Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by Fisher + Diaz »

Like, if writing reviews is hard and takes a long time (which it undoubtedly is) one way to make it less hard and take less time for the judges is to refrain from reviewing our song(s).
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by Fisher + Diaz »

Ha, apologies for the triple post, but I'm just now realizing that "our songs" was ambiguous.

I'm not advocating for judges to stop reviewing *all* the songs in the competition. I'm just making a request that they refrain from reviewing the song(s) of Fisher and Diaz specifically.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by crumpart »

vowlvom wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 5:53 am
Hot Pink Halo - this is one of the best vocals I've heard from you (which I think directly contradicts what you said about it yourself, but hey that's the theme of the round!) and the general sonic palette of the song is extremely pleasing to my ears - the organ / keyboard sounds are lovely. I found it kinda rhythmically unsatisfying though, the shift between sections could have used more of a dynamic shift or something to really help the song flow. The take on the title is interesting, but the take on the challenge feels a little weak to me, not sure if I'm missing something more contradictory than "you are the beginning and the end"?
Thanks for the review! I think my problem with my vocals is that I know what I wanted it to sound like and it didn't turn out that way. I wanted it to be more more more more more and then some more on top, and it's very much not that. I think they're fine, they're just not what I had planned so I can't help but be a little disappointed in them. The original drums I had were definitely more dynamic, and when I listened back the next day after sending in, I realised that my new choice just wasn't; I wish I'd spent just half an hour more and coming up with something better. Most of the time I use the magic drummer in logic, but I think I'd like to have a go at actually planning the drums out myself for the next one.

In regard to the challenge, the line you pointed out from the chorus is definitely the main direct reference to the challenge. I feel like I addressed it as a whole thematically, but I also recognise that if you don't know the story (and most people won't), that it could feel like a stretch. So, here's the Oscar winning short film animated by Chuck Jones and written by Norton Juster in glorious 240p. I highly recommend watching it even if it's just for shits and giggles, because it really is a treat.

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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by frankie big face »

Fisher + Diaz wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 8:23 am
Ha, apologies for the triple post, but I'm just now realizing that "our songs" was ambiguous.

I'm not advocating for judges to stop reviewing *all* the songs in the competition. I'm just making a request that they refrain from reviewing the song(s) of Fisher and Diaz specifically.
I understand what you're saying but like, there are over 40 entrants. Are they supposed to keep a spreadsheet of who does and doesn't want reviews? As a judge, you're just going through and listening to everything and writing stuff down. It's much easier for you to ignore them, in my opinion.

As a completist, I would have a hard time honoring your request. I just couldn't do it. It would make me crazy. :|
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by Lucky Spoon »

Fisher + Diaz wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 8:17 am
I'm sure some people appreciate and look forward to reviews, and I'm not trying to advocate for them going away or anything. Just making a request for judges to not review our song(s), a request that they can honor if they like, or not honor if they don't care to.
Reviews from judges are really important, imo. Since it's sometimes people who've never judged a contest like this before it's good to know the thought process so writers can take that into consideration for the next round (if they make it). If your teacher gives you a D- on a paper but doesn't leave any marks on it how are you gonna improve for the paper due next week?
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by thirdcatmusic »

Gonna add my two cents in that I definitely appreciate the reviews - even when they're negative - maybe particularly then really. It's great to get a fresh pair of ears on your stuff as it's nearly impossible to be really objective about something you've spent so much time on. I'd pay for that kind of constructive criticism, and we're getting it for free. Very good deal!

and I guess I'll do the liner notes thing since others have:

Musically my song is based entirely on major 7th chords (as I'm a sucker for 'em) and I'm using some borrowed chords and I'm using some chromatic notes in the melody too which is something I usually shy away from but that I think I need to do more often. Too many diatonic melodies in ol' Third Cat's catalog! It's pretty mellow but it started off even more mellow, added 20 bpm from my demo tempo, which I think was a good idea. I tend to naturally write stuff in slow tempos so I'm trying to kick it up a notch so I don't put folks to sleep.

Lyrically the idea is about someone who is feeling a bit smothered in a relationship and generally kind of depressed and needs some time to themselves to recharge and renew their passion for life. The title "this is fine" is meant as a kind of reassurance the person is giving to themselves that it's OK to feel like shit sometimes, it's a natural part of life. I think my contradictions are pretty obvious (maybe too obvious I'm worried the judges may think) - feeling lonely in a crowded place and the like.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by Fisher + Diaz »

frankie big face wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 8:35 am
Fisher + Diaz wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 8:23 am
Ha, apologies for the triple post, but I'm just now realizing that "our songs" was ambiguous.

I'm not advocating for judges to stop reviewing *all* the songs in the competition. I'm just making a request that they refrain from reviewing the song(s) of Fisher and Diaz specifically.
I understand what you're saying but like, there are over 40 entrants. Are they supposed to keep a spreadsheet of who does and doesn't want reviews? As a judge, you're just going through and listening to everything and writing stuff down. It's much easier for you to ignore them, in my opinion.

As a completist, I would have a hard time honoring your request. I just couldn't do it. It would make me crazy. :|
*shrug* You guys made it sound like most people want and expect reviews, so I don't think a spreadsheet is necessary. I bet I'm the only one who has asked for their song(s) to not be reviewed, so such a uncommon occurrence shouldn't be that hard to remember. Like I've said, if judges want to honor Fisher and Diaz's request to not review Fisher and Diaz songs we'd appreciate that, if they choose not to, there's nothing we can do about that. It seems like a simple request to me, one which makes things easier for the judges, not harder. If some judge is a completionist and that's what makes them decline our request, *shrug*. If you think we should just ignore reviews, *shrug*. We've made a simple request, and judges can honor the request or not, but we'd prefer it if they do. If you (or any other competitor) simply wants to ignore judges reviews, you do you.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by Fisher + Diaz »

Lucky Spoon wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 8:42 am
Fisher + Diaz wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 8:17 am
I'm sure some people appreciate and look forward to reviews, and I'm not trying to advocate for them going away or anything. Just making a request for judges to not review our song(s), a request that they can honor if they like, or not honor if they don't care to.
Reviews from judges are really important, imo. Since it's sometimes people who've never judged a contest like this before it's good to know the thought process so writers can take that into consideration for the next round (if they make it). If your teacher gives you a D- on a paper but doesn't leave any marks on it how are you gonna improve for the paper due next week?
Look at the papers of people who got higher grades than a D-, identify commonalities in the papers which scored higher than D-, then try and imitate the commonalities in the papers which scored higher than a D-. And like, in this situation, if F&D got a low-but-still-made-the-cutoff score in one round, and we wanted to make a song with a greater likelihood of getting a higher score in the next round, we'd look at who did well in the previous round to see what things judges valued with regards to music and try to incorporate those things into our next song.

Again, apologies for my ambiguity in the usage of the phrase "our songs": I'm not saying that reviews can't be useful for other competitors, and I'm not advocating for judges to stop reviewing songs altogether, just making a request specifically about reviews wrt song(s) by Fisher & Diaz.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by mo »

This whole to-do is hilarious

OK fine I'll get back in my ranking and reviewing hole. It's dark in there
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by Adam! »

Turns out 2 months of zoom calls has inured me to talking to a webcam.

Here are Max Bombast's liner notes, in video form:
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by Lucky Spoon »

vowlvom wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 5:53 am
that doesn't technically meet the challenge IMO.
Good to know (Thanks for the kind words in the review, as well). I think the title and the meme that goes with it primes the mind to think of a contradiction in context vs an internal contradiction in the given lyrics. e.g. the Dog says "This is fine" when things are obviously not fine vs the dog saying "It's cool to be hot".
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by Lucky Spoon »

Adam! wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 9:25 am
Here are Max Bombast's liner notes, in video form:
I love this!! so much!!

I would totally subscribe to your youtube channel where you give tutorials about how you use reaper. Diggin that web remote thing, I'll have to check that out.


A video of my song production last week(end) would include me getting frustrated about not being able to record a guitar part spiraling down into a 5 minute rant about how I'm terrible at everything. Probably not prime watching material.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by RangerDenni »

That video is delightful. :)
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by Cybronica »

Ok, I’m late, but these are my liner notes for the mandibles song (sorry if it’s tmi):

This song is very personal. After a long build up, I am currently getting a divorce, and the lyrics were written to reflect how I was feeling before I realized that separating was the only healthy way forward. I tried really hard to make the relationship work, but I was constantly met with gaslighting and refusal to engage in even the most fundamental of tasks related to being in a relationship. I got a lot of lip service, a lot of “I love you”s, but he rarely showed up to do the work. All through it, I thought I was the problem, kept trying to make changes, fix things, make things easier for him. I was telling myself that this was fine, it was normal to have problems in a marriage, and that any relationship is bound to have problems, so I might as well deal with these problems. That is why the mantra keeps coming back, because I was essentially gaslighting myself into staying for so long. At the very end, the singer, that is, I break down and finally admit to myself that things are not fine. That moment for me was like a dam bursting: there was a trickle, and then slowly cracks grow and more water escapes until the whole thing crumbles in wave after wave. The song is about everything that happened to lead up to the first crack.

The lyrics are by me, except for the chorus, which truth wrote. He did an amazing job of finding exactly what I was trying to say but could not articulate. To me, the contradictions are clear, and I hope they are to the judges! If you need an obvious example, look to the bridge- you call me controlling but making me take charge, you say that you’re happy but put up your guard, to love you is easy but fills me with scars- these each feel very much like a contradiction.

Musically, Estaphonia plays an awesome tenor uke, and the picking she does really captures my teetering, breaking brain space. The instrumental break is, much like this post, delving into the darker parts of my mind, as I continue to be tormented by the cognitive dissonance. I love what Truth did with the electric guitars and drums. The build is so good, as we hurdle toward the broken end.

I just wanna say thanks to Truth and Estaphonia. This is one of my all time favorite Mandibles songs, and I really could not have done it without them. I love what we made.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by Lucky Spoon »

Fisher + Diaz wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 9:04 am
Look at the papers of people who got higher grades than a D-, identify commonalities in the papers which scored higher than D-, then try and imitate the commonalities in the papers which scored higher than a D-. And like, in this situation, if F&D got a low-but-still-made-the-cutoff score in one round, and we wanted to make a song with a greater likelihood of getting a higher score in the next round, we'd look at who did well in the previous round to see what things judges valued with regards to music and try to incorporate those things into our next song.

Again, apologies for my ambiguity in the usage of the phrase "our songs": I'm not saying that reviews can't be useful for other competitors, and I'm not advocating for judges to stop reviewing songs altogether, just making a request specifically about reviews wrt song(s) by Fisher & Diaz.
Gotcha, makes sense. Typically other people also posts reviews in these threads (though I'm not sure how many we'll get with so many songs). Do you want to be left out of those as well or just the judges'?
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by frankie big face »

Adam! wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 9:25 am
Turns out 2 months of zoom calls has inured me to talking to a webcam.

Here are Max Bombast's liner notes, in video form:
Okay, I only watched a fraction of the video, but my question is ARE YOU GETTING YOUNGER?
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by GlennCase »

Hi all,

I have seven more reviews left to write, but I should be able to turn in my rankings on time.

I am using a scoring system I have used in the past when I have been a judge for similar competitions. It helps me to place the songs in "buckets" where I can narrow down my choices based on preference. That's especially handy in this situation where we have 41 songs to get through in a short period of time.

Categories I am using are as follows:

LYRICS: 0 to 2 points
STRUCTURE: 0 to 2 points
PERFORMANCE: 0 to 2 points
CONCEPT/CHALLENGE: 0 to 2 points
DYNAMICS/MIX: 0 to 2 points
SCORE: Anywhere from 0 to 10.

Songs get a [GOOD], [OKAY], or [BAD] for all categories. Yeah, I took that part from Somesongs.

I take my role as a judge seriously, and I am attempting to be as fair, and impartial as I can be.

I will attempt to be helpful, and constructive with my feedback, but I will not necessarily be nice.

It's all subjective anyway. Feel free to disagree. If I don't like your song, maybe one of the other 4 judges will.

Good luck.

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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by thelowestbitter »

ok so I hope to write full reviews further down the line but this round is a little too much for me to handle. Thanks Vom for taking the time to write over 40 reviews as well as judging. I did want to pick out a few personal favourites though. I'm not paying attention to the challenge that much tbh, just which song I liked

Balance Lost - okay, so that second filler verse is crap, but I really like this musically and I love the chorus. Yes it's lofi and stripped back, but it works for me. One of my favourite things is when a band spends an album rocking out, and then the last song - or hidden track - is just a quiet, scrappy song with just vocal and guitar. This felt like that

Glow Worm - this feels like the stand out of the round to me, judging by some of the other feedback I'm not alone in thinking that. Mix is fantastic, and I love that big pad swell through the song. The chorus is huge when it comes in, love that big synth bass. And that big long note you hold around 2:20 :D

Inflatable Vegetables - love the way this just crashes straight in - who needs intros. that squelchy synth bass is great, and I really like your take on the challenge and the lyrics you've written. Lots of nice touches with the harmonies too - love the nananas in the last chorus.

Jules Iolyn - yes it's just guitar and voice, but what a great voice. It's also nicely mixed - like those hard panned doubled guitars with the vocals in the middle. Sometimes it's the simpler, stripped back ones that grab your attention and that was definitely the case for me with this one.

Max Bombast - That chorus is stupidly catchy, and there's a really strong arrangement and mix on this. Particularly like the extra harmony coming in on the last chorus.

rain - subject matter is horrible obviously but I love the lyrics on this, and the arrangement with that big chunky drum beat and that gravelly guitar is great. Love your voice.

Third Cat - I was listening to Hovvdy's excellent record "Heavy Lifter" last night and this reminds me a bit of that, the same mix of folky guitar and electronics. I dig it!

Vom Vorton - Catchy song with a strong mix but mainly I love the questions / best ones quarter-rhyme, always enjoy that trick when a rhyme is telegraphed and then doesn't happen, it keeps you on your toes.

There were loads more I enjoyed but I just wanted to pick out a few favourites, well done everyone! :)
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by BoffoYux »

Adam! wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 9:25 am
Turns out 2 months of zoom calls has inured me to talking to a webcam.
I LOVE THIS! Nicely done.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by Fisher + Diaz »

Lucky Spoon wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 10:47 am
Fisher + Diaz wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 9:04 am
Again, apologies for my ambiguity in the usage of the phrase "our songs": I'm not saying that reviews can't be useful for other competitors, and I'm not advocating for judges to stop reviewing songs altogether, just making a request specifically about reviews wrt song(s) by Fisher & Diaz.
Gotcha, makes sense. Typically other people also posts reviews in these threads (though I'm not sure how many we'll get with so many songs). Do you want to be left out of those as well or just the judges'?
Well, asking 5 people for some thing is one thing, asking like 40+ people for that same thing seems like a much bigger ask. I didn't really realize how important reviews were to how Nur Ein operates, and I don't want to act like I don't care about other people's opinions at all, but to me the real important thing is whether you liked our song or not, so if other competitors want to review our song, something like "I liked your song" or "I didn't like your song" is what's most important for us. I listened to every song in Round 0 (wtg everyone, so many different kinds of songs) but I'm pretty sure we won't do any reviews because our musical tastes seem a lot different from other people and I don't think we have much insightful to say about the other songs. Ha, hopefully that's enough of me talking about reviews (#sorryaboutthat): I feel like I've talked way too much in this thread already. Hope that answers your question, Lucky Spoon.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by iVeg »

BoffoYux wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 1:28 pm
Adam! wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 9:25 am
Turns out 2 months of zoom calls has inured me to talking to a webcam.
I LOVE THIS! Nicely done.
Totally agree. This was a fun video. As I'm experimenting with lyrics for "The Handbook", this was a welcome distraction.

Thanks for people who said they enjoyed my track despite the muddy mix.

This year I decided I won't look at the rankings. I will just try to write songs, and have fun. I won't know when I'm eliminated until maybe round 6 or 7. It's hard, because I want to take in feedback and suggestions, but i want to stay in "Regina Chang" mode, where I don't care that the song is "Regime Change" and that I'm already eliminated, and that I don't have a guest artist.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Zero "This is Fine"

Post by MicahSommer »

vowlvom wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 5:53 am
Micah Sommersmith ... the bridge crosses a line into "you will only get anything out of this if you read all of these citations", which I'm not doing because I don't think a song should really need that much additional info to stand up (plus I have 42 other songs to get through).
I had a suspicion at least some of the judges would feel this way, and it is absolutely warranted.

But, if anyone is interested, the bridge of my song references two famous (in some circles) sentences, "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously" and "The gostak distims the doshes", both of which illustrate the difference between syntax and semantics - basically, you can recognize a sentence as grammatically well-formed even if it's a combination of words you've never heard before, or if the words aren't actually real words at all.

I also make reference to the Wug Test, which demonstrated that children could correctly pluralize a word they had never heard before. ("This is a wug. Now there are two. There are two ____.") This is evidence that children internalize grammatical rules (in this case, how to form plural nouns) and apply them in novel cases, rather than simply memorize and regurgitate the instances of language that they hear.

The line in the previous verse "Chomsky can't distinguish 'tween a kitten and a rock" refers to an illustration Noam Chomsky has frequently used - that his granddaughter and her kitten were exposed to the same language environment, but his granddaughter acquired language skills while the kitten did no better than a rock. Chomsky uses this anecdote to argue for the existence of an innate language facility unique to human brains.

Of course, the narrator of my song, because he only got into linguistics for the money, doesn't actually care about any of this.

owl or mo should feel free to clarify that all of this is completely wrong.

Thanks for the otherwise positive review, VV, and thanks to all the judges for undertaking the extremely unenviable task of reviewing and judging this massive pile of songs.
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