Saturday, July 29, 2017

ST13R2 Reviews: Paul Rosenbluth

Okay, round two.  I took a bit more deliberative approach to this round.  This is a song writing competition so obviously quality of music and lyrics are weighted most heavily, but I also wanted to include a few other criteria including creativity and delivery/execution (by which I really mean how well did you communicate or sell me on the song regardless of production value). I also gave some weight to overall impression and first reaction.  I used a scoring scale with five categories based on my qualitative reactions as I listened.

Also, apologies for not stating this overtly with my round one reviews but I am really amazed by all of you. I could not write even the lowest ranked song in each round so want to make sure you know how grateful I am that you do what you do and share your art with the world.  From both rounds there are several songs that have made my personal playlists and I thank you for that.  It is a very hard thing to judge the creative process of others.  I tried to not be biased by styles that are not my favorite and rather judge the work on its merits within the context of that genre and how people who like that genre would deem it.

So here we go…

Glen Raphael - Dear Me
I had a three way tie at the top but gave the nod to Glen.  This is a fun, playful tune.  Great music and lyrics, well delivered.  The playing style with the bluesy accent riffs really becomes another character in this story. Very creative, excellent work.  Love the cheeky “Buy Apple” at the end!

Melissa Phillips - For You
I could almost cry when I listen to Melissa sing.  Such an amazing, angelic voice.  Such a sincere song of hopeful advice for any young person.  Excellent lyrics and melody.  “If there's anything I've learned it's there's always something more.”  Thanks for this musical gift, Melissa.

Red Watcher - As Long As They Choose (Shadow)
I would have ranked this song third if it had been in competition.  Great music, simple but excellent and thoughtful lyrics, sweetly delivery.  Nothing I don’t like about this song.  Very much reminded me of a pensive Roger Waters tune.  “Keep writing songs. They don't belong to you” is one of those most beautiful lines I’ve heard.  Superb, Red

Governing Dynamics - To A Stubborn Young Man In The Year 1998
Love the pace of this song.  Invites the listener to be patient, lots of air.  A real tune of reflection.  Fantastic lyrics.  Music really connects.  Very good execution.  Two lines really grabbed me: “But you and I know you make your own mistakes” and “know good enough Isn't always good enough.”  Churchill reportedly said that success is going from one failure to the next without losing your enthusiasm.  Everyone makes mistakes and each one’s mistakes are what make you who you are.  Would any of us really undo those mistakes when they’ve made us who we are?  I would not.  Great work, GD.

Jerkatorium - Steady On
I really liked going beyond the “Dear Me/Letter writing motif” to get to a theme admonition.  Steady on.  Just keep moving forward. “You'll rise above them.”  Catchy tune. Good delivery.  Nice lyrics.  Enjoyed this one a lot.  Well done, Jerkatorium.

Kevin Savino-Riker - Catch-22
Really great lyrics and the tune suits them well.  The chorus line “it’s a catch-22” doesn’t quite sit right but I couldn’t begin to tell you how it could be different or better.  Nicely delivered.  Two profound lines to me: “Your very worst days Will help you in ways you cannot comprehend” and “If you don't make these mistakes It'd be the biggest mistake you could make.”  Really a wise song.  Excellent, Kevin.

Sara Parsons – Better
Another great song from Sara.  I love these lyrics.  Love the “He, She, They, You, We, I” construct.  Really brilliant.  Lovely music, nicely presented.  I could listen to Sara’s comforting voice all day.  “We're stronger than you think.” Amen.  Fantastic job, Sara.

James Young - Everything Will Be Alright
A really fine song.  Nice lyrics.  Really good music to accompany.  Love the guitar sound on this one. So suggestive and anticipatory.  Reminded me of a classic rock ballad that builds that airy electric guitar sound until it explodes with an epic solo which I was wanting but was missing.  Can’t really fault that though since that’s not the focus here but that would jump this song to another level.  Love this line: “You should try and shape the future not the past.”  Outstanding, James.

Boy on the Wall - All the Way Up
I’m really not sure why this didn’t rank higher for me.  The more I listen to it the more I like it.  Outstanding lyrics and I love the rapid fire rhyming lines and the chorus is gold.  I liked the lyrics more than the music but both are solid.  The break with “If I had a time machine…” is really exceptional.  “Don’t let anybody stand in your way Least of all yourself” is just great.  Very nice work.

Jailhouse Payback - Don't Let Mom and Dad
I really enjoyed this song thoroughly.  Excellent lyrics.  Good music.  Very good delivery.  Love the guitar work and harmonica is a fitting add for this tune.  This line is so awesome: “The time is gonna come when you'll wanna hear a song on wax, the way that God intended it.”  References to Camper Van Beethoven, the Replacements and the Grateful Dead in one song is just gold.  A really good, non-obvious approach to this challenge, in a really fun song.  Awesome.

Little Bobby Tables – Hindsight
Absolutely superb lyrics.  Lovely tune.  Very good delivery.  The chorus is so incredibly catchy.  Some of the musical phrases were very suggestive to me of familiar loved tunes you can’t quite put your finger on, maybe “My Sharona” by the Knack in parts but don’t know if that was conscious, deliberate, or coincidental.  Or maybe I’m just crazy (always a possibility).  Really enjoyed the take of giving different advice to 15 depending on different ages.  Just shows we do the best with what we know at any age.  Nice.  And the conclusion that “hindsight ain’t 20-20, “It's gonna take at least a hundred more mistakes Go ahead and do it, just gotta struggle through it” says it all.  Very well done.

Megalodon - Mixtape – 1987
A really nice tune.  Very melodic and well executed.  Good instrumental accents.  Creative lyrics.  Enjoyed the imagery of the referenced songs.  Knew every one of them so had good context for the messaging herein. Nicely done.

Alex Valentine - 12 Years Past
Love the edgy angst in this tune.  Very good music and lyrics.  Creative and well executed.  Maybe the only entry to deal with the struggle of identity and comfort.  And ultimately hopeful despite the darker overtones.  A thoughtful and enjoyable piece.  Well done, Alex.

W8 What - To My Teen Self
A lighter, fun song.  Very good on all accounts, musically, lyrics, and creative.  Excellent execution and delivery.  Love the cadence of several of the lines and stanzas.  The interposed spoken lines work very well here.  Nice work.

Matt Walton - Hey Me You Probably Don't Want To Hear This
Didn’t quite connect with this song as much as others. Good music, lyrics, and delivery.  Quite creative.  I did like the depth and quantity of lyrics to tell a thoughtful story to a younger self.  Worked very well with the musical style chosen to tell it.  Nice.

Edric Haleen - To My Fifteen Year Old Self
I thought this song was one of the most creative and have to give props for that.  I didn’t quite connect with it like other songs.  The dialogue works for the song but was maybe a little too much, distracting.  Good lyrics and music and well executed.

Rob From Amersfoort - Dear 15-Year-Old Me
A creative song, well delivered and creative.  Good lyrics with a nice story to tell.  Musically a little hard for me to connect with.  Sections of this song were really intriguing to me but some of the transitions seemed a bit awkward.

JoAnn Abbott & M.A.T - Happy Birthday to We!
Witty and creative lyrics.  Musically okay but it felt like the lyrics really drove this one.  Creative and well performed.  A nice little composition.

Micah Sommersmith - Take Care of Yourself
A good song overall. Okay lyrically and musically.  Nice delivery.  Incredibly creative.  Good advice, nonetheless!

\alpha.ßeta\ - Stop! (Shadow)
Overall an okay song music and lyrics-wise.  Well delivered and creative.  Not a lot here I could connect with.

PigFarmer, Jr. - CoMo '93 (Shadow)
Overall not for me.  Some good ideas here musically but just not enough developed to connect with.

Jordan Carroll - School Report
It’s déjà vu all over again.  Props for creativity as in round one and good delivery but no connection for me musically or lyrically.  Looks like summer school for us both.

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