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Madeline - feedback if you have time


Oswlek

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Alright, my partner in crime for "Find it Here" is indisposed for a few weeks, so I threw this together. Just some piano, vox and guitar. The vocals are a true first take demo, I don't expect to use them in any way in the final mix, so please excuse the all-too-frequent pitchiness (it was also recorded at three in the morning, so I had to hold back at times). I just wanted to get something down to display the melody and pass the lyrics through here before laying the final tracks down.

 

Updated link

http://www.reverbnation.com/#!/artist/song_details/7704725

 

 

Madeline (Against the Grain)


v1

Madeline, you're coasting in the wind

You drift from place to place

The only time you seem to come alive

Is when the breeze picks up its pace


v2

When Daddy left, Mama thought it best

To dive in head first

To the nearest glass, she never thought to ask

If you might have had it worse


v3

Madeline, do you remember when

You had that portrait done

Your smile then was pure and innocent

No trace of the days to come


Bridge

What's it take to go against the grain

And find yourself the magic of it all?


Bridge repeats


v4

So take a breath, you don't need to accept

This course you're on

Now and then, my sweet Madeline

You need to stand up to the wind

 

 

Anything that needs addressing in the lyrics or music?

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I dont care about the music or lyrics THAT slide solo hit my like a hammer!!

 

Melody, chords are good... maybe a little repetitive, could be resolved by adding more instruments, developing the sound as it progresses

 

lyrics - seem good to me on first run through "floating out to space" does seem a "little" weak, especially as its so early in the song, but its no biggie

 

I think your voice is sounding great as well!

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Thanks for the response, Stick. Hopefully it hit hard because it was good and not because it was too loud or something! I thought about introducing it sooner, but thought it had more impact if I waited.

 

I was planning on adding a touch of harmonies and perhaps another guitar track to thicken things in places, but not much more, so I'm a bit disappointed it came of as too repetitive. I'll give that some thought.

 

Got any ideas for that line? Supposed to imply detachment.

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Ohh it hit hard as it was so damn good and i think you waited just long enough before bringing it in

 

I dont find the song boring in any way , i say repetitive as its just the same melody over each verse, i wonder if slightly altering or hitting a few lines a bit harder may just give it the variety it needs... the harmonies and extra guitar line may even solve it

 

How about "you're never in that place" im not sure... i mean yeh your line works fine, its just "floating out in space" is very overused and its so ealr in the song.

 

Anyone else?

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I've written a few harmonies that I think make the 3rd verse a little fresher and I think I'm going to add in a touch of piano flair, possibly replacing some of the "filler" piano.

 

How about this as a replacement line, "You drift from place to place"?

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I've written a few harmonies that I think make the 3rd verse a little fresher and I think I'm going to add in a touch of piano flair, possibly replacing some of the "filler" piano.


How about this as a replacement line, "You drift from place to place"?

 

 

It works for me but the main this is that it works for YOU and still says exactly what you want to say - if the first version is exactly as you wanted it then let it be

 

it has to have that rhyming word on the end though as the pay off line is very strong

 

look forward to hearing it finsihed

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Interesting. I would consider putting the break between verses 2 or 3, or maybe have something else there. It feels like it wants to evolve after verse 2 to me. Also, I would change the strumming pattern from verse to bridge on the guitar. The melody definitely works well in places, but there are other places where it feels forced (to me) for some reason. I would have to go back and listen multiple times and take some careful notes to provide input on exactly where, so this is more general. The vibe it gave me was a throwback beatles vibe.

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Anything that needs addressing in the lyrics or music?

 

 

I think this is a great little tune. The arrangement ideas are really good, and very well executed. It's also an intriguing subject matter. (I kind of like the unusual way you wait until after the break to do the bridge; I think it works with the overall construction of the song.)

 

One thing I think that might help make the song better lyrically is trying to make some of your internal rhymes stronger. I find that for me, when I follow a strict rule of making my rhymes as perfect as possible, it often forces me to say things in new and sometimes offbeat ways.

 

For instance, I think the problem with the word "space" isn't that there's anything wrong with it, in and of itself, it's just that in the first line Madeline is "coasting in the wind," and there's no wind in outer space. So hearing the singer talk about her first coasting in the wind, and then being in space is a bit jarring, if only unconsciously, for that reason.

 

Following my rule, of Madeline/wind as a less-than-perfect rhyme, one might come up something like this, that's possibly better overall:

 

Madeline, you're coasting once again,

drifting into outer space.

 

You could also see what cleaning up the "time/alive" rhyme does for making the lyric pop more.

 

Likewise, in the 2nd verse, your rhymes are pretty good, but I think you're straining a little with left/best. If you feel like you're stuck with "when daddy left" then you're stuck w/o many viable alternatives. However, if you use a synonym for leaving, it opens you up to more possibilities for rhyming. To wit:

 

When daddy split,

mama thought a bit,

then dove right in head first

to a cocktail glass.

She never thought to ask

if you or she had it worse.

 

And I'm not sure the last line is as strong as it could be either, but I don't have any suggestions right now.

 

I hope I'm not sounding too picky. The idea with a song like this is to sound as natural and as conversational as possible. And sometimes being too "arty" with your rhymes can get in the way. So geel free to ignore what I'm saying!

 

It's a very nice song....

 

LCK

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Interesting that you say that, Lee. When I first started writing this, I used more perfect rhymes and it sounded too rigid, like a computer had put it together. Once I softened it, it felt a lot more comfortable to me. As for the "wind" reference, for better or for worse, those must stay. They are a central part of the first verse and the final summary line.

 

I wholeheartedly agree with out about the "space" line, and I changed it to "drift from place to place" per Stick's feedback. I also see what you mean about the "worse" line and that it could be stronger. Will work on that.

 

EDIT - Pickiness is good. I'm confident enough to know what I like, but humble enough to know I can use the help. Stay picky, please.

 

Robby, I appreciate the consideration. Hopefully a better tracked vocal will diminsh the "forced" quality. As for evolving in a new direction, this is my mom's favorite tune of mine, so I'm going to keep the format the same. Hopefully this new mix has some more candy to sweeten the ride. I will consider altering the guitar on the bridge, that is a good idea.

 

Alright, this new mix is a little further down the road. Retracked the vox and added some backing. Also found a throwaway guitar track that seemed to fill in the gaps nicely, so I added it back in. Added a little color piano-wise. Even tossed a touch of organ, I'd appreciate feedback on that specifically.

 

New upload titled "Madeline 2"

 

http://www.reverbnation.com/#!/artist/song_details/7704725

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Alright, after giving it tons of listens, the guitars clearly need to be EQ'd and balanced, and the vocals need to be set better as well. I'm keeping the organ, may even up it a little.

 

I'm planning on adding a hint of slide in the very beginning to let the listener know what is coming, as well as a few choice strums in the bridge to thicken a few spots. I think this is getting close, but I do have some specific questions

 

1) Is this a keeper vocal take?

2) Does the backing vox work?

3) Should I harmomize under "never thought to ask" instead of "you might have had"?

 

(Blue, if this is pushing beyond the "songwriting" realm, let me know).

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Interesting that you say that, Lee. When I first started writing this, I used more perfect rhymes and it sounded too rigid, like a computer had put it together. Once I softened it, it felt a lot more comfortable to me. As for the "wind" reference, for better or for worse, those must stay. They are a central part of the first verse and the final summary line.


I wholeheartedly agree with out about the "space" line, and I changed it to "drift from place to place" per Stick's feedback. I also see what you mean about the "worse" line and that it could be stronger. Will work on that.

 

 

Hi Justin.

 

I'll make a few key points then shut up.

 

First, since this is a sort of songwriter's workshop, I'd be interested in seeing the rhymes that you threw out b/c they were too rigid. As I said before, that can often happen. The trick is in being able to rephrase things so it sounds more natural.

 

I listened to the new track, and I think you can still retain the wind metaphor as follows:

 

Madeline, you're coasting once again.

You drift from place to place.

But can't you see, you've always felt most free

when the wind was in your face.

 

And, frankly, the ending is good, but it could be a lot stronger for two reasons: 1) you've set up the rhyme scheme as an a/a b - c/c b, but in the last verse, it's more like an a/a b - c/c c, which either knocks the air out your lyric, or makes it stronger (I think it's the first). And 2) there's an opportunity to keep the wind reference, use full-on rhymes that don't sound forced, but in fact, make the whole song come together perfectly.

 

I would find another way to say "take a breath" and "you don't have to accept."

 

So breathe in deep, honey, you don't have to keep

sailing the course you're on...

So Madeline, stand up to the wind....?

 

Then come up with something that rhymes with "on."

 

Anyway, those are my thoughts.

 

If I didn't think this song was worth it, I wouldn't bother making these comments.

 

LCK

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I'm not the best at storing lyric ideas. Most of them start out as scribbles on scraps of paper and are then transferred to something more permanent once I know there is something there. Lousy, I know. There are probably some good ideas that have passed me by by not saving those passages better, but enough come my way that I can barely keep up as is. That's a long way of saying the perfect rhymes never felt like a keeper so I didn't bother to store it anywhere. Sorry.

 

I like your opening verse, but I have to admit, the 3rd and 4th lines of the first verse are probably my favorite in the entire song. I am eyeing that "keep/deep" pairing in the final verse, though. i get you about the changing rhyme scheme at the end. Wasn't sure if that was good or bad, but I like the final line enough that it never bothered me. I'll see what I can do there.

 

Oh, and back to your earlier post and the "might've had it worse" line. "Thirst" seems like an ideal candidate - offers a perfect rhyme to "first", continues the drinking metaphor - but I can't come up with anything. Got any ideas for that?

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I like the tune... like the slide solo alot. I think the piano could sit a little quieter through the whole song... and maybe a little less busy on the piano back during the slide solo. It kind of takes away from the starkness of the slide.

 

That being said, I really like the piano when the song breaks down before the end.

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the perfect rhymes never felt like a keeper so I didn't bother to store it anywhere. Sorry.


I like your opening verse, but I have to admit, the 3rd and 4th lines of the first verse are probably my favorite in the entire song. Oh, and back to your earlier post and the "might've had it worse" line. "Thirst" seems like an ideal candidate - offers a perfect rhyme to "first", continues the drinking metaphor - but I can't come up with anything. Got any ideas for that?

 

 

I don't mind the first/worse rhyme so much as the others, but the phrasing is a little funny on the ending line of that verse.

 

Off the top of my head, "she never thought to ask how you felt when the bubble burst..."

 

I still think you need to give the listener something besides "nearest glass," though, whether that's "whiskey flask" or "cocktail glass," it doesn't matter. (And don't tell me that the mother in the song drank white wine, not whiskey or cocktails; that only matters to you, not your listeners.)*

 

Also, I think you have an opportunity to use something in the third verse to help tie everything together at the end.

 

I'm just going to throw this out there as a starting point, a possibility:

 

3v:

Madeline, do you remember when

you had your portrait done?

The way you smiled, so innocent and wild,

where has that girl gone?

 

(Your use of the phrase, "the days to come" is too "writerly" for my tastes, i.e., not conversational enough; plus it doesn't rhyme, while "gone" is a slant rhyme, which can sometimes work better than a perfect rhyme.)

 

4v:

You can drift along like this,

but Madeline, I miss

that girlish* grin you once grinned.

So, Madeline, every now and then,

smile and stand up the wind.

 

*(or happy or wide-eyed, etc.)

 

LCK

* And if it was white wine, then you could change the line to "dove in head first to a sea of chardonnay."

 

When daddy split, mama thought a bit

then dove right in, head first

into her chardonnay

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I like the tune... like the slide solo alot. I think the piano could sit a little quieter through the whole song... and maybe a little less busy on the piano back during the slide solo. It kind of takes away from the starkness of the slide.


That being said, I really like the piano when the song breaks down before the end.

 

 

Yeah, its a jumbled mess right now. I actually think the root problem is the guitars. They are too loud, but once I find the right balance the keys can settle into their proper place.

 

Thanks for the response!

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Very nice.

 

Musically it's simple and repetitive. Not in a negative way, but I think it needs tighter vocal and juicy harmony in spots to carry through the repeated parts. It's a bit long. Maybe cut some instrumentals out. But it needs a break between V2 & V3, just because 3 verses is kinda much. The break between the two bridges seems to lengthen things, but the 2nd bridge is very good, so maybe a simpler instrumental turnaround in both these places would work better than full instrumentals.

 

The last line seems a little light. I realize your repeating the "wind" theme. probably think about punching up that melodic/vocal line on that. It's positioned to be a concluding anchor. (but it's not that strong). Somehow I wanted the last line or two repeated again at the end. A loose instrumental fade is anti-climactic.

 

. . . , these are all just suggestions. It's good. Feel free to ignore anything I say.

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Alright, I've worked on this one a little more. I've given the lyric ideas a lot of thought, but have decided to keep it as is (for now). The long and short of it is that this is Mom's sentimental favorite and fascinatingly enough, virtually all the weak spots happen to be lines she specifically mentioned as impacting her. She's been bugging me to upload this one since I first played it for her so it feels silly to take out things she likes, especially when you consider I'm never going to be more than a hobbyist with music.

 

Hopefully this doesn't rub you guys the wrong way, I think my track record here shows I'm willing to take advice.

 

Anyway, here is the updated mix. I've added a few pieces of flair and think I'm up to the required 15. I also remixed to get everything to sit better, guitars more organized, piano and lead vox toned down.

 

http://www.reverbnation.com/artist/song_details/7664879#!/artist/song_details/7742626

 

Here are the remaining questions that I have.

 

1) Does the bass being in the upbeat in the verses sound OK? I tried coming on the down and nothing struck me till I did the up. (I know I need to remix it a little)

 

2) Marshall talked about needing a "tighter" vocal. Does that mean better tone/phrasing or are there some pitchy spots? If it is the former its probably as good as I can do, but the latter I should be able to ammend. Just let me know where you hear it.

 

3) Any percussion ideas?

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