sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

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mo
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sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

Post by mo »

Submit an original song using the following prompts:
Title: "No Help At All"
Challenge: don't suck
Non-mandatory Inspiration Prompt: Personification: Write from the perspective of an inanimate object
Due Date: 11:59 pm PT, January 16, 2022
Blue Lang Memorial Guest Reviewers: mo, TBD
Donor: Pigfarmer Jr
Prizes:
  • One (1) Epiphone Les Paul SL Ebony guitar in like new condition (only played twice with plastic still on the pickguard and the original shitty strings.)
    One (1) Sonic Research Turbo Tuner ST-200 guitar strobe tuner (used a lot both at home and at gigs and then put in a drawer for more than five years.) The tuner runs off of 9 volt power supply (not included) and will not take a battery.
    One of those plectrum punches where you take plastic like credit cards etc and turn 'em into picks
Submissions should be sent to sonofgearfight@gmail.com
mp3 preferred, of no less than 128kbps, higher quality preferred
Suggested mastering to -13 LUFS. If you don't know about it, we can dig up some reference articles. The purpose here is to try to have a smooth listening experience across all songs, and level the playing field for loudness, as it were.

Reviews and winner announcement will happen when they happen, but intention is have it in a week from the due date.

Reminder that the Inspiration Prompt is here to promote creativity and different approaches, and is not mandatory or a criteria for eligibility or ranking.

Contestants worldwide are eligible, if there are problems, issues with fulfillment will be handled to the best of everyone’s ability offline. Subsequent fights may have changes depending on prizing and donor.

The Fightmasters have graciously agreed to host this fight, so it will appear on its own page in the Songfight ecosystem.

Further announcements, corrections, and whatnot for this fight will be made in this thread
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BoffoYux
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Re: sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

Post by BoffoYux »

Looking to host the LP for 'No Help at All' on Monday 1/24 at 9 pm EST. Drop on in if you get a chance to listen!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1phwhQgB-Gw

Tommy G
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Re: sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

Post by king_arthur »

I'm working on a song for this, will have it in on time, just have one more guitar to record...
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Re: sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

Post by ujnhunter »

IRC USM is working hard on this as we speak...
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mo
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Re: sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

Post by mo »

woo0 hoo0!
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Pigfarmer Jr
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Re: sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

*cheers y'all on*
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Re: sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Three days, right?
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mo
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Re: sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

Post by mo »

Yup, everyone gets the weekend to finish it off
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Re: sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

Post by ujnhunter »

BOOM! Earth to humans... IRC USM is in.
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Re: sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

Post by lichenthroat »

I'm in. The inspiration prompt resulted in a song from the point of view of a Shure 55S microphone.
mo
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Re: sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

Post by mo »

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Re: sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Reviews from pianist, songwriter, Fawmer, one time solo songfighter and one of my good friends, Nancy Rost

All The Robots

The greatest attraction for me is the lyrics. The subject matter is very relatable, and delivered with insight, pathos and wit.
I like the rhyme scheme, the zingers in the internal rhymes as well as the end rhymes.
“I got all the friends I need and we were never really friends from the start” - truth!
“You tried to let me down so nice and easy, but all of your words come out as trite and cheesy” - so funny and true!
I’ll leave your messages unread, drop dead, unfollow, uninstall - I like the way you drop “drop dead” so casually as the second item in the list :-)
The “two kinds of people” verse is particularly awesome in sentiment and sound.
“If you could worsen as a person I could break your thrall” - I really feel this.
Nice pop chord progression
Fun instrumentation - it’s so peppy and well produced. A great counterpart to the words.
The vocal is delightful - I really like the timbre and the balance between polish and vulnerability.
The vocal melody is interesting
I like the breakdown and the key change, the way it ramps up.
My only complaint is that the mix (and maybe the busy arrangement) made it hard to catch all of the awesome lyrics. I’d rather the vocal were louder, and perhaps there were places it could be enunciated more, particularly some of the end-line rhymes (I take solace in the knowledge I’m as pure as what? Paul?).
This makes me smile so much. I’ve listened a zillion times. I want to be friends with this band and drown our sorrows together.


IRC USM

The energy is great from the first guitar riff and throughout. Nice arrangement and dynamics.
Rhythmically interesting. I like the shifts in time signatures, the drumming, and the phrasing of the vocal melody.
The open modal feel of the chords is super cool. Really enjoying this aspect!
The title hook and call-and-response is catchy.
I like the space between lyrical phrases.
Occasionally there are filler words (like “really”) to fit the rhythm, and I think they weaken the power of the ideas.
Excellent production. And I appreciate that the vocal is not the cookie monster type often found in this genre.
The take on “no help at all” is excellent, and the metal setting of a message song is refreshing.


King Arthur

The vocal has character, pulls me in right away.
That organ has a lot of personality too. Love the gliss at the end of the solo.
Interesting and timely lyrical subject - great take on the title, and stirring anthemic chorus.
I like “just the hollow between the masters and the mob”.
Love the “shortage” bridge.
Solid political writing with a vibe that reminds me of The Band.


Lichen Throat

I like the main riff.
Writing about microphones? Wow! So many great specifics in the lyrics. I like the scenes being set here - music studios, standup comedians.
Like the “Village/spillage” rhyme.
Interesting subject matter and words
The bridge is a nice departure.
There are some timing issues with synching instruments and vocals. I don’t know whether the floaty reverb is helping or exacerbating this. My inclination would be to pare down some of the instrumentation, at least some of the time.
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Re: sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

Post by BoffoYux »

Looking to host the sonofgearfight #4 LP for 'No Help at All' and the SF 'Lightning Rod' on Monday 1/24 at 9 pm EST. Drop on in if you get a chance to listen!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1phwhQgB-Gw

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Re: sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Here are some brief reviews from Fawmer, multi-instrumentalist, good friend and songfighter from a while back: Mike Skliar

All the robots

Nice sounds- great, great rhymes and a fun feel to the whole thing, with those synths doing their 80’s synth things. Love that sardonic tone, and nice key change at the end!

IRC USM

Heavy metal is not really a genre I listen to. Some great energy here, tho I have trouble understanding the lyrics - more, possibly, as I said, as I don’t really listen to this kind of stuff much. I like that quieter bridge, nice contrast.

King Arthur

Love that sonic space created with the organ, rhythm section, and up-front vocal. Great use of the challenge of ‘write about an inanimate object’. Very evocative and thoughtful and timely. Love the way you call out that it’s a ‘safety shortage, health care shortage, child care shortage’ etc. Wish I had a lyric sheet for every line. Nice outro guitar solo, too!

Lichen throat

Interesting, I like the arrangement choices. Some great lines in the lyrics, tho I wish I had a lyric sheet to hear some of the lines I can’t quite get. Not sure I fully ‘get’ the whole concept behind this as I can’t quite hear all the vocal well enough, but a creative idea.

Of the four, “King Arthur” is my favorite, followed by ‘all the robots’.
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Re: sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

Post by Mike Lamb »

All the Robots

This reminds me a lot of They Might Be Giants.. if they met Buckner and Garcia. I feel like it's well placed in the late 80s/early 90s. Well recorded, everything is tight. The lyrics/story don't do much for me, personally, but I'm going to guess this is the likely winner. It's got the boppy synth riff, the failed romance, the amusing corollary, and excellent production, all of which are SongFight dreams. Nice job, truly. It's a great track.

IRC USM

Abstain, I was lightly involved in this track.

King Arthur

I absolutely love your lyrics. The entire thing reminds me of our Ross Durand, or Bob Dylan. Your story, your hook, and your attention to the non-mandatory inspiration prompt is outstanding. The mix/production could use some work, I think.. every track seemed to be at the same level, and I think this song would absolutely shine with more attention to dynamics. Great job all around. I listened to this quite a few times, and it's earned a place in my general playlist.

Lichen Throat

Your intro reverb-soaked guitar spread and dark vocal are absolutely gorgeous. I want my love affair with the intro to this track to continue, but the timing seemed to come unglued, and the mix got busy.. it's not you, it's the mic, I'm sure! ;-) There's so much to love about this track. Fantastic instrumentation, music, and vocal concept. Definitely could have benefitted from better timing all around.
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Re: sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Here are some thoughts from "The Masked Reviewer" who is not a songfighter but participates in FAWM.

All the Robots:
First 4 bars set a wonderful tone for the whole piece. A nice 80’s ballad. I really enjoyed the wordplay/rhyming in the lyrics. Flows beautifully and easily over that driving synth bass that compliments the melody so well. The bridge sets up the breakdown in the chorus dramatically and pushes the hurt home! Well done.

IRC USM:
Thrash thrash thrash - The clear, to the point lyrics tell a great story over a very rocking track. The transitions between chorus, verse, and bridge are clear and move the song along very well. Very Radio Ready.

King Arthur:
Love the organ in the introduction. Straight outta Woodstock - Great use of the optional prompt - and nice use of metaphor. Great writing all the way around. Reminiscent of the great Americana storytellers. Excellent song. I think I enjoyed this one the most.

Lichen Throat:
The arpeggiated melody set against the scant drum track set a dystopian scene for the droning vocals. Lyrics are very well written, and song structure is sound. It tells a good story all the way around.
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Re: sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Here are some brief thoughts on the songs. I intend to pick a winner somewhere around the end of the weekend. I'm super happy with the songs and I'm very thankful for the participation.

All The Robots - That 80's bass sound/feel is enticing right from the start. I like the melody throughout but especially on the chorus. Micah's vocal has a bit of a theatrical feel to it that I like. The arrangement is good. I like the climb going into the bridge and the guitars coming out of it and back into the chorus.

The lyric is a good one. And one or two rhymes have the potential to be cheesy, in fact using the word cheesy usually makes me think it's cheesy even when it's not, but you pull it off nicely. (Foolish/ghoulish comes to mined.) I especially like that first chorus. Also, the chorus lyric changes but works so damn well. Very nicely crafted.

IRC USM - I like cool guitar riffs and I like cool guitar riffs that add a bass line. Your intro checks the box. I'm into a lot of hard rock and a bit of metal and your guitar riffing fits right into my listening pleasure. I like the drums that have that metal feel without going over the top. I like your songs structure and the built in dynamic. You build it up then take it down and come back again.

The lyric is pretty good. I like the way you crafted them for the most part. But the bits that don't preach as much as tell the story are the best bits. Reversing the logical progression of a line usually doesn't usually bother me much but doing it here doesn't seem to be necessary. I really like the antiwar sentiment. And there are some bits that are excellent.

King Arthur - I love the organ throughout. You've arranged it well, I like how it is placed. I'm not a huge fan of the drum sound but it works well enough. I like your vocal performance. It seems earnest, sincere without going too far to be emotionally annoying. The pace is probably a tad too slow for my taste but I think it fits the song well.

I like your lyric and I think it effectively tells the story without getting preachy. I might argue how much power has "trickled down" but it doesn't effect how much I enjoyed the song. Bonus points for the use of personification. I wish I didn't know the Robert Reich connection as I don't much care for him, but I think he ended up being a great inspiration for this song.

Lichen Throat - I like the intro riffs. The music under the chorus/refrain is a bit too busy for my taste the first time around and I think the drum pattern in places seem to fit just a bit less "right" than I would like. I feel your mix is a bit muddy, especially in the mids and lows. If I listen to this song too many times in a row I can physical feel the ear fatigue. I like the tone of your vocal and you're singing has improved a lot over the past year or two. Basically, I like the music but think a clearer mix would improve it.

You picked a great perspective for your lyric. Double bonus points for using a mic to fulfill the optional challenge: personification. I really like your lyric. I find the rhymes to work well and even when you slightly reverse "response and call" it seems to flow and work really well. This is probably my favorite lyric of the bunch, but I do like the Robots' lyric as well.
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Re: sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

I found myself singing one song off and on all weekend. So I'm gonna pick it as the winner.

Congratz, All The Robots. You've won a BRAND NEW CAR... erm.. I mean.. You've won the prize. I'll pm the both of ya's.
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Re: sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

Post by king_arthur »

Congratulations to All the Robots. Definitely more catchy than mine was; I remember when I was leading the worship band at our church, I'd listen to a bunch of songs and then whatever was stuck in my head a couple days later would get taken to the band. So, yeah, I gotta work on writing more catchy stuff.
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Re: sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

Post by MicahSommer »

Thanks to everyone for the reviews. I enjoyed all three other songs. Here are some reviews of my own:

IRC USM
Flawless production, very tasty guitar and bass riffs. The lyrics read somewhat clunky on the page, but I don't mind it while listening; they feel like they fit the style of the music well. Great energy.

King Arthur
Timely, well-crafted lyrics. The music is lovely to listen to, although perhaps the laid-back feel doesn't quite match with the polemical lyrics.

Lichen Throat
The structure of the lyrics is excellent - I love how each verse has a different setting and a different performance element that the microphone can't help with. Very well crafted. I also like how full the backing instrumentation sounds with just a few elements.

All the Robots
My pitch to Ryan was a post-break-up song with the line "I'm trying to get over you and you're no help at all". From there Ryan wrote the music and lyrics for the first verse and chorus. I wrote the rest of the lyrics and sang lead vocals while Ryan provided the instruments and backing vocals. You're spared my accordion this time as Ryan's vision for the production didn't need much help. I had a great time putting this one together and I'm glad that people enjoyed it!
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mo
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Re: sonofgearfight #4: "No Help At All"

Post by mo »

All the Robots take All the Prizes! at least it's not all them witches
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