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Saturday, July 23, 2011

SpinTunes #3: Round 4 Challenge

A Picture's Worth A Thousand Lyrics - Write a song inspired by the Reinfried Marass photo below:
(2 minute minimum) (your submission is due July 31st 11:59PM)

You can find more of his wonderful photography by visiting his website: http://reinfriedmarass.com/ Only the picture embedded above is allowed to be used for the contest though.

Submitting Entries:

- Entries must be received by the given deadline. Otherwise it'll be posted as a shadow. Received means that it has to appear in my e-mail inbox by the given deadline. I will be going by the time stamp on the e-mail in my inbox. PLEASE do not wait until the last hour to send me something. If there is a blackout in your area, your computer crashes, or your dog actually eats your thumb drive...I will not care. You are allowed to send in a draft of your song early just in case something horrible happens & you miss the deadline. Then you can add polish to your song & send in a better version closer to the deadline. 1 minute late is still late people.



- Send your file in a format that Bandcamp accepts. (.aiff, .wav or .flac) (at least 16-bit/44.1kHz) You can find the specific requirements for Bandcamp files HERE. You do not have to send in MP3's.

- Name your file the song's title, but without spaces & punctuation.

- Title of the e-mail should be the title of the Challenge & your band's name.

- Include the song lyrics in the body of the e-mail. (If your song doesn't have lyrics...consider yourself eliminated. Instrumentals can be pretty, but SpinTunes does require lyrics.)

- Include information on anyone that needs credited if you collabed with someone.

- File sharing options if you need them: YouSendIt, Sound Cloud, Drop Box, RapidShare, ZShare & MediaFire. Please send an e-mail as I already stated, but with the download link if you need one of these services. Please follow directions so your file doesn't wind up in my spam or trash folder accidentally.

- If you have a BandCamp account, you can just send me a link to your song on BandCamp if you include all the info I mentioned above. Make sure you have it set as a free download, and have it set so that I don't have to put in an e-mail to download it if you pick this option. THIS IS THE BEST FILE SHARING OPTION!

Side Notes:

- PLEASE do your best to send in submissions that BandCamp will allow me to upload. Details about what BandCamp allows are only a mouse click away.

- Remember that you are allowed to send in a little background about your song. Some people don't like to do that, and you don't have to, but if you want to write a couple sentences about your song I'll post it on the BandCamp page for people to see. Some judges will look at the lyrics & this extra info, but they aren't required to.

- If you didn't sign-up in time to compete in SpinTunes #3, you can still complete the challenge & send in a song. It'll be uploaded with the other entries as a "Shadow Song". Check the FAQ if you don't know what that means. You can even complete past challenges from previous contests.

- If you didn't sign-up you can also do a song for "Single Rainbow Across The Internet". You're song would be played during the LP as well.

- The only other way to get your music played at the LP is to cover "Today's The Day" by Inverse T. Clown. This project was started in our little community of friends long before SpinTunes even started.

- Feel free to leave any questions in the comments.

SpinTunes #3 Round 3 Totals

The challenge for the final round will be posted tonight around 1AM.

Here are the links to the individual reviews:

Official Judges:
Mike Lombardo - Mitchell Adam Johnson - Dave Santucci - Ben Davila - Glenn Case

Guest Judges:
Kari Fleskes - Kevin Nalty

Alternate Judge's Review: Spin

You can listen to all the wonderful songs from this round by checking out the free album HERE.

Judges feel free to check my totals. I rarely make mistakes...but anything is possible. If my figures are correct the 8 people in bold have been eliminated from the contest. I really hope they decide to continue in the contest as shadows, and I thank EVERYONE for their hard work this round.

Notes About Results:
- Caleb Hines was DQ'ed based mostly on the fact that he didn't write the lyrics for his entry. So he was moved to the bottom of all the judges (and guest judges) rankings.

Total Scores: (Glenn) (Mike) (David) (Mitchell) (Ben) (Kari) (Kevin)
Pat And Gweebol - 2 - 8 - 11 - 9 - 12 - 11 - 8 (61)
Charlie McCarron - 12 - 9 - 9 - 12 - 2 - 9 - 7 (60)
Matt And Donna - 10 - 7 - 3 - 11 - 11 - 5 - 11 (58)
Ross Durand - 11 - 4 - 7 - 2 - 9 - 8 - 12 (53)
Steve Durand - 8 - 3 - 12 - 7 - 8 - 10 - 4 (52)
Jon Eric - 7 - 11 - 6 - 11 - 4 - 6 - 5 (50)
Dr. Lindyke - 6 - 10 - 8 - 3 - 3 - 12 - 3 (45)
The Offhand Band - 4 - 12 - 10 - 5 - 5 - 2 - 6 (44)
Edric Haleen - 5 - 5 - 2 - 4 - 10 - 7 - 10 (43)
Wait What - 3 - 6 - 4 - 8 - 6 - 3 - 9 (39)
Jutze - 9 - 2 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 4 - 2 (35)
Caleb Hines - 1 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 1 (7)


Glenn's Rankings:
Charlie McCarron - 12
Ross Durand - 11
Matt And Donna - 10
Jutze - 9
Steve Durand - 8
Jon Eric - 7
Dr. Lindyke - 6
Edric Haleen - 5
The Offhand Band - 4
Wait What - 3
Pat And Gweebol - 2
Caleb Hines - 1

Mike's Rankings:
The Offhand Band - 12
Jon Eric - 11
Dr. Lindyke - 10
Charlie McCarron - 9
Pat And Gweebol - 8
Matt And Donna - 7
Wait What - 6
Edric Haleen - 5
Ross Durand - 4
Steve Durand - 3
Jutze - 2
Caleb Hines - 1

David's Rankings:
Steve Durand - 12
Pat And Gweebol - 11
The Offhand Band - 10
Charlie McCarron - 9
Dr. Lindyke - 8
Ross Durand - 7
Jon Eric - 6
Jutze - 5
Wait What - 4
Matt And Donna - 3
Edric Haleen - 2
Caleb Hines - 1

Mitchell's Rankings:
Charlie McCarron - 12
Matt And Donna - 11
Jon Eric - 10
Pat And Gweebol - 9
Wait What - 8
Steve Durand - 7
Jutze - 6
The Offhand Band - 5
Edric Haleen - 4
Dr. Lindyke - 3
Ross Durand - 2
Caleb Hines - 1

Ben's Rankings:
Pat And Gweebol - 12
Matt And Donna - 11
Edric Haleen - 10
Ross Durand - 9
Steve Durand - 8
Jutze - 7
Wait What - 6
The Offhand Band - 5
Jon Eric - 4
Dr. Lindyke - 3
Charlie McCarron - 2
Caleb Hines - 1

Kari's Rankings:
Dr. Lindyke - 12
Pat And Gweebol - 11
Steve Durand - 10
Charlie McCarron - 9
Ross Durand - 8
Edric Haleen - 7
Jon Eric - 6
Matt And Donna - 5
Jutze - 4
Wait What - 3
The Offhand Band - 2
Caleb Hines - 1

Kevin's Rankings:
Ross Durand - 12
Matt And Donna - 11
Edric Haleen - 10
Wait What - 9
Pat And Gweebol - 8
Charlie McCarron - 7
The Offhand Band - 6
Jon Eric - 5
Steve Durand - 4
Dr. Lindyke - 3
Jutze - 2
Caleb Hines - 1

Popular Vote Totals:
Matt And Donna - 26
Pat And Gweebol - 21
Dr. Lindyke - 18
The Offhand Band - 14
Ross Durand - 14
Charlie McCarron - 13
Jon Eric - 8
Edric Haleen - 6
Caleb Hines - 5
Steve Durand - 4
Jutze - 4
Wait What - 2
(135 total votes)

SpinTunes #3 Round 3 Review: Kevin Nalty

YouTube has been a pretty important tool for spreading the awareness of SpinTunes & I've contacted many of our competitors in the past via YouTube. Kevin Nalty is a legend on YouTube, and knows more about viral marketing than I could ever hope to. Since I've been a fan for a long time, I thought it would be cool to get him to review a round of SpinTunes.

Mall Pranks
Here's one of my favorite videos that he has made.
 
---------------------------------------------------------------
 
It’s an honor to judge SpinTunes #3 round-3 rap challenge. I can distinctly recall the day I first met a rap fan in 1986. He was a classmate, and after he played me a few Beastie Boys tunes at his house, he agreed to drive me home. But on route he told me he was going to steal a computer by smashing a store window with a brick. I politely asked to be dropped off at a corner before his crime, and he later told me his theft was a fail… the window display was a prop.

Rap has come a long way since the late 1980s, and is now threaded into the fabric of nearly every musical genre. This collection is difficult to rank, however, because you’ll find yourself see-sawing between assessing the rap song and the artist. In many cases the musicians are gifted but in the wrong genre. In other cases we’ve got a nice rap composition that’s tarnished with an element that doesn’t mix. I like spinach and ice cream, but not together.

To offset my temporal disadvantage (old age) I recruited three teenage girls to help… my daughter and her cousins. I trust the artists will take no offense since we’re a motley crew with various tastes. We listened, debated, and listened again. Some songs shot up the list after a few plays, and others began to grate on us. The lesson is that you can’t underestimate rap artists. A song can crumble with just one odd loop, misplaced singer, or flare that doesn’t match the hip-hop sound. The mix of speech, prose, poetry and song is easier to criticize than master.

Ross Durand - Camp Romance
This was at first just a “guilty pleasure,” but it began to grow on us. The infections chorus chants Kumbaya, which was an African American spiritual song from the 1930s and campfire favorite. It doesn’t technically belong in the rap category but it made us all smile and got the most replays of our judging session. The mix reminds us of Jason Derulo’s “Don’t Wanna Go Home,” which borrows from Harry Belafante’s “Banana Boat.”

Matt And Donna - Anatomy Dance
It’s Beach Boys meets High School Musical in this kids favorite. Was it a pure rap? Nope. But we like the chorus and the melody and it’s got one of the most professional mixes of the pack.

Wait What - Six Years Seventeen Days
He’s lost his girl, Jennifer, and he’s trying to get over this six-year relationship. Even his Netflix cue reminds him of her. Before we get too sympathetic, the singer also has some Fatal Attraction going on: “If you had a rabbit I might make stew,” he warns. This singer is cool and quirky, even though we all agreed he needed a Red Bull. The song has an interesting depth, though, and my opinion seemed to change each time I listened to it.

Pat And Gweebol - Tickitock (Top Tad)
This is a solid rap with some of the best lyrics of the bunch. It’s a bit amateur, but with some better sound engineering you could envision this song leading this round. Is he rapping? I’m not sure, but he’s got great potential if he can get his voice to come less from his throat and more from his diaphragm. The female accompaniment is nice, and the duo has something I’m sure many will like.

Charlie McCarron - Trail In The Snow
We all liked Charlie’s voice even though it’s clearly designed to accompany an acoustic guitar. The song had a “movie trailer” vibe with a very cool choir. It may be a bit too subdued (maybe nasal) for most rap enthusiasts, but it’s definitely getting “Trail in the Snow” an honorable mention.

The Offhand Band - Not Cool
This song made us giggle, and I am not sure that was intended by the creators. It has some nice elements, but it appears to be trying too hard. Still, I have to admit that I’d more likely replay this song than some of the ones that took higher honors. There’s something “earworm” about the chorus, “not cool.”

Jon Eric - The Dance
We really liked this tune – especially the introduction. I’d like to see Jon performing at a piano bar, however. Can he rap? Maybe, and the song has a nice composition. It’s just that he and his female backup singer have definitive chorus voices and theatrical flare, and that just seems to clash with the percussion.

Edric Haleen - Sarah
Edric is professional Broadway material, and “Sarah” was initially my first pick. But like “The Dance,” it’s just out of category here. Edric slips into rap after two minutes, and his song has cool elements. If it didn’t clash with the soul of rap it’d be my favorite.

The Boffo Yux Dudes - It’s All About The Benjamins
I suspect there are some drunk college kids that would berate me for not selecting this as a winner. It’s funny, quirky and the rhyme is good. And while the rapping is actually among the best, the ominous chorus just freaked me out. Sorry.

Steve Durand - A Place For Love
Durand’s song has a “Big Band” and jazz groove. While it’s nice, we couldn’t reconcile the jazz flare with rap music. This song does get points for its clever lyrics (“Can’t make love in an open cubicle”) and hipster vibe.

Dr. Lindyke - Politics And Promises
Does anyone else remember Baz Luhrmann’s “Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen)”? This song, say the kids, is “not what you normally hear in rap.” It’s like an old dude accompanied by a high-school acapella group. But who am I to speak? I’m an old guy judging rap songs with my daughter and her friends. “Politics and Promises” had a nice beat and it grew on me.

Ethan Ivey - Entry 3
This is a song with strong rhyme and structure, and if it was recorded differently it would take a higher ranking. But the voice pops on the mic, and the recording sounds amateur. Still, it gets cred for its lyrics and the videogame-like loop.

Jutze - My Friend Kay
I thought it was a bit “William Hung,” but the girls felt it was more Will Smith (specifically the Prince Bel-Air). I think in highschool I would have picked this one as my favorite simply for the sampling of the word “penis.” It has a cool scratching, retro vibe with banjo and horn loops.

Caleb Hines - Two Musicians
Two Musicians has a haunted intro that we might play at our Halloween party. In fact we waited eagerly for Vincent Price’s manic laugh. Is this guy 12 or 50 years old? We’re not sure, but there’s an intriguing subtle melody here. We wanted a higher pace of stronger voice. Said my niece, “it sounds like the guy recorded it under a bridge while smoking pot.” I’d put that comment on my musical resume.

Menage’ a Tune - Roman Road Map
This is the “cringer” of the album, and was perhaps recorded by that odd woman down the street… the one that talks to her dog. My daughter urged me, “please say something nice about it.” So here it is… it was nice when it was over.

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.

SpinTunes #3 Round 3 Review: Ben Davila

Jutze – My Friend Kay
Like the banjo
Like the intelligent design break down
Cool voice
7

Edric Haleen – Sara
Funny intro
Love the insecure rapping
I like how this tells a story
I like how he makes a better introduction rap each time.
Sad ending but cute
I feel like I was really rooting for Sam by the end
You should write a part 2 Sam’s big date
I loved this
9

The Offhand Band – Not Cool
Very creative approach to the challenge
Like the verse about the Beatles
Cool chorus
I’m impressed by how long this is
7

Ross Durand – Camp Romance
Cool guitar loop
Like the drum loop
Chorus is brilliant
I like that you brought your story full circle
I really enjoyed this
8

Wait What – Six Years Seventeen Days
Slow jam nice
Like the Spanish bit
Great always something there to remind me reference. Well done
Gets dark at the end
Love the hair doll and the bunny stew
7

Pat And Gweebol – Tick Tock (Top Tad)
Cold
Nice back and forth
The chorus is great
Top Tad made me laugh for a long time I had to stop the song.
Brilliant!!
9

Matt And Donna – Anatomy Dance
Like the intro
Cool vocal effect on the chorus
Wow these verses are amazing!
I like all the talking breaks
Well produced
I loved this
9

Caleb Hines – Two Musicains
Cool wind effect
Like the synth tones
Interesting approach to the challenge
Cool voice
Well done
6

Charlie McCarron – Trail In The Snow
Like the voices
Cool vocal delivery
Interesting approach
6

Steve Durand – A Place For Love
Cool bass line
Like the horns
Backside… nice
Very funny
Musak line very good
8

Dr. Lindyke – Politics And Promises
Nice piano
Strong lyrics
Like the verse about religion
Very topical
Brave approach
7

Jon Eric – The Dance
Cool rap style
Fast vocal delivery impressive
Like the story
Interesting twist at the end
7

Ethan Ivey – Entry 3 (shadow)
Cool drum beat
This is awesome
Cool end

Menage’a a Tune – Roman Road Rap (shadow)
Jesus rap
Interesting vocals on the chorus
Good job

The Boffo Yux Dudes – It’s All About the Benjamins (shadow)
Like the hype man intro
Friends with benies… nice
As a Ben I appreciate this

SpinTunes #3 Round 3 Review: David Santucci

I used to absolutely hate rap. Not all rap, but in general, I hated most of it most of the time. Having a teenage son, I have now grown to appreciate some of it. But I still hate the fact that so many multi-millionaires are made just for being self-absorbed arrogant thugs who can rhyme their words. And I still hate a lot of rap, and dislike the majority of it. I find most of it annoying more than anything. The sound of it just tends to rub me the wrong way.

I’m a music guy. Always have been. Even when listening to non-rap music, I tend to pay much more attention to the music than the words. To this day you could recite (not sing, but recite) a lyric from some of my favorite songs ever and I might not even recognize what song it came from. I’m unusual that way… I listen to the music and don’t pay much attention to what the lyrics are saying most of the time. Probably the thing I dislike most about rap is that a lot of it is sadly deficient in the music department. And a lot of the catchy songs with any decent music in them STOLE the music! So I just don’t have much respect for the artists who can’t even create their own music and have to sample other people’s work to create a catchy song. Music aside though, the anger and arrogance in rap is a real turn off for me. So much rap out there is just this vile, vulgar vibe being spewed.

Now, having said all that, I have to say I was really impressed with all of these entries. I gave points first and foremost for what sounded good to me. The sound, and the way it grabs me, is of prime importance to me, in this and every round. I tried to be as objective as possible though and gave importance to the quality of the rapping. (I don’t hate all rap, and I can enjoy and appreciate some of it if the sound of it doesn’t completely turn me off.) I tried to keep in mind that the challenge this round was to write a rap, so I tried to focus on the rapping at least as much as the overall musicality of the songs.

In all, I actually enjoyed all of these songs very much. I think I can safely say I like rap a little more now than I did before this contest.

Jutze – My Friend Kay

Inventive rhymes, very odd flavor for a rap with the use of the banjo. Good humor. Unconventional meters used here and there were kind of an acquired taste for me. Wasn’t sure I liked them the first time through but the second time decided I did like them. I didn’t like the use of the audio faltering/stuttering effect in the first chorus; I assume that was deliberate and done for effect, but I didn’t like that. The song was catchy. One thing to be careful of—a couple times you didn’t quite finish the word at the end of a phrase and it was kind of “clipped” in your delivery. Overall, I liked this song.

Edric Haleen – Sarah

Intro much too long. After the second time you sang “Sarah” the rap should’ve kicked in. When that didn’t happen, then I thought for sure it was going to kick in after “screw it.” Then it still didn’t. I generally don’t listen to hip hop, but if I did—you would’ve lost me long before the rap portion ever started. Much too much music and not enough rap for a rap song.

When the rap finally did kick in, I appreciate the humor of the awkwardness and the multiple attempts to say and be cool. But again, by the time you got to the part where you were “nailing it,” if I was a hip hop listener you would’ve lost me long ago in the first two rap portions because they didn’t have any conviction, no balls. I know that was the point, but from a listening standpoint that makes for substandard rap.

As a comedy piece, this was great. Good music during the musical portions. The lyrics and presentation was funny. As a rap though, it was pretty weak for all the reasons already noted. It’s a real shame your entry last round occurred one round too early; that would’ve dominated this round in terms of being a rock solid rap song.

The Offhand Band – Not Cool

Really inventive lyrics and great flow! Good humor too. Like many of the competitors in this contest, the sound of your voice doesn’t scream “rap,” but you overcame this limitation very nicely because your skill, talent, and creativity with your rhymes and lyrics really took me on a journey. I was only thinking “this guy doesn’t have a rapper’s voice” for a couple lines and then the rest of the time I was thinking, “Wow, this guy can rap!” Great job!! I liked the chorus too. I didn’t notice the length of it until after it was over, and I was surprised because I didn’t feel like it was too long. Kept me very entertained.

Ross Durand – Camp Romance

I enjoyed this very much because of the musicality of it. And it conjured up fond memories for me. Funny, and good flow. Really creative, especially the use of campfire songs and other camp clichés. I wasn’t too keen on the sound of the lead vocal at first (having it stacked in unison and/or I couldn’t tell if that was a lot of reverb or what), but it grew on me by the end of the song. Good balance in the amount of rapping and the amount of music. For me, rap is like a lobster with a hard shell that you can’t eat. Your song has helped me crack the shell and get past it to the good soft tasty meat inside. Good job!

Wait What – Six Years Seventeen Days

Fun tune. Clever use of the little elements like the flipping page scratching sound effect, reference to the Naked Eyes song, the car horn, bunny boiling stalker reference, etc. During some of the choruses the female vocal seemed off key on several notes here and there and this was really distracting for me. Like some of the other entries I think maybe more focus could’ve been on the rap itself and a little less on all the music going on; this would’ve made it stronger in my opinion. Overall though I found it enjoyable.

Pat and Gweebol – Ticki Tock (Top Tad)

True hip hoppy feel right from the beginning, that stayed all the way through. Great attitude in the rapping. Good flow, great rhythm. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a yuppie white girl voice that kicked so much ass at rapping. Great caricature by the female vocalist, great performance by both. Very high marks! This had everything. Humor, attitude, an authentic rap “feel” to it, and great execution. You guys made this sound easy!

Matt And Donna – Anatomy Dance

This almost seemed like a song designed to help teach medical students anatomy but with little other point to it. From a musical standpoint I found it very listenable, but halfway through I realized that all the medical terminology was just going in one ear and out the other and this wasn’t really taking me on a journey because it was, for lack of a better explanation, a bunch of blabbering that went above my head. I usually enjoy cerebral lyrics but I found that I was completely tuning out what you were saying. I was still boppin’ along to it, however, so it wasn’t terrible. Good flow and skillful rapping, but I think this concept just didn’t work in the actual execution of it. I enjoyed the music of it, and it was well put together, but it relied on so much medical/anatomical terminology that I ended up not following along with the rapping.

Caleb Hines – Two Musicians

I enjoyed this very much and it’s a shame that you didn’t write or even perform any of the rap. Because this challenge was for you to write a rap. From a creative standpoint I’m impressed and I love what you did with this. For purposes of this competition though, I feel you avoided the whole point of the challenge. The challenge didn’t say “create a rap” or “produce a rap,” it said “WRITE a rap.” The very first word of it was “Write.” Even if you didn’t perform the lyrics yourself, you were at least supposed to write them yourself. You didn’t do either… I still love what you did with this and it makes me sad to have to score you basically a zero.

Charlie McCarron – Trail In The Snow

Love the haunting intro. I liked the chill feel of this a lot. Really unconventional feel for a rap. I liked the slightly odd beat and all of the instrumentation. Your voice isn’t typical for rap, but you took lemons and made great lemonade by making the whole song work together with the subdued quality of your voice. Maybe relied a little too heavily on music and not enough focus on the actual rapping, but the whole thing turned out so listenable that this is a pretty minor criticism and that’s the only one I can think of. I liked this a lot.

Steve Durand – A Place For Love

Funky, groovy, smooth, and jammin’, this absolutely kicked ass. Great use of the horns! Really creative and humorous lyrics. Had me chuckling at multiple points from the great visuals. You really took me on a complete journey with a story that had me hooked from beginning to end. My only criticism would be that you could’ve used just a touch more soul in the execution of a couple of key lyrics—you could’ve nuanced the timing and emphasis in the pronunciation of “cuBICLE” and “maintenANCE” so the rhymes there were more flawless. This is minor, however; the difference between an excellent rap and a practically perfect one. I loved the fact that it sounded like you had absolutely zero use of any electronic instruments. All natural, all organic, real instruments. Good old school funk!! Loved it!!!!

Dr. Lindyke – Politics And Promises

Knowing the style of your previous entries, I have to say you surprised the heck out of me with this! Great attitude & conviction in your rap, good rhythm, all around very good execution. Very creative lyrics with an intelligent but easy to follow message about government abuse of power and hypocrisy. On a couple of notes the female vocal was a little off key but this didn’t occur so much that it was a major problem for me. Very impressed with your versatility… I wasn’t expecting this at all! No extra points for exceeding my expectations though; this was a solid entry with good musicality but anchored in a well executed rap.

Jon Eric – The Dance

Good groove. Grabbed me right away. Good fast flow with the rapping, very fluid. At first I wasn’t sure I liked the over-the-top silly expression in your voice, but it grew on me very quickly. Musically I liked this a lot. I feel like this would’ve been better if the female vocal was just one single track, or perhaps harmonized. Just not in unison. Whenever you stack a unison vocal like this, any slight variations between the two really stick out and, for me anyway, it kind of detracts from the quality of what I’m hearing. It distracts me. It’s fine with rapping (assuming your rhythms are precise, with yours are) because you’re not producing notes per se, but with singing it magnifies any inconsistencies between the two if they’re note exactly on key together at the same moment, and this can make these moments sound like off-key mistakes. Overall I liked this though. I think your rapping was excellent.

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.

SpinTunes #3 Round 3 Review: Mitchell Adam Johnson

This was so difficult. I honestly really enjoyed every single one of these. You guys are brilliant. Even the people at the bottom of this list wrote fantastic songs. It was fun hearing so many catchy melodies on the choruses, too. Some of you make great rappers. Here is my ranking. These are listed in order, beginning with 1st place:

Charlie McCarron - Trail In The Snow
Nice - one of the only people who didn't take the comedy route. Great use of melody in your rap - makes it a lot more interesting to listen to. The rhythms are SO COOL. "Glowing green, Shining like the edge of a dream," - those lyrics are incredible. Man, when the chords start changing it fits so perfectly. The female singers make this sound like Evanescence if Evanescence was actually cool. What a fantastic music track - great drum beat. Love the single repeating note on that electric keyboard type thing.

Matt & Donna - Anatomy Dance
This one gets the award for the best chorus. Ridiculously catchy!!! I love the last chord - the V/V - great how it doesn't resolve. Reminds me of "Move This" by Technotronic. Love the deleted bits in your voice at the end of the chorus - sounds professional. Fantastic vocals. I've had this chorus in my head for days. Nice lyrics - Anatomy is a common theme in rap music... although it's usually focused on the "ass" and "tits" of the human body. It's great to hear someone rap about the other body parts, the ones doing all the work, the ones behind the magic. You think an "ass" could "shake" without a little "semimembranosus" action?

Jon Eric - The Dance
Haha this is wicked. Like Old School Rap. Great music track - those chords are really strong. Love how it's not just the same four chords over and over - you treated this like a pop song. I appreciate that. "Share a glance over a couple of color copies" is the best rapping I've heard all round. Super catchy chorus - really - this is fantastic. Love the line "Everybody's got skeleton closets, I had a skeleton key, but I lost it."

Pat & Gweebol - TickiTock (Top Tad)
The lyrics are awesome. I love how the intro goes from aggressive speaking into soulful singing. Great trading of raps. Pat has a strong rapping voice. Nice "put it on the pizza" reference! Hahaha. This sounds like The Lonely Island. And Gweebol sounds like Bizzy Bone. Love the speed! Wish her raps would last a bit longer. Really solid rhythms - both of you. This round there are a lot of sloppy rapping rhythms - you guys are right on time. Another chorus I've had in my head for days - even though it's super weird.

Wait What - Six Years Seventeen Days
Love the tone of your voice - very laid back with a touch of resentment. Cool scratches - surprised I didn't hear more of that this challenge. HAHAHAHA "FM" and F Them!" That is brilliant. Such a creative backing track to a rap. The beat really helps push this song along. The singing parts are filled with gorgeous melodies. Geez, there are so many good hooks in this song. "Mistake" and "Mix Tape" - nice one. Love the Fatal Attraction reference (assuming it is one, unless you're just actually really, really creepy).

Steve Durand - A Place For Love
Love the track. Your chorus is so strong! And it's nothing like the rest of the tune - it somehow seamlessly evolves from James Brown to Boys II Men. Great harmonies. Love the slight vibrato. Great work romance lyrics. "I can't make love with toner on my boner," HAHAHAHAHA! Probably the funniest line I've heard.

Jutze - My Friend Kay
Wicked record needle sounds at the beginning. This is the best Old School Rap this round. Man - that banjo is awesome - reminds me of Beck. I think the bit with the banjo is the coolest music I've heard all round. Nice Stevie Wonder style horn section. Your voice is awesome - it keeps the energy high - nice and gritty. Very cool song. The time signature changes in the chorus keep the song fresh - throw in a measure of 3, then make up for it a bit later by adding a measure of 1.

The Offhand Band - Not Cool
Man, the lyrics really kept my attention. Love all the shout outs - you listed like all of my favorite musicians (Beatles, Beach Boys, Carole King, Burt Bacharach, TMBG, Andrew Lloyd Weber, XTC, ELO.... wow). Great job on the rhythms of your rap. Really solid time. The chorus actually kinda reminded me of They Might Be Giants.

Edric Haleen - Sarah
Definitely one of the most creative formats for a song I've ever heard. Such a good idea to have you running through things you'd say to Sarah - and changing up the beat and the lyrics. That's not something that you hear very often. I really dig this song. The music part is like McCartney meets Andrew Lloyd Weber. Love all the talking to yourself. The hi-hat is awesome once the beat gets kickin.

Dr. Lindyke - Politics And Promises
Your voice is a breath of fresh air. It's nice to hear a unique tone rapping. Excellent lyrics. Cool chords backing you up. Catchy girl chorus (there are a lot of those this round). Great to hear someone taking the lyrics seriously.

Ross Durand - Camp Romance
That harmonica is perfect. This really sounds summery. Interesting topic for a rap. Never thought I'd hear finger picking guitar and rap together. Beautiful, sweet, innocent, romantic lyrics. Really enjoy this. Makes me wanna watch Wet Hot American Summer.

Caleb Hines - Two Musicians
This is so cool! Man, it sounds like Dracula spittin' some rhymes. Produced perfectly... The music track is one of the strongest this round. I really love this. Incredibly creative. Bummed that you got DQed - I think this tune is brilliant. Definitely would've made my top five this round.

SpinTunes #3 Round 3 Review: Glenn Case

Charlie McCarron - Trail In The Snow
You have been consistently great thus far. Excellent hook in the chorus, the lyrics are tremendous, the delivery and performances are great. This sounds like a professional recording in every conceivable respect.
LYRICS – good (2) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – good (2)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – good (2) SCORE: 10 out of 10

Ross Durand - Camp Romance
Brilliant song concept and I started cracking up hysterically when I heard the “Kumbaya” chorus. I would have liked to have heard a little more personality in your rap delivery, but this is an undeniably great track.
LYRICS – good (2) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – good (2) SCORE: 9 out of 10

Matt And Donna - Anatomy Dance
Super fun concept! The verses are expertly crafted, but the delivery could use a little more energy (or personality). I like the chorus hook a lot.
LYRICS – good (2) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 8 out of 10

Jutze – My Friend Kay
I did not think I was going to enjoy this, but it is actually quite charming and enjoyable. The banjo sample rocked my world when I heard it. The rhythmic switches in the chorus are great. I could have done without the fake horns at the end.
LYRICS – good (2) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 7 out of 10

Steve Durand - A Place For Love
This has a tremendous beat and the lyrics are very clever, but the vocal performance is lacking. Bonus points for “I can’t make love with toner on my boner” which made me laugh out loud.
LYRICS – good (2) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 7 out of 10

Jon Eric - The Dance
Your participation in the Frontalittle Squad has served you well. The structure of your rap verses is impeccable. Music is a bit quiet in the mix, and I am not feeling the chorus hook at all.
LYRICS – good (2) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 7 out of 10

Dr. Lindyke - Politics And Promises
I like the piano part a lot. Excellent topic choice and lyrics to match. Rhythmic structure of the rap verses is good, but the delivery is lacking and it sounds like the music is being drowned out a bit.
LYRICS – good (2) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 7 out of 10

Edric Haleen – Sarah
I have to admit that I was worried for a minute. “Where is the rap?” became “I bet he’s leading up to it.” This was a clever way to blend the rap challenge with the theatrical style that seems to be your bread and butter.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – good (2) SCORE: 7 out of 10

The Offhand Band - Not Cool
The “7-Up, Uncoola” line cracked me up. The 5:46 length shows that you really took the challenge and ran with it. A very good concept, but I think you could have used a little more personality in your vocal delivery. The pop culture references are fun.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 7 out of 10

Caleb Hines - Two Musicians
I actually enjoy this. Some of my favorite hip hop tracks take pieces of difference sources and combine them to form something new. I like the beat, but I think the lyrics work better as a poem than they do as a rap. This is oddly reminiscent of “Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head” by Gorillaz, ‘though I’m fairly certain that they asked Dennis Hopper to read the poetry, rather than sampling him.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – okay (1) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 6 out of 10

Wait What - Six Years Seventeen Days
Good placement of syllables for the verses. The chorus hook struck me as forgettable at first, but it started to grow on me on the second listen. I like the stereo split during the chorus. “The security guard there is quite a jerk” is an example of one of the lines that is delivered in an awkward manner.
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – okay (1) DYNAMICS – okay (1) SCORE: 6 out of 10

Pat And Gweebol - TickiTock (Top Tad)
Male lead vocals are far too loud in the mix, drowning out the music and destroying the dynamics. There is plenty of personality in the vocal deliveries. LOVE the way that the female rapper threw together the syllables for lines like “that-I’m-gonna-date-you after you’ve been hatin’”
LYRICS – okay (1) STRUCTURE – good (2) PERFORMANCE – okay (1)
CONCEPT – good (2) DYNAMICS – bad (0) SCORE: 6 out of 10

Monday, July 18, 2011

SpinTunes 3: Round 3 Songs

The album is now available for FREE download, and you can vote for your favorite entries as well. With the new addition of the popular vote, many of you will be asking friends and family to support you. That's great, but when you do, please ask them to listen to all the songs & vote for their favorites. You can vote for up to 5 different people, so they might as well listen to everyone.

For the time being, in an attempt to save on the free downloads, you can only download the album all at once. I will make individual songs available for free download in the near future.

There are supposed to be 11 people eliminated this round. 3 people have already eliminated themselves by missing the deadline, so only 8 people will be cut by the judges this round. That will give us 4 people left for round 4. Good luck everyone.

You can find the album on BandCamp by clicking the image below:


(Album cover by Dr. Lindyke)


- You can vote for your favorite songs with the poll in the right sidebar. -->

- Popular vote stays open until 8PM on the 23rd.

- Judges & guest judges have until 8PM on the 23rd to hand in their reviews.

- I will post the Reviews & Eliminations at 11PM on the 23rd.

- July 24th 1AM (Sun) - The Final Challenge is announced.

Videos:
(If anyone wants to make a video for their song, I'll include it here.)

Not Cool by The Offhand Band

6 Years 17 Day by wait What!


Reviews & Links Of Interest For This Round:
(If anyone writes any reviews or song bios please send me the links & I'll link to them here.)

- Mark wrote a Song Bio for his entry (The Offhand Band).

- Edric Haleen wrote a Song Bio for his entry.

- Dr. Lindyke wrote a Song Bio for their entry.

- Jon Eric wrote some Reviews for this round.

- Sammy Kablem posted another Negative Reinforcement Review for this round. This time it's on video.

Round 3 LP & Deadline News

15 people were left heading into this round, and 12 of the 15 managed to turn in a song by the deadline. Only 3 fell victim to the mighty #TickTock, and so far there have been 3 shadow songs turned in.

The listening party will be hosted by me on July 18th (THAT‘S TODAY), and it starts at 8PM. I hope you decide to stop by, and bring friends. I’ll start a pre-show around 7PM, and it’ll consist of past songs from SpinTunes as well as other selections. The album will be available for FREE listen & download shortly after the LP.

Listening Party Location: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/spintunes

Deadline Eliminations: Chris Cogott, Inverse T. Clown & Gold Lion.

SpinTunes Store:
If you hadn’t noticed, there’s a link to the SpinTunes Store up in the left sidebar now. Whatever small profits are made will go towards getting shirts for our past & future champions. They will also go towards other costs of running the contest & blogs. For instance, we ran out of free BandCamp downloads last month. For $20 I could have bought 1,000 free downloads to insure the music is always available to download. So if you want a SpinTunes coffee mug, coasters, t-shirt, sweater, thong, or some other type of merch…go check out the store.

So far, between my blog ads & the store, we’ve earned enough to buy Kevin (Champion of SpinTunes #1) a t-shirt. Mitchell (Champion of SpinTunes #2) will be the next person in line for a t-shirt. Of course whoever wins SpinTunes #3 would be after Mitchell.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

SpinTunes #3: Round 3 Challenge

Top That - Write a rap. For anyone who has any experience rapping, you get the added challenge of making your rap about a work romance. That added challenge doesn't apply to those who have never rapped up until this point. (2 minute minimum) (your submission is due July 17th 11:59PM)

Many of you know I tried to get this approved as a challenge in SpinTunes #1 & #2. I was overruled in both cases by the judges. This time...a couple others actually agreed with me. (bout time) I know many of you just felt your stomachs hit the floor, but part of being challenged is getting out of comfort zones. (this should do the trick for most of you) I thought about trying to define "rap" myself so people don't try to wiggle out of the actual challenge, but you know what's being asked of you. We're not asking for a song about gift wrapping, and how head on you take this challenge could very well effect your rankings. So...wiggle at your own risk. If you need a definition, I guess we can use this:

"Rapping refers to "spoken rhyming lyrics". The art form can be broken down into different components, as in the book How to Rap where it is separated into “content”, “flow” (rhythm and rhyme), and “delivery”. Rapping is distinct from spoken word poetry in that it is performed in time to a beat. Stylistically, rap occupies a gray area among speech, prose, poetry, and song."

Those who want to be a finalist this year, will have to attempt to write the next "Bo Fo' Sho'" & hope they don't end up more like "Top That". (I answered some questions about the challenge in the comments...might want to read them.)

Mike Lombardo's Thoughts On A Rap Challenge:
I interviewed Mike last year on YouTube, and he gave his reasons for wanting to see a rap challenge in "Masters Of Song Fu".

(Spintown Interviews...Mike Lombardo)

I'll be listening to lots of MC Frontalot, Young MC & Fresh Prince this week...just to get in the mood for an all rap listening party.

Submitting Entries:

- Entries must be received by the given deadline. Otherwise it'll be posted as a shadow. Received means that it has to appear in my e-mail inbox by the given deadline. I will be going by the time stamp on the e-mail in my inbox. PLEASE do not wait until the last hour to send me something. If there is a blackout in your area, your computer crashes, or your dog actually eats your thumb drive...I will not care. You are allowed to send in a draft of your song early just in case something horrible happens & you miss the deadline. Then you can add polish to your song & send in a better version closer to the deadline. 1 minute late is still late people.



- Send your file in a format that Bandcamp accepts. (.aiff, .wav or .flac) (at least 16-bit/44.1kHz) You can find the specific requirements for Bandcamp files HERE. You do not have to send in MP3's.

- Name your file the song's title, but without spaces & punctuation.

- Title of the e-mail should be the title of the Challenge & your band's name.

- Include the song lyrics in the body of the e-mail. (If your song doesn't have lyrics...consider yourself eliminated. Instrumentals can be pretty, but SpinTunes does require lyrics.)

- Include information on anyone that needs credited if you collabed with someone.

- File sharing options if you need them: YouSendIt, Sound Cloud, Drop Box, RapidShare, ZShare & MediaFire. Please send an e-mail as I already stated, but with the download link if you need one of these services. Please follow directions so your file doesn't wind up in my spam or trash folder accidentally.

- If you have a BandCamp account, you can just send me a link to your song on BandCamp if you include all the info I mentioned above. Make sure you have it set as a free download, and have it set so that I don't have to put in an e-mail to download it if you pick this option. THIS IS THE BEST FILE SHARING OPTION!

Side Notes:

- PLEASE do your best to send in submissions that BandCamp will allow me to upload. Details about what BandCamp allows are only a mouse click away.

- Remember that you are allowed to send in a little background about your song. Some people don't like to do that, and you don't have to, but if you want to write a couple sentences about your song I'll post it on the BandCamp page for people to see. Some judges will look at the lyrics & this extra info, but they aren't required to.

- If you didn't sign-up in time to compete in SpinTunes #3, you can still complete the challenge & send in a song. It'll be uploaded with the other entries as a "Shadow Song". Check the FAQ if you don't know what that means. You can even complete past challenges from previous contests.

- If you didn't sign-up you can also do a song for "Single Rainbow Across The Internet". You're song would be played during the LP as well.

- The only other way to get your music played at the LP is to cover "Today's The Day" by Inverse T. Clown. This project was started in our little community of friends long before SpinTunes even started.

- Feel free to leave any questions in the comments.

SpinTunes #3 Round 2 Totals

The round 3 challenge will be posted tonight. The schedule says 1AM, and I'm already a little late. Won't be much longer though.

Here are the links to the individual reviews:

Official Judges:
Mike Lombardo - Mitchell Adam Johnson - Dave Santucci - Ben Davila - Glenn Case

Guest Judges:
Hazen Nester - Rebecca Brickley - DxDutch

Alternate Judge's Review: Spin

You can listen to all the wonderful songs from this round by checking out the free album HERE.

Judges feel free to check my totals...I'm tired...mistakes are possible. However if my figures are correct the 6 people in bold have been eliminated from the contest. I really hope they decide to continue in the contest as shadows, and I thank EVERYONE for their hard work this round.

Notes About Results:
- Inverse & Alexa tied, but Inverse had more popular votes, and that was the tie breaker.

- There will be a new rule added to the rules page tonight. I hadn't expected someone to want to enter a song, and not have it go public when the release clearly mentions the songs are meant to be on BandCamp. Nothing on the official rules page addressed the situation, and Edric was almost DQed. Judges had a chance to give input, and it was close, but Edric was allowed to compete. In the future, if you want to enter a song...it will go on BandCamp or you WILL be DQed.

- There were a few sources that didn't meet the stated requirement of the challenge this round. They were also up for possible DQ's. They were allowed to compete ONLY because when I searched for their story online, I was able to find the same story in an acceptable source. In the future, you might want to be more careful or get your source approved by me before you write the song. Don't be afraid to e-mail me questions about stuff like that.

Total Scores: (Hazen) (Ben) (Glenn) (Mitchell) (Mike) (David) (Rebecca) (DxDutch) (Popular)
Charlie McCarron - 16 - 10 - 21 - 20 - 20 - 18 - 21 - 20 - 16 (162)
Chris Cogott - 21 - 16 - 16 - 19 - 17 - 21 - 10 - 17 - 21 (158)
Matt And Donna - 14 - 21 - 20 - 16 - 21 - 2 - 11 - 16 - 18 (139)
Pat And Gweebol - 19 - 20 - 19 - 21 - 1 - 14 - 5 - 15 - 19 (133)
The Offhand Band - 13 - 12 - 13 - 18 - 19 - 15 - 9 - 19 - 15 (133)
Steve Durand - 17 - 18 - 18 - 14 - 15 - 7 - 17 - 5 - 8 (119)
Jutze - 9 - 13 - 9 - 8 - 9 - 19 - 19 - 14 - 17 (117)
Ross Durand - 15 - 11 - 11 - 11 - 16 - 17 - 14 - 10 - 11 (116)
Dr. Lindyke - 18 - 15 - 12 - 9 - 10 - 6 - 16 - 8 - 13 (107)
Jon Eric - 20 - 17 - 17 - 15 - 12 - 3 - 3 - 4 - 5 (96)
Gold Lion - 2 - 1 - 14 - 13 - 11 - 20 - 7 - 11 - 10 (89)
Wait What - 5 - 6 - 4 - 12 - 8 - 13 - 12 - 7 - 20 (87)
Caleb Hines - 10 - 5 - 10 - 17 - 2 - 11 - 8 - 12 - 9 (84)
Edric Haleen - 3 - 9 - 1 - 3 - 5 - 12 - 20 - 18 - 14 (84)
Inverse T. Clown - 6 - 8 - 7 - 10 - 7 - 10 - 4 - 21 - 7 (80)
Alexa Polasky - 7 - 19 - 6 - 4 - 14 - 4 - 18 - 6 - 2 (80)
Governing Dynamics - 8 - 4 - 15 - 6 - 6 - 8 - 13 - 3 - 12 (75)
Godz Poodlz - 11 - 7 - 5 - 7 - 3 - 16 - 6 - 13 - 4 (72)
Alex Carpenter - 12 - 3 - 3 - 5 - 18 - 9 - 2 - 9 - 3 (64)
Matt Walton - 4 - 14 - 8 - 2 - 13 - 1 - 15 - 1 - 1 (59)
Happi - 1 - 2 - 2 - 1 - 4 - 5 - 1 - 2 - 6 (23)


Hazen's Rankings:
Chris Cogott - 21
Jon Eric - 20
Pat And Gweebol - 19
Dr. Lindyke - 18
Steve Durand - 17
Charlie McCarron - 16
Ross Durand - 15
Matt And Donna - 14
The Offhand Band - 13
Alex Carpenter - 12
Godz Poodlz - 11
Caleb Hines - 10
Jutze - 9
Governing Dynamics - 8
Alexa Polasky - 7
Inverse T. Clown - 6
Wait What - 5
Matt Walton - 4
Edric Haleen - 3
Gold Lion - 2
Happi - 1

Ben's Rankings:
Matt And Donna - 21
Pat And Gweebol - 20
Alexa Polasky - 19
Steve Durand - 18
Jon Eric - 17
Chris Cogott - 16
Dr. Lindyke - 15
Matt Walton - 14
Jutze - 13
The Offhand Band - 12
Ross Durand - 11
Charlie McCarron - 10
Edric Haleen - 9
Inverse T. Clown - 8
Godz Poodlz - 7
Wait What - 6
Caleb Hines - 5
Governing Dynamics - 4
Alex Carpenter - 3
Happi - 2
Gold Lion - 1

Glenn's Rankings:
Charlie McCarron - 21
Matt And Donna - 20
Pat And Gweebol - 19
Steve Durand - 18
Jon Eric - 17
Chris Cogott - 16
Governing Dynamics - 15
Gold Lion - 14
The Offhand Band - 13
Dr. Lindyke - 12
Ross Durand - 11
Caleb Hines - 10
Jutze - 9
Matt Walton - 8
Inverse T. Clown - 7
Alexa Polasky - 6
Godz Poodlz - 5
Wait What - 4
Alex Carpenter - 3
Happi - 2
Edric Haleen - 1

Mitchell's Rankings:
Pat And Gweebol - 21
Charlie McCarron - 20
Chris Cogott - 19
The Offhand Band - 18
Caleb Hines - 17
Matt And Donna - 16
Jon Eric - 15
Steve Durand - 14
Gold Lion - 13
Wait What - 12
Ross Durand - 11
Inverse T. Clown - 10
Dr. Lindyke - 9
Jutze - 8
Godz Poodlz - 7
Governing Dynamics - 6
Alex Carpenter - 5
Alexa Polasky - 4
Edric Haleen - 3
Matt Walton - 2
Happi - 1

Mike's Rankings:
Matt And Donna - 21
Charlie McCarron - 20
The Offhand Band - 19
Alex Carpenter - 18
Chris Cogott - 17
Ross Durand - 16
Steve Durand - 15
Alexa Polasky - 14
Matt Walton - 13
Jon Eric - 12
Gold Lion - 11
Dr. Lindyke - 10
Jutze - 9
Wait What - 8
Inverse T. Clown - 7
Governing Dynamics - 6
Edric Haleen - 5
Happi - 4
Godz Poodlz - 3
Caleb Hines - 2
Pat And Gweebol - 1

David's Rankings:
Chris Cogott - 21
Gold Lion - 20
Jutze - 19
Charlie McCarron - 18
Ross Durand - 17
Godz Poodlz - 16
The Offhand Band - 15
Pat And Gweebol - 14
Wait What - 13
Edric Haleen - 12
Caleb Hines - 11
Inverse T. Clown - 10
Alex Carpenter - 9
Governing Dynamics - 8
Steve Durand - 7
Dr. Lindyke - 6
Happi - 5
Alexa Polasky - 4
Jon Eric - 3
Matt And Donna - 2
Matt Walton - 1

Rebecca's Rankings:
Charlie McCarron - 21
Edric Haleen - 20
Jutze - 19
Alexa Polasky - 18
Steve Durand - 17
Dr. Lindyke - 16
Matt Walton - 15
Ross Durand - 14
Governing Dynamics - 13
Wait What - 12
Matt And Donna - 11
Chris Cogott - 10
The Offhand Band - 9
Caleb Hines - 8
Gold Lion - 7
Godz Poodlz - 6
Pat And Gweebol - 5
Inverse T. Clown - 4
Jon Eric - 3
Alex Carpenter - 2
Happi - 1

DxDutch's Rankings:
Inverse T. Clown - 21
Charlie McCarron - 20
The Offhand Band - 19
Edric Haleen - 18
Chris Cogott - 17
Matt And Donna - 16
Pat And Gweebol - 15
Jutze - 14
Godz Poodlz - 13
Caleb Hines - 12
Gold Lion - 11
Ross Durand - 10
Alex Carpenter - 9
Dr. Lindyke - 8
Wait What - 7
Alexa Polasky - 6
Steve Durand - 5
Jon Eric - 4
Governing Dynamics - 3
Happi - 2
Matt Walton - 1

Popular Vote Totals:
Chris Cogott - 28
Wait What - 23
Pat And Gweebol - 21
Matt And Donna - 21
Jutze - 15
Charlie McCarron - 15
The Offhand Band - 12
Edric Haleen - 12
Dr. Lindyke - 12
Governing Dynamics - 12
Ross Durand - 12
Gold Lion - 11
Caleb Hines - 11
Steve Durand - 11
Inverse T. Clown - 9
Happi - 8
Jon Eric - 8
Godz Poodlz - 7
Alex Carpenter - 4
Alexa Polasky - 3
Matt Walton - 1

Popular Vote Scores:
Chris Cogott - 21
Wait What - 20
Pat And Gweebol - 19
Matt And Donna - 18
Jutze - 17
Charlie McCarron - 16
The Offhand Band - 15
Edric Haleen - 14
Dr. Lindyke - 13
Governing Dynamics - 12
Ross Durand - 11
Gold Lion - 10
Caleb Hines - 9
Steve Durand - 8
Inverse T. Clown - 7
Happi - 6
Jon Eric - 5
Godz Poodlz - 4
Alex Carpenter - 3
Alexa Polasky - 2
Matt Walton - 1

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.