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      Collaboration Contest Scoring   18/04/18

      Some great songs in the Collab Contest! Please see Other Contests and let me have your scores (instructions in the thread) by 28 April!    

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Hi everyone! First-timer here...I'm Geoff, and I release music under the band name Trembles of Fortune. Just completed the first album, and it's out in the world now (go to tremblesoffortune.com or Trembles of Fortune's Bandcamp page to hear it, or you can also hear it on YouTube or SoundCloud). But that's not what I'm up to here. I'm currently writing and demoing material for the follow-up, so I thought I'd get some feedback from various sources on the new stuff. Here's one of the new songs - it's a rough mix (and also doesn't have the backing vocals on yet), so I'm not so worried about feedback on audio elements, though if you have it that's cool. More overall impressions, genre, vibe, spots that might be improved from a songwriting standpoint, etc.

 

Lyrics:

 

She's drawing castles with colored pencils

On sheets of typing paper spread across the kitchen floor

This is her beautiful soul

This is her story being told

But you never notice, you just shrug your shoulders again

 

All that you're takin' for granted, what the hell could you be thinking of

You shouldn't need me to tell you that that ain't love

 

If you don't even know her at all, if you don't even know her

If you don't even know her at all, if you don't even know

 

I'm sure you think that you've done nothing wrong

But it won't be very long before she hurts you, she really hurts you

 

She's just another box to check on your list of things to do

But all the flowers and rings, they won't save you

 

Cuz you don't even know her at all, cuz you don't even know her

Cuz you don't even know her at all, cuz you don't, no you don't

No you don't even know her at all, no you don't even know her

No you don't even know her at all

You don't even know

 

Couldn't see, couldn't see the day coming

The best of plans, the best of plans undone

Very soon you'll be learning that lesson

It's only just begun

You don't even know

 

 

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Very cool.  I love the groove and all the musical pieces of flair you put in.  You are obviously a skilled musician and composer.

 

There were some spots in the vocal that felt a little weak, but I presume that will be hidden/thickened with some backing vocals.  

 

My only real problem with the song is that I haven't a clue what the hell it's about!  In the open it seems like you are talking about a small child, but then later there are romantic images being tossed about.  I also have no idea how or why she is going to hurt the other person.  Even something seemingly as simple as "this is her beautiful soul" is hard to parse.  Are you saying that's a picture she is drawing?  Or is it an odd way of saying "she's a beautiful soul"?  

 

I really like the song, but the impenetrable lyric makes it hard for me to invest fully in it.  

 

Oh, and welcome.  :)

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Yeah, I can't understand the lyrics either.

 

Great harmonic motion - voice leading - melodic writing. All top shelf.  The arrangement is highly stylized, and in expert fashion.. I get Micheal McDonald/("Living on the Fault line"/SteelyDan vibes, which are great, but it's so solidly and consistently in that vein that I keep on waiting for it to break out. Looking for a nit to pick.. I find the bass line in the verses.. (e.g. @ 0:24) doesn't really bring the hip. More appropriate to my ear would be to add some snappy funk articulations OR something more interesting than that walking octave thing.  You're writing instincts are fabulous, but with this one you haven't given us a lot of room to breath (harmonically and melodically speaking). So one solution I can think of is to make the rhythm section breathe a little more.  Right now it just feels like a wash of the same colors instrumentation-wise.  Maybe the BV's will make a difference, but I'm tempted to say it's asking for even more, like a drum beat that turns things on its head every once and a while or some horns.  That quarter-note piano ostinato toward the end is on the right track, but I dunno.. I'm just blathering at this point.  I'll go back in my hole..

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FWIW, I can make out what you're singing without looking at the words, even in this rough mix. :) 

 

I think this has real potential, but for me, the structure of the song is weak.  This essentially sounds like a two minute song with a 2+ minute outro.  For me, this really needs a second verse and chorus before the bridge section, and a much shorter outro.  A lead instrument line of some sort during at least parts of the instrumental-only sections would make it more interesting to listen to as well.

 

Just my opinions.

 

David

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An excellent composition and performance. 

 

I may incur the wrath of some here, but I've always been of the mind that, if the music and performance are top notch, all the lyric has to do is NOT make the listener say "yech". 

 

Let's face it, after one listen of a catchy song, the vast majority of folks will be able to hum or whistle it immediately after it's over and for the rest of the day... but remember lyrics?  Heck, even after tens, sometimes hundreds of listens, few can recall at will any lyrics except maybe a catch phrase or a chorus.

 

Granted, an exemplary lyric will serve as delicious icing on a fine cake... but a great lyric on so-so music or a shoddy performance is the proverbial lipstick on a pig.

 

Don't believe me?  Quick, without googling, sing even one verse of "My Favorite Things" or "Stairway to Heaven"... odds are, if you're not a theatre major or a stone cold song addict, you won't be able to do it.  Yet pretty much everyone can hum either tune upon request... and there are literally hundreds of other examples.

 

Of course, when they start playing Lyrak in elevators, I'll stand corrected... until then, an evening with Bernie Taupin wouldn't fill an elementary school assembly, but Elton John will crowd arenas.

 

So, as a song, this works and works well... any dissection of lyric would be superfluous.  Well done.

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Love this cool 70s kinda vibe. Cool production. I also would love to hear the lyrics a little bit clearer. 

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Good comments, y'all - definitely helpful. Even where I'm not sure I agree with it, the feedback can help get me thinking about ways to improve the song, which can spur fresh ideas.

 

About the lyrics: The opening line about drawing with colored pencils came from something an old girlfriend of mine used to do as an escape/chill-out activity, which I always thought was creative and cool - the image stuck with me. (The song's not about her, or anyone in my own life - it's more of a composite of various situations I've seen or heard about.) So the first verse sets the theme: she's a unique/interesting/beautiful person, but her guy doesn't recognize this because he hasn't taken the time to really get to know her. He just treats her like a generic girlfriend instead, and he goes around assuming everything's going well just because he checks the boxes he thinks boyfriends are supposed to check. But if he doesn't change and keeps taking her for granted, she's going to leave him one day and he'll be cluelessly wondering what the hell happened.

 

(About the clarity of the lead vocal part itself, yep, it's a rough mix that I threw together very quickly - for future songs I post here, I can try to bring the vocal up/make it a little clearer with EQ, etc. and see if that helps.)

 

Some interesting comments about the song structure and arrangement here, particularly the one about the textures maybe not varying enough throughout the song to create little breakthrough moments. I think it does sound a little insular as is, maybe more than I want it to, and that's a good springboard for experimentation - taking certain parts out of certain sections, adding a drum fill or lead line or a different sound in certain parts. Backing vocals once they're on will help this, too...re adding a second verse, it's funny, originally I had a second verse planned (though not completely written), but it seemed like it killed the forward momentum of the song too much. I'm not sure there's enough of a second main idea in the lyrics to justify another verse, either; it's not really telling a chronological story as much as it's just taking a snapshot. I do think the outro might get a radio edit - I tend to like long outros more than most people, and I like the three-stage thing that's going on there now, but I could probably lose a repeat or two and be okay. Or as above, add a lead line or play with other elements to make it less repetitive.

 

Cool! I'll listen and critique some other folks' stuff some more and then post another new one soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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