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Judges have until the timer runs out to turn in their reviews:

Saturday, February 4, 2017

SpinTunes #12 Round 1 Reviews: Nick Dellaposta

5. Dr. Lindyke - Doom's Day
This is a well-produced and very well-written song. Back in 08’ I followed Tom Waits around on several tour stops, so I pretty much love everything about this. It’s theatrical, oozing with accented vocal character and reminiscent of The Black Rider. I appreciate the fictional backstory. Please continue making avant garde music.

2. Kyleen Downes - Do What You Do
Kyleen, you have a wonderful voice. Your verses paint a somber picture with wonderful details of the waste left behind after an election. Interestingly, your chorus is sassier with a bit more attitude, which caught me off guard a bit. Personally, I think your coda section has a great melody hook and an endearing message. It might serve as a stronger chorus and be more in character with the verses. You have a gift for storytelling.

16. Bryan Schumann - Royal Blood
Bryan, you have a well-developed ear for musical texture. I really appreciate the subtle acoustic squeaks/picks and the throaty vocals that change dynamically from near-whisper to a triumphant howl. You mentioned this song may have been inspired by Reign. I could definitely hear this tune as part of a soundtrack. The subtle nuances of character and texture help make your story-telling that much more visceral.

10. Domingo - Bulería de Persuación
The language of music is universal, and this song speaks to me. I love the backstory. I can say that this Bulería has certainly persuaded me. The vocals are sung with wonderful melismatic shifts. The single classical guitar has many wonderful parts as well that range from rhythmic bursts, arpeggiated chords, and melodic fills. Very talented.

24. Alex Forger - Change The World (I Hope)
Alex, You’ve got an intriguing song structure here. I enjoy that in addition to a well-formed Pre-Chorus & Refrain, you’ve tacked on an extra hook to the end of each verse for good measure. Additionally, you’ve come up with a good transitional bridge that demonstrates that you have a solid understanding and talent for composition. You’ll continue to grow this strength in your future writing, I hope.

1. Ryan M. Brewer - ReCount, Revenge
Ryan, this is a cool tune. Structurally, you’ve combined some interesting sections of music. The verse melody is has a simple hook with well-placed harmonies and your chorus joins a Zappa-esque run with a cool diminished chord that perfectly sets up your punchline. The bridge picks up some tension and intensity which I would have liked to have heard resolve with more of a climax but that’s only a minor critique. I hope you continue to develop more of the oddball musical aspects in your songwriting. There isn’t enough of that in the world.

13. Brian Gray - Abernathy Fitzgerald
Brian, you’ve got some excellent musical chops. This song is fun in many ways. The story of a show-boating boastful winner is amusing all on its own, but this song also showcases some seriously fun wordplay in the verses. It would surely go over well in a live situation for it’s entertainment value.

18. Jerry Skids - The Ethical Ballad Of Mayor Goldie Wilson
Jerry, You have some really fun use of complex figurative language in your verses. As a writer, I really appreciate lyrical stunts that make use of multiple near-rhymes within larger multi-syllable rhyme sets. (Ex: Dormant + for one, Lead + Steed) That’s a really academic way of saying I think you have a lot of style in the words you craft together. And you’ve got some great vocal harmonies as well.

22. Emperor Gum - Lucifer
This is quite a song. Highly entertaining, descriptive and artfully told. You’ve taken a highly-relevant story and given it a thoughtful twist that sets up quite a few punchlines.

4. Governing Dynamics - Concessions
Concessions starts off dark and evolves, line-by-line, into a more positive and uplifting chorus. It’s an interesting lens to view “loss” through, so I appreciate the perspective you’ve taken. Your lyrical phrasing is unique and has an intriguing drawl. By that I mean, another vocalist might place their breaths differently, or sing a line more fluidly, but there is something distinctive about the way you do it.

23. Mariah Mercedes - Election Of Love
Mariah, you are a very talented vocalist. I appreciate the personal interpretation you took with Election of Love. It’s nice to hear a non-political point of view. Using conversational language and “no-nonsense” lyrics make your song widely-relatable. The hook is catchy and the music is emotive in a way that can transport the mind to a different time and place. A good song can be like a time machine—it can take you back to the first time you heard it. I encourage you to continue to develop this quality because for a lot of us, music is an escape, and you’re the one driving the getaway car.

25. Caravan Ray - Party Games
Schadenfreude,… I’ll be honest, I had to look it up… but I’m glad I did. Lol. This song has some of the best complex rhyme structures. Each verse makes use of multi-syllable rhymes that aren’t too much of a mouthful. The only criticism I have is that the refrain leaves a bit to be desired. It’s less memorable than some of the verses.

14. James Young - Vote For Me!
James, Although this song may not be the most “poetic” example of songwriting, you’ve nailed it when it comes to representing the voice and tone of our new President. Simple vocabulary and repetitive slogans played an important role in his victory but they are also useful tools in a songwriter’s toolbox as well. As a rule, I typically disfavor the more “Cat-in-the-Hat” rhyming patterns, but as they say, “exception proves the rule”.

28. DJ Ranger Den - My Fellow Mannabadoos
Although I have no idea what a Mannabadoo is, the line “My fellow Mannabadoos” was stuck in my head all damn night, which is a testament to how a good melody with a charming vocal are all you need sometimes for the start of a good song. I’d encourage you to continue to develop these ideas through to completion just a bit more, as this tune seems a little unfinished.

32. Ominous Ride - 19 Never Comes
What you accomplished in 72 hours is simply impressive. The verses build drama and the chorus breaks out into a very catchy hook. As your story progresses you’ve woven in a lot of musical details which are very well thought-out.

17. Ross Durand - Homeroom
Ross, I learned how to play guitar and write songs from the chord chart in the back of a folk songbook, so I have a real appreciation for stripped-down singer/songwriter tunes on acoustic guitar. Your voice is well-suited for the genre, your song is catchy & widely-relatable, and notably, you were able to demonstrate some solid songwriting, without the need of an effects rack.

20. Mick Bordet - Democracy Inaction
Mick, As a lover of marimba, I think you’ve created some very captivating soundscapes with some very thoughtful poetry. Your phrasing is completely freeform which is intriguing because it allows you to place emphasis more deliberately. It may not be for everyone, but I appreciate that you’re able to use unique phrasing and spacial atmospherics to force listeners to hang on each word.

26. Adam Sakellarides - A Better Place To Live
Adam, You’ve got an entertaining story here. I enjoy how you’ve used some sloppily-rushed phrasing in places to reinforce the humor, although it makes the lyricist in me cringe. I also appreciate that from a story-telling perspective, you have a clear beginning, middle, and a triumphant ending.

34. Megalodon - Democrat Pixie
This song has a delightful variety of instrumentation though at times it competes with the vocals. You’ve got a fun story and the verses have a good vocal melody, but your strength here is your ear for musical arrangement and production.

9. Shyfox - Berdie
The concept of losing with a smile is an interesting take on defeat. I appreciate that you set out to write a tune about losing an election, and told the story with a positive outlook. It’s an interesting take. The instrumentation and whistling in this song also help support the concept, making it an overall thoughtful and well-produced tune.

33. 27 Tikis - Kahuna Of The Corn Tropics
As a midwesterner, I do find the term “corn tropics” amusing. I also appreciate that you took the “election” requirement and imagined it in a way that sounds completely apolitical. You’ve got a really fun tune with wonderfully subtle accompaniment.

11. Steve Stearns - Overthrown
Steve, This is a fun tune. The robotic phrasing during the verses make total sense and the choruses are catchy. You did a good job telling a story that certainly stands apart from others.

15. Rob From Amersfoort - Why
Rob, this has a cool Beatles-esque quality. You’ve created a cool palette of musical textures. The music, and in particular your vocals conjure up a really strange/creepy main character. You’ve done a good job developing this persona and an interesting environment in such a short time. Continue exploring, I can tell you love to turn over stones.

29. Boffo Yux Dudes - Bully For You
This song rocks. There are some thoughtful verses and you’ve invested a lot of time into the production, research and story-telling. Work on coming up with some more poetic or colloquial ways to say the things you want to say. The lyrics are so straight-forward that they leave more to be desired.

27. Jailhouse Payback - How To Lose A School Board Election
You know how sometimes when you’re writing a sentence on a page and then you all-of-the-sudden realize you’re about to run out of room, so everything gets smaller? Some of your lyrical phrasing reminds me of that. You have a very cool post-chorus “Whoa yeah” section. It adds an awesome dynamic, but I don’t understand why there’s a crossfaded interruption in the middle of the song. It seems like you weren’t sure how to get back to the next verse, which can be a challenging thing to do with tempo changes, but I’d encourage you to continue to develop that.

3. Lucky Witch & The Righteous Ghost - Spoiler
Your song has good foundational elements. Simple verses/chorus, repeatable lyrics, and a well-formed bridge. I would encourage you to tune up the instruments a little more precisely, and loosen your wrist when strumming so it doesn’t feel so forced. You’ve got a good song, just focus a bit more on the delivery.

31. Sumner Wynn - The Great Weight
Musically, you’ve got a decent framework for an art rock song. Work on tightening up your vocal melody as it meanders loosely over a slightly out-of-tune guitar. You have the passion and talent, it’s in your writing, Good frontmen know how to also use it in their voice to command the attention of their audience.

21. Army Defense - Elected
You have several very compelling lines in this song. I particularly appreciate the contrast you’ve drawn between the younger generation and the “old guard”, if you will. Although the lyrics themselves are solid, I’m confident you could give them a more melodic hook to help this song stand out more.

12. Zoe Gray - Long Live The Queen
Zoe, This is a very cool take on a classic story. I appreciate that it sounds equal-parts delicate and disturbed. Your verses and choruses have decent hooks that have great tactile references (burning, stitches, veins) that help create the mood. Your voice is distinctive and even though there is minimal melodic range, it suits the tightly-wound character you’re representing. That being said, it would be interesting to hear what it would sound like if some parts were sung with more attitude, frustration or anxiety. Narratives often devote significant time and care toward character development. In song, it may not be so easy, especially with such a complex character, but I’d encourage you to try to channel your character’s emotions while at the same time using your unique voice.

7. Kevin Savino-Riker - The Damn Breaks
Kevin, you’ve come up with some clever lines and cool riff. Put a strong rhythm section behind this tune and it will free up your singing and playing from having to be so angular. This tune could really groove with the right band.

8. Heather Zink - BeFührer
Heather, The intro of this song does a really nice job setting up the main verse part. It sounds like it could be on a soundtrack, it just has that cinematic character to it. Compositionally, it would benefit from some variety (chorus, bridge, solo, etc) or at least dynamic changes. I’m not one of those songwriters that thinks all songs need a chorus, but I do appreciate a well-crafted hook. The very last line serves as a climax, but up until then the song hangs out on a bit of a plateau. Just something to think about as you continue to write.

19. Turtle Fence - Mr. Brexit (or, Nobody Loves EU)
The most interesting part of this song is that you’ve chosen to present a relevant subject with an  almost archaic genre. I can appreciate the irony, but it still sounds like what would happen if Eeyore were to become a monk, and then run for office.

30. The Crack Fox - Erection
I am a big fan of instrumental rock music, but as a largely instrumental song, this piece fails to progress anywhere really worth mentioning. It lacks any real compositional interest or story-telling elements. I’d encourage you to work on crafting parts to go with the foundation you’ve got started.

6. Edric Haleen - This Changes Everything
Edric, thanks for sharing your talent and tune. You’ve done a great job twisting the national anthem in a provocative way.

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