Saturday, April 28, 2018

SpinTunes #14 Round 3 Challenge

Congratulations, SpinTuners, on making it to Round Three.
Let's level up, shall we?
Bach to the Future: Write a contemporary song based on a melody from classical music.
For the purposes of copyright and clarity of the challenge, we will not accept a song based on a piece of music written on or after January 1, 1900. We're defining classical music somewhat broadly, but try to limit yourself to the "common-practice period" as described in this Wikipedia article. We are also not looking for a mere updating of an old song or hymn (a la "Sister Act"). Your lyrics must be original.
When you submit the song, identify the name of the original piece and the name of its composer. You must be able to identify both (avoid "Traditional").
Here's a fine example -- Lover's Concerto, recorded by The Toys, based on the 1725 piece Minuet in G by Christian Petzold (formerly attributed to J.S. Bach):

Submitting Entries:
  • Your entry must be received by May 6, 2018 @ 11:59 PM EDTOtherwise it'll be posted as a shadow. Received means that it has to appear in my e-mail inbox ( by the given deadline. I will be going by the time stamp on the e-mail. One minute late is too late.
  • You are allowed and encouraged to submit a draft of your song early just in case something horrible happens and you miss the deadline. Then you can add polish to your song and send in a better version closer to the deadline. The last version received prior to the deadline is your official entry. 
  • Lyrics are mandatory. No instrumentals. Having no lyrics will get you disqualified.
  • Name your file your bandname and the song's title.
  • Title of the e-mail should be your band's name & the title of the Challenge. (e.g. "Dr Lindyke - Bach to the Future")
  • Include information on anyone that needs credited if you collabed with someone. Remember, collaborations are OK. You must write your song, but if you want to use another vocalist or musicians, do so. 
  • If you have a BandCamp account, you can just send me a link to your song on BandCamp if you include all the info I mentioned above. Make sure you have it set as a free download. THIS IS THE BEST FILE SHARING OPTION!
  • Other file sharing options if you need them: Sound Cloud (set to download a format BandCamp is ok with) & Drop Box. Please send an e-mail as I already stated, but with the download link if you need one of these services. 
  • If you're using something other than Bandcamp, It's best if you send your file in a format that Bandcamp accepts (.aiff, .wav or .flac, at least 16-bit/44.1kHz) You can find the specific requirements for Bandcamp files HERE.
  • If you send me an MP3, I will attempt to convert it for you. But be warned... I will be strapped for time, and I will post whatever Audacity spits out of the conversion. So if you picked the wrong sample rate, your dulcet tones may wind up sounding like termites or chipmunks or random static. And that is what will be judged. So please... save and submit your files in the right format. 

Side Notes:
  • You are allowed to send in a little background about your song. We encourage and appreciate "song bios". You don't have to do it, but if you want to write a couple sentences about your song I'll post it on the BandCamp page for people to see. I'll even link to longer blog posts if you want to explain your song on your blog. Some judges will read this extra info, but they aren't required to.
  • If you didn't sign-up in time to compete in SpinTunes 14, you can still complete the challenge and send in a song. It will be uploaded with the other entries as a "Shadow Song" and it will be played at the listening party. Check the FAQ if you don't know what that means. You can even complete past challenges from previous contests.
  • The only other way to get your music played at the LP is to cover "Today's The Day" by Inverse T. Clown.

Feel free to leave any questions in the comments.

SpinTunes #14 Round 2 Results

Round Two is now complete.  

Congratulations to all who participated. Never forget how awesome you are! 

Of the official entries, we had no disqualifications
Four bands will be eliminated, and may shadow Round 3 for possible reinstatement should there be deadline eliminations there. 

The Results

Artist Jerkatorium Paul Tom Allan Dave Total
Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken 1 9 1 1 2 14
Jordan Carroll 6 2 2 2 3 15
Micah Sommersmith 2 5 6 4 1 18
Temnere 8 4 4 3 4 23
Governing Dynamics 4 1 5 6 11 27
Edric Haleen 9 3 3 12 9 36
Megalodon 10 6 9 7 7 39
Boy on the Wall 5 7 12 8 8 40
Riker’s Island 12 10 10 5 5 42
Shyfox 7 8 13 9 6 43
Buckethat Bobby 3 11 7 11 12 44
Rob from Amersfoort 13 13 8 10 13 57.1
Glen Raphael 11 12 11 13 10 57.2

Rob from Amersfoort and Glen Raphael. Since my rankings were used this round, this tie is resolved by order of submission, so Rob gets top placement.


  • Shyfox
  • Buckethat Bobby Matheson
  • Rob from Amersfoort
  • Glen Raphael

Disqualifications (0)
None! Well done! 

  • Judges ranked the songs from their favorite (1) to least favorite (13). 
  • For each band, the ranks were added together to get a score.
  • The bands were sorted by score, low to high. 
  • Ties were broken by order of submission.

The top contenders move on to Round Three, and it's going to be a good one. Scores from this round do not carry over and will not be used.

Stay tuned! The next challenge goes live at 10pm tonight!

ST14R2 Reviews: Paul Rosenbluth

UPDATE: Paul sent his reviews while I was away. Here they are:

So many great entries this round.  I’m not sure if I liked it better or not if I could readily identify the source inspiration.  And when I could I think I liked the entries better where the song didn’t sound too much like the source.  Regardless, I tried not to bias ratings based on that.  Excellent work by all and thanks so much for what you do!

Ominous Ride - Bohemian Burden (SHADOW)
Straight As across the board on this one.  Great music and lyrics.  Excellent execution and incredibly creative.  Props for taking on such an epic song like “Bohemian Rhapsody” with all of its complexity which was nicely honored in your prequel.  Many great lines with thoughtful images such as “turning diamonds into coal.”  I love how the song builds and builds with dramatic effect.  And I love the light piano work at the beginning in between the lyric lines.  Another excellent submission.

Megalodon - 49 Ways (SHADOW)
This scored very high for me due to the witty (albeit vulgar) lyrics, undisputed creativity, and tight execution.  The contrast between the Paul Simon inspiration track and the Ween or Zappa’s “Joe’s Garage” flavored prequel was just downright saucy.

Governing Dynamics – Disassembly
Very good music and lyrics and very creative.  Truly excellent delivery.  I really liked the pensive, brooding tone of this one.  The guitar work really stood out.  The connection to the inspiring source song was not at all apparent to me.  This one had a real Radiohead vibe.  Great job.

Jordan Carroll - When Will I Give You Up
Very good entry on all criteria.  A fun upbeat song and an excellent representative of the genre attempted.  A dulcet and melodic vocal on this one.  Very catchy chorus and the plays with rhythm in the lyric verses really work here.

Dr. Lindyke - Empty Room (SHADOW)
Very good music, lyrics, execution and creative.  Excellent keyboard work.  Love the line “just a song without a tune.” A poignant song about the shared space left behind at the loss of a loved one.  Simply beautiful. 

Menage a Tune - I Needed You (SHADOW)
Music was very pretty approaching anthem-like.  Really fine lyrics.  I like the reinforcing construct: “saw you, really saw you; want you, really want to.” The last line is quite poignant: “See the light within your eyes; So when you look at me Mine will be Just as alive.” Very well done.

Edric Haleen - Sam: The Sentient SMSC
Incredibly creative with good music and very good lyrics and delivery.  Really nailed the current cultural references and madness that truly must exist in the mind of a sentient text server.  The rapped lyrics were incredibly tight and gave the tune a cadence by themselves.  A very witty and cheeky composition.  Superb.

Temnere - Eschelon
An excellent and convincing hard rocking track.  I especially liked the punctuated construct of the lyrics.  Musically suggestive of so many great musical elements and the keys give it a real Styx flavor.  Very creative take as the prequel to the Rockwell tune with such a contrast in style and genre.

Micah Sommersmith - You Know About Me
After a few listens this left me wanting a little more musical variation but the lyrics were solid and well-delivered.  I like the run together lines juxtaposed with the lines that were more spaced out.  The instrumentation and key reminds me of Camper Van Beethoven.

Megalodon - Try It Once Jack
Very unique take as a prequel to the Steely Dan source inspiration.  Very creative and lots of musical variation.  Excellent performance especially the guitar solo.  This had a real Zappa vibe for me.  Well done.

Boy on the Wall - Today
Another unique approach as a prequel to “Yesterday.”  Very creative and funny lyrics leveraging the “Newlywed Game” and the unforced errors that show created for couples.  I think Emily should be very afraid.

Matchy Matchy - I Think You're OK (SHADOW)
Really nailed the Partridge Family genre.  Love the harpsichord.  Excellent delivery.  I liked the awkward pause element and the lyrics were spot on.  Very nice.

ShyFox - Miss Sunshine
The first few times I listened to this I didn’t make it for a Killers prequel so it didn’t have enough elements of the source to make that clear to me.  Not sure if you were trying to be overt or not.  Nonetheless, knowing it’s a “Mr. Brightside” prequel, the song makes total sense and has many references and song constructs that fit very nicely.  A catchy tune with smart lyrics and very well delivered.  Nice job!

Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken - I Want You for the First Time
Definitely a great entry.  The music nails the genre and is a fitting prequel to the source track.  Very fun and creative.  Nice use of the intentional bubble gum sound.  Echoing vocals are great.  A solid performance.  Excellent!

Riker's Island - We Decide
Although the source inspiration was not at all apparent to me even after several listens, this was a good little entry both musically and lyrically.  A nice companion if not prequel to “The Way” with some nice imagery in the lyrics.  Several nice references back (forward?) to the source inspiration including “yellow brick road” with “paved in gold.”  Well done.

Buckethat Bobby Matheson - Me or Jessie
This was one that was clearly inspired by the source material.  The rhythm delivery of several of the lyrics mirrored the Rick Springfield song very nicely.  A solid entry musically and lyrically.  Nice. 

Menage a Tune - The Lion Eats Today (SHADOW)
Another one where the source tune was readily identifiable.  Creative use of the African dialect in the lyrics.  Nice to know why the lion sleeps tonight.  Answer: tasty, tasty zebra.

Glen Raphael - Do Ya Mess Around With Jim?
I liked that I could identify the source song but that it was musically different.  Good lyrics and several lines had a nice quick paced flow which was a nice contrast with the rest of the song.  Nice acoustic guitar solo work too.  Well done.

Rob From Amersfoort - Have I Seen You Before?
I didn’t make the connection to the Suzanne Vega source track without being told, but like with other entries, once I knew the source, the song proved a nice companion to the inspiration.  The song felt a little incomplete to me and perhaps could have been augmented with a solo break highlighting some unusual instrumentation which I think would suit your style nicely.

Paul's rankings:

Artist Paul
Governing Dynamics 1
Jordan Carroll 2
Edric Haleen 3
Temnere 4
Micah Sommersmith 5
Megalodon 6
Boy on the Wall 7
Shyfox 8
Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken 9
Riker’s Island 10
Buckethat Bobby 11
Glen Raphael 12
Rob from Amersfoort 13

ST14R2 Reviews: Jerkatorium

If you've come here looking to read reviews from Jerkatorium... you won't.


You can directly download the MP3 from here:

And here are the rankings:

Artist Jerkatorium
Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken 1
Micah Sommersmith 2
Buckethat Bobby 3
Governing Dynamics 4
Boy on the Wall 5
Jordan Carroll 6
Shyfox 7
Temnere 8
Edric Haleen 9
Megalodon 10
Glen Raphael 11
Riker’s Island 12
Rob from Amersfoort 13

If you want to link directly to your review, here are the timestamps:

  Intro song
01:00  Introductory comments


02:55  Rob From Amersfoort - Have I Seen You Before?
06:23  Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken - I Want You for the First Time
08:54  Temnere - Eschelon
13:37  Boy on the Wall - Today
16:33  Glen Raphael - Do Ya Mess Around With Jim?
20:40  Megalodon - Try It Once Jack
25:04  Edric Haleen - Sam: The Sentient SMSC
29:28  Governing Dynamics - Disassembly
32:18  "Buckethat" Bobby Matheson - Me or Jessie
36:13  Riker's Island - We Decide
40:45  Micah Sommersmith - You Know About Me
45:52  ShyFox - Miss Sunshine
50:04  Jordan Carroll - When Will I Give You Up
53:50  Ominous Ride - Bohemian Burden (SHADOW)
55:23  Megalodon - 49 Ways (SHADOW)
58:23  Menage a Tune - I Needed You (SHADOW)
59:40  Matchy Matchy - I Think You're OK (SHADOW)
01:01:28  Dr. Lindyke - Empty Room (SHADOW)
01:03:17  Menage a Tune - The Lion Eats Today (SHADOW)

01:05:12  Final comments/shout-outs

ST14R2 Reviews: Allan Morgan

This was a tough one to judge.  For me, the best entries had to walk the line between invoking the “original” (which I refer to throughout as the “sequel”) without slavishly copying it.  Entries had to work well in tandem with the sequel while still being able to stand up as it’s own song.  And that’s tough, since a lot of the songs that were chosen to “prequel” against are bona-fide classics that are hard to stand alongside.  But props to all contestants for getting in there and doing it.  A lot of creativity in this round.

Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken - I Want You for the First Time 
Ranking: 1 Points: 9.0
Awesome concept and execution.  I don’t expect these prequel songs to slavishly emulate the sound of the sequel, but in this case it’s perfect.  Spot on.

Jordan Carroll - When Will I Give You Up
Ranking: 2 Points: 8.0
NAILED the sound.  I’d like a little more distinction in the chorus melody, but overall REALLY well done.  I’m humming this already.

Temnere - Eschelon 
Ranking: 3 Points: 8.0
Well-written and executed.  Slightly disorienting in that the voice and style is so different from the sequel.  But the dynamic build at the end is very well done, and the lyrics put it a notch above similar “stalker-ish” songs I’ve heard.

Micah Sommersmith - You Know About Me
Ranking: 4 Points: 7.5
I guiltily confess to being not-at-all familiar with Queen Bee’s oeuvre, so I had to YouTube the sequel.  This is a cute and clever contrast, I can say with certainty Beyonce would probably never go with an accordian-and-brass arrangement you go with here.  Clever lyrics.

Riker's Island - We Decide
Ranking: 5 Points: 7.5
Again, the violin is the spice that kicks this one up.  I’d like to hear a fuller arrangement, since I like the tune quite a bit.  Fits with the sequel very well, IMHO.  A bit melancholy, it seems, I’m quite intrigued.  Great rhyme on “denoument”.

Governing Dynamics - Disassembly 
Ranking: 6 Points: 7.5
Hey, good stuff.  Has a bit of that woozy 90’s-alternative feel, well done.  I like the chorus especially.  

Megalodon - Try It Once Jack
Ranking: 7 Points: 7.5
By the title, I thought it might be a prequel to “Hit the Road, Jack”, but I like the Steely Dan choice.  I do hear some Dan-isms in the production, but it’s not overwhelming, nicely done.  Tasty guitar work.  A bit wayward melodically, but still pleasant.  I think you did a good job lyrically, but it’s hard to tell since the sequel has that typical opaque Dan lyricism that doesn’t always lend itself to straightforward narrative.  This one’s a grower.

Boy on the Wall - Today 
Ranking: 8 Points: 7.5
You’re playing with fire when you set yourself up to be compared to The Beatles, especially going up against what might be considered the standard-of-all-standards.  However, you wisely chose to subvert expectations by making it clever, funny, and, most importantly, about a specific situation rather than a generalized relationship song.  That said, the song itself is fine; vocals are OK, though not super-strong, backing is accomplished but I don’t find the hook especially memorable.  The closing guitar lick, though, is awesome, invoking (and leading us into) the sequel.  Extra point for that.

ShyFox - Miss Sunshine
Ranking: 9 Points: 7.0
I like this better than most Killers tracks, so good job.  Perfectly fine post-80’s pop.  Nice!

Rob From Amersfoort - Have I Seen You Before?
Ranking: 10 Points: 7.0
Nicely done in Rob’s typically idiosyncratic style.  A bit slight; it doesn’t work as well as a standlone song without the sequel to support it, but charming nonetheless.

"Buckethat" Bobby Matheson - Me or Jessie
Ranking: 11 Points: 7.0
Sorry your recording equipment crapped out on you, this would have been much stronger with a full arrangement; I can kinda hear it in my head.  That’s said, it’s a good partner to the sequel, almost TOO good; (it seems really close, from what I can tell).  I quite like this, I’ll headbang to the full version if you ever do it.

Edric Haleen - Sam: The Sentient SMSC
Ranking: 12 Points: 7.0
It seems to me that Edric does not make pop music.  That’s fine, I respect his talents enormously as a musician, God knows he does what I could never do.  But if you’re going to try to walk next to Weird Al, you’ve got to be able to at least attempt to emulate his pop smarts and sharp and concise (if goofy) satiric skills.  I really respect this song as a construct; it’s impeccably crafted and performed, as usual, and the place it’s coming from is crystal-clear.  It’s got an interesting “Hamilton goes new wave” vibe.  But IMHO it’s got no groove (the sequel does, albeit via a third-hand steal), a weak melodic hook, and is way too busy lyrically, i.e., I just don’t find it funny, sorry.  But then again, I’ve tried to get chuckles out of necrophilia, so I’d just chalk it up to different tastes.  Again, much respect.

Glen Raphael - Do Ya Mess Around With Jim?
Ranking: 13 Points: 7.0
Perfectly fine.  I like the “Do ya? Do ya? Do ya?” bits.  Unfortunately, I find this another case a song that doesn’t have as strong of a reason to exist without the original, and lacks the great singalong feeling of Jim Croce’s sequel.

Sorry, shadows, no time to provide feedback for you now; I’ll get to it later this week.  Good job, everyone!

ST14R2 Reviews: Tom Giarrosso

Tom Giarrosso is a founding member of the Boffo Yux Dudes, and has a long and checkered past with the music and comedy business. He’s been a Professional DJ, TV Director, and currently runs a PEG Access station in Salem NH. He also hosts the Spintunes Listening Parties. 
What qualifications this give him to judge you is up to debate, but you’re stuck with it.
(These reviews are in the order the songs appeared on the album)

Hi folks! This is my first official judging of a SpinTunes round. I’ll give you my ideas as to why I picked the way I did, and some insight on the process, but overall, I think this was a strong round of songs.

I grade highly on relistenability. I’ve had these playing in repeat in the car this week, so If I get to one, and I want to hit the skip button, it’s not going in the top ⅓. I also take into consideration it’s a song WRITING contest and not a song production one. Some of you have much better equipment than others, but polishing a turd is still a turd at the end of the day.

I'm out of town today, and ran out of time to review the shadows, but will add notes on them later.

Rob From Amersfoort - Have I Seen You Before?
Love the instrumentation on this song. It fit the prequel idea so well - took me a bit to figure out the song, but I think you set a great mood and it hit a lot of good points for me. 

Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken - I Want You for the First Time
I knew were this was going from the opening riffs. Great use of similar but not quite the same riffs. Also liked the fact the writer forshadows he’ll be in trouble with the girl, and I laughed at the objectifying line. Well done! One of my favorites.

Temnere - Eschelon
You bring the metal once again, in a great way. Driving guitars, great beat, and a rockin tune. By the time the synths kicked in , I was hooked. I missed which song you were doing until I looked at the bandcamp site - just didn’t click, but it makes sense now. 

Boy on the Wall - Today
Interesting take on the classic Beatles tune. I wouldn’t have thought to turn it into a Newlywed game tragedy, but you pulled it off. The acoustic strums at the end were a nice touch to bring it back to the hit song. 

Glen Raphael - Do Ya Mess Around With Jim?
Fun use of a fuzzy bass guitar. I liked the vocal doubling as well. I was waiting for a honky tonk piano to kick in somewhere. I wanted this to tie in more to the hit song. Well done. 

Megalodon - Try It Once Jack 
Was that a Dm7 chord in the 2nd part of the verses? Nice catch for the ‘Dan sound.
Guitar solo hit all the right Steely Dan notes. A favorite this round.

Edric Haleen - Sam: The Sentient SMSC
Edric doing a rap? As a computer message service? What’s not to like! Good use of ethereal background tunes, integration of themes and sounds from the hit, and just being annoyed at the content put things in a fun perspective. 

Governing Dynamics - Disassembly
Travis has a unique ability to build a song, and somehow make it so you need to just listen to the song again, and it grows on you each time. Good groove. Awesome bass and guitar. Song flows well as a prequel. 

"Buckethat" Bobby Matheson - Me or Jessie
I’d love to see what you could have done with your full setup. You got the feel of the song through with the ipad, though. I also was thinking of ITC’s sequel song, and this is a great opening chapter to the trilogy. Well done!

Riker's Island - We Decide
You set an good, apprehensive mood to start this song - which fits as a nice segue into the hit song’s offbeat theme. Is that a melodica in there? Nice job pulling this all together. 

Micah Sommersmith - You Know About Me 
Great use of the horn and accordian to set the mood. Love the attitude. Awesome foreshadowing callbacks to the hit song. One of my favorites. 

ShyFox - Miss Sunshine
Good guitar riffs. I enjoyed the synth solo in the outro. The cold end would segue well with the hit. 

Jordan Carroll - When Will I Give You Up 
I knew where you were headed with the first note, and then was totally surprised with the vocal choice.
A total roll, and I’m glad you made it back into the game with the reinstatement. High on my list!

Ominous Ride - Bohemian Burden (SHADOW)
This one still makes me smile. Piano work kicks it. Love the guitar as well. The gun shot at the end caps it all.

Megalodon - 49 Ways (SHADOW) 
That drum intro set the tone - totally familiar. Love the use of the stylophone instead of the bass.
It’s amazing how many euphemisms and name rhymes you can fit into 3:35, but you had a good handful.
Made me laugh.

Menage a Tune - I Needed You (SHADOW)

Matchy Matchy - I Think You're OK (SHADOW) 

Dr. Lindyke - Empty Room (SHADOW)

Menage a Tune - The Lion Eats Today (SHADOW) 

ST14R2 Reviews - Dave Leigh

The songs are written, time to judge! Here was the challenge:
Previously on...: Choose a famous song. It must have appeared on a Billboard Top 100 list. Now write a song that is a prequel to that famous song, such that the hit song appears to be an answer to your newly-created masterpiece.
So. Here are my preconceptions, and hopefully you'll have smashed some of them.

Obviously a prequel is written after the original work, but in this case we asked for something that appears to have been written first. Or as we put it, "... such that the hit song appears to be an answer...". So I expected that this would put a bit of constraint on the nature of the songs that are submitted. For instance, in borrowing style, structure, or motifs from the original, the ideal entry would have to be very clever about it so it appears the original artist borrowed from you.

As to what "an answer" is, that's a bit vague, and there are a number of ways to do it. It could be a literal answer, or it could be something a lot more subtle, such as the appearance of having been inspired by your work. The specific nature of the connection is left up to the songwriter.

I felt that a reasonable approach to judging would be to listen to each entry followed immediately by listening to the original work. That should help me determine whether something felt like a prequel. I considered the whether source material contained some allusion that could reasonably be explained in a prequel. I looked for connections that were solid, and then for songcraft and finally, production. And, of course, I'm biased by personal preference.

In reading through my opinions, I realize that some of them sound harsh. I'm not changing them... but I'd like you to know that you should preface each one with the understanding that having competed here myself, I'm aware of the pressures and pitfalls involved. I have utmost respect for the work even when it's followed by some honest and (hopefully) constructive criticism.

One last thing: I'm presenting my reviews in ranked order here, but my rankings will only be used for the totals if I have to fill in for one of the regular judges.

Micah Sommersmith - You Know About Me
Prequel to: "Irreplaceable" by Beyonce
He was SO damn wrong.

Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken - I Want You for the First Time 
Prequel to: "I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5
Looking at the source material, you get to see first-hand how frickin' talented the Jackson 5 were. Day-um. That's why I'm glad that you and your grumpy aquatic partner didn't set out to duplicate their sound, but rather evoke it. I like this... definitely a top contender IMHO. It sounds Motown enough that I can imagine the J5 extending it and making it their own. And that's what we're looking for in this challenge.

Jordan Carroll - When Will I Give You Up 

Prequel to: Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up
GREAT move getting a female vocalist for this. And the 80s production is spot on. This surprised me a lot for something that's basically just a lyrical answer to Astley's title. As I said in the listening party, we've been Car-rolled. And that IS now a thing.

Temnere - Eschelon 
Prequel to: "Somebody's Watching Me" by Rockwell
I like that you tackle this challenge by casting yourselves as the stalker. This is a great hook to inspire another artist. No attempt is made to evoke Rockwell's sound, nor do I think it necessary here. I could definitely see someone listening to this song and then writing a paranoid response. The hard rock sound is distinctive and welcome.

Riker's Island - We Decide 
Prequel to: "The Way" by Fastball
I'm surprising myself with the ranking here, and I'll just be honest and tell you that I'm not thrilled with the production. I'm not really thrilled with the tune itself, either. It's a bit too mellow and "level" in comparison to the source material. HOWEVER, this is a song writing competition, and the songwriting here impressed the hell out of me. Because of this: YOU'RE TELLING THE SAME STORY. Yeah, it's shifted in time a little, but I don't think that's necessary at all. The shift of POV does it all. What you did is tell the story of this couple in first person, then Fastball comes along and tells it from the outside. And this is where I have to give what's going to sound like the most backhanded compliment I've ever given, but I mean this sincerely... it feels perfectly reasonable to me that Fastball could listen to a song like this and conclude that they could tell the story better, and then do it. Which makes this a bloody brilliant answer to the challenge that you were given. If that wasn't deliberate, then please don't disabuse me of my illusions.

ShyFox - Miss Sunshine 
Prequel to: "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers
Looking at the official video of "Mr. Brightside", all I could think was how much The Killers looked like the house band at a party thrown by Frankenfurter. And that's apropos, because this song fits right in. I like almost everything about it, with the comment that the mix could have been a little hotter.

Megalodon - Try It Once Jack 
Prequel To: "Do It Again" by Steely Dan
Megalodon picked a high bar. Steely Dan's music is more distinctive for its sound than anything else. Fortunately, Megalodon is passably close to Steely Dan's style... particular vocally, though it could use some pitch-correction. The biggest drawback to this entry is the source material, I think. The verses of "Do It Again" set up the chorus sufficiently that the song doesn't feel like it's in response to much else. So, to me, "Try It Once Jack" doesn't sound like a direct prequel. More like just a different Steely Dan song, but one which could serve as inspiration.

Boy on the Wall - Today 
Prequel to: "Yesterday" by the Beatles
A fun song that feels more of a "future history" than a prequel, and I'm not sure if I can explain the distinction. This what I'd expect from a comedic take on the challenge. You decided on some choice source material, as the "I said something wrong" line in "Yesterday" cries out for explanation, which you do provide. And it made me smile that you used "The Newlywed Game" as a call back (forward?) to the line "Love was such an easy game to play". That said, it really doesn't feel like this song would really inspire or be answered by "Yesterday".  The acoustic chords at the end were a nice touch, but felt a little out of place with the rest of the song, making it feel as though you were borrowing them, rather than lending them. Overall, I enjoyed it.

Edric Haleen - Sam: The Sentient SMSC 
Prequel to: "Word Crimes" by Weird Al Yankovik
I'm going to get really nitpicky on this one, because I know you can take it. I actually like the song. My problem with it is the ending, and the reason is the challenge. We tasked you to write a prequel; that is, a song that was written first. "...such that the hit song appears to be an answer to your newly-created masterpiece," is how we phrased it. You delivered an extended introduction; a song that is played first temporally, but is constructed to appear as one piece. It's a very smooth introduction, and flows directly into the Weird Al number. But that's a big issue for me. You see, to be an answer, Weird Al would have had to make that transition. But Weird Al didn't write "Blurred Lines", which is where the closing bars of your song were ultimately pulled from. So it gets sort of convoluted for me to imagine Edric borrowing some bars from Robin Thicke, whose song was used by Weird Al to write a response to the lyrics of the song by Edric that borrows from the same source material by Robin. It pulls me out of the moment. In the alternate world where Robin Thicke doesn't exist (which you might prefer) it might make more sense. In any event, I think it got boxed in by distracting technicalities that causes it to suffer a little in my rankings. 
ALL THAT SAID... the rap is brilliant. I'm not sure everybody is aware of just how awesome the flow actually is, and how much of the cleverness is lost when you don't read along with the lyrics, which are written in text abbreviations ("4 h4x0r 5p34k1n6 1337"!!). And that final text (a real one as revealed in your song bio) is enough by itself to make anybody throw up his hands and shout "Everybody shut up!"

Glen Raphael - Do Ya Mess Around With Jim? 
Prequel to: "You Don't Mess Around with Jim" by Jim Croce
This was a GREAT choice of source material. Some days if I squint my ears, I can definitely hear the similarity between Jim's vocals and yours, Glen. This wasn't one of those days. That's a bit of a shame, because I think you could've leveraged it. The thing here, I think, is that Croce's song is a story that picks up with the arrival of Willy after having lost all his money. Now, I think that the natural question is, "how did he lose all that money?" IOW, it begs for another story. But you didn't go there and instead hung the song on the title. Because of that, the song falls short as a prequel for me. And I know you're a great storyteller, so sadly, this isn't going to rank as high as it probably should.
P.S. I can totally squint my ears. It's a gift. 

Governing Dynamics - Disassembly 
Prequel to: "Criminal" by Fiona Apple
I'm glad we asked for the source material. I'd've never guessed this one. Not that I'm required to. I should just be able to listen to both songs and see that the commercial song could have been written in response to this entry. When I listen to these two songs, I imagine "Disassembly" as the sequel. When I read the lyrics, I can work it out intellectually, but then I still feel like this is a sequel. My fault.

"Buckethat" Bobby Matheson - Me or Jessie 
Prequel to: "Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield (since ITC didn't appear on a billboard)
I'm not going to ding you on production, Bobby. I'm not even sure I should ding you on the minor plot point of "'cause I saw her first" vs "why can't I find a woman like that". Fact is, I'm confused for reasons I can't define, although it does sound to me as if it could inspire a song like Springfield's even if it has a few glitches as a "prequel". Surely this deserves a higher ranking, but I've also said that of other entries. Then I run into physics and the problem of occupying the same space at the same time...

Rob From Amersfoort - Have I Seen You Before? 
Prequel to: "Luka" by Suzanne Vega
I have to be honest here: the robotic hits on the quarter notes get really monotonous to me. In the last round it was broken up in the chorus, but here it goes straight through. I'd like a bit more variety. Lyrically, it does tie into Luka as a Q&A, but I'm not really feeling it as an inspiration for the Suzanne Vega song. 
Nitpick: glass to the wall? She's upstairs! ;)


Ominous Ride - Bohemian Burden (SHADOW) 
Prequel to: "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen
Nailed it. I like that you deviated from Queen's structure one you got to the Kid's lines (at this point the song sounded very Pink Floyd-ish to me). It's so easy to fall into parody with this song, and you avoided that. Well done.

Megalodon - 49 Ways (SHADOW) 
Prequel to: "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover" by Paul Simon
A bit too on the nose. You submitted the right official entry.

Menage a Tune - I Needed You (SHADOW) 
Prequel to: "You Needed Me" by Anne Murray
Great vocals. Veers into church after the first chorus, which isn't a bad thing. I can see this easily being presented as a Christian rock song. Although it meets the challenge, I think it works just fine as a standalone number.

Matchy Matchy - I Think You're OK (SHADOW) 
Prequel to: "I Think I Love You" by the Partridge Family
"YOU WANT HARPSICHORD? I GOT YOUR HARPSICHORD RIGHT HERE!" The opening bars were so over-the-top that it had me rolling, and I hope that was the intent. Nails the Partridge production values. Great stuff. As for the challenge, are you sure you read it? I'm not sure you did. It's "prequel", not "parody".

Dr. Lindyke - Empty Room (SHADOW) 
Prequel to: "I'm Still Standing" by Elton John
This is as much therapy as an answer to the challenge, and I'll just leave it at that.

Menage a Tune - The Lion Eats Today (SHADOW) 
Prequel to: "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"
Needs work, and I say that knowing it was rushed. I don't make it a secret that my favorite album is by Lebo M, so I love the genre of African music. Typically, with this genre, there will be a chant underpinning the entire song and then vocals layered over the chant. I would suggest slowing this down a lot and breaking it out that way, layering one set of vocals on top of the other, keeping it all more rhythmic than what we find here. I can pick out what should be maybe four layers of vocals here, strung together instead of layered. You'd be shocked at the difference.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

SpinTunes #14 Round 2 Songs

  • Thanks to Tommy G for hosting another listening party! 
  • Thanks to Matt Schubbe for the album art! Awesome as usual!
  • And a great big thank you and congratulations to the bands who submitted songs for this round. You ARE the music!
There are 13 official entries and 6 shadows, and you can find them on Bandcamp by clicking the album art below. The judges will be reviewing & ranking the songs. The top 9 ranked entries will be moving on to Round 3 (that's 4 eliminations this round).
Good luck to you all!
The Songs

Links of Interest (Song Bios, 3rd party reviews, etc.)
  • This space for rent.

    Monday, April 23, 2018

    SpinTunes 14 Round 2 Deadline News

    Congratulations to all those who made the deadline. Those that didn't are shadows.

    For now you should know:
    • There are 13 official entries.
    • There are 5 shadows.
    • There was 1 deadline elimination.
    • There was 1 wildcard re-instatement.
    • Remember...shadows are never late.  If you got a finished or near finished can still send it in.
    Listening Party Location:

    Deadline Eliminations:
    • Ominous Ride 

    Wildcard Re-instatements:
    • Jordan Carroll