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Pretentious

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Barely made it in time (so I hope). As I am editing this it is supposed to be 11:55PM EDT right before the competition stops taking songs.

I composed this song talking about society's standards, making people pretentious, forgetting what they have inside. I think one of my biggest inspirations showed here (Foo Fighters), at least I'd like to think so.

Here are the lyrics:

Don't keep any reasons to forget.
Inspite of everything said.
Reckless civilization I can't bear.

There is too much trouble on the streets.
It's such a problem having you near
This sacred little house I built.

Pretentious on the outside
Forget my errors inside. (x2)
This is farewell.
This is farewell from me. (x2)

I'm still trying to meet the social trend
I threw my clothes as they came
Still I think it's getting kind of lame.

Mirrors tell me what the fashion is.
Don't get the point, well, I don't get this
Social move I am living in

Pretentious on the outside
Forget my errors inside. (x2)
This is farewell.
This is farewell from me. (x2)

This is farewell
This is farewell for me (x2)

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Great vocal delivery! The tone of your voice is totally appropriate for the genre and the lyrics are fitting. A minor thing regarding text setting - putting the emphasis on 'is' in 'this IS fareWELL' in the chorus is a little awkward. Typically you'd try to write the melody so more important words get the stronger beat. Instead of starting that line on the pickup so 'is' starts on the downbeat, I'd try doing 'THIS is FARE-WELL". It's the difference between <and ONE two-THREE> and <ONE and TWO-THREE>. It's not a deal breaker and there are examples all over rock of awkward lyrical placement (Green Day's use of the world 'mel-O-dra-MA-tic' in Basket Case instead of how you'd actually say it 'MEL-o-dra-MA-tic' has always bothered me in particular).

The guitar needs to be WAY more beefy in the mix. It's pretty subdued right now. I can sort of hear what you're going for, but it lacks the punch I'd expect in this sort of alterna-rock track. I'd try rolling the bass off of the rhythm guitars a bit and let the bass guitar take care of that. Maybe double track the rhythm guitar and hard pan them left and right. Also, adding a SUPER short reverb to the guitars will help beef them up in the mix. If you tracked the guitars using dynamic mics, maybe try a stereo pair of small diaphram condensors?

The track looks pretty heavily compressed, but you have tons of headroom across the board. Was the limiter set a bit to high? I don't think you necessarily need to normalize it to get that brick wall, but because you have so much headroom, you probably could have squashed the track less and let some peaks pop through the texture. This may have helped with

3:45 - The guitar palm mutes/bass/bass drum are fighting each other pretty hard here. Try to notch out places for each of the instruments in the mix. They don't all need to occupy, say, 150hz. Really only one instrument is needed there at a time, the rest will fill in the illusion that they also live there.

All in all, really nice writing. The song is fun, energetic, and has that 'Foo Fighters' aesthetic you were going for. I'd book up on some mixing tutorials to get your ideas to really sparkle.

dude2312 responds:

Hi, sleepFacingWest.

Great critique, I must say. I'd say it's a matter of perspective in regards to the placement of the accent (I happen to like it Green Day quite a lot and it is not awkward for me). As of right now, I am taking tutorials on mixing as this is my 4th attempt at recording. Before that, I had never recorded anything in my life!

So, I thank you for your review, I think it gives me a lot to work on and more importantly, I appreciate you dropping by to listen to my song!

Catchy guitar riffs at the beginning. The song throws the listener right into the action without much of a proper intro, though. The progression is nice, with a well-balanced texture to boot. I think the hi-hats could come out more distinctly in the mix, and the drums in general could be a bit louder. That said, I really like both the vocals and the lyrics themselves. Sometimes, you don’t quite pronounce the consonants, though (e.x., “can’t” sounds like “can” at :31). The melodic content at 1:10 was a very welcome addition to the harmonic progression, as was the breakdown at 2:40. I like the melodic themes that start to bleed back in at around 3:30. That said, I thought the composition could’ve been a lot bolder towards the end of the piece. In my mind, you missed out on an opportunity to bring this piece back full-circle and offer some variation of the melody at 2:29 that really hit the piece home. I did enjoy the pauses towards the end as the piece was winding down, especially 4:13, but I think it’s regrettable that the piece never really returns to the emotional height of the first couple of minutes, and instead gets a tad repetitive with the “this is farewell” mantra. That said, I think my biggest problem with the piece is actually in the production quality. Not only could the piece be a tad louder in general, but there’s also some mic distortion going on, most notably at 3:56. Still, the piece has a really appealing 90s vibe about it, along with the raw passion of the vocals and the catchy guitar riffs. Keep at it, Dude2312!

Mixing, mastering, and balance
1.25/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
1/1.5
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
2/2
Instrumentation and sound design
1/1
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
1.5/1.5
Originality and uniqueness
.75/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
.75/1
Composite score
8.25/10

It looks like the track is brickwall limited to -6 dB. I'm also hearing some distortion, though not as much as your last piece -- this is an improvement. I'm not sure if I explained in my last review that it's best practice to leave about 6 dB of headroom BEFORE applying any master FX. I can hear past 3:45 especially that this track was mixed past that, then compressed/turned down. Subtracting half a star for mix issues.

That said, the composition itself is some solid @$$ bar rock, and leveling issues that were present in your last work don't seem to be presenting themselves here. I could still do with more kick and snare -- about 1-2 dB more of them, but you would be better off turning everything else down by that amount at least.

Solid production other than that. Nice to hear a thick bass line here, and your use of FX is wonderfully atmospheric. I do hear the Foo Fighters influence, and I definitely appreciate the gritty high tenor vocals.

Now, I get that this genre in particular isn't very critical when it comes to lyrics, but some things I'd like to note.

This is farewell is fine -- a lot less cheesy than saying "goodbye" actually, but "Pretentious on the outside, forget my errors inside" is sung a bit strangely -- could have accented "inside" a bit more. "Errors" is also not generally a word people associate with the insides of ourselves, either. "Forget my failures inside" or some derivation could have worked better.

"I'm still trying to meet the social trend" is awkward phrasing but still works. Better phrasing, "I'm still trying to keep up with what's trending," "with the trends," "to be so trendy" or something similar.

"I threw my clothes as they came".... Threw them on? Threw them away?
"Still I think it's getting kind of lame." This end rhyme feels a little lazy. Tbh I don't know what I would have done with it either though. "Every day it's more of the same?" The "getting" and "kind of" are already a bit wimpy when it comes to English phrases, and "think" isn't a really strong verb, so the whole sentence comes off as a bit melodramatic.

"Mirrors tell me what the fashion is." Witty.
"Don't get the point, well, I don't get this" Also witty but sounds on the verge of trying too hard.
"Social move I am living in" ... not really sure what this means. "Culture that I'm living in" may have worked better.

Overall though, pretty solid piece. I personally think the lyrics are a bit weak, but this is excusable for the genre. Grunge/punk are generally not known for their eloquence so much as their nihilism and misanthropy, which this nails. Mix is the weakest aspect of the piece. Fix that alone and you'd have a solid 9/10.

Thanks for coming out to NGUAC!

dude2312 responds:

Phew, that was quite a review! Trust me when I say I really did try my best to keep it at -6 db before the master. I try to EQ, compress, master, and everything else differently for each track depending on what I feel it needs. Either way, these tips you're giving me are helping quite a lot. As far as the lyrics... The competition gave about two weeks to write the new song, I had about 3 days due to health issues, that's including orchestration, lyrics, etc.

Either way, thanks a bunch for making this review. As always, I appreciate any feedback given.

This is pretty cool. I haven't heard any grunge/punk songs in either the NGADM or NGUAC up to this point so this is refreshing. Not only that, this is really fun. Your voice is rock solid (haha) and I totally didn't expect that, and the guitars are produced pretty well.

You have a bit of an earworm with the chorus. It may be a tad repetitious but I'm enjoying it to the point that I pretty much don't care. Listening the second time through, however, I think you could maybe have developed the structure a little more. Maybe throw in some different chord progressions here or there, and maybe have a different verse structure or something.

The bigger issue I find though is the production. I think it could use a little more balancing. A couple vocals are a bit hot in some spots, and everything sounds a little too dry.

To quickly wrap it up though, I enjoyed this a lot. Regardless of the criticism I gave, this sounds like a finished product albeit with some rough edges.

dude2312 responds:

To be honest with you, I saw a lot of paragraphs in here and I was like: crap! I'm in trouble. Lol I second that on the production, I definitely feel I could have done more to it. But I was in such a time restraint that this is all I could do. Newgrounds does need more grungy, punk, music here and there!

I welcome any type of feedback with open arms and I thank you for sharing your insight over my little musical project here.

Some really nice grunge singing here. It's so common to have something wrong with either the voice or the mixing, but you pulled this off really nice and it makes this sound really polished. The instruments are a bit more modest - the guitar and bass don't really harmonize that well, which isn't to say they sound awkward, but rather they just aren't attention-grabbing or groovy. The solo at the end also struck me as quite boring.

I appreciate that the lyrics have a positive message, but they ultimately don't say anything that hasn't already been said many times.

dude2312 responds:

Kwing, thanks for reviewing my song. This was fast!

I appreciate both good and bad feedback. Once again, thanks ever so much!

Credits & Info

dude2312
Author

Listens
425
Faves:
2
Downloads
6
Votes
10
Score
3.80 / 5.00

Uploaded
Aug 26, 2018
11:53 PM EDT
Genre
Indie
File Info
Song
10.6 MB
4 min 39 sec
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