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      Are you posting a song for critique? 10 things to remember...READ THIS!   09/27/2015

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      Critique Preferences - Please Read!   09/27/2015

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      Are you offering critique? 10 things to consider... READ THIS!   09/27/2015

      Please remember your comments ARE TRYING TO HELP THE WRITER. In order for your comments to help they must be heard. The onus is on you not to inflame the situation, particularly for inexperienced or under-confident writers who are not experienced with the critique process. Critique is a discussion. It is not an argument, there are no winners and losers, there is only "trying to improve the song". Don't pronounce your opinion believing it is absolutely right. You are not a god of song writing or recording. Be honest, but be respectful of the member's critique preferences. If they don't want a blunt thorough comment don't post it. If you have comments and suggestions, ASK the member if you can post your comments and suggestions. Every writer here has passed or still has to pass the point where they realise that they are not as amazing a writer as they think they are. It can be uncomfortable and confidence sapping. Please remember the writer you are dealing with may not have had that epiphany yet. It is not up to you to make them confront that moment of self awareness. That happens in it's own time. Every writer here started with a vague idea of what writing songs is about. Be aware that educating a writer takes time and effort. Don't try to achieve it all in one topic. Just because you or they are experienced, doesn't make you or them right. Just because you or they may be inexperienced doesn't make you or them wrong. Remember: Critique is not just about pointing out what is wrong, it is also for pointing out what is right! Critique is also for examining how something works or doesn't work. It is fundamentally for learning for all involved. Don't use inflammatory language. Try and stay aware that receiving critique, especially for those who are inexperienced, can be taken personally. Try to be diplomatic but truthful.   Your mission, should you choose to accept it (and we hope you do) is to "let them hear your message". ie Don't force them to hear by beating them over the head with your viewpoint. Remember, it is a discussion, not a platform to demonstrate your skills and knowledge. While it is good for you to analyse songs thoroughly, it may not be good for the writer whose work you are reading or listening to, to hear it all!   Many thanks for your understanding.    
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pboaz

Winter Storms

41 posts in this topic

Ok folks. Here's this weekend's project.

A couple of notes

-- Acoustic, electric, bass guitars all me

-- Electric piano has been laboriously assembled with my MIDI controller and cut'n'paste

-- Drums and tambourine are Apple loops with a few effects added

I'm never very happy with my vocals, but this one is extra bad. When I am able I am going to take voice lessons to do something about that. But that might not be for a year or two.

In the meantime I advise using headphones to avoid inflicting this on pets, small children or other innocents.

I'm looking for constructive critique on all aspects of this track from lyrics, through performance to recording and mixing. Both barrels. I'm keen to learn. Have at it!

Update

After getting some really good crits I did a new version where I re-recorded the vocals and guitars. I also played around with the percussion loops.

Here it is

[media=]

Winter Storms

© polar bears of arizona 2012

Between high and low tides there's about five miles

I must navigate through shoals and isles

Trying to find my way out to

Open ocean, wide and blue

Pharmacy will anchor me

While I overnight in the headland's lee

Winter storms may obscure my view

Winter storms will blow on through

With the rising of the sun I set sail

But with a heavy sea it's to no avail

I'm beaten back by the rising wind

I fear the reefs may do me in

Pharmacy will comfort me

While I consider what my fate will be

Winter storms may wreck your boat

Winter storms can make it hard to stay afloat

As the storm subsides I'm glad to be alive

My craft is battered, but has survived

A constant wind now fills my sails

I'm heading south, following the whales

Pharmacy will pilot me

Until I find myself some friendly quay

Winter storms may stir the sea

But winter storms will not sink me

Edited by pboaz
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Barrel one - the 6/7 note riff, even though it's quite catchy, tends to get a bit repetitive. Even when the the guitar breaks, it's carrying the same tune.It needs something to break it up.

Barrel two - Not sure whether the word 'pharmacy' is very ''rock and roll'' .... if the song is about being on drugs, or having an illness then I suppose it has some relevance, but if the words are literal........ I'm not sure.

Barrel three - Phrasing........ if there are too many words in a line, edit it. If there are too few, you can usually play with the timing, but too many can sound a bit naff.

'As the storm subsides I'm glad to be alive' I would put 'the storm subsides , 'glad to be alive'

nice guitar sound and catchy riff

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Very Herman & The Hermits!

Numero Uno... stop ragging on your voice... influences from two continents have yielded you a great one! Rather than taking voice lessons,

have a glass of wine and relax. I really like the lyrics.... this is the very first time...ever... that I've heard the word pharmacy in a song, that

means it's a keeper in my mind! Ok, back to the relax statement....structurally most everything is here (although a bridge or two might be

cool, not completely required) even the guitar strumming is perfect for this song, just feels a little tense. That's a hard strum pattern to make

"flow" and you do a pretty good job! During your intro it sounds like you're struggling and as the song progresses it "eases up" and feels nice

& comfy. So.... great song, back-rub, and consider making it even better with one each of an electric & acoustic instrumental bridges (BTW,

your acoustic guitar sound awesome!) .. followed by stardom :) BTW#2.... you're doing some nice midi work in there too! (one of my many

musical short comings) BTW#3.... I think the word count that Avit's (very well thought out.. I must add) post included, will correct itself as

you become more comfortable with singing this song over time.

More great stuff from the desert!

Rick

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Aside from the few nits (the guitar playing between 0:10 and 0:12 sounds off, the start of the lick at 0:57 I would have expected just a little earlier, the lick could benefit from a few more notes and a bridge) this is really enjoyable. Thanks for sharing.

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the vox isn't as bad as you say...song is actually neat. that 2nd guitar line reminds me of Harrison and the whole piece had a Traveling Wilburys feel.

i think the lyrics are quite intriguing w/ 'pharmacy' - the outro where you drop the drums out first is great

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I'm always attracted to Storms........but Winter Storms are ones I can't resist. Good stuff! Just remember to always have extra nails, and cloth for the sail, on hand, when entering that kind of storm.................. -Tom

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Thanks all for the comments and the detailed feedback. Very much appreciated.

Avit. On the repetition of the guitar motif. I think you're spot on. This is the kind of feedback I needed to work out where to go next with this. I lost a lot of objectivity during recording. But I stand by the use of the word 'pharmacy' - the song is a metaphor for battling depression. Storms/sea etc. not the most original metaphor, but I got into the imagery. On those 'pharmacy' lines it drops out of metaphor into literalism. Your points about phrasing and de-wording are excellent and I clearly need to work on that. Thanks ever so much for your critique! :)

Rick. Yep. Listening back now in the cold light of day, the acoustic guitars are tentative and stuttering. I'm not sure doubling them up really helps either. In order to try and make this singable I'm capoed at the 7th fret (!), but maybe I could redo this in Open D or something. That might also facilitate some more fluid guitar work to make things more interesting. As for relaxing, then yes, I think maybe I just need to practice this a lot before trying to record again, so the phrasing comes naturally. Thanks very much for the listen.

Ferry. Thanks for the comments. I'll definitely look at 'refreshing' the lead guitar!

ABV/Daren. You are a very kind man. Thanks as ever for the encouragement!

Cognac. I grew up fairly close to the sea, so it has always been a presence in my life. But now I live in the desert! Thanks for the kinds words

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Great "man and a guitar" type song.

The tempo is little bit odd for me at the beginning of the song.

You have great voice. Great stuff!

Thanks for Sharing.

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Interesting song and interesting lyric.

I think you have nothing to worry about your vocals except perhaps a certain reticence and a little lack of confidence in your voice.

That same sense of confidence would also do a lot for your guitar work. Not sure if it was the newness of the song , but i had a feeling of a certain level of ... tremulousness.... come thru in your playing.

That said, I liked very much your metaphor and lyric.

The "Pharmacy" reference made complete sense to me, by the way. :)

Overall, I thought this was pretty good!

Psyve

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All day I knew I listened to something last night in my feverish stupor that I wanted to get back to today, finally found it. Pboaz, I'm just going to say I like the tone of the vocal, your voice has a nice texture to it. This sounds a tad under-rehearsed, but as is, a fine sketch for the finished product. I love the notes you play on the electric, as well as the lyric. Fine job of writing here.

I always listen for the blend of message and tone. I believe this is on cue. Somehow, my mind keys in on the terminology you use, the word lee fits very well. The following the whales line is a syllable long I think.

Nice work on this one.

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Refusedrevivial. You're right on the beginning. The acoustics are out of time. It's disconcerting! Thanks for listening!

Psyve. Thanks for the comments. You're right on all. I am going to work to fix them. I think I was a little in hurry to 'finish' this, so the guitar and vocal are both, as McNP says so correctly, under-rehearsed. I'm also very glad you 'got' the pharmacy reference.

McNP -- I'm going to rehearse the vocal, so the phrasing comes naturally. It's all over the place right now. I'll hopefully iron out all the bugs in meter and timing as I do that. Then I'll record again.

Thanks everybody for listening. I think I have some great notes to get this where it needs to go. You are helping me improve as a songwriter.

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As per usual I didn't look at any reviews as to not taint my own opinion of what I listened to (with my eyes closed as you do!). First of all I thought your vocals were fine and were the best thing about the mix maybe slightly to "above" the mix but they were clear and in tune. I opened my eyes and looked at your lyrics when you went from storms and waves to a pharmacy and the light dawned and I realized you were being metaphorical!! clever and cool me like.

My biggest problem is with the guitar more than anything nothing wrong the the chord progression or anything but even at the beginning I felt the rhythm guitar felt a little uncomfortable with the chord changes and the timing seemed a little off or not right to my ears at times. I liked the lead bits in the song they were great.

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Darmin. Thanks for the crit. Very much appreciated.

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All. Thanks to everyone who gave such good pointers on this track. I've re-recorded the vocal (not sure the singing is any better, but hopefully the phrasing is!) and the guitars and played around with some other parts of the arrangement. Would be grateful for further listens...

Edited by pboaz

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Ha, this sounds like a new song!!!! Smiling cause you did good brother, nicely reworked. No nits from me.

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Ha, this sounds like a new song!!!! Smiling cause you did good brother, nicely reworked. No nits from me.

Thanks man. Appreciate your taking the time to take another listen. Thanks also for the kind words.

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Chords sound much better are much more natural and much better mix overall the tambourine works very well to. If someone forced my hand I would say I would like a bit more bass off the drums because I can't hear any of the bass drum and the snare is also a little "light" for my taste. Also the lead guitar is a little dry for my taste think it needs a bit of delay or something. However both those things are my personal taste only all in all much better mix enjoyed listening to it.

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Darmin. Thanks for taking another listen. I'm with you on the drums and the guitar sound.

For the drums I just threw down an Apple loop and actually forgot to add any compression, reverb or EQ.(doh!). That's pure Apple loop there.

On the guitar, I think I actually preferred the lead on the first recording. The setup was identical, but I was trying to break things up more second time around to make it more interesting -- to be honest what it really needs is a better guitarist (!). It's all in the fingers man...

Thanks again for your comments. Very much appreciated.

Edited by pboaz

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Much improved version, this mix. Right amount of reverb to the vocal to me. Nicely played acoustics, confidently sung. I would have liked the words 'may obscure' faster sung after each other so that 'obscure' is not emphasized. The last note of the electric guitar lick (which I really like) at 1:05 could be rung through more till you sing 'With'. Great variation in the drums. Again, great song.

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Ferry -- thanks very much for listening to the new version. The lead guitar is still a little awkward, you're right. I think I'll let this one a lone for a while now. There's another idea I want to work on.

Thanks as ever for the kind words and encouragement.

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Much better

Far more sea

Farmer sea

:turned:

come in at the start a smidgen before the bar starts and it won't sound rushed or sing the line before a bar before you start so you are more relaxed ( then erase it).

other than that

nice one :thumbup:

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Much better

Far more sea

Farmer sea

:turned:

? I don't geddit ? That line is about drugs/pharmacy -- using medication. So you've lost me a bit... :)

come in at the start a smidgen before the bar starts and it won't sound rushed or sing the line before a bar before you start so you are more relaxed ( then erase it).

other than that

nice one :thumbup:

Thanks man. Appreciate the kind words. I've only been singing for a few months so have a lot to learn. I'm hoping to improve substantially with time and practice, but if I don't then I'll seek to collaborate with a vocalist.

Cheers

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? I don't geddit ? That line is about drugs/pharmacy -- using medication. So you've lost me a bit... :)

Just musing what the listener would think you were singing if they didn't know the words

I'm clutching at straws ha ha

it sounds good

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I know it's been said, but the "pharmacy" lines really struck me. I like it! Do NOT rag on your voice. It's already good; it'll be better when you love it. It reminds me of the singer from British Sea Power.

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dude it's truly amazing to see how much you've worked on this one & how much the overall delivery is vastly more dynamic with the additional work you've done here-

i made some real time comments on SC. this is most def my new fav or yours :) sweet

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