Spoiler: Ross wins, in my book.
1. Ross Durand - Someone
we have the same theme as last time – the after-effects of sending
people off to war, but a little different take on it. This time, we’re
talking about those that die or that come back emotionally disturbed,
not the physically disabled narrator in the last song. This is a very
effective song. A memorable guitar riff, used well; a terrific chorus;
moving lyrics, touching but fresh and not clichéd. Ross uses the
relatively simple instrumentation really well. It’s a nice loud mix. It
builds up to a big chorus, and then we get an emotional surprise – a
little girl singing, to help humanize it and bring home what it’s all
about – that all those people we send to fight are “someone’s.” I have
to say that I liked Ross’s story and the mood of the lyrics even more
than his song last round. I listened to all the songs repeatedly, over
the space of several days, to see how I felt about them after repeated
listenings and letting them “stew” in the back of my mind. I find that I
really wanted to hear Ross’s hook-ish chorus again. That’s exactly what
a pop song is supposed to do. Great job!
2. RC - Get Out of My Way
love the opening guitar work and the phasing/panning vocal. A really
powerful opening line: “Dad’s gone, and Mom’s finally given up.” All the
music and guitar work in here is quite well-done. The drums are
serviceable. RC continues the theme of “savage inequality” in schools,
and does so very well, without making it an essay. The lyrics don’t beat
you over the head. You can read it as a slightly more generic “we gotta
get out of this place” adolescent rebellion song if you choose, but it
still conveys that sense about the schools, and the ominous threat of a
school shooting, but only subtly. That’s a very effective lyric. It
completely sounds like something I’d expect to come across on an indie
rock sampler from a record label. It only gets marked down very slightly
next to Ross’s tune because it does not quite achieve the level of a
“big” mix, and it doesn’t quite have the hook. But it’s still very
3. Edric Haleen - On the Matter of Bullying (Part 2)
wrote and wrote and wrote on the subject of this song. I wound up
writing a LONG essay that involves my own history of being bullied, the
nature of art, musical theater, the use of pathos in art, the concept of
melodrama, and many other things… man, I can ramble. But I’m… deleting
all that… let’s just say that I’ve thought a LOT about this song and
listened to it over and over.
So what it comes down to is this.
The intro part is really effective and gripping. After that, it builds
up to a very poignant and moving and dramatic place. Those creepy little
minor second intervals that creep in on the piano are very effective.
The narrator gets impassioned, and then… his emotional affect goes flat,
as he coolly announces that tomorrow, he’ll be dead, and we go out on
some little plucked piano-string sounds. That’s… chilling! Very
Except for two things.
Thing one. I imagine
this song as a song coming right before the climax of a musical. Let’s
call it “Bullying: The Musical!” I can completely see and hear that
happening. It goes through these stages – but something would happen, it
seems to me. That passionatevoice would return, singing something about
how he wishes it could have been different… if only… or something.
Because, dammit, it just doesn’t work for me for the song to just fade
out. Even if he’s resolved that he will die, I can’t believe the
narrator doesn’t have, somewhere, that spark of wanting to live. He’s
just shown he does. So that passion has to make a reprise of some sort.
Or there’s a knock on the door; he’s interrupted. Or there’s an
instrumental coda… – or something. I’m just not satisfied with the fade
out. But… wait… it’s not a fadeout… it’s… it’s…
two. Now I’m not sure I can even call this a song. It’s a PSA – a
Public Service Announcement. Wow, you know, I completely sympathize with
the cause and all, but what a jarring way to take me out of the song.
Can I even still call it a protest song? Is it still a song at all? A
song doesn’t usually end in a PSA. If I bought this CD, at this point it
would have been ripped out of my player and gone flying across the
room. (And also, I used to produce PSAs for my college radio station –
it doesn’t make a good PSA. It would have to be much, much shorter, and
really be just the intro part, leading right into the “are you being
bullied, or do you know someone who is being bullied?” bit).
this seems like neither fish nor fowl. It’s frustrating. I think Edric
has what my son calls “mad skills.” I love where this starts to go. I’d
love to go see “Bullying – The Musical!” and see how it all fits into
the storyline. But it is just not working well for me as a complete,
4. MC Ohm - If You Were Gay
the sample right off, as I own the Avenue Q soundtrack album (but I’ve
never seen the show done live). (The Internet is for porn!) This is
funny and engaging, but somehow it is less engaging than the song for
the previous round. Sorry guys. I think this relies too heavily on the
sample and there’s not enough musical variety and “ear candy” going on.
The lyrics are good. It doesn’t change or build enough between choruses.
I’m not sure using a highly recognizable sample really helped that
much. It makes me think about Avenue Q instead of your song. It feels
too short. It’s not bad, it’s just not better than your previous round’s
song. Or your other songs in the whole contest, honestly. But I still
think the Ohm deserves a lot of credit for several great contributions
to this SpinTunes.
I’m running short of time here, but I should
say something about the shadows. The shadows this time were… unusually
strange… even for SpinTunes shadows. The BYDs must have had a lot of
fun. It sounds like they recorded an instrumental and sent it to Cherry
Pi to improvise a lyric. Let me try to be charitable here. It sounds
like all of the songs were recorded… very efficiently… with a quick
turn-around time…. but I’m not sure they would have withstood an ISO
9000 audit. Where is the traceability? Where are the customer
Boffo Yux Dudes - Wireless Head
It sounds a
bit like a Robyn Hitchcock song… the lyrics are Syd Barrett-esque
psychedelic. The production on this one is impressive.
Boffo Yux Dudes - Tear it Down, Build it Up Again
Dickies? This… is BYD? I’m… getting confused… did I drink too much Cask
Strength Laphroaig before I started listening to these?
Cherry Pi (w/ Boffo Yux Dudes) - Octo Pi (Shadow)
it must have been mixing the whiskey with the painkillers. What? Where
am I? I was having the weirdest dream. I dreamed that I was listening to
a Bongwater song I’d never heard before, called “Sokushu Goukan…” and
Ann Magnuson was dressed like some kind of squid…
Boffo Yux Dudes - Operating System (Shadow)
is that… “other” kind of BYD song… OK… not beautifully sung exactly…
but, you know, this one kind of does meet the challenge of revising the
concept of the last song into something more fun… I’m glad you guys are