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Saturday, July 19, 2014

SpinTunes #9 Round 1 Reviews: Andy Borman

Andy is a SpinTuner who isn't afraid of the gavel.  I just hope he doesn't go all Winnebago Man on your asses.  Give him a big thanks for lending us a hand by checking out his music over at atomandev.com.

- Spin

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Andy Borman - Software developer by trade; guitarist for Atom & EV, an husband-wife retro Rock/alt Country band in Dallas, TX.
 
Philosophically, a good song with a bad mix is better than a bad song in a good mix.
 
I've listened to the entire collection at least 3 times before writing these reviews & rankings.
 
I've rated this songs by the following criteria:
 
(5) Songcraft: How well does the song meet the challenge, and establish a mood or them, and how do the lyrics fit that concept.
(3) Cleverness/Creativity: Conceptual or lyrical or melodic creativity
(2) Approachability/Likability: Does the song follow established structures and does it have recognizable elements which make it familiar and likable.
(3) Interest/Replayability: Do I have a favorite part of the song? a particular phrase or lyric or melodic hook that I anticipate
(2) Arrangement: bearing in mind that this is a song-writing contest (not an mixing contest), does the arrangement/recording advance the goals of the song?
 
The rankings are simply my judgment of the best tunes constrained by how well they met the challenge.
 
1. TurboShandy - Oitopia 
OK, a nation of punkers can have rocking anthem. Everyone else, maybe not.
Fits the punk theme perfectly. Oitopia - a play on "Utopia"?
I like the ska/reggae intro. Enough variation to keep it interesting.
 
2. Brian Gray - St Agnes
Almost hymn-like, but the drum keeps it in anthem territory. 
Are you subverting the challenge since this group is not actually a "country" yet?
The note choice at the end of the third line helps keep the melody unique and interesting.
Is this a reference I don't know? Still, I am fascinated.
3. Sid Brown - The Shire
A fitting drinking song/anthem for hobbits.
Technically, I don't think Tolkien ever directly uses the term "gods".
Repetitive, but appropriately so for this style of folk song.
4. Heather Zink - Bless Our Land Hyrule
Really a hymn, but it counts.
Very fitting to the environment its meant for.
 
5. Felix Frost - Croton Alley
Tone is appropriate for the SciFi distopia.
Amusing, but a little self-aware. You can't have an anthem  telling the truth
Points for "This land is your land" and other anthem-referent lines
Arrangement sounds inspired by They Might Be Giants
 
6. Mr Gee - Mordor, O, Mordor
Thematic & orc-approved. Evocative drums and effectively haunting strings
Enough appropriate references to tie it together; not sure orcs would use a word like odiferous!
Pretty grim. Pacing is appropriate, but hurts its likability.
 
7. Zoe Gray - Country Of The Sun 
A personal theme song for an imaginary head space is a bit of a parsed approach to the challenge.
Points for creativity though.
Rhyme scheme propels this forward.
I like the vocal dynamics ("anthem strong", for instance).
 
8. Steve Durand - Oceania, 'Tis For Thee
Appropriate but almost too self-aware. You are treading on dangerous territory; the party leaders might see this as satire.
Familiar and anthemic sounding.
Points for trumpet fanfare.
9. The Boffo Yux Dudes - Latveria, We Bow Before Our Doom 
Yes, this is the anthem commissioned by an evil genius.
'Fields of wheat' really sets the tone for a traditional anthem, which is cleverly reversed by the "death rays" on the next line.
I really don't like the high-pitched vocal repeat at the end of some lines. Possibly, a specific reference I don't know?
 
10. Governing Dynamics - Roland Lives! 
With the liner notes, this works for me. Garage Band approach is appropriate given the backstory.
Vocals are not meeting the potential for this song yet.
 
11. James Young - Elbonia! Elbonia!
Not the musical stylings I'd expect from Elbonians, but ok.
Points for a solid Metal arrangement.
 
12. Benjamin J Spencer - Alcoholia
Intro clinking runs a bit long.
Sounds like the Jimi Hendrix version of Alcoholia's traditional anthem, which works.
 
13. MC Ohm I - Plankistan National Anthem
Quirky. I see you have a theme going.
The shawm (?) and ethnic feel is quite interesting
 
14. Kolton H - Oceania Prevails
Mind-numbing and trans-inducing, which is perfectly appropriate.
It really reminds me of that Apple "1984" commercial a few years ago.
 
15. Megalodon - Digitalstan
An anthem from the inside; kind of like a TRON idea. I can dig it.
Good use of sound effects.
Needs a stronger melody and hooks, which will make the vocals much stronger.
 
16. The Roy Hammer Trio - Costaguana
Not really anthemic sounding to me.
Points for erudition and obscure references.
On the other hand, minus points for obscurity.
 
17. Pigfarmer, Jr - Zamunda National Anthem
More like a personal song about the country then an anthem for it.
Lyrics are not really working for me, but interesting topic choice.
A little too dreary, perhaps.
 
18. Jerry Skids - The Island is My Home
Good song, but this more a ballad than an anthem.
I like, "Though everything seems to be a mystery"
I especially like the synth in the solo, and vocal mix
 
19. Army Defense - Kron
I didn't learn enough about 'Kron' to know if this style of anthem was appropriate. Sorry if it's a reference I don't know.
Curious & intriguing lyrics
Points for classic Classic Rock arrangement
 
20. Caravan Ray - The Lonelystani National Anthem
Good song, but it's a metaphor, not an anthem for an actual fictional country
Clever lyrics
 
SHADOWS
 
Adam Sakellarides - The Terran Empire Anthem
Fun choice. Thematically & musically appropriate.
A bit self-aware. 
"you'll be fought on sight" is a bit weak
 
Plenitude - Santa Prisca National Anthem
Musical style perfectly fits the concept
I'm not sure anyone would refer to them self as an island of drug trafficking, however.
 
Dr. Lindyke - O Hail To You Fidonia
Appropriate to the challenge
Lolz at "tail-bone-ia"
Pretty sure I've heard much of this melody elsewhere.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, thanks for the review!

    I agree about the vocals. The song probably isn't in the best key for me, to be honest, but I didn't like how the music sounded in any other register (and okay, pretty much needed an open string for the main riff so options were limited).

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