2020-MAY-09 Info: Please help spread the word about the Songwriting Competition and help it reach 15 participants per month on average

SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC021 May 2019 - Winners announced

Thematic Songwriting Competition - recurrence: monthly
Leonard Bowman
Posts: 63
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2019 00:09 CET

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC021 May 2019 - Voting until 01-06-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST


Post by Leonard Bowman »

Well done, everybody!

Really solid tracks, fun to listen to. I'll probably listen to these more on occasion, because they are so delightful. I definitely have a bias towards vocal tracks, but maybe that's because I failed at writing lyrics and want to applaud everyone else who tried working with words...

VCA-089 - The Winds of Spring
Lovely intro!
I like the return of the guitar around 1:45, brings some nice balance to the other theme. The biggest complaint I have is that there are so many complex melodies and themes bouncing around that I can't remember them by the end of the track. This track needs an earworm to tie it together in my opinion.

MarkS - Happy Journey
Lots of cool bits around here, but they don't quite fit together as a mix. The biggest thing I'm missing is a sense of overall structure. The phrase lengths feel uneven, and I can't tell when the next idea is going to show up. Sound bits that happen once only can be really neat effects, but an effect is only as good as the material it supports. Also, the song ends way too abruptly for my taste.

Donkeyt - The Lady Vanishes
That synth progression in the chorus rocks! The whole thing is really fun to listen to. I get a slight feeling of Genesis from your vocals.

GIANCARLO - Psycholove
I love the little vocal harmonies that pop up. The atmosphere of the track really works for me. Nice writing! I also really appreciate the lyrics.

functionform - River
I love the intro. I think the vocals are too low in the mix, but when the synths back away they sound very good. The delayed sibilances also get in the way of clarity a bit too much for me. Aside from those production aspects, I really liked your song!

erictracks - Burning Down The Night
Intro is solid. Chorus is wonderful, verses are excellent. Well done! vocals are nice and clear, plus there is lots of other movement adding interest. Also, I like the background vocals, they add a nice touch to the track. The only possible issue I find with the track is the synth interludes in the verse are very loud compared to the vocals.

Leonard Bowman - The Last Minute
Your lyrics make no sense! and what is that accent? You should have used a ping-pong delay somewhere. And why did you give feedback on your own track? finally, why the cheesy Picardy third ending? ewwww.

canese - Misterpopp
Wow. I don't even know what to say to that intro. I'm hearing a little distortion on the kicks, but most of the time it works in the mix. I can happily get lost in this track. Didn't quite scream 80's to me but I'm arguably the least qualified to make that judgement.

TheNeverScene - Leg Warmers
Still jealous of the RadioFX Radio FX. Good job of keeping continuity throughout the piece while going through several different ideas.

SimaGT - Driveway
Guitar works really well in this piece. This captures a feeling really well in my opinion. The chorus is really good, but throughout the rest of the piece I would have liked a little more melody to hold on to. Production feels pretty clean to me.
► Show Spoiler

donkey tugger
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat Jul 01, 2017 04:40 CEST

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC021 May 2019 - Voting until 01-06-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST


Post by donkey tugger »

Leonard Bowman wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 03:44 CEST

Donkeyt - The Lady Vanishes
I get a slight feeling of Genesis from your vocals.

I tend to get, 'Peter Gabriel' quite a lot. Don't know how this has happened as he's a posh public schoolboy from Surrey, and I'm a common northern monkey from Lancashire, who's lived in Yorkshire over half his life, and never listened to any of his stuff apart from what's been on the tv/radio etc... weird how it happens! :hihi:

Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2019 17:16 CEST

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC021 May 2019 - Voting until 01-06-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST


Post by functionform »

Yes I immediately heard Peter Gabriel as well!

Posts: 38
Joined: Sun May 14, 2017 03:52 CEST

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC021 May 2019 - Voting until 01-06-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST


Post by erictracks »

Leonard Bowman wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 03:44 CEST
erictracks - Burning Down The Night
The only possible issue I find with the track is the synth interludes in the verse are very loud compared to the vocals.
I'm glad you pointed this out -- the synth interlude levels were a conscious decision, and I'm still struggling with it.

I was trying hard to break out of my usual mixing where every part is polite and doesn't make waves or really do much at all to grab attention. I decided early on to make these synth lines stick out, and see what happened. I do think it is a step in the right direction, but as you mentioned I probably got carried away. Probably needs more finesse than I can pull off tbh.

Thank you for the feedback, it is exactly the kind of thing I hoped to see.

Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2018 00:14 CEST

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC021 May 2019 - Voting until 01-06-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST


Post by MarkS »

the feedback:

canese, your tune is a pop song, but not as much as the songs from eighties, maybe try to change some sounds/instruments
used in the song.or you can make some eq cuts in frequencies.

SimaGT, it sounds a bit like a video game , but it really seems like was recorded in eighties. especially the guitars give this
feeling to the song.

VCA-089, i think the guitar from the beginning could play twice in your track. the percussion rhytms in your song are interesting.

functionform, i may be wrong, but your vocals seem a bit similar to donkey tugger, or you have processed them in the same way. your song fits to this month's theme.

Giancarlo, ...if you dare to walk away, i will send you straight to jail... :) this is very convincing, but these lyrics really correspond to the song's title. your song has the feeling of eighties too.

erictracks, your song sounds a bit like a christmas tune because of the bells/electric piano. maybe try to add some reverb to
them to send further in the space.this will make them to sound not so bright or not so obvious.

Leonard Bowman,i think your vocals could benefit from doubling them with a female or male voice. this will give them some
depth or power.

TheNeverScene-your song seems a bit similar to ghostbusters ost, but without vocals. anyway your song too corresponds to this month's theme.

donkey tugger, your rapping in the song that starts at the 01:12 and at the 02:29, gives to your track a bit of modern feeling. but it really has its place.

PS. i was born after eighties so i may be wrong with some feedback or positions in the top, but in my childhood some melodies of this style still were popular.so i have a picture of these songs.

the top:
► Show Spoiler

Posts: 38
Joined: Sun May 14, 2017 03:52 CEST

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC021 May 2019 - Voting until 01-06-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST


Post by erictracks »



Honestly this sounds more like what synthy shoegaze? than 80s synth pop.
Bottom end is amazing in my room, warm and fluffy. Embracing.
Gorgeous changes, and accompanying sounds in the background.
Love the detuned-like textures makes me feel melancholy in a really good way.
This is really good you should probably get paid for it.
Maybe let that tail off a bit more in the end, that would certainly fit with the sort of longing feeling the song gives you.

The Never Scene
Leg Warmers

0:19 Yea this is it I love this. Honestly, this didn’t need the radio intro, but that was skillful work nice job.
Love the driving beat it speaks to me directly from 35 years ago.
Strong ABACAB energy in there, lurking among the poppy turnarounds.
Sweet composition goddamn.
Vocals would launch this into space.
Crazy good instrument sounds and performance. No complaints just wish it had vocals.

Leonard Bowman
The Last Minute

Intro is like, hey I just loaded a killer song from 83 into my new TEAC tape deck from circuit city. Honestly the intro / turnaround has strong video game music energy too with that rapid melody.
Hell yea this has a great chorus. Verse lyrics really payoff to the chorus it’s very satisfying.
I gotta recognize the complete product here, nice work.
I wish the excellent supporting sounds I’m hearing were more present in the mix, they seem kinda buried.


Intro has strong groove great sound choices. To me it’s a moody but still optimistic sound. Goes great with the sentimental feeling this creates.
Wow drum track is so there those fills work so well.
Melody is polished. I like the vocal effects on the ‘river that I see’/‘river calls to me’ parts, they’re distinct and focused me back to the lyrics.
I can really get into that riff in the intro and turnarounds, that’s a great vibe you created.


Production is sitting right in that sweet spot. Synth choice is the perfect dramatic patch for this composition.
I’m jealous of the ambience on the snare how did you get that?
When the guitar first hits, it’s a nice payoff. Some of the chords sound a bit high-gain for the era (but sound tight as hell outside the context of this comp).
That lick at 2:1 that is PERFECT nice playing.
Righteous solo. Cool composition.

Winds Of Spring

Mesmerizing intro. Its peak gets slightly harsh, but that could be my system.
Love the menacing synth on the transitions. It’s a great contrast to the upbeat sections and especially the intro.
This is skilled. It’s a rad jam.
Production is right there, I’m in love with the high hat sound. To me it’s a bit too present, but you got a great sound and effect there. I get a stewart copeland vibe.
Lead at 3:36 is great, sweet choice there.
RESPECT to the fade-out. Very appropriate for the era. I would have let it go for a bit longer before the cutoff, but it’s great.

Mark S
Happy Journey

Drum sound is very purposeful get out on the damn dance floor.
The overall space this is in, brings me back. Clean and punchy.
I’m feeling the high hat is poking out too much, or is a touch present.
This works for a dance track (12-inch single version?) but I’m not sure this is synth pop so much as dance music (don’t get me wrong it’s a sweet composition I just mean in the context of the comp).
Nicely sequenced interplay of the lead and voice sounds.
That theme at :55 and recurring throughout. That’s catchy as hell.


Intro is spot on, this is a polished track.
These are refined sound choices.
Vocals are crystal clear, maybe some more ambience to get back to the era.
This is a very listenable mix, pleasant and honestly it sounds modern.
I adore the sequenced notes that go throughout this. Really overall perfect chords for the era. Strong memories of the feeling they produce. Kinda sad but not too sad.
Fade out YES. I love the fade.

donkey tugger
The Lady Vanishes

This is dark and beautiful sounding. Sophisticated? sounding textures.So good.
Telephone vox at the beginning are a bit harsh, but beyond that vocals are glorious.
I love that edge on your voice. The phrasing too.
Chorus riff at :41 is my favorite thing this month, that’s something I want to listen to a few hundred more times.
Pro composition, with hooks and payoffs. Respect.


The entries this month are all extremely legit. Seriously this has to be the best batch of songs yet. For scoring I weighed the presence of vocals pretty heavily.
► Show Spoiler

Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2019 15:46 CET

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC021 May 2019 - Voting until 01-06-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST


Post by VCA-089 »

donkey tugger
Pretty decent entry. Nice arrangement and sound design. I like this modular style sequence that goes throughout the track It perfectly fits alternative and new wave style of late 80's. Vocals are quite good, you have a nice timbre. I would like them to be more agressive with all this driven phone filters, but perhaps it is just me.

This whole theme feels smooth (good mix, arrangement, vocals etc.) and I feel that this is actually the problem. I should call it "Obsessive Love". Perhaps my expectations were wrong, but I'm not getting psychotic vibes. I'd like when some elements are getting unpredictible and out of control. Actually you tried to do something like this in the bridge with vocals, but the whole theme still feels too smooth. Still very good entry.

Nice and groovy track. It feels more 80's underground and early house rather than actual synthwave. I like the atmosphere you've created with ambient sounds. Nice idea with mixed signature pattens, but feels too obvious. The whole track feels a bit repetitive and lacks development, but still enjoyable in some ways.

Actually I think tis one could be played on the radio back in those days. It is well balanced entry in all aspects and authentic atmosphere is preserved. The main theme is quite catchy and well thought. I assume that this production is way ahead of what I can do now and perhaps I will never be able to make such song. You made me another idol.

This entry sounds authentic and very familiar. Good work on percussion, especially toms. The use of distortion guitar is a cool idea, but it has too long sustained notes in the chorus, getting a bit overwhelming. Overall it is quite balanced track that is enjoyable to listen.

Good theme, vocals (except few pops) and arrangement. I should say that the mix could be more balanced. The main lead synth has too much mid frequencies, it occupies too much headroom and all other instruments feels too quiet and weak because of that. It would be much better entry with the mix problem solved.

Leonard Bowman
Actually it is not bad. The sounds and arrangement are in the right way, but mix is kinda dull and lacks dynamics. Also, I feel like vocals are floating above all other instruments that makes them too upfront. Speaking of vocals, I like the theme and lyrics, but performance is just not there. It is kinda flat and lacks accents where it feels they should be. I understand that vocalist is not only a person that sing notes and words but actually playing a role like an actor. I hope you will find a way to improve your performance in further.

One of the best entries for sure. The whole theme is very balanced and full of interesting details and nuances. Very polished abd clean mix. I like this trick with radio tuning at the beginning, sets the right atmosphere. And perhaps this track could really play on the radio.

An interesting tune. It feels much more modern, something closer to ambient and trance music. The overall mix is OK, but there is too much mid frequencies (oround 1-3k) and sometimes its getting clipped. There is hard to define melodies because of that. Also, drums feels like basic FL Studio samples. Still a very nice track that would shine in the right context.
► Show Spoiler

Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2018 16:57 CEST

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC021 May 2019 - Voting until 01-06-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST



Nice songs people! Here´s my feedback:

Donkey Tugger
I really liked the composition, the bassline and the guitars in particular.
Sounds like a soundtrack. I couldn´t get the song structure and the mix lacks balance.
Didn´t like the intro. The "wind" sound is too cliché even for the 80s. The other part is nice; could be a soundtrack for a fighting videogame.
Nice song! Loved it. Really liked all the parts and sounds. Nice 80s pop mix also!
I liked the intro and how the song evolves. Sort of 80s Rocky´s training montage.
Loved the spirit of the song. Didn´t like the sound of the synth that has a ping pong delay. Maybe the chorus needs to be different from the verse and the ending is perhaps too abrupt.
Leonard Bowman
Nice song. Sort of post punk vibe. The structure could be reworked. Maybe add another part to avoid repetition?
Another 80s soundtrack. I liked the arrengement and instrumentation.
Modern synthpop. Really liked it. A song for driving in the highway at night.


01 (10pts) Erictracks
02 (09pts) Functionform
03 (08pts) Donkey Tugger
04 (07pts) SimaGT
05 (06pts) Leonard Bowman
06 (05pts) Canese
07 (04pts) TheNeverScene
08 (03pts) MarkS
09 (02pts) VCA-089

User avatar
Mister Fox
Site Admin
Posts: 1646
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 16:15 CEST
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC021 May 2019 - Voting until 01-06-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST


Post by Mister Fox »

A friendly reminder:
24 hours left to submit your feedback and vote.

If you didn't do that yet, please do so. It would be a shame to see you disqualified

My feedback/vote might follow a couple of days late. I've been working hard to get the Mix Challenge page in top shape for the 5th Anniversary. I'm a bit behind schedule with things - apologies.

Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2019 22:54 CET

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC021 May 2019 - Voting until 01-06-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST


Post by SimaGT »

Solid entries this month and very interesting diferent perspectives of 80 -s era.It was really hard to score them properly.

TheNeverScene - "Leg Warmers":

This track captures the 80-s vibe pretty well.Bassline is gigantic , and the toms are wow.All is mixed pretty well
Finding cons in this one is hard ,maybe the last third was little overcomplicated for a synthpop track cause it lost that simple but effective aproach from the beginging but thats just me.
Well done great track!

donkey tugger - "The Lady Vanishes":

Very nice mix and 80 vibe.At the moments it reminded me of early David Bowie.
You did good job on vocals i specialy liked that part "never stooooops" where you echoed it.

GIANCARLO "Psycholove":

This song is catchy and easy listening .The bigest drawback of this track to me is that it strays from the theme which is 80-s synthwave/pop and this sounds more
like 90-s pop to me ( Natalie Imbruglia )
Also, it was not so unusual in 80-s to have vocals "out of tune" abit ,yours seems like it used some help of auto tune plugins?

MarkS "Happy Journey":

This definetly sounds like 80-s.The bassline is same from the start to the end ,could use atleast 1 more bass variation.
And not to forget theres to much coming on left side (hi hat and rimshot ) and theres almost nothing to compesate on the right side when listening on headphones.

VCA-089 "Winds Of Spring"

Nice one here.Mix is good.Good choice of intstruments.I think that the track should bee lil shorter to avoid "repetitiveness" feel.

erictracks "Burning Down the Night":

Happy sunny lil song here .It definetly got 80 -s vibe, maybe adding more punch and gate effect to snare would enhance already good 80-s feel

functionform "River":

Good arragment you got here .Maybe not many instruments involved but this song know what it wants to be and that is a big one in my book.
Maybe ending could be little more creative but overall very nice track.

Leonard Bowman"The Last Minute":

Nice Arrangment and structure.Vocals are to dry and loud compared to instruments maybe adding more reverb processing could help.
1 little detail i v noticed maybe im wrong but it seems that the toms paning is automated with lfo. Usually it is better to have fixed pan positions on toms.

canese "Masterpopp"

Nice otherwordly ambient.Good mix ,, just that main lead intrument doing melody is there through th whole track .Maybe ocasionaly switching it with other intrument could help
this track being less repetitive.

1.TheNeverScene - 10 points;
2.donkey tugger - 9 points;
3.functionform - 8 points;
4.erictracks - 7 Points;
5.canese - 6 points;
6.VCA-089 - 5 points;
7.GIANCARLO - 4 points;
8.Leonard Bowman - 3 points
9.MarkS - 2 points;

Post Reply