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Some Original Music

AllanAllan Registered User
edited January 2009 in Artist's Corner
Hey guys. I feel like posting some stuff I've made. All of it is me, solo, with my guitar, harmonica, keyboard, and computer.

Some of you may know some of my songs from earlier, but I never posted anything about them here, so, well here you go.

I would like some critiques on song structure, singing, scales, lyrics--the whole kit'n'kaboodle. Really, be honest; I can take it.

So there's 5 songs. I've got more and if anyone shows interest I will post more!

Thanks!

Allan on
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Posts

  • JivesJives Registered User
    edited December 2008
    I'm halfway through the end

    Its pretty good, but I don't like the lyrics, they are very clichéd and seem fairly meaningless. The vocals just don't seem to mesh with the rest of that song very well

  • blakfeldblakfeld Registered User
    edited December 2008
    First of all. Sing is a good song. I enjoy it. A lot. I actually don't have anything to say about it. I may actually save it to listen to. The mix is bad but whatever, thats not what you're asking for.

    End - Not a bad song, I enjoyed listening to it... until the lead guitar came in. Drop that off and I could enjoy this song, but right now its too distracting. Although the breakdown was awesome, I enjoyed that quite a bit... and then that guitar came back in. Also, this and Sing is the only song where you seem to know your boundaries as a singer. I enjoy the lyrics and the tone of everything... but that guitar, or synth or whatever has got to go. You may want to try something much more on the subtle end. Maybe even find a nice synth strings to do the same thing. With this some embrace the sequenced sound. The music per se is not the emphasis, its all about the drums and the vocals, both of which are fine. For the lead try something much more subdued.

    Despair - A little too cheesy for me personally, but its not a bad song, and the tones fit pretty well. I enjoy the simple riffs but overall i'd call this a b-side. Also, know your voice. Because your voice isn't anywhere near as low as you seem to want it to be on this song. Lyrically nothing terribly insightful, but its enjoyable. The Journey esque solo is interesting but... eh.

    Fade Away - Love the lyrics. I think you'd benifit a lot from singing louder. I feel like you whispering, and for "Well together we'll just fade" I think being more dynamic would help a lot. Remember, singing is controlled yelling. Chord progression is simple, but thats not a bad thing in the slightest. Overall a really solid song.

    Melting - A weakpoint. Lyrically its not near as good as the others, and nothing stands out. Something you've been really good about with the other songs is that at no point was I bored listening to them. There were parts that I didn't care for, but something was going on. I dunno. I want to be constructive but I don't know what to say for this one.

    Sing - I enjoy this song thoroughly. My only problem is in the mix, but thats only because I'm a sound guy by trade. The riff is catchy. I really want a full produced version. I wish you'd sing bigger. The "It was late, we took a drive" Id like that to be sung, not whispered. But from a writing standpoint on all fronts an excellent tune.

    Hope that helps at least a little. Overall very solid tunes. I look forward to hearing other things. It makes me want to break out midi controller and go to work.

  • AllanAllan Registered User
    edited December 2008
    That does help, thanks!

    "Melting" is a song I wrote in 10 minutes and only recorded once. I thought it was kinda silly so I included it with my other stuff even though you're right it is really out of place.

    "Know your voice" is a good piece of advice for me, especially now, since when I started making some of this music I was still a little clueless about how to go about doing it. I kinda put everything together that sounded good and didn't really think about "Hey, am I able to sing this?"

    I am thinking about taking vocal lessons, just because I think they would really help. I have pretty good pitch but there are still mistakes I make, so I think some formal training will help.

    There is only so much you can learn singing along to the radio, y'know?

    Anyway, I am glad you enjoy some of the songs! Most of them are rough drafts and songs that I only recorded once or twice, so with a little tweaking I might be able to fix them up a bit. I'll try and make the lead in "End" more subtle (because I've heard a lot of people say, now, that it is too loud and distracting), and "Melting"... well I'll just keep that online as a bonus song for those who want it!

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  • blakfeldblakfeld Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Anytime! If I can do anything to help a fellow musician lemme know. Especially with singing, thats what I do.

  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    @blakfeld- I might take you up on the offer as well.

    @Allan: I'll try to listen to your songs before the nights over and post my thoughts one them :)

    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Spoiler:
  • blakfeldblakfeld Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Nappuccino wrote: »
    @blakfeld- I might take you up on the offer as well.

    @Allan: I'll try to listen to your songs before the nights over and post my thoughts one them :)

    Go for it. I need an excuse to be a more active musician as it is

  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    @End: the guitar is much too loud during most of the song and when it gets played over lyrics, its hard to focus on either of them. There are a few "awww yeah" moments where everything just clicks. One is about mid way though the song where the piano thunders in at the same time the guitar does and, because they're both loud it works perfectly. However, for much of the song (save that and the solo) the guitar overpowers everything else.

    @despair: I'm really not a fain of synth violins... that kind of ruined the song for me. I'll have to be honest- they're the main reason why I almost couldn't make it though this one. The lyrics were... alright I suppose. Nothing too special however. (There are also several times your voice goes off key and i'm pretty sure that wasn't intentional :) ) After the first verse however, I like the little distorted keyboard playing. The guitar solo was also pretty interesting but I felt that the sudden cut off didn't do it any favors. A different ending and I think you'd have a pretty decent song here. (and if you'd get rid of the synth violins lol)


    @ Fadeaway: This sounds like a track in desperate need of a do-over. The volume of the guitar and your voice are constantly battling with each other and, for me, it makes it difficult to understand what you're saying. The guitar also doesn't sound very good.... not that the chord progression is bad, but it sounds like you're strumming as hard as you can and I think you could get a better tone if you eased up a bit. (tunning your guitar prolly wouldn't hurt either)

    @melting: I don't think this is a bad song... more a song that needs some work. The lyrics seem halfway between David Bowie and Flight of the Conchords- Some lines seem kind of funny, other lines seem just be more spaced out and trippy. But with some more fine tunning I think you would work this into being something pretty interesting.

    @Sing: Far and away the best opening you have here. It's catchy and gets me interested immediately. Thankfully, its followed up with equally great music the whole way. I can't really think of a decent thing to say except that maybe (read... maybe) during the staccato sections you could add some syncopation. They just seem a little too empty. But this song... I'm saving and putting on my ipod (if you don't mind that is)

    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Spoiler:
  • LoomdunLoomdun Registered User
    edited December 2008
    I hate music with lyrics/voice in them so yah.

    splat
  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Loomdun wrote: »
    I hate music with lyrics/voice in them so yah.

    Surely you don't hate the good music with lyrics/voice in them...

    Listen to his song Sing. It's great I tell ya.

    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Spoiler:
  • blakfeldblakfeld Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Also side note to both of you musicians, i'm a professional sound guy if yall need some help with recording, I'll be happy to let you pick my brain

  • AllanAllan Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Nappuccino wrote: »
    @End: the guitar is much too loud during most of the song and when it gets played over lyrics, its hard to focus on either of them. There are a few "awww yeah" moments where everything just clicks. One is about mid way though the song where the piano thunders in at the same time the guitar does and, because they're both loud it works perfectly. However, for much of the song (save that and the solo) the guitar overpowers everything else.

    @despair: I'm really not a fain of synth violins... that kind of ruined the song for me. I'll have to be honest- they're the main reason why I almost couldn't make it though this one. The lyrics were... alright I suppose. Nothing too special however. (There are also several times your voice goes off key and i'm pretty sure that wasn't intentional :) ) After the first verse however, I like the little distorted keyboard playing. The guitar solo was also pretty interesting but I felt that the sudden cut off didn't do it any favors. A different ending and I think you'd have a pretty decent song here. (and if you'd get rid of the synth violins lol)


    @ Fadeaway: This sounds like a track in desperate need of a do-over. The volume of the guitar and your voice are constantly battling with each other and, for me, it makes it difficult to understand what you're saying. The guitar also doesn't sound very good.... not that the chord progression is bad, but it sounds like you're strumming as hard as you can and I think you could get a better tone if you eased up a bit. (tunning your guitar prolly wouldn't hurt either)

    @melting: I don't think this is a bad song... more a song that needs some work. The lyrics seem halfway between David Bowie and Flight of the Conchords- Some lines seem kind of funny, other lines seem just be more spaced out and trippy. But with some more fine tunning I think you would work this into being something pretty interesting.

    @Sing: Far and away the best opening you have here. It's catchy and gets me interested immediately. Thankfully, its followed up with equally great music the whole way. I can't really think of a decent thing to say except that maybe (read... maybe) during the staccato sections you could add some syncopation. They just seem a little too empty. But this song... I'm saving and putting on my ipod (if you don't mind that is)

    Really appreciate your input here, Nap. Mostly just wanted to clarify that "Despair" has a synth cello for the background, but the recurring melody is a real violin, as is the end lick. My friend recorded it for me and as you can imagine I was blown away!

    Feel free to put any of my music anywhere you want it--other than on other websites claiming that it is your own (which I know none of you would do, anyway).

    You're right about "Fade Away"'s guitar sounding bad... I was playing an electric without an amp so I was pretty much just strumming as hard as I could to get some sound to record.

    Again, thank you for the input, and in the future when I get more work done on some songs I'll post it here.

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  • AllanAllan Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Gunna share a few more songs here that I've had tucked away for a bit. Any and all input appreciated!
    • The Line - All synth, no vocals - One of my earliest songs
    • Leaving - About 6 months ago - My first time playing harmonica in a recorded song - Still need practice writing for it
    • Catch You - Pretty happy with this - The second song I made for an "album" I was constructing - Need to fix the ending - Kinda simple, kinda nice
    • TABB - A parody of a "Hardcore" song
    • Mars - Kinda in the same category as "Melting", this song is a little too long and too unpolished even for my acoustic stuff IMO, but it kinda has a charm to it that I enjoy - Lately I have just been practicing writing short guitar solos, so that is pretty much what this song is a faucet for

    Again guys, input appreciated! First thing(s) that comes to your mind! Thanks

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  • acadiaacadia Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Sing, Catch You, and End are all great. Could definitely use a rerecord (all of them). I'm not a fan of the vocal filter on Catch You, but the music sounds great.

    Blakfeld is right on when he says 'know your voice'. You don't have a particularly deep voice, and you know this. You should really try harder to write to that.

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  • MustangMustang Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Just going to give you my honest thoughts while I listen, sorry if they're harsh, just want to be honest with you.

    End: guitar is fucking awful, generally pointless and the tone is agonising. Apart from that not too bad, but a bit one dimensional. Your voice works pretty well in it though.

    Despair: The synth doesn't really work, sound is really thin. Ever heard of a kazoo? That's what it sounds like. Over all the lyrics and melody are pretty cliche, one for the bin I think. The guitar solo is trying to be a bit too artsy and doesn't really save it in any meaningful way.

    Fadeaway: Sounds like dicking around without the guitar plugged in, no good I'm afraid. Lots of cliche lyrics, I think this is beyond saving.

    Melting: Same again, yet somehow more pointless. I think even you know this one is no good.

    Sing: Ahh here we go, this is better. Yeah, this has got potential. With some more work and a decent recording this could be a good song. I like it.


    End and Sing are the only two songs that show potential, the rest are just meaningless rubbish. That being said, pretty much every musician has 20 shit songs to 1 good song. So I think there is potential definately here, just try not to get too smart with your songs. Your lyrics need work and you need to avoid cliche's, but I think overall those two songs aren't too bad.

    The record companies aren't going to be knocking on your door anytime soon, but as I said, it shows some potential, so keep working at it.

  • blakfeldblakfeld Registered User
    edited December 2008
    I'm about to be late for work, but I'm listening to Catch You and reading other peoples posts, and I think I may have had a misunderstanding, are these demo recordings or ones you were planning on publishing? Because make no mistake, not a one of these has a passable mix. In fact, it sounds like most of them are just panned to center, have no EQ, no compression, or anything else that is required to bring out a good mix.

    Also, catch you is a good song. I'll talk about the others after work

  • AllanAllan Registered User
    edited December 2008
    They're all just demo recordings. I haven't done much work when it comes to mixing and frankly I have no idea how to do that kinda stuff.

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  • PumazPumaz Registered User
    edited December 2008
    I haven't read any of the other posts so what I say may be redundant.

    For the most part you definitely have the right idea about composing it. I like violins and it's nice to see them applied in more creative fields then people think of them. However your biggest problem rains true through all your songs. You play virtually the same chords over and over and over. If you listen to music you need variation. slow intro leads to a upbeat middle with a mellow tail end then a big finish, for instance. You had the right idea in "Swing" but you just did the end part. I find it difficult to listen to music that offers no time of stimulation. You also need to stop messing with your voice so much. It's either from the basic recording equipment you're using, in which case is obviously nothing you can do at this time. Or you're trying to hard to do different things with your vocals. You need to work out your style of singing and practice that. Don't try and spice up your song with various layers of lyrics. Work on using your voice as a instrument to carry out different notes rather than changing your recording to compensate.

    Overall though I like the ideas and direction you are heading. Really you just need more practice...and as we all know time is the answer to that. Good work though. Playing that variety of instruments is no small accomplishment, even at your level.

    Also, it doesn't hurt to have another band member...I can't think of any great artists that totally composes & performs solo (maybe I listen to the wrong genre). Keep at it though I'd like to hear more.

    Also curious who your influences are, Death Cab for Cutey is obvious. If it's already posted Ill just have to look.

  • AllanAllan Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Pumaz!--all good information, here... nothing redundant!

    You're right about my chord progression repeating a lot--I get lazy and sometimes through the song uninspired, so I just continue with the same chords because I'm usually too tired of it to think about anything innovative or whatever. Either way I do need to pay closer attention to it.

    I'm trying to mix up how my songs start and finish--personally I like songs that build which is why most of them start out slow, speed up, and the finish big with a quiet tail ending. However, I want to try to get some variety in there like you say.

    Thanks again for your input, Pumaz!

    In very recent news, here is a new song I just made tonight. The "progression" might change around a bit too much (for it only being 1:30 long), but overall I like it.

    Amazement

    Love to hear your guys' opinions on that one!

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  • AllanAllan Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Oh, and as for influences:
    • RADIOHEAD
    • JOE PURDY
    • MINUS THE BEAR
    • TOADIES
    • INCUBUS
    • MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK
    • JOSHUA RADIN
    • THIRD EYE BLIND
    • DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
    • SISTER HAZEL
    • MUSE
    • MAROON 5
    • THE KILLERS
    • JACK'S MANNEQUIN
    • EDDIE VEDDER
    • COUNTING CROWS
    • SILVERSUN PICKUPS

    EDIT: I did some work on the song "Sing" and, IMO, it is a lot better now. Lemme hear some feedback:

    Sing Version C

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  • AllanAllan Registered User
    edited January 2009
    Reworked "Catch You" a bit per request of Acadia.

    Catch You

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  • AllanAllan Registered User
    edited January 2009
    Don't mean to quad-post here, but I don't think anyone minds as long as I continually supply stuff to be judged/critiqued?

    New song I have been working on for a few days.

    Clothes

    Thinking it need to be synched up a bit better, and needs another instrument or something, but I am unsure what. Also, there is a future guitar solo planned, but I haven't had time to record it yet.

    What do you guys think?

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  • Grim OutlookGrim Outlook Registered User
    edited January 2009
    that's definitely my favourite song of yours hands down.

    yeah i agree with adding a little something to mix it up a little, but it still sounds great the way it is.

  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Sing is the only song I listened to and I think it has potential, but it's missing a little something. I would try maybe an accordian, as the style of the song seems to fit.

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  • AllanAllan Registered User
    edited January 2009
    Sing is the only song I listened to and I think it has potential, but it's missing a little something. I would try maybe an accordian, as the style of the song seems to fit.

    Just wanted to make sure that you listened to the newer version, which, though I admit still needs some things, is better IMO.

    Also I updated the link up at the top so any newcomers will be able to hear that version, too.

    (Same with Catch You)

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  • happy_killmorehappy_killmore Registered User
    edited January 2009
    if some of these had a better overall mix done to them I wouldnt hesitate to put it in my regular listening playlists. a lot of potential here and getting maybe a professional recording done for them would mean all the difference.

    keep em coming, I look forward to more

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  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Allan wrote: »
    Sing is the only song I listened to and I think it has potential, but it's missing a little something. I would try maybe an accordian, as the style of the song seems to fit.

    Just wanted to make sure that you listened to the newer version, which, though I admit still needs some things, is better IMO.

    Also I updated the link up at the top so any newcomers will be able to hear that version, too.

    (Same with Catch You)

    The recording sounds weird in the new version. I'm not sure if that's intentional or not, but I liked the old one better recording-wise.

    It has a bit more to it now, but I still think you need a violin or an accordion in the background (or both), at least during the chorus.

    EDIT: The drums seem a bit weak, too.

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  • AllanAllan Registered User
    edited January 2009
    TBH I was messing around with reverb and mighta screwed up the recording more than how I was trying to fix it.

    Either way, though, every thing I do just helps me improve that much more, so if it doesn't sound that great in this version maybe it will in the next!

    Will try to work out some good violin/accordion parts in the mean time.

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  • AllanAllan Registered User
    edited January 2009
    if some of these had a better overall mix done to them I wouldnt hesitate to put it in my regular listening playlists. a lot of potential here and getting maybe a professional recording done for them would mean all the difference.

    keep em coming, I look forward to more
    Happy, I have not even thought about professional recordings, but that is a huge compliment and I thank you for enjoying the stuff this far! I will try and fix up the recording as best as I can until the future, though

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  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Allan wrote: »
    TBH I was messing around with reverb and mighta screwed up the recording more than how I was trying to fix it.

    Either way, though, every thing I do just helps me improve that much more, so if it doesn't sound that great in this version maybe it will in the next!

    Will try to work out some good violin/accordion parts in the mean time.

    :^: A good attitude produces good work.

    And if the violin or accordian doesn't sound good to you, ditch it. I'm not a musician, so do what you think is best.

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  • AllanAllan Registered User
    edited January 2009
    I haven't been able to try out the violin/accordian part yet but will get to it in the future. I will be sure to post whatever I come up with here.

    In the meantime, though, I will leave you guys with this.

    Clothes

    I am very proud of the lyrics and pretty much the song as a whole. Still needs some editing/mastering I suppose but like I said before that isn't really my forte. Love to hear some feedback on this one!

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  • blakfeldblakfeld Registered User
    edited January 2009
    Allan wrote: »
    if some of these had a better overall mix done to them I wouldnt hesitate to put it in my regular listening playlists. a lot of potential here and getting maybe a professional recording done for them would mean all the difference.

    keep em coming, I look forward to more
    Happy, I have not even thought about professional recordings, but that is a huge compliment and I thank you for enjoying the stuff this far! I will try and fix up the recording as best as I can until the future, though

    If you want I can clean up the mix for you, although the new version of Sing is pretty rockin'. I don't care for the way the vocals sound. I think it takes away. Try this instread, get rid of the tinny sound, so rock back the reverb, add some of the mids back into the EQ, and all that good stuff, and instead open up your compressor, and just crank up the threshold. That will giv eyou the dirty sound you seem to be going for, but keep it clear. With the EQ on the vocals, boost the lower end of your range (probably 1.6-2K), and cut a bit higher and lower.

  • AllanAllan Registered User
    edited January 2009
    Will work on that, blakfeld!

    Unfortunately it looks like my server went down when I moved my site so I'll have to reupload these to my new one. Will keep you guys updated!

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