Saturday, December 22, 2018

ST15R4 Reviews: Edric Haleen

Hello again, Participants!

One final round.  One final infusion of songs.  One final round of congratulations.  And one final infusion of Edric-thoughts.  (Take 'em for whatever you think they're worth . . . 'cause they're worth nothing towards the final rankings.  That's all on all of you this time!)



FINALISTS


Zoe:

A very nice, lovely song, with a couple of high points and a couple of low points.  I liked the idea, the melody, the instrumentation, your delivery, your harmonies -- lots of things.  My quibbles:  It was hard initially to discern the beat and the meter and then, once I did comprehend the structure of the song, the typewriter's rhythm didn't always precisely line up with the beat.  And then, once you started adding whole quatrains at a time, you built up such a head of steam that going back into "delusions of grandeur" (et al.) really pulls things up short for each of the last three iterations.  Perhaps if you had changed the orchestration to keep the eighth notes driving forward, that would have helped a lot.  (And then you still could have pulled it all way, way back for the final coda.)  But all in all, very nice.  One of my top two.  (Not that my rankings matter.)


Mandibles:

A really interesting rhyme scheme!  Listing it in reverse, it's "ABACBDCEDFEG" with everything but the "A" rhyme separated across three lines rather than two.  I will admit that, at the end of the song, I was kind of wishing that you had thrown in one more rhyme . . . linking what's now the "F" and "G" portions (which would also make the whole thing "symmetric").  I liked the song a lot . . . until the tag ending, where the (partial?) switch to major sounded artificial, forced, and awkward.  But still one of my top two.  (Not that my rankings matter.)


Third Cat:

This song seemed a little "thin" compared to the previous two.  Also?  I think it would have been more effective if you had reversed the order of presenting your drinks in each iteration.  As written, it's kind of "inserting" drinks into your evening.  If you always started with your shot of Jack and then added a Tom Collins, a bottle of Cabernet, a couple IPAs and a few Moscow Mules sequentially, we would have felt the "piling on" much more.  This'll end up 3rd or 4th in my rankings.  (Not that my rankings matter.)


Faster Jackalope:

This was the least "additive" of the four finalist submissions, but it did have great production values and I liked the melody, the harmonies, and the orchestration.  (I like I'm missing a larger reference around which the story is being told, but that doesn't detract from my opinion of the song . . . it may just reveal one of my blind spots.)  I was a bit confused by why you decided to change the syllable count for the entire final verse, and force "maybe," "real me," and "kill me" to all sit on a somewhat awkward melisma.  But I thought it was a good, solid song.  Stacked up against the other three, though, it'll end up 3rd or 4th in my rankings.  (Not that my rankings matter.)



SHADOWS


Micah:

Just plain fun . . . and a really nice wrap-up to ST15.  Made me smile.


Jocko Homomorphism:

This was a totally different way to approach the "additive" requirement.  I appreciate the lateral thinking . . . but I didn't really like it.  Because of the way you recorded it, each quatrain is kind of its own little "song."  As a result, once people realize that the song is additive in nature, it kind of forces them to listen to the first "songs" over and over again just to find out what the "new song" is.  The anticipation of the new bit thus kind of devalues the quatrains that proceed it, and cuts against the appreciation factor.  That being said -- given that initial artistic choice, I do like what you did with it in terms of your adoption of noise music and your corruption of the lyrics as the song wanes.


Vom Vorton:

Fun.  The story has an arc which is independent of the additive portion . . . which the additive portion then supports and augments.  And this story also served to make your song more interesting than Third Cat's similar idea of going out and getting smashed.  Nice job.


Brian Gray:

Ambitious and fun.  (But . . . 47 times the speed of light?!)  As your spoken intro (boy, do I miss writing those!) suggests and as your chorus' proficiency with the twisty lyric seems to reaffirm, this seems to be such a well-practiced ritual that I actually fear for the future of this thoroughly-inebriated band of refugees.  But congrats on extending your Gleeble Glorp saga.


Good Guy Sôjàbé:

I'll confess that I did not understand this song, but I did appreciate this song and the work you did composing and recording it.  You have strong production values and a very coherent style.  Thanks for being part of SpinTunes!


Menage a Tune:

Six-and-three-quarter-minutes.  Way too long when up against the Law of Diminishing Returns.  The concept was extremely good, but not enough to justify a pay-off six minutes removed.  Consider this:  Your song is one verse longerthan "The Twelve Days Of Christmas" (which you seem to allude to with your melody underpinning "ranch dressing next!").  People who record/perform "Twelve Days" often try to find ways to either speed up the song or skip over sections . . . and that song always (save for "five golden rings") adds just three beats each time, not a full line or two as your song does.  ("I’ll finish up with chocolate cake, and ice cream on the side/Since I’ve been eating healthy I deserve a small reward" adds at least sixteen beats to your thirteenth verse!)  And when "Twelve Days" finally does end, it doesn't then segue into an attempt to try to tack on one more punchline at the very end.  Perhaps if you had stolen a page from Zoe's book and added whole quatrains (or even stanzas?!) at a time, that would have cut down on the number of verses, the amount of repetition, and the overall running time . . . and might have allowed you to get to the punchline before you risked losing the listener's interest.


Glen:

Another a cappella entry from Glen!  (Is that your thing now for final rounds?)  It was cute and fast-paced with both a serious message and a somewhat silly take on same.  The only thing that really stuck out to me was that the climate might have cause "polar bears to drown" and "kids WHO won't know snow."  But thanks for another fun effort.


Glenny:

Here's the other really interesting rhyme scheme of the round . . . with perhaps an even heavier emphasis on "scheme."  Letting various lines trail off to maintain an AABBCC (etc.) rhyme scheme throughout was something I don't think I've ever come across before.  I'd tip my hat to your lyrical inventiveness . . . but I really don't ever wear hats . . .




Okay -- I'm obligated as a judge to rank these, even though my rankings don't matter.  At this point I'm comfortable putting Faster Jackalope in third place over Third Cat in fourth . . . but I'm still having trouble trying to break the tie at the top.  Gonna take a break and come back to it later with fresh ears . . .




Okay -- I know how I'm going to decide.  I didn't want to just rank Zoe first because her song was more "positive" than Mandibles' . . . that seemed like a pretty capricious metric.  And I was having trouble going "strength vs. strength" because the concepts were both good . . . and while Mandibles' rhyme scheme made my brain really happy, so did Zoe's poetry.  But when I decided to compare "liabilities vs. liabilities," that finally did suggest an "epsilon interval" to my brain.

"My Typewriter and Me" liabilities:  "It was hard initially to discern the beat and the meter and then, once I did comprehend the structure of the song, the typewriter's rhythm didn't always precisely line up with the beat.  And then, once you started adding whole quatrains at a time, you built up such a head of steam that going back into 'delusions of grandeur' (et al.) really pulls things up short for each of the last three iterations.  Perhaps if you had changed the orchestration to keep the eighth notes driving forward, that would have helped a lot."

"The Witching Hours" liabilities:  "I liked the song a lot . . . until the tag ending, where the (partial?) switch to major sounded artificial, forced, and awkward."

One set of liabilities had to do with the recording of the song and perhaps the orchestration of the song.  The other set of liabilities had to do with the writing of a small, concluding section of the song.  And since this a songwriting competition . . . I'm gonna let that do it for me.  If it were up to me, Zoe would win -- by an value of epsilon which might well seem nearly infinitesimal . . . but is nevertheless still a non-zero positive number.

So there you have it -- that's all the "SpinTunes 15" I've got for you all.  Congrats to everyone!  Good luck to the finalists!  Heartfelt thanks to Dave . . . and to Tom . . . and to my fellow judges . . . and to everyone who keeps SpinTunes vibrant and helps ensure its continuing longevity.  (And thanks also to PigFarmer Jr. -- even though he still hasn't gotten back to me about whether he wants to be Matt or Jimmy . . .)