sonofgearfight #1: "These are the Jokes"

Discuss the many little competitions/projects that spring up amongst the Song Fight community.
Evermind
Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 9:22 pm
Instruments: Guitar, Vocals, Bass
Recording Method: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, AT2020, Alesis VMini, Audacity, Reaper, Hydrogen
Submitting as: Evermind, Moody Vermin, Ever Kenievel
Pronouns: he/him
Location: Austin TX
Contact:

Re: sonofgearfight #1: "These are the Jokes"

Post by Evermind »

Pigfarmer Jr.
Lyrics
Awkward phrasing stresses the first syllable in "guitar" and it comes out as GIIIIH-tar. Some of the rhymes feel forced, like in the line "feel the music creating all the things". What things?

Songwriting
I like the transition from palm muted to unmuted moving into the chorus, helps bring some weight to the transition.


Performance
Chorus vocal timing is a little slow and pitchy at points, it feels like you weren't sure about the song or it was rushed. Vocals sound half-hearted, could use more grit for the style of the song.


Sound Design
The organ sounds a little tinny, but the guitar tones are good.


Production
Song doesn't feel meaty enough for a song where you talk about cranking an amp and turning up the gain. Vocals are too loud.


Subjective Enjoyment
I don't feel quite rocked enough. The song overall comes across feeling like a complaint: "I never knew this guy, but I'm making music for him anyway, I don't know what to write so I'll just crank my amp and do something. If you want a polished song, too bad, this is what I made." I'm not sure that this is what you were going for, but this is what came across to me.
I am definitely too square for how experimental this is, but I can imagine that if I was in the right state of mind, the section starting at 2:20 might transport me to another dimension - jeffhenderson
Evermind
Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 9:22 pm
Instruments: Guitar, Vocals, Bass
Recording Method: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, AT2020, Alesis VMini, Audacity, Reaper, Hydrogen
Submitting as: Evermind, Moody Vermin, Ever Kenievel
Pronouns: he/him
Location: Austin TX
Contact:

Re: sonofgearfight #1: "These are the Jokes"

Post by Evermind »

Paco del Stinko
Lyrics
Mostly really great lines in here
- "We believe in freedom as long as you don't vote"
- "Insatiable hunger of corporate slaves"
- "A bone with no marrow": a great bit of imagery, but I think it's a little overexplained with the next two lines "crack it open, there's nothing inside, as empty as their words, vaporous lies" and it kinda ruins the impact of the line for me.

Songwriting
Chorus is very very simple, everything repeats almost exactly four times in a row, I would have liked a little more variation.
The guitar melody and counter-melody in the verses are great.


Performance
Hard to hear some of the phrases but only because of vocal style, which is an intentional choice and I don't think it would be better if you did change it. As I said in another review, I'll take character of vocal performance over basically everything else.


Sound Design
Love the guitar tones and vocal processing.


Production
Cymbals are buried in places, it kinda sounds like you had some overzealous dynamic compression going that pushed the volume way down on the cymbals once you started really going at them. Everything else is pretty nice and crisp.


Subjective Enjoyment
Overall I liked it but I found myself wishing the choruses would be over so I could get back to the rest of the song.
I am definitely too square for how experimental this is, but I can imagine that if I was in the right state of mind, the section starting at 2:20 might transport me to another dimension - jeffhenderson
User avatar
ken
Hot for Teacher
Posts: 3745
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 6:10 pm
Instruments: Guitar, bass, drums, keys
Recording Method: MOTU 828x, Cubase 10
Submitting as: Ken's Super Duper Band 'n Stuff
Pronouns: he/him
Location: oakland, ca
Contact:

Re: sonofgearfight #1: "These are the Jokes"

Post by ken »

Evermind wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 9:59 am
Ken's Super Duper Band and Stuff

Subjective Enjoyment
I'm trying to listen to a good song honoring a person I miss dearly and someone won't stop shaking a shaker in my face. I want to grab the shaker and throw it out the window. TATJ.
Funny, I kept feeling like I couldn't get that shaker to cut through. I thought the irregularities of me playing it would help with the incessant rhythm and also that it would work in place of cymbals. Mostly, I tried to make a song reminiscent of my early Songfight entries. I left a lot of things a little rough because of that, and because I was already running late to miss the deadline.
Ken's Super Duper Band 'n Stuff - Berkeley Social Scene - Tiny Robots - Seamus Collective - Semolina Pilchards - Cutie Pies - Explino! - Bravo Bros. - 2 from 14 - and more!

i would just like to remind everyone that Ken eats kittens - blue lang
User avatar
vowlvom
Panama
Posts: 997
Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 3:29 am
Instruments: guitar, keys, "other"
Recording Method: PC, reaper, ableton
Submitting as: Vowl Sounds, Vom Vorton
Pronouns: he/him
Contact:

Re: sonofgearfight #1: "These are the Jokes"

Post by vowlvom »

Evermind wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 9:52 am
Vom Vorton
awkward phrasing on "not sure how much comfort in that I'm supposed to take", a lyrical inversion like "down the stairs he did fall" that forces the rhyme.
Thanks for the detailed reviews! Slightly confused about this part though, I wouldn't consider this line to be an inversion. What would you say the non-inverted phrase would be? "I'm not sure how much comfort I'm supposed to take in that"? Because I feel like the way I've worded it in the song is more grammatically correct!

Not trying to nitpick really, just curious.
User avatar
jb
Hot for Teacher
Posts: 4085
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 10:12 am
Instruments: Guitar, Cello, Keys, Uke, Vox, Perc
Recording Method: Logic X
Submitting as: The John Benjamin Band
Pronouns: He/Him
Location: WASHINGTON, DC
Contact:

Re: sonofgearfight #1: "These are the Jokes"

Post by jb »

I’m over here crying while I listen to these songs, but I want you to know that it’s mostly not a statement on the quality of your songwriting and production. Here is my "snarky but hopefully astute" commentary on this batch of songs.


Heid
====
I’m trying to use the force to make your mix louder, but it’s not working, wtf. Maia Sharp’s complaining about the bite marks, but then Jonatha Brooke rode up on a Vespa and said step off there’s room for all of us on the GnG trail my friend. I kinda dig it. Needs to be louder though I’m serious about that.

Ken
====
Strummastrummastrumma what meter is this bad boy in, I mean it’s in some kind of 8 but it’s that 3 3 2 flavor of 8. You know me I want some harmony in there pal. I dunno about that egg shaker, I kind of want to run it over with a Vespa. See how I’m tying it all together like that? Ok this guitar solo’s kinda cool, is that one of those teeny pedals you’ve been showing off like “steal me” in the chats? Dunno if the lead vox completely sits in the mix quite rigOH THERE’S A HARMONY, nice. Works.

Paco
====
I like that opening guitar lick and how it clashes with the rhythm parts at the end of it. Kind of Dinosaur Jr-ey in the vox here a bit right? But not a stack of 9 distortion pedals kind of Mascis that makes it nearly unlistenable. This is more of Mascis-by-way of Partridge Family jangly. I dig the half time breakdown, and that half step thing at the end of it. This song’s a vibe, dude. I'm not even going to mention Vespas because I don't want to take away from my immense respect for you and your musicianship.

Pigfarmer
====
I like the organ thing. I dunno if Blue would’ve but I do. I think Blue might’ve been like LOUDER WTF JESUS, and I think that’s where I’m landing too. This should be making my ears bleed in between those twee organ licks. Like the organ should be a respite from the aggression of the verses. Something about the vocals is making me think Weird Al. I’m sorry about that, but I’m standing by it. Izzat an autowah, nah it’s too regular, is it an LFO? It’s ok. I appreciate that line “making music for a man I’ll never know”. It makes me sad, but I appreciate it.

Seemanski
====
There’s a lot going on here. I like the back and forth chord progression and I’m not going to deduct many points for it being a back and forth chord progression because there’s a bunch of other stuff happening and the arrangement sounds nice and thick. I could wish for some more precision or passion in the lead vocal, though there’s a little there. I am just always going to want more. I’m listening on my laptop speakers and I want to hear the bass more. I don’t know if that’s because of my speakers or your mix, but I’m the reviewer here so I’m going to lay it at your door to deal with. And I’m going to have to think about that last word gimmick you threw in there. At some point I’ll let you know if you got away with it. When you least expect it.

Vom
====
I like this. It speaks to me. That retro synth sounds like the one I used in my entry for “Man of the Year”, so unwitting nostalgia points for that. This has that kind of punks-backing-up-a-folk-singer vibe you got back in the day from UKsters like yourself, so kudos for nailing the genre. The lyrics are interesting enough that I listened to this more than once, which I can’t say I really did for the other songs, well, I did listen to the Heid song more than once, because it’s pretty but also because I started listening to it but then was just on my iPhone and I couldn’t hear the god damn thing because it was too quiet and GET BBMAXIMIZER FFFS but I digress, good work Vom.
blippity blop ya don’t stop heyyyyyyyyy
Evermind
Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 9:22 pm
Instruments: Guitar, Vocals, Bass
Recording Method: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, AT2020, Alesis VMini, Audacity, Reaper, Hydrogen
Submitting as: Evermind, Moody Vermin, Ever Kenievel
Pronouns: he/him
Location: Austin TX
Contact:

Re: sonofgearfight #1: "These are the Jokes"

Post by Evermind »

vowlvom wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 11:54 am
What would you say the non-inverted phrase would be? "I'm not sure how much comfort I'm supposed to take in that"? Because I feel like the way I've worded it in the song is more grammatically correct!

Not trying to nitpick really, just curious.
That sounds more correct to my ears, but to me it comes down to how you'd say it in real life, so if this is how you'd say it, cool!
I am definitely too square for how experimental this is, but I can imagine that if I was in the right state of mind, the section starting at 2:20 might transport me to another dimension - jeffhenderson
User avatar
crumpart
Panama
Posts: 963
Joined: Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:04 am
Instruments: Fuzz
Submitting as: Hot Pink Halo
Pronouns: She/her
Location: Cork, Ireland
Contact:

Re: sonofgearfight #1: "These are the Jokes"

Post by crumpart »

Re: the comfort thing

As someone from a third English speaking country/continent, I think both ways of phrasing that are totally fine.
Devil’s got me Lindt! Devil’s got me Lindt!
User avatar
Paco Del Stinko
Hot for Teacher
Posts: 3376
Joined: Fri Apr 07, 2006 11:20 am
Instruments: Basic rock, at a basic level.
Recording Method: Roland 2480
Submitting as: Paco del Stinko
Location: Massachusetts. God save the Commonwealth!

Re: sonofgearfight #1: "These are the Jokes"

Post by Paco Del Stinko »

Great reviews, folks, thanks. I enjoyed reading them all.

Regarding my chorus, without getting defensive, I can't argue that it's not weak. I had three part backing vocals doing a kind of response there, different lines and rhymes, but they were just awful, too crowded. So 11th hour drop at mix time leaving just the lead vocal. Sometimes ya just don't reach the heights.

Anyway, thanks again to all for taking time to do this. I'd like to think Blue might've found a bit of something good in each of them or at least given us some classic on the nose reviews. Peace!
Bringin' the stink since 2006.
Evermind
Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 9:22 pm
Instruments: Guitar, Vocals, Bass
Recording Method: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, AT2020, Alesis VMini, Audacity, Reaper, Hydrogen
Submitting as: Evermind, Moody Vermin, Ever Kenievel
Pronouns: he/him
Location: Austin TX
Contact:

Re: sonofgearfight #1: "These are the Jokes"

Post by Evermind »

Paco Del Stinko wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 6:30 pm
Regarding my chorus, without getting defensive, I can't argue that it's not weak. I had three part backing vocals doing a kind of response there, different lines and rhymes, but they were just awful, too crowded. So 11th hour drop at mix time leaving just the lead vocal. Sometimes ya just don't reach the heights.
The deadlines come for us all. Thanks for the song!
I am definitely too square for how experimental this is, but I can imagine that if I was in the right state of mind, the section starting at 2:20 might transport me to another dimension - jeffhenderson
mo
Push Comes to Shove
Posts: 387
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2004 9:46 pm
Instruments: guitar, bass
Recording Method: behringer umc202hd, Bias FX, Reaper
Submitting as: duboce triangle, agony sauce, moody vermin, spite, yaks
Pronouns: n/a
Location: hell a

Re: sonofgearfight #1: "These are the Jokes"

Post by mo »

Thanks first of all to the contestants, who made music, exerting their creativity and artistry for the enjoyment of the rest of us, and thanks second to the reviewers, who then crapped all over it. Just kidding, after all these are the jokes—the reviewers also took their roles very seriously in giving constructive criticisms, I hope if any of the contestants have questions, we can keep up useful conversations that might help everyone.

My thoughts, in reverse order of lyric postings in the thread:

Ken’s Super Duper Band ’n Stuff: Like others have said, I greatly appreciate that you took on the monumental task of an elegy. These are difficult songs to write, because it’s a set of difficult holes to thread, as it were. I hear clearly the echoes to the KSDBnS of 20 years ago, although the production is of course quite different than then.

I like the choice of giving that fake 3/4 feel, that works, and the massive chord you end up creating on “losing” (2:35) near the end is another highlight, as it works to evoke exactly that nostalgia and sense of loss. The guitar solo has a great tone, and it’s a great idea. For me the couple of muffed notes in the second phrase are really distracting, which is unfortunate because the rest of it is so good.

I wish the song was more about Blue than you, honestly. The lyrics really strike me as you processing your feelings about losing Blue, which is important of course, but I would’ve wanted to hear about things he did for you, personal moments, those kind of things that would cause a listener to walk away from the song being like, damn, that Blue was an awesome dude, rather than man, this narrator is super sad about his friend being gone. at least the second verse, which otherwise is a little too same as the first, meaning-wise. For my money, that would’ve been a more powerful approach. As a result of this direction, the chorus is quite dark but it is, IMO more tell than show, and so that would’ve been set up better by more show and less tell in the verses.

I found the vocal delivery a little clipped off and would’ve preferred it a little looser and rawer for this emotional content. The mastering is also a little hot, it’s just this side of starting to clip in the lower mids and that’s not my favorite. I appreciate this was a last minute job, maybe next time we should do all the songs in only 12 hours haha. My criticisms aside, I do think it’s a lovely tribute to fish taco boy.

Paco del Stinko: Others have probably already mentioned that it’s a bit of a congested mix. It’s hard to say what to improve exactly without seeing what you were working with and how you processed things. But I would venture to say that the bass is a little high in the mix, and is fighting the kick, so setting the kick’s key frequency and the bass’ key frequency might help a lot. This is one of those things that the Pultec style EQ is really good at, if you haven’t looked into it. It might also just be the mastering EQ that bumped up those lows, I would look at that as well. Like Ken’s this song is mastered quite loud, without metering it, I would guess about -9 LUFS. When you’re mastering hot, the mix has to actually be clearer/thinner because frequencies are going to get fuller, something to think about.

“They do it all the time, they do it all the time” is a great little hooky bit; I also chuckled at the delivery of “thoughts and prayers.” The second verse being that short is a problem for me, I needed more time before going to chorus again.

When a song has this a simple, direct message like this, I really want the bridge to change a perspective, get a different angle on the situation. Your choice here to go halftime is pretty cool (the timing could be a little tighter, I found it slightly distracting), but I think with that shift, the lyrics need to go 30,000 foot view or something anyway

It is a fun, groovy listen, with some nice melodic ideas. I wish the bass was a little lower so you could hear the kick and the guitars a little better personally, YMMV.

see-man-ski: I really like the groove here too, and the faux halftime feel for the chorus is again pretty good. The descending little melody line in the chorus is very tasty. The bridge melody is a little wonky, no? The backing vocals are all excellent. You create a really nice off-kilter atmosphere, strong verse and chorus feel.

I wish I was one of those people who was really good at saying “this reminds me of that” because the verses and that sort of main riff really remind of something I like, but I cannot for the life of me place it right now. I feel like it was something squarely goth rock, I know big surprise right?

So I’m sort of left with the question of what it is you want from this person. This is sort of the opposite question from what I wrote earlier about Ken’s song; I think the thing that would take it to the next level, writing-wise, is the perspective change of what the narrator feels/wants outside of the slightly passive-aggressive approach of pointing out that this person thinks they are funny but they aren’t. You’re hinting at that direction with the “either you’re just an asshole or the joke is on us” but I don’t know, I feel like there’s a bridge waiting to happen there, or some lyrical tweaks to go second person in the first half of say v3 and first person in the second half.

You’re always exceptional at creating mood. The lyrics that you have now fit in that mood really well, which I would call something like turbulently minded; I do feel like it wants to go one more level of difference.

Pigfarmer Jr: The little organ hook is super nice. I think the drums are a little far back in the mix for such a rocking rockity rock tune. But yeah, it’s a classic approach to songwriting, the song about playing music, always a crowd pleaser. The solos fit, although that second one kind of peters out towards the end. My theory on soloing is that they always need to start and end with strong statements, and this is especially true in pop rock songs where the solos are usually pretty short and sweet, so if you were to go back to this you might usefully revisit that phrasing.

I don’t have too many arguments with the lyric, I don’t think one makes too many demands of the “making music” song, but some lines feel a little weak, e.g. “Feel the music/Creating all the things”, specifically “creating all the things” is quite loose, meaning-wise (metrically it’s fine).

I think moving forward there’s really two main things I would say you should look at carefully, both of which have to do with your singing. I don’t know how much this is one continuous take or punched or what, but the intonation is often not great and the time also runs into problems. I think the phrasing conceptually is fine, it’s the execution of these lines that is lacking, and unfortunately that detracts a lot from the power of the performance. I think if you tightened up these two things it would make a vast improvement in the listening experience. From “resting on”, “But I can’t”, “guitar”, “whisper or a”, all those lines have sloppy intonation, for example. The timing problems become clear in the chorus, where the phrase is cool, but then I think it sounds to me like what happened is that the breathing maybe isn’t in the most ideal place, and almost immediately from the second line your voice is playing catch up to the beat, and now the timing isn’t precise, so you have to pause to get it back, and then you lose it again. So I would look at where and how you’re breathing more intentionally, and failing that, just punch it. If it were me, I’m not proud, I’d just hack that shit together if it’ll make it sound better. Increasing the precision of the phrase doesn’t even necessarily mean that every syllable has to be smack dab on the zero points of the grid, but you do have to be very aware of the grid, if that makes sense.

Wayne Krantz once talked about this when he was interviewed about playing for Steely Dan and Donald Fagen’s solo band, and how he discovered his time, which he previously thought was good, was not actually that precisely aware of the center of the click. Not the before or the after parts of the click, but the exact center. I’m personally not even that perfect with this, but it’s something that if you strive for, I think you’ll find immediately improvements in your execution.

Vom Vorton: This is such a Vom Vorton song. The charming delivery, lyrical cleverness, the self-deprecation, the acidic irony all that set against upbeat drums and a tasty clean guitar sound. Major-minor shifting around. Very Beatles-y guitar hook, and a nice instrumental break. Coming out of the break back to the final verse is slightly rough, could use something to smooth that out.

Your vocal phrasing is also somewhat time imprecise, but in your style, you have the jazz thing of, start and end in the right place and what happens in the middle, we call jazz. You could tighten it up if you wanted, but I don’t know if you want to. I guess what I really want to know is, are you ok? You don’t sound ok. Do you need a beer delivery? To that extent I think this song is pretty successful at evoking a mood, telling this story and wrapping it up, contrasting these life situations with what you “really think”, just another really strong bit of writing.

Heid: So I really like this take on the title, it’s nice too to turn the idea around on its head. I would say most of the other songs went with “the jokes” as ironic but also negative, so to have it be uplifting and about finding your people is a welcome difference. I like that there’s a pretty clear journey through the different verses. I certainly wasn’t expecting a song featuring train hobos, but then again, I was hoping for a song that was about community. It feels appropriate to have a song that I hear as kind of being about the Songfight community, a bunch of people who maybe don’t fit in that great in a lot of other places.

I mean those other songfighters, not me, I totally have friends. I swear. Look, here’s a photo that definitely isn’t the one that came with my wallet.

You have a great tool in that voice, and you have a lot of sense in the phrasing and drama. I say this a lot, but I would suggest listening to a bunch of live Bowie (I’m sure there are many, possibly better examples, but his is the one I know best) and see how he alters his phrasing, looking for unusual but both lyrically and musically meaningful ways to deliver lines—that’s something that can mean a lot in a simple song like this.

My main criticism of the song is that while the lyrics deliver a journey, I find it a little repetitive musically. You add layers but they are also so sparse, that I don’t think they really change the feel as the lyrical feel changes. I agree with Evermind’s take (what a surprise) that bringing in drums and a fuller arrangement towards the middle-end of the song would make a huge difference in the “epic-ness” of the feel. But also, in that last verse, the narrator has found her home and it really feels to me like the song wants a big lift as well, and then maybe bring it back down to the sparseness of the beginning for a final chorus, that would be really nice.
mo
Push Comes to Shove
Posts: 387
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2004 9:46 pm
Instruments: guitar, bass
Recording Method: behringer umc202hd, Bias FX, Reaper
Submitting as: duboce triangle, agony sauce, moody vermin, spite, yaks
Pronouns: n/a
Location: hell a

Re: sonofgearfight #1: "These are the Jokes"

Post by mo »

And without further ado the winner. Apologies for the delays in getting it all out there, life is my only excuse.

The winner of the first sonofgearfight is heid!. No excuses now for not having a huge fuzzy chorus!

PM me and I will send the stuff to you pronto, I already have the box ready and all that.

Thanks everyone for participating! Keep and eye out soon for August 2021's sonofgearfight!
User avatar
Paco Del Stinko
Hot for Teacher
Posts: 3376
Joined: Fri Apr 07, 2006 11:20 am
Instruments: Basic rock, at a basic level.
Recording Method: Roland 2480
Submitting as: Paco del Stinko
Location: Massachusetts. God save the Commonwealth!

Re: sonofgearfight #1: "These are the Jokes"

Post by Paco Del Stinko »

Congrats Heid! Lovely song and I sure hope you put the Muff to use.

Great remarks, Mo. Appreciate the advice and perspective. Well done. And thanks for putting this together and offering cool prizes.

Thanks again to entrants and judges, enjoyable all around. And,well, Blue. Thanks for inspring so many of us, wish it was not under these conditions. Spirit.
Bringin' the stink since 2006.
User avatar
Pigfarmer Jr
Ice Cream Man
Posts: 1673
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2009 6:13 am
Instruments: Guitar
Recording Method: Br-900CD and Reaper to mix
Submitting as: Pigfarmer Jr, Evil Grin, Pork Producer, Gilmore Lynette Tootle, T.C. Elliott
Pronouns: he/him
Location: Columbia, Missouri
Contact:

Re: sonofgearfight #1: "These are the Jokes"

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

This was a fun gearfight. Thanks to all the reviewers. You were all correct in regards to my song.

Congratz, Heid!
User avatar
vowlvom
Panama
Posts: 997
Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 3:29 am
Instruments: guitar, keys, "other"
Recording Method: PC, reaper, ableton
Submitting as: Vowl Sounds, Vom Vorton
Pronouns: he/him
Contact:

Re: sonofgearfight #1: "These are the Jokes"

Post by vowlvom »

Congrats Heid! Enjoy your new gear!
heid
A New Player
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun May 16, 2021 4:47 pm
Submitting as: Heid
Pronouns: any

Re: sonofgearfight #1: "These are the Jokes"

Post by heid »

mo wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 3:03 pm
And without further ado the winner. Apologies for the delays in getting it all out there, life is my only excuse.

The winner of the first sonofgearfight is heid!. No excuses now for not having a huge fuzzy chorus!

PM me and I will send the stuff to you pronto, I already have the box ready and all that.

Thanks everyone for participating! Keep and eye out soon for August 2021's sonofgearfight!
Wow, thank you so much!!! And thank you all for the thorough reviews. I have some errands to do but I will respond to everyone today.
Good vibes:)
Post Reply