Ask Robin - I Miss Your Love Like Crazy NSAI Eval

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Ask Robin - I Miss Your Love Like Crazy NSAI Eval

Post by mikemichnya » Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:25 pm

Ok, Eryn Michel asked if I could post the NSAI review I got for this song, Before I do, I used the 'Ghost Song' technique (shortcut #34 in Robin Frederick's book, Shortcuts to HIT Songwriting', and picked a hit song (charted at #72) by a contemporary country/pop star. (See if you can figure out the song and the artist.)

Here's the link to the song, the lyrics, my questions for NSAI and the review:

https://soundcloud.com/mamichnya-1/i-mi ... like-crazy

I MISS YOUR LOVE LIKE CRAZY
Words and music by Michael A. Michnya

She’s so beautiful, it’s indisputable
She could be a super model
Bold as an Amazon, even my choosy mom
Says that I’m lucky to have her
She never nags, she gives me space
For fishin' trips and poker games
Watches football just to please me
I've got it good, she makes it easy

But I miss fightin’ with you 'n' makin’ up
Lovin' you tender, hating your guts
I guess I didn't get enough
I Miss Your Love like Crazy
Never thought I would survive
Your emotional roller coaster ride
You made me come alive
I Miss Your Love like Crazy

She is sensitive but never tentative
She does exactly the right thing
She can charm my boss, she's never at a loss
For words says what she wants to say
Martha Stewart refined tasteful
Princess Diana graceful
She's as nasty as I want her
But all I feel is comfortably number

But I miss fightin’ with you 'n' makin’ up
Lovin' you tender, hating your guts
I guess I didn't get enough
I Miss Your Love like Crazy
Never thought I would survive
Your emotional roller coaster ride
You made me come alive
I Miss Your Love like Crazy

She can’t see that I don’t feel
Any passion for her at all
You were narcotic, exotic, made my psychotic
I don’t know how I dropped the ball

Cause I miss fightin’ with you 'n' makin’ up
Lovin' you tender, hating your guts
I guess I didn't get enough
I Miss Your Love like Crazy
Never thought I would survive
Your emotional roller coaster ride
You made me come alive
I Miss Your Love like Crazy

Always made me feel alive
I Miss Your Love like Crazy
I guess I didn't get enough
I Miss Your Love like Crazy

© Michael A. Michnya, Amor Songs, ASCAP

The specific questions I asked NSAI to address (I didn't ask Robin these, but feel free to respond to them if you're so inclined):

I used a template for this song (based it on a current hit for structure, rhyme scheme, length, etc.) and changed the melody. My questions:
1. What are the strongest elements/lines?
2. How strong is the hook, and do the verse lyrics set it up effectively?
3. How well does the melody match the lyrics?
4. Is melody (especially the hook and chorus) fresh and interesting enough? (I'm especially concerned about the chorus melody; any specific suggestion would be welcome.)
5. Aside from the obvious need for a better singer/vocal performance, how does the overall production sound? What would you suggest to improve the mix? 6. What suggestions for instrumentation or arrangement would strengthen the song?
7. Does the style remind you of any specific artists?
8. Any other genre that this idea would work for? 9. What other changes would you suggest to make it a great song?
Reason I am getting this song evaluated:
I want this to be a commercial song.

The NSAI Review:

Hello, its Evaluator # 37446 and thank you for having NSAI and myself be a small part of your writing and career. Please understand that what I am about to lay out are merely suggestions to help improve your writing and make your song and your future songs as strong as they can possibly be to compete in todays competitive market. Lets get started!!
FORM/STRUCTURE: Id cut your intro in half. No need for a :20 intro. Otherwise you are in good shape with regards to overall structure. You might want to rethink the rhyme pattern in the verses. The way you have your verses put together, Line 4 needs to rhyme with Line 2. While MODEL and HAVE HER is a far stretch, SAY and THING don't rhyme at all. Id rethink those.
TITLE/HOOK: The title is average as far as titles go but its prominently displayed in the song which is nice to see.
LYRIC: The biggest problem here is point of view. The verses are talking ABOUT her while the CHORUS is talking TO her. That doesn't make sense. Makes it seem like your talking about two different girls. You cant sing ABOUT her and TO her at the same time. Either make it 3rd person all the way through OR 1st person all the way through. Lastly it feels like your writing two different songs altogether. The verses are right in the moment while the chorus says its over. If YOU MISS HER LOVE then the verses would have to be set in the past. SHE WAS so beautiful etc etc. Those are your biggest problems here.
MELODY/METER: What would make your melody stronger would be to change up the phrasing in the chorus. The phrasing is very similar to your verse phrasing. Try holding out some notes to really make your chorus stand out. Always make your chorus the star of the show!!
OVERALL THEME/IDEA: I think the idea needs further developing.
CLOSING COMMENTS: Now to address your comments. Our evaluation service evaluates the song based on the lyric and melody and overall vibe of the song. Thats what makes up a song. Production, instrumentation etc is not what we evaluate here nor do we make suggestions on pitches. I hope you find this helpful and I wish you the best with your writing.

So, the one thing I agree with is that my intro is too long. I did 8 bars; 4 would be sufficient. The NSAI reviewer and Robin both missed that the song IS about two different girls: the nice girl that the singer is with NOW, and the Lettie Dobesh type that the singer still loves but lost. Sigh.
Best regards,

Michael (Amoriello) Michnya

Like Robbie Robertson sang, "take what you need and leave the rest."

https://soundcloud.com/mamichnya-1
http://www.taxi.com/mikeamoriello

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Re: Ask Robin - I Miss Your Love Like Crazy NSAI Eval

Post by erynmichel » Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:42 am

Wow Mike I absolutely never would have guessed that reference by listening to it on TAXI TV yesterday! (Well, maybe from the chord progression on, "I miss your love like crazy," but I would probably just think it's a coincidence) For some reason seeing it in lyric form, it didn't take long to see the same pattern. You really put your own melodic twist on this! Wow, what a technique!

I've also had reviewer 37446 twice! I think they are a more country pop person just based on some of the language used in my reviews. Such is the market reality right now.

I'm a little stunned that the reviewer thought you were talking about the same person here (but they do so many of these per day). I listened to the reference track to see if the artist you were referencing did anything different to make that apparent that you're talking about one she while talking to another she. Other than some really dramatic instrumental breaks and changes between verse and chorus (which is of course purposeful to underscore the difference between her new and old loves), I couldn't pick out much that was structurally different in the lyrics. So why did hers chart and yours confuse the reviewer? I have some take or leave suggestions.

Lyrically, maybe the only thing you could do differently from the reference track would be to have a sentence clearly stating in the same section or a prechorus, "She's great, but I miss you" (obviously not that terribly, but in your own Michael way). Right now the reference track does that across sections, and I think you followed the same pattern here. Even in the reference track's version, it's kind of weak to break up ideas between sections like that. Her fan base let her get away with that since they already knew her. Actually WHOA... that's the reason! Her fan base let her get away with something that other artists couldn't, because the reference song was released at a time in her career when everything she did charted in the teens at least, and the two previous songs released before this one went to top 10. The reference track peaked at #72, as you said, and it spent just one week on the chart. Maybe the chart number isn't as important as the number of weeks spent on the chart. But now I'm starting to sound like this:

Image

I just really love dissecting this stuff... my point is that as songwriters, we have to be THAT much tighter on our technique to get our song cut over the artist's friend, producer, mom's boyfriend, and the artist themselves.

Something just occurred to me in using this method (though I admit I haven't read Robin's book yet): you used the ghost song method but kept the subject material the same. Is that part of the method? I have to ask (and I'm not actually asking--I'm just saying that as the listener I'm asking this question)... Have you ever been in this situation before? The one that you and the reference track are talking about? Because I fully believe your verses--I really believe that's a person you know and love. But that belief breaks down in the chorus for me (especially as one who has been in a "perfect" relationship yet pined for another). Think about it from your target listener's perspective: She's driving along thinking about that perfect little stepford wife that her ex is with now, seething, and she hears this song--what she wants is to feel missed back. Then she buys your track and plays it on repeat while drinking too much red wine, facebook stalking her ex. That's your audience.

Another good a la that demonstrates this type of voice (talking about her and to a different her, saying I miss you) is John Mayer's Comfortable:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BroiKmNGbfI

Though it's a totally different genre, it has a similar subject matter to study.

Other tweaks I'd make, were it my song:
-Slow this down to mid-tempo (maybe 118) from its current 190 (and even the reference track's 161)
-In the slowing down, there's a way to still tweak the cadence of the verses to keep the energy up. This would lend itself to a more nostalgic tone. Don't get me wrong, I love when there's a creatively done dissonance between tone and message of a song, but those are rare songs.
-Final chorus line: for more build, I'd do "I miss your love, I miss your love like crazy" (hold out on crazy)

FWIW there are lyrics that I don't think would fly on country radio:
'Bold as an Amazon"
"hating your guts" (I think there's got to be a non-cliche, more elegant way to say this)
"She's as nasty as I want her"
"I don’t know how I dropped the ball" without any imagery attached to it. You could rework the cliche for sure.

I think those are all easier than you're capable of as a lyricist. What's a way that you can rephrase those in a way that makes the listener believe you're talking about missing her (the listener)? Those are certainly the questions an artist will be asking in the back of their mind when they consider whether to cut any song.

Phew, alright, time to go do some work of my own, but I hope that helps a little Mike. Thanks for the quick follow up on posting this song--I was itching to hear what Robin was talking about. Keep it up Mike!!
My Music: www.erynmichel.com/music
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Re: Ask Robin - I Miss Your Love Like Crazy NSAI Eval

Post by annayarbrough » Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:36 pm

I got that you were talking about two different women, but it kind of jolted me—had to check and make sure that was really what I was reading. If you've only got one chance with a first listen, you're going to want to make that pretty clear. Some kind of pick up line like "but she's not you" (or similar sentiment) before the chorus would help—then you could just cut the "but" at the chorus. Cool concept though!

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Re: Ask Robin - I Miss Your Love Like Crazy NSAI Eval

Post by mikemichnya » Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:57 pm

Eryn, I'm impressed that you figured it out so quickly.
You really put your own melodic twist on this!
Thank you! (now if I were only a stronger melody writer! I'm working on that, but I tend to write in my own very limited range.)
Wow, what a technique!
It's a GREAT technique. I use it a lot, and so far, no one has ever figured out that I used it, or the song I used unless I tell them. Sometimes I take the same idea from a different perspective, sometimes I take the original idea and just rewrite it with different lyrics/melody. Sometimes I use the structure for a completely different idea. Sometimes I change the structure, sometimes I match it exactly. Here's another example: https://soundcloud.com/mamichnya-1/sweet-american-girl

I used to work for a Family Service Association agency, and one year their marketing campaign was 'Touch a Life.' I used the Steve Seskin/Allen Shamblin song, "Wrong" as a template and co-wrote a song for the campaign ("You Touch My Life") with my friend, Don Ellsworth. Shortly after, NSAI Princeton hosted Steve for a workshop, which I attended. I met with him after for a song-critique hour, played the song for him, and HE didn't figure it out.
Think about it from your target listener's perspective: She's driving along thinking about that perfect little stepford wife that her ex is with now, seething, and she hears this song--what she wants is to feel missed back. Then she buys your track and plays it on repeat while drinking too much red wine, facebook stalking her ex. That's your audience... what makes the listener believe you're talking about missing her (the listener)? Those are certainly the questions an artist will be asking in the back of their mind when they consider whether to cut any song.
I totally agree!

I'm surprised you counted it at 190 BPM; my counter has it at @ 100, so it's already mid-tempo (one big change from the original). I'll consider your suggestions for some of the lyrics (particularly that last one). I get that some of those images might not work on country radio, but as you said, this is the kind of song that an artist can get away with because their fan base is incredibly loyal. I particularly like the suggestion:
Final chorus line: for more build, I'd do "I miss your love, I miss your love like crazy" (hold out on crazy)
Anna, I'm glad you got it! I had the same reaction when I listened to the original... I did it with this song to see if I could pull it off. Your 'but she's not you' pick up idea might just work... (it's what Mayer does in the song Comfortable. He makes a direct reference to 'this new girl'.) It's gonna challenge me, for sure, to figure out how to make it fit. I will work on it!

Thanks to both of you for the time and your really helpful feedback!
Best regards,

Michael (Amoriello) Michnya

Like Robbie Robertson sang, "take what you need and leave the rest."

https://soundcloud.com/mamichnya-1
http://www.taxi.com/mikeamoriello

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Re: Ask Robin - I Miss Your Love Like Crazy NSAI Eval

Post by Casey H » Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:34 pm

Hey Mike
I think the NSAI review is spot on. The lyric is confusing by switching between "she" and "you". Even if someone gets that it's about 2 different people (I didn't without reading your comments), in popular music, if you have to explain it, it ain't working. It's got to be simple and obvious. Pronoun/person switching in a song rarely works well.

And the chorus doesn't differentiate musically enough from the verse. Changing up the rhythm, phrasing, or melody is needed. One test you can do is try singing the verse lyrics to the chorus music and vice versa. If they are easily interchangeable, you usually (can be exceptions) don't have good differentiation.

If it were my song, I'd re-write the lyrics to be you singing about her in first person. Your verses would say all the things that were great about her (YOU are great, you are wonderful) and the chorus would still be anchored by "I miss your love like crazy". You've got a lot of great lyric and phrases in this song that just need to be re-focused as far as person.

Take it from "OK" to great! Don't be married to the exact lyrical theme you started with (2 different women). Go where the song takes you! :D

HTH
Best,
:D Casey

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Re: Ask Robin - I Miss Your Love Like Crazy NSAI Eval

Post by erynmichel » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:19 am

mikemichnya wrote:
I used to work for a Family Service Association agency, and one year their marketing campaign was 'Touch a Life.' I used the Steve Seskin/Allen Shamblin song, "Wrong" as a template and co-wrote a song for the campaign ("You Touch My Life") with my friend, Don Ellsworth. Shortly after, NSAI Princeton hosted Steve for a workshop, which I attended. I met with him after for a song-critique hour, played the song for him, and HE didn't figure it out.
I think that’s one of the best songwriter stories I’ve ever heard :lol:
mikemichnya wrote: I'm surprised you counted it at 190 BPM; my counter has it at @ 100, so it's already mid-tempo (one big change from the original).
Welllllll, I was using a free counter on my phone, so maybe not super accurate but it’s definitely faster than the reference track, which is 160ish.
mikemichnya wrote: I get that some of those images might not work on country radio, but as you said, this is the kind of song that an artist can get away with because their fan base is incredibly loyal.
Welllllllllllllllllllll, that’s what I was saying, but that’s not what I was saying. I don’t think that riskiness works in our favor as songwriters who aren’t actually in the room with the artist. They’re more liable to take risks if they can own those risks themselves, for their own story and their own material (co-written generally these days, but not always). They don’t know us. I’m trying to play by the rules as much as possible even if I don’t like them—it’s the only way we’re ever going to get in the room to then take those risks someday, once we’re known entities.

The reference artist... can I just say her name now?? Haha. Ok so Taylor Swift co-wrote the reference track “That’s the Way I Loved You” with John Rich. They’re established and were probably trying to break a rut or a mold that didn’t need breaking with the switching perspectives (which is fine for broadway or folk, but this is country!). They can take these risks. We can’t until we’re sought after songwriters. Technically, this song was a massive flop for her since it charted at 72 for one week. That’s a signal right there that even the Swifties weren’t getting the song. She had to do something right after it since this song didn’t do what it was supposed to do for her. Her track was actually based on the movie The Notebook, I think, which was an enormous success of a movie, and that was based on a book. It’s raining references!
mikemichnya wrote:Thanks to both of you for the time and your really helpful feedback!
You’re welcome! For some peace of mind, you could always submit the song to evaluator 21006 (I think that’s the number). They seem to give extremely detailed feedback, and they are also established. Don’t take my word for it since I sure don’t have any hits yet but I’ve heard the advice above from multiple hit songwriters.
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Re: Ask Robin - I Miss Your Love Like Crazy NSAI Eval

Post by mikemichnya » Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:38 am

Hey Guys,

Thanks for the help!
Pronoun/person switching in a song rarely works well.
Casey, I knew that, but I'd never actually written a song where I did it intentionally, so I thought I'd give it a try. I'll admit that when I first heard the original song, I had to listen to it a couple of times before I got it. Eryn, your point is well-taken that it went to 72 on the loyalty of Swift's fan base, but that it only lasted a week there meant that it wasn't working for her either. :!:
Don't be married to the exact lyrical theme you started with (2 different women). Go where the song takes you!
I'm still intrigued by the idea of two different subjects, but I'm always open to re-writing, so I'll work on it.
you could always submit the song to evaluator 21006
Erin, Putting it up for Robin was my 'second opinion' so to speak. I've used evaluator 21006 before and I love the detailed feedback he/she gives. I usually include the qualifying information (as I did here) and a list of questions for my NSAI evals. I recently used 21006 for my song, Good Decisions. In the response, 21006 said, "You seem to have a number of specific questions that you want answered so I’ll forego our internal rubric and address your questions here", which I really appreciated.

I was disappointed when NSAI removed the evaluator bio's, and changed the numbering system. I'd love to hear some of the feedback you're getting from NSAI. Maybe we could start an NSAI feedback thread.

Thanks again!
Best regards,

Michael (Amoriello) Michnya

Like Robbie Robertson sang, "take what you need and leave the rest."

https://soundcloud.com/mamichnya-1
http://www.taxi.com/mikeamoriello

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Re: Ask Robin - I Miss Your Love Like Crazy NSAI Eval

Post by Casey H » Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:13 am

Hey Mike
You can certainly try anything 8-) but for me, it comes down to whether there is any chance of commercial success with a song. If it's just for challenge and fun, anything goes. :D But since you've been getting professional feedback, I assume you are looking to write something pitch-worthy for publishers.

If you are writing this for actual pitching, holding on to something that just doesn't work (from a commercially viable POV), isn't productive. I've had lots of song lyrics that I had to toss when I realized they had no commercial potential. However, by molding some lines and ideas into the new version, the songs ended up in solid music libraries.

JMHO FWIW HTH (And all the other relevant abbreviations!)
Best,
:D Casey

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Re: Ask Robin - I Miss Your Love Like Crazy NSAI Eval

Post by mikemichnya » Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:41 pm

Hey Casey,

Right you are on all counts :!: I am trying to write pitch worthy songs, but I don't worry about that, especially when I'm experimenting or trying something as an exercise. I write the ideas as they come to me, and then re-write as necessary. Admittedly, this was a failed experiment (although I think the idea still has merit that requires better execution).

Now the challenge is to rewrite to make it more commercially viable. I'll put it down and come back to it. :)

Thanks again for all your valuable feedback!
Best regards,

Michael (Amoriello) Michnya

Like Robbie Robertson sang, "take what you need and leave the rest."

https://soundcloud.com/mamichnya-1
http://www.taxi.com/mikeamoriello

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Re: Ask Robin - I Miss Your Love Like Crazy NSAI Eval

Post by mikemichnya » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:14 am

Best regards,

Michael (Amoriello) Michnya

Like Robbie Robertson sang, "take what you need and leave the rest."

https://soundcloud.com/mamichnya-1
http://www.taxi.com/mikeamoriello

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