Before you read this wall of text, I'm gonna warn you. I didn't enjoy the track much if at all. I didn't find it very musical or fulfilling, and this review will tell you all the reasons why.
Before you balk at the score, please try not to be discouraged or defensive. I'm not trying to rip you a new one, tell you you don't know music, or pretend it should be easy to make 5 star music on the fly. I AM trying to share a little of what I know to help keep you from making the same universal mistakes all of us do at some point or another, so that you don't alienate your audience for the sake of blindly plying your craft.
I say none of this with any malice, cruel intent, or upturned-nose bs, but I have a feeling this will get VERY critical. If you're okay with that, read on. If not, well, you're in the wrong place. Try SoundCloud or YT. They'll just ignore or harass you there, though.
Now, onto my review.
Not necessarily a pain to listen to, but it shows that this is a backing track. By itself, it's hardly interesting at all. The instrumentation also crashes so wildly, without any FX to blend it more into the same sonic space. I'm also curious whether you used stock loops at some points or simply don't have any transitions going for you so as to make it sound that way.
I really don't like that octaved choir or the church bells. The lower octave on that choir needs to go. It makes what would otherwise be pretty, sound slapped together. Choirs also usually form chords. Raw unison notes is sort of unpleasant. Almost all of your instruments are not forming chords. This is fine for bass and stabs, but should every instrument really be a single note? No! You need pads!
Also, the church bells could use a lot more attention to blend in. As an instrument, they already poke out in the sonic space just as something that would never naturally be right next to a choir and a bass guitar -- or a synth trumpet and synth stab. FX, FX, FX! Reverb, delay, other modulations like EQ! Play with them. Don't just lay on what sounds like a preset!
Choir, this instrument just clashes against that synth stab, even though they're following the same progression. The choir is dry and sticky in the mix at the same time. Play with reverb. Since you're using it as a pad, it should ideally be chorded.
Percussion was dry and really repetitive. Writing was fine. No transitions. Seemingly no crash cymbals. No risers either. Risers aren't essential but they give a sense of progression in a track that's written this way.
Bells were also played in a way that didn't suit them -- i.e. fast. Those bells ring out, and playing church bells super fast like that just stands out as purely tacky. Even chimes are not played this way. Marimba and other mallet instruments are. Know your instruments before you try to use them.
Bass is dry and sticks out of the rest of the mix. Ends up sounding careless and like you dragged it out in your DAW just because. It's also very high up there on the bass. You could actually probably play this line on a guitar. That robs your whole song of the bass R&B and Hip Hop don't just ask but DEMAND.
That brass thing is gratingly bland and does nothing for the melodic progression of your phrases. It just sort of lays there and pretends to be adding something of value to the track. Yes, it may be completing the i (1) chord sometimes, but it's way too low to be a trumpet and way to blah to be a decent bone. I know brass VSTs are hard to find in decent quality, BUT if you can't find a good quality synth and the genre doesn't demand it, just don't use it! That line would have been 100% more satisfying if it were a simple melody an octave higher.
Your writing suffers for letting the fact this is a backing track get in the way of making truly great music to support it. Learn some theory. Listen to some R&B. Dissect the way people do things. When you try to do everything your own special way, you forget that there is so much shit you don't know.
Lygometry -- the study of what you don't know -- immerse yourself in it. This doesn't mean spending years kissing the feet of the great and wonderful. It means advancing your craft through eliminating the things you don't know. You can never know it all or do it all, but you can learn to do better. Based on your response to TL, I'd strongly suggest you pull your head out of your music producing butt long enough to see that you could be doing much better, potentially making much more money from your craft. If you allow yourself to think your work is above critique for ANY reason, you're shooting yourself in the foot.
But enough about that. Back to the song.
I just didn't like the chord progression or really anything about this piece. Felt forced, non-resolving, disingenuous, etc. The choir is the worst offender with a stepwise ascent into a fall, then another stepwise non-resolution. Music likes to flow the opposite way -- the last measure or fill falling into the next repeat!
Even the stabs seem to dislocate rather than accentuate the thematic direction of the song. It's just a lot of jumbled instruments that are spammed in the Hip Hop and R&B cult on top of one another, and it makes no sense!
Anyway, take my word with a grain of salt. Once upon a time I was standing exactly where you are with not a whisper of direction or even decent critique. Hope you glean something useful out of what I had to say, if nothing else. If you'd like another review some time, shoot me a PM!
As declared: This is an incomplete song.
My atylng is intentional.
It is clear that this competition as advertised isn't the same as I would expect.
Assessing your review, it seems likely that my deviation from your expectations, not the rules, has lead to the critical nature of your determination.
I can concede to a few of your thoughts, but I lack faith in your ability to understand pillars for any assessment based competition.
I am not disappointed in your review, it provided some helpful input. I simply sense some opinion over fact.
The cute synths and the church bells were a bit of a bizarre combo at the beginning, made more bizarre by the completely different instrumentation at :12. The brass sample at :23 sounds pretty inauthentic, too, although you clearly have a good sense of harmony and rhythm. I think you needed a transition to foreshadow the change in texture at :53. A lot of the instruments you have in here strike me as being either generic or fake-sounding, like “choir” at 1:12 and the bell-sounding synths at 1:33. The portamento (slide effect) at 2:01 was a little cheesy, and overall this piece has a lot of minimalism. I think you needed some pads and additional harmonies to fill in the texture more, even during some of the low-energy sections of the piece. The extended section where only the beat played at 2:53 really didn’t contribute a lot to the composition, either. The piece is also pretty repetitive at the end of the day, with little variation on the piece’s main riffs and harmonies, and probably shouldn’t have been as long as it is. The ending was abrupt, too. Overall, I think the main thing you should focus on is adding atmosphere to your pieces - look into using effects like reverb and delay. They’ll help add some texture to your piece, especially during transitory moments, and will give your piece a more well-rounded sound. I’d also encourage you to try experimenting with dynamics, phrasing, and filtering - these are all ways of varying your piece over time other than simply adding and taking away instruments. Keep at it, man!
This is a backing track for a song I've written. I find the accurate assessments made in your review to be irrelevant to the quality.
I like some of your ideas and will consider them in the future.
You are free to copy, distribute and transmit this work under the following conditions:
*You may not use this work without making specific arrangements with the artist UNLESS your work is a web-based game or animation, in which case you may use this freely.