New Southern Derek wrote:Generic --
Just FYI, announcing that you're "not going to have very nice things to say" about our song comes off more dick-ish than just saying what you have to say and adding "nothing personal."
Sorry, Derek. I wrote that post from work, and couldn't write the review from there, in part because of how long the review is going to be, and in part because it involved listening to the song some more (as well as a couple of Sober's older songs).
I made a point of listening to your song (and listening to it, and listening to it...) in light of Sober's comments about how awesome it is. Sober has made some reductive comments that indicate that he thinks that production values are the only valid criterion on which to judge a song.
My review follows.
I'm glad the two of you addressed the issues of the songwriting, because that's the problem. Sober, you keep alluding to the song's mix as though it's the only thing worth judging your song on. And sure, this mix is good. I think that the electric guitar over the second verse is a little too loud, panned too hard to the right, and phases oddly with the mix, but other than that, the whole thing is a very sleek package.
Still. I'd like to refer the listeners back to The Sober Irishman's "Texas."
It's earlier work. A little rougher around the edges, yes, but it's also a much better song. Sure, the vocals are a little weaker and lower in the mix than they ought to be, but listen to the energy there, the specificty of the lyrics, and those lifts! The mood evoked in that song is definite and infectious.
Back in those days, Sober used to host SongSkirmishes. These were songs that were written and recorded in under an hour, and Sober used to mop the floor with us. The studio sheen wasn't fully developed yet, but the soul
was. This new song seems strangely regressive, even as it shows great professionalism in the mix. It seems that you've spent so much time focusing on learning the finer points of professional-sounding mixing that you've forgotten that songwriting/recording isn't an artisan craft - at least not in the way that metalworking or carpentry is. If a carpenter builds a chest of drawers, no one could rightly tell him, "Well, it's an attractive chest of drawers, but it didn't really need to be made, did it?"
But that's exactly how it is with this song. It's polished, sure. It sounds pretty. But nowhere along the line does it seem to have been imbued with purpose
. If someone asked me, "What is this song about?" I wouldn't be able to answer. Why should it matter that the singer has been thinkin' about the old days? What do the old days mean? What has he been going about the wrong way? "Where do we go from here?" Is trite and vague, and adds nothing to the situtation trying to be conveyed.
It's a good guitar solo. The drumming is also really good throughout. The singing is on-key and passionate (more so in the choruses than the verses, where the melody feels a bit awkward), but I would argue that it's never adequately conveyed to the audience what
he's passionate about
. In the end, that lack of purpose manifests as something even more deleterious: it's just not catchy or memorable. I listened like six times in a row before I left the house, and by the time I got to work, I was unable to hum it to myself. Other listeners' mileage may vary, but I'd call that a bad sign.
Reviews of other songs to come later.
edited to insert link and for superficial revisions of wording.