Rock, Paper, Scissors (1979 Powerpop Mix)

April 8, 2011 5:56 PM

Balls out late 70s powerpop version of the song I posted an acoustic demo of yesterday.

This is a bit rough around the edges but I thought it would be fun to hear alongside the acoustic version. This is way more how I imagined it sounding. I really wanted to get the feel of that 1975-9 British powerpop thing -- Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, the Motors.

Still haven't quite figured out what to do with the instrumental break after the Middle 8, and not totally happy with the ending, but feeling pretty good about the rest of it.

posted by unSane (16 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite


Everybody's talking 'bout the new situation
Who's in love and out of love with who
Gonna take it to the United Nations
Let 'em figure out what the hell to do

We're playing rock, paper, scissors for the revelation
Who'll be the sad and lonely one
Left there standing in the subway station
Waiting for a train of love that's gone

Gotta understand the new situation
Figure out what's true and isn't true
Is it just a simple infatuation
Is it skin deep or is it through and through


Well, rock breaks scissors and scissors cut paper
Paper covers rock and dynamite kills them all
But you only get one chance, honey
So you better get it right 'cos it's winner takes all

words/music © 2011 J Brownlow All rights reserved

posted by unSane at 6:32 PM on April 8, 2011

Yes, you should feel good about this. :-)


Drums need a seeing-to...speak to them sternly!

Great job.
posted by Zenabi at 4:38 AM on April 9, 2011

What don't you like about the drums? Mix? Timing? Playing? Sounds?
posted by unSane at 4:48 AM on April 9, 2011

For my primitive ears (and they are primitive!), the drums seem to get a bit lost/soft as the song goes on.
posted by Zenabi at 5:48 AM on April 9, 2011

Yeah they might do. I turned up the guitars towards the end and they probably squished the drums. Can't hear the hi hat either. I found this a very difficult song to do the drums for to be honest... they feel a bit metronomic... need a few more fills and looseness I think.
posted by unSane at 5:55 AM on April 9, 2011

As usual unS you an take or leave these off-the cuff comments - hope they're of help:
- intro is too long for this kind of material - start with the riff (comes in at about 0.17);
- don't play the verse vocal melody on the guitar (tends to make things sound messy unless they're bang in synch)
- not sure it's in the right key - a tone or two higher might increase the sense of urgency in the vocal;
- "rock, paper, scissors" needs to have a harmony vocal with it (maybe even a three-parter) to really make it hit home - those "oohs" could break into that and then go back to their "oohs" if that makes sense;
- middle eight sounds a bit rushed - maybe you need fewer notes/words;
- I'm not hearing an instrumental break after the M8, I'm hearing the verse with no vocal - needs a solo that isn't replaying the verse vocal melody again?;
- drums too "clever" and busy sometimes - there's bits where you're doing a kind of doubled-up beat and, well, it doesn't work to my ears (sorry!);
- very good sound overall - nicely mixed/balanced and I like the guitar sounds. Maybe a little less reverb would be good - but only a smidgin less;
- ending is perfect and with the edit at the front you@ll bring it in at under 3 minutes - essential for PowerPop!
posted by MajorDundee at 10:38 AM on April 9, 2011

Awesome, Major, I love it when you weigh in like this. Hadn't thought about another key... the high notes are towards the top of my range so not sure I can make it much further though. The other notes are well taken.
posted by unSane at 4:25 PM on April 9, 2011

Pleased to be of help unS and relieved that what may seem to be rather blunt comments are taken the right way i.e. if we were in the studio recording this track I'd be saying all of that to you (probably with more expletives) and you'd probably be agreeing with some and saying "fuck off you Scotch twat" in terms of others. All good healthy stuff - because the main aim is to get the track as good as it can be.

Actually, just had one of my thoughts ("oh God noooooooo", I hear the collective MeFiMu community sigh). We need a space on MeFiMu where we can upload work-in-progress so that stuff can be kicked around a bit before it gets "offically released", as it were, on MeFiMu proper? I'd call it the MeFiMU Workshop or Testbed or something like that. Thing is, even if you decided to take my comments on board and then post the track again, to me it's always like you've kind of shot your bolt already - at least that's what I've noticed if I upload an "improved" version of a track. People aren't really that interested. You really only get one shot at a post here I think. So having an "in development" space might mean that you really do upload finished stuff. I dunno - perhaps not...
posted by MajorDundee at 9:34 AM on April 10, 2011

Well, maybe we could do it offsite, Major, like a sister kind of thing. An incubator. I could set something up in about 10 minutes to be honest. I agree there are diminishing returns to uploading new and improved versions of tracks although I like tracking them with the 'evolution' tag.

Soundcloud already has lots of functionality for this actually.
posted by unSane at 10:53 AM on April 10, 2011

I really like this. It has so much more life than the acoustic demo. I agree with Dundee that it could start around the :17 mark without losing anything. Going back to find your older stuff now.
posted by Grundlebug at 7:42 AM on April 13, 2011

Wow, great job fleshing it out. Love the chorus harmonies.
The intro kinda reminds me of the Q theme song.
posted by chococat at 10:08 PM on April 14, 2011

Holy shit, it's totally the same chord sequence! And even more bizarrely, the band I've been strongarmed into to headline the Canada Day celebrations up here is covering a Luke Doucet song. Maybe we should do the Q theme as well (we're doing Hockey Night in Canada already).
posted by unSane at 4:54 AM on April 15, 2011

Nice! Riff is super fun, and I love that popping up move with the melody in the third and fourth bars of the chorus.
posted by cortex at 9:22 AM on April 25, 2011

This is terrific.
posted by umbú at 12:16 PM on May 3, 2011

Second try at a mix is here. Did the following:

-- took off the first intro and came in on the riff as suggested
-- dropped in a blazing little solo on the bridge and outro... every so often I think about getting rid of the 335 but whenever you need something like this it absolutely rocks. Took me for ever to figure out something that I liked though.
-- brought up the top line of the harmonies (the Beach Boys kind of thing)
-- brought up the melody guitar on the choruses and took it down on the verses where it fought
-- brought up the overheads and bass a little bit
posted by unSane at 6:54 PM on May 3, 2011

Oops, screwed up the link. Remix is here.
posted by unSane at 9:53 PM on May 3, 2011

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