Sooo many songs this fight, it took me ages to finish writing up my notes!
Berkeley Social Scene
--Lovely Rhodes, it sounds so good. Really nice vocal performance, soft and warm, although they sound really autotuned or processed to me and I don't really like that effect. But I was kind of assuming this was an intentional choice to go with the theme of the lyrics. Great melody (I like that little upwards shift out of the bridge), great arrangement. I love the visuals of the "flashlight" line in the lyrics. Overall one of my favorites from this fight. (The early solo didn't bother me!)
--Good stuff. I like the sort of choppy restlessness of the verse and the change into the acoustic "fantasy" dropout is lovely. Great rhythms and rhyme scheme in the lyrics. The ending felt abrupt, like the song didn't quite make it to where it was headed. I also didn't get the meme reference until hearing the podcast, and thinking about that distracted me a little. Overall I liked the verses better than the choruses, I think maybe the song just didn't feel like it lifted up enough in the choruses...? I mean, you can tell it's the chorus, it has a definite memorable hook, but the dynamics between verse and chorus felt really similar.
--The guitar sounds great. I like the "come on, come ons" in the chorus and the subtle keys in the background. I would have liked more of a dynamic or instrumentation change along the way in the song, it felt like it stayed at the same energy level throughout. I think it was well performed and produced, not much to complain about, but it just didn't stick with me after listening a couple of times.
--The vocals kind of ruined my enjoyment of the song as a whole, sorry! I couldn't deal with the Kermit ones, and the others were a bit pitchy. On the other hand, lots of great stuff happening instrumentally (even if maybe it didn't need to all be in the same song at once! it was a lot!) I like the bass and the guitar harmonic things and the kind of ska guitar bits, and the slide guitar + creaking solo is cool.
--One of my favorites from this fight. I love the shimmery guitar and organ combo. I would have appreciated having the lyrics posted in the thread, but I liked what I heard. Very pleasant, smooth, easygoing vibes; very nicely done.
--I expected you guys to crush it on the operatic vocals and was hoping to see an entry from you for this fight! (Well, secretly half hoping you wouldn't enter because I figured you'd destroy all competition on this one. Still my prediction.) This did not disappoint, great vox and melodies, jazzier chord progression/melody than I expected, nice heavy guitars, operatic without feeling outdated or irrelevant. Holy shit @ the Mozart interlude at 02:43, what a nice surprise! And the lyrics were so dense and great, just really wonderfully put together, I loved the meditation about real bands vs. tributes vs. karaoke tying into the title theme, and the callbacks to Queen (via the title) and Queen of the Night (for the operatic vocals). I didn't love the production, it felt a bit muffled, and the parts of the song seemed a bit disjointed, but the performance was lovely. It's not really up my alley genre-wise, in terms of what I'd listen to outside of Songfight, but it was my favorite song of the fight, BSS and Hampshire Cape coming in close behind.
--This was a fun and well produced track, lots of nice meaty synthesizers, so many nice elements going on. It felt like a soundtrack but didn't quite develop enough for me to stand on its own, and like some others have mentioned, without vocals, it's hard to feel like it had something specifically to do with this title. It would have been fun to hear it with the vocal samples you were mentioning you tried to put in!
--Great lyrics, just really excellent writing, I mean, how can I not love lyrics that rhyme theremin/peregrine/Tegan and Sara Quinn?! Political but not hamfisted; short and sweet, too. Good performance, as well, but I wasn't into the instrumentation choices--the piano ends up giving this a Capitol Steps/musical comedy novelty song kind of vibe for me, and I think it would have been better served with maybe something like a more traditional hip-hop beat with a darker or more serious feel.
OG Lawn Darts
--Sadly, I have some genre bias here, it's going to take a lot for me to get into a 4-minute reggae track. I liked the last track I heard from you better as it had a kind of unusual chord change to throw some extra interest in there, as I recall, and I liked the overall mix better. This one just kind of dragged for me--not enough changes, it felt like it wasn't really going anywhere. The vocal also seemed a bit quiet in the mix.
Paco del Stinko
--unfortunately, this song isn't really connecting with me on the whole--the rhythm guitar is too fuzzy so it feels a bit loud but indistinct, the song structure itself doesn't feel super focused to me, I don't feel a big difference between verse and chorus. I do like the vocals but they are mostly kind of buried... by choice/by genre, I'm assuming, but it means they don't really shine enough to rescue it for me. The dropout/dynamic shift at 1:51 is a nice change.
--I don't understand the podcast hate for this one (granted, I don't think I listened to the other fight this was being compared to, so maybe it felt more fresh to me). Great guitar as always, strong melody and vocal performance and I found the lyrics intriguingly ambiguous... to me it wasn't so much about the narrator patting himself on the back as a sense of alienation despite outwardly charitable actions. (I guess the bridge doesn't really work with this interpretation, and from reading your comments it doesn't seem like it was what you were going for, but those were my notes on how I read it when I first listened to the song.)
--I loved the sound of this, that detuned wash of sound with the sort of banjo-type picking on top melted my heart. The vocals felt like they didn't sit well in this mix though, too loud or dry or something. The song also felt a bit too repetitive, like it was a first draft but you hadn't really worked out an overall complete structure for the song yet but were just kind of jamming. But I liked the aesthetic a lot and would like to hear more in this vein.
--that echoing descending guitar is great. Lots of interesting shifts in this song, although they sometimes feel a bit disjointed. I really like the increasing layers of vocals on the bridge. The chorus is catchy! Nice spacey psychedelic sound and melody overall, I really enjoyed this one, another of my favorites from the fight.
--ok now here's some OPERATIC VOCALS! Dang. Bonus points for that, great stuff. It reminded me of a song from a musical, Les Mis maybe, like I was hearing just a snippet of a larger story. Those tremolo picked mandolin parts are very cool. I'm not really into the musical theater vibe stylistically, but I think that's kind of a danger when "operatic vocals" are the challenge.
--when I first put the idea together, I fully intended to try and make the chorus vocals more operatic upon final recording, but I had some last-minute travel come up, and ended up with basically one lunch break available to record vox and then singing operatically ended up being kind of difficult, who knew?!
Soooo I ended up singing high in my range but not sounding terribly operatic in the end. That's OK though, I'm still pleased with the way this came out and I'll happily take the Kirsty MacColl or Isobel Campbell comparisons instead. After the bridge, some of the layers of chorus vocals don't line up well timing-wise, which I would have liked to fix but we didn't have time. (I assumed someone else would mention it but so far nothing...)
Fun fact, Vom and I both
came to Songfight via furrypedro because furrypedro recruited me to do some guest vocals for a challenge for a Nur Ein track a couple of years ago. Then I was lurking and had an idea for the next prompt that came up on the main site and roped in Vom to do a Vowl Sounds track for it. I think that was "Cassini".