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Saturday, August 6, 2011

SpinTunes #3 Round 4 Review: Chris Commisso

I've been a fan of Chris on YouTube for awhile now, and when it was time to look for guest judges, he was one of my first choices. I noticed he uploaded a new video today, and his channel is called ThePianoShack. After you read his reviews, you should check him out.

Charlie McCarron - Skipping Stones
The laid back vocal fits nice with the sparse production & sweet lyrics. Totally diggin the solo in the middle….fretless bass? Whatever it is, I love it because I wasn't expecting it. The chord changes in spots are unpredictable….which again, I love. In a world of predictable songs this one sticks out in a good way. Sometimes songwriters will choose strange chords to be different but it ends up sounding so weird the listener can't get into it. Not the case here. A nice retro Beach Boys/Jack Johnson vibe going on but still current sounding. Cool also how the title hooks near the end of the song. The only thing I would suggest on this one is possibly a more interesting opening with the guitar. It just strummed the opening chord a few times & didn't really interest me in what was coming. A melody played or a chord pattern that still fits with the song might work. Only a suggestion of course. Overall, I thought this was a great track! Awesome work!

Matt And Donna - Back Down The Road
Very nice vocal on this one. And cool trumpet solo! Overall the song has a great feel & mood to it. And obviously the writer is a strong lyricist. I guess the song started to lose my interest after a couple minutes & my guess is that's because the lyrics didn't really pin down a strong emotion that I could relate to. Again, the words & music created some undeniable emotion but I just stared tuning out after a while. If I were working with this writer, I'd want to know what he/she is crazy passionate about in life then work up a song from that place. I think you can have a passive laid back song & still be reactive in subject matter. An example might be "Fire & Rain" by James Taylor. Very chill song musically but lyrically cuts to the heart. Overall I very much enjoyed this song & it certainly peaked my interest to hear more from this artist.

Pat And Gweebol - In The DeVille
Male & female vocalists have a good blend. The melody was nice & overall the song has a charming quality to it. Everyone can relate to a special place where we all go to get away from the world, so that's a relatable theme. It's also a theme that's been done to death, so I would suggest the writers find ways to write about these kind of subjects from a different angle….a unique one that no one else has touched on yet. I know that's easier said then done, but it's something worth working towards to make your songs stand out. A modern example would be Christina Perri's "Jar Of Hearts" a song about her boyfriend breaking up with her. She could have called the song "He left me" or "I'm alone again" ect. But instead she chose a unique angle & great title. And your title actually is a strong one. The only other thing I would suggest is to work on improving the music production. It sounds like a programmed beat & piano pattern on an old keyboard. True it adds a little charm but it's also very dated & thin sounding. Either network with other producers to help you with your songs or just start watching some "how to" music production videos on youtube. There're tons to choose from these days. And of course none of this is necessary if you're just recording for fun. But if you really want to take things to the next level, the production has to be better. Other than that, I enjoyed your song & think there's a lot of talent here!

Ross Durand - Rusty
Great title & I dig the Tom Petty-ish vocals. I admire the writers honesty & it's easy for the rest of us to sing along because of the strong attitude of the singer. The drums sounded like a pattern played from a keyboard which unfortunately works against the edgy gritty vibe of the song. They really need to be real drums but I understand that's not always easy to make happen. Working with a producer would be a suggestion or if your self-producing, experiment with other ways to do the drums. Possibly a loop from a recording program such as Acid Pro or Propellerhead's Reason. Then you have a sample of real drums. Makes a big difference. Other than that, nice tune!

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