the song in a realistic contemporary scenario. There are a few, but relevant, elements that make it hard to accept the track as a radio hit.
Although the first impression is of a good song, it is immediately followed by uncertainty about the purpose of the song. This uncertainty is caused by: the unmistakable ‘80s sound, occasional guitar riffs that “spill” into some kind of “wanna be hard rock,” and the choice of instruments and sounds that date the song and deprive it of its potential.
The author defined the song as “Classic Rock with modern edge.” I can see where the “Classic” comes from: melody and harmony fall well under that category; the guitar sound is not pretentious and can be associated with almost any genre, so why not classic; the drums section is mostly straight forward and can be defined as classic. But there’s an upsetting disturbance with the use of the term “Classic.” In music, especially in pop music, songs become a classic after staying for a while on the scene. They are not created as Classic. Looking back in the ‘70s and ‘80s there are endless examples of rock songs defined as Hard or Metal, but in 2008 they are “just” Classic Rock. Of course it’s another story if you are creating a dress. But it’s not our case.
As for the definition part “… with modern edge,” it seems mostly driven by the desire to place the song in a contemporary context – at least judging by the overall sound. In consideration of the above, a proper definition for the song would be “Retro” and exclude the classic and modern temptations. However, there are some strong elements that if worked properly can make the song a modern one. But before diving into that, let’s conclude with its current state.
The ‘80s sound is mostly delivered by the guitar, bass, and drums’ sound and arrangement. Guitar: it seems like a processed by some distortion pedal sound that goes through an amplifier. Bass: is it synthetic? That makes it too rounded, too processed, too unnatural (those glissandi are so perfect, but they miss the human touch.) Drums: those tom-toms remind of the ‘80s Disco music – yet another distraction form the purpose of the track.
Let’s take a look at the execution and its genre-defining role. It is evident that the performance is well delivered technically and artistically. However, there are some instances of overdoing it. The most manifested is the guitar solo. It reminds of some bravado ala Van Halen but does not have place here. Also, at the end of the Verse, right before the Chorus there are some fast passages – those are unnecessary and bring confusion. The occasional virtuosity in the rhythmic section should be avoided: this is a melodic mid-tempo pop/rock song after all.
This track needs a delicate face lift in order or bring up the “modern edge.” Avoiding the aforementioned ways of using song elements will deliver a fresh and attractive sound. But how to do this? There are two main things to do:
- Change the instruments’ sound
- Change the arrangement.
In its current status the drums section sounds too much as if coming out of a box. If that should be the case, then there are so many realistic drum samples. Choose a simple one (pop/rock requires simplicity) and you will have a sound foundation for the rest of the song. Definitely avoid the use of toms- and bongos-like sounds.
Bass – avoid melodic lines (vocals and occasional riffs in guitar are enough for the melodic component.) And again, if it has to be synthetic, pick up a sampled one. It will be realistic and will open the song to a wider range of frequencies. As an alternative you can choose a really synthetic one – not imitation of realistic bass. But careful, that would require reconsidering the overall sound. You might need to avoid at that point the distortion and use clean guitars or even acoustic.
Guitar – the main thing is: keep it simple. Also, there’s no need for two guitars. But you might want to consider overdubbing the one. That will contribute to a more powerful and conquering sound.
Overall, this is a good track with some noticeable retro flavor. The '80s sound could be a good idea, but to make it more appealing it needs to be approched in a modern way. By doing so, the track will be likable to larger audiences and of interest even to radio stations. And who knows, it might become a classic.
for MSSVision.com - 06/17/2008