Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby Märk » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:32 am

Better mix! I really should be working on the next one instead of messing with this, but...
ROTR_fingers_crossed.mp3
(2.66 MiB) Downloaded 10 times
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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby Chumpy » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:51 am

So are any of the other judges going to weigh in with reviews that might help explain their voting? One judge in particular seems to be a bit of a statistical outlier, and I'd love to hear what they liked and didn't like about some of the songs.
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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby j$ » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:41 am

Don't know which judge you mean but I know there's another set of reviews out there waiting to be posted.

For everyone's info, the judges this year can only guarantee one set of judges' reviews each round. Obviously we aim for a full set each time but the others are busy, busy folk and are already giving a lot of their time. Me, I got nothing better to do than be unduly rude to song fighters :)

Having one outlier out of five means four more or less agreed. That"s probably all the insight you need ;;)
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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby j$ » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:04 am

Also, not speaking on behalf of any judge but me (though I imagine they'd agree) - congratulations, Merisan! In a field of very good songs (best round zero I remember), yours was pretty much the only one we all agreed on (as evidenced by the scores).

(And me saying this isn't even courts mandated :) )
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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby Manhattan Glutton » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:56 am

I'm not here to make friends. I'm here to be America's Next Top Model.

These reviews are in mixed up order. You'll never know how I voted.


73 Keep it Beautiful - Great pop track by one of the masters. I feel it's a little cliche, but you added in some unique elements here and there - some chord choices, melody choices, which are what really differentiate it, and leave it stuck in my head.

cavedwellers - I <3 this. It feels a bit familiar at points, but also unique and extremely creative. The violin riff and bass line - mmmmm tasty. I would have liked more solid vocal takes but it's close enough to be charming as a whole.

Glenn Case - Another great pop rock track. I really appreciate the reversed drums. It does feel a bit templatey, but there are some unique things that differentiate it in addition to the backward instrumentation - the cool lead guitar, the 3 part harmonies. Nicely executed beautiful song.

Mersian - This is a delightful trip-hop feeling track with some unique instrumentation choices. As usual, Erin's great with vocals. Sam, you know the bass way to my heart. In the face of so many solid rock tracks that grab immediate attention, it's difficult to come out on top with a more laid-back approach.

skub - Recognized the voice and I was like... oh my god... I'm glad I'm not competing this year. Kickass solid alt (progressive?) rock with some great vocals. You sound a bit like Maynard at parts, and I really appreciate the effort you put into the drums. If I had to criticize something, it's the way you sing distorted growls, as I'm very familiar with this. My... humble... very humble... really inconsequential... advice would be to own screaming outright or avoid vocal distortion altogether.

strangelove - I hope it's not patronizing to say, but you should be really, really proud of yourself. It's astounding how you've evolved musically into something like this, and I really like it - it's got a great groove, and it's not too predictable. I had it stuck in my head.

Zed Dead Baby - Disappointed this is not dubstep. Despite the stripped down instrumentation and wub wub letdown, your song goes with the top of the pack - it's just a really well written song, and very well performed. This judge won't shame you for G&Ging your way to the final round (though the others might).

Balance Lost - I understand why you start with a fart, and for that reason I presume you don't think much of your song, but I like it. It's quirky and has unique instrumentation. It's one of those special songs that isn't the hit but is supposed to have meaning on a well-placed LP.

Paco Del Stinko - I don't think I'll hurt your feelings by calling this a "typical Paco phone-in". The bendy lead guitar is a differentiating factor that I did enjoy.

Micah Sommersmith - I think this has the pieces, but isn't focused enough on a cohesive product and hammers the listener with the challenge rather than the cohesive product. The choice of instrumentation and riffs are tasteful ingredients for a different caserole.

Boffo Yux Dudes - Similar to Micah's, you hammer on the challenge and have good parts. I like the vocal choices and the structure of the song is solid. Some more instrumentation choices would help pad things out and tie the song together.

Berkeley Social Scene - The vocals are a little ... painful to listen to. I've been there before, but at that point maybe just go with a different melody or octave. It's a solid rock song with deftful performance. The bridge is cool and the solo very nice and fitting.

Inflatable Vegetables - The instrumentation is a little bit of a turn off that I have trouble looking past, but once past... very nice choices with chords and melody. Nice work with the chorus vocals.

Jerkatorium - Well done, but a bit templatey and hokey. One or the other I could look past... You're singing it like you know it's a joke song.

Wendy Wiseman Fishman - I hear what you're trying to do, and you're close, but it sounds like you're still experimenting and finding your footing. I can't take the lyrics seriously and they just are a bit cringe.\

ROTR - This song reminds me a bit of a cliche song in the style of Polaris. To be honest and frank, this song structure has been done better by more famous groups. I hope it's a warm-up and you can use your clear talents to bring more creativity next time.

Lichen Throat - The thing about intros is sometimes they sound really cool and different and you think you're waiting for something amazing... You've got some neat instrumentation ideas, but they do not stand alone. For example, the intro riff could have launched into something completely different.

Lucky Witch - Again a nice intro that doesn't quite set the right expectations. I hear a very cool song in here, but it needs a lot more energy and confidence to make up for the 4 chord progression hit.

Pigfarmer Jr - Like a lot of the other songs, you've picked a genre and done it fairly well, but you're not owning it for yourself. Everything is very constant and you could use some dynamics - for example- the guitar overpowers things for the entire duration of the song.

Nick Soma - I think you've got one of the cooler backward instruments of all the contestants. The flat chord structure and flat vocal delivery don't really do it justice. It's very low energy, but sounds like it should be more intense than it is.
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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby Jerkatorium » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:25 am

Chumpy wrote:...One judge in particular seems to be a bit of a statistical outlier, and I'd love to hear what they liked and didn't like about some of the songs.

While getting ready for this year's Nur Ein (Jerkatorium's first Nur Ein), I was perusing some of the judging scores from last year and it looks crazy: 2016 Round 0, 21 songs, Micah gets scores of 18-21 from everyone except one judge gives him a 3. Round 1, 21 songs, Michael J Samuels gets all 1s and 2s except one judge gives him a 17. Either judging is insanely subjective, or some judges have blatant biases and/or resentments.

On the other hand, it might be a Shaggs vs Nickelback sort of phenomenon: If your judging is based on competence and polish, you vote for Nickelback. If you give higher marks for originality and charm, you gotta vote for the Shaggs. That isn't a tough choice for me, Shaggs all the way (even though that mindset might hurt us Jerks).
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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby Spintown » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:33 am

A lot of you know how I judge because I've reviewed here in the past & of course I've judged SpinTunes a lot. For those new to my reviews I'll tell you a little about how I do things.

I'm not a musician of any kind. So when it comes to technical stuff I'm pretty useless. I can just tell you what I like & what I don't. Often can't tell you why as skillfully as other judges. So you'll notice I focus on lyrics a lot. My final rankings are just how much I enjoyed a song. No fancy system that factors in performance, music, lyrics, production, etc...etc...just how much I'd want to hear your song again. Pretty simple. The type of music I tend to like is upbeat, tells a CLEAR story, fun to sing, and I do like a little humor in my music. If I can't decide between 2 songs, I will often look at how creatively you met the challenge. Not that anyone here would or should write to please any 1 judge, but I hope this helps people understand where I'm coming from when you read my reviews.

Anyways, overall...it was a fun round to listen to. I wasn't amazed with how most of the backwards lyrics were used. Too often felt tacked on, but a lot of talent was displayed nonetheless. Looking forward to hearing the songs from round 1.

Skub - ROCK! Take all the good things I said in all the other reviews & pretend they’re written here as well.

Merisan - How can something be so beautiful & horrifying at the same time? This is sick...in a good & bad way. Excellent work.

Pigfarmer Jr - Ok...I got nothing bad to say here. Just well done. I like a little history in my music, and you did a great job of telling a story & keeping it interesting.

Glenn Case - Want reviews? Post lyrics....

Jerkatorium - Didn’t think you incorporated the backwards singing very well, but A LOT of people failed in that. However, I really think you did a great job otherwise. Lyrics flowed well, it was funny, and you had plenty of personality in the performance. Sometimes when people try to be funny they fail to sell it with the performance, you didn’t.

Nick Soma - As someone who has some anxiety issues I could relate to this a little. Enjoyed it overall, but there were a couple of lines that could flow better. 1 minor thing I’d point out is the “shit” you included might not be needed. I’m not against cursing in songs...or anywhere else. I fucking do it all the time. If you’re going to do it, I think the emotional level you’ve taken the listener to needs to be at a certain point. You don’t want the curse to be a distraction vs an emotional peak. In this case I didn’t think it was needed. Lyrically you COULD argue you were there, but performance wise it didn’t feel like it. This is going to a very useful review or utter bullshit….

Paco del Stinko - What’s on the list? Some really catchy elements here, and I enjoyed the performance A LOT. You can sell a lot with personality...except an ugly girl.

ROTR - Has some catchy moments, but the story itself is a little dull. Solid performance. Oh, and why tell her to throw salt over her shoulder if the song is about you not believing in superstition?

73 Keep It Beautiful - Would like a little more backstory in there. Was well done though. It has some memorable moments & was fun to sing along with.

Berkeley Social Scene - Who am I supposed to be looking out for exactly? This is another song where the lyrics leave me wanting more details. Otherwise, very enjoyable.

Strangelove - Had a nice groove to it. Lyrically there wasn’t much there, too repetitive for my tastes. More of a mood piece. I can see someone listening to this to motivate themselves to keep driving forward out of some bad times.

Cavedwellers - I enjoyed the music a lot, but couldn’t really follow the story.

Zed Dead Baby - I liked the “House rules, house wins again” line. Overall I felt very “meh” about this. Nothing much too bad or good to point out.

Lucky Witch & The Righteous Ghost
- You really do create some great images with your lyrics. But I’m still waiting for the music to reach that same level of awesome. The topic was on point for the technical challenge we gave you.

Lichen Throat - Vocals made it hard for me to get into, but if I overlook that & try to picture someone else singing it...I could see myself listening this again. I liked the simplicity of the music, thought it fit the situation of the character.

Inflatable Vegetables - Music was chill & set a really good mood for the direction you took. Lyrically I didn’t find it funny enough or catchy enough to keep my attention. Especially when the rhymes don’t really hit at times. Like “sandals” & “Angeles”, that extra syllable on “Angeles” annoys my left ear. The right one is on the fence...but that left one got pretty annoyed.

Boffo Yux Dudes - What are they trying to get away with? Why is it so bad? I mean you thought of a decent idea & left out all the interesting parts.

Wendy Wiseman Fisher - Nice vocals, but I didn’t really follow the story. Then there was a lot of fucking & it ended. I was left feeling like most of my ex’s…puzzled & unsatisfied.

Micah Sommersmtih - There’s probably a reason it said "section of backwards singing or instrumentation" in the challenge. An entire song of it isn’t easy to do. I can pick out good points if I wanted to here, but what it boils down to is having every other line backwards made it really hard to get into the song at any point.

Balance Lost - Way to set the tone right at the start. Liked the vocals, but other than that there wasn’t enough lryics for me to say anything about. The music was interesting...
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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby j$ » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:37 am

Chumpy/Jerkatorium, we live in a subjective universe, there is no such thing as objective truth; unless you want to get into a tedious long-winded discussion about the merits of different interpretations of post-modernism (which I am more than happy to do, of course), I think you've answered your own question. You well know judges don't take tests to get the gig, for better or worse - they are asked and all they have to do is say 'yes'. Just as competitors don't have to take a test, they just turn up with their songs. People hear stuff differently and of course (as I alluded to in my own reviews), unintentional bias is going to play a role. It's how it goes. Worrying about why one judge didn't like a song when the others did after the fact is a misdirection, in my subjective opinion. Play the field or write what you want to write and F the judges - both are perfectly valid responses.

I would just like to ram home the point that the only response to the results has been what could be (mis)construed as moaning about how one's particular song didn't do so well. Or to frame it slightly differently, why is it I am the only person who has congratulated Merisan on their (imo well-deserved) win so far?

Yeah, I don't have much truck with solipsism (so much so, in fact, i'm not sure I spelled it correctly).

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Last edited by j$ on Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby WendyWisemanFisher » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:42 am

I think it's great to have disparate scores from the judges - it means that I'm getting feedback from a wide range of tastes, and it also makes consensus more meaningful. (Yay Merisan!) It also functions like market research - I can see if there are people who enjoy what I'm doing and use that as a clue to inform future projects and get an idea of any potential audience niche. And the comments/feedback from those time-rich enough to offer them are awesome insights into the minds of the listeners. It's so easy to go snowblind by yourself.

Also, super helpful to have the motivation to get off of my duff and do a music thing. <-- that is probably the main thing for me.

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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby iVeg » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:02 pm

Congrats Merisan. Erin, your vocals are always lovely, usually haunting, Great job with the instrumentation. Your song was one of my favorites this round.

This was a great Round 0. I look forward to hearing what you all do with "After You".
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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby Jerkatorium » Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:03 pm

j$ wrote:why is it I am the only person who has congratulated Merisan on their (imo well-deserved) win so far?

Yikes, good point. Congratulations Merisan on having the best song in a very strong round 0. It's beautiful and haunting, and with a such a great touch on those backwards vocals. Lovely, masterful, and brought to mind my favorite Cocteau Twins songs.
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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby GlennCase » Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:18 pm

Spintown wrote:Glenn Case - Want reviews? Post lyrics....

Lyrics were posted on Tuesday, Apr 18, 2017 11:14 pm

Additionally, Congrats to Merisan! A well deserved victory!
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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby glennny » Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:21 pm

Congrats Merisan!
Awesome song! No immunity!!
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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby Spintown » Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:19 pm

GlennCase wrote:
Spintown wrote:Glenn Case - Want reviews? Post lyrics....

Lyrics were posted on Tuesday, Apr 18, 2017 11:14 pm


You'll get double reviews next time I put my judging hat on then. Round 0 & 1.
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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby iVeg » Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:45 pm

There's a balance to writing something the judges might like, and writing only for yourself. This *IS* a judged competition after all, and these 5 are the ones who determine whether we move on or not. If we didn't care about the judges, we wouldn't be here.
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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby Spintown » Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:54 pm

iVeg wrote:There's a balance to writing something the judges might like, and writing only for yourself. This *IS* a judged competition after all, and these 5 are the ones who determine whether we move on or not. If we didn't care about the judges, we wouldn't be here.


Depends on the person. I've found a lot of people compete in stuff like this just to have a deadline that forces themselves to write when they otherwise wouldn't. Some people like getting prompts & being pushed outside comfort zones. The contesty/judge part of it is just an afterthought or bonus for some. But yes, I'm sure most value the competition aspect of it to some degree...but there's no question those who don't even worry about that aspect of it.
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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby Caravan Ray » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:29 pm

Märk wrote:[edit] dammit Chumpy, here I was thinking it sounded like Cold Ethyl, and you go and gut me with the realization it's kinda footloose...

LOL. It's totally Footloose. That hit me the instant I heard it.

I know - sux when that happens and you don't realise it!
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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby Lunkhead » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:33 pm

Thanks all! We are pleasantly surprised by the win. I enjoyed a lot of the entries very much. It's definitely a better than average Round Zero, bolstered for me at least by the many returning champions and almost-beens. We could be in for a lot of great songs this year, which is very exciting!
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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby Caravan Ray » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:10 pm

Lunkhead wrote: It's definitely a better than average Round Zero

Oh yeah. No cruising through the first few rounds this year.

This is going to get fierce right from round 1.
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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby MicahSommer » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:45 am

Congrats to Merisan! There were so many good songs in this round, as others have already noted. I think that accounts for part of the large disparity in judges' scores - when everyone is jostling for the top, a small difference in opinion translates to a very different ranking - I noticed that everyone except Merisan and Skub scored in at least one judge's top half and at least one other judge's bottom half.

Chumpy wrote:ROTR - This just rocks from start to finish, although Kenny Loggins' lawyers may want a word.


You're one to talk Chumpy! Your melody on "Cross my heart and hope to die, / I had my fingers crossed each time" is straight from the Beatles' "All My Loving." If anyone has lawyers you DO NOT want to mess with... ;)

(I solved this problem by omitting any kind of memorable melody at all.)
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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby Chumpy » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:24 am

MicahSommer wrote:Your melody on "Cross my heart and hope to die, / I had my fingers crossed each time" is straight from the Beatles' "All My Loving."

Heh, yup. I was terrified that Ryan would realize that and at the last minute and we'd be forced to change it, but luckily he didn't. I'm calling it an unconscious homage on Ryan's part.

Nice work Merisan, and congrats on a well deserved win!
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Re: Nur Ein XII - Round Zero

Postby Pigfarmer Jr » Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:43 am

Manhattan Glutton wrote:Pigfarmer Jr - Like a lot of the other songs, you've picked a genre and done it fairly well, but you're not owning it for yourself. Everything is very constant and you could use some dynamics - for example- the guitar overpowers things for the entire duration of the song.


Thank you for the comment on dynamics. Details like that are the most helpful to me.

And to all the other reviewers, thanks! I greatly appreciate all the feedback.
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