Mad, Mad, Mad

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I have what I call a little ambition goblin sitting on my shoulder, always pushing me to do more, be better, grow faster. This is an attempt at trying to understand that relationship. Enjoy! This one's a real firecracker.
I'm pleased to say this is the winning track of the 2016 NGUAC. That should at least somewhat satisfy the ambition goblin for now...

If you'd like to support me, you can buy this song on my Bandcamp:

Check out the video on Youtube:

Mad, mad, mad

Childhood, you build a dream how you want to live your life, good
Your teacher asks you what you want to be
A hero, a firefighter or an astronaut
But this one, he gotta breathe song

And somewhere in my mind
There's a little boy blue who's chasing the moon
And he wants to get outside
But he's being kept in by the way I live my life
Lord, lord, lord
He's getting mad, mad, mad

He's made of ambition
He wants it right now
He feeds on successes
But then he spits them out
I try to do better
But he's not satisfied
The bar keeps on raising
And I get left behind

Love him, 'cause he'll raise you up to your highest heights
Hate him, 'cause every time he's dissatisfied
I want him to slow down, but he won't let me breathe
If I crash down, (he what?) he drags me


Don't be fooled
He's your tool
And you drive him mad, mad, mad


Yeah, yeah, yeah

- - - - -
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Masterfully done. My judging perspective was weighted mostly on originality, purpose, and drive. I mean if we were to try to quantitively analyze something metaphysically such as music, I might as well just flat out say that it is merely my opinion and taste. And I find this piece to stand out the most in terms of originality and drive. What a very fun piece. All the transitions are refreshing to listen to. Your vocals are smooth, and the band is really moving. Yes, your vocals could be mixed a little better for clarity, and I would like the drums to be more of its own than merely mimicking the rest of the instruments, but these really don't hinder more enjoyment of listening to this piece. Oh and the lyrics are great too. Since your song writing is spot on, I think one thing you could think about growing in is in your production. I would like to hear your vocals stacked and panned more, and by being more experimental/creative in how you would arrange these parts.

FinnMK responds:

Thanks for the comments and tips!


FinnMK responds:


FinnMK - Mad, Mad, Mad:

The Good:
-Your singing is definitely more audible in this piece, which is fantastic! There are a lot of extra vocal flairs sprinkled throughout which make this even better. It takes the vocals you had in your last piece and pulls them to the proper next level.
-Great introduction to the main themes throughout this. Everything is clearly laid out, and clearly recognizable. It even has some really nice harmonies at the start which you can feel later in the piece too.
-All of the instruments being live is a huge bonus once again - excellent!
-I almost didn't notice the pitch shift at the end. That step up is a wonderful flair and extremely well-executed (which most aren't).
-Your mixing is *almost* perfect in this piece. That's awesome - it's really hard to get a spot-on mix, and you're as close as people can really be.
-Excellent intro and outro.

The Not-So-Good:
-More vocal suggestion: It's a bit buried in this piece. Try displaying it a little bit more if the lyrics are any kind of focus in this piece (which it seems they are).
-The little drum rhythm at the start of the piece after the first mads seems to be a little bit too complex, actually. If the piece were rhythmically focused, it would make a bit more sense. But... it really isn't rhythmic at all - it has very simple rhythms throughout aside from that one bit. I see where you're going and I like it, I just think that it could be improved with a few tweaks to make it easier to follow on the first three or four listens.

The Result: 9.7/10
Clearly the highlight of the pieces this round, I have to say. This piece took literally everything I had heard from you before and pushed it further, which is exactly what the final round of a contest should be. Fantastic! Clearly I need to follow you musically and see what you come up with next.

FinnMK responds:

Thanks so much for the kind comments Skye. I've received a couple comments about the volume of the vocals. Several months ago I had them all too loud and now I've got them too quiet! Hopefully this means I can find an in-between ground.
Thanks for noticing the key shift! I happened upon a really smooth way to pull of the transition and I was curious to see if people would notice.

The rest is all good advice too. Always improving, improving...

This is an official NGAUC Review

My personal rating for your piece is as follows:
Production: 22/30 (Above Average)
Composition: 28/30 (Great)
Instrumentation: 14/15 (Great)
Originality: 9/10 (Great)
Interest: 14/15 (Great)

Giving a total of 87/100, or 4.5 stars.

Please view your rubric for comments-

FinnMK responds:

Thanks for the comments Samulis, very useful as always. Production has always been my main challenge but with tips like this I'm on the road to improving.

I love the Broadway-esque vibes I’m getting from this. The instrumentation is awesome. It’s the perfect mix of feel-good and punchy. I wish the drums were a bit wetter, but as they are they have a great natural and organic sound to them. The vocals have a really soulful and smooth quality, and the lyrics themselves are enjoyable as well. I deeply appreciate the variations you threw on the final chorus. This is an extremely fun piece that sounds like it’s pulled straight off of the Hairspray bonus track disc. If I had to be picky, I would say that I wanted you to vary that brass riff at 1:00 (and other places) just a bit more. I would also say that you could’ve brought out that funky guitar at :14 to be more up-front in the mix. Otherwise, I’m finding it very hard to complain about...well, just about anything. The piece is well-structured and smooth-flowing. The mood and atmosphere are just engrossing. Not only are you a Broadway singer - you’re a Broadway composer! I know you’ve gone far in this competition before, but this might just be your year (I’m writing this review before the results are completed). Regardless of the outcome, this piece deserves a congratulations! Keep it up, man! :D


FinnMK responds:

Thanks for all the comments, o mighty showrunner! I know what you mean about the drums. My greatest mixing challenge in past or present is to get the snare to sound right. I think it's probably a bit too dry here, but I couldn't find a good wet mix and at some point you have to step away and just say "I'm done."
Same sort of vibe with the horn variation. That same riff happens 5 times in a row every chorus which is not ideal, but I couldn't find something I liked better and I didn't want to wrack my brains into a stress-induced breakdown.

The Broadway comments are fun. I hadn't considered it musical-esque at all, but now that you say it I can certainly hear it in a few places.

I actually haven't gone far in the NGUAC before - this is my first year competing! I'm writing this after the results were released, and I'm pretty pumped that I managed to get the gold. Thanks again for the comments and for the opportunity!

Credits & Info


4.23 / 5.00

Aug 17, 2016
12:37 PM EDT
File Info
6.6 MB
2 min 52 sec

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