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#1August 22nd, 2011 · 08:49 AM
32 threads / 28 songs
201 posts
United States of America
My American Guilt
*

This song is not in a battle


Normally, my lyric writing tends to revolve around introspective topics, personal relationships, things of that nature. This could be read as more of a political song, but it really just describes how I sometimes feel about myself when I fail to act on issues that I think are important.

I got the idea to write this while listening to IAMX's most recent album (which is very different than this, but very good).

Guitar, bass, and vocals performed by me.
Drums programmed by me in Cubase (using the Steven Slate sample pack).

~ Lyrics (for those who like them):

My American guilt crouches in the corner.
Watches me for hours without moving at all.
Anorexic. Unapologetic.
It's just waiting for me to get up and turn on the TV.

Don't back down from this.
You are on to something here.
It's been way too long since you've felt anything.
And all that you have done, the thoughts you've brought to life, this isn't healthy at all.

When did you get so quiet? (my American guilt)
I've kept you in no short supply of reasons to sing.
We're all so comfortable here,
There's no motivation, or emotion, or movement, or breathing..

My video heart picks up on nothing.
Conveniently wired not to receive.
When life is just a story, it's easy to forget,
That you're not the only person who is acting.

Don't back down from this. Finally a little truth.
It's been way too long since you've used your brain.
And all that you have done, the thoughts you've brought to life, this isn't healthy at all.

Just sit back.
There's nothing to see here.
Eat. Sleep. Watch.
We'll take care of everything.

Don't make a sound.
(My American guilt.)

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#2August 23rd, 2011 · 08:37 AM
32 threads / 28 songs
201 posts
United States of America
Perhaps the lesson learned here is that this type of song is too heavy for BandAmp? lol
#3August 23rd, 2011 · 12:12 PM
15 threads / 14 songs
91 posts
Malaysia
Really liked the intro but you know, it's just me but your voice and singing style/melodies and reminds me too much of the pop rock I've been listening on the radio for some time.

That aside, I cannot deny the good vocal control and production (as with the other one). Is it really only you, a guitar and VSTs?

Wow. Do you use a keyboard?
#4August 23rd, 2011 · 12:13 PM
15 threads / 14 songs
91 posts
Malaysia
Oh ya, and this cannot possibly be labelled as "heavy" hahaha

Could you explain the lyrics a little? Is it someting about Americans being lazy or something or is it just you?
#5August 23rd, 2011 · 01:09 PM
32 threads / 28 songs
201 posts
United States of America
Interesting. Well I guess that's good in some ways. I haven't listened to the radio in over a decade really, but sounding more mainstream can't hurt?

I appreciate the compliments.
I do have a little 2-octave M-Audio KeyStudio 25 that I use. Used to have a full-on digital piano but I don't play piano these days very much so I sold it and got a more desktop-friendly keyboard.

It's not heavy, you're right. It's just... heavier/louder than the first one I posted (which got a lot more positive feedback). The band I'm in (different project) is metal so this is nowhere near that.

I suppose it's about Americans in general, but I include myself. I'm no better. I was just thinking ( it sounds really cliche to just come out and say it) about how we're so apathetic. We see and hear about so many negative things that we could impact in a positive way, but we don't, because it's someone else's problem.
#6August 23rd, 2011 · 05:46 PM
171 threads / 24 songs
2,327 posts
United Kingdom
re: My American Guilt
brianvaughn wrote…
Normally, my lyric writing tends to revolve around introspective topics, personal relationships, things of that nature. This could be read as more of a political song, but it really just describes how I sometimes feel about myself when I fail to act on issues that I think are important.

I got the idea to write this while listening to IAMX's most recent album (which is very different than this, but very good).

Guitar, bass, and vocals performed by me.
Drums programmed by me in Cubase (using the Steven Slate sample pack).

~ Lyrics (for those who like them):

My American guilt crouches in the corner.
Watches me for hours without moving at all.
Anorexic. Unapologetic.
It's just waiting for me to get up and turn on the TV.

Don't back down from this.
You are on to something here.
It's been way too long since you've felt anything.
And all that you have done, the thoughts you've brought to life, this isn't healthy at all.

When did you get so quiet? (my American guilt)
I've kept you in no short supply of reasons to sing.
We're all so comfortable here,
There's no motivation, or emotion, or movement, or breathing..

My video heart picks up on nothing.
Conveniently wired not to receive.
When life is just a story, it's easy to forget,
That you're not the only person who is acting.

Don't back down from this. Finally a little truth.
It's been way too long since you've used your brain.
And all that you have done, the thoughts you've brought to life, this isn't healthy at all.

Just sit back.
There's nothing to see here.
Eat. Sleep. Watch.
We'll take care of everything.

Don't make a sound.
(My American guilt.)

For many reasons I like this.....
very well produced
but the lyrics are better........and so well woven into the groove.....
not my style ...but very very well done..
nice to see an american questioning anything!!! haha
cool....

fish
#7August 23rd, 2011 · 07:22 PM
32 threads / 28 songs
201 posts
United States of America
Thanks for both of the very positive, encouraging comments, fish. They are appreciated!
#8August 24th, 2011 · 05:02 AM
340 threads / 59 songs
4,344 posts
United Kingdom
Again very good
I am left with the same feeling as the last one, that I either want to hear more of it or I want to hear more 'in it' ... it could be one of those 'single individual project things' where it is amazing that you can produce such complete stuff but because it's just you, as complete as it is the music and vocals only have one perspective.
Please dont take this as sarcastic or negative.. I'm simply trying to suss an idea out.

I could elaborate on the old adage "two heads are better than one" by saying
"maybe four searching souls encompass more inspiration than one enlightened being" 

Yes, your 'mainstream' voice ... nothing wrong with that ... it's what talks to many but might not agreed with all.
Just like your music...very agreeable, though within the production that it is I would suggest some diversity and 'levels' to make it even more exciting but that's a personal detail.
After all you create this stuff and you get my full respect.
#9August 24th, 2011 · 09:42 AM
32 threads / 28 songs
201 posts
United States of America
Ah, that's a good point. It is harder (for me) to have the same dynamics in my music when I'm doing all of the parts. You get that more when you're jamming as a band. Or someone just tries something new (or even messes up) and it leads to a neat little part. I'm lacking a bit in that area on my solo stuff.

Good feedback though I appreciate it. I will try to work some more variety into the Imogen Heap cover I'm working on this week. We'll see how it goes.
#10August 24th, 2011 · 10:33 AM
15 threads / 14 songs
91 posts
Malaysia
I haven't been listening to the radio for a loooong time too, but just to elaborate on the mainstream thing:

Not trying to be elitist, because I enjoyed pop rock, but when the radio had 20 songs in their playlist and there aren't many choices for radio stations here in Malaysia I eventually hated it.

You want to express something quite important but I associate that voice and the melodies with Jonas Brothers and Taylor Swift.

Nevertheless, I myself need to overcome that prejudice. For situations like this:

Someone sent me this, which is definitely good and different (to me) but his voice put me off too...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWI5KFQJQRo&feature=player_embedded

And I'm going to get me a USB keyboard one day Never heard of those before
#11August 24th, 2011 · 10:47 AM
32 threads / 28 songs
201 posts
United States of America
Hm. I appreciate you attempting to elaborate.

I'm still not sure I understand though. I don't know what the Jonas Brothers sound like but I think I may have heard Taylor Swift before, and I'm not sure how my singing/voice is similar to hers? Is it just the... melody I'm singing? Do you think it's too predictable?

Actually, do you have an example of a vocalist you particularly like?

I can't really do much about changing my voice or singing style. But I'm still curious...

PS. Midi controllers are pretty cheap. Here's the cheap-o one I'm using atm: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/keyboards-midi/m-audio-keystudio-25-midi-controller
#12August 24th, 2011 · 12:03 PM
15 threads / 14 songs
91 posts
Malaysia
I've edited it a few times and I hope you didn't read the previous versions because they were terrible ><

brianvaughn wrote…
Hm. I appreciate you attempting to elaborate.

I'm still not sure I understand though. I don't know what the Jonas Brothers sound like but I think I may have heard Taylor Swift before, and I'm not sure how my singing/voice is similar to hers? Is it just the... melody I'm singing? Do you think it's too predictable?

Actually, do you have an example of a vocalist you particularly like?

I can't really do much about changing my voice or singing style. But I'm still curious...

PS. Midi controllers are pretty cheap. Here's the cheap-o one I'm using atm: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/keyboards-midi/m-audio-keystudio-25-midi-controller

I'm sorry I can't quote who you sound like but I chose both of them they represent pop, that's all. I've forgetten a lot of the names.

I think the voice and the melodies sound too pop. Which is fine if that's what you want to aim for but I am bored of pop.

I think I have a good explaination:

Imagine Hitler's speech with all the waving and banging and screaming but done with a chipmunk voice. The atmosphere will be totally different.

Or Marty Friedman singing Fly me to the Moon with his Megadeth voice hahaha

With what I associate with that type of voice, in Oh, My Mind it complemented the message.

I don't want to flood you with songs so here's one I one of my favourites. You have to listen to his little speech before he starts. You know he means what he's saying. Just like Hitler haha. (Or should I say Martin Luther King to avoid bad .. imagery)

JJ Grey / Mofro



For famous pop singers I can think of Damien Rice, Ben Harper, John Mayer (Continuum. If I grew up with his latest album I'll probably hate him.) - who might fit your message or story.

And of course EducatedGuess/Chester Travis

Since you mentioned metal I'm curious to hear how you'll sound like

$79.00 is about RM240 so I'll have to save up But it's somewhat cheap enough
#13August 24th, 2011 · 01:39 PM
32 threads / 28 songs
201 posts
United States of America
Huh, interesting. Well thanks again for elaborating. I'm not sure it's something I can actively do much to change. To an extent, you kind of have the voice you have... but... I'll post one of the more metal songs I've worked on sometime soon and we'll see if maybe you like that style any better
#14August 24th, 2011 · 02:22 PM
77 threads / 59 songs
920 posts
Netherlands
I'd say Kings has a point here!
feels the same for me as with 'oh my mind', it needs (means: i want) something as a break(down) or harmonic change, bridge, middle eight,  or what ever brings tension and excitement, some call it a hook if i am right..
Oh, and yes great performance again!
recordingwise i agree its a bit flat, lacks natural dynamics, but we all are used to that, but makes it more poppy too i think..

I tended to play a riff till the end and then started improvising for a tune that complements or surprises, and gives a great feel when going back to the main riff again...
ever checked Metallica's older work? (for instance)
half time beat helps too to create another temporarily(temporary?)  atmosphere.

unless You are totally happy with it :p
#15August 24th, 2011 · 02:37 PM
32 threads / 28 songs
201 posts
United States of America
Hi Max

Great feedback. Thank you for taking the time to share it. Clearly it sounds like I need to do some work on the song dynamics with this one, if nothing else. (I would like to make this tune a bit longer as well, so I'll have to look into the bridge/hook/whatever.)

I think I may have gone a bit too compression-crazy on this one. Maybe I should back that off a bit as well. (I think that adds to the poppy/mainstream sound.)
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