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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spintunes #4 Round 4 Review: Denise Hudson

Fellow Song-tizens...

Without introduction, as I am tres late. And no, no lists. I stand abashed and a little ashamed of myself. The balrog ate my homework.

How very unprofessional,

PS: You guys have been a privilege, and a Delight. I was lucky to have gotten to judge you, and would much preferred to have squarely lost to you. I look forward to meeting you in battle next time. {evil grin}


Fear - David LeDuc
This is catchy and your voice is pleasant. One of your noises sounds a little like microphone bumpage, but it works for you and is bassy. It’s a pretty consistent beat-box and your rolling-singing bits are hugging it enough … I guess. The delivery seems a little bit shoved in from time to time but you hold onto it real well, almost well enough to establish an indivualis-tic rap style, which is quite something to say. You DO hang back enough for it to be cool and casual because you are behind-the-beat-y enough to pull this off. Never-the-less, I do still feel that Beck has been possessed by the soul of Woody Allen, who is not dead yet. I’m not saying that to be horrible, I’m saying that because I also think that the lyrics are well crafted and intelligent. I don’t know exactly HOW old you are, but I’m assuming you’re possess the same Disaffected Agelessness as me and I think I will just hang back on the wall of the same middle school dance being afraid to sing along. No, that’s a joke. Maybe. If you’re really that scared of all these scary things, why you gotta be so cool wit’ dat body, yo? {smile}

Exultation! - Edric Haleen
Something could be said it seems, each and every time, about Alternative Tricksy Decisions just being “your thing.” I have decided to accept that you are a producer, and a good one.

The folks from Drei Viertel Drei put out a review of you (you know I hate spoilers!) and I learned that you basically made up a language and I know I will enjoy reading your notes later because I am curious about what YOU have to say. In this particular situation, the challenge really is wide open so I’m going to talk about how I feel…

I feel grass and triumph and trees. I see hunters cresting over a hillock out of a forest joyfully pursuing quarry. It makes me want to write a really fun story.

You don’t usually come across subtlety even when you are “being subtle” – sometimes when you are really crafting it, I am thinking “oooh… this is the bit where he is doing THAT and my emotions are meant to do THIS…” I like when I am not in a cynical analysis mode. You did that in ‘Robot Monkey 7.2’ which I didn’t know the “thing” about because I wasn’t that familiar with Coulton (CONFESSION: …I was embarrassed when I “got it,” because I really did get all Emo about it and start welling up. Seriously, I felt all stupid later!!!). Also you did this in a song you wrote that I feel like had aliens in it but I can’t find it although I am looking and this is really irking me and it’s making me really late!

Anyway. This was percussive without percussion and made me want to strap on gear and bring down some #&$% bison! So “Na-tai-ya! An-ah-tay-ah, hasagai” to YOU good sir…*

A Beautiful Voice - Steve Durand (official top pick)
Okay, something to critique … let’s get that out of the way.

1. There’s no damn nun.

2. The bass and wall of sound-i-ness of your body-cymbal gets a bit relentless.

Now …I REALLY appreciate a person who can whistle without cracking up. As soon as I start whistling I completely lose it and dissolve into hysterics**.

You encapsulated the challenge the best out of everyone, I feel. Clever and tasteful, and making me smile; this was full of variety.

Ironically belying the subject matter, this is in actuality a really strong vocal performance that celebrates a non-perfect vocal; eliciting nothing but feelings of endearment in the listener. You crest over the meme-y concept of Singing About Singing Off Key by messing with The Key and doing it with seamless production that hints at auto-tune and keeps the listener guessing. Did you mimic that? Did you use auto-tune? The lyrics don’t over-emphasize the point too much and hug your personality nicely in a stylistic way. The way the challenge separated you from some of your strongest musical tools was clearly not a detriment to your ability to produce Good Art.

Perhaps best of all, and on a personal note, you have put the final cherry on top of an important Ideological Sundae: You don’t have to have a dulcet soaring vocal to sing a well crafted song. You can have a distinctive and special voice and train and wield it well. There have been several people in this competition who have done this. You’ve done it in Song Fight for years, but you really just sunk the putt here on this subject in a way that really can’t be argued with. Well done.

Threadbare - Jess Scherer
This is really good songwriting. This is also the only official entry where I felt that it was a shame that the challenge took something away from your song. Your vocal is well presented, but I am not buying your timing it feels a bit dragg-y. I want the downbeat to come in just a SMALLLLL LITTLE bit before it does hit. It’s a good length and your rhythm stops and changes are in the right places and your ah-s and ooh-s change in the intelligent places. I think this shows that you really want this song to have something better for it … like a band or a good orchestration. This just isn’t good enough for it. I want a better frame for this really quality picture. So what a good job selling a song to A&R reps that don’t have the good sense to take a meeting on any place but a damn desert island! You win the recording contract, and I’m glad I didn't have to rank! Ha-HA! Also, I want to see this develop, and hell ... I'd cover it myself even.

What Do We Need? - Jacob Haller
This is delightful.

Your kazoo needs a bit more buzz. I realize that I am asking a lot more silliness in what is already supreme silliness. More impressive whistling, not to the virtuoso Symphonic Orchestral levels of Steve Durand’s but that’s not necessary in this song. I’n cracking up I am going to be singing this all the time. This song will stay on my MP3 player. I LOVE this. I really don’t know what to say about it that is bad, really. The recording is quite bare-bonezy, Your vocal is homespun and camp-firey … but it’s pro, and it’s confident, and this song is fun and catchy and infectious and there is just something about you that is unforgettable and you are going to stick in my mind and I hope you never go away or leave this contest-y stuff not ever ever because I look forward to hearing what you are going to do next. So much fun!!

Oh, yeah. I do indeed need a jug band. You also have a smooth and cool, unique style I am totally diggin' on.

Igor's Jigsaw - Drei Viertel Drei
Right away I am in object disbelief that you are producing these sounds with your own bodies. This is really creepy but Developmentally, this is actually really well put together and easy to follow. My brain doesn’t feel like it’s been buried alive, escaped a coffin, and needs a bit of therapy. You guys often confuse me and this is structurally more accessible.

Not to worry, this does not mean in the least that you are slipping! There is still the same odd, over-the-top-ness I have come to associate with your act that wins you (nose-picking? Really? FLARG!!!) a cherished place beside Boffo Yux Dudes and Doctor Demento and some of Duality’s more ill-advised shenanigans in my MP3 player. Thank God. I would have been … disappointed? Putting the sneeze in there made it hilarious and justified your ickyness. Making a character delighted me. Your presence in the song contest was a happy, happy thing and you guys are full of win.

Before You Go - Brian Gray (Unofficial top pick, perhaps a tie, not sure)
The weird chords. Perfect.

Are you really saying that? When you come in? Yeah. You did. You win everything.

I can’t think of a bad thing to say about this. This is full of attitude and you just won me over as a singer and jettisoned yourself out of nerd-camp into “EFF-you, D… I will rock your face off without a band.” If you were an official contestant, you would win … which is ironic and sad because I have no power. You’re not just winning with shock value either. A perfect companion piece to Jacob Haller’s ‘From Your Neighbors’ – this makes a Spintunes 4 BEST OF album blog an absolute certainty from me and I hope I will turn it in far earlier than the sad lateness you all have experienced from me with these late and overly comprehensive, confusing reviews. The subject matter makes this all the funnier because in my previous rankings I now realize your musicianship earned you a place at Valhalla’s table and it’s really too dang bad you don’t have a full leg of mutton in your hand (or… do you …)

I am a Bryan Gray fan, and really, I think that’s more what these contests are about, the likelihood that I will come out of my shell and pimp a song about Pure Unadulturated Regret for the loss of some Fine Uncomplicated Nookie.

(well done, Cookie. ;) )

Don't Miss The Rainbow - Menage A Tune
You’ll get a longer review here. Perhaps complaints get you somewhere … {smile}

You are only so low because of where you are listed on the Spintunes website.

Really nice sonority. Structure is strong as well – although let’s face it, JoAnn has only needed to train in the musicality-knowhow of things to back up already strong structure-writing. The hook is fantastic. JoAnn, at least has always leaned toward making good hook and her partnerships have really let her explore this. In particular I see her stretching her wings well here.

You guys obviously have a message in here that has belief in it – but this song carries a subtlety that I have found lacking in some of your earlier offerings where I have felt a bit preached at (am cringing now because I know I’ll be asked to participate in a Lengthy and Possibly Painful Discussion of such …. XX) … but in this particular way I feel myself agreeing with your delivery and contemplating the spirituality in my life. You are certainly catching the flies with honey here and if your goal is to write these types of numbers – this is a good example of the uplifting sort. You may want to think of this level of finesse in songs of admonishment as this is a good example of one of light instruction that came off nicely.

This is the first time that I am really getting a firm feeling of you guys as a duo – rather than you going and finding a professional to help you flesh out a song idea. The presence of the act is strongly felt, and this song really seems tailor-made to the personality of your group. The reverb works well here, and everything sounds intimate when it is meant to and echo-y when appropriate. Bobbles in pitch that I have critiqued before either crest or fall into effective slides. Bravo, this would have passed on as an earlier round challenge for sure.


*I do realize I could be saying “please go bowling strongly with my wet fish.” Who knows these things. It’s the scene that counts, and you are, as always, PENTULTIMATE at writing a musical.
**Yes, there is video footage of this. Yes, it is very stupid. deep sigh…

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I definitely agree that "Don't Miss The Rainbow" was the best blend of style between me and JoAnn. Except for the doo-wop part of the chorus, don't know where that came from.