--NGUAC ‘20 Judge Review--
So, my biggest takeaway from this song is that you’ve definitely got some awesome melodic chops! I’m a huge fan of chiptuney solos, and that’s basically what this entire song is, which definitely put a smile on my face.
Compositionally, I really enjoyed most of the melodic lines, as well as how they ramped up in intensity and harmonic depth as the song went on. Some highlights of the song imo were 1:00, the transition into 1:22, and 1:55. I do wish there had been a strong hook or melodic motif to tie the song together, because right now it feels like one huge solo, but given the structure of the song, that’s not a big enough issue to detract from the enjoyment of it for me. One thing I’d suggest watching out for would be that, in parts like 2:02, the synth line and piano line are kinda competing with each other for the spotlight, and it’s hard to focus on which one I’d rather listen to! One potential way to deal with this would be to add gaps in the melodic lines for each instrument and having the flowery bits for each instrument play during the negative space of the other, effectively weaving a single, cohesive melodic line across the two (or more, potentially!) sounds. As an example, johnfn does a pretty good job of this in the back half of his song ‘wide world’ (https://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/553933), although you’ll have to excuse his abysmal drums. And, speaking of drums…
I thought your production wasn’t too bad, but by far the biggest issue for me was the volume of the kit! The best way to support a groovy, funky song like this is to get a funky groove going on the drums, and you definitely had that! But as more and more different sounds came in, the volume of the drums didn’t adjust with it, so that by the end, it was tough to hear those cool fills you had (1:20, 1:45) or the transition to the more energetic drum beat at 1:47. I thought that the relative volume of the drums around 0:19 (when it was just bass+pad+drums) was at a decent level; if it’d be possible to tweak the track so that the drums stayed at that relative level to the rest of the track the whole time, it would make the groove much stronger—and there’s a lot of ways you could do this, like dynamically automating the relative volume of the different tracks throughout the song. Other small production nitpicks include that the main synth volume is a little loud and the reverb on the piano at the end makes it sound a bit too airy and unrealistic, but on the whole, the most pressing production issue (and, luckily, the most easily improvable thing) is the drums. Gotta get that funky groove!!
A quick note on structure! It’s not for everyone, but I’m personally a fan of the “song that just ramps up in intensity over time” structure, and I think this song pulled it off pretty well—you really did a good job selling that gradual buildup across all of the different instruments. I mentioned this earlier, but I would appreciate a motif tying the different sections together. I also thought that the ending was slightly inconclusive and might be in want of a more substantial denouement; having a motif could help here, since, for example, having a quick, subtler restatement of a motif after a big climax like the one you have could help end a track like this very effectively. That’s not the only way to end a song, of course, but in the end, I did feel like the song petered out a bit too quickly, giving the impression that perhaps you ran out of time when writing the song (a theory supported by the title too)!
I know I nitpicked this track a lot, but I really did enjoy it, and I’m very much looking forward to what you’ll be putting out for the Knockout Round. Good luck!
Composition - 27/30
Production - 22/30
Structure - 8/10
GSM - 27/30
Overall - 84/100, adjusted to 7.8/10