Don't Mean a Thing

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so this is some kind of folk-inspired poppy track? no idea what genre it goes in so just gonna put it under indie.

had lots of fun working on this one! didn't have as much time as i would've liked, but i'm proud of it nonetheless. good luck to everyone else in my bracket <3


my mama was a lady who would venture every day
she kept exploring all her life until her hair turned gray
the others on her journeys
said that she’d retire early
but she kept going her own way

my papa was a workin’ man, he did a workman’s stuff
while others took their union breaks, he kept on hangin’ tough
he took upon his mantle
more than they said he could handle
but he could never have enough

he told me

everybody’s gonna point you somewhere
everybody wants to lead the way
everybody’s gonna try to make you see their light of day
everybody’s gonna drag you into their reality
but that don’t mean a thing to me

my sister studied hard at school, although it caused her stress
she skipped her prom to write her valedictory address
her teachers were demeaning,
saying girls should practice cleaning
but her fire could never be suppressed

my brother mailed his novel in a yellow envelope
to lots of different editors, who always told him “nope”
his friends said it was rubbish
but one day he got it published
‘cause he refused to give up hope

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This is one of the most fun tracks I've listened to in a long time. Gotta love the self-aware lyrics :)
Congrats on the high score!

Such a fun song.

I'm going to let this critique follow the flow of the song for this unofficial NGADM review, typing in stream-of-consciousness format:

You have quite a bit of bass in your voice. These frequencies are competing with the guitar right off the bat, so I'd recommend scooping some of that out of the guitar, especially in the 100-500hz range.

The esses are harsh in the vocals (and a bit in the guitar, too). A de-esser would make it easier to listen to this at slightly higher volumes.

The first guitar would benefit from either a stereo delay to separate it into the left and right channel, or a somewhat hard-pan that could be balanced by other instruments in the other channel. It's fighting with the vocals for space, and I'd love for your voice to have more room to shine.

The warmth of the string plucks would sound very nice on their own, but they're adding even more competition to the low-mid range. Attention to EQ would again be handy.

Enter another low-mid competitor: The bass! It's fighting with the kick, too, so it ended up getting turned up crazy high just to be properly audible in the mix. We end up with a boomy sound without a lot of clarity.

Really great composition and progression so far. The break at 0:38 is wonderful, although the kick comes in a bit loud. This kick sounds like it would work with EDM or 80s music more than this folksy tune, since it's very sharp and full. A little humanization would go a long way, too. Nobody stomps the pedal exactly the same every time.

The guitar sound doesn't really need to be humanized at this spot. It sounds like it's being played by a keyboard, so it works just fine. It occupies the mid range nicely, being one of few instruments that isn't fighting for space.

LOVE the banjo. You're right to think it could be humanized, but it's charming enough for that not to matter. The bells are great, too, but quite loud.

Not a huge fan of the choice of double-time execution at 2:57, but it's charming when you do it, and the comedic aspect makes up for my opinion of the compositional choice.

There is a ton of reverb in this track, creating even more competition for space, and adding more boom.

There isn't much to criticize in terms of composition. Although the double-time was a bit rough, and nothing particularly new, riveting, or out-of-the box was employed, this was a delightful song with a positive message and a giddy style. Great work!

The sound design was fairly consistent (folk meets synth pop), but it just barely held together. I would have loved some more quirky sounds to give extra life to the track. Percussion, in particular, would have benefited. It also sounds like you used a lot of stock sounds, then added compression and reverb. Still, loved it.

You received a high score in creativity and replay value for obvious reasons - this is very catchy and unique. Still, playing around a bit more and taking some extra risks could have bolstered creativity in particular.

My apologies for not being able to get together a more structured review!
Work on that mix and continue pumping out the charm, and you'll do great.

Composition: 8.25/10
Production: 4.75/10
Sound Design: 7.5/10
Creativity: 8.75/10
Replay/Application Value: 9.5/10
Overall: 7.75/10

NG score bolstered because Judge Jacob is about one star harsher than User Jacob.

Love this so much.

I like the rich quality of the vocals at the beginning and the conversational tone inherent in the lyrics. The guitar sample sounds a bit cheesy, though, and I thought the kick was very heavy and sub-bassy for a piece like this. The content of the lyrics is really clever, and I like the cutesy mallet instrument at :50 during the more mellow refrain. I’m not sure to what extent this piece describes your real life (I’d imagine your Dad doesn’t have a union job, and I’m also not sure you have siblings either), but the down-to-earth tone of the piece and the passionate vocals makes the entire thing very believable. Almost sounds like you plucked this song out of a quirky off-broadway production. The refrain at 1:32 with the high-register pads and fuller texture is great, and there’s also a great comedic quality to the spoken work vocals at 2:00 and the teacher’s “advice for girls.” Once you get to the banjo line, I’m straight-up laughing my ass off. The production quality is excellent here, btw. Overall, this is a super fun and catchy piece with a great message. At the end of the day, my main concern is probably the lack of originality in aspects of the harmonic framework and arrangement, but that honestly doesn’t even actively bother me that much. Seriously, LunacyEcho, save some good pieces for the other competitors! :P

Mixing, mastering, and balance
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
Instrumentation and sound design
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
Originality and uniqueness
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
Composite score

LunacyEcho responds:

you're definitely right that all the content in here was just made up haha, i don't have a brother and i just thought it had a nice campfire-y folksy vibe. and thanks for all the kind words <3 i'm 99% sure this song was a fluke so i'm hoping that i can pull off another fluke for this next round. cheers!

I was destroyed by the bridge. gg

LunacyEcho responds:

boom bb

Credits & Info


4.94 / 5.00

Aug 16, 2019
12:14 AM EDT
File Info
3.9 MB
3 min 24 sec

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