Where Music & Dance Fall Face First Into The Internet

Saturday, July 23, 2011

How I Write A Song A Day - Episode 1: I Don't Care

I thought this was good advice, and I'm looking forward to this new series.

Friday, July 22, 2011


An Unfair And One-Sided Review
by Sammy Kablam

SpinTunes #3 Round 3

Thursday, July 21, 2011

SpinTunes #3 Round 3 Review

(To listen to the songs mentioned in this review, just click the picture above.)

First round...shit ton of songs. Second round...homework. Third round...easy. At least for the judges in comparison to the first 2 rounds. It's no secret that I've been pushing for this challenge since SpinTunes started. I also knew a lot of people would hate the challenge when they read it...and they did. Technically I thought it was a good challenge, and it put most people out of their comfort zone. Thankfully, a number of the people found that it was a lot more fun than they originally thought.

Oh, and the title of this challenge (Top That) was inspired by the rap scene in the terrible movie "Teen Witch".

Ross Durand - Camp Romance
I really didn't expect Ross to turn in my favorite song of this round, and I certainly didn't expect it to be one of my favorite songs of SpinTunes 3...but he did. Lyrically he's usually one of my favorite story tellers, but the music in this somehow managed to be extremely cool, but fitting for a camp setting??? I really enjoyed the sweet love story being told, and it will fit nicely in a playlist with other similar raps I enjoy like "I'll Go" by Young MC. If this doesn't get Ross to the finals, I would be extremely disappointed.

Jon Eric - The Dance
I expected Jon to enter something solid since he's got the most experience rapping in this group. He stepped up to the plate & demonstrated the best flow from the round. I enjoyed the piano, and having Denise singing the chorus was a good idea. Even though it was a quick pace, the story telling was great. This will live a long life on my i-Pod.

Dr. Lindyke - Politics And Promises
I wish more people would have hit this challenge right in the jaw like you guys did. Who needs funny when you have amazing lyrics like this? (although hearing Dave say "wack" just didn't seem right) Dave's delivery is pretty good, and at times great. For instance the "Did the baptism take or just make you wetter?" line is great, but the attitude in the delivery is great as well. It's a shame there were a lot of production issues, cause I'd like to hear what they had planned. Don't know if Dave & William would be happy about this, but I have a new favorite Dr. Lindyke song.

Pat And Gweebol - TickiTock (Top Tad)
What's with all the penis references in this SpinTunes? Anyways, I thought this flowed better than most entries, and was probably the most catchy entry of the round. Really enjoyed the back & forth between you both, and I'm officially naming Pat And Gweebol the SpinTunes version of Karmin Music.

Matt And Donna - Anatomy Dance
My college anatomy prof would have loved this. Putting this down on paper had to be tough enough, recording it had to be a real pain. The performance seemed a bit lifeless, and I'm pretty sure it's just that Donna is concentrating on saying the words correctly. It's still one of my favorite entries, but the performance did hold it back a little. I'm sure Donna can do it, but 8 days just probably wasn't long enough to write & then get comfortable with it.

Edric Haleen - Sarah
Long sung intro...didn't see that coming. :p The idea of his alter ego coming out through rap was pretty cool. The idea of his confidence growing & his rapping going from bad to good in the process was also interesting. (wrote this before reading bio...oops) I think most things fit together nicely, even the intentionally bad rapping.

I once again screwed up your song at the LP. The last time that happened I just accidentally clicked the wrong button. This time, it was me not paying close attention (multi-tasking...not cause I didn't like what I heard). I just clicked the next song when I thought your song SHOULD have ended. Didn't do it on purpose though. Overall it's a good entry, but it probably doesn't have a ton of replay value for me. Can I sing it? Yes. Is it fun to sing/rap badly...for now I'll say no.

The Offhand Band - Not Cool
Liked the idea you had about playing off your uncoolness. Dang there's a ton of word play & references in this. I didn't get A LOT of the references, which takes away from a lot of the enjoyment & makes it hard to follow. I enjoyed the chorus, but the song needs something to change it up more. Either that, or shorten it a lot, cause it's REALLY long for a rap. I'd drop the 3rd verse & the 4th chorus.

Steve Durand - A Place For Love
You fit in some funny lines, and the story was a lot of fun. At the same time other lines just fell flat with me & I didn't get a perfect rhyme where I might have wanted. Glad to hear you managed to still use the brass, and the chorus stuck with me awhile. Another penis reference?

Jutze - My Friend Kay
I think you dove into the performance more than most people this round. Maybe it's the topic you picked, but I had a hard time getting into the story. What I LOVED was the beat. Bonus points for using banjo. When that came into the song, it went from computer to i-Pod. And even though you really had to stretch to reach the 2 minute mark, I didn't mind cause you stretched with the banjo. Oh, and Chelsea should send you a new clip to use as a "penis" sample.

Wait What - Six Years Seventeen Days
This felt like 2 incomplete stories being forced into 1. You start off rapping from the POV of a whiny schmuck who was dumped. That's fine & all, but you should have got to the extremely creepy stuff in the last verse a lot quicker. When you finally get there, it just sort of ends right when you get to the interesting stuff. Drop the original 2nd verse completely, make the original 3rd verse your new 2nd, and write new 3rd.

Charlie McCarron - Trail In The Snow
I really liked the feel the music created, but I'm not really sure what's going on with the story. I'm fairly dense when it comes to following along at times, so maybe it's just me. I think a little more work on the actual rapping is needed. At times it's hard to pick up what Charlie is saying, and that makes it even harder for me to follow the story. Again though, I really liked the music. The beat, extra vocals, and everything about it fit perfectly. Me not getting the story was the big issue here.

Caleb Hines - Two Musicians
(Will be posted after a judges decision to DQ or not has been made final.)


Ethan Ivey - Entry 3
Wow you recorded that way too loud. The beat is pretty simple & the rap feels too repetitive. I know you mention it's based on a couple YouTube series, but I'm not going to watch a series on YouTube just to get what the song is about. I'm basically just left in the dark here, and that's a shame cause the story seemed pretty interesting.

Menage' a Tune - Roman Road Rap
The 20 second piano bit at the start...cut it. This is a tough one for me cause I don't like most Christian music. I also don't like most children’s music. This feels like a cross between what I'd hear in church & what I would hear on a Christy Lane teaches Hip Hop dance DVD. It might make you fairly cool during vacation Bible school this year, but neither appeals to me.

The Boffo Yux Dudes - It's All About the Benjamins
Funny concept, and the over the top cheese is good. The only thing I didn't care for was the "Rollin with the Benjamins..." hook. The line itself doesn't bother me, it's just kinda annoying sounding so low & slow. Overall this was one of my favorite raps of the round, and one of my favorite shadows of the contest. Great work guys.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

SpinTunes #3 Round 2 Review

(To listen to the songs mentioned in this review, just click the picture above.)

Reviewing this round was kinda difficult. There were less songs, which helps, but having people write about a headline in a newspaper presented 2 problems.

1. I had to read news stories I wasn't really that interested in just to review the songs.

2. It really opened the doors for people to go political this round. Nothing wrong with that, but even a well written & performed song can be difficult to listen to if you disagree with what it's saying. I normally rank the songs simply by how much I plan on listening to them in the future. I think that would be a bit unfair of me this round, so I'll try to avoid knocking someone based on their chosen topic.

3. These were done a couple days ago, but the shadows I did yesterday/tonight/this morning. I decided to put them in the current album order so the songs are easier to find if someone wants a quick reference.

Charlie McCarron - The Mountain Will Not Yield
Right off the bat the wind sets the mood, nice touch. The music held my interest the entire time, and it was actually kinda odd (but good). What I mean is that it was very atmospheric sounding, but it actually told a very clear story. The ONLY thing I didn't like was the repeat of the opening at the end. To me at least, it seemed like there was just too much going on with the extra vocals. Other than that...perfect.

Chris Cogott - Welcome To Kabul
Loved the instrumental bit, your guitar is always great. I thought you did a good job of putting the listener in this guys shoes.

Matt And Donna - A Tight Spot
I'm a little shocked that more people didn't go with shorter stories like this that allow a little leeway in story telling. I thought the idea of telling the story from the POV of an older brother (who may or may not exist) was great. Lines like "But let's calm down / Try to get our story straight" is something I think I might have said a few times. And "Now I'm stuck behind the bars" is the perfect way to end the song. Leaves me with a sad picture of a little boy sitting on his bed grounded. Great story telling.

Pat And Gweebol - The Story Is Mine: Confession Of An Undocumented Immigrant
Man that was a long article...but I won't hold it against you. :p I thought it was a good song, and I liked the peppy tune. After that long read I would have liked it to be more about the individual person. This song was kinda split on it's direction. I liked the fact that you worked "Breaking News" into the song, and overall this should get you into the next round.

The Offhand Band - Program aids food stamp users
Another song that worked the title of the round in...nice. Really liked the piano, and overall the music held my interest. I know you were trying to mimic a newspaper article with the song, and I think you did a fine job in that department. The vocals would at times be distracting. Seems like they were walking a fine line of being ok & off most of the song. For instance in "with discounts on the freshest local produce in town" the first syllable in "produce" was enough make me wince. It's not that bad really, but the rest of the song was so well done that a few spots like that stuck out more for me.

Steve Durand - When Frankie And Johnny Get Married
With the "Frankie And Johnny" title & opening...I expected Frankie to find Johnny cheating with another man & getting shot for it. Thought you nailed the style, cause I felt like I was watching an old musical with lines like "We'll have a gay old time" & "To wed your tootsie wootsie". And as always...nice horns.

Jutze - Re: Your Oil
I didn't really care for the transitions between the 2 styles in this song. The line "All we want is your oil" was memorable, but it might be the only thing I remember about this song in a week. Mostly just because each time I started getting into the song, the transition would throw me right back out.

Ross Durand - The American Way
After the challenge was posted Noah McLaughlin told me, "You realize you just let Ross Durand win this next round, right?" As if to say, "Yeah, this shits easy for me" Ross went out & used multiple articles to rant about many things that don't make sense to him. It's a simple song with 1 man & 1 guitar, but it's the perfect team for this challenge. I didn't find it as memorable as his round 1 song, but Ross ain't going anywhere this round.

Dr. Lindyke - Prayer For Peace
In my round 1 review I mentioned I like upbeat funny songs, but Dave doesn't give a rats ass. He should either, you can't write for 1 judge, and especially not an alternate judge. The song was purdy, but so was Fran Drescher, and I don't want to listen to her either. Stylistically you took most things I avoid & used them in the song. How did you know I hate Hebrew? You'll probably move on to the next round, cause everything I disliked about the song was based on personal preference, and not the quality of what you chose to do.

Jon Eric - North Dakota (I. Five Years, II. Fargo, III. Panic, IV. Rain, V. Dry Land)
You have balls of steel to enter this. We have a piano player who went to Berklee for songwriting & a professional whistler judging. So what does Jon do? He enters a 9 minute song that's piano heavy 9 & includes whistling. BALLS! I admit there was a little dread at the idea of listening to a 9 minute song multiple times to review it...but the song was pretty dang good. The song was much BIGGER than the human interest part of the story that you based it on, and that's fine. I thought the "Rain" part would be BIGGER...I was actually waiting for that part & was disappointed a bit. Wasn't epic enough after waiting so long for it.

Gold Lion - Message For Vivian
Ok, the music was cool & laid back. The main vocal was enjoyable. I didn't care for the 2 vocals together after the instrumental though. You added more content than you did in round 1, so that's great. This feels like an entire song, unlike your first one. Lyrically I see references to the article & everything, but I don't really follow your story telling all that well. You'll find out soon enough that I'm pretty dense at following along if the stories aren't crystal clear. Just ask Denise Hudson....Travis Norris....Spencer Sokol....etc...etc... :p

Wait What - Bunny Please Don't Go
When you submitted your article I was really looking forward to the song. I can't say it lived up to my hopes. Some lines made me laugh, while I was distracted by the autotune during others. I liked the cowbell, but it needs banjo. Whenever the contest ends for you...I REALLY want to hear a produced version of your round 1 song. I just hope this round wasn't your last.

Caleb Hines - Too Soon To Say Goodbye
First off you told the story really well & I enjoyed that. I liked how the verses were broken up into 4 sections & the first 2 built up to the next 2. In the 4th section of the verses I didn't care for the strings. Small gripe maybe, but it annoyed me both times. Sweet entry overall.

Edric Haleen - What About Love?
This blogger does not want this review to be available for Internet distribution. I don't want to chance that Edric's students will read the strong, coarse language that I use about him in this review. A copy of this review will be e-mailed to those I trust upon request. Sorry about the inconvenience. Thank you for understanding.

Inverse T. Clown - Something In The Air
I think everyone added a little fantasy to their stories, what makes this different is that it adds fantasy to fantasy. Lyrically this shows why you're one of my 3 favorite lyrist in SpinTunes (Edric & Ross are the other 2), and I really can't complain about anything else either. I don't know if the music is catchy enough to make me come back often, but I'll come back.

Alexa Polasky - Infidelity
After reading that long article, then listening to the song...I find myself asking did you send the right article? Since it's like 7 pages long, I won't read again to make sure, but I took something different away from it than you did I think. The song itself is ok, it doesn’t jump out at me as something to vote for, but it's not bad. I think it needs a stronger hook, and a song bio...a song bio would be nice for this one.

Governing Dynamics - Cameras, Streetlights, And Things Worth Fighting For
Too busy, couldn't really get into it cause there seemed to be too much going on, and it wasn't coming together for me. Lyrically I thought you did a good job, but the music was fighting the lyrics.

Godz Poodlz - Independence And Freedom For All
Vocals weren't the best I've heard from the Poodlz. When I got to the chorus I felt similar to how I felt with Alexa's song. Did you read the same thing I did? I think you did a great job of telling the story with the verses, but the chorus just seems to be from another song.

Alex Carpenter - The Last Launch
Your tweet about recording this in the bathroom during a sound check is the single coolest #SpinTunes related tweet ever. Unfortunately, even though it's good for a last second bathroom recording, I don't think it's tight enough to pass into round 3. The sudden end, stumbling for lyrics at one point, and rushed production makes for a good start to a song. But I don't think the demo is strong enough yet. Would like to see what you can do with this when you get some free time away from the road & tour. Rock on.

Matt Walton - Take Your Placards Down To London
I'll be honest, I didn't know what that sound was until about 1 minute into the song. I'm not a big fan of bagpipes, but that was more annoying than usual since I couldn't even tell what it was for a 3rd of the song. You did a fine job of telling the story in the article, and the vocals were pleasant. Overall it just felt too empty, and the bagpipes....ugh...

Happi - Double The Fetish
"My song is pretty terrible as I wrote it the night before recording (there was no inspiration anywhere to be found)..." As you did at the end of the song, it's probably not a good idea to GIVE people reasons to not vote for you or knock you down. Your topic was gross & strange, but had potential to be a funny song. I'm not usually a fan of cursing for cursing sake, and lines like "just fuck off and die" just didn't seem to NEED to be there. Matter a fact that whole section is pretty weak. As for the verses, there were some I thought were good, and some that seemed to have no effort put into them. There were good moments, but it wasn't nearly as enjoyable as the round one song you put up.


Glen Raphael - Billion Metal Dollars (Shadow)
You did this with your i-Pad? Very nice. I wouldn't have thought a song about this topic would have held my interest, but it did. You just reminded me of Ross Durand, and that's good company to keep. My favorite shadow of the round, and if it was a regular entry, it probably would have got a vote from me.

Doom SKITTLE featuring Luke Brekke, Esquire - Going Undercover (Shadow)
The Onion? Really? Ah, you're a shadow, what the hell. Might as well have fun with it right? The lyrics seem awkward & rushed in places as well. The course doesn't really leave a lasting impression, and since the vocals get mostly lost in the mix, not much has a chance to leave an impression. The guitar picking was probably the highlight of the song. Your review just ended, the following is Edric's review that I'm hiding inside of yours just to be a prick.

This is tough. Lyrically it's great, and the flow is better than any other rap track this round. The LOVE section fits in perfect. What I didn't really care for was the performance. It's not that I would expect a 'funny' rap from Edric, but this sounds like he's pretending to be someone else & not Edric. I'm not buying into the performance, and maybe it's cause Edric didn't find a way to be Edric within "rap". This probably doesn't make since, and it sounds like I dislike the song, but I did like it. It's not something I'll listen to in the car with the windows down...but it'll get played on my MP3 player with the headphones on...even if it's just to hear Edric say naughty words.

Noah McLaughlin - Fear Drive (Shadow)
I liked how you tacked each POV in the article, and lyrically I had no problems with it. And I liked the last two lines of the song. What I didn't like was the guitars, and some parts of the song it was hard for me to make out the lyrics by hear. Great ideas...only ok execution.

Menage’ a Tune - The Furries Are Heading Back To Pittsburgh (Shadow)
You're about 15 seconds short of the requirement...but it's a shadow...I can let that go. The piano & singing just seem awkward the whole way through...not going together. Lyrically it does it's job, and telling about the Furries coming to Pittsburgh, but the most entertaining part was a part you borrowed from a musical. I'm sure the organizers of this event would be happy with it, but it's a REALLY narrow audience that you're shooting at right now.

Young Stroke aka Young Muscle - One Dollar Robber (Shadow)
Best opening of the round. But from there on out my review is similar to Happi's. Few lines were fun, but most of them just didn't seem that creative or flow well.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


An Unfair And One-Sided Review
by Sammy Kablam

SpinTunes #3 Round 2

Alright! Spintunes 3, Round 2 is up! And, unfortunate as it may be, I've not yet contracted AIDS via sex or drug use with contaminated sources; I'm sure many of you are disappointed. But, the show must go on, and indeed it does, with the four of this rounds five shadow entries!

Glen Raphael - Billion Metal Dollars
This is unnecessarily deep. I am completely at a loss. How is it you can write such an incredible song for a shadow, but miss the mark so impressively in round 1? Really, this frustrates me, because I would have voted for this to move you into round 3. There is something wrong in the universe when this song is a shadow and Happi's offering is an official entry.

Doom Skittle w/Luke Brekke - Going Undercover
Well, it's better than "Cannibal" and whatever the fuck doom Skittle's first entry was called. But the vocals are difficult to make out, both due to volume and confidence, and the last chorus just feels like padding. If the choruses weren't so long, or had different lyrics thrown in to keep them fresh, it'd be different. But it doesn't. So it sucks.

Noah McLaughlin - Fear Drive
All I hear is a bunch of guitar noise trying to drown out a Commander Cody impression. The instrumentation doesn't sound in tune with itself, or even orchestrated. And the vocals seem to be in their own little pocket dimension, unaware that the music exists.

Menage' a Tune - The Furries Are Heading Back to Pittsburgh
It would be awesome if the vocals and the piano would line up. It's like neither part knows if the other is leading. I'd comment on something else, but...there basically is nothing else.

Not exactly bursting with excitement, the shadow section is now complete, and we move on to the main event!

The Offhand Band - Program Aids Food Stamp Users
I hate reading articles, especially in newspapers, because of things where they quote someone's words, and then end it with something like "Johnson said". It's completely unnatural and looks unprofessional and ill thought out. But the fact that you employed that one otherwise annoying tactic, really worked in your favor. The feeling of the song BEING a news article was there by that element, alone. But this seriously sounds like elevator music. For all the effort put into it, it's still incredibly boring and simply doesn't keep my interest at all.

Gold Lion - Message For Vivian
This thing really picks up at the first chorus, in a great way. And then it falls completely fucking dead with that magnificently empty solo/breakdown. And that only leads to a repeat of the chorus, causing my faith in the song to stagger, and then the next verse is musically the same as the first, with nothing addition to attempt reviving the energy. It's a grand improvement over round one, but the catchiness of the chorus leaves me wishing the whole thing was more engaging than staring at the sun.

Edric Haleen - What About Love?
Once again, Edric braves the possibility of intentional misinterpretation and takes a bold stance with his entry. Though I do appreciate the song's message and the ferocity with which it comes, I really hate the fact that it sounds similar to "Lose Yourself" because Eminem is so overrated, I'm surprised he hasn't burts from years of having smoke pumped into his colon. Because of this, I can enjoy the sentiment, but not so much the song. (Still, it ranks above that Isaac douchebag.)

Jutze - Re: Your Oil
I am outright positive that a bunch of people will be calling this "hilarious", because when it comes to Jutze, people always do. And I almost never get why. I also don't get the jarring gear grind into the lyrically redundant refrains. I can understand a fake-out from the intro to the first verse, or a change-up for a bridge. But the verses are musically powerful, and the total kill switch into the refrain just confuses me. This song is practically begging me to look at it's by-design inconsistency, and just not care from the very first chorus. Well, I can oblige, song: I will gladly not care about you.

Dr. Lindyke - Prayer For Peace
I have a knee jerk reaction to Israel, because everything I hear about it only serves to piss me off. Couple the fact that I don't give a fuck about Israel with the fact that this song is slow and soft -- almost a lullaby-style lament -- and I'm just annoyed and bored.

Governing Dynamics - Cameras, Streetlights, And Things Worth Fighting For
First of all, the title ends on a preposition. Tisk, tisk. Secondly, the first chord alerts everyone this is a Governing Dynamics song. And whereas that's not inherently a bad thing, this time around, it's not great, either. What I said about The Pood in round one, I say now about Governing Dynamics: I ordered a Coke, and you gave me Diet Mt. Dew. Yes, I can drink it, but I expected something better.

Pat and Gweebol - The Story Is Mine: Confession Of An Undocumented Immigrant
There's arguably not too much to this one, given the leng and repetition of the chorus compared to the verses. However, I'd say it's clearly the most upbeat of all the entries, and thus one of the most enjoyable. WHY WON'T YOU LET ME INSULT YOU?!

Alexa Polasky - Infidelity
Fourteen seconds of nothing is great way to start things off. Anyway... Once again, your lyrics completely blow my mind and defy the nature of realistic conversation. In stanza one, you flat out say "I haven't loved you for years," and in stanza two, you tell this person to stay calm, and then say "Once I explain, you'll see exactly what I mean". Well, maybe I'm just a wiz with puzzles, but I'm pretty sure he got the message. You even call him "dear". My god, this is the second patronizing song you've given us. You then go on to tell this person they're a dope for not being hip to the common knowledge that marriage vows don't mean anything, and that this lover should have expected this behavior -- since day one, apparently.

And don't try to tell me the concept of the song is sarcasm or cynicism. The thing starts with the singer saying she tried to maintain her love for this person and didn't have it in her. that's an attempt at humanizing the character and garnering sympathy. Which indicates the singer truly believes that everyone on earth is a slut with no respect for keeping your word -- the only alternative being the singer is using that theory to justify her actions, and to make herself believe she is perfectly defensible for her adultery. Neither of which are endearing angles.

And it sounds like a uke, so fuck it, anyway.

Matt Walton - Take Your Placards Down To London
I can appreciate what you were going for, here. But the refrains that seem like they should sound built up have nothing but background vocals. And those vocals sound about as enthusiastic as Gregorian chants. It's just...not interesting.

Godz Poodlz - Independence And Freedom for All
I really don't think the heavy distortion was the right idea. But I found this way more enjoyable than your round 1, so I've not got much more to say.

Chris Cogott - Welcome To Kabul
Guess what. Chris wins.

Inverse T. Clown - Something In The Air
Yes, we're all well aware that you can do a half-assed Nine Inch Nails impersonation. We've heard you do it, and we've heard you do it better. Next time you write a new song, maybe try a new approach to go with it. Oh, and that bridge solo -- and "solo" is a generous term -- was really basic and weak. Overall, I'd say stop trying to lazily emulate professionals, and either put real effort into developing your own style, or just give up completely.

Caleb Hines - Too Soon To Say Goodbye
I'm fairly certain this is the most complex orchestration I've heard from Caleb. And I know he says his lyrics always need work, but this time, I'd say they're about perfect. Way to kill my momentum, Caleb.

Matt and Donna - A Tight Spot
I can't really say this is BAD, but it's definitely a step down from Round 1.

Wait What - Bunny Please Don't Go
As many people were telling me about The Offhand Band sounding like The Beatles in round 1, just as many people have pointed out how very "Thriller" this song is. The difference is that this time, I'm completely familiar with the song getting the blatant rip-off treatment, meaning I can make fun of it. Like, I can point out that even your lyric pattern in the verses matches the lyric pattern of the Jackson hit.

However, getting past the glaring rip, your lyrics are juvenile in the worst sense; not that they're a comical juxtaposition of adult themes with ironic middle-school perspective, but that there IS no juxtaposition. It's just trying so VERY hard to be cute and witty, and half the shit doesn't make any fucking sense. It especially kills me that this story is actually excellent source material for a song, and you managed to suck the life out of it like an entertainment vampire. The "Twilight" kind.

Ross Durand - The American Way
This is a very well done examination of certain ludicrous hypocrisies in our country's "morals". It also manages to be entertaining and amusing while making a legitimate point, instead of getting overly political and bashing the listener over the head with an agenda. It's a simple request for reason, and I very much appreciate that.

Steve Durand - When Frankie And Johnny Get Married
This is a wonderful homage to so many things. I'm only 3rd generation American on my dad's side, and the Polish in my upbringing appreciates this immensely. There is absolutely no insult joke I can muster for this entry.

Happi - Double The Fetish
As the question was presented to me a day or so after the Listening Party, I nearly YouTube'd the phrase "Australian Rap", to see if it's a real thing. But I stopped myself, because if I found out that real rap exists there, I'll be pretty damn irritated that this was the first example of it to reach me.

I guess the argument can be made that, yes, this is obviously a "real" rap song, because he used the phrase "fuck off and die" ad nauseum, and that's about as rap as it gets. That is to say, abrasive and immature. But even I'm not that cynical. Besides, even ignoring that horrendous overuse of ineffective vulgarity, the refrain is so bad, I nearly ground my teeth to the gum. I especially love the line "These peepin' toms, they don't belong," almost as if there are people one might genuinely EXPECT to find jerking off in a tank of human waste -- just not this PARTICULAR guy.

I will say, though, you certainly chose the perfect topic for your style.

Charlie McCarron - The Mountains Will Not Yield
This isn't my cup of tea, that's for certain. But that's not a strike against it, by any stretch. It's oddly pretty, for a song about meeting one's icy doom, and the ending feels like a real climax without going overboard. Well done, I suppose.

Alex Carpenter - The Last Launch
While I find the line "If we endeavor to continue our discovery" to be notably brilliant, I'm just not pulled into the song on the whole. The music sounds a little samey, and that may be due to the sudden difference from the full-band sound of your Round 1 entry and this being just you and your guitar. At any rate, the song's not bad; it just doesn't grab me.

As the readers may have noticed, I skipped over both a shadow and an official entry, as the rest of these are in the order of the album on Bandcamp. That is because I wanted to give these two offerings some special attention. Had this been a video review, they would each get their own special edition videos; as I was, unfortunately, unable to produce this just yet, they'll have to settle for extended bits here. So, as tradition dictates, let's hit the Shadow first:

Young Muscle Stroker - One Doller Robber
O.k., so last round, instead of doing this, I tried to convince myself that you and your song were a brilliant in-joke. However, you've submitted a shadow entry, seemingly in an effort to dash my fragile dreams that you weren't fucking serious. So, since you apparently ARE serious, but refuse to ACT like it, let's put a few things in perspective.

You are about as "hardcore rap" as Shania Twain is "southern rock". The biggest difference being Shania, at the arguable least, understood what makes her chosen genre work. For example, she knew how to sound country. You sound like Kermit the Frog, without the cool, trying to parody Snoop Dogg. It's completely contradictory to the concept of being taken seriously. How is it conducive to being a successful, respected rapper to sound like a redneck caricature? If you were pulling a gimmick, like Larry the Cable Guy, then I'd understand -- and it might even work. (Enough morons made Larry a millionaire, I'm sure you'd find fans in a similar route.) But, if you're not going the funny road -- which you've yet to indicate you are -- your current voice is simply a gigantic hindrance and rips away any believability from your product.

Now let's talk about the song, itself. You start with a news break, which isn't a bad idea. Nobody else did it, but that doesn't mean anything except that you were the only guy who found a way to make it work. So good job, there. But there's a specific sound during the intro. And the regular beat kicks in at the start of the first verse. But then, when the second verse starts, it's not the verse beat. It's a return of the intro sounds. Why? There's no call for it. It comes across like the music looped, and you just didn't bother to adjust it and cut out the incorrect beat. That means it sounds lazy and incompetent, because either you somehow weren't aware that the intro music showed up in verse two (even though verse two has, obviously, no intro or need for said music), or you just couldn't be bothered to fix it. I'm less likely to believe you (or anyone at all) would be too lazy to fix any known problems with a shadow; shadows are more work than someone needs to do, because they're no longer in the contest, so why write the out-of-contest song at all, if it doesn't meet your standards?

Next, your rap has giant gaps of quietude where you couldn't manage to utilize real rhythm with your lyrics and settled for pathetic (and hopefully embarrassing) results. Moments like "so here...read this note" have thundering silences. Why is there a void in those lyrics? Why was it so hard for a rapper to mold the English language to fill the silence there? And before that, your second fucking line is a mess. "Call Rihanna so she can put me under her umbrella" is almost completely garbled in the first half, and then that's followed by another line with a horribly awkward silent gap in the middle. Basically, a third of your lines are rushed to fit in too many syllables, and a third of your lines have too few syllables, resulting in confusing bits of nothing in the middle of your thought. You're the single clumsiest lyricist I think I've ever heard. Granted, I may have heard worse, but you're a rapper, which means 80% of the focus of every single song you put out will be the lyrics and the delivery thereof. And with your rhymes which, more often than not, are incredibly lazy (consider that total crap "job/sob" rhyme last round) and your complete misunderstanding -- or at least unabashed misuse -- of rhythm, you beat out Happi as the worst rapper I've ever had the torment of sitting thru. And I've heard half of a Dave Leigh rap.

So, to bring us up to speed, your voice is unfit for the genre, you don't seem to have a mastery of your own loop editing, your rhymes are generally lazy, and your lyrics are laid out as smoothly as the surface of Uranus. (Editor's note: The surface of Uranus is covered in jagged spires and cavernous declivities.) I now have one last element about your apparent "style", and that is that you make no fucking sense at all. As evidence, I point to your incredibly stupid refrain:

bank teller - gimme one dollar
can't afford healthcare no thanks to obama
bank teller - gimme one dollar
i'm a wait for the cops don't want no drama

Well, what the fuck does that mean? I understand that the guy demanded a dollar. But "can't afford healthcare no thanks to obama"? Naturally, I assume this is supposed to be a shot at our current President. It's not -- but I'm assuming it's supposed to be. See, usually when people say "No thanks to him," they're annoyed that the indicated party refused to assist in whatever task was just completed. For example:

Travis: "Were you able to get that Negative Reinforcement review done without beating your skull in with a 30 pound thesaurus?"

Sammy: "In fact, I was -- no thanks to Strokes Muscly Young'ns."

See? It implies that what I desire was achieved, even though you tried to prevent it. With that in mind, the line says he CAN'T afford healthcare. Do you see, now, why this line is completely fucking retarded? It suggests that this man was TRYING to not afford healthcare, and that President Obama tried to MAKE him afford. Now, whereas it's true that the President's goal, early on, was to make healthcare reasonably affordable for everyone in the country, and also true that a lot of people were against that for reasons that never quite made sense, it is NOT accurate to believe that there were people actively trying to NOT afford healthcare. Especially people who WANT healthcare. I dare say, most people who want healthcare would rather LIKE to afford it SO THEY CAN GET IT.

Maybe if you'd gone something more like, "Can't afford healthcare, so I out-planned Obama," then at least your anti-Obama statement would be followable. But even if you had made the refrain make sense, most of your second verse is complete nonsense.

see my bearded mug - on gaston county lockup
robbed the bank for a dollar - do i rock or what
i kick a lot of but - in jail seein' doctors
one dollar robber - "what a shocker"

...what? Why does it rock that he robbed the bank? You're advocating robbery? Or you're saying it's cool that he had to resort to a desperate act to sustain his very life? What's so upbeat about this situation? And he kicks a lot of butt?? What the fuck does that even reference?? In fact, what in that STANZA makes any sense? From line to line, where is there any fucking cohesion??

in this test i'm the proctor in this class i'm a teacher
in this platoon i'm a sargeant in this church i'm a preacher
in this torrent i'm a seeder not a leecher
in this football game i'm on the field you're in the bleachers

Is this supposed to be gloating? He sees himself as some sort of paragon now? This man of desperation is now a braggard because he's both broke AND in prison? Excellent focal point. TOTALLY sends the right message. And, as if you couldn't miss the point of the topic any more, you pull one the single most tasteless things I've seen:

i'm brave enough to rob a bank for a buck
more bang for the buck in my hangy down nuts

I'm actually glad this is a written review, because I'm not sure the last few remnants of purity in my soul could survive saying that acidic bullshit out loud. That basically sums up the general incompetence and lack of art in your productions. This is a pit of musical sorrow that utterly urinates on a man's collapsing life by turning it into a selfish and ignorant political vehicle that can't even make the author's own vapid point, and brushing the reality of the story aside to make room for mention of testicles. Well fucking done.

Jon Eric - North Dakota
Just so Mr. Eric's not too concerned after reading the previous rant, his entry was not kept for an extended look due to being a monumental inferno of cosmic diarrhea. His entry is a 9-minute work, in 5 sections, so I concluded it only right to give each section it's own going-over. With that, we begin:

I. Five Years

The rhymes in this are incredibly sharp. For as much power as you're putting into your vocals, I really wish there were harmonies in place.

II. Fargo

The very brief refrain is pretty effective here. It's a catchy little hook, and it also leads into the third section very well. I also really like the background vocals. They help out the atmosphere quite a bit.

III. Panic

Here's the issue I have with this section: It's performed well, both musically and vocally, and the lyrics are just fine. But the lyrics and the music don't seem to be a team. The idea of panicking about another flood situation is entirely plausible and sympathetic. But the music feels more like the singer would be in shock, trying to absorb the fact that he's in the nightmare a second time. It just doesn't feel, musically, like the guy is panicking. Especially with that little breakdown session -- a spot that actually makes it feel more like realization settling in thru a state of shock.

IV. Rain

In Song Fu 6, there was a challenge to write a song about rain. In the songs, somewhere, there had to be a musical representation of rainfall. Here, I think you did a better job at that than many of those entrants; it genuinely feels like it's raining during this section.

V. Dry Land

This ending is amazingly bittersweet. Even with the protagonist being rescued from his immediate plight (which is something the listener wants, at this point), the greater problem is still at hand. It's a bit of an emotional whiplash, but in a positive way.

Overall, I'm certain this is the best thing I've ever heard from you, and not just because of the length. In fact, I'm sure the length will turn a fair bit of listeners away. But fuck them. For all the times I've told you "It's not bad, but it's still not great," there can no longer be any argument that you haven't made impressive works, this being Exhibit A. On the downside, of course, if you produce anything lesser in the future, I'm going to bitch that it's not this good. You've been warned.

Well! That's Round 2 of SpinTunes 3, thoroughly put in its place. Hopefully, everybody understands, by now, that my opinion is the only one around here with any weight or merit. Once we get that in our heads, we'll see some real improvements -- maybe by Round 3! Until then, though, I've got to run out and see if I can find some AIDS.

See you next round!

S. Kablam.

(Normally people seem to put the disclaimers at the bottom, but this should probably go up top...and in bold. Sammy's reviews do not reflect that of Spintown's, and have no influence over the contest whatsoever. The over the top reviews in Sammy's "NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT" series aren't meant to be 'constructive', and you should read the sub title. If you think he's picking on you...just read the reviews he wrote for the others...he can be an equal opportunity ass. - Spin)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Song Fight Review: Under Over

The last challenge over at Song Fight was titled "Isle Dauphine", and my favorite entry was from Thanks for the frisbee. They managed to take 2nd place, and Manhattan Glutton got the win. I was pretty close to being right, cause I had Manhattan Glutton ranked 2nd. A new batch of songs can be found over at Song Fight, so I suggest you go pick your favorite songs for the current round. My picks are listed below:

Voted For:
(Right Click "Save As" on the artist's name for a MP3 of their entry.)

Ross Durand - I don't think you worked the title into the song enough. :p Honestly loved the word play & the harmonica was perfect. Wait...that line sounded familiar...

BLT feat. Paco and DJ Ranger Den - This is a partnership I could get behind from the sound of it. Enjoyed the music, as usual with Billy. Enjoyed the singing, as usual with Denise. It was fun to hear Denise sing to this style of music, and I could get used to it, cause it was awesome. My suggestion would be to put Paco in charge of the lyrics though. I was able to follow along better than usual to Denise's writing, but some parts lines left me scratching my head still. BTW, nice work with the lead guitar Paco.

Paco del Stinko - I enjoyed the story a lot, and have known a few friends like that. Felt that the chorus was the weakest part of the song, but overall one of my favorites of the fight.

Tindersoot - Why did I have to play the sleepy song last? (doing these on lack of sleep) Sounded purdy, and I liked the vocals. Lyrically I was in & out...but I think mostly from just being tired. Saving this song, and will listen again on the weekend. So my review is basically..."I'll listen again later." Yeah...lame...but I've always said my reviews suck, even when I do have sleep. I'll vote for you, but only because it saved Mr. Sandman a stop by my place. ZZZZzzzzZZZZzzzz

Steve Durand - Even though I enjoyed the lyrics, I was about to tune out of the song. It took about a minute for the horns to come in, and they pretty much saved this. The music wasn't bad, it was just putting me to sleep at the start. Don't know if it was the music or that I listened while already being very tired...or both.

(Head over to Song Fight to listen to these songs.)

EggNogAdam - The solo guitar at the end bored the heck out of me...not a strong finish. Overall, I liked it a lot for a demo. Needs fleshed out more musically, but the story (though depressing) was ok. The vocal performance was the highlight for me.

Billy's Generic Trip - Music was fun, but the verses were so repetitive that the song felt like it was made up of 4 different choruses. Took many hooks, not enough pirates.

noah mclaughlin - I have a hard time making out all the lyrics, but even the lyrics forum doesn't help me 'get' this song. Music was clean & held my interest.

Flvxxvm Florvm - Enjoyed the lyrics, but the chorus sounded more like a blunt object than a hook. Instead of pulling me in, it pushed me away. The vocals, while not great, were ok. In the chorus they get a bit lost in the mix. The solo at the end wasn't bad, but it felt tacked on...not like it needed to be there.

Hey it's Romer - Couldn't understand most of the lyrics...and in rap (or anything else really)...that's not good.

lalabrookie - I thought the song was about 1 thing most of the way through, only to find out it was something different at the end. Wasn't a fun little twist for me, just odd.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Song Fight Review: Isle Dauphine

The last challenge over at Song Fight that I reviewed was titled "Bag Of Bones", and my favorite entry was from Young Stroke aka Young Muscle. Apparently hardly anyone agreed with me, cause Young Stroke got beat down by Jonathan Mann and Young Nick Krill who took the victory.

I'm a little behind with my Song Fight reviews, so expect another review in the near future. SpinTunes has been distracting me, but I plan on getting caught up with Song Fight.

Would Have Voted For: (had I not been distracted with SpinTunes & MineCraft)
(Right Click "Save As" on the artist's name for a MP3 of their entry.)

Thanks for the frisbee - The only thing I didn't like about this was the sweat & pheromone lines. Clean recording, good performance, fun light song...with 2 odd lines.

Manhattan Glutton - I can forgive you for not being a golf fan, cause this was the most rockin' infomercial/travel ad I've heard.

King Arthur - I can usually tell when a King Arthur song is starting, but until I heard your voice...I had no clue with this one. Not sure if I like the ?synth?, but as usual the story & performance won me over. I think I got used to the synth more than I liked it.

Daring Front - 80's feel...good thing. Enjoyed the vocals & this just felt groovy. Please use the lyric forum. Even though your lyrics were very clear, I tend to just groove to songs like this & often don't pay attention to the words if the lyrics aren't in front of me.

Abjure! - I have mixed feelings about this one. It goes meta really briefly at the start, and turns out to be a funny song about loving a mermaid. It was enjoyable, but I just heard a song about falling in love with a mermaid by Chris Cogott. I felt his, even though this was entertaining, trumped yours. Judge for yourself: Chris Cogott - Drag Me Down.

(Head over to Song Fight to listen to these songs.)

Bad Boys at Bat Mitzvahs - I loved the guitar in this, and the performance was pretty good. A couple parts would benefit from some cleaning up, but overall it was pretty clear. "We'd move back to Richmond" is the line I had the most trouble picking up by ear. The lyrics are a bit to vague for me, but good entry.

Baker and LSares - The autotune got old quick. I think I heard a Marty McFly reference...that was cool...but didn't really care for much else.

Billy's Little Stinko - If I hadn't heard 7 or 8 other songs with a similar story in the past month, I might have voted for it. Kinda made me want to play Twisted Metal.

Hey it's Romer - It's bad enough you ruined a song for the contest, don't try to ruin a classic movie for me as well.

The Uncomfortable Project - I enjoyed this story a lot, and think the song has a lot of promise. Unfortunately it needs something to mix it up musically, cause it bored the shit out of me. The vocals even seemed to get more bored as the song went along. The short instrumental at the end didn't sound good at all.

WreckdoM - The chorus was more annoying than catchy. Needs work, but the verses were entertaining, and it reminds me of a cheesy YouTube music video. Hell, add another verse & make a video. Become the next Denny Blaze.