So, what am I looking for in a song?
Why should you care?
Seriously, I have had this discussion a few times during these kind of things... I am a judge, yes, one of a handful, and we all doubtless like different things about different songs, or else what’s the point? Want a tip? DO NOT TRY TO WRITE SONGS “FOR THE JUDGES”... write a song that YOU want to write, for YOUR sake, and to YOUR tastes... You may surprise everyone... you may surprise yourself!
Okay adverts over...
Here’s how I do these things. I listen to the songs ONCE. Why? Because this is a contest. And almost any song, if listened to enough times, will grow on you. And in most other contests, you get ONE shot. So, I base most of my deliberations on my first listen through, making notes as I go. I then whittle those notes down to the bare minimum for sending in... Why? Because no-one really wants to read a treatise on “why your song failed! (for me)”
As will no doubt be shown, other mileage will vary, m and those I have further down the list will appear in higher positions in others (and vice-versa!)
I do NOT read the bios, because unless a song is supposed to be based on a solid premise or phrase etc, then everything that needs to be known about the song should be IN the song.
To me VOCALS are important! I get that some may be amazing musicians but can’t really carry a tune. (Personally I think I have the reverse problem!) RECORDING is important! MIXING is important! Yes, this is a song contest – but all of those elements make the song what it is. And if I can’t hear it – I can’t vote for it. (The irony being, one of the most basic of recordings is my top pick!)
So – now that Joe Covenazi Lamb has had his little rant.... Here’s the listing in order of preference.
Sara Parsons - Will someone PLEASE get this woman into a REAL studio? This song appears to have been recorded in one take, with live singing and guitaring going on simultaneously. Good lyric, great voice, decent recording... but what could this song be with some BVs/Double tracking!? I like this one a lot.
Jutze - This song reminded me of the 'Seekers'.. now, being an old bugger, I kinda LIKE the Seekers. This one had me dwelling on a few things... One Jutze sings a lot better in English than I ever could in German! Secondly, the song rolled along really well. I did think it was very cliché ridden - BUT (and I may be wrong) I am taking it that it was meant to be cliché ridden! So, not too many points deducted for that. Solid poppy tune.
Army Defense - Bad production let this one down. I really wanted to place this song first, but couldn't due to the way the vocals came across. One of the first things I learned about recording is that if you are double tracking your own voice, you have to work like hell to get them as near to exact as possible. Same with a harmony that is running parallel with the main vox. Great song... fix the vocals and it could be brilliant.
Ross Durand - Yeah... This is a clever little song. Lyrical content very good. Bouncy but also poignant.
Felix Frost - The production on this song was incredible. Voice? Pretty Damn groovy... The song itself... I dunno, it sort of felt like it was trying too hard?
TurboShandy -This was a decent enough song, but for some reason it felt a lot longer than it actually was!
Jenny Katz - Jenny gives a stand-up performance here, lyric is good, but the song itself feels very one-paced to me. I don't think the instrumentation lent itself to this one at all. Although, oddly, I didn't dislike the instrumentation... just not for *this* song. (Wondering what could be done with an instrumental version of this one!)
Dr. Lindyke - Elton... I mean, Dave shows up with a steady number... but a bit too steady, If it lost a verse from the start and get to the build a little quicker, and then lost a verse from the end.... a good song, but too long to make a sharp and fast impact. (The chorals worked in the opening, but seemed to jar during the multi instrument sections.)
Edric Haleen - Well, DarkEdricizDark... Many expletives (required?) but not marking down for that. This song would have been a very good "middle act, building to dénouement" section in a sung-through musical. But does it make it for a song contest? Sadly not.
Ryan Brewer - If this song had real drums it would be pretty sweet. The TSSSHHH of those things really put me off placing this track VERY high.
Jailhouse Payback - A good workhorse of a song - give it a more of a kicking guitar solo and it would raise it quite a bit.
James Young - This song is placed right beside Jailhouse payback as, I think their song was a little better, but lacked a good solo, James song was just a little behind theirs but had a very 'good' solo! (Swings and roundabouts, people, swings and roundabouts!) ;' )
Ominous Ride - Well... this song took me from Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" back through to late 60's Pink Floyd. But it was too.... 'odd' to really make an impact. Was this recorded live(ish) as some of the timing seems out!?
Brian Gray - Decent Song, nice lyric, but the overall package comes over as being a little bit weak...
Zoe Gray - I wanted to like this, I really did, but something indefinable just turned me away from it. Zoe has a great voice, lyric seemed fine, it just didn't grab me at all.
Governing Dynamics - Travis pulls out all the stops right from the off with this one... which is where the song falls down. It doesn't have anywhere to go and seems to flounder as it goes on. A good song, but musically seemed a little directionless. (Or too many directions!)
Adam Sakellarides - This was a fine, middle of the table song. Can't find much to say about it unfortunately.
Spencer Sokol - This was a nice enough tune, nice enough sung and nice enough played and nice enough recorded. It was nice enough.
Caravan Ray - Well... If Alanis Morrisette ever wrote one of her "list of things" songs that was throw-away and slightly humorous, it might be something like this... Best line? "Punch in the face"... Adventurous? Not really. Clever? Not really, but oddly catchy (And that's what it's all about.) Not enough to make it top ten though.
Ménage a Tune - (Or Menage a Un for this one!?) Well, for accapela the voice has to be pristine. I don't think I'm being cruel saying that this wasn't. However, the song itself did indeed sound as if all it needed was either a harmonic voice, or some backing instruments. Again, bad production doesn't help put over this kind of thing. (I understand the limitations, but that doesn't help to alter the finished product) And again, suffers from appearing to be over-long. (Maybe down to it being acapella?)
The Boffo Yux Dudes - Well guys, this one ran through my head almost without stopping... it didn't grab me at all, but I didn't dislike it, just didn't make much of an impact.
Taylor R - Another example of the lack of actual tune detracting from everything else. I couldn't. This is the only song I played twice as I zoned out during its first listen.
Wait What (the Band) - A pretty good idea ruined by crassness. Had this been layered in innuendo and subtlety this could easily have won this round for me. But as it stands, nope, just a stream of invective with no real entertainment value.
Hudson And Day - I think the title of this one says it all. I am going to assume that there was a problem with the recording because at times both of the vocalists appeared to be singing through a telephone... with a bad line... in a wind tunnel. I couldn't hear this song to rank it. But it's still better than some of the ones I could.
The Orion Sound - Hmmm... Well, no-one can accuse me of not liking "quirky", but 'this' quirky didn't work for me at all.
Trader Jack - Well, personally, I do not think this meets the challenge. A stream of consciousness is fine and well, but just throwing in the line "I miss you" doesn't make the song fit the challenge. And to be honest, not much of a song either. Would always have been placed on the bottom rungs of this one, but placing last as I don't think the challenge was met. THAT SAID - I LIKE TJ's voice! (Kinda like Emo Philips and Woody Allen's love child... dreaming... on acid...) If this style could be made a little more solid and not so random then I feel it could give some very decent results!
T.C. Elliot - Sadly, again, there may be a good song in here, but the recording and/or mix of it just slaughtered it.
Dex01 - There may be a really good song under these power chords, but it couldn't let itself be found. I'd love to hear this one re-worked.
Sid Brown - Sorry Sid, this was just bad.
Heather MIller(s) - Had this been in the contest I am fairly certain it would have gone through to the next round.
T.C. Elliot(s) - TC- should have taken the time you took to do this one in polishing your actual entry.
Andy Glover(s) - Again, shame this was a shadow as I feel it would have made it through.