Thursday, January 31, 2013

SpinTunes 6 Round 1 Reviews

Wow! What a great first round for SpinTunes 6! As I'm competing this round, I'm a little nervous. I find myself hard-pressed to find enough songs that I'd rank under my own to avoid elimination. No matter... I'd feel privileged to have been bested by this group, and would happily jump the net to shake their hands. I've been practicing that very thing all day.

So the challenge was to write a song about an Internet meme... but from a very restricted list. I expected we'd get a lot of duplicates, and we did... but they each had a unique approach. Since I'm not judging this competition, I'm not going to bother ranking them. Instead, here they are in order of presentation at the listening party, with my (uncharacteristically brief) thoughts, such as they are.

BTW, reading this, you might think it's a bitch-fest, but really, I'm just trying to be constructive, which means pointing out the stuff you probably already know is rough.

1. RC - The Philosoraptor 03:36
This is RC, setting the bar! I love the "prehistoric" beat reminiscent of "Walk the Dinosaur", and I love the easy delivery.

2. Jerry Skids - Not A Good Guy 03:59
The meme: Bert is Evil. REALLY clever lyrics, but "not a good guy" waters down the meme quite a bit. I think I'd've liked to hear more evil in the arrangement.

3. Steven Wesley Guiles - Boom Goes The Dynamite 02:25
This is a great dance tune. I like lyrics, and this is a bit light on that. There's not much that would put it in the context of the meme, but so what? A lot of heads will be nodding to this.

4. TurboShandy - Piss Lightning (My Canine Friend) 03:00
The meme: Courage Wolf. Not my style, which generally means it will be hugely popular.

5. Andy Glover - Hey, Winnebago Man 02:16
It sounds like Andy managed to rope Keyboard Cat into guesting on the instrumental solos.

6. Foobar - Leeroy Jenkins 03:15
I'm usually not big on production. In this case, the audio clips overpower the song. I think it should be the other way around, but what do I know? LEEEEROOOYYYYY mJEENNNNKINS!!!!

7. Jailhouse Payback - Gem Sweater Lady 02:31
The song is better than the meme. I think the folks at would think so, too... they don't even list it.

8. Ross Durand - First World Blues 02:32
A really simple little ditty. It's pretty straightforward, with no surprises except that awesome kazoo solo. I always like hearing Ross' delivery.

9. Q - Chuck Norris 02:35
I love Chuck Norris jokes, but for some reason I think this song misses. I like the verses better than the chorus. It could have a little "Wear Sunscreen" feel to it, but the chorus needs to be smoother.

10. The Middle Relievers - 2 Eyes 1 Regret 03:43
The meme: 2 Girls 1 Cup.  I think The Middle Relievers' take on this is about as tasteful as possible. If you're into potty humor, this is your song.

11. Army Defense - Miss Teen South Carolina 02:55
I'm not sure if this is in first or third person. It seems to switch. I like the groove.

12. Glen Raphael - Ask A Ninja! 02:18
A really nice novelty number from geek troubador Glen. I like it!

13. Dr. Lindyke - Famous Last Words 04:09
Our take on this was to present the message as close to "as is" as possible. It's not a funny meme (or a meme at all, really... more like a viral video, but it was on the list), so this is one of the handful of non-funny songs. It's meant to be inspiring, but next to songs that invoke humor, angst and deep thought it may fall a little flat. Oh, and my drums suck.

14. Jenny Katz - Boom Goes The Dynamite 03:34
OK, this is only sort of tangentially inspired by the meme, which is something I'll beat up on Wait What for later, but I like Jenny's rationale better. I also like her take on being tongue-tied. And I could listen to this voice all day.

15. Edric Haleen - For Zoe 04:44
One of my favorites of the round, sung by Zoe Gray about Zoe Roth, but the music and lyrics are all Edric. Edric's awesome and we all know it. Zoe is awesome, and I hope she never finds out and uses that knowledge as an excuse to stop growing and improving. Put them together and you get WOW.

16. Brian Gray - Descartes And I 04:18
I didn't think it would be possible to match RC's take on this meme, but Brian proves me wrong. What RC's song has in smooth production, Brian's has in clever lyrics. I like that Brian really illustrates the philosophy. He is, and continues to be, one of my very favorite artists. Oh, and "animemes"... heh!

17. Godz Poodlz - Miss Carolina 03:46
Ukelele! Russ seems to be channeling his inner Muppet. You can't help but smile. It might be a touch too long.

18. Blimp Exhaust - S.A.P. (Socially Awkward Penguin) 03:30
I really like this.

19. Steve Durand - One Red Paperclip 02:44
Nobody does what Steve Durand does. He's a one-man variety show. Lyrically, he's just telling the story. The fun here is in the inspired arrangement, and the plethora of live instrument performances. Day-um.

20. "BucketHat" Bobby - Problems 02:41
First World Problems as described by "BucketHat" Bobby Dylan. What a spot on pastiche! Bobby manages to fit in some genuine social commentary, to the point where after hearing the last verse you feel like a heel for having laughed at the first verse. The only criticism I'll offer is that the accordion (standing in for a harmonica) is mixed a bit too hot.

21. Atom & E.V. - Welcome Wagon 02:05
I'm not a fan of this one, sorry. I know what they're trying to do here, but it just doesn't seem to work. Lyrically it's repetitive, and instead of being funny, the bleeps are kind of annoying. Musically, it's mostly "Skip To My Lou". Blame Heather.

22. The Orion Sound - Hashtag (Damien's Story) 02:53
The meme: First World Problems. Dude, I know racism is your "thing"... that's a shame. This would be one of my top picks of the round if it were simply re-mixed without the subliminal epithets and the parting shot. I'm not sure if you bothered to look at who the judges are. Careless cruelty <> humor. Listening to the ending of this song was like watching Lance Armstrong shoot up on-camera. Even with that you may score high enough to shout out "I told you so".

23. T.C. Elliott - One Red Paperclip 02:55
I like the music. The lyrics could use some polish. I think Steve spoiled me.

24. MC Ohm-I - Down In Plankistan 04:12
A rapper! A REAL one! I enjoyed this one a lot. This is a great example of how to keep somebody's attention in a novelty song. Usually with novelty I think that once the joke is told it's time to stop. If you don't, then a relatively short song sounds interminably long. The way to avoid that is with STORY. Kudos to MC Ohm for getting it right, and for managing to provide some of the most entertainingly risque lyrics we've ever had.

25. Brandon Lorrekovich - Hankey Plankey 05:44
What a great 70s vibe! Don't think it needed the record-scratch (it's a bit like putting a transistor radio in film noir). This song is really over at about the four-and-a-half minute mark, but continues to stretch out to 5:44 to an abrupt end. Sounds like there should have been a fade out long before then.

26. Vincent Black Shadow - Baby Panda Sneeze (Judges Mix) 02:55
I don't have to listen to no damned judges' mix.

27. Vincent Black Shadow - Baby Panda Sneeze 02:55
I didn't think anyone could get a decent song out of a 15-second clip of an animal's sneeze. I was wrong. I like the bamboo percussion; I like the vaguely Asian feel. At the end there's panda-monium in the zoo.

28. The Chocolate Chips - Forever Alone 02:26
I dig this sound. There's something slightly "off" about it... the processed vocal sounds ever so oddly fucked-up, which is PERFECT. Have you ever SEEN the Forever Alone guy?

29. Wait What (The Band) - We R Not Gay 02:56
Wait What enlists Kevin Savino-Riker to walk the Devo walk. Well, the meme is a rage comic, but it's not exactly Rage Guy. And I have to highlight my ignorance, because I'm obviously missing a link. The Freddie Mercury sub-meme has nothing to do with rage, and nothing to do with being gay... it's a pose of triumph. So there's Rage Guy, and there's a completely different rage comic that has a picture of Freddie Mercury, who was gay, therefore Rage Guy is raging over not being gay, which in this song he is. The logic's tortured enough that I don't feel bad about not thrilling over the gratuitous gay bashing that spoiled the nice groove.

30. Kevin Savino-Riker - The Ballad Of Andrew Meyer 02:25
"DON'T TASE ME, BRO!" Nice, smooth sounds from KS-R, as usual. I think this will sail into the next round, and we'll see Kevin bring his A-game to Round 2.

31. Josh Holober-Ward - Internet Cats 03:55
This hits a number of listed memes... Nyan Cat, Long Cat, and Keyboard Cat. It takes some special balls to sing meowmeow meow with sincerity! Nice use of illustrating the various cats in the arrangement.

32. Dex01 - I Hate A Meme (Shadow) 02:36
Lots of memes in this one! Nice performance in the accompaniment... the tune could use a little work.


Joe Covenant Lamb said...

Ooo do we DIFFER on quite a few........... ;' )

Dave Leigh said...

I have often said, "If two people agree on absolutely everything, then one of those people is unnecessary". How pleasant it is to learn that we are both necessary!

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