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Sunday, March 18, 2012

SpinTunes #4 Round 4 Review: Sam Hart

Ever since I stumbled onto "Mario Kart Love Song" on YouTube, I've been a Sam Hart fan. I've said in the past that it's my favorite song ever, and if that's not still true, it's still in the top 5. The song would have met the challenge for our ST2R4 Album. Another favorite of mine is his "Superhero Song" which would have met the challenge for our ST1R1 Album. You can find out more about Sam by visiting his YouTube Channel.

Just so you can put a face with the name, here's the video that made me a fan. And after watching the original, you can watch a cover that a past SpinTuner did of the song (Austin Criswell).

*You might want to thank him for doing reviews, especially since we had a regular judge drop the ball this round...again.*

- Spin


1. Steve Durand - A Beautiful Voice

I had a smile on my face the whole way through. The playful instrumentation and clever lyrics come together to produce a nice childlike quality. It's a great take on the kind of "I wish, I want" song that you might find in one of the older Disney flicks. There are definitely some awkward lyrical rhythms throughout the verses, but I feel that the theme and delivery allow the song to use them to its advantage, rather than getting in the way. It's not a beautiful song, but it's very entertaining and cleverly done!

2. Jess Scherer - Threadbare

I love the chorus. The melody is simple and beautiful, and the lyrics carry a lot of strong emotion, without straying too melodramatic. The theme, worrying what somebody will think when they can see who you really are, is classic and universal, and I think anybody can relate to the content. The performance is much less confident on the verses, but you've got a great natural voice, and with more practice this song could be a hit.

3. David LeDuc - Fear

This is a very honest and direct song, addressing a topic that's often difficult for people to bare so openly. The hook is insightful, and works really well against the candid verses. At times, the conversational vocal delivery on the verses doesn't quite match up to the weight of the lyrics. I would have liked to hear more conviction in the third and fourth verses, where the content is heavier, to give the song more of a dramatic arc. With more polished delivery and cleaner flow, this could turn out to be a great spoken word piece.

4. Drei Viertel Drei - Igor's Jigsaw

The instrumentation and production on this song work well to create a playfully spooky tone for the theme. It's incredible to think that they all came from the human body. The lyrics are very clever, and I love the wordplay and imagery. At times, the vocals seem to stumble or rush the rhythm, just enough that I found it a little distracting. The verses and chorus are built with a very quirky rhyming scheme and rhythm, but I think that works to emphasize the strange theme of this song. Very imaginative and well put together!

5. Edric Haleen - Exultation!

Given the challenge, you did an amazing job creating a full soundscape. I'm listening through some nice studio monitors and I can definitely hear all the track work you put into making it sound like a chorus of singers. Rhythmically, the performance is flawless. The song has a lot of fun rhythmic twists and turns and it's really a joy to listen to. Unfortunately, I can't really comment on the content of the lyrics, but they do flow nicely and I didn't notice any hiccups in the performance. It does sound like you were trying to emulate a particular African style, and I think you could have done a stronger job of using it to inspire your own style.

6. Menage A Tune - Don't Miss The Rainbow

This reminded me (in a nice way) so much of the band Talking Heads. The soft beatbox and background vocals create a really stylish backdrop. I love the theme - that you shouldn't be so preoccupied with the bad that you forget to appreciate the good. The melodic relationship between the verses and chorus works very well. The main vocals stray off key occasionally, especially on the chorus, but aside from that it's well written and produced.

7. Brian Gray - Before You Go

This song is extremely similar to a song called "Before We Say Goodbye" from the MTV movie "2gether," where the lyrics essentially use the same style, format, and joke - "before we say goodbye / can I still have sex with you?" Though done before, I think the reveal is a clever and surprising one. The main vocal track sounds a little over-produced, but you did a good job with the performance, and I can definitely imagine this song being performed by an a cappella group.

8. Jacob Haller - What Do We Need?

I like the theme of building a jug band, and love the idea of adding new vocal instruments as they're introduced with each verse. The repetition here is both the song's strength and its weakness. While it provides a comfortable foundation for the song, the verses really need at least one fresh new line - I would replace "I guess we'll just do the best we can" with a new line for each verse that rhymes with the instrument being introduced. You should look at "Maggie's Farm" by Bob Dylan as an example of a song that uses the same format and a similar tune, but does a better job of balancing and offsetting the repetition.

1 comment:

  1. The verse-chorus comparison is much appreciated, thank you. I've never listened to Talking Heads, but after previewing some of their songs, they sound like a band I would like. Thanks for judging and reviewing!