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Hey Guys,

There are so many experienced people here it would be a shame not to take advantage of the knowledge. This seems like a great opportunity for some feedback.

What do you guys think of this track?

I know it isn't a "song for radio", but that wasn't my intention when I wrote and recorded it. This would be more of a deep album cut. I was looking at going for a mood/theme, and trying to re-enforce it through instrumentation, performance and production. Here it is:

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Alfie (Vox71)

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anonymous Thu, 05/01/2014 - 02:57

It's an interesting track. I kinda picture it as background music under a scene in something like Sons Of Anarchy. The only real critique I have is based on a compliment, LOL.. Your voice is almost too polished and good for this track. You've got edge and attitude through through the use of the effects, but your voice needs more attitude, something rougher around the edges to match the theme and attitude of the music.
From a songwriter's point of view, I'm undecided as to the middle major section. The composer in me says "nice". The listener in me says "what just happened there?"
All in all though, a cool track.

Vox71 Thu, 05/01/2014 - 04:47

You are too kind, DonnyThompson. Vocals are always something I am so self conscious of. I sing through necessity. I am strictly a hobbyist so if I want something done, I have to do it myself for the most part. This, unfortunately, limits/hinders songs by my ability. I don't consider myself a "singer". There are competency, and confidence, issues there. I agree with you. I wish I could have given it some vocal attitude (it needs it).

I totally hear what you are saying about the major section of the song. I know the song totally takes a left turn at that point. It bugged me fir a while. However, i was trying to convey some positivity, and a "breaking free from the prison" through realization. Switching to a major progression seemed like a logical thing to do. Agreed, it sounds almost like two different songs shoved together, and told they have to play nice.

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anonymous Thu, 05/01/2014 - 06:12

"I don't consider myself a "singer"...

LOL... neither did Dylan. In a case like this, you don't want a pitch-perfect performance. You want attitude. I wouldn't want to hear someone like Steve Perry singing this. It would totally ruin it.
I hear people more along the lines of Tom Waits, or Howlin' Wolf, or Ronny Van Zandt singing this track...

And, just so I'm being clear, it's not that the middle section is bad, Vox. To the contrary, it's a very well thought out piece - but, in the sense that you actually have an entirely different song there.

I played the whole song several times to see if the middle section might grow on me, and, well, it didn't. Sorry. ;)

There are songs where those kinds of drastic change-ups have worked very well.

Sgt Pepper's A Day In The Life is a classic example of this, shifting from Lennon's dream-like "I read the news today, oh boy..." section to McCartney's poppy and upbeat "Woke up, got outta bed, dragged a comb across my head.."

They actually started out as two separate songs, and John and Paul decided to meld them together, and in that case, and in context of the conceptual type of theme of that album, it worked very well.

The middle section you have is almost too positive.

You start out with a very cool "delta blues" vibe; you can almost see the chain gang, out working under the hot sun, on a dusty road as the camera pans in through the waves of heat coming off the pavement. You set this up extremely well.

But then, that middle section comes in and, well, I got confused - which, in my case, is not all that hard to do - LOL... I like the desperation that the song initially puts forth, I like the hopelessness. I kinda felt let down when you threw in the positive resolve. Songs don't always need a happy ending.

I'm not talking about technical recording or mix stuff here, this is strictly songwriting. Now, all that being said, this is just my own opinion, from one songwriter to another. Others might certainly disagree.

Take this for what it's worth. I don't have any gold records hanging on my walls, or Grammy's on my shelf. ;)

BTW, you can call me Donny, everyone else here does. :)

Vox71 Thu, 05/01/2014 - 06:47

Thanks, Donny. Regardless of qualifications (grammies/gold records), I think everyone's opinion matters. Songwriting, by it's very nature, requires an audience. I believe (personally anyway) that the songwriter wants to provide a positive experience for that audience. The subjective nature of any kind of art aesthetics is, obviously, going to come into play when the the piece doesn't appeal to everybody. Conversely, when a song appeals to a majority of it's listeners, I believe, the artist has somehow (magically?) tapped into one of those ethereal "Universal truths" where art aesthetics is concerned. That is a rare, and beautiful, thing. All that being said, I also try to write what i like to play, and hear. Sometimes successfully, often times, not.

Long story short: everyone's opinions matter, and (in my case) are appreciated. Thanks again, Donny.

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Vox71 Thu, 05/01/2014 - 06:51

By the way, Howlin' Wolf is my favourite Chess artists, and one of my favourite vocalists. Tom Waites is another one of my favourite singer/songwriters. Unfortunately, I don't think there is enough bourbon, cigarettes and late nights on this earth for me to even get near that kind of vocal goodness. ;)

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