it shows

March 30, 2010 8:39 PM

This is an angry, broody, dark, but pretty song. I'm proud of it, I think it's one of my best! Includes a pretty sweet xaphoon (!) solo by yours truly, plus background vocals by my wife.

I'd say this is a musical cousin of criminal, the very first (and by far most popular) song I posted to MeFi Music.

posted by edlundart (17 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

Nicely done. Your voice sounds really relaxed and strong on this song, and the other instruments support your voice really well. I get the feeling that you really had to tweak the mix to make it sound so effortless. I think this is one of the best tunes you've posted as well. The emotional core of the tune sinks in as it goes along.
posted by umbú at 8:15 AM on April 1, 2010

In the spirit of adding a little constructive criticism, like you model in your comments on our songs, I should admit that I go back and forth on the question of whether the mix is a little wetter than I usually prefer. At the same time, the rainy day mix works pretty well with the material. I think your restraint is the most admirable part of this tune. It's understated.
posted by umbú at 8:18 AM on April 1, 2010

Hey, you SHOULD be proud. This is super smooth and as umbú mentions, the vocals are great.
posted by snsranch at 3:50 PM on April 1, 2010

Agreed on those vocals. Very relaxed, the style suits you. Nice job!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:32 PM on April 1, 2010

Thanks, folks. umbú, I probably do like reverb a tad more than I should... it seemed appropriate for this track, but I must admit it seems appropriate to me for a lot of things...
posted by edlundart at 8:58 PM on April 2, 2010

Sorry - missed this. Agree with most of the above comments, excellent vocal. The whole thing very nicely put together - the restraint that always threatens to break never does, and that keeps a good tension throughout. Arrangement, production and sound top notch. Beg to differ re queston of too much 'verb - sounds right to me.

One or two quibbles that are definitely not criticisms: lead vocal is clipping a little in places and the xaphoon sounds just a wee bit out of tune occasionally as does the female vocal. But ignore that - I have the curse of ears that pick up even the most miniscule and fleeting imperfection. Drives me nuts.

I think the main thing I'd suggest with a producer's hat on is a harmony vocal with the "You don't know what your doing" sub-hook or the "It shows" principal hook - perhaps from about halfway(ish). That would just keep this lovely souffle subtly rising all the way to the fade-out.....

Suffice to say that I wish I had a nice, expressive tenor voice like you have edlundart instead of sounding like a tugboat captain!
posted by MajorDundee at 3:31 AM on April 3, 2010

Hey, thanks for chiming in, MajorDundee. I was wondering if I should put any autotune on my wife's vocals, but they sounded good to me. But I must admit, my sense of pitch is pretty poor. I guess I like to think that a little imperfection is almost a plus, but I understand how that's not always the case for people who have highly trained ears. Still, glad you enjoyed the track, and your suggestion about a harmony vocal in those places is interesting. I might try that at some point in the future if I decide to go back into this mix.

The xaphoon is really hard (for me) to play in tune, but this is my best attempt to date. A fun little instrument, that's for sure.
posted by edlundart at 9:40 PM on April 3, 2010

Oh: What you said about my voice vs yours is very flattering. They're apples and oranges for sure, but I would imagine most MeFiMusicians would do horrible and despicable things to have your vocal skills. Nevertheless, thanks to you and others for saying kind things about my singing.
posted by edlundart at 9:43 PM on April 3, 2010

I rather doubt that - and "skills" is a bit of a stretch in describing my vocal attempts. Enough with the self-deprecation already. If you ever find yourself itching to sing something but you ain't got nuttin' cookin' at the time - give me a shout. I'd like to hear one of my tracks sung by someone who can actually sing (Christ, what a blessed relief it'd be to have someone else do that....).
posted by MajorDundee at 2:52 AM on April 4, 2010

Definitely a great track. It has lots and lots of space, and it manages to avoid the danger of being boring that sometimes afflicts songs at this speed. This song always has something carrying it along and not letting if fall to the floor.

Apart from the vocal track, which everyone above has commented on, I quite like the texture of the drums. It gives the whole song a "live and breathing" quality it wouldn't have if you had used a more electronic sound for them.

I like to think that a little imperfection is almost a plus

I share your view on this, and I too have a broader "ear tolerance" (which is really a nice way of saying tone deafness) and I'm always surprised when people who have more sensitive ears pickup little details like that in my songs. I don't think I would have noticed it about your wife's singing here if the Major had not mention it, but now that he did, added to the possibility that you may remix the track some day, I'll add my two cents: perhaps you can grab her track and EQ it in a way that it sounds like a sample. Like an external recording that was brought into this song. That might give it a special weight in the song, offsetting the fact that it might not be perfectly in tune.

Again, lovely song.
posted by micayetoca at 9:01 AM on April 5, 2010

Somehow missed this until now - great atmosphere. I struggle in my music when songs of mine sound dry, or empty, or just lacking a certain something, and there are techniques I use to try to fill it that sometimes feel artificial - you've really nailed it here. The reverb I think is right on - it's very present, of course, but it hits just the right tone. I love the drums especially, and the electric guitars are just gorgeous.
posted by ORthey at 10:02 AM on April 5, 2010

I'll add to that chorus about your singing. This dynamic works really well for you somehow, which is not to say that your voice doesn't work in other situations, but something gels here.
I think your restraint is the most admirable part of this tune
That's exactly it, umbú. It's like a drawing in which the negative space defines it.
I was wondering if I should put any autotune on my wife's vocals
No! Blasphemer!
Very nice work.
posted by chococat at 4:55 PM on April 5, 2010

MajorDundee: It would be fun to put our efforts into a song together sometime. I'll get in touch if I ever find myself in the situation you describe.

micayetoca: Thanks for commenting on the drums -- I worked hard on them and am quite happy with the result. Your background vocal mixing idea is interesting. I've done that with some degree of success in the past.

ORthey: Thanks, I've been trying to keep things kind of simple lately, allowing room in my arrangements. The guitar playing on this is almost kind of minimalist.

chococat: Heh, alright, I'll resist the temptation to turn her into T-Pain. Thanks for more kind words about my singing. I like how it worked out in this song, but I'm not quite sure how to reproduce the success in future songs. Maybe I have to just not worry about it...
posted by edlundart at 9:53 PM on April 5, 2010

Great work dude.
posted by dobie at 8:18 PM on April 8, 2010

lovely. and seconded about the drums, and the lead vocal is lovely. and i like reverb too. please don't ever use autotune.
posted by peterkins at 3:30 PM on April 11, 2010

Heh, you guys are too tough on autotune. It's actually a very useful tool when used sparingly. I skip it about 80% of the time, because I'm usually reasonably well in tune, and I too dislike its prevalence and overuse. But on some songs I'll use a touch of it in one or two sections if my voice misbehaved a little on pitch but delivered on emotion. In fact, there are two notes in this song where autotune was used to just barely nudge things. So there! ;-)
posted by edlundart at 11:04 PM on April 11, 2010

this is really wonderful. brilliantly deliberate, like a bonnie prince billy tune. your vocals are indeed lovely and evocative (sigh, as per usual) and the the drums, for their simplicity, are impeccable. well done, you.
posted by es_de_bah at 7:23 AM on July 10, 2010

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