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Rivers (would like feedback)

Posted By: Cecilee

Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/12/13 05:47 AM

Good evening everyone! cool

I wrote this song in late July/early August and have been periodically working on it since. When this song came to me, I had already solidified the list of songs I wanted to use for my next music project, but after playing around with this tune, I really want to include it! I think it's one of the most beautiful songs I've written in a while.

I was inspired to write this when I took a water rafting trip during a visit with my friend. Floating down the river, I was so relaxed and began to think about people and whether it's possible to really know somebody. And my conclusion is no, you can't. There are always hidden depths to people that you may never get to see, no matter how long you know them.

Now this is something that I'm looking at for myself to sing, and my arrangement so far (it isn't finished yet) is very synthy/Moby-like, in the vein of this song:

Moby - Porcelain

What I'm looking for is feedback on whether the song sounds good as a whole, do I need to add or take away anything, etc. I'm working on an electronic arrangement, so I want to make sure the song is all good before I keep going. smile

All right, enough talking grin Here's my song with lyrics right after the link. I know parts of this are a bit rough but I did it as a demo. smile

Rivers (demo)

Rivers

(c) 2013 by Cecilee Linke

Cutting through mountains
And bleeding its waters
Hiding in the sunshine
Of a lush forest

There are flooded banks
From a distant storm
And scarred rocks
In the rapids

Here, in this solitude

There are rivers
You will never see
Behind these eyes
Behind this smile
There are rivers
You will never see
Even if you try
There are too many miles
To ever see it all
There are rivers rivers rivers
That you will never see


And in this quiet chaos
The current rushes on
Bubbling in the moonlight
Under the howling wind

The world only sees
The calm and the glow
So no one else knows
The soul beneath the light

Bridge:
And the closer you are
The farther away you go

'Cause there are

Rivers
You will never see
Behind these eyes
Behind this smile
There are rivers
You will never see
Even if you try
There are too many miles
To ever see it all
There are rivers rivers rivers
That you will never see


Rivers rivers rivers
Rivers rivers rivers
That you, my dear
Will never
See

(c) 2013 by Cecilee Linke

Thank you very much in advance for taking the time to listen and critique my song, I really really appreciate it. smile
Posted By: Bill Osofsky

Re: Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/12/13 06:06 AM

Ok, I hate to do this, BUT, I think it flows pretty well, lol. I liked the second half of the song more than the first because of the smoothness of the vocal as opposed to, particularly in the second section, the words that were stretched. But that may just be my preference. Good luck with your project

Bill
Posted By: E Swartz

Re: Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/12/13 08:08 AM

Hi Cecilee!

Bill was right about the 2nd half flowing with better music/lyric prosody. The art of getting music and lyrics flowing effortlessly isn't always easy--sometimes extracting words or adding words, or giving them different syllable timing is needed. For instance, if you add the word "green" before "lush," you don't have to hold lush as long. Yes there are times when holding syllables works and others times not. I would experiment with those areas where the lyric/music flow isn't flowing well.

I like your chorus melody and it launches ok with the short PC, and think with a full production that can be enhanced as well. I do think the chorus is long enough and repetitive enough, (ok for a chorus) to eliminate the last two lines and summarize with the line, "To ever see it all." Repeating the rivers isn't necessary IMO.

I might shorten the intro a measure, and come in more assertively when the intro ends, there is no time for a quarter rest pause which you have there.

I really like your concept and analogies with this song's meaning, however I'm not sure I would know where you were going with the song's meaning until I got the chorus. My thinking would possibly consider "humanizing" the song in the 2nd verse by having a line or lines that suggest something like: "Do I really know him or her/what is he/she thinking while gazing/////. My point is then when you hit your chorus the listener will feel, relate, or understand your metaphors and analogies. A song can becomes too poetic or too profound with too many metaphors or analogies--use them sparingly as spice within the song to dramatize the story, not to be the story.

IMO, most importantly, you might consider humanizing the story slightly with fewer poetic expressions and a few more human circumstances or facts and get the lyric/music prosody tighter. I might also experiment with a slightly quicker tempo, (3-5 BPM). I listened to a few of your songs, some nice melodies, but I almost feel you're locked into a slow tempo, where slow/moderate might offer some interesting effects.

Your recording is raw at this point, understandably so, but I definitely can hear potential here. I would also like to express that these are my opinions only, and that doesn't at all mean that my sugs are necessarily your best advice--but I share my thoughts as ideas for consideration. Nice start with this song!

steady-eddie.
Posted By: Calvin

Re: Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/12/13 11:07 AM

Hi Cecilee,

Nice to meet you.

And yes, it sure is a beautiful melody.
And unlike my friend Eddie, I didn't care WHERE I was going until the chorus.
I thought it all works as is.

Calvin


http://www.soundclick.com/bands/0/calvinstewart

Posted By: Cecilee

Re: Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/12/13 08:16 PM

Thanks for listening Bill! grin

About the words getting stretched out, I'm thinking of adding some more words to the second verse so that I don't stretch out so many words. I noticed as I was recording it that I felt there were too many long words in the first part since the verses are so short. smile
Posted By: Cecilee

Re: Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/12/13 08:27 PM

Hey Eddie, thanks for listening and commenting. Glad that you see potential in my song too! smile In the arrangement I have been working on, there won't be a pause in between the end of the intro and the start of the first verse. I do agree that I should come in more assertively there. smile

And also I played around with the bpm of my arrangement a little this morning, which was at 108 bpm, about the speed of the Moby song I linked to and the speed that I was playing in the video, and made it a little faster. I did like it a little faster! I noticed that I tend to play my songs slowly on the piano at first until I've practiced them enough that I can play them a little more quickly. tongue And some of the songs I've played on piano, when turned into electronic songs, become more uptempo. smile

Anyway, thanks again for listening and I'll take your advice into account! grin
Posted By: Cecilee

Re: Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/12/13 08:32 PM

Calvin, thanks for listening and I'm glad you liked the song. smile I was a little hesitant to post this since it's been over a year since I last posted a song. Glad people seem to like it! smile
Posted By: Cecilee

Re: Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/14/13 03:51 PM

Does anyone else have any thoughts on this tune? I've gotten a lot of views but no other comments. Guess it must be all good then. smile
Posted By: Iggy

Re: Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/14/13 05:26 PM

Hi Cecilee,

I’ve been around for a while but always a bit hesitant to respond to an MP3 post. After all, who am I? What gives me the right? Remember everybody has an opinion so use or lose anything I might say!

I agree with much of Eddie’s critique. Seems like he spent a lot of time giving you some good and honest feedback.

I like the concept of Rivers in our lives but felt your lyrics were a bit too poetic. Really wasn’t sure where you were taking us. As to Eddie’s point maybe personalizing it more will strengthen the meaning and concept. The chorus which in my mind tells us all what the song means, really didn’t. I think if you take more time explaining the concept of rivers in your verses, then the chorus will work. I agree to shorten it as well as you used the line “you’ll will never see” three times. I would spend a bit more time on developing a rhyming pattern, especially in the chorus. I think that will help with meaning and interpretation.

Musically I have no complaints. I think with a professional production, it’s a nice tune that has a lot of potential.

Good luck with it.

Kind Regards,

Iggy
Posted By: Lisa Gundling

Re: Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/14/13 11:20 PM

Hi Cecilee,

I see you've gotten some nice advice, so I'll just chime in here to say that I enjoyed listening...very poignant!

Lisa

Posted By: IronKnee

Re: Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/15/13 11:36 AM

Hi Cecilee....I'm not much at pointesr....all I can tell you is that I recognise a very nice melody in there....nice piano, as well. Keep it up. Alot of fun, isn't it!!?
-Tom
Posted By: Colin Ward

Re: Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/15/13 02:06 PM

I think you have something with potential here. The melody is pretty and the title and hook are appealing. You have received good advice above from others. A couple of other things that struck me were that:

1. It is a bit long.

2. Your voice sounds best when you sing in the lower part of your range so you may want to lower the key

3. I would not have known what it is about without the back story so you may want to revise the lyrics a bit to bring it out - maybe in verse 2. You've only got a few minutes to get people's attention so you might want to be more obvious.

4. The phrasing sounds awkward in places. Words stretched out and other words not emphasized as we would speak them.

Some of these things you would naturally fix when you do a serious production. Hope this helps. Good luck with it.
Posted By: Cecilee

Re: Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/18/13 05:11 AM

Hey everyone, I haven't been on JPF for a few days but I wanted to take the time to at least acknowledge your advice. smile

First of all, thank you very much for taking the time to listen to my song, I really really do appreciate it. smile And I'll definitely keep your advice in mind! I am ready to begin recording the vocals, so I hope to do that this week and when I'm done, I'll post it here.

Just wanted to add that I took some of the critiques I got here and have made some good changes to the song. I did realize the song was a bit long, but now it's been sped up, so it's a lot shorter. smile And I also rewrote the second verse so that I wasn't twisting and stretching so many words and to make everything a little more clear. And it sounds better. smile
Posted By: TamsNumber4

Re: Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/18/13 07:02 PM

Cecilee,

I think I have the same issues, it is a bit long.

I like to write like you do, by liking things to other things...to accomplish that, you must use descriptors to describe and refer to each of the things you are comparing, right now you are not clear on what you are comparing to the rivers. I do know what you intend to do and it is a great thought for a lyric, nice to meet folks that think the way that I like to write.

Nice to see a keyboardist on the boards, we seem guitar heavy here.

Some nice things to work off of in this song...keep going with it!

Tammy
Posted By: Cecilee

Re: Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/18/13 09:23 PM

Hey Tammy,

Yeah the demos for my songs always tend to be quite long, but once I get used to playing the song and playing around with tempo they go faster. I recorded this as a demo and work-in-progress. The song was barely two weeks old when I recorded the video. This one has become more upbeat at 120 bpm as opposed to the 100-105 range I was playing in the video. smile

The idea for the rivers was that rivers are supposed to be tears of pain, which represent all the sad and hurtful things that people have felt in their lives that they can't share with others. When people are hurting, they usually hide it from people and put on a happy face, so when you look at them from the outside, they seem fine even though inside, they are hiding something very hurtful. ("There are rivers you will never see/Behind these eyes/Behind this smile" ; "The world only sees the calm and the glow, so no one else knows the soul beneath the light") And everyone has things that they never tell anyone else. So you could know someone your whole life and yet never really know them. ("Even if you try there are too many miles/to ever see it all" ; "And the closer you are, the farther away you go.") Most people are afraid to let other people see their pain, so we often keep it to ourselves. ("'Cause there are rivers rivers rivers, that you will never see.")

Basically, everything is not really as it seems with people. Someone could seem all calm and peaceful, like everything is just peachy (the first two verses), but there is an undercurrent of melancholy that no one ever gets to know and can't be shared (the third and fourth verses). smile

Yeah we do seem guitar heavy on these boards. Even in the local songwriter group which I'm a part of in my area, I am kind of the odd one out with being a keyboard player. grin

Thanks for listening! grin
Posted By: Colin Ward

Re: Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/19/13 02:12 AM

Originally Posted by Cecilee


The idea for the rivers was that rivers are supposed to be tears of pain, which represent all the sad and hurtful things that people have felt in their lives that they can't share with others. When people are hurting, they usually hide it from people and put on a happy face, so when you look at them from the outside, they seem fine even though inside, they are hiding something very hurtful. ("There are rivers you will never see/Behind these eyes/Behind this smile" ; "The world only sees the calm and the glow, so no one else knows the soul beneath the light") And everyone has things that they never tell anyone else. So you could know someone your whole life and yet never really know them. ("Even if you try there are too many miles/to ever see it all" ; "And the closer you are, the farther away you go.") Most people are afraid to let other people see their pain, so we often keep it to ourselves. ("'Cause there are rivers rivers rivers, that you will never see.")

Basically, everything is not really as it seems with people. Someone could seem all calm and peaceful, like everything is just peachy (the first two verses), but there is an undercurrent of melancholy that no one ever gets to know and can't be shared (the third and fourth verses). smile



You know all this stuff....the problem is to write the song so that the listener can figure all that out in 4 minutes without much prior knowledge!
Posted By: Bill Osofsky

Re: Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/19/13 02:55 AM

Just my 2 cents. I write mostly country music- I have to use conversational language, show more than tell and be clear in what I'm trying to say. Cecilee, and forgive me if I'm wrong, is a poetic singer/songwriter and should be held to a different standard. I rarely critique a S/S lyric. They just have to write songs that make sense to them and sound nice to their target audience. So she may not tell a totally concise story here, but she doesn't have to. At least I don't think so, lol. smile

Bill
Posted By: E Swartz

Re: Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/19/13 03:32 AM

Colin and Bill--you both make valid points--one could always use "art" as a foundation to do just about anything they want to do for that matter. I am of the opinion that sure you can write lyrics or abstract music to appeal to certain niche audiences if that's what you wish--but what Colin is saying makes common sense if you are trying to write to "break through." Just being poetic and profound will lump you in with a huge group of unsuccessful writers. Most large hits are simple compositions, yet clever and exceptional melody driven. Having said this, I like and use myself some poetic writing with /metaphors/clever analogies/ for lyric enhancement. I think these types of expressions are more powerful when they are used to embellish a story--not be the total story.

Colin, a good friend and mentor of mine, that was an exceptional explanation that offers much incite. Bill, reminds us that "art" is not "concrete," also very good advice.

Cecilee, take advice in small doses, as everyone's opinion is opinion....As Mackie says: "Write On."

steady-eddie.
Posted By: Bill Osofsky

Re: Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/19/13 03:46 AM

Thanks, Eddie. I guess we each have to define our own goals and what we see as success. For me success was getting a major artist cut, so I would classify myself as a failure. My current goal is just to post music people enjoy listening to. Cecilee also needs to have her own definition of success, and expressing what it is would make critiquing her work easier for everyone. As it would for everyone posting, btw. At another site we would sometimes request that posters express at what level they wanted critiques done, to little avail, lol. And as I said, if I've misjudged what Cecilee is looking for as a writer, I'd like to be corrected by her for future reference. In my limited experience here, I only see a few writers looking to attract large audiences. But now I'm rambling, so I'll stop. And let me apologize to Colin if my comments came off in any way as criticism of his suggestions.

Bill
Posted By: Cecilee

Re: Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/19/13 10:37 PM

Thought I'd throw my two cents in here. smile

Bill is correct, I am indeed more of a poetic singer/songwriter. Songwriting and singing is something I do for fun because I feel like I will go crazy if I don't write or play. smile

My definition of success then is having someone else outside of my immediate circle enjoy listening to my song and feel something. smile
Posted By: niteshift

Re: Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/20/13 09:30 AM

Hey Cecilee,

Nice to meet you !

I'm loving the concept of this song. The musical riff, and especially the chorus work very well. The verses are a bit abstract, and could do with some tightening.

Performance wise it's a bit difficult to listen to. Musically, I can see where you want to go with it ( sure, it's only a work demo ) but to listen to, it is hard to not be distracted by the musical phrasing, and the wandering of pitch with the vocal.

There's a number of things which would help with it's delivery, and I'd suggest playing the song first, to a click track to tighten it up, then do a vocal overlay and go through the best phrases and pick and choose which work best.

Not all songwriters are great vocalists ( and they're not meant to be ) but when presenting your work, it works out a lot better if the sound is pleasing ( and in pitch ) to the listener.

I think it is a very soulful piece of songwriting, and with work, and with the right delivery, would be a memorable tune.

Best of luck with it.

cheers, niteshift
Posted By: Cecilee

Re: Rivers (would like feedback) - 09/20/13 03:51 PM

Niteshift,

Thanks for listening. I have been working diligently on the song and I think it will turn out well. I have played this song many times since I uploaded that video and it sounds a lot better. smile
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