Saturday, February 16, 2013

Spintunes #6 Round 2 Review: Niveous Devilchild

It’s time for Round 2 of SpinTunes and this time around, the challenge is to make a fight song about a sports team. I feel like somewhere in this, things went horribly awry. I don’t know if it was the fight song aspect (would it have been better to have everyone just write a song, not specifically make it a fight song) or is sports just such a polarizing topic? Either way, this ended up a weaker round than the previous . But, there were still some diamonds in the rough.
 
 
Let’s start off with a mention of the two shadows and the two DQ’s. Army Defense basically got DQ’d because it’s not a fight song. It’s a shame because it had a Soundgarden vibe to parts and it was an intriguing little experiment. I could probably listen to this song much more than some of the tunes in the round, even if I wish there was more meat to the song than just the Shula quote. Steven Wesley Guiles has proven in two rounds that he’s good at crafting catchy tunes. But as much as I like Minecraft, I cannot justify calling it a team sport. Edric Haleen’s shadow was ok. He should’ve just played the original instead of redoing the vocals. Boffo Yux Dudes brought a demotivational fight song. It was amusing. Nice touch with the deflated “yeah”.
 
 
Now to the remaining 17 songs from worst to first:
 
 
Glen Raphael - “Gunn High Chess Team Fight”
It’s supposed to be this rousing acapella rally cry but it’s so flat in the performance. There needs to be some vibrance in the performance, instead it comes off as monotone and dull. Then there’s the issue of the bad acapella bassline which is distracting. Lyrically it was okay, just outshined by the competition in that category. In the end, it just didn’t come together well.
 
 
Josh Holober-Ward - “Let’s Go Ravens!”
It’s a joke that doesn’t pay off. It’s the fight song from the guy who lives in the town but doesn’t watch football. It gave me a chuckle upon my initial listen but didn’t hold up over subsequent listens. The lyrical content hit some snags like the friendly goose line and the powerball line, which both earned groans instead of laughs. The vocal performance was alright. One thing that bothered me is that I know it’s a fight song which can just be a chant but I feel that Josh could have done more musically for this song than just a clap.
 
 
Brian Gray - “Fei Gong!”

First off, there’s no declared sport in the fight song. That dinged the score a little. Then there was the concept of the non-fighting fight song. It was a cute idea at first but it wore in later listens. Musically, I wasn’t a fan of the “horns” which sounded like a bad Super Smash Brothers sample. Lyrically, it was well composed but it wasn’t interesting. The performance definitely had some problems in the vocal especially on the big“school” lines. I think this was the wrong way to go, even if it was a wildly creative take, and it ended up making a mediocre song.
 
 
The Chocolate Chips - “…Win for India”
If this was rating the music, this would be much higher. Well put together musically as an Indian fight song. But the lyrics are as threadbare at best. That makes for a less interesting song. The vocals are okay but a bit muddy in the mix which makes the lyrics harder to hear and when there’s already so little going on in the words, it’s a negative atop a negative. Basically, there needed to be more to this song.
 
 
Edric Haleen - “A Father’s Fight Song”
It’s all about the concept here. The Dragons’ fight song is pretty generic, forgettable, and doesn’t even let us know what sport it is. It’s just there to be the groundwork for the second verse. The second verse is ok. Musically, it’s mostly ambience behind a character doing an aside. The performance is well done, though the word “teamwork” stick out like a sore thumb and dwarfs “humility”. It was pretty decent all together. It was just a little thin on song and higher on concept for my taste, plus it fails one of my most important tests- would I want to keep this song around? It doesn’t have staying power.
 
 
Kevin Savino-Riker- “The 12th Man”
Ah, the third team. Not the Giants, not the Jets, the Buffalo Bills. Sadly, this was my favorite song at the initial listen and one of my least favorites by the final listen. This is just the most middle of the road song in the pack. It’s a perfectly fine fight song. The marching percussion, the multiple voices and the chants, it’s got a great foundation. I think it’s a problem in the performance. It’s not energetic enough for a fight song. I can’t imagine the Bills gets psyched up hearing this. This song has great potential but doesn’t let loose. It’s like a metal singer in a thin walled apartment with neighbors who complain. It just needs to scream and shout but it doesn’t.
 
 
Dr. Lindyke - “Cock Fight”
I wonder just how tired the South Carolina Gamecocks are of dick jokes. All the double entendres here. Thrusting balls, mighty cocks, licking pussies. Let’s see if I can play along. It was amusing the first time but these Cocks just don’t have staying power. The joke blew its load after the first time I heard it. And the song doesn’t hold up against such stiff competition. Seriously, the song lacks some replay value and I’m not a fan of the “drums”Lindyke used. At least the performance was solid. They sold the joke as hard as they could.
 
 
RC - “We Will Bury You”
The best song of the lower echelon. It’s a musically strong song that has a good head bopping beat. It’s nice to get a fight song with a full band arrangement. Where this song got dinged was lack of sport. It feels more like a school song that you’d sing at a pep rally, more than a fight song for the school sports team… who play ??? There’s a mention of a game but you get no sense of what they play and since this song is based on a fictional team (you can get away with that when you are taking about a real team or fictional team with an established mythos), the listener is left slightly detached because it’s a fight song without the fight. Doesn’t stop it from being a catchy tune, though, with a decent concept behind it.
 
 
Jenny Katz - “Load The Cannon, Light The Fuse”
A very good song. The vocals are very good. I could do without the self-reflexive comment about Boom Goes the Dynamite. In fact, the lyric may be where this song trips up. I understand it’s about the Arsenal FC. But Jenny Katz tried mixing in a little political commentary and it muddied everything up. If you don’t know the song is about a football club, you can get easily confused. But this song has great replay value which is nice.
 
 
Steve Durand - “Put Your Mettle To The Pedals”
A strong entry from the elder Durand brother. It was a smart choice to mix in a little current events into your song by doing Lance Armstrong’s cycling team. It made the song a bit more interesting and made for one of the top lyrics of this round. I’m not a fan of the marching percussion but the horns are great and Bridget Durand did a get job with the woodwinds. She’s gonna win one of these contests before you know it. This is definitely the song that grew on me the most this round.
 
 
Blimp Exhaust - “Checkmate”
In this round, swagger has a first name. It’s B-L-I-M-P. This is a far less traditional fight song but it’s full of aggression despite it being a song about a chess club. The rap section is my favorite part with the effected vocals and it sounds a bit snide while also brimming with confidence. This is a fight song for a chess club that walks in wearing shades and give the opponent the middle finger when they get a checkmate. The rock section isn’t as strong as the rap section, though I enjoy the fact that it just clearly says “We’re gonna kick your ass”. Straightforward.
 
 
The Middle Relievers - “Here’s To Joe”
Whereas I liked the previous song because of its unconventional take, I like this song for how conventional it is. With the glasses clanging for percussion, this song sounds like it was recorded in a bar. It just feels like it wasn’t made for some online singing competition, it sounds like the MR just recorded a bunch of yahoos at a local bar who are singing after a game with some drinks. The lyrics are big flaw of this song as I question some of the choices like “the infield is deflating”.
 
 
“Buckethat” Bobby - “YTCWGWCT”
I was not a fan of this song at first listen. By final listen, I adored it. Last round, I thought Buckethat’s accordion playing was harsh. This time, it was perfect. He may not the best vocalist but he doesn’t push it too much. The lyrics make the Yukon team sound great, despite the last place team in the last Canadian Winter Games. The “hurry hard” lyric is a bit forced but it doesn’t take away from the charm that this song has. I would have not minded if this was a longer song.
 
 
TurboShandy - “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch FC”
“We’re singing the name and we’re singing it right”.Indeed. Once I got passed the long name and realized that it’s a real thing, I got into the song. It’s got some great harmonies. And the fact that you took the name and were able to make it into something musical is wild. The song is very well put together as well with the staccato guitars, the great percussion and the pipes. I didn’t think there would be many songs that I would keep in my jukebox from this round. This was the first song to prove me wrong.
 
 
Ross Durand - “Bigger in Texas”
This song has the necessary energy that you need in a fight song. The ending is just what you want, big screaming voices go “Run Faster!” I love the country twang mixed with the horns (did Steve give you a helping hand?). You may have taken a little dig at the Dallas Cowboys by mentioning their stellar playoff record as of late but you did a good job of making it seem miniscule in the long run because they are America’s team who can even lose big. Nice job.
 
 
Jerry Skids - “Psyche ‘Em Out”
It’s a punk song. It’s a fight song. It’s the story of the movie Baseketball. It’s great fun. The multiple voices over the guitars is very well done. It may be very sparse but like The Middle Relievers song, this song has the feel of a real fight song as if I could walk into a bar right now and find a bunch of guys drinking TurboShandys and loudly singing “Beers! Beers! Beers!” . But what put this song over the top is the lyrical content. While not the best lyric in the round, it does a great job of telling a story and makes me wanna watch the flick (which I haven’t seen in what feels like a millennia).
And number one…
 
 
MC Ohm-I - “Let’s Go Mets”
But Niv, isn’t it unfair that this is number one?
Huh?
Aren’t you a New Yorker?
Absolutely.
Who lives in Queens?
What are you getting at?
And you go to Mets games, right?
Fair enough. But who roots on the Mets? That’s like being a wrestling fan and rooting on Zack Ryder. Or being a football fan who roots for the Oakland Raiders? It’s masochism! :)
Okay, I just wanted to get that out of the way. Full disclosure (PS- I am a proud member of the Raider Nation). But it wasn’t local pride that gave this song the top spot. It’s the fact that this song feels the most to me like a real fight song. I can picture this song being in CitiField and hearing this blared over the speakers between innings. It’s got exuberance and the simple catchiness that makes this a great rally cry. And the sung parts are a nice contrast to the rap sections. This song is a winner.
 
 
For the bean counters:
17
MC Ohm-I
16
Jerry Skids
15
Ross Durand
14
TurboShandy
13
Buckethat Bobby
12
Middle Relievers
11
Blimp Exhaust
10
Jenny Katz
9
Steve Durand
8
RC
7
Dr. Lindyke
6
KSR-1
5
Edric Haleen
4
Chocolate Chips
3
Brian Gray
2
Josh Holober Ward
1
Glen Raphael