The first thing that stood out to me was the warmth of this song. The synths effectively punctuate the vocals after every lyric, which I love. It’s a very chill track which reminds me a lot of something Imogen Heap might make. The vocoder introduced at 1:03 is a neat backup element, and I appreciate how it progresses almost naturally throughout the song, making the piece dreamy-sounding.
Since the song’s pace itself is slower and relaxed, however, the random trills in the singing appear out-of-place and forced. When I first heard them, I got the sense that they were more vocal acrobatics than anything and, for me, don’t add much to the melody. (To his credit, Zip’s voice is near-perfect pitch!) I would have enjoyed hearing Zip add a bit more variety, note-wise; although they were in the right key, they sounded almost monotonous after a while, like you didn’t enjoy singing them. I know the song IS about rainfall, after all, but there didn’t seem to be much emotion behind the vox. The syllables are especially pronounced as well, which made me focus more on your words rather than their meaning (“sever-t mind”, “what it Twants to send”).
The middle part was also confusing. The pseudo-rapping took the song in a strange direction (understandably, rapping into a slower BPM can be tricky!), and the mix got a little off-balance here as I heard distortion coming from the vocal end. I also would have liked Steam to add a smoother bassline to blend more easily with the vox, instead of the deep blips that stand out a bit more than the rest of the elements. The song gets muddy here for me, as there’s too much going on with the music and vocals at the same time. As a listener I wanted to come up for air with some sort of break in the singing for relief.
I love both of your styles, and I understand you wanted to go in a new direction with this piece, and that’s something very commendable (I even tend to stick with one or two genres myself). I felt it could have used more “heavenly” aspects – less classic-Steam xylophone and punchy bass, higher harmonies, and an ending that didn’t include a sudden seventh (perhaps a major chord here, as it would finalize the track).
Overall, the singing and music were produced well, and I can tell there was a lot of time put into it. It was definitely something I haven’t heard from either of you before, and probably one of the most unique songs I’ve heard in awhile. Thanks for making it.
NGADM Round One Score: 7.2
Oh damn, any slight preconceptions that I had about you two being a one-trick pony have just been entirely annihilated. This is entirely different from the kind of music I'd expect from both of you, but still has the strengths present in your usual work - brilliant and detailed composition, varied sections and moods, and an intrepid, addictive originality and uniqueness whose conception still eludes me. I don't get how you two can think of such obscure-sounding ideas which still sound fresh and grow on me with every listen. This one in particular has a lovely atmosphere, and a surprising amount of detail in the instrumentation and sonic palette. It really shows that you're both dynamic and can go outside your respective comfort zones while still creating a solid track.
One particular thing I enjoyed in this track was the mood changes. You start with a pretty low-key, ballad-like introduction, have an absolutely brilliant mood change at 1:10 to a more cheery tone, back to the original mood and then you have this eerie section at 2:49 very characteristic of steampianist's musical style. Not only are they excellent ways to bring in variety, but you have such great transitions between them that they are seamlessly incorporated and feel right at home to create a very cohesive and full listening experience. My only complaint would be in something I've almost never complained about - the singing. I still love it, but I feel like you (ZipZipper) could have done more to the sustained notes. You keep a pretty steady pitch which makes the longer notes sound pretty bland and I would've enjoyed some more vibrato and pitch variation. You got away with it in previous vocal tracks where the notes were shorter and more staccato but in this more drawn-out, atmospheric track, the problem arises. Otherwise, top notch performance as always.
Honestly, you two have just incredible synergy. This is absolutely fantastic. Keep it up.
Thank you! I notice I need to change the way I sing while recording...it ends up being different from the way I just let go in real life because I end up getting perfectionist really quick and care more about sounding closer to how the autotune corrects me than actually being creative sssssssss yeah it's complicated I also get off pitch easily while recording I don't know how singing what bye thanks again!
The thing that I liked most about this song was the atmospheric production. It felt very much like a lullaby, with the samples of rain, the heavy reverb on the piano and other instruments, and various assorted synths speckled throughout.
I liked the subtle use of vocoder-like vocals throughout the song, especially when they became more prominent at 1:03. However, I found the fast-singing section that followed that to be a bit disappointing--given that the piece as a whole is quite serene and ZipZipper's vocal style is very gentle and smooth, the rap-like cadence was sort of jarring.
Another aspect that kind of stood out to me in a negative way was the orchestral samples before the last section. It's difficult for me to say exactly why, but I felt like they contrasted too much with the sound set you had built up in the rest of the piece--in addition to the sudden change of tempo throwing me off.
In general, this song felt kind of lifeless. While there were a few nice chords in here (especially the last one--that was a great turnaround), I just didn't find the main progressions to be that interesting. And while the vocals are well-sung, they didn't sound very motivated. However, take this last bit of criticism with a grain of salt--I tend to prefer instrumental music in general. Certainly, this piece has some great, moody production throughout.
You probably just made the most relevant review I've ever had on here. Great job!
Great song. Works well as the opening for the NGADM 14 round 1 playlist. Sets the bar high. I like the mood. How it is kind of light, but each segment ends with a very sad minor chord. Well sung. There aren't that many singers on Newgrounds, and the people who think they can sing usually can't. (whenever I try to sing, I fail miserably as well, so I'm not one to speak, but it's just the truth.) The combination of you two works as well as I'd expected. Maybe even better. I hear you did another collab? I will check it out.
Frue Frue/Imogen Heap anyone? Just me?
I ship Steamy and Zip.
This is incredible though okay.
*FROU FROU. IMOGEN IS MINE. SHE IS MY GOD.
Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.