A good while back I was surfing through YouTube & found Justin's channel. I was really impressed with his work, poked around his website, and listened to a number of his songs until I decided...yeah...this guy rocks. So when it came time to look for guest judges for SpinTunes 8...well I thought of him. Thankfully he was nice enough to volunteer his time & efforts, and I definitely appreciate it. I'll embed one of his videos below so you can see who is reviewing you. I'll also post some of his links below...they're worth a click. - Spin
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------When a challenge is specifically asking for a song about pain, the number one thing I am looking for is mood. Does the mood of the song make you feel what the writer was feeling? That being said, this is an interesting challenge because of the emphasis on PHYSICAL pain. Physical pain could cover a broad spectrum of things, from actual physical pain, such as trauma to the body, or emotional pain, which can have intense physical consequences. Going into this challenge as a judge, I honestly didn’t anticipate anyone writing about actual physical injuries, and although the word physical in emphasized, I really believe that anyone who wrote about emotional pain has met the challenge requirements. You’d be hard pressed to find a human being who doesn’t believe that emotional pain is intensely physical!
The good old’ I-V-vi-IV "Don’t Stop Believing" chord progression brings an added challenge to this round, mostly because the progression has been used so extensively throughout music history. There’s that constant nagging feeling of, "wait, does this song sound like that OTHER song?!" In a situation like this, it’s best to get out of your own head. I mean, hey, that’s why you can’t copyright chord progressions, am I right?! Even with the overuse of this progression, I was pleasantly surprised with the unique ways the writers incorporated I-V-vi-IV into their choruses.
All in all, I’d say these are some talented writers who have crafted some very pleasant songs (aside from the subject matter) and they should be proud of the art they have created! Keep up the good work, writers!!
1. Jenny Klatz – Clear
This is my favorite of the songs in this round. As I stated in my introduction, I was looking for writers to set the mood. Jenny has done that with "Clear." Of all of the songs in this round, this is the only one I could picture playing in the background of a dramatic movie scene, setting the mood and helping the viewer feel what’s happening. With the help of a strong melody and some properly placed backup vocals, the whole song has a haunting quality that stays with you even after the track has ended. Great job, Jenny!
2. Ryan M. Brewer - Christ Speaks
Interesting concept, lyrically, and a catchy hook to go along with it! The understated melody in the verses really let’s the melody in the hook sore and command attention from the listener. I really enjoyed the interesting use of the I-V-vi-IV progression in the hook; the small break before landing on the IV chord was great. Of all the songs in this round, this was definitely my favorite use of the required progression.
3. Jutze – The Bleeding Dragon
Very… unique. I’d say the instrumentation, tempo, and chord progression of this tune would be a bit better suited for a song with different lyrical content. It’s such a fun, happy sounding tune that the subject matter seems to come out of nowhere, without warning. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s not a good song, I think the music is just great! It’s a track that makes you want to grab a pint and dance! Which is what leaves me confused as to how to critique the song, other than saying that the music doesn’t match the lyrics. My expectations for this challenge were songs that set a mood, and the mood of this track is extremely happy, with lyrics about pain and suffering, which is an odd combination. The listener can’t relate to the pain of the villagers in the song, because they can’t feel it. It sounds as if the town was having a party! Again, great job with the music, the song is enjoyable to listen to.
4. Edric Haleen featuring Heather Zink – I Wanna Go Dancing
This track definitely has some "girl power" qualities to it! The lyrical content describes the cause of pain in greater detail than most of the other songs. The chorus is a lot of fun, with almost a Broadway feel to it. It’s a chorus that I could picture in a musical! The bridge was great as well, maybe my favorite part of the tune. With such a strong chorus and bridge, my only critique would be the repetitive melody in the verses, along with the length of the verses. I found myself getting anxious in the first verse, wanting the chorus to come sooner, and anxious again in the second verse, wanting the chorus to come back sooner. Maybe give the song more contrast, in the form of a strong pre-chorus, leading into the chorus. One good tool to help you separate the pre-chorus from the verse and chorus is to land on a chord we haven’t heard in the verse, such as a ii or iii chord. Still, the strong chorus and bridge make this a solid tune!