Saturday, April 14, 2018

ST14R1 Reviews - Dave Leigh

This has been a rough week. Between weddings and funerals and people moving house, getting anything done this week has been a lot like herding roommates. So I'm pinch-hitting on the judging today. Don't give the judges who couldn't make the deadline a hard time... they've got Real Life Concerns(tm). They'll come back fresh for the next round.

Here was the challenge:
This Place is a Zoo: Refer to your pet as your roommate and write a song about what your roommate did today, never mentioning its species in the lyrics. If you don't have a pet, make one up. 
Before I get into the reviews, let me just say that a lot of you are getting the benefit of having some extremely lenient judges. A number of you didn't hit the challenge. If you didn't refer to your pet as a roommate, or if you didn't talk about what your roommate did today, or if you wrote from the perspective of a pet talking about the pet's roommate, then I'd have been just fine with disqualifying the entry. But the judges were very kind to you and decided to let it all slide. As for me, I'm deducting serious points for the omissions.

So yeah. This round I'm going to be that jackass rules lawyer.

Beyond that, I'm ranking for listenability and personal preference. Sorry, about the lean remarks, folks. If you want thoughtful constructive criticism, go back and read Jerkatorium's reviews because they're generally spot on even when we don't agree on position.


Glen Raphael
I like this song. I like the vocals, I like the arrangement, I like the mix, I like the sweet, poetic honesty of the lyrics. I like it. That is all.

Boy on the Wall
This is just nice. There are a lot of "my roomate doesn't pull his/her weight" songs in this mix, but the execution here is light-hearted and entertaining, with plenty of replay value.

Ominous Ride
So. I'm a fan of this drug-induced 70s sound. I admit it. And to be fair, I had a roommate who snapped whenever I left my shit on his bed, too. So I can relate.

Edric Haleen
Let's get this out of the way: BROADWAY! That's not a bad thing. It's nice to see Edric playing to his strengths. Especially nice here is taking the "roomate" angle seriously. THAT's the spirit of this challenge, and Edric's hit it squarely on the head. Odd for someone who usually takes liberties. ;)
I like the ending on this one. All of that complaining and tsuris, followed by a sigh of resignation and plodding over to the vacuum cleaner. Yup, that's what it's like.

Temnere
An excellent entry! It meets the "roommate" requirement and is a little weaker on the descriptive element of what the roommate did today. There's more "is" than "did" about the song. I'm not a great fan of hard rock; in this genre, lyrics often take a back seat to the pure wall of sound. Nevertheless, scoring highly for execution. That's "execution", as with a big heavy-metal axe. A big electric, six-stringed axe. Because puns.

ShyFox
I'm extending "roomie" to cover "homie". Judge's privilege. This is just super-duper cute and it got ranked up just for that. I'd like to hear a re-mix with the vocals mixed more up-front and dry. It doesn't need the reverb.

Bubba and the No Longer Amiable Kraken
"We share a room" squeaked this under the challenge requirements. Not much you can say about a goldfish's day. And yet, Bubba got an eminently listenable song out of it. This is exactly the kind of easy-listening thing that I listened to in the late 70s, early 80s. The illegitimate love-child of Steve Miller and Alan Parsons. And I think it's got plenty of hook.

Governing Dynamics
I did NOT expect a piano ballad from Governing Dynamics! And very nicely done! "Singing the song of her people"... heh! And I can't exactly ding your for vocals when you reach for that "tuuuuuUUUUuunaaaa!" Because damn.

 Buckethat Bobby Matheson
OK, using your CHIA PET for this challenge is audacious, outrageous, utterly ridiculous... and begrudgingly allowed. It's so audacious that I moved you up a slot purely because you did it. (Sorry, Micah). If only your mix was as audacious as your premise. Crank up the mic, lay some "intention" on your cajon, and mean it.

Micah Sommersmith - Our Arrangement
Nice subversion of the rhyme-scheme to communicate the species without saying it, although we might have gotten it from the eggs. I have nothing bad or even terribly constructive to say about the instrumentation because I like it as is. If you were to ask me why I ranked anything above this entry where I did, I'd say it's purely due to personal preference.

Menage a Tune - Who Needs an Alarm Clock?
Quirky delivery. The song needs to be pitched about 2 full tones higher, which would give JoAnn more opportunity to sing rather than talk through it. The dynamics-free percussion is a little weird and out-of-place given the other instrumentality. You can get a little more organic percussion sound if you were to try a cajon.

Megalodon - Dignified Leisure
The "roomate" connection on this one is weak: "Here with me" pretty much sums it up. And except for eating a strawberry it's mostly advice for your pet rather than telling us what your pet did. And that's a shame because I'd like to score this about 6 places higher than I'm scoring it.
However, you made me look up a word. That hasn't happened in years. Thanks. 

Rob from Amersfoort - You're So Fab
Another that's really weak on the roommate connection. I love the opening guitar licks. But then it gets into the verses with the hits on the 4/4 beats and it just kind of loses me musically. You get me back in the choruses and lose me again in the verses.

Jordan Carroll - Unloved
Challenge fail. This song takes up the pet's POV, which is pretty much the opposite of what we asked for. That kills me, because I love the song itself. And I totally get the melodrama of the pet. My mother had a cat that we named "MacBeth" because whenever we left the house it was a terrible tragedy. (Also, it was a ginger in tartan, so... Scottish)

Heather Zink - When She's Gone
Challenge fail for perspective. It should be you referring to your pet as a roommate, not the other way 'round. 
Love the vocals. Would love the song even more if after the first verse the piano opened up a little more. Get it off the downbeat. As for the layered vocals... primo stuff. Really nice, Heather!

Riker's Island - Amy
Challenge Fail for not establishing the roomate connection. And I really hate down-ranking this because of it because it's Yet Another Song I Like.
I'd be tempted to criticize it for being a bit loose with the timing, but on the other hand I think it might lose some of the intended feel if it were cleaned up too much. 

Josh, Just Josh - Best Friend
Challenge fail.It's not the only song to take up the pet's POV, so you're in good company, Josh; and you did better than the 7 contestants who didn't get in an entry under the deadline, making you eligible for wildcard re-instatement. If you don't make it through, come back next round with a shadow. SpinTunes is only over when you stop writing.


Shadows

Match Matchy - One of These Days
This entry takes full advantage of the fact that shadows have additional leeway. And I'm glad that Matchy2 did that, because this is a really entertaining and well-done entry.

PigFarmer, Jr. - Lazy Bitch
It's a little formulaic, and it's a little rough, but it's a shadow, so we'll cut the song some slack. A lot more slack than we'll cut Clyde. She's a lazy bitch.