Gloves off?

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PaulAds

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« on: August 10, 2019, 10:09:02 AM »
Hello

I was just wondering whether anyone else feels that they’d sometimes like to give and receive more critical feedback? I don’t mean for everyone, of course...but perhaps for some of us who have been around the track a couple of times.

We’re an awfully polite bunch...which is lovely...but I sometimes feel that I would benefit from more brutally honest feedback...I know I can write some good songs and lyrics...but if I’m off the mark and have written something that’s a bit rubbish or formulaic or lyrically tiresome...I think I’d rather have my illusions shattered.

There are many folks on here who’s judgment I very much trust...and whom I consider to be friends too...and everything would be taken in the spirit intended.

Any thoughts?

PaulyX

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« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2019, 12:38:03 PM »
Yeah i agree Paul, would be up for that and have had similar thoughts. I guess the poster should indicate in their post that they want the feedback 'extra spicey'?
It's all too beautiful.

CaliaMoko

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« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2019, 01:05:56 PM »
I'm sure you already know I agree with this @PaulAds ! I love getting critical feedback I can get my teeth into. Lately I've been forgetting to say so. It's invigorating. And I really appreciate when I feel safe giving detailed, honest feedback to others, when I feel moved to do so. What's a good way to indicate what we want? A simple, "Please be brutal"?? Or maybe "Spicy feedback strongly encouraged". Hmm, too wordy. Critically honest feedback please....??

Anyway, I'm definitely on board!

Vicki
« Last Edit: August 10, 2019, 03:01:33 PM by CaliaMoko »

cowparsleyman

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« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2019, 02:25:40 PM »
Great post @PaulAds et al... I’m torn to be honest, I always try to offer something that might work for the song, but I’m also sensitive to the artist’s general ability It’s all appropriate...I’m up for any constructive advice, If someone doesn’t like my work thats OK...i can dig it. What I’ve found in the past is that if I’ve made a complete error in production, that won’t go un noticed by the forum and is really well received, blunt is OK as i can be a tad direct...

jacksimmons

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« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2019, 02:28:34 PM »
Yes I definitely agree.

I noticed as soon as I joined that everyone is incredibly polite and it can be good for an ego boost but I sometimes worry not everyone is totally honest. As a result, I find myself commenting less and less because rather than be critical I choose not to give feedback at all.

I would love to give more critical feedback and would love to get more. I think there’s a general feeling that a song is a song and when someone has worked so hard on writing and composing it, it’s a little too late for a rewrite. Kind of like telling someone you hate their tattoo - what’s the point?

There’s a lot of music that’s not to my taste here and that’s another reason I rarely comment on something I dislike. It might just be subjective.

« Last Edit: August 10, 2019, 02:31:29 PM by jacksimmons »

Bill Saunders

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« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2019, 04:15:52 PM »
Great subject. Music is so subjective and I only feel able to give valid and informed views on certain songs. There are loads of songs posted that are simply not to my taste and being “gloves off” in these circumstances would be a waste of everyone’s time.

Equally, some of us are on here for very different reasons to others, and for us hobbyists who are not trying to make a career out of music, then I think there’s still a place for good old fashioned and polite back slapping! On the other hand, for those very serious about “making it” the standard has got to be absolutely top notch - nothing short of that will do. But how many of us, are qualified to give those gloves off accurate critiques in those circumstances? Don’t think I am - I’ve never been a pro musician, so what do I know?

The forum does have a bit of a “mutual back slapping” feel to it, and I do understand that if we are to progress as songwriters, beyond boosting confidence, being too polite will do little to aid our journeys!

Boydie

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« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2019, 04:42:55 PM »
I completely agree with @Bill Saunders about the "subjective" nature of music and songwriting, which makes any "critique" only as valuable as the person's opinon

Quote
I guess the poster should indicate in their post that they want the feedback 'extra spicey'?

^^^THIS^^^ is the key

Be really honest about the feedback you want in your original post - the more detail you give the better

Rather than just: "here is my new song, I would love to hear what you think"

Try things like:

"I am writing with a view to pitching this song for **Insert Famous Artist** - is it good enough to pitch, cany you hear this person singing it etc."

"this song is meant to be a heart-felt ballad - I am a but unsure if the lyrics are cliche - what do you think?"

etc. etc.
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cowparsleyman

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« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2019, 07:38:33 PM »
I feel compelled to write again...a bit sad with Jacks comments, i really valued your comments, and it’s OK to be super honest, direct etc, i don’t have to do what you suggest, but any observations and ideas are what might make alter what is often months of work, I don’t rush...only today Adam Farr suggested that i use a slammed door door to end the song Spitting feathers, a great idea, so I’ll use it...I do sometimes feel a little hesitant in offering suggestions on genres or songs i don’t usually listen to...so i generally offer prod or arrangement ideas.

As for back slapping that’s par for the course...I think we all know how painfully direct the music industry can be...so that’s fine by me to support each other here, it might just put a few newbies off...it reminded me of a club, when you roll up all cold on the first night, everyone knows each other, and you are billy no mates, but that doesn’t last long here, Vicky, pompeyjazz and purple cherry made me feel at home very quickly and they still do, I’ve seen them grow  musically and how their lives have emerged...anonymous friends l’ll probably never meet, so back slapping is harmless enough.



jacksimmons

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« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2019, 08:25:48 PM »
I feel compelled to write again...a bit sad with Jacks comments, i really valued your comments, and it’s OK to be super honest, direct etc, i don’t have to do what you suggest, but any observations and ideas are what might make alter what is often months of work, I don’t rush...only today Adam Farr suggested that i use a slammed door door to end the song Spitting feathers, a great idea, so I’ll use it...I do sometimes feel a little hesitant in offering suggestions on genres or songs i don’t usually listen to...so i generally offer prod or arrangement ideas.

As for back slapping that’s par for the course...I think we all know how painfully direct the music industry can be...so that’s fine by me to support each other here, it might just put a few newbies off...it reminded me of a club, when you roll up all cold on the first night, everyone knows each other, and you are billy no mates, but that doesn’t last long here, Vicky, pompeyjazz and purple cherry made me feel at home very quickly and they still do, I’ve seen them grow  musically and how their lives have emerged...anonymous friends l’ll probably never meet, so back slapping is harmless enough.


@cowparsleyman  If I have commented on your songs my responses have been genuine and my criticisms too. I just meant that I only comment on songs here if I enjoy them, if they speak to me or inspire me in someway - I have always enjoyed your output and never lied to you. If I don’t enjoy a song here I simply choose not to comment. I’ve always enjoyed your output and thus you get a measured response from me every time.

pompeyjazz

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« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2019, 08:30:40 PM »
I'm absolutely fine with open and honest feedback. When I look back to when I joined the forum I was really glad of the production critique,  invaluable for me learning a DAW. I try to be objective and constructive in my reviews and appreciate that there are lots of guys coming from lots of different angles, genres and levels of experience so try to keep that in mind.

PaulyX

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« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2019, 09:30:14 PM »
Quote
I think there’s a general feeling that a song is a song and when someone has worked so hard on writing and composing it, it’s a little too late for a rewrite. Kind of like telling someone you hate their tattoo - what’s the point?

I totally get what you mean Jack, but I think it’s also the case that as well as giving people feedback on that one song, you’re also giving them pointers and learnings for their next one, that they haven’t even started yet. You might stop me getting a crap tattoo next time.  :)  So for me anyway I’d still prefer to know if someone thought one of mine was pants.
It's all too beautiful.

adamfarr

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« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2019, 07:53:25 AM »
It’s one of the toughest parts of the forum- pitching comments to be encouraging while also giving honest feedback. Usually the useful stuff comes in the longer posts - the shorter the comment the closer it usually is to “great song”.


I’ve had terrible feedback which was hurtful (“get singing lessons”, “the type of song only other songwriting nerds would like” etc.) so I do always try to err on the positive side. That said, I have taken a conscious decision not to leave critical stuff unsaid, even if I find myself going against the general tide. What I do try to do is where I don’t like something, to make suggestions for change, and to give feedback that could potentially be usable.


In general I think that’s the type of feedback I also get which may say something about how it works.


So, I guess I am agreeing with most of the above - critical feedback is fine by me, and I hope with you, as long as it’s specific, actionable and constructive.

MichaelA

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« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2019, 09:19:55 AM »
I do get gentle nudges on here about some of my songs, and I've taken actions on quite a few of the suggestions put forward. Other suggestions I've ignored, as it's not possible or even desirable to agree with everything that's said.

I like the generally supportive vibe on here. Most people on here do this as a hobby and/or escape. We don't want to get too stressy or serious about it all, so personally I think the balance is OK in this mutually supportive community. Long may it continue.

If people do want a gloves off review, however, maybe they should just say so in their opening blurb. But don't leave the forum in a hissy fit if you don't like what you hear!  ;D

Sterix

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« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2019, 10:47:05 PM »
Hi @PaulAds

I'm very ill at the moment so I haven't read anyone's replies. It also means this reply may not be coherent!

I would love to offer more feedback myself but I tend to hold back. And even on the odd ocassions I do, I also tend to hold back.

Most of my criticism seems to be in one of two brackets.

a) I like this song. It's great. Wouldn't change anything.

b) This song could be good with some (or a lot) of changes.

With (a) it feels like at least I'm fulfilling my obligation (even if it's a piss-poor attempt) for critique quotas so I don't feel quite so bad posting my own crap. :p

I don't do as nearly as much (b) as I'd like as it's usually reserved for someone (fairly) new to the forum you're not sure is going to stick around. There's also the fact that Calia almost always gets in there first and takes away my thunder! :p

There is a (c) category but I never post in those. That's the "this is total and utter crap" category and there's just no gentle way of letting you down without lying through my back teeth. I'm not really sure brutal honesty would be too much appreciated here. And trying to let them down gently would still feel as if I'm lining up the third and fourth ribs with a 12" blade...

It's actually (c) that means I don't do much of (a) and (b) either. It feels like that if I only responded to the good/decent efforts then everyone would pretty much know what I felt for the ones I ignored. So I sprinkle my critiques liberally.

As for feedback the other way... well yes. And no.

Some "feedback" I feel is totally inane and plain wrong, and it drives me crazy (too long or too many lyrics really getting my goat). I'd rather have feedback on the quality of the lyrics, how much sense they make, whether they pique your interest or not, any grammar or spelling mistakes even, et cetera, et cetara.

Perhaps the lyrics section should require a slightly more formal approach in how we post, and with the rules therein. Something like the original poster could indicate whether or not they want criticism, and what sort of criticism that should (or shouldn't) take if they have a preference. Then us critics can critique within those boundaries to our heart's content without feeling quite so downright evil.

Although I'd still run into the same (c) problem I guess...
Then darkness fell
As the 1st God and the 2nd burned in hell
And all alone
Stood the 3rd God looking wearied to the bone


- War of the Gods : ©2005 Sterix

Rightly

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« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2019, 01:22:11 PM »
I like critical feedback.
But the critic needs to show he has some insight, has listened to the song, understands that it's not supposed to be a puppy love song, or even a commercial effort.
There are some folks on here who give some good feedback.
If I write a piece of classical music without a human voice then I really don't need to hear "hmm it's not exactly Ed Shernan, is it?" 

An attentive listener giving honest feedback is the best, otherwise a thanks will suffice.
It's either this or that, then again it might be the other. 

And there you have it. 

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