Song Updated! | Alternative Rock | Speak to Me

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aubreyz
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Song Updated! | Alternative Rock | Speak to Me

Post by aubreyz » Mon Jul 17, 2006 11:31 am

Perhaps I am going about this the wrong way as my last post has yet to get a response, and I would really appreciate some feedback. I posted a few reviews as well, and will be happy to offer some more opinions, but didn’t want to flood the board. I plan to join Taxi soon, but not until the project is nearer completion.Here’s the scoop. I’ve been a recording engineer for longer than I would like to admit. I currently manage a studio that is part of an ad agency/production facility that services mainly local and international clients. I am fortunate to be able to work with some of the best equipment available, as well as have the privilege of making a living by composing and producing original music and jingles. For a number of years, I have tabled any personal artistic endeavors. That has now changed, and I am working toward an album with every available spare moment. The songs are written, and then some (I have way too many tunes). So I am spitting out rough demos to see which ones work, need work, or need to go away. There are no live session players yet, and the vocals are just scratch, but should at least give an idea of where the tunes are headed. As far as production quality goes, I have to produce broadcast masters all the time, so I know that game. The final mixes will be up to industry standards (or at least as good as I can mix/master). I’ve discovered that I’m not the best judge of my own material. It’s hard to be objective about something that means so much. I’m seeking input in the following areas:1. Songwriting and Arrangement2. Vocal artist potential3. Genre and market opinions4. Commercial viabilityBe brutal. I can take it. What I lack in talent I make up for in ego Here’s the latest rough mix. Speak to MeFor convenience I’ve posted the lyrics below. Thanks in advance for your time.AubreySpeak to MeVs1 Solitary confinement On a crowded city street The high cost of freedom Could not afford him a place to sleep He wakes up every morning Under the cover of the daily news He doesn’t owe the piper But he can’t seem to pay his dues He wanted to come home a hero But there was no parade He spends his day trying to figure out What mistake he madeChorus And he says speak to meIf there’s anybody out thereReach for meDoes anybody really careI’m tired of talking to myselfI want to hear somebody elseSpeak to meIs there anybody out thereVs 2 Across the street in a high-rise A silk suit, dressed to kill He climbed the corporate ladder Now there’s nobody’s shoes to fill He’s got all he ever wanted Satisfaction should be guaranteed He wonders what could be missing As he stares down at the street There’s that bum in the alley Rummaging again today Maybe they’re not so different Searching in a different wayRepeat ChorusBridge Could it be we’re all the same Known by a different name Could it be there’s only one Cogito ergo sum I think therefore I am Or am I because I think I am Could I be as lonely as I feel Or is loneliness the only thing that’s realChorus Speak to meIf there’s anybody out thereReach for meDoes anybody really careI’m tired of talking to myselfI want to hear somebody elseSpeak to meIs there anybody out thereCopyright 2006 by Aubrey ZAll Rights Reserved

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Re: Review request | Alternative Rock | Speak to M

Post by rockmann » Tue Jul 18, 2006 1:08 pm

Aubrey,I must have missed your other post... I just listened to this (and it's playing for the second time while I type). It's very cool. Very unique! It's really getting to me.The music is great. Very moody and image provoking. I was a bit worried about the vocals in the beginning. The falsetto stuff seemed to be pretty 'pitchy'. However, it's possible that was the intended effect? Starting with the second time thru the chorus, the vocals really take off. Great harmonies.... lot's of power in the voice. Much better at this point and really end on fire.The lyrics are great. I love the line, "I’m tired of talking to myself,I want to hear somebody else". That just makes me think. Very thought provoking.Marketability? Dunno... I'm probably not the best person to offer that kind of critique. I doubt it would be on 'Mix109' or any other pop station, but I can certainly see this as part of a soundtrack for a movie. I can damn near picture a move based on this song. I tend to watch some pretty off-beat movies occasionally. I really picture this song in something like that. One movie that comes to mind, is "Requiem for a Dream". I could see this song it that type of movie.I for one would LOVE to hear this completed. Great promise on this tune.

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Re: Review request | Alternative Rock | Speak to M

Post by aubreyz » Tue Jul 18, 2006 3:13 pm

Quote:Aubrey,I must have missed your other post... I just listened to this (and it's playing for the second time while I type). It's very cool. Very unique! It's really getting to me.The music is great. Very moody and image provoking. I was a bit worried about the vocals in the beginning. The falsetto stuff seemed to be pretty 'pitchy'. However, it's possible that was the intended effect? Starting with the second time thru the chorus, the vocals really take off. Great harmonies.... lot's of power in the voice. Much better at this point and really end on fire.The lyrics are great. I love the line, "I’m tired of talking to myself,I want to hear somebody else". That just makes me think. Very thought provoking.Marketability? Dunno... I'm probably not the best person to offer that kind of critique. I doubt it would be on 'Mix109' or any other pop station, but I can certainly see this as part of a soundtrack for a movie. I can damn near picture a move based on this song. I tend to watch some pretty off-beat movies occasionally. I really picture this song in something like that. One movie that comes to mind, is "Requiem for a Dream". I could see this song it that type of movie.I for one would LOVE to hear this completed. Great promise on this tune.Thanks for the feedback. The falsetto at the beginning will have to be dead on (which I DIDN'T nail on the scratch) to work. I really want that odd, moody atmosphere in the beginning, but it will have to GRAB you, and it doesn't right now. It will... or it will go away.Thanks for responding. I value your input.

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Re: Review request | Alternative Rock | Speak to M

Post by kagedgurl » Tue Jul 18, 2006 4:33 pm

First of all, kudo's on the track! It is incredibly moody and very much so sets you up for an emotional lyric, which you give.Your skills as an arranger/engineer truly are shining on this. I can also, like the previous review, see this as a tv/movie track. Have you tried any just straight up instrumental submissions for the reqests for movie or tv stuff? I really do think you have a talent for that and should pursue it.Now, for my --opinion-- on what you wanted. (and yes, this is the opinion of a consumer, not a professional reviewer...I get that. )1- Songwriting and Arrangement- I think the arrangement is really great for the moody feel you're trying to accomplish. I will say that I -feel- like it doesn't have enough of a change up and feels a bit lengthy. I, as a listener, felt like the melody and track was too much of the same "pattern", you could say. Now in saying that, I'm not speaking of the piano structure. I love the way the instruments are arranged and playd. What I'm refering to is the chord structure of the song. It just "feels" repetitve, but that is perfect for any kind of soundtrack you would want for a movie or tv submission. ...my opinion. 2- Vocal artist potential- I truly thought, for a moment, that the singer was that guy from Spandau Ballet. I think this style is so close to matching what they did on the 1983 hit "True", it took me off guard for a moment. Now, don't get me wrong, I totally love that song and crank it every time it comes on the radio cause it takes me back! (I'm 33) lol... But, in my opinion, I feel like the vocal is a bit dated and needs a shot of "today". As a consumer, I don't know that I would purchase even a polished version of this vocalist in this style. Maybe something different? I would love to hear more ideas. 3- Genre and market opinions- I happen to listen to a very wide range of music, so you're getting the opinion of someone with diverse preferences.Having said that, I think it's a good shot at what you're aiming at. If I were to look at this from the marketability perspective, I would have to say that it sounds most like the kinda thing that came from Sneaker Pimps on their 1996 album, "Becoming X". (I wore that project out and had to buy another cd to replace the first one..lol)A lot of their stuff was used in different movie soundtracks. It was good stuff. Now, I didn't hear a ton of it in the clubs and I don't think I can ever recall a time that I've heard a single tune of theirs on the radio. But I know they have a loyal underground following. This song could easily have been on that "Becoming X" project, in my opinion. But again, that was 10 years ago... Not sure about the marketability of this kinda stuff in todays market.4- Commercial viability- I think that I probably answered this one in the answer to number 3...lol. But, if I haven't driven home the point...I think this would TOTALLY be suited for soundtracks. That new "Blade" tv series that is on cable? -fit... Just very moody, weird coolness. It would have worked for the Angel series or any of "those kinds" of shows as well.In summary, I guess I would love to see this updated a bit. I love this kind of music and would like to see more of it put out. I also feel like it's a bit long. I think major labels would want it shortened a LOT if they were going to allow it on a project. My opinion though... Good luck with it and I hope my naked consumer honesty helps! KagedGurl

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Re: Song Updated! | Alternative Rock | Speak to Me

Post by thesucker » Fri Jan 12, 2007 4:32 am

There's some cool stuff happening in this song. I've read/scanned the previous posts, but sorry if any of this is still redundant. And by the way, while it's been fun seeing the process, put the latest mix at the top!! 1. Nice work on the eq. The whold track has way more bite, and everything is sitting really well in the mix. Nice!2. The arrangement is rad. Super rad. I love it when that compressed snare comes in. 3. The vox are getting there. Have you thought about almost speak-singing the first part? I love the epic, powerful, emotional delivery in the second half, but for me (and me only of course), the falsetto/vibrato attack in the beginning doesn't work. It sounds like a mime in a park or something. Please don't take that wrong, you can obviously sing! And wait 'til I start posting mixes; I'll dream of that mime reference!4. Overall, market, etc.: Interesting, the comparisons. I think the Radiohead thing is close early on...definitely hear some Thom Yorke going on in the vocals, but in the second half it's getting all all Trent Reznor (cool!), which the arrangement, sounds, music might even resemble more to me. That sort of moody, creeping, cool, juxtaposed rhythm thing has got a little NIN going on. In a great way. Good stuff, man...this one is close?Nicekb

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Re: Song Updated! | Alternative Rock | Speak to Me

Post by Casey H » Sat Jan 13, 2007 5:25 am

Quote:Perhaps I am going about this the wrong way as my last post has yet to get a response, and I would really appreciate some feedback. I posted a few reviews as well, and will be happy to offer some more opinions, but didn’t want to flood the board. I plan to join Taxi soon, but not until the project is nearer completion.Here’s the scoop. I’ve been a recording engineer for longer than I would like to admit. I currently manage a studio that is part of an ad agency/production facility that services mainly local and international clients. I am fortunate to be able to work with some of the best equipment available, as well as have the privilege of making a living by composing and producing original music and jingles. For a number of years, I have tabled any personal artistic endeavors. That has now changed, and I am working toward an album with every available spare moment. The songs are written, and then some (I have way too many tunes). So I am spitting out rough demos to see which ones work, need work, or need to go away. There are no live session players yet, and the vocals are just scratch, but should at least give an idea of where the tunes are headed. As far as production quality goes, I have to produce broadcast masters all the time, so I know that game. The final mixes will be up to industry standards (or at least as good as I can mix/master). I’ve discovered that I’m not the best judge of my own material. It’s hard to be objective about something that means so much. I’m seeking input in the following areas:1. Songwriting and Arrangement2. Vocal artist potential3. Genre and market opinions4. Commercial viabilityBe brutal. I can take it. What I lack in talent I make up for in ego Here’s the latest rough mix. Speak to MeFor convenience I’ve posted the lyrics below. Thanks in advance for your time.AubreySpeak to MeVs1 Solitary confinement On a crowded city street The high cost of freedom Could not afford him a place to sleep He wakes up every morning Under the cover of the daily news He doesn’t owe the piper But he can’t seem to pay his dues He wanted to come home a hero But there was no parade He spends his day trying to figure out What mistake he madeChorus And he says speak to meIf there’s anybody out thereReach for meDoes anybody really careI’m tired of talking to myselfI want to hear somebody elseSpeak to meIs there anybody out thereVs 2 Across the street in a high-rise A silk suit, dressed to kill He climbed the corporate ladder Now there’s nobody’s shoes to fill He’s got all he ever wanted Satisfaction should be guaranteed He wonders what could be missing As he stares down at the street There’s that bum in the alley Rummaging again today Maybe they’re not so different Searching in a different wayRepeat ChorusBridge Could it be we’re all the same Known by a different name Could it be there’s only one Cogito ergo sum I think therefore I am Or am I because I think I am Could I be as lonely as I feel Or is loneliness the only thing that’s realChorus Speak to meIf there’s anybody out thereReach for meDoes anybody really careI’m tired of talking to myselfI want to hear somebody elseSpeak to meIs there anybody out thereCopyright 2006 by Aubrey ZAll Rights ReservedHi AubNice to see you again... Didn't read any posts other than your initial one, so I could have an unbiased head... I think there are a lot of good elements here but it's not nearly ready. First, it's way too long. Often, less is more and that can especially be so for lyrics where I think the best artists say the most with the fewest words. One suggestion to shorten it would be to scrap your bridge, shorten the chorus to it's first 4 lines, and take the last 4 lines of your chorus and make THAT your bridge. That solves a few problems including the fact that your chorus is too long. For the most part, you want a few strong hook lines and then get out.In general, you won't find songs that are "protest" or serious commentaries on life as marketable today. However, if your goal is to make this a track on your own CD, that's not relevant. I do, occasionally, get requests for songs with these types of subjects for film/TV- generally indie films or non-profit freebees. IF the song had a very strong 60's sound-like flavor, then it would have potential as a replacement track.I know you are aware of what is needed to make it a quality audio production. Your vocals need work- I think you know that so I am hopefully not offending you. I'm confused about your goal. I thought you were saying you are making your own CD as an artist. But then you asked for feedback on #2 above. Are you interested in pitching this to artists? That would be tough in this genre and subject matter.Warm regards,Casey

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Re: Song Updated! | Alternative Rock | Speak to Me

Post by aubreyz » Sat Jan 13, 2007 6:03 am

Quote:Hi AubNice to see you again... Didn't read any posts other than your initial one, so I could have an unbiased head... I think there are a lot of good elements here but it's not nearly ready. First, it's way too long. Often, less is more and that can especially be so for lyrics where I think the best artists say the most with the fewest words. One suggestion to shorten it would be to scrap your bridge, shorten the chorus to it's first 4 lines, and take the last 4 lines of your chorus and make THAT your bridge. That solves a few problems including the fact that your chorus is too long. For the most part, you want a few strong hook lines and then get out.In general, you won't find songs that are "protest" or serious commentaries on life as marketable today. However, if your goal is to make this a track on your own CD, that's not relevant. I do, occasionally, get requests for songs with these types of subjects for film/TV- generally indie films or non-profit freebees. IF the song had a very strong 60's sound-like flavor, then it would have potential as a replacement track.I know you are aware of what is needed to make it a quality audio production. Your vocals need work- I think you know that so I am hopefully not offending you. I'm confused about your goal. I thought you were saying you are making your own CD as an artist. But then you asked for feedback on #2 above. Are you interested in pitching this to artists? That would be tough in this genre and subject matter.Warm regards,Casey Casey,I probably should have posted the updates in a new thread, as I am visiting this song some months later than the original post so the version you heard was very rough. The latest is here:Speak to MeI'm taking note of everyone's suggestions, some I agree with, some I don't but ALL are appreciated.As far as the 2nd question in the post you responded to, I don't plan on pitching songs like this to other artists. The question was about my viability as an artist.And yes... I knew the vocals sucked --- the newer version at least is a decent vocal track. I did learn something from this process. Many people can't hear past glitches. If a vocal is a bit out of tune, or if a rhythm is off, or whatever -- I have a small circle of local colleagues that i bounce stuff off of. The majority didn't like "the song" in the early version --- an in tune vocal, a few months later and the feedback is remarkably different. The thing is, I was asking before about "the song" and yet the comments about the song were mostly influenced by the vocal. As a producer, I have to listen past where songs are, to where I know they could be. It's pretty obvious that not everyone can do that.Aub

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Re: Song Updated! | Alternative Rock | Speak to Me

Post by Casey H » Sat Jan 13, 2007 6:32 am

AubI will come back and listen later to the update. I definitely can hear past vocal issues to hear the song itself. Trust me, if you ever heard ME sing, you'd understand!! I only commented on the vocals from the perspective of your goals...Gotta run... visiting Mom in NY... Later, Casey

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Re: Song Updated! | Alternative Rock | Speak to Me

Post by aubreyz » Sat Jan 13, 2007 9:21 am

Quote:Vocals and melody are to monotone and monotonous. I also feel the verse chord changes with your melody are awkward. As with most producers, I listened to the first 30-seconds of the song, if it doesn't grab me I go on to the next. Try some vocal/melody variations and you could nail it. BTW, I too, have been guilty of the same thing. This usually happens when the vocalist is not a "singer." An experienced/gifted singer would change it in a minute. Hmmm. Interesting. Though the gifted part is certainly debatable, I've been singing professionally most of my life--(though whether I'm any good at it might be debatable too ). I also know how to write catchy/pop melodies. Writing jingles is part of what I do for a living. I agree that the melody and chord changes are awkward on this one, but that was the point. This song was never intended to be a pop song, but a haunting, eclectic, alternative piece of music. The diversity of opinions has been very interesting. From a younger, alternative audience the feedback is very promising- overwhelmingly positive. From older (even my age) more pop audiences, the comments are more negative - mostly about the melody/chord structure. I'm not surprised by the diversity of opinions, but the extreme love/hate reaction was a bit unexpected.Reactions from outside the Taxi forum have literally been either -- "The melody and chord changes don't work", or "I love the weird chord changes and melody". Very little middle ground.I'm under no illusions that a song like this is going to race up the charts, or even grab the attention of a "producer". However, the kind of music I love and write is often odd, melancholy, dissonant and outside of the norm. I have been working hard at packaging the kind of stuff I write into a more commercial form, but at some point you are who you are and do what you do. Is there a market for it? Time will tell. I wholeheartedly appreciate all the feedback, and probably the negative feedback the most. I'm not easily offended and have no sacred cows when it comes to my writing. Perhaps there is a way to stay true to the essence of what I feel and hear as an artist and appeal to a larger audience. So far, some of my attempts at "normalizing" end up with something that might have broader appeal, but I end up not liking it as much. Believe it or not, Speak to me has already been "normalized" quite a bit from it's original form. Though I don't think it's my strongest work, it is a good example of the farthest "left of center" side of my music that I think I might could get away with -- I have a number of tunes yet to produce that would fall into the same category, so it's kind of a "test case" to see how far left I can lean and still keep balance.Though the jury is still out on Speak to Me, I'm carefully considering both sides of the opinion pool as I test the waters--- there may be some middle ground that will both please me as an artist and provide broader appeal. That's the main reason why I'm here, and why I find Taxi and this Forum so valuable. Thanks for your input.Aub

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Re: Song Updated! | Alternative Rock | Speak to Me

Post by aubreyz » Sat Jan 13, 2007 9:56 am

Quote:3. The vox are getting there. Have you thought about almost speak-singing the first part? I love the epic, powerful, emotional delivery in the second half, but for me (and me only of course), the falsetto/vibrato attack in the beginning doesn't work. It sounds like a mime in a park or something. Please don't take that wrong, you can obviously sing! And wait 'til I start posting mixes; I'll dream of that mime reference!Okay... next time I cut vocals, I'll lose the white gloves and clown face makeup.... (funny sidenote, I once cut vocals in a straight jacket to try and get the feel I was looking for )I'm not sold on the falsetto thing yet --- though I have this sound in my head that I've not been able to make happen on the hard drive yet. I do know that a more soto voice thing, down a step or so will work, so that safety net is there. Unfortunately I've been so busy with other productions, I've not been able to spend a whole lot of time getting this right yet. Just for some background, I'm pushing myself as a vocalist right now into some new areas--- the falsetto thing being one of them. I grew up singing gospel, traveling with my family. Was classically trained in High School and College and did quite a bit of opera and musical theater. Went somewhat techno in the eighties, lot's of vibrato pretty voice stuff (which I now hate btw). Evolved into grunge in the nineties with more grit and some eighties metal kind of vibrato (which I also now hate) -- for the last ten years, it's been mostly Christian Praise and Worship kind of stuff, or for the last few years mostly studio work. So what I'm doing now is to combine all those influences into an updated commercial vocal. It's a little difficult to produce your own vocals. It's easy for me to change gears and sound very different, but it's hard to know what actually sounds the best. Just yesterday someone was listening to some of my productions for work, and some of my originals as well. The comment was - "you sound like a different person on a lot of these tracks". That can be good and bad.Thanks for your input -- mime and all!Aub

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