Saturday, January 30, 2016

SpinTunes #11 Round 1 Reviews: Zoe Gray

1. Ominous Ride - Maiden Trip
First time in space/offplanet.

Really original idea, and your space setting is reinforced by the vocal harmonies and effects. This song has a definite atmosphere and feel. I can only describe as chill in a kind of spooky way? Like how floating alone in space might feel. I like the strong bass intro and the electric guitar. And nice vocabulary and rhymes.

Favorite line: “I am enlightened, I am expendable”

2. Governing Dynamics - Fool Me Once
First time getting fooled by her.

This is a dark, edgy song about learning the sad truth about somebody you thought was great. The drums are really interesting and cool, they really help set the tone. The cool chord progression, electric guitar, and echoing vocals work together to make this a great song. I love the end of bridge, and how just when you think you know where it’s going to resolve you twist it and make it creepy again.

Favorite line: “I saw your monuments toppled in the streets”

3. Perry’s Song (Everybody’s Waiting)
First time with your child.

This has a beautiful, bittersweet piano opening. The baby noises in the background are a nice touch. The rhymes are lovely and the pet names for your child are adorable. I like the use of “quotidian”. Nice harmonies on the chorus, too! This is, overall, a very touching, sweet song about having a child, and the piano part is very nice.

Favorite line: “Hey little partridge, little potpourri”

4. Ellie Sparrow - Footprints On The Moon
First time on the moon.

This song is really beautiful and the lyrics are so nice. The melody is sweet and the way the vocals are sung almost makes it more intimate with the listener. I would love if the vocals were sung a little louder so I could hear your voice more, though. There’s a minimal arrangement with piano and drums only, which could be what you’re going for, but it could also be nice if it were filled out a little more. I really like the melody, the bridge melody specifically.

Favorite line: “Nothing holding you back, just the dreams of everybody stuck at ground control”

5. Jeff Brown - The First Time
First time believing she loves you.

Exceptional guitar playing! The guitar part is beautiful. I like the melody, too. I could really hear this in a chill video game background. This is a really good slow acoustic love song. Interesting bible allusions and references. It’s a fairly short song, only 2 verses and choruses, but it’s played slowly, so it fills out a whole 3 minutes and doesn’t feel rushed or dragging at all.

Favorite line: “For the climb before the fall, for the clouds before the skies”

6. Rob From Amersfoort - The First Time You Die
First time you die.

Really cool concept, very original! The hook in the chorus makes up a lot of the lyrics, but the music conveys a lot that’s unspoken. Interesting vocals and great time signature changes. I like the vocal doubling and effects. It reminds of a Family Jewels-Era Marina and the Diamonds song. Great use of the vocal effects and weird drums/instruments. You’re able to write a song in a major key and make it creepy.

Favorite line: “Your unholy life has sealed your fate”

7. Emperor Gun - Leaving
First time in America.

I love this. Acoustic guitar, lovely melody with a beautiful English accent. I want to know if this is a true story! I like the flute partway through. This makes me think of Xena: Warrior Princess and folk songs of the “olden times”. It’s rather long, with four verses and choruses, but this too fits the feel of a folksy ballad. The instrumental break is awesome. This is compelling and fun and true to its roots.

Favorite line: “Then an old man took out a fiddle and he played all the songs I knew”

8. Pigfarmer Jr - Kill A Man
First time killing a man.

Punk rock! Drums, guitar bass, great voice, anti-nationalism! Love the angry talking and yelling and singing and everything that gets your rage out about America and violence and war. The chord progression and melody in the chorus are really cool, but the transition into the second verse is a little sudden. I like the electric guitar in the second verse.

Favorite line: “We’re not fighting for democracy; we’re fighting for profit, that’s our policy”

9. Megalodon - My Foolish Mind
First swim lesson.

The instrumentals are great! They really work to create the feel of “underwater” or “beauty”. I really like the chorus melody and feel and the verses, but the transition between them could be a little smoother. This is very cleanly produced, though. Nice drum parts. I like the guitar riff in the bridge. I like the details, makes it feel a lot like a real memory. I can imagine it.

Favorite line: “He dove in, pulled me out, still wearing slacks and sneakers”

10. Jailhouse Payback - First Time Caller
First time caller.

I like the banjo and assorted acoustic instruments here. Makes me think Decemberists. The harmonies are awesome! Very Americana/country. I like the way the story unfolds, using a lot of “firsts” and “lasts”. This is very clean and well put-together. Really sounds like something that could be on the radio.

Favorite line: “I’m calling, Mr. D.J., to ask you: is there a way to take away this pain?”

11. James Young - Alone
First time you’ve really felt alone.

I like the guitar intro; it makes me think of Skullcrusher Mountain by Jonathan Coulton. I like the background synth in the chorus. The drum kicked in at just the perfect time! This is composed and written just perfectly to be a hit song on the radio, and the lyrics are universally applicable and relatable.

Favorite line: “We drive and we drive but we’re running out of road”

12. Sam Rodewald - My First Song Will Be
First time writing a song.

I really like the instrumentals for this!! You’re really good with building anticipation, but I would like a chorus to resolve to, which I don’t get until farther through the song. I like the backing vocals in the chorus. This is a great story of procrastination, which I think we all can relate to. Nice ending, too! This is creative and clever.

Favorite line: “First things first, I’m just gonna make me a snack, and then I’ll write my first song”

13. Mark Humble - The First Time You Broke My Heart
First time your heart was broken.

I really like the vocals and feel for this! The chord progression is dark and cool. I like the vocal doubling an octave down in the chorus. The lyrics are poetic, I really like the second verse. The background vocals that kick in the second chorus add to the darker, somewhat creepier feel of this. Makes me think of the song The Way by Fastball.

Favorite line: “My eyes in the blue were a cloud filling with rain, love”

14. Keen Sid - Never Done That Before
First time being with her.

Nice hard rock song. It has a cool rhyme scheme— AAB CCB DDD— that’s kept up through almost the whole song! Nice vocal effects, creates the hard rock feel. I like the second line of the chorus, and the “allow/out loud” swap. I like the ending a lot, too!

Favorite line: “I’m feeling all that my feelings allow”

15. The Boffo Yux Dudes - First Wurst
First, in general.

I like the lyrics of this a lot, although I can’t tell if it’s about a specific “first” or just about being “first” in general, which is what I took it to be. I like the chord progression in the chorus a lot, it keeps you interested. The bridge really piqued my interested too, it was a good interlude. I’d love a little more musical variation throughout the course of the song, but overall it’s a good song with a great melody.

Favorite line: “You think you’ve got some things to prove but get yourself in sync”

16. Ross Durand - Premiere
First time seeing a show.

I love this way of expression your awe at seeing a show for the first time, that’s a very relatable feel. I like the rhymes, and you have nice vocab. I like the piano progression and the drums/shakers are cool in the background. I’d love a little more on the low end to fill it out, like a bass, but overall this is cool. The vocal harmonies and doubling are a nice touch.

Favorite line: “Paisley in the carpets, carvings in the ceiling that I can’t help but stare at”

17. Steve Durand - Original Sin
First sin.

I like the instrumentals and effects in the beginning that very much create the “biblical” feel. I like the main jazzy vibe even more, though, complete with drums and brass and a sax solo! I’m also a fan of the unreliable narrator seen here.

Favorite line: “Then God created man, who screwed it all up”

18. Glen Raphael - First Time (Phantom Menace)
First time seeing the Phantom Menace.

I totally agree with this whole song, and you put my thoughts on the prequels into words so well. I really like the guitar riffs and the guitar part as a whole. Maybe adding some more instruments or variation as you go on would help to alleviate any repetitiveness, and I’d love a more dynamic ending, but this is a great representation of many peoples’ feelings about Star Wars.

Favorite line: “Whatever Lucas thinks is so clean but oddly empty”

19. Adam Sakellarides - Have You Heard?
First time eating Brussels Sprouts.

This is a funny story with good lyrics, and I like the interjections by your girlfriend’s family. Is this a true story? Inquiring minds want to know. The tambourine is a great touch. The chorus is very fun, but the transition between chorus and verse could go a little smoother. I really like the chord progression at the end of the bridge. This is high energy, short, and funny.

Favorite line: “’Tis only human to have fear of the unknown, a strong component of fight or flight”

20. Edric Haleen - How It All Began
First time listening to musicals.

This is a good story-style song, and I totally feel your passion for musicals. I recently fell into a deep, true love with Hamilton. Nice vocal range, demonstrated in the first part of the verse alone! I like the rhymes and specific details (the raccoon) that make the memory feel real. The transitions between the sparse piano chords/vocals and full orchestrations of your samples are a little abrupt, especially the first, and I would love some more instrumentation to fill in the pauses in your lyrics and work it together more cohesively. But this is a fun song, and I like the idea to sample some bars from the musicals you’re singing about.

Favorite line: “Some other show with a weird-sounding name in the suburbs some thirty miles on”

21. Ben Taggart - Like The First Time
First time witnessing something miraculous.

This is really sweet and romantic. A classic love ballad on acoustic guitar. I’d love to hear your voice a little better, if you cold have mixed it louder. This is short but sweet, with a catchy melody. I like the key shift up at the end, nice move!

Favorite line: “You can say anything you want, your every word is sweet to me”

22. “BucketHat” Bobby - Free To Be Me
First time feeling free to be yourself.

Accordion!! I love the accordion, it makes the song unique. I would love a little bit more musically, a fuller arrangement, but all in all I like the message of not conforming to what the ‘American Dream’ or life is supposed to be like, and trying to be your authentic self, not constrained by societal norms.

Favorite line: “But for the first time, I don’t even care”

23. Turtle Fence - First
First poster.

The first thing I noticed has to be your great low vocal range. I like the Stray Cat Strut-inspired descending bass line. I also like the separation of an instrument to each ear, but having something in the center (drums, a rhythm guitar) could help to ground the song. The melody is fun and catchy, and the rhymes sound natural, not forced.

Favorite line: “It’s quiet and dark and calm in this room that my brother twin is sharing with me”