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Music,  Song Fu / SpinTunes

Judging the Spin

As competitors in SpinTunes 4, we have the opportunity to cast a vote for the ultimate winner of the competition. In the spirit of the event, we felt it was only fair to provide some feedback to the artists in the form of reviews, as those we received as competitors were very welcome and gave us some pointers as we wrote each new song. Here are our thoughts in reverse order of preference:

David LeDuc – Fear
The tone of this song comes across as being much lighter than the lyrics would suggest. Vocals in the chorus are sad and sound good, but we struggled a bit with what David was trying to get across with this song. Of course, vague has its place, too, but for example, the second line seems to take away from the first. As for the verses, there’s a feeling of trying to squeeze prose into a rap form and it doesn’t really work – it was as though the sentences’ meaning were more important that their musical flow (which should raise rap above being just speaking over music). I did enjoy the line “I used to be afraid of singing you my songs, but now that’s overshadowed by how loud you sing along”. The backing sounds were not particularly interesting (just rhythm with no melody element) and the song would have benefited from some more variety in rhythm.
Edric Haleen – Exultation!
We’re not entirely sure whether a rain dance is a song, but at least it didn’t affect Austria. This sounds like Edric had a whole lot of fun putting it together, with a rhythm and feel that seem authentically African, despite Edric’s refusal to say which language this is (and Google translate’s inability to assist). So, is this a language or a code or something else? It’s not backwards masking – we checked. That is our problem with this track. Without a translation, no matter how well the song is performed, then it ceases to be a song with any form of meaning and is instead an instrumental performed with the voice. On that basis, we would have been very tempted to disqualify this song, but then, that’s probably the point, isn’t it Edric?
Jess Scherer – Threadbare
Why is the song sung from the point of view of a man? Surely women can have bad reputations too? We did enjoy the sentiment behind the lyrics, however. The backing music was a little lacklustre. Certainly, simplicity has its place, but here we just felt wanting a little more. The tempo makes the song feel defeated – a little faster would make it a bit more hopeful. Some nice harmony work on the backing vocals – very sweet sound.
Steve Durand – A Beautiful Voice
We love the idea behind this song, but Steve, really there’s nothing wrong with your voice – nobody could call Dylan’s voice beautiful, but he coped okay. This is a great song – I don’t think we can fault it. It skips along, has a wonderful variety of sounds and some very effective imagery. And I wish I could whistle like that.

You can listen to the tracks below or download the whole album in one go to listen to anytime:

One Comment

  • Edric Haleen

    (Since you asked me a direct question, I’ll go ahead and respond. But first — let me say up front that I have no problem with either your comments or your concerns…)


    The answer to your question is, “No.” You actually caught me quite by surprise when I read of your temptation to consider DQ-ing Exulatation! I recognize that I’ve certainly made quite a “career” out of tiptoeing just within the boundaries of the various songwriting challenges in which I’ve participated — but this wasn’t one of them. I truly believed myself to be squarely within both the letter and the spirit of the “law.”

    What I DID intend (by withholding both the name of the language and a translation of the lyric) was to emphasize the universality of an EMOTION (which is why I left the title of the song in English). I believe that the feeling of joy is readily translatable across borders and cultures, even if the language being used to CONVEY that joy is not. (In the same way that someone can be moved by hearing “Nessun Dorma” or “Time To Say Goodbye,” even if they [1] don’t speak Italian and [2] don’t bother to look up the translation.)

    I was REALLY surprised to read that, in your opinion, in the absence of a translation, the song CEASES to be a SONG! That’s a semantic point that I’ll surely think more deeply about over the next few days (as it’s an interesting thought) — but again, it’s a thought that was wholly unanticipated. (It certainly does SOUND like me though, doesn’t it? To force everyone to think more deeply about the nature of by presenting something that not only raises the question, but whose success or failure hangs on the ultimate definition of the at hand?)

    (Just to let you know? My initial thoughts in this direction were the plethora of 1950’s and 1960’s hits with nonsense lyrics, with all of their “doo-wops” and “bop-shoo-bop-shoo-bops” and “rama-lama-ding-dongs” and “ob-la-dis” and whatnot…)


    So — to conclude. You, of course, already know that you are correct in saying that it’s not backwards tracking. There are no hidden messages if you play the song in reverse. You are also correct when you say that I had a GREAT deal of fun (mixed with large measures of frustration and effort and initial misgivings and fears about whether or not I’d actually be able to pull this thing off) while putting this song together. (And when I discovered for myself earlier this week that Google Translate both [1] recognized that the text was of foreign origin and wanted to translate it and yet [2] failed to deliver a faithful translation of same, I laughed — with a healthy amount of appreciation, but also with a small amount of glee…)

    However — even though I may have dropped a couple of places in your rankings, I’m going to “stick to my guns.” I’m going to continue to withhold the name of the language, and I’m going to continue to refuse to provide any more “rigorous” translation of the lyric. The hints I gave in the song bio, the title that’s given in English, and then, ultimately, the song itself are all the more explication I choose to provide. I trust in the song to convey the emotion, and I leave it to the listener (if they’re so interested) to be resourceful enough to come up with the translation for themselves…