Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review of SpinTunes 8 Round 2

Ranking this round is easy for me.
  1. Ryan M. Brewer
  2. Ross "Dammit Ross" Durand
  3. Everybody else
It looks like there's a tie for third place, and the judges will have to sort it out.

So, rankings out of the way, here are my thoughts about the songs, in listening party order. It looks like there are three basic approaches to this challenge: 1. Comedic, 2. Sympathetic, and 3. Embrace the Hate. I haven't read your song bios before writing this, so that you get feedback as to what *I* get out of what you wrote.

1.Jutze - I Hate You 02:16
Jutze embraces the hate in a comedic and "meta" way. Sounds a lot like the Sesame Street Cookie Monster. It's a bit repetitious for my taste, and feels a bit like what you might right with writer's block. Either that or it's really clever. Jutze messes with your head like that.

2.TurboShandy - Stoic 02:30
This sounds a bit Dylanesque, but TurboShandy already know that. It sounds very nice. I don't believe he hates anybody. ;)

3.Jenny Katz - Voodoo Doll 03:24
I love Jenny's voice. I wonder how much she'd charge to read my mail out loud to me each morning? 'Cause I could listen to her all day. I like the metaphor equating the singer with the voodoo doll... the pain she inflicts on you is at the cost of taking on pain herself. Lots of intelligent, cosmic lyricism here acknowledging the inter-relatedness of hate and love.

4.Felix Frost - Steely 03:09
Felix Frost's arrangements are intricate and unpredictable and many layered. His lyrics are obscure, but intriguing. My One Big Complaint is the almost complete lack of dynamics in his songs.  I don't know if that's the result of programmed instruments, but it doesn't have to be. This song has basically two volume settings... loud and LOUD. I'm pretty sure the waveform in his DAW peaks at max just about the whole time. That's not an envelope, it's a bar. Dynamics are what communicate emotion... even hate. There's a lot here for the mind, but not much for the heart.

5.Sara Parsons - Who Am I Kidding? 03:07
Sara's is another voice I could listen to all day. This song is pretty, and perhaps too much so. I'm just not finding much hate in it. There's disappointment in it, and the target seems to shift. Maybe it's in herself, and maybe in him, maybe a little of both. But a nice, easy listen.

6.Governing Dynamics - Trump Card 04:37
Some heavy bass pulled forward in Time from 1972. This song is full-on Embrace The Hate, in both lyrics and tone. Bang-on the challenge.

7.Caravan Ray - Disdain In The Refrain 02:20
Caravan Ray goes for full-on comedy. It's busy and bouncy and the insults are so casually dropped it couldn't be offensive if it tried. Which it isn't trying to be. I get the feeling this is a song containing all the snappy comebacks a guy would say if it didn't mean losing his job. It's fun.

8.Edric Haleen - Born Of Hate 03:23
Edric kept saying his isn't a song, and then he played this thing that's totally a song. He goes for Embrace the Hate with something that's either a commentary on War or an ad for the world's greatest first-person shooter. I would cast Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman in the film adaptation. Seriously, though, it is possible that the fact that it followed Caravan Ray's entry accounts for my limited empathy with the protagonist. The number's well-suited to being embedded in a drama where you've had the time to set the mood and become invested in these characters, but there's not time in three and a half minutes to do that.I'm guessing that the bulk of the audience will be drawn to more personally relate-able themes.
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9.Dr. Lindyke - I Hate Myself For Loving You 03:18
It's an old story... she loves him; he barely knows she exists. She can't get close, but she can't leave either. That's the kind of love a person can only hate. And she's no one to blame but herself. See... it's Heather. And she blames herself. I crack me up. This is a rumba. Here's the song bio [link]

10.Zoe Gray - Black With You 02:46
You embrace the hate in a unique way, Zoe. This is really intelligent and well-plotted. My constructive criticism is the same as for Felix... Dynamics work wonders in enhancing the emotion. The emotion is clearly here in the song... but with a little more subtlety in the delivery you'll put it in the hearts of the audience. A ton of extra points for bringing kismesis to the party.

11.Brian Gray - Stupid Face 02:28
Nearly a capella, but on steroids. And it's pure comedy, from the title down. When you see "Stupid Face" you're expecting something at least a little childish, and boy does this run with that ball! Really, really fun stuff! And c'mon... how many times do you get to use "lit bags of poo" in a lyric?

12.Adam Sakellarides - Damn You 02:56
A tango!! And a great subject as well! I only wish the vocals were up to the material, but that's me being selfish. If I were judging, I'd overlook it entirely.

13.T.C. Elliott - You Cheated On Me (And Now I Hate You) 02:09
That's pretty straightforward, idnit? What's to explain? An uncomplicated song about pure, honest hate.

14.Jailhouse Payback - Clippedcorners 04:14
You have to love a banjo. Really, you just HAVE to. And to my ears this is one of the very best SOUNDING songs in the round. It's a real "feel-good" sound that I like a lot. But it's not comedic, so I'm looking for a REASON for it to be a "feel-good" song about hate, and I don't see it. So I'm conflicted.

15.Army Defense - What Can I Do 02:35
Same as for Jailhouse Payback. It's not a comedic song, but it's really bouncy and light, and it just doesn't FEEL like everyone's against her. I know, it sounds picky of me, but all the songs are so good this round that being picky matters. Do I like it? Yup. But maybe not as much as ones that I'm not conflicted about.

16.James Young - I Hate You 03:38
See, this also has got a feel-good sound, but unlike the previous two it feels like it fits. The target here is clueless and vacuous... "sickly sweet like candyfloss". The music perfectly captures that. And if that weren't enough, the second half of the song proves the singer's every bit as clueless. I like the fact that this song doesn't end in hate. Perfect.

17.Ross Durand - Sometimes 02:57
"Another thing about you I hate / Is just one bowl and just one plate / At breakfast time". DAMMIT, Ross. Just... dammit. You made my wife cry again. Awesome song. Now go away, I've got something in my eye.

18.Ryan M. Brewer - Fear [Of Failure] And [Self] Loathing In Las Vegas 03:57
This is Embrace The Hate, and with a relentless bass, spot-on harmonies, and incisive poetry it makes you believe it. Sing it, Brother.


19.Heather Miller - You Make Me (Shadow) 02:55
Guitar's a little iffy, but the song is really top notch in all other respects.

20.T.C. Elliott - The Kitchen Table (Shadow) 02:28
This is most certainly a hate song.

21.Menage a Tune - Wevenge (Shadow) 02:32
This starts out as a children's song, then turns dark. Elmer and Bugs have a classic love/hate relationship (there's kismesis again!) like Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty or Kirk and Khan... only with cartoon bunnies and slapstick rifles, which makes it fun.I'm not sure I like where the piano goes in the later verses. I understand the intent of using dissonance... just don't think I'd do it in quite that way, but I know you're working with limited resources.

22.Boffo Yux Dudes - Suitcase Full of Hate (Shadow) 02:28
Hearkening back to the British Invasion of the 1960s, this number has an awesome period sound mixed with all the depth of morning dew. Which I only say because the BYD are really hoopy froods.

23.@suspiciousden - to dust (Shadow) 02:45
I've told her, and now I'll tell you. I visualize this as animated by Tim Burton. It's sort of creepy in an "I want to be creeped out" way. This is THE unique take on Embrace The Hate. It's not an "I'm mad at you" kind of hate. It's the "you'd better lock the bedroom door when you're sleeping and prepare all your own food" kind of ambiguous "I don't know if she's serious about not caring omgomgomg she's gonna KILL ME" kind of way. A shuddering, cold, clammy dead rat in your soup kind of hate. Sometimes Den scares me. I wish this were an official entry. Or I'm glad it's not. Hell, I don't know.


jailhouse payback said...

From Jailhouse Payback: The thought was to write about positive childhood memories about someone to later turned out to be a monster. I thought that would give the song something interesting beyond just "hate", and the pleasant melody tried to reinforce that uneasy feeling. That's what we were trying for anyway...thanks for listening!

Dave Leigh said...

Thanks for the clarification. I always hate it when I miss something important.

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