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Help me on this…

1

Parts of THIS work, but others feel stale to me. The guitar “fill” in the middle is an out of tune noodle (it ain’t permanent). It all needs help. It may be junk too. I’m just trying to get it out of my head. Critiques are encouraged. Thanks in advance!

2

I thought it was pretty good, but needed some filling out. Maybe you could open it up to letting some of us wannabe producers work on it. I would definitely like a try at it. If so, there are a few questions to answer.

  1. Would you be interested in having another set of ears work on the song?
  2. Did you use a click track on the song?
  3. Are all of the tracks available as individual 16 or 24 bit WAV files?
  4. Are all of the tracks the same length and syncronized (relative to 'zero')?

If all answers are 'yes', let me know your email address or other method of contact and we can work out the logistics offline. I already have a few ideas. Cool song.

3

Catchy tune. I can see why it's stuck in your head. I like what you've done so far.

4

I like this song. I have a bass line and drum part in mind.

5

First listen- first impression.

Perhaps put the solo (which ain't half bad!) after the bridge section for Liftus Maximus.

In that bridge, maybe have less chordal motion, a bit more static. Stay on that Em chord longer. Maybe even stay on it the whole time (perhaps using the James Bond Em Em#5 Em6 Em7 so you don't have to alter the melody) until the final C to D which will ski-jump into the solo.

Just a couple of thoughts. It's really a very catchy piece with lots of potential already realised.

6

The good (without which it's pointless to proceed): it's tuneful and hooky enough, with a chord progression that escapes cliché by virtue of a couple interesting changes (that mark it as late60s-early70s countryish rock, which isn't a bad thing). The Leslie-ish guitar tone for the intro and outro is perfect (and might be considered for the solo section as well). Your voice is good, and intonation seems spot-on throughout. The background oohs in the choruses are perfect, bringing just the right lift. The lyrical theme is worth expressing. Acoustic rhythm guitar is, I think, good enough. So the song has good bones; it's worth developing further.

The bad: yeah, maybe the guitar solo. It's OK, and only you know if you can do better. It's "shape" is fine (for the most part), but it could be executed more crisply; specifically, the fast licks in the 5th measure don't quite stick their landing. You recover through the 6th, then go up for another climax in the 7th (which doesn't QUITE convince), after which you idle out for a nice denouement in the 8th. But then there are two more measures of noodly idling before the vocal comes back. You either don't need lead over those two measures - or the climax should come in the 9th.

Ideas for further development.
• On first listen, like Ade, I thought the bridge should precede the solo. Then I noticed there wouldn't be a third verse afterward. Then I decided that would be fine, and that the chorus could be repeated again at the end. So yeah, move the bridge. And try Ade's suggestions on the chord progression there. Agreed a lift toward the end of the bridge to set up the solo would be effective.
• The electric guitar rhythm part (the accents) sound OK in context (might need different EQ/compression/gain, depending on what else goes in the mix) - but I'd like to hear them tighter and snappier, with less ring after the accents. Not quite funk-choppy, but crisper.
• I think I may hear a couple spots where the acoustic rhythm falters momentarily - it doesn't stumble or lose the groove, but something happens to let in some air around it. Since as currently presented, the acoustic IS the groove, that hurts the effort. But this feeds directly into my next suggestion, which is...
• It oughta have drums and bass. The right high-hat pattern would mesh with the acoustic, and those little holes would disappear. Intelligent and sensitive tambourine (which I can't describe or play) would help lift the chorus; I wouldn't add it till the chorus before the bridge, and then I'd bring it in on the LAST chorus (and if there are repeats of the chorus at the end, ONLY on the last one).
• Unless you decide to fade the song out, in which case tambourine would remain through a fading chorus.
• And while we're there at the end, I like going to the octave at the end of the second phrase of the intro/outro lick. I'm not sure I like that octave in the intro, however. It certainly sounds very composed, put-together, and polished...but it almost sounds like you've made a complete statement and tied a bow on it before the vocals start. I'm not sure that's needed.
• I think the song would benefit from the addition of another instrument - and that instrument will effectively determine the genre of the song. Sparse piano and gospel/rock B3 occur to me - something like Christine McVie's keyboard work in early-mid Fleetwood Mac. This would emphasize (or at least confirm) the rock side of the country-rock vibe. On the other hand, pedal steel would also work ... think Poco/Teach Your Children/New Riders. It could split the solo with the guitar, or even harmonize. Obviously that would bring the song down cleanly on the country side of the divide. You could split the difference with some David Lindley-esque lap steel.
• Depending on what you did with the additional instrument, it might could use some crunchy guitar underpinning in the choruses (or at least from the 2nd chorus on).

• Either the words themselves or your delivery confuse me in places. Unfortunately, the first such confusion starts with the first line. (Or am I not hearing it right? And if I'm not, WHY aren't I?) "Like your voice and you don't stop / You got opinions, you got your point of view." I'm left wondering WHO likes "your" voice. "YOU like your voice and you don't stop" would clarify it for me, making the lyric a straightforward critique of someone else's listening skills.

But if it's "I like your voice and you don't stop"... that's a much more ambiguous situation, suggesting that despite your opposite's poor listening skills, you like (his/her?) voice. That MIGHT tie in with "You make me feel like a kid again", which could be taken as part of a falling-in-love-as-an-old-guy scenario.

Ambiguity in a lyric is a great thing - if the writer intends it. If not, it should be tightened up for clarity. I'd kinda like to know if the song explores a communication breakdown between genders and/or generations and/or just (or also) between one particular guy (assumed from the male vocal) and one particular...well, is it a man or a woman? Again, if all this is to be left ambiguous, for the listener to take away what he chooses, that's OK. But I'm not sure that ambiguity is intentional on your part.

Another stumble: I always hear the 2nd line of the chorus as "Somewhere I lost and I'm not getting through". "I lost" doesn't work for me in context. Taken literally as it's sung (or at least as I HEAR it sung; I could be missing some articulation), "I lost" has a connotation of battle or gaming, and admits defeat. If it's "Somewhere I'M lost", it's more in keeping with the progressive tense of the rest of the song (tryING, not triED). "Somewhere I got lost" is even clearer, and could still be sung in rhythm. "SomeTHING is lost" would also work. Or is it actually "somewhere I lost it," which would also work?

Next little textual quibble: "Something I'm saying". Is there just ONE thing, out of all the communication attempted, that doesn't get through? That would be fine, if intended. Or is EVERYthing lost, or enough of what you say that the whole package is jeopardized? Is it "Nothing I say seems to get through to you" or "Sometimes I get tired of not getting through to you"? Seems like there's an opportunity at the end of the chorus to make a more definitive statement. "Baby (Man?) I'm through with not getting through to you."

Next: last verse/bridge, first line. "Like the games you play with words." As in the first line of the song, I wonder what "like" means. Is it a verb (in which case, WHO likes the games, the singer (I) or the singee (you)? Or does it introduce an example: we have a lot of communication issues, LIKE, frinstance, the games you play with words. Any of these uses could work; if you intend the latter, it works as is. If "like" is a verb, though, it needs a clear subject. (Also, I wouldn't question this line at all, had the first line of the song, also beginning "like," not have seemed unclear.)


Hope this wasn't too much response. From the development and production quality of your other offerings on SoundCloud, it's evident you can pull this one together similarly - so all nits are picked in a constructive spirit.

Also, in my own work I find my own first ideas often don't work, and I don't realize they won't till I hear them not working. Thus, no guarantee anything I suggest would be an improvement.

Also also, WTH do I know?

7

First of all, I had the intention of letting a drummer and bass player from my other band play the missing lines. I failed to mention that. I was trying to create everything but those parts... somewhat. I wanted them to have some creative freedoms.

I like Ade's suggestion of the chord changes during the bridge. That is an avenue I plan to explore. I also like the idea of moving it's position.

Many of the lyrics are written to a "you". "YOU like your voice, and you don't stop..." "YOU like the games you play with words.." It is potentially the singer (my vocal parts are just to get an idea at this point) who is at fault in their disappearance/ill enunciation. The song is directed toward a single person, a "you". I like the ambiguity, as I was stretching the context of the inspiration A LOT.

Proteus, do you teach a course I can sign up for? I've read your postings for years with awe. Your thoughts are appreciated. Thank you for your time.

You all are helping my polishing process. I will submit a second draft soon. Thank you all for being my test screening.


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