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The Mare and The Tortoise

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Author Comments

NGADM & all that. Round 1!
Poppy vocal stuff. Used a Cort j-bass, some crappy wooden drum, my big fat hands and my big fat mouth.


I was impressed that you made a pop song sound good. You're very good at this genre, and you have an excellent voice.

(I couldn't figure out how to start this review so just hold on while I talk about the stuff in random order)
The vocals are of course what sets this one somewhat apart from most of the other submissions, and the track is heavily focused around them. The vocal harmonies really do the trick in this song. They sound pretty unprocessed and I really appreciate that, gives the whole piece a charm and a sense of honesty. You've mixed them into the track excellently too, they're perfectly clear but don't drown out anything else either. The lyrics are pretty okay, kinda cutesy, but they didn't teach me anything about life so to speak. I don't know to which extent the "I've fallen and I can't get up" is a reference to the 1987 commercial, but I kinda chuckle inside every time because it sounds so ridiculous. Using your voice and hands for percussion is a nice touch too and fits this track like a glove... or a sock... or a condom or whatever the fuck you wear to keep your hands warm

I don't know if it's a guitar riff because it sounds more like you strummed that on the upper strings of a bass guitar, but whatever the instrument is that fills the role of the rhythm guitar, sounds like you might want to tune or intonate it, or swap it with something, err, better. What I said about the tune having its charm still applies but let's not too excited here. I really loved the bassline of this one, it has some subtle variations that make it feel like there's at least some progress (even though there really isn't) and the leading tone at 1:55 somehow became my favourite part of the song.

I actually really liked this track despite the obvious repetition issues that I'm sure have been mentioned 10-20 times in other reviews by now. The mixing is so modest and lovely and the vocals and everything are so lush that I could listen to it for ages without getting annoyed. Still, the main point where the song is lacking is amount of content so get to work on that I guess.

7 points for sounds and instrumentation.
6 points for composition and melody/harmony.
8 points for theme/originality/other things that might impress.

Overall impression: 7.0

midimachine responds:

cheeeeers for the review! yeah i can't play guitar so i just play the top strings of the bass and pretend i'm cool!

Ask and ye shall receive... Told you I'd get to reviewing this sooner or later!

I'm gonna be honest, there wasn't a lot about this that I really enjoyed... I mean, what was there was played good, and I did genuinely enjoy the vocal harmonies in the background. But... yeah... on to my next section.

What I didn't like... Honesty is appreciated? Yes? Good...
The guitar part was boring as hell, and really had nothing to it and IMO was a little too quiet in the mix in comparison to the bass.
I don't know if I'm crazy, because everyone disagreed with me it seems, but I didn't enjoy your main vocals much at all, it constantly sounded like you were struggling to find the right pitch, and bits here and there sounded very forced and unnatural... examples being the high note at 2:01, and the rise at around 1:48... Both of those sounded horribly forced to me. And to be brutally honest, I think running with light auto tune would have done the vocals good... Not T-Pain... but just slight pitch correction.
As mentioned above, I have an issue with the mixing, when all was said and done, the only things that stood out were the vocals and the bass line when things picked up... The guitar sort of faded off into nowhere (I know it was still there... just shy and in hiding), and the "percussion" may as well have been non-existent.
On top of all this, I really didn't see practically any creativity put into this song... I mean, I know it's pop.. and pop by its very nature is pretty much devoid of creativity... but for the purpose of this competition, I really think this is a little too "safe".

To be brutally honest, most of the points I gave you for this one came from the background vocals and the effort you put into them. Because the song itself I felt was... just... boring... cliche... and relying way too heavily on the vocals to get by. Considering all of the above... I gave you a 5/10.

midimachine responds:

cheers for the review and for sitting through it all haha... i can't play guitar very well at all :P
autotune was definitely something i considered. normally i do use at least a little bit of pitch correction BUT it was getting annoying to apply here because I wasn't tuned to A440 (haha), but idk about being forced and unnatural, that's kinda just how i sing i suppose!

Here is your personal review for your round 1 submission! Remember that the score might be a little lower than I would normally give, I'm being a tad harsher than I'd normally be for the NGADM.

The Good:
-Vocal work is really good, particularly the vocal percussion panning back and forth! That sounds very good.
-Mixing is nice, though there's not very many instruments, so I doubt that was too difficult.
-Wasn't quite as repetitive or boring as most pop, so points for that.

The Not-So-Good:
-Unfortunately, as most pop has this problem... it's VERY repetitive. The vocal work makes up for it for the most part, but still. Needs more variation, even as pop.
-The outro could have been done quite a bit better.

Overall: Sadly, the repetition brings this down quite a bit, but I did like this, particularly for pop. I'll give it a 7.2 because it's clean, there's more creative percussion than what most people do, and hey, I liked it.

midimachine responds:

Hey man thanks for your time and helpful review! I agree that the outro kinda just trails off... I definitely missed an opportunity there. UMMMMM the thing about mixing less instruments that's easy is just the instrumentation part - like I still put just as much thought and effort into a mix with 5 instruments as opposed to 50 and when I do write a piece with a fuckton of instruments I try to get all the balancing done in the writing part, hehe. Thanks again!

This is an NGADM Round 1 Review.


Now this has some of the most impressive vocals I've ever heard on Newgrounds. I mean, I knew you were really good at singing, but I never knew you were this good. And other than that, you've got some interesting rhythm-guitar stuff, great structure, excellent mixing... yeah this is really good. Nie work!

As you might've guessed, what I think is the most enjoyable aspect of this submission would undoubtedly be those vocals. There we just a few rare instances when the vocals were a little off tune, but otherwise they sound really really good and I'd expect to hear this standard of vocal quality on the radio (especially that little phrase at 1:47). Fantastic vocal harmonies, you can form a one-man acapella band on your own, I swear. The lyrics are awfully cheesy, but I've never cared much for lyrics before and cheesy lyrics don't really retract much from the song. You're probably one of the best male singers on Newgrounds, I swear.

The mixing is all very impressive too. Everything is really clear and easy to hear, despite it all being recordings rather than samples (which are inarguably a lot harder to mix). Sure, I don't have much to commend you on considering you're not really using many instruments here, but still, one can notice that this is extremely well-mixed regardless. Flawless amounts of reverb and perfect EQing. The good mix also made it very easy to hear what the vocals are saying. The instrumentation you used is also good, albeit simple. You've modestly recorded so little melodic/percussive instruments that the final result sounds wonderfully "home-made" and laid-back, especially when you threw in those moderately reverbed claps. Structure is good, intro and ending are both fine, transitions are nailed, composition is simple and likable (love that little chromatic phrase at 1:54)... really this is all so good.

My only real issue with this track is that it gets pretty uninteresting later on in the track. The sole thing that really saves this track from being outright boring would be the different lyrics. I mean, it's not repetitive or anything, but you can only keep a simple guitar and percussive pattern going on behind vocals for so long before it starts feeling like there's something missing. While I love the simple and relaxed feel you were going for here, throughout my first listen I was secretly wishing that the song would move onto something new. You know, a new instrument or a totally different mood or anything to keep the track sounding fresh and new.

That's me just nitpicking though, really. This is a nice refreshing track that seriously sounds like something I wouldn't find out of place on the radio. Excellent work man, keep it up!



midimachine responds:

Lyrics are dumb and I hate writing them but I can't just slap random words in or nothing but oohs and aahs or it sounds even stupider to me :v UMMMM yeah I should've definitely thrown in another instrument to pad the mix out a bit more, was a little pressed for time though. Also all my hardware synths are either packed up or out of batteries haha. So yeah, cheers for the review! With these and BFP's reviews I think I'll have a really good idea of what you guys are fully expecting from the participants of round 2 and should hopefully be able to meet and exceed expectations :)

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Credits & Info


3.95 / 5.00

Aug 14, 2012
7:54 AM EDT
File Info
7.9 MB
3 min 27 sec

Licensing Terms

Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.