Return confusion...

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Return confusion...

Post by Tunesmith » Tue May 07, 2019 5:12 pm

Hi All,

I just got a return I am confused about. I listened to 2 forwards of the same listing and I think my recording is right up to par. But maybe I am dead wrong. Just thought I would share it with you!

The listing was
<<<< Y190403CS RE-IMAGINED COVERS of well-known SONGS with Male, Female, or Duet Vocals are needed by a super well-connected Publisher for a wide range of Film, TV, and Commercial placements.

Here is my song (I don't know how to link to it on TAXI)
https://soundcloud.com/lindacullum/both ... um/s-VjSq3

my return reasons were "Vocal Performance, Recording, Stylistically Off Target
Message: Hard to take on this classic ballad by Judy Collins! It would be tough to pitch this rendition unfortunately as it doesn't seem to stand on its own. The client is looking for broadcast quality for sync opportunities. Sounds like it is still in the demo stage unfortunately. "

BTW it is Joni Mitchell, not Judy Collins. I can understand that my vocal may have prevented this from going forward but it doesn't really say. What is not broadcast quality? I am using all the latest software for production, have compared etc for quality. Thought it was right up there.

How is it Stylistically Off Target? I thought we could be as creative as we liked, any tempo, genre, style...

What makes it not stand on its own?

And "Still in the demo stage?" What makes this that way?

I have had returns on songs/cues that were not near as well crafted as this that said the quality was great, just not right for the scene. What on earth have I done to make this sound like a demo and not broadcast quality?

I am not expecting you all to put time into this but thought you may find it interesting!

Best to you,
Linda

Back to the listing:
NOTE: We’re not giving any references for this request, as we think they might be more limiting than helpful. You are encouraged to use your imagination!

Put your thinking caps on, ladies and gents, and send this company re-imagined versions of well-known songs – aka HITS – delivered in ways that are noticeably different from the style and approach of the original. This company will consider a cover of ANY commercially released Song in ANY Genre, Tempo, or Style.

Be creative! There should be some originality to your cover; it can’t sound like the original. It has to be unique and able to stand on its own. Still, you’d be wise to try to stick to the original melody and lyrics of the song(s). This will keep it grounded in the listener's mind, while still giving it an entirely new stylistic treatment. For example, if the song was a fast Punk song originally, try creating a dreamy, Folky, or Country/Singer/Songwriter version. If it was a huge Rap/Hip-Hop hit with a male rapper, try a slower, Singer/Songwriter version that’s acoustic-based with a delicate female vocal. You get the idea! Mix it up, change it up, and mash it up! The sky’s the limit for this request!
If you take the time to notice, you'll see and hear quite a few movie trailers, TV promos, and TV commercials that use re-imagined songs. Take notes and master the methodology!
Your Songs must be well recorded, clean, and at least 2:00 in length. Broadcast Quality is needed.>>>

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Re: Return confusion...

Post by funsongs » Tue May 07, 2019 5:40 pm

From The Peanut Gallery.

Since your track, presumably as submitted, is already on your TAXI homepage - and that link is in your signature - you don't need to do anything else for anyone to listen to it there, but state that it is there. The Soundcloud link, IMHO, is helpful too - especially when the lyrics are posted up (not necessary for a cover song, obviously).

Seems the 'vocal performance', indeed, was the first item on the Screener's return reasons.

I didn't listen to any reference or comparison tracks, so my listen is straight from the Soundcloud post.
The canned, programmed percussion seems like an interesting interpretation - but, honestly, it doesn't sound complementary to the rest of the track.
Without anything to compare it to - but addressing the Screener's comment about it being broadcast/sync quality: to these old-guy ears, it does lack a sense of fullness & presence.
Maybe that's what they mean by 'demo', rather than a polished master.

Seems you had a good idea; in the review process, they were wanting something more, or different. But, that's their call to make.
Had you posted the song up on P2P for some feedback before you submitted the final mix?

HTH - better luck next time.
Cheers.
Last edited by funsongs on Tue May 07, 2019 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Return confusion...

Post by Tunesmith » Tue May 07, 2019 5:49 pm

Hi Peter,

Appreciate your input. 'vocal performance' is the 1st item on the page for the screener's selection. The others are below it. in other words, not necessarily in that order. What did you observe about the vocals that makes you mention it is the 1st thing? I don't think my percussion sounds canned, but that's me! I wrote the head screener for input as I really wasn't told what made it not broadcast quality and stylistically off target.

Best,
Linda

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Re: Return confusion...

Post by funsongs » Tue May 07, 2019 10:03 pm

Tunesmith wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:49 pm
Hi Peter,

Appreciate your input. 'vocal performance' is the 1st item on the page for the screener's selection. The others are below it. in other words, not necessarily in that order. What did you observe about the vocals that makes you mention it is the 1st thing? I don't think my percussion sounds canned, but that's me! I wrote the head screener for input as I really wasn't told what made it not broadcast quality and stylistically off target.

Best,
Linda
Well - there were a few places that, to my ear, sounded 'pitchy' - to use the American Idol audition response; most noticeable around the :40 mark. I'm actually surprised that the Screener wasn't more specific about what in the vocal they found to be 'not broadcast quality'. However - I don't claim to have perfect pitch, and even when doing my own scratch vocals I have the engineer employ some measure of auto-tune.

My comments were really just 'first-impression' responses... keeping in mind that the Screener wasn't prepared to forward it to the client.
As far as the 'canned-percussion' - that's coming from me, someone who spent 30+ years playing live drums. :? 8-)
My statement that they didn't complement the rest of your track has more to do with them just not pairing up seamlessly - they compete with the vocal, rather than support it.
That's just my Old-Guy ears talking about it.

I hope other ears will chime in and offer an opinion. I'm not trying to be negative - but constructive; because I think your concept of doing a programmed drum track for that song is not out of line.

HTH, Cheers.
Peter Rahill
website: www.peterrahill.com
https://soundcloud.com/funsongs-1
You Tube channel: Peter Rahill - funsongs
https://taxi.com/peterrahill
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Re: Return confusion...

Post by Len911 » Tue May 07, 2019 11:52 pm

Linda, I think the key might be re-imagined. Joni Mitchell might have written the song and demo, https://youtu.be/Pbn6a0AFfnM
but I think Judy Collins " Written by Joni Mitchell, 'Both Sides Now' was first recorded by Judy Collins' for her 1967 album 'Wildflowers' and went on to become a Top 10 hit." https://youtu.be/8L1UngfqojI

Your version imo was in the same style and production as both Judy and Joni, hardly re-imagined. Adele's version of Bob Dylan's "To Make You feel my love" was re-imagined, but if Tom Petty had covered it, not so much. I thought your version was very good! As for covers in general, it's probably better to do a more obscure song by a famous writer, and make it more appealing than the original song, versus a hit song imo.
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Re: Return confusion...

Post by cosmicdolphin » Wed May 08, 2019 1:54 am

Straight from the hip...straight off didn't like the 80s sounding percussion as it didn't seem to support the mood of the track..the main thing that killed it was the vocal performance which was very pitchy like an old tape machine that has wow and flutter issues.

Didn't think the cover was particularly creative or added anything new. If I try and think of cover songs that put a new spin on the original I think of tracks like :-

Sound of Silence by Disturbed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9Dg-g7t2l4

Hurt by Johnny Cash https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt1Pwfnh5pc

Killing Me Softly by The Fugees https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKOtzIo-uYw

Somewhere over The Rainbw by Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwoʻole https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1bFr2SWP1I
Tunesmith wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:12 pm
How is it Stylistically Off Target? I thought we could be as creative as we liked, any tempo, genre, style...
Because it doesn't really have much style of it's own or is not a very creative re-imagining of the original ..you didn't put your own stamp on it
Tunesmith wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:12 pm
What makes it not stand on its own?
It has nothing new to say and performances are not strong enough

[quote=Tunesmith post_id=560676 time=1557274332 user_id=379211
And "Still in the demo stage?" What makes this that way?
[/quote]

Pitchy vocals are the main deal break for me, also samey percussion all the way through makes it sound like a placeholder for the real part.
Tunesmith wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:12 pm
What on earth have I done to make this sound like a demo and not broadcast quality?
As above..hope that helps.

Mark

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Re: Return confusion...

Post by Tunesmith » Wed May 08, 2019 8:45 am

Thank you all for your time and input. I will be aware of these things while composing and recording in the future, which is this afternoon on. I guess I'll stay away from re imagined covers. For one they are way buried in my unconsciousness I'm sure!

just for fun if you want a listen, here I am playing the same song live in 1978:

https://soundcloud.com/lindacullum/clouds/s-a6tjW

Thanks again and I wish you all the success with your music!

Linda

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Re: Return confusion...

Post by cosmicdolphin » Wed May 08, 2019 9:32 am

Tunesmith wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 8:45 am
just for fun if you want a listen, here I am playing the same song live in 1978:
Vocal sounds much better than the recent recording , your 1978 pitching is on point. So the question is can you still do it now if you did it the same with just guitar and vocal or have you lost that sense of pitch you once had.

Or is it just a different environment / recording method that's caused it ? Some folks can't sing the same in the studio as they can live. Having had quite a few years of singing lessons I would say that pitch is probably the easiest skill to learn or re-learn. It's the more abstract stuff like emotion and song interpretation that's hard if it doesn't come naturally. If you can't perform the same as 1978 a good vocal coach cold probably get you right on track.

Mark

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Re: Return confusion...

Post by MBantle » Wed May 08, 2019 11:40 am

Tunesmith wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:49 pm
Hi Peter,

Appreciate your input. 'vocal performance' is the 1st item on the page for the screener's selection. The others are below it. in other words, not necessarily in that order. What did you observe about the vocals that makes you mention it is the 1st thing? I don't think my percussion sounds canned, but that's me! I wrote the head screener for input as I really wasn't told what made it not broadcast quality and stylistically off target.

Best,
Linda
Hi Linda!
Personally, I would have cleaned up the vocals a bit more. The first thing that stands a bit out to me are the mouth clicks - on my system they are audible even before the first verse. The 'lite' version of Izotope RX usually gets the job done. In context of the programmed drums I would also work on the timing of the vocals so that they are more 'on the grid' with the drums (e.g. using Melodyne -again, even the entry level version of Melodyne should get the job done. If you are using Logic you could try flex tempo.). I also think the tuning of the vocals could be improved (e.g. Melodyne or Flex Pitch if you are working in Logic).
Just my five cents.
Cheers,
Matt

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Re: Return confusion...

Post by CTWF » Wed May 08, 2019 12:36 pm

I got to admit, the 1978 version touched me more having listened to both now. But that is possibly irrelevant given the new track had to be re-imagined. Tom
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