Overall, I (James Rechs) thought these were hard challenges, especially the elevator one. we tried to do a shadow ourselves, and we couldnt get them done on time because it was a hard round of challenges. Maybe that explains why I thought the songs were not that great (sorry, just being honest!) On top of that, we got to listen to and judge these songs during the national nightmare that was the republican national convention--- so we were already depressed as it was. I scored them out of ten possible points.
Heather Zink - Dementia. Your voice is great. The song topic and lyrics are accessible. That being said, this song is really depressing. I like how you put your voice out there a cappella. I also like the abrupt ending. I can't say I completely loved the song, but on the other hand, even just based on this song, I find Heather incredibly likable as a singer and songwriter and I want to hear more. Overall, it was my favorite song for this round. Heather, I feel like you probably sound good no matter what the song is. Total Points: 6
Rob - I'm So Stable. Finally, something a little upbeat. I realize the challenge was for elevators, but come on people, the first priority should be to write a good song. Rob is the only person who brought a little humor and quirk to the challenge. I like the purposeful screwups. So yeah, this song has life. I want to have a beer with this song. Total points: 5.5
Boffo Yux Dudes - Instability. This is a cute song. I liked the ending. I'd have liked this to be a little catchier. Total points 5.1
Governing Dynamics - Rise. I really liked the first three minutes. Then you started to lose me a little bit. I like the production and the performances are good. I thought this song ran a little longer than it needed to be. Your voice has a quality that I like best when you're doing the more mellow singing. The lyrics are really interesting, but it requires a lot of attention to figure out how it meets the challenge. I at least want a particular hook relating to the song challenge. I didn't get that here, although I imagined listening in an elevator and that aspect of it worked. Total points: 5.0
Kevin Savino-Riker - Wait Right There. Pleasant enough, but nothing about it really stands out. I like the production. Once again, I thought it went on a little longer than it needed to. I'd like to hear tighter arrangements that don't keep going unless there is a specific purpose. It was not a slam dunk for me in terms of meeting the challenge. Total Points: 4
Ben Taggart - Master Of Destiny. It's fine, but not memorable. Total points: 3.
Mick Bordet - You Remind Me. This is A little too slow and lacking in energy for me. Total points: 2
In summary, these songs were really depressing and mostly too serious. I want something more upbeat, quirkier and more fun. I appreciate the effort though, because these challenges were difficult and sort of encouraged you to write songs that were either slow or disorganized. So it's not your fault. All things considered, you did the best you could. And the songs were less depressing than the RNC.
Comments from Jon Sailer.
1. Ben Taggert - Master Of My Destiny
They actually asked to listen to this one again on the ride home. I think it is a clear winner, the only one I would really want to hear again. When it started I was worried Ben was taking himself too seriously. It ended so perfect, falling apart just like it should. It's a really good classic folky melody, good lyrics, and good goofy ending. Love it.
The boys agreed.
2. Boffo Yox Dudes - Instability
The race for second was close. Everyone agreed this one was pretty good. It's missing something, but I'm not smart enough to know what.
3. Rob From Amersfoort - I'm So Stable
Again, it's pleasant enough. Pretty cool when it gets unwound at the end. I believe we settled on "It sounds like Grandpa singing with Radiohead".
4. Heather Zink - Dementia
This rose up our charts because my son loved this one. He gave it a rating of 9 out of 10. I think it is well done, but just not my thing. The 13 year olds didn't like the harmony. I thought it was fine.
5. Kevin Savino-Riker - Wait Right There
My son's friend gave this a high rating. He liked the vocals and musicianship. I found it strangely creepy. Maybe that's good?
6. Governing Dynamics - Rise
There were a couple parts of this I really liked. The lyrics are pretty awesome, especially the chorus. Some of the guitar work is really interesting and inventive. I think the vocals don't quite reach what was intended. At the end of the day it gets a little boring. The kids in the car did not like this one. kids, what can you do?
7. Mick Bordet - You Remind Me
Other than Ben, this got the biggest reaction overall. So maybe it is great art. My son at one point commented "This song is really meeting the challenge, because I am starting to lose control". I setteled on "Jarvis Cocker meets HP printer cartridge". The boys thought I was talking about Iron Man's butler, and that actually works a lot better.