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Reviews for "The Afterlust"

Great piece. Only problem was the slightly muddy low end. You could probably eliminate that by hi-passing the guitar to get some of those gnarly low frequencies out of the way of the drums and bass. There's never really a point where it's naked, so you don't need those frequencies in the 0-220 or even 300 Hz range to beef it up as much.

FinnMK responds:

Good tip. I did hi-pass them, believe it or not, but clearly not by enough!...I think I only did it up to 100-125 Hz. Getting good, meaty, but clean guitar is my main mixing challenge right now.

Man, full disclosure, this track is so catchy that it's earwormed itself straight into my heart. It pops up in my head on a daily basis, which prompts me to find my way back to the track here, and now I'm giving it yet another listen as I write up your requested review. It simply does not get old, and is of such obvious professional quality that I am proud to offer you the courtesy of feedback.

Every time I listen to that intro, I feel as though I'm about to listen to the newest Coldplay hit! Hopefully you view that as a good thing, and I personally enjoy their music quite a bit despite all the crap that folks tend to give the group. But for the most part, that's where any similarities to preexisting tracks end.

All those live instruments sound so good, and you manage to combine each one together so that it has its own presence within the overall mix. That selfsame mix is quite clear, and your particularly well-sung vocals, which are also very well written, are loud enough to be understood even without the addition of lyrics. However, as I find to be the case quite often when such elements are mixed together, the music is a little on the loud side, while the vocals themselves could use just a little bit more volume to really give them all the presence they deserve.

You harmonize beautifully with yourself, Finn! And I know how very hard that can be to do. Your drumming is excellent, and I love that sparseness at 1:42 that leads up to the "...but it still hurts" where you drop everything, even the piano before coming in again with a full clash of instrumental brilliance at 2:07. Good heavens, what a hook! And then there's this section of marching snares that creates a wholly different kind of vibe that really gives me the feeling of walking with real purpose down that very road of which you speak.

What more can I even say? I'm already gushing way too much. Your bass playing should also be noted, not only because it's so good and probably one of the more overlooked facets of the music, but also because there's so much personality to it as you work the strings, especially with all those low fret sounds.

There are in fact a couple more elements that just don't quite come together for me, so I might as well get those out of the way. As I listen with headphones, there's a bit of sound left at the tail end that not only doesn't fade completely, it actually gets louder. Interestingly enough, while it feels a bit odd to me as it is, if it were still louder I feel that it would be a really interesting way to loop back to the beginning, should the listener desire. I've already mentioned the levels between the vocals and instrumentation, but since that's such a common occurrence, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that it's a much more subtle issue here than in most vocal tracks. I also feel like the level of reverb on the vocals could be turned down just a touch more to help compensate. And every once in a while I hear a vocal echo that feels like it lingers too far beyond the melody note being sung.

Finally, while sharing the lyrics with your listeners is never a prerequisite, you offer those up so that we can all follow - or heck, even sing - along! And while that doesn't actually add or subtract from your overall score, it is always thoroughly appreciated.

Suffice to say, I am really looking forward to hearing what you come up with next in the Round of 32! I hope you don't mind reading this daunting wall of text too much, but one thing is for certain: you earned your score with blood, sweet, tears, and sour milk. Rock on.

9.14 out of 10

FinnMK responds:

Your words are very kind, and thank you for the tips. I'll work them in to the firecracker I'm cooking up for next round!

Man. This contest was terrible timing for me to hear a song like this one. Relationship issues in my life at the same time, uff. Oh well.

Let's go!

Points of goodness:
- Very nice clear mix throughout the piece (with some minor mud at the climax).
- The drums have an extremely good tone.
- Overall, very nice themes and good organization for a pop-styled song, it works quite well and changes atmosphere through it.
- I know you play your instruments live - even if it's only most of them, or even just the singing in this, it sounds excellent and very live.

Points of Improvement:
- The piano doing constant chords throughout the piece gets quite tiring and really diminishes the atmosphere of the song.
- Overall composition thing: I think this piece really needs a good breakdown where you build it back up. I've commented on this kind of thing with other people before, but. Nearly *every* popular and good piece has at least one B section which breaks things down - rather than just getting more intense when it's already intense. Ramping the whole piece can fatigue listeners quite a bit.
- Honestly, the biggest issue with this whole piece, and the thing keeping it from taking the last step into high 9 territory, is that it really doesn't show that much technical expertise or uniqueness in its style. So, what I mean by that is that it doesn't really have anything that jumps out and makes me go "ok, that's definitely a song that Finn wrote". As for compositional skill, I would love to see a few more countermelodies or content that develops your melodies and ideas in a silghtly different direction. Something that sounds almost like the piece reflecting on itself and what it does - seeing what else you can explore.

Final score: 9.2

Excellent. Just needs a few final steps, and you got this contest in the bag.

FinnMK responds:

Ah, apologies on the terrible timing :p

Yes, all the instruments are live. The only synthetic thing is the little reversed cymbal near the beginning.

Good advice on all accounts! Thanks for the feedback.

You promised pop and we got pop. Really big sound, great singing. I would produce it slightly different myself, there seemed to be a bit of mud at the lower end (I think from the drum and guitar clashing), but thats to my ear, and its a great track.

Good luck!

FinnMK responds:

Thanks a bunch! I've yet to get a great guitar sound I love, but I'm inching towards it. I think if I had really nailed the guitar recording and mixing the mix would've come together punchier and cleaner, especially in that 150-400Hz area...next time!