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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

SpinTunes #1 Round 1 Review: Sammy Kablam

Governing Dynamics - Origin
There is something delightful about the natural sadness of Governing Dynamics fuzing with the concept of superheroism. Especially given that there's nothing even all that somber about the topic. I expected GD to do a song about the death of Superman or, I guess, the death of any superhero/villain. Not to suggest Governing Dynamics is all about killing people, just... Look, he does a lot of sad songs. Anyway, this is one of the few entries that actually sounds really good musically, and has a lot of replay value. I'd have him redo the vocals at his leisure down the road to really sharpen them up, but otherwise, this is one of the clearly greater entries.

"BucketHat" Bobby Matheson - Super Villain Blues
Take this how you will, but I don't think I've heard a more emotionally driven song by Mr. Matheson. It puts you in the head of the "bad guy" and really displays the grey area in these matters. By the end, I find myself wanting to help this (likely obsessive, delusional narcissist) guy with his plan. Also, sounds kinda like Randy Newman, which makes it that much funnier.

Edric Haleen - A Letter To Humanity
Musically, the most heroic of them all. I don't really think I need to say much beyond that. The character certainly is broadly optimistic, and kinda sounds more like Jesus than Spider-Man -- and I definitely prefer Spider-Man. But I will say, it never really feels like it picks up when it should. It feels like a 3 minute introduction. At the last line, it sounds like it's finally about to really kick in...and then, of course, it doesn't. But it's still a top choice, as Edric has, once again, led the pack on nailing the theme.

Ross Durand - Don't Turn The Page
Ross is the only person from SongFight that I consistantly admire, and it's because his songs are well thought out, well written, and well recorded. The production value on this is simply amazing, and it truly deserves top marks. However, I'm not a fan of merging realities; this isn't a man begging for mercy, it's the actual drawing in the book. It knows it dies, and doesn't want to get there. But the weirdness of that idea is that it dies no matter what. Not looking doesn't make it not drawn. It's a great song, but I think about things too hard, sometimes, and the idea of...well, an Idea, begging you not to look at the drawing if its death... That just strikes me as very confusing. I like the concept, but I'll bet it works 100 times better as a fan not wanting to face his comic hero's death.

Caleb Hines - The Memoirs Of Clockwork Man
This sincerely sounds somwhere between JoCo and TMBG. The very beginning sounds ominous as hell, and then we get a plucky story about a hero. Granted, a hero that doesn't seem to care much, but it's 1885, what do you want? Just be glad someone in London isn't hateful. The song really isn't all that heroic, but it does seem to be about the most developed character of the bunch. Also, it has harpsichords that aren't annoyiing, which is just incredible.

Steve Durand - Gamma Man
This pretty much encompassed everything from the 70s era superhero tv shows. All I could think of was Nicholas Hammond, for some reason. The cry for help is classic, and the broken sentence of urgency is classic. The only thing I could EVER call a "negative" about this is the rhyme of "suit/pursuit", because the syllables don't rhyme, they're the same thing. But when that's my biggest gripe (because I have issues), you can safely say you've done a helluva job.

Godz Poodlz - The Human Bomb
Another very pleasing submission from Godz Poodlz. I like the fact that it's just a little complaint about ending up the way he did, without being as sad and emotastic as is could've gotten. The only downside is that the refrain's a little redundant, and by the third one, you're kinda left feeling like there wasn't a whole lot of thought put into it. But then again, you're lucky if an hour later, you're not saying out loud, for no reason whatsoever, "I'm the Human Bomb".

JoAnn Abbott - Why
This is very well written, lyrically. And it almost sounds like something from a broadway show. The ambiguity of whether it's a superhero or supervillain singing is incredible -- and would actually make for an impressive pre-climax duet as both sides are seen gearing up for their head-to-head battle at the end of the show. My ONLY problem (again, because I have issues) is that the challenge was to pick one. Now, one might argue "But she met the challenge! Her song is either by a superhero OR a supervillain". And that would be cute. But it still irks me. That said, it really is a very nice song.

Gorbzilla - Superhero Song
There has got to be a much better title for this. Anyway, I can tell you right now, some will argue that this doesn't meet the challenge of being from the pov of a superhero/supervillain, but personally, I think the way it's done make sense. Being The watcher, Uatu's not going to have a whole lot else to talk about. That said, I might have decided to do the song about how boring it is on the Moon, and how much Uatu wishes, deep down, that he could be as beloved and active as the superhumans on Earth. But, like I said, I think it's a fun route. I also think the music is perfect for such a lament, watching the other not-so-cool guys getting a place where they can all hang out, and hoping one day to join them. What I think some people might miss is that the song isn't about the new lives of the heroes mentioned thruoughout the song, but is rather about Uatu wishing he could join them; this is clearly a lament, and the guys getting the new life free of mockery have nothing to lament.

Jon Eric - Superman Sneezed
At long last, someone finally depicts Superman as a hypochondriacal puss. I hate Superman, and to hear him whining about being weak and fading away makes me smile. But then I get kind of irritated, because a living god is moaning about this emo nonsense. Now I want to lock him in a bathroom with a stack of Kryptonite razorblades and pipe in the Johnny Cash version of "Hurt" until something productive happens. Congratulations: you made me hate a stupid character even more than I thought I could.

Ryan Welton - Underdog Blues
Definitely one of the more unique sounds of the round. Unfortunately, I never understood why anybody ever liked Underdog, and this song hasn't helped his image in my eyes. It's kinda slow, and doesn't really go anywhere all that interesting. So, I guess it's a top notch homage to the show, but it doesn't really do a whole lot for me.

Sara Parsons - Starlite (Ballad For A Noble Steed)
After a mild debate, I'm still not convinced that Rainbow Brite is a superheroine, let alone her horse. However, short of the title "demi-god", I'm not exactly sure what I WOULD call her, so I guess she's getting a bye on this one. But the horse? The music is great, the story is terribly sad, and it kinda makes me wish horses could play guitars. But all I remember about Starlite was a lot of bragging and a Gay Pride hairdo.

Denise Hudson - Invisible Girl
This is one of those songs that, despite meeting the pov criteria, just lies dead on the floor. This has basically nothing to do with being a superheroine. It appears to be a love song FROM a superheroine, but the exact same terminology could be used from a girl in high school or a woman at the office who is or feels often overlooked and "lost in the crowd", always unseen by the one she desires. Neither the lyrics nor the music say ANYTHING superheroine to me.

Charlie McCarron - Faster Than Superman
Musically, this sounds like something you might hear over the sound system at JCPenny. With the vocals, it sounds like I'm in the Crocodile Lounge at the Marriott outside Las Vegas. Also, I'd like to say: I have no idea what this is about. Is it an existing character? I know the Flash is faster than superman, but I don't see him as a crooner.

Heather Miller - I'm Not Wearing Tights
Music is intriguing. However, I can't say for sure what it is, but something about your vocals was like shifting gears without the brakes. Oh, and I simply cannot be clear enough on how much it physically pains me when people use what I call "cheap rhymes". And when you got to your "Still feel like a zero, but they call me a hero", my teeth began to grind. It's like a fork on a china plate.

Kevin Savino-Riker - Tough Jobs Vs Iron Gates
I will, without hesitation, agree with the notion that Steve Jobs is a lunatic bent on world domination. However, I don't think he and his nemesis were successfully displayed as superhuman counterparts. It's not a terrible idea, I just don't think it worked out.

Bram Tant - Kebab Shop
Nothing made me laugh quite so long or quite so hard as this entry. As far as I can tell, this is the single greatest piece of work I've heard from Bram Tant. But I have two complaints: #1. I have standards for the term "supervillain", and whereas this shopkeep is certainly of a vengeful nature, his plan isn't all that diabolical. Can't really admit to him being all that super. #2. This isn't really a song. I understand the beginning is a fast sung introduction, but all the gold is in the spoken part. And it's more of a monologue than anything else. Now, I want to really stress, I think this is a HIGHLY genius bit. I just have a hard time calling it a song or a true supervillain.

Emperor Gum - Costume (Squirrel Girl)
The timing on the different parts feels off and on throughout the song, and quite honestly, the vocals are terrible. You might be on key and all that, but whatever filters you're using, or maybe the mic itself, I dunno -- but there's something in the vocal recording or mixing that is really killing this thing. Without the lyrics sheet, I'd have no idea what you were saying. I love that you chose such a wonderfully oscure character, I just wish I could hear the song.

The Offhand Band - Step Back Swooperman
First thing I notice? The vocals have no blend whatsoever with the music. Second thing? Cheesy damn "hero/zero" rhyme. Why do people do this? Ugh. As for the rest of the song. I think I can best describe it as... Well... You ever brush your teeth with a file? It's kinda like that.

Jenny Katz - Blofeld's Beginning
I realize that the chorus is a spiel from the pov of the villain, but the rest is not. And that kinda cracks the challenge. The whole thing was supposed to be first person. Aside from that, I have to say: the tempo, tone, and overall style of tihs song very accurately conveys the feeling I get every time I hear the name "James Bond": Instant boredom. Whereas the emo-ness of Governing Dynamic's style meshed well with the topic, this slow, quiet music in absolutely no way conveyed "vengeful, maniacal world destroyer". Possibly the least interesting song of the bunch. And I really do hate James Bond.

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