Saturday, August 26, 2017

ST13R4 Reviews: Daniel Prince

I thought everyone did really well this week in what had to be an extremely tough challenge. This is the first week in the entire contest that I'm not really second-guessing myself in my judging--maybe because there's a larger safety net of voters this time around in case I get it "wrong". There were several individual songs among all the entries that I really enjoyed, and a few that truly were better together. The shadow entries were very strong--three of them would have "eclipsed" my finalists had they been eligible. Thanks to everyone who gave of their time to bless me with your music these past few weeks. I hope my feedback was of some use to you, but if not, that's okay, too. You are all very talented songwriters.

Jailhouse Payback - Path of Totality
After listening to the songs separately, I was curious to see how they would sound together, as they didn't sound like they would fit. I was very pleasantly surprised to hear how well they integrated. I can tell you thought this challenge through, not just with the melodies but with the rhythms. I enjoyed the instrumentals throughout the songs. I thought the second song was stronger on its own than the first, though it seemed to end too abruptly for my liking. I didn't mind that ending when the two were meshed, though. I thought the chorus was repeated too often in the first song. Again, it worked when the two were together. The lyrics are poetic enough to leave the song open to a measure of interpretation, which is good. Very strong entry!

Sara Parsons - Eclipse
You don't waste any time in getting the eclipse mention out of the way, do you? At least it's not ONLY in the title. Beautifully sung, as always, and I'm a sucker for your musical style. After such a peppy and upbeat first song, I felt I knew where you'd be going in the second song, and you didn't disappoint. The key change definitely shifted the mood. Of the four finalists, yours was the only one where I felt the individual songs were equally strong. However, I didn't feel it worked very well together. It may be in the production--I'm not sure. They seem to compete for attention rather than being better together.

Menage a Tune - Rebels Out for Glory
I adore JoAnn's song. While your voice sometimes lacks polish, it's very real, and I think that works with this song, which also seems very real and personal. I caught and really appreciate the faith elements in that song hiding there in plain sight. Ted, I liked the homage to your fellow competitors. As a judge, I've come to appreciate just how difficult writing, composing, and producing these songs has to be, and as several of the judges have stated previously, I doubt I could rise to the level of the worst one ever presented. These songs didn't work as well for me together as separate. Maybe I'll change that opinion when I listen again--maybe I was still transfixed by the 2nd song.

Jerkatorium - Oh No
This one just didn't grab me as perhaps it would have if you had switched the positions of the songs. I like that you employed a different style with each song, but the first one ended up a little too ethereal, if that makes any sense. It's like it was sung as background vocals, but it needed to be in the foreground. That lightness and background style works when it is combined with the second song, but not as a standalone. I thought there was more substance and more to like about the second song, which is why I wish you had led with it.


Glen Raphael - Be Kind
I feel like you cheated by getting Melissa to sing on this one! Lol  As always, she does a beautiful job. The second song made me laugh. The songs meshed together quite well, and the different feel of the songs made them complement one another well. You would have taken first in my judging.

Micah Sommersmith - Song About the Sun and the Moon
Beautiful chant at the beginning, which supports the faith element throughout the songs, as well. I appreciate the complexity built into the verse of the first song. It took a while for me to realize that the second song was different from the first. I thought it was quite masterful when put together, and I loved that you also put the chant in that part, as well. Quite well done. You would have placed 2nd in my judging were you a finalist.

Rob From Amersfoort - Dance Around the Sun
Very nice production that didn't detract from the song. The melodies work well in the mesh, but I think the point was to sing the original two songs together, rather than putting in new lyrics. Despite that, job well done. I have you 4th in my overall judging if you were a finalist, but I would have agonized a little more over whether you actually met the challenge were you in there.

Governing Dynamics - Tension
I loved the feel of the first song, but I found myself wanting something a little more different for the second one. Nonetheless, the songs fit together well when put together, though the various guitar parts got a little much. Strong lyrics, I thought. I would have ranked you 5th among all submissions.

Army Defense - Wabasha Shadows
Curious if you got the title of your second song from Eclipse Records on Wabasha Street in St. Paul. If it's not intentional, it's one of the biggest coincidences I've encountered in a while. As far as the song goes, I don't think it needed to be 10 minutes long. You could have covered the ground just as easily in 5 or 6, I believe. The songs do mesh together solidly. The music throughout is good, and I don't have any problems with the lyrics, except for what I consider excessive repetition of your tag lines. You ended up 8th in my judging of all entries this week.