would really drive home the 'gimmick' so to speak of this song. All in all this is a pretty solid execution of a pretty solid idea.

Caleb Hines - Two Musicians
While this is a cool idea, it doesn't really contain original content as far as it was explained to me, and it is definitely not a rap. A beat poem is probably the best way to categorize this. It's a neat concept but it does not fulfill the challenge.

Charlie McCarron - Trail In The Snow
Some great imagery in the lyrics here. Stylistically it's quite unique. There's not a ton of variety in the rhyme layout but there's enough to keep it consistently interesting. I don't have a ton of criticism for this piece; I think it pretty appropriately fit the challenge while maintaining the personal style of the artist.

Steve Durand - A Place For Love
This is slipping into beat-poem territory because the only rhythmic alignments are the end-rhymes, and it seems like a free-for-all up until the end of the line, but it's still rap enough for me, barely. Because of the mainly end-rhyme structure, there's not a ton of variety or internal rhyme. I would really like to see the entire phrases actually set to the beat rather than just recited, and some more rhyming internally or through-written through the lines would be pretty cool but this is a good start and fulfills the requirement humorously.

Dr Lindyke - Politics And Promises
This is a pretty compelling entry from Dr Lindyke. They've done an excellent job of finding the middle ground between telling your story as straightforward as possible in a naturally worded way, and using word choice to create interesting and engaging rhymes. This rap really pulled me into the message and had some great imagery as well. The only line that caught my ear as a distracting mis-setting was "If it's ok to you then you're on the wrong track." The pause was unexpected and I think that line could have been worked out a little more smoothly.
Recommended listening: "vultures" by five iron frenzy

Jon Eric - The Dance
This is very well done. The line "Share a glance over a couple of color copies" is precisely the type of internal rhyme variation that I was looking to see from entries in this round. I don't have much criticism of this entry other than the narrative's pacing seems a little off kilter and and female vocal doubles on the chorus are a little sloppy. Over all, very good.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks. I'll take away some comfort in elimination that mine was your top pick, especially with your video interview having been posted along with the challenge announcement, and also especially since you felt so strongly (as a lot of reviewers did) about the length. I was really aware of how long it was, and in particular how unusually long the bridge was. I was hoping the musical contrast would carry the bridge through, and I'm glad it did at least a bit for you. As for the rest of the song, I guess I figured that I had some things to say, and this was the time to say it, length be damned. Anyway, thanks again.

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