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JLE3

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PostSubject: Kingdom of Heaven   Wed Nov 16, 2016 5:45 pm

Hello everyone. As requested, I'm posting this second song but please note that it is not quite finished yet. The vocal track will be re-sung and I think we may add some harmony. After that, then we will do a final mix. Anyway, this song is part of a concept album that I explain in my other thread titled "Defy the Demons". Also note that this song doesn't really follow the traditional song structure, but again it's part of a concept album so it fits into a larger story...and also we are trying to be a little unique.

I don't have a lyric video for this one, so I'll post the lyrics below.

I'd love for some feedback on the song, the lyrics, the story...but as I said the vocal and final mix are not complete so please be gentle from those aspects Smile

As always, thank you for listening!



Kingdom of Heaven
Music: John Evans
Lyrics & Vocals: Jenny Stokes



A life of sin and greed
Weighs heavy on my mind
Then Gabriel appeared to fight
A battle for my life

He said,

“Come. Come in.
Your soul wants for forgiveness.
Come feel the breath of God
And live”

But I can’t forget these things I’ve done
My malignant soul be damned

Chorus:
Oh, the Kingdom of Heaven
Won’t
Let me in
The guilt I feel won’t purge me of my
Many sins

{Whoas and ohs here}

Oh, I’m lost to the Kingdom
Unworthy of His grace

I’m lost to the Kingdom
Unworthy of His grace

Chorus:
Oh, the Kingdom of Heaven
Won't, let me in
The guilt I fee won't purge me of my
Many sins

Oh I’m lost to the Kingdom

These chains of sin and greed
No force will unbind
So angels battle with my sins
As I battle with my mind

To walk among the damned
In this unholy place
Or seek forgiveness for my sins
And accept His holy grace

Oh, I’m lost to the Kingdom
Unworthy of His grace
No rest for the wicked
In this unholy godforsaken place
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Xid

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PostSubject: Re: Kingdom of Heaven   Wed Nov 16, 2016 6:02 pm

With one listen nothing stood out as needing a fix.  Sounding good!
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JLE3

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PostSubject: Re: Kingdom of Heaven   Wed Nov 16, 2016 6:05 pm

Thanks Xid!!!!!!

We are really liking this tune, so we are wanting to make it the best it can be. I think some harmony strategically placed may make the chorus stand out more.
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BearDad



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PostSubject: Re: Kingdom of Heaven   Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:36 pm

Love the soulful guitar work! It really adds the melancholy feel of the whole song! The only think that really stands out for me is how the song ends by fading out.  I'm not sure how to explain it in words, and I have no way to record the sound to show you. Grrr. Maybe this will work:

At the very end, right after she says "place", the guitar goes down the scale "da da da daaaa," then chords: "dun dun dunnnn da dunnnn". Maybe instead, take out the word "unholy" (it seems to drag that last line, as it's more syllables than the last line of the previous two stanzas, but without "unholy" it's the same), and have the singer hold the word "place" until the guitar does that last downscale bit, and go "dun dun dunnn" and end it. No fade, and no final "da dunnn".  Make sense? Very Happy

Ah, who am I kidding!? I'm no songwriter, and this sounds great! Two for two so far; you've sold at least one CD.


Last edited by BearDad on Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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JLE3

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PostSubject: Re: Kingdom of Heaven   Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:17 pm

Thanks BearDad! That means a lot. We put a lot of work into this one. What would you think if the song ended the way it does, but then the next song started like one of these? So maybe a song leaves you hanging but then the next one sucks you right back in. Make sense? Or maybe I'm overthinking. (FYI - None of these are done yet so just some short clips).




or this...




or this....

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BearDad



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PostSubject: Re: Kingdom of Heaven   Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:44 pm

^^ That would be cool. It would work really well with Kingdom as is, fading out to be immediately followed by the hard "DUN DUN DUNNN" of TDR, with out any pause. Not so much with AE since it starts with that hesitant "tishhh" of the symbol, followed by a pause; unless that is, you were to end Kingdom like I suggested, without that last "da dunnn" of the chords, and maybe hold the last chord another half beat, followed by the barest of pauses, then "tishh" ... ML might work as well with Kingdom as is, a fade out and then fade in sort of thing, but you'd want to extend the fade out of Kingdom a little, as it seems kind-of short in comparison to the fade-in of ML.

All that being said, I'd probably still pull the word "unholy" out. It means essentially the same thing, and to me the dichotomy of the uneven final lines for each stanza gave the song a feeling of being just a little off, like a rhyme that doesn't quite rhyme. I know you said the overall song structure was non-traditional, so maybe the dichotomy is kind-of what you want, but it just has that "something's not quite right" feel about it to me. But then again, the lyrics are kind-of depressing (I'm assuming the concept get's happier!? Very Happy ), so ... what do I know.

Look at you, asking me like I know what I'm talking about! We need to get some real musicians' input here, like Alldat, Xid, or Scott Waters from Ultimatum (I think he posts here, although I cannot remember his username).

Something else to be considered about one song leading into the other: that flow usually (but not always) works fine listening to a CD, but often does not work so well with digital, particularly if the digital player is set to cross-fade songs (fade one out as the next one starts). Your intent is good, but it would be lost in the results. Also, I've noticed that for some reason CD ripping software sometimes misses the mark where the break between the songs is supposed to be, so that the ripped version of Kingdom might actually end with a half beat or more of the next song included, while the next song starts a half beat or more later than you anticipated, all with a noticeable pause separating the two if the digital player is not set to cross-fade.  Of course, these are all things you have no control over, so perhaps it's best to just produce it the way you want it to sound and hope for the best where the listeners are concerned. Kind of like web development: you can design a page how you want it to look, but ultimately the user's browser make the final decision and your site may not quite match what you intended. (This I do know about! Smile  )

As for all your clips, I know they are just that ... clips. But your musicianship sounds excellent in what I am hearing. For "indie" work from someone that claims he's not sure about what he is doing... Dude, I'm impressed and can't wait to hear the whole thing.

Rockin'


Last edited by BearDad on Thu Nov 17, 2016 6:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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JLE3

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PostSubject: Re: Kingdom of Heaven   Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:12 pm

Very good points BearDad. A lot to think about here as we continue to develop this. Since we're planning to re-sing Kingdom of Heaven we can try it without that word unholy and draw out the very last word to see how it sounds. I'll post an updated version here when we have it close to finalized.

I would love feedback from the pros! But as a listener your feedback is just as valuable to me.

Thank you!
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BearDad



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PostSubject: Re: Kingdom of Heaven   Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:36 pm

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topshot rhit



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PostSubject: Re: Kingdom of Heaven   Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:51 pm

I don't like the fade either. Unless you were to either do it much slower or fade on a final note or chord. Oddly, the drums are a bit better (in terms of highs) on this one.

Maybe it isn't in her style at all but given the subject matter I'd expect to hear more alarm/anguish/fright than the gloomy, almost bored delivery the first song had. Pardon the pun, but she could really wail in a few areas of this one.

I have a question.
Quote :
Or seek forgiveness for my sins And accept His holy grace
How could one do that if already dead?

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you should be concerned about your own."
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JLE3

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PostSubject: Re: Kingdom of Heaven   Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:22 am

Hmm. Seems like I have some more takeaways here. That ending of the song is definitely falling flat with everyone.

The vocal style is also an understood point and when we re-sing this one it does have to have some more emotion in it, as you suggest. There are some musical climaxes that the vocals should follow along with.

As for the lyrics I'll have to defer to Jenny but a re-write can be easily done.
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BearDad



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PostSubject: Re: Kingdom of Heaven   Thu Nov 17, 2016 6:55 am

JLE3 wrote:
Hmm. Seems like I have some more takeaways here. 

Remember: suggestions and (hopefully) positive feedback. Smile

JLE3 wrote:
That ending of the song is definitely falling flat with everyone.

Not necessarily everyone, just the couple that have responded. Wink There might be a dozen other than like it as is but haven's said anything. I think topshot it on what bothered me about it that I couldn't peg though ... the song is fading, and the last thing heard sounds like an unfinished chord progression, giving the song an unfinished feeling to it. Maybe if it were drawn out just a bit so that we could still hear a few notes or chords from the guitar, hear it come to some type of conclusion as it fades. Personally, I have never liked it when songs fade out while something is still happening, while the singer is still singing, etc., unless they are live renditions; I always feel like I'm getting cheated because there is more to the song. Smile

JLE3 wrote:
The vocal style is also an understood point and when we re-sing this one it does have to have some more emotion in it, as you suggest. There are some musical climaxes that the vocals should follow along with.

Topshot hit on this as well, something I kinda noticed but didn't really vocalize I guess. Both of the songs you have posted here are soulful and gloomy, and while your lady vocalist has the right pitch for them, she sounds more moany than gloomy. Like topshot indicated, a little despair at her supposed lack of hope, a bit of wailing here and there ... Smile

JLE3 wrote:
a re-write can be easily done.

Regardless of whatever we have, do, and will say, remember this is your project, your product, your creation. Don't change it unless you feel you agree with us. In other words, change it because you want to change it, not because a few people from the crowd of listeners and pointed out things they think could be improvements. I applaud you for opening yourself up for feedback (also known as criticism, but that's not as friendly sounding. Smile ); I couldn't do it.  Even if I had the skills and/or talent to produce something like you are doing, I could not expose myself to what would amount to negative comments (they'd be negative to me, no matter how positively delivered, if you know what I mean). I have a hard enough time with users at work complaining about my applications that are designed to their specs! LOL!
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topshot rhit



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PostSubject: Re: Kingdom of Heaven   Thu Nov 17, 2016 7:22 am

BearDad wrote:
Personally, I have never liked it when songs fade out while something is still happening, while the singer is still singing, etc., unless they are live renditions; I always feel like I'm getting cheated because there is more to the song. Smile
Bingo! I've always hated that. Seemed more popular in the 70s/80s. Don't fade while someone is actively playing/singing! (unless there's a darn good reason to do so).

Quote :
Regardless of whatever we have, do, and will say, remember this is your project, your product, your creation. Don't change it unless you feel you agree with us. In other words, change it because you want to change it, not because a few people from the crowd of listeners and pointed out things they think could be improvements. I applaud you for opening yourself up for feedback (also known as criticism, but that's not as friendly sounding. Smile )
Indeed. +1 While this may not be as amazing to me as Theocracy's debut that Matt did all by himself, your songwriting ability is well above average and production is already as good as many indie bands' actual releases. You should be proud of your work for sure.

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you should be concerned about your own."
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JLE3

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PostSubject: Re: Kingdom of Heaven   Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:42 am

Well Topshot rhit and BearDad, you're right. It isn't easy to open yourself up to feedback, especially with something you have worked very hard on. But, if it's in the interest of making it the best it can be then it is worth it. When the comments aren't what I had hoped, then I just curl up in the corner with my guitar and cry a little, then shake it off and get back to work. Smile


I surfed a few other forums before landing here because I wanted to stay away from the trolls and negativity. You two, and all others who have responded have had great points, and have delivered them very respectfully. I couldn't ask for anything more.

The fade of the music would be hard to fix without a re-record, which I'm not sure I want to attempt. But the vocal is definitely in the queue for re-record. I'm definitely going to post the revised version here to see what you all think. That may take a week or so though.
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messiaen77

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PostSubject: Re: Kingdom of Heaven   Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:06 am

1.  Make that two sold CDs.

2.  I agree that a little more emotion in places is needed.  I get the sense of the life weighing heavily in this delivery, but not the battle for her life.  Being "lost to the Kingdom" doesn't really seem to matter to her.  I think I just figured out what I like about her vocals--they have a very Stevie Nicks quality about them.  I'd just like to hear a bit more drama.  Particularly with the highly emotional guitar work, she just seems disconnected from the whole thing.

3.  Yeah, I'm not a fan of the ending either, but for a different reason.  I don't mind the fade-out, I need her to tell me she's finished.  That pitch she's sitting on through most of that last line feels like it needs to resolve down because I keep expecting to hear the her vocals come back in the fade out.  I do like BearDad's idea too for musically ending the song without the fadeout.  Now that I think about it, I think if she wants to stay on that same pitch to end the song, then extend the vocal delivery a few more beats and let it fade naturally on its own while keeping the guitar/drums at the same level, maybe cycling through that scalar descent and chord pattern another time.

4.  As for the lyric mentioned above, it doesn't really specify in the song that she has already died, in fact to me it seems more like she's at death's door, but hasn't crossed over yet and these are her dying thoughts.  So I don't really think the lyric is fine.  Also, I like that the last line is longer than the rest.  She's already called it an unholy place, I think unholy, godforsken place is a great way to emphasize its nature--unholy makes me think evil, godforsaken makes me think desolate and lonely.

John, I too appreciate that you are willing to get feedback on these songs in advance. It tells me you really want to make impactful music.  I too echo the idea that regardless of what we think will be better, it's still your baby.  You will find that the folks here are honest and respectful and encouraging:  a rare combination of traits on an internet forum in my experience.

Looking forward to hearing more from you guys!
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JLE3

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PostSubject: Re: Kingdom of Heaven   Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:25 am

YES!!! Two CD's down and 999,998 to go!


Quote :
So I don't really think the lyric is fine.


A little confused with this part. Did you mean that you do think the lyric is fine or no?

Quote :
Yeah, I'm not a fan of the ending either


I have to really re-think the ending.


Quote :
I think I just figured out what I like about her vocals--they have a very Stevie Nicks quality about them


HUGE compliment! I will pass that along to her. I love Stevie Nicks.
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topshot rhit



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PostSubject: Re: Kingdom of Heaven   Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:32 pm

JLE3 wrote:
Quote :
So I don't really think the lyric is fine.
I'm sure he meant it is fine and I can see his point now. Maybe you had inferred the person had died when you mentioned it earlier or perhaps she told you. Between you saying she had died and talking to Gabriel made it a done deal to me, but angels can certainly talk to those of us still living.

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Staybrite

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PostSubject: Re: Kingdom of Heaven   Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:47 pm

topshot rhit wrote:

Quote :
Regardless of whatever we have, do, and will say, remember this is your project, your product, your creation. Don't change it unless you feel you agree with us. In other words, change it because you want to change it, not because a few people from the crowd of listeners and pointed out things they think could be improvements. I applaud you for opening yourself up for feedback (also known as criticism, but that's not as friendly sounding. Smile )
Indeed. +1 While this may not be as amazing to me as Theocracy's debut that Matt did all by himself, your songwriting ability is well above average and production is already as good as many indie bands' actual releases. You should be proud of your work for sure.

+2!

JLE3 wrote:
YES!!! Two CD's down and 999,998 to go!

Make that 3 cds......only 999,997 to go!  Very Happy

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JLE3

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PostSubject: Re: Kingdom of Heaven   Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:49 pm

Quote :
Make that 3 cds......only 999,997 to go! 


LOL! You guys are awesome.
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messiaen77

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PostSubject: Re: Kingdom of Heaven   Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:20 pm

Yes, that's exactly what I meant.  I think it works.
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