Hi All...I also had my first critique back from Taxi, but there`s a twist in my tale.Normally, I`d have accepted everything said because the critiquers are experts in their field and should, by all accounts, know better than me.My first song; "Honky Tonkin`", was sent in various, very different versions; from a basic Hank Williams-type arrangement, to a female and male Texas-swing arrangement which were recently re-arranged/produced by one of Curb Records top producers who`s latest project topped the Billboard album and singles charts...so you can guess that the `demos` were done to a fairly high standard (Links To All The Submitted Versions Below)I sent in to various listings (at least a dozen) and back came the comments, some of which I`ll include below, saying that my song was too old-fashioned; too cliched, too weak in the verse, chorus etc., etc., etc.Normally, I`d have taken in all the expert comments and shot myself (only kiddin`)...I`d have seriously wondered if it was worth proceeding with my efforts at songwriting as I`d been writing from the heart and to the very best of my ability for several years and in all styles and these experts must know better and must be hearing something I couldn`t - and probably never would hear and read.However, and here`s the wee twist to my story; my old-fashioned, weak and cliched song was released in late May in the European Country Music Charts (check my song out at: http://www.europeancma.com/chart.htm
it plays every hour or so) and, would you believe, even as a cheaply-done, basic demo and competing against major American country performers, it has turned out to be the fastest-climbing country song ever in this chart (91-26 in one week) and made the top 10...not bad for a no-hoper, wouldn`t you agree? This success was predicted by the Curb Records producer amoung others. I have no doubts at all that it would do at least as well in the U.S.A charts as that other old-time, cliched country number. "Blue", which was a smash a few years back featuring LeAnn. I am at the present time, trying to place this song and the other, with an established female or male country act and believe it`s just a matter of time before I succeed.Also, this song along with another which has been knocked back on more than one occasion, have been requested for inclusion on the soundtrack of the forthcoming action movie, "Revenge", by a U.K. film production company and their co-producers, a company from Holland who are involved in developing movies that Quentin Tarrintino is involved in...in other words; they are not small-time no-hopers who don`t have a clue what their talking about."Honky Tonkin` is the main song in this movie; built around the hit-man who happens to be a country-lovin` dude and is to feature, in various versions, in several scenes. The reasoning behind selecting this song, is that they believe it will entice hundreds of thousands of country loving fans to go and see the movie or buy the dvd when they hear it on the trailer for the movie...who am I to argue with their expert opinion...lol.BELOW ARE THE DIRECT LINKS TO ALL VERSIONS SUBMITTED___________________________________________________________http://www.songramp.com/mod/mps/viewtrack.php?trackid=46236
(Honky Tonkin` - Female Texas-Swing Version)___________________________________________________________http://www.songramp.com/mod/mps/viewtrack.php?trackid=45270
(Did You Ever Get The Blues? - Male Texas-Swing Version)___________________________________________________________http://www.songramp.com/mod/mps/viewtrack.php?trackid=39830
(Honky Tonkin` - Basic Hank Williams-Type Production)___________________________________________________________http://www.songramp.com/mod/mps/viewtrack.php?trackid=41234
(Honky Tonkin` - With Changed, Extended Verse)___________________________________________________________http://www.songramp.com/mod/mps/viewtrack.php?trackid=43619
(Honky Tonkin` - Male Texas-Swing Version In Charts At Present)___________________________________________________________Here`s some of the Taxi expert opinions:1).Overall Comments: Hey there Stuart, how ya doin'? Good stab at this major high bar listing. You have a real strong grasp on the traditional country music sound - that's for sure. Very honest sounding vocals as well. Hope it's you singing
). A few things I'll mention. I would just like to see you dig a little deeper into your creative well. Think of new ways to say common phrases. Ex: "Honky Tonkin` it’s making me blue/ Honky Tonkin` is breakin` my heart in two/All night walkin` searchin` for you/people talkin’, what am I gonna’ do" Those obvious rhymes and well worn phrases in your chorus can use to be updated my friend. It's a very competitive country market out there. You should try and challenge yourself and your audience a bit more melodically and lyrically. Hope this is helpful. Good luck. Too predictableMelody Good music in verses Style On target for this listing So-so Title2).Lyric Too predictable Too many cliches Vocal does help to sell song The lyric sentiment here is good. I think the story line could be slightly more unique and colorful to help add more mainstream appeal. More specific and unique details in the story line would help it sound less old-fashioned. Why do you love him if he's cheating? How do you know he's cheating? Overall Comments: Stuart, Thanks for sending in your song. I like the idea here, but it's a bit too old-fashioned for this particular listing. It might be better for a purely traditional listing. To add more mainstream appeal try to look at it in a different way to help add more freshness to the story line and melody. Some surprise notes in the melody and some surprises in the lyric will help it sound more unique. Good job overall and good luck! 3).The V & CH melodies sound very similar in vocal range/lphrasing to my ears, creating a linear effect in the song. You might try giving the Ch more range to lift it up out of the Verse melody in a more dynamic way. Over all the melodies sound very "common" giving the song a predictable sound in my opinion. Structure Very good song structure! LyricToo predictable Too many cliches Vocal does help to sell song Lyric communicates the feelings well! I do feel the story line & theme may be a bit "well worn" in country music giving the song a predictable quality. Also, I feel the lyric leans a bit much on "cliche-like" lines/wording (Honky Tonkin it's making me blue, your honky tonkin is breakin my heart in two....... we made a vow our sweet love would never die, I thought I'd always want you back.....etc). Finding more fresh, unique words & visual imagery to tell this story might give this a more contemporary flair! Status: Forward Return Good title.4).Overall Comments: Hi Stuart, Thanks for sending us you song! It is certainly "Traditional Country" in style but it sounds very "classic" along the lines of Hank Williams SR and may not have the contemporary mainstream appeal this artist is looking for. The melodies seem very "common" in my opinion. You might try exploring melodies that sound less-familiar and are more creative in movement to give the song a more current flair. Lyrically as well, I feel the song leans on "cliche-like" wording that is adds to the less-current style of the song. (see lyric comments). Finding a more unique approach to telling this story might givei the song greater impact in my opinion.Lyric communicates the feelings well! I do feel the story line & theme may be a bit "well worn" in country music giving the song a predictable quality. Also, I feel the lyric leans a bit much on "cliche-like" lines/wording (Honky Tonkin it's making me blue, your honky tonkin is breakin my heart in two....... we made a vow our sweet love would never die, I thought I'd always want you back.....etc). Finding more fresh, unique words & visual imagery to tell this story might give this a more contemporary flair! 5).Overall Comments: Try listening back to some of Randy Travis's milestone hit singles and records to get a feel for how he puts a fresh spin on classic country. Lyrics like "Storm Of Life", for example, take tried and true country ideas and convey them in a slightly fresh yet accessible way. So-so Title Too predictable Too many cliches Verses could be stronger Choruses could be stronger There are way too many familiar lines, phrases and ideas in this lyric, unfortunately. So the lyric's just not coming across as fresh or new and interesting. Try to take the same feelings and convey them in more unique ways. Some modern language and references would be good. Avoid using cliches like the ones in your opening lines in particular.Second Song "Did You Ever Get The Blues?"1).Overall Comments: Stuart - There is a lot of good energy here, but it feels like you could probably take the basic elements here and make 2 (or maybe even 3) songs out of it. Each musical section has its' own personality and there are so many different musical themes that it is hard to latch on to any one of them to remember it later. The energy is memorable and the vibe (it is a lot of fun) but if you could simplify it, it could help increase it's potential commerciality Lyrically, it is the same story - there are so many lyric hooks - 'when I hold you in my arms', 'baby, I love you, I cried for you', etc... - that it is hard to latch on. The actual title seems like it may be better served in another song. The gist of the lyric here is more personal - the singer singing to the object of his affection. The title suggests a more rhetorical question sung to a 3rd person that the singer is telling about his troubles. Also, where does the 'misty blue' idea come from? That seems unrelated to the lyric at hand (but it is very hooky and could be yet another song title). Too many themes / too complexTitle So-so Title Doesn't repeat enough The main reason you were or were not forwarded for this listing is: You have a lot of good ideas here and you obviously know how to come up with a strong hook. Unfortunately, this song feels a little too jumbled up to forward at this time, but keep up the good work - if you can settle in to one theme at a time you will definitely have something going.