Saturday, May 26, 2018

ST14R4 Reviews - Travis Langworthy (Guest Judge)

Before I get going, I just want to say that everyone has done great to get this far.  I don’t run the contest anymore, but I do listen in & enjoy it as a fan now.  Like the competitors, the judges have done a wonderful job, and I’m thankful for their time & efforts throughout.  HOWEVER!  When I heard what the round 4 challenge was, I was not thrilled.  I thought it was a bad challenge for multiple reasons.

  1. It seems too self serving.  I’d have been worried that newer SpinTuners & possible future SpinTuners would see this as someone just trying to get a free theme song with the challenge & nothing else.  I’d thought of this challenge before, and that’s exactly why I never did it.  I’m sure that’s not the only reason this was selected as a challenge, but again...bad optics in my opinion.
  2. The final challenge in past SpinTunes has been a lot more interesting or challenging than this one.
  3. It’s bound to create an album of songs that will have little replay value other than being played at the SpinTunes listening party.

I’m not trying to throw all the judges under the bus for this one bad challenge though.  Hell, I ok’ed the worst challenges ever (Sad song about birth).  I also ok’ed a challenge that I knew would have little replay value (jingle challenge).  So yeah, everyone makes a bad call from time to time, and I just thought this was one of them.  Oh, and maybe link to the examples mentioned in the challenge considering both aren’t exactly well known.  Enough time talking about the challenge... onto the songs.


Micah Sommersmith - The Tunes Are Spinning
I was at the listening party, and while this was playing I couldn’t think of anything good to say aside from the fact that I love accordion.  AFTER the listening party I listened to everything again on BandCamp and it sounded so much better.  The audio quality on YouTube really sucked I guess, because I didn’t have any major issues with this song.  The lyrics got the point across in a catchy humorous way.  You had the break in there.  Thought it was sang well enough, and did I mention I love accordion?

Because I feel the need to nitpick there are a couple things I felt could have been better.  I enjoyed the build up for Tom, but the line “I’d tell you more, but I think he might be onto me” feels off.  I mean I get he’s about to have to judge you, and it’s a joke about your sucking up to him with this song.  But in future contests, he won’t be judging you... and this is a theme song for future contests.  So it didn’t feel like a good choice.

The other small issue I had was with the line “Rhymes so sick you’ll need to take a couple days off ”.  I actually LOVE the line, but you rhymed it with “face off”.  Not exactly a sick rhyme. ;p

But like I said...nitpicky because overall I really enjoyed the song, and if this wins, I’d say it was deserved.

Megalodon - STLIP-15
Creative title…  Again this sounds way better on Bandcamp than it did on YouTube.  The first thing that jumps out at me is the fact that “Spintunes Listening Party” is too much of a mouthful to be catchy.  Should have just went with “SpinTunes”, cause I don’t think “Listening Party” needs to be forced into the theme.  Something like “Welcome to SpinTunes” could be worked into the lyrics easier & people would still know it’s the listening parties theme. 
Really enjoyed the instrumental section, and the music throughout was really catchy so nice work there.  Lyrically I don’t always mesh with Megalodon, but I think you did a really good job aside from the chorus.  Vocals, performance...I just really liked everything other than your chorus.  Solid entry, you got a shot.

Temnere - Saturday Morning SpinTunes
I wasn’t really sure how your sound would translate into a theme song, but it turns out pretty well.  There are parts that I listened to without the lyrics in front of me, and I swear I couldn’t make out what was being said.  But when I had the lyrics in front of me I was like, “Oh yeah, I hear that now.”  Not sure if that’s just me, or if the vocals need brought up a little or what.  “where war's fought mind to mind” was probably the line that got me most. 
You definitely make the contest sound pretty badass, and you do it while laying out exactly how the contest works.  Honestly I don’t think anyone could have done a better job of making it sound so epic.  Up until the line “set your mark and write the perfect tune” the song could’ve been about something completely different...yet it still fits SpinTunes.  I don’t know what else to say other than well done, and you’re probably getting my top vote.

Bubba And The No Longer Amiable Kraken - Listening Party Theme
Another nice title…  Dang, another I could see winning.  Obviously I’m going to have a favorite, but I see all 4 having a legit shot at winning.  You did a better job of making “SpinTunes Listening Party” catchy than Megalodon did, but I know less about SpinTunes from listening to your theme vs the others I think. 
No question you got a bouncy feel that honestly suits what I personally envisioned for a theme more so than the others.  The production was good, vocals good, just wish you could have worked in a little more detail about the contest.  Also, what happens if Tom changes the time or day for the listening party? ;p

Glen Raphael - SpinTunes Listening Party (Shadow)
Acapella is a bold choice.  I think in parts it turned out great, and in other parts it felt like a “wall of sound” which I think is how you put it in the chat room?  And really those moments come so close together, there’s a fine line that you seemed to step back & forth across multiple times.  Lyrically it’s a bit sparse in terms of detail about the contest.  It was certainly fun to listen to, and I always love getting shadows, but I think it’s where it belongs this round when compared to the actual entries.

Rankings:

  1. Micah
  2. Temnere
  3. Bubba
  4. Mega