You won't appreciate a kind review (Until It Happens To You reviews)

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You won't appreciate a kind review (Until It Happens To You reviews)

Postby Lunkhead » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:58 pm

This is the biggest fight we've had in over a year and a half. Yay!
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Re: You won't appreciate a kind review (Until It Happens To You reviews)

Postby MessOfFun » Tue Jan 30, 2018 10:22 am

It will take me some time to review them all, but after first listen, I have to say this is an extremely good bunch of entries. Really great work, everyone.
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Re: You won't appreciate a kind review (Until It Happens To You reviews)

Postby MicahSommer » Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:46 pm

Wow, I'm kind of glad I didn't get it together to submit for this one. There are some heavy hitters in this fight.
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Re: You won't appreciate a kind review (Until It Happens To You reviews)

Postby Smalltown Mike » Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:35 pm

Holy shit, that BSS tune is really great. So catchy.
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Re: You won't appreciate a kind review (Until It Happens To You reviews)

Postby GravityJohnson » Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:12 am

I'm certain that this is the highest quality fight I've heard in the year and half or so being involved in Songfight. There is some truly exceptional stuff here!

Fractal Elves - This is damn funny and I just love the chorus. The sparseness of the instrumentation works really well for the first and final sections, the choice of synth sounds during the middle part is excellent. I just love the quirkiness of this, really great stuff.

shrts - Firstly, I love the discipline of you guys to keep these songs so short, it must be seriously tempting to develop them in to more 'normal' length tracks. What's more, there is invariably enough interesting content in these tracks to sustain a far longer track, which makes it all the more impressive that you resist lengthening them. This week's entry is no different, plenty going on in there to make it interesting and memorable. Plus kudos for accepting the optional challenge of getting straight into the chorus.

Jerkatorium - This has the feel of an 80's TV show theme tune (in a good way). Good grief, this is just excellent! Just so catchy, a great bridge, and an excellent chorus, nice backing vocals, good lyrics, a proper sing-along. This is surely the song of the fight. Well done, guys, exceptional stuff.

Glennny - A touch chaotic at the start as it somehow struggles to settle into a groove, but this is being a bit picky to say the least as after around the thirty second mark it really starts to sound great. Overall is has a sound like The Beat, which is clearly a very good thing. The guitar and horns sound glorious in this.

Vom Vorton - A particularly good start as it ploughs straight into the chorus line. Really enjoyed the lyrics in this and the bouncy progression of it. The little guitar riff works really well too. Good stuff.

Tuners Union - This has a bit of the feel of Fleet Foxes, and it is very well done. The build-up in the middle section works superbly before it gets cut back again for the last 30 seconds or so. You seem to have nailed the sound and style you were after. Superb.

The Magnetic Letters - A cheery sing-along about bollocks. Certainly a genre not often explored. It all feels a bit awkward at times but fun nonetheless. Whilst not trying to make the obvious joke, I do like the, errrrm, organ in the middle of the track :)

Mess Of Fun - Straight into the chorus as per the optional challenge, excellent. Another really catchy sing-along pop song with an old-skool vibe. This is another exceptional entry into this week's fight, another genre absolutely nailed. Brilliant.

Lichen Throat - Absorbing lyrics which I believe are inspired by Anna Karenina. This grew on me over a few listens. A nice idea executed in an interesting way.

James Owens - Sounds like the offspring of Magnetic Fields and Bob Dylan, which is a great thing. The piano on top of the bassy synth/pad between the verses is just lovely. This track really generates a atmosphere like none other in the fight. Another truly superb entry.

Pigfarmer Jr - Musically really enjoyable, but needed some lyrics in there rather than the repeated line in order to keep the interest up. That's just my personal taste though, of course :)

dark side of the son - Would be improved, in my opinion, without the very distant sounding recording. I'd have been tempted to lose the last minute or so and wind it down after around the two and half minute mark, but that aside I really love this. I find this a really compelling and gripping song. This is the one song in the fight that I find myself going back to more than any of the other. Really great stuff.

WreckdoM - "I sharted my pants during confession, sat in the filth of my transgressions." Not only is this lyric the finest line in the fight, it could well be the finest written sentence of 2018.

Berkeley Social Scene - More bouncy sing-along pop, and another track that's very nicely put together. You can't go wrong with a good solid anti-Trump pop song. Guitar lines work really well and the solos are very nice. Another really good entry.

Macaque Attack - This is us. The idea was a granddad sitting giving advice to a young grandchild. I'm not sure it worked as well as I had imagined, it all got a bit sickly sweet and hackneyed. Still, I was really pleased with the kinda muted piano, drums, and strings. Perhaps we'll turn it in to an instrumental :)

Wow, that was a marathon reviewing session. There's an old-skool pop vibe going on this week and some exceptional quality. Multiple votes issued. Brilliant stuff everyone.
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Re: You won't appreciate a kind review (Until It Happens To You reviews)

Postby vowlvom » Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:28 am

Berkeley Social Scene - the combination of the crunchy guitars and that brassy synth really works for me. Interesting structure too, with the early guitar solo and the bit where the bass takes over. I dig the angry-lyrics upbeat-melody combo too.

Dark Side of the Son - a dreamy late-60s / early-70s vibe to this one, the drums sometimes feel a little out of time and the grouped vocals aren’t too tight, but always in a way that feels charming rather than sloppy.

Fractal Elves - lots of really interesting production touches but this one just doesn’t really appeal to me and I can’t quite figure out why that is.

Glennny - this is pretty wild. Really like the catchy bassline and the brassy flourishes. In places it maybe feels a little bit too busy, but on the whole I like this a lot - it’s packed full of energy and hooks.

James Owens - unusual and intriguing. The soft music and low vocals make it feel dreamlike.

Jerkatorium - absolutely love this one. Really charming pop music, catchy and dynamic. I really like the way the quick-sung verse breaks into the more melodic chorus, it works really well.

Lichen Throat - vocals get a bit lost but I really like the doomy atmosphere in the music. Lots of interesting stuff going on in the arrangement.

Macaque Attack - there are parts of this I really like, especially the overlapping vocals between the bridge and the chorus, but I find the general vibe of it a little offputting. I think I have a problem with this kind of earnest sincerity.

Magnetic Letters - another really great one! I love the sound, the layered vocals, unusual melodies and mellotron-style wobbly strings. The lyrics are insane and very amusing. Excellent stuff.

Mess of Fun - really like the harmonised vocals and jangly guitar, they give this a real Big Star vibe. Clever take on the title, too.

Pigfarmer Jr - I struggle with the bluesy end of rock and the repeated-title lyrics grated on me a bit, so this one didn't do it for me, sorry.

shrts - more solid rock for listeners with short attention spans!

Tuners Union - this really reminds me of the band The Kingsbury Manx, who I followed for a long time but nobody ever seems to talk about. I liked it a lot, the layered vocals especially. Interesting gear-shift into the quick vocals of the later section too.

WreckdoM - I find the lyrics extremely offputting, but the music is pretty great, and I love the bubblegum-punk backing vocals, so it’s a thumbs up if I squint my ears.

Vom Vorton - my first song of the year, and I’m really happy with it.

Lots of votes to give out this fight! Quantity and quality. Jerkatorium and Magnetic Letters my favourites, but definitely a strong fight overall.
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Re: You won't appreciate a kind review (Until It Happens To You reviews)

Postby MessOfFun » Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:28 pm

dark side of the son - This has a great vibe of an old protest song. The authentic folkiness and singalong quality really works for me. I can imagine it in a downstairs coffee bar in Greenwich Village.

shrts - Per usual a nice punchy tune. I love the whoa whoas. I like the breakdown at the end - nice rhythm. Why should any song take longer than a minute anyway?

Berkeley Social Scene - So catchy! The guitars are perfect and the synth part is just what the song needs. The verses are great - words are thought provoking. The chorus is about as hooky as it gets. Love the bridge and last line of same. My fave of the bunch!

Tuners Union - Wow those guitars are really good. Also love the two-part harmony throughout and the very pretty meandering melody. Very nice vibe.

Jerkatorium - I like the "Where's my...", with the list of things. The chorus is super hooky and I love the woo woos. This is the kind of thing I love to put on repeat due to the wonderful tunefulness!

Fractal Elves - That backing track is insane. What a great angle on this song. I really felt like I was right there with you on that spaceship. "I can only dream and fantasize about that cold metal and the time far far from here when they and I were one." Genius.

Lichen Throat - Really cool sound. The chorus is oddly sticky in my mind. Your sense of melody is unique yet accessible. There is almost a baroque-ness to it. Or something!

Glennny - Wow how do you do that syncopation? How do you even think of the rhythm here? It kind of reminds me a a whacked out alternative universe 70s horn band transported into the future and mixed up with some strays from a reggae band similarly tranported. (Abnormal White Band?) Super creative and outside the box. Way outside. Love that guitar solo. I'm gonna listen a few more times!

WreckdoM - ok I was laughing out loud all through. Lyric of the year? My favorite line? "She ordered a straw and an extra plate." I should never write another lyric again. A devastating take on a real social issue that is too often overlooked. :)

James Owens - actually very deep and engaging. It starts off with the simple and somewhat blank reading of the colors. The piano part in the middle is quite beautiful. Then the last verse really hits home. Very strong and compelling.

Vom Vorton - I really like that single note guitar line throughout. Again a super hooky entry. (What is it about this Fight?) Nice take on the title with the "No one has the answers..." angle. Really nice job.

Magnetic Letters - Really great idea here. The spooky vocals are super cool. Those harmonies are very interesting - kind of a modal effect. The line about the bicycle is classic.

Macaque Attack - very literary lyrics as usual. After the spoken word, the sung chorus really comes through as hooky and beautiful. All in all, the lyric reads like gorgeous prose. The starkness and profound nature of the words create a real piece of art. Nice.

Pigfarmer Jr - definitely has the vibe of a great blues band bringing it on stage. I like the "Until it happens." repeats.

Mess Of Fun - That's me. OK, you can probably get that the conceit behind the song was to make it from the point of view of a stalker. I started out wanting a Teenage Fanclub kind of vibe, hence the wide distorted guitar coupled with acoustic strumming. I tried to do a Teenage Fanclub kind of stacked harmony, but I think it came out more like The Association (you younger guys: look it up) I added the 12-string because, y'know, Byrds.
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Re: You won't appreciate a kind review (Until It Happens To You reviews)

Postby AJOwens » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:12 am

Berkeley Social Scene - Brisk, tight, and clean, with a solid vocal performance (good performances all round, in fact). The appealing commercial catchiness is interrupted by a less accessible musical moment or two, but overall this has crowd appeal.

dark side of the son - This runs a little long for what it is, but it has a pleasant Country Joe and the Fish quality, thanks to the folky rhythm and wandering lead guitar. The mix is notably clear, with the vocals nicely out front. The lyrics are thoughtful, but with less narrative than some of your other songs.

Fractal Elves - A strong Talking Heads vibe in places, but mostly an entertainingly wacky ramble over an entertaining wacky soundscape. The occasional backing vocals are a nice touch. In the first few seconds, this sounds like it's going to have unpleasantly pitchy vocals, but then the context develops and everything works out fine.

Glennny - This track is a whole self-contained party, with great rhythms, lively and accomplished instrumental performances, excellent punctuations in the brass section, and general liveliness. It's highly polished. The vocals have an idiosyncratic feel that contrasts with the extreme precision of the music.

James Owens - Compositionally, I tried to take a Leonard Cohen tack. Lyrically this is not even remotely Cohen.

Jerkatorium - A perceptive commentary on an inherent problem with apocalyptic expectations. The song is perky and well-crafted, the performances upbeat. The music acts as a light-hearted vehicle for the lyrics rather than an emotional reinforcement of them; maybe that's a good thing, but for me the effect lacks connection. The track moves along nicely and stays interesting.

Lichen Throat - As noted in the prefight thread, the lyrics stand out, not only for their literacy, but for their economy of expression. The musical approach continues to be highly original, within a model that is becoming more well-defined, at least for this listener.

Macaque Attack - This has a very cool, relaxed vibe, established by the shuffling drums and accentuated by the understated keyboards. The dual vocal would work better if one of them had a different sound, perhaps some distortion and band filtering for that "telephone" sound. Actually that might give the lyrics a bit more remoteness and distance, taking the edge off. (It's sad, but sincerity has become awkward in the Age of Irony.)

The Magnetic Letters - The topical subject matter is punctuated by slightly rude words and images, which threaten to run away with the song. The music is original, pretty, and hypnotic, and it gets better as it progresses. Nice work on the vocal harmonies; exellent tonal contrasts from the organ.

Mess of Fun - Good sixties hooks, great Roger McGuinn jangly guitar. I thnk the bridge doesn't modulate quite the way it needs to. I like your twisted take on love song lyrics. A well-constructed and well-performed song. Your mix is on the quiet or distant side for the wall-of-sound effect the song needs.

Pigfarmer Jr - Sometimes one throws something together just to enter the fight, and I suspect this may be such a case. The music is spirited, with solid drum work, a fine raunchy lead guitar, and the kind of unaffected, friendly vocals you could have a beer with.

shrts - Very short, more like a sketch of a song. Reviewing your entries so far, I see a pattern. They're all good, but they don't get a chance to grow. Tight band, with a live energy.

Tuners Union - This is a lovely, dreamy song, with catchy rhythms and harmonically rich resting points. The lyrics remind me distantly of Keith Reid. The mix seems a little faded, but the recording is close and intimate.

Vom Vorton - A high-energy guitar-driven modern rock ballad with a great sound and some hooky moments. I'm getting a hint of a Beatles song in one place, but with more of a kick-up-your heels country flavour. Nice lead guitar solo.

WreckdoM - Steady punching rock, mad things going on, eveyone brings a manic energy, and best of all, shitty lyrics. Of course I mean that in a good way. Maybe I should say "uncomfortable lyrics;" that works too.
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Re: You won't appreciate a kind review (Until It Happens To You reviews)

Postby Pigfarmer Jr » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:34 am

AJOwens wrote:Pigfarmer Jr - Sometimes one throws something together just to enter the fight, and I suspect this may be such a case.


Your suspicions are accurate.
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Re: You won't appreciate a kind review (Until It Happens To You reviews)

Postby lichenthroat » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:44 am

Lots of great songs this week.

Berkeley Social Scene—Good lyrics, if a bit on the overt side. Very solid overall. I like the bass line. In general, all the instruments mesh well together.

dark side of the son—I like the tone and delivery on the vocal performance, as well as the rhythm guitar.

Fractal Elves—This is the kind of thing I ordinarily hate, but I do admire your vocal delivery. Lyrically, you have a distinctive and clever take on a subject that could very easily slip into cliche.

Glenny—Very well produced. The horns and squiggly guitar aren’t quite my style, but I do really, really like the guitar on the right side that comes in during the second part of each verse (e.g., simultaneously with “Going at it alone…”). Very specific, I know.

James Owens—I’m surprised I like this, but I’ve been fascinated by it. You do a lot with the minimalist arrangement. It sounds somehow hopeful and powerful.

Jerkatorium—This grew on me after multiple listens. Interesting phrasing. I can’t decide whether I like the 50s harmonies. The verses seem stronger than the chorus. Good lyrics, as usual.

Lichen Throat (me)—I couldn’t get the mix right no matter how much I tried, so I eventually went with muddy rather than unpleasantly sharp and incongruous. I’m glad people picked up on the Anna Karenina lyrics; we apparently have a literate group here. And thanks, Mr. Owens, for the comment about “economy of expression”; it’s one of my favorite compliments I’ve received.

Macaque Attack—Smooth as velvet. I like how the chorus busts out so hopefully. The chimey guitar (or is it a keyboard?) works well. The song might be a little longer than it needs to be.

The Magnetic Letters—I’m not keen on the subject matter. I don’t know how it occurred to you to combine a Celtic-sounding chant with the keyboards and sustained vocal harmonies. I’m not sure it completely works, but I strongly applaud your creativity.

Mess of Fun—Your vocal is recorded better this time. I really like this. This sounds like a local band I’d always be happy to catch playing live. Nice change in the bridge. The song simply sounds good. R.E.M. meets The La’s.

Pigfarmer Jr.—The lyrical repetition seems excessive. Your guitar performance is good, though. I like the variability in the drumming, too.

shrts—This one seems like a fully realized song, despite the short duration. You’ve packed a lot into a small space.

Tuners Union—Masterfully made. I feel like my musical palate may not be sophisticated enough to fully appreciate this. Unique without being weird.

Vom Vorton—Oh my, this is sweet! This is my favorite song of the last few fights. I like everything about this. Excellent, excellent work!

WreckdoM—The guitar sounds good all the way through, and the vocal delivery is pretty strong. Lastly, about the lyrics: They’re very clever, but I have trouble getting past the unpleasant subject matter. I kind of wish you’d apply your ample cleverness to something less repulsive.
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Re: You won't appreciate a kind review (Until It Happens To You reviews)

Postby vowlvom » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:50 am

lichenthroat wrote:Vom Vorton—Oh my, this is sweet! This is my favorite song of the last few fights. I like everything about this. Excellent, excellent work!


Wow, thank you!
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Re: You won't appreciate a kind review (Until It Happens To You reviews)

Postby Lunkhead » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:38 pm

Congrats Tuners Union
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Re: You won't appreciate a kind review (Until It Happens To You reviews)

Postby MessOfFun » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:06 am

Anyone who might have liked my "Until It Happens To You" may want to check out the 'finished' version. I cleaned up a bunch of stuff, turned the bridge into an organ solo, and overall made it bigger, thicker, and chewier.

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