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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Champions Vs Shadows #1 Round 1 Reviews: Ross Durand

Ok -  a few things first. I am at a camp in the mountains - usually I get a fair amount of free time, but we had some crazy rainy days and a few other issues to deal with - so while I feel my rankings are what I would have arrived at either way, you’re not getting the reviews you deserve.

I tend to weight the challenge pretty heavily in my rankings, this, of course, means you are subject to my view of the challenges - but we all know what we’re getting into when we sign up for these things. :-)

With only one exception, I really felt that all the songs in this round were essentially good songs differing mostly in style and production. I try to dismiss these and focus on how I feel about the composition, but I am sure that my biases enter into it either way. So the songs where I liked the way the challenge was handled went in the top cluster, marginal in the second cluster, poorly in the third cluster. Then within those clusters I was often splitting hairs based on composition, arrangement, production, and style (would I want to listen to it again).

I didn’t DSQ anyone on the challenge, it seemed to me everyone seemed to attempt to meet it, even if some did not - Boffo Yux, for instance, did not seem to have a song about building something as much as a song about something they had built, but I gave the benefit of the doubt that the songwriters did not intentionally skirt the challenge.



Governing Dynamic - not especially impressed by this as a list song. I can here where you went for it, but it is so well disguised as to be nearly non-present. And the chorus doesn’t feel like a list to me at all. Even so, I did find it the strongest of the Champion entries in terms of the challenge.

Jenny Katz - I am distracted by the extent to which this seems like an Ani Difranco impression. I am sure it is just your style, and I’m sure you synthesize many influences, but this is what my ears are telling me. I feel like this song is more about lists than an actual list - this is created largely by the lines “the pros are” and “the cons are” instead of just listing pros and cons. It’s an interesting song. Seems a bit personal to me (in terms of that it doesn’t project to me) - I kind of don’t end up caring about this relationship, even though I am hearing you processing it. I kept waiting for some sort of globalization for every listener. Excellently performed all around!

Matt And Donna - wow the production is seriously getting in the way - that keyboard patch is making it so I can’t understand a single word of this thing without looking up the lyrics. I consider that a big flaw when the challenge was lyrical.

MC Ohm-I - Once I realized that the chorus plagiarized Rogers and Hammerstein and that I would support a disqualification on those grounds, I did not make detailed notes due to my limited time. I would be happy to do so  if you want my other feedback.


James Young - I like the vagueness of the lyrics in this context - I also like that the building is central to the whole thing.

Ben Taggert - Long intro - A few few forced melodic parts when modulating. Boring, but it least it really is about building something - neat song concept, just not very well executed. More time and editing might make it stronger.

Brian Gray - upbeat and catchy - almost completing the champion challenge is well. Fun idea to write about building a website - but a bit niche-ey in terms of potential listeners.

Bubba And The Amiable Kraken - This is kinda cheesy, but from the point of view of a bird? cute

Rob From Amersfoort - I like the harmonic aesthetic (although not so much the vocal aspect). All the way through I listened waiting for something to take this to a level beyond the apparent surface - it never went there and I found that disappointing.

Zoe Gray - This has an edge to it..not sure how to define it. This is more about what you built than about building it, but the future tense helps. some very interesting sounds here. Well performed and arranged, I (like I think many others) are humbled by your accomplishments at your age, but no extra points for that - equal playing field.

The Boffo Yux Dudes - Tiny house - good idea. Very good. Some very good lines in this - quality entry from you  guys. but it’s not really about building the house - it’s about living in it. This knocks it way down for me.

Dr. Lindyke - nice chord changes, castles in the sand-  nice analogy even if used by Jimi already :-) the analogy is really just in the chorus, not sure I’d say the song is  “about this” - I am sure you will disagree, but the verses didn’t seem to be about building to me.

Hotel Rex - another song where the song is not really about the building, but the building something part is an anology that appears in the chorus - nice guitar playing

Pigfarmer Jr  - tuneful country. Another bridge song? Another on where the analogy is in the chorus but not the verse.

Trader Jack - I hate how this sounds. I get the geometric construction thing you are going for here and I think it is a neat idea, but I don’t like the way it is executed and feel like it is almost not quite a song…..

Jutze - clearly less than 2 minutes

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