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#707831 03/07/22 11:26 AM
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MORE THAN ANYTHING

Well, I wish that I had all the answers
I've got no second sight, no crystal ball
Still, I'm willing to take my chances
I will bet it all

Please believe me
I believe in me and you
You're the one thing in this world I know is true

You say nobody can promise
a future nobody can see (Make no promises to anyone)

      Maybe love doesn't last forever
      I can't say what tomorrow brings (Who know what tomorrow brings?)
      All I want is you and me together forever
      More than anything

Now I can't see my future without you
You're my best friend
My heart's home

I was wandering with no direction
Now I'm not alone

It's easy
It's easy when there's two
You showed me that the missing part was you

I'll give you more than I'll promise
Each day I'll make it come true

      Maybe love doesn't last forever
      I can't say what tomorrow brings
      All I want is you and me together forever
      More than anything


Instruments
~701:Bass, Electric, PopHalfNotesSync Ev 085
2650:Guitar, Electric, Background DreamyPopBalladFillsBrent Ev 085
839:Guitar, Electric, Rhythm PopBalladClean Ev 085 (A:arp)
840:Guitar, Electric, Rhythm PopBalladClean Ev 085 (B:strum)
840:Guitar, Electric, Rhythm PopBalladClean Ev 085 (B:strum) (Held)
Drums: Addictive Drums 2 (Fairfax Vol. 2, Repetition (replaced snare with Ludwig Black Beauty)
Lead Vocal: Synthesizer V - Kevin
Background Vocal: Synthesizer V - Kevin, Ryo AI
Electric Piano: The Famous E

Effects Chain
Main Buss: Greg Wells MixCentric (Fairydust)
Lead Vocal: Greg Wells Vocal (Lead Vocal), LX480 Essentials (Joe C Vocal Warm Ballad)
Harmony Vocals: Greg Wells Vocal (Backing Vocals), LX480 Essentials (960 Vocal Plate)
Bass: Schepps Omni Channel (Bass DI), ReaEQ (mid cut)
Drums: Trackspacer 2, Sunset Sound Studio (Live Room, Studio 3), ReaEQ (high pass)
Guitar Buss: Vulf Compressor
Guitar 1: NastyDLAmkII

Short Blah Blah
Any sort of feedback is welcome! smile


Tediously Long Blah Blah Blah...
Lest anyone get the wrong idea, I don't write all this stuff because I think people are all that fascinated by me or my songs.

I'm just trying to figure this songwriting thing out, and most of these comments are notes to myself about things I learned, and hopefully you find some amusement in reading them. If not, please skip them!


The genesis of the song was my normal process: I found a demo style I liked, changed the chord progression, exported the backing track to SynthesizerV, added a melody... and then flailed aimlessly trying to think of lyrics.

The basic style is _ANGSTY4 Demo - Angsty Youthful Pop Dream Guitar.

As a completely arbitrary rule, I don't like my songs to go over 3:30. After dialing the tempo up from 85 BPM to 90 BPM, it clocked it at 3:40. That meant no bridge, no extra verses, and probably no doubled chorus.

I'm using the "Kevin" vocal here, which helped set the narrator POV and character. I'd recently listened to one of Noel's songs, and was again struck by the utter sincerity and sentimentality of his lyrics.

I'm pretty emotionally guarded and defensive, which isn't helpful for writing heart-on-your-sleeve sincere lyrics. So I figured writing a trying for something heartfelt and sincere would be a good exercise.

To some extent, the issues the narrator is addressing from his off-screen lover are arguments to myself against writing schmaltzly love songs. Read into that what you will. wink

The right way to write lyrics is to do the chorus first - are at least, a title - and then have the verses explain the chorus.

For some reason I keep doing things wrong by working out the verse first, and then trying to figure out a chorus. I sort of muddle through the first verse, trying to figure out who the song's protagonist is, and what they're all about. It's mostly a process of throwing words into the notes, and seeing if they resonate.

I'm a great admirer of Paul Williams' songs, so I had a listen to some Carpenter's music to see if that would jump start the process. In particular, "We've Only Just Begun", does an amazing job of capturing a wide-eyed enthusiasm that Noel so effectively taps into. But that song is series of vignettes, and I was trying to get to the feeling, not rewrite the song. It didn't give me an "in" to finding a voice for the narrator, so I wasn't making much progress on that front.

So went back to writing words and searching for something that would get the song going. Finally, I hit on the line:

      Well, I wish that I had all the answers

And something clicked. in retrospect, I realized that I'd been listening to Ben Folds' "Still" earlier in the day:

      I must give the impression
      That I have the answers for everything
      You were so disappointed
      To see me unravel so easily


And by "listening", I mean trying to figure out how the song worked. Ben starts out by having the narrator acknowledging a fault - the core conflict in the song. It just turned out that the issue in my song was the justifying the leap of faith that love requires.

Finally, I wasn't writing an "I love you" song - it was a sales pitch! And that was something I could write. wink

From there, getting the first verse and chorus was mostly just writing and rewriting. It was a painful slog - it almost always is - but at least it didn't take days and days.

That also got me into the "I don't have anything left to say for the second verse" problem. Obviously I eventually got past that, too.

I'm pretty happy with the lyrics, if only for the relief of getting something coherent written. I'm always sort of astonished when a song comes together.

Note to self: Stop ending lyrics with "you"... It really limits rhyming options!

I kept the harmonies on it pretty simple, mostly paralleling the melody, and not a lot of echoes. I figured that would better fit the feel of the song. When I was done, I found out I had written a Boy Band song.

Imagine my surprise. crazy

I didn't do that much to the backing tracks. I added a "simple" strummed guitar, one strum per chord change, and then cut out the chords that didn't need to be there. I then added in the additional guitar parts, cutting out the bits that didn't need to be there. Normally I edit the dynamics of the tracks, but that didn't happen here.

There didn't seem to be a need to add any additional instruments, I put the strummed guitar and another in the center, and the other two guitars left and right.

On some other thread, Josie had mentioned BiaB drums really overplay the cymbals on the B section, and that's certainly the case with this style. It's the sort of thing that once you hear, you can't un-hear.

I ended up replacing the drums with a simple MIDI drum part. I did minimal editing to the MIDI, since I wanted to keep it simple. I ended up picking a drum kit from Addictive Drums, swapping out the default snare for one I think fit a bit better.

After the mix was mostly in place, I had my son tweak it. He moved the two guitars out of the center and added a delay to one of them to balance it. He also finessed the bass and drums, mostly by adding some EQ.

I tried to find a fitting guitar solo for the intro, but didn't find anything I liked, so I put something together with the Indiginus guitar, which I later replaced with an electric piano.

I normally use the some effects to widen the stereo field, as well as the Lurssen Mastering Console, which is one of my favorite plugins. This time, I figured I'd try out the Greg Wells MixCentric plugin, and forego the widening effect.

As always, feedback of any sort is appreciated! laugh


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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It is absolutely amazing that Kevin isn't a living, breathing human being. This is real 1984 stuff, but I didn't know 1984 would sound so good and be so pleasing to the ear. Wonderful mix. The lyrics are perfectly written and Kevin delivers them very sincerely. Bravo! Excellent work.


My music can be heard at: The Cracks
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That voice is really interesting. I liked the mix and I sure like how you did the stereo effects. I really need to learn to do that.

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Enjoyed both the song and reading about your process.
Regards,
Leon

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I went through the usual, “WHAT? That’s a bot?” reaction, so, ‘nuff said thereon. But Jesus, I thought we were supposed to have to wait another 5 years at least??

Your production prowess is stunning. Not my listening style in general, but I listen and learn to each new release, and enjoy.

One point, or two:

There’s an overywhelmingly FIFTHY fifth in the vocal harmony that really jumps out in a rather distracting way, I’m sure you know the one I mean and have wondered about it yourself. =8^)

And in general in this piece, I like the vocal dueting when it’s straight harmony and not counterpoint. When it ascends to counterpoint, the absent humanity becomes more present.

Last edited by Mark Hayes; 03/08/22 08:01 AM.
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dcuny Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: jptjptjpt
It is absolutely amazing that Kevin isn't a living, breathing human being. This is real 1984 stuff, but I didn't know 1984 would sound so good and be so pleasing to the ear.

This is one of the newer voices, and it's nice to work with a "real" male voice instead of trying to morph a female voice into a male one.

Quote:
Wonderful mix. The lyrics are perfectly written and Kevin delivers them very sincerely. Bravo! Excellent work.

Thanks! I appreciate your kind words. smile


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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Originally Posted By: Brad Williams
That voice is really interesting. I liked the mix and I sure like how you did the stereo effects. I really need to learn to do that.

Hi, Brad.

Yes, "interesting" is the right word. When it works, it can be very convincing. And then there are places where it fails to fool the ear - but it's still good enough to get the idea of the song across.

I can't take credit for the delay effect - that was my son's idea. He was trying to balance out the guitars in the stereo image, so he decided that putting the delayed version on the other side would work well - which it did!

Thanks for stopping by to comment!


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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dcuny Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Leon1
Enjoyed both the song and reading about your process.

Hi, Leon.

Thanks! I'm glad someone is enjoying the overly long narratives! wink


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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Hi David,

You know me - I don't particularly, usually, like these computerised voices. HOWEVER ... here, you have found something good. This voice sings naturally, and carries the song well.

The song is beautiful! It tells the story well, and yes, I can feel the Carpenters influence, a little, on it - even if you say you turned away from it :-) Yes, there are a few harmony limitations because of the robot voices, but who cares about that.

My only quibble is that the voice currently sounds a little like a boyband voice (Backstreet Boys, Westlife, that kind of thing, haha). If you could somehow make it a little darker in tone, perhaps, more "serious" or something, more earnest (if you like), it would sound even better, perhaps. But what do I know? I enjoyed the song - and yes, the explanations, too :-) - they helped me understand the process behind the song, and that's always a wonderful learning experience, for me.

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Originally Posted By: Mark Hayes
I went through the usual, “WHAT? That’s a bot?” reaction, so, ‘nuff said thereon. But Jesus, I thought we were supposed to have to wait another 5 years at least??

I've still got my own vocal synthesis project I'm working on, but I'm slowly losing enthusiasm for it. It's like when I wrote a raytracer with a bunch of really cool features, and then Blender came out with all those features and ran something like 100x faster. frown

Quote:
Your production prowess is stunning. Not my listening style in general, but I listen and learn to each new release, and enjoy.

Thanks! There are plenty of songs posted on this forum that are "not my style", but I can appreciate the production - and sometimes even occasionally pilfer some ideas! wink

Quote:
There’s an overywhelmingly FIFTHY firth in the vocal harmony that really jumps out in a rather distracting way, I’m sure you know the one I mean and have wondered about it yourself. =8^)

I still haven't figured out how to handle these situations. Do you add some imperfections so the harmony isn't perfect - and get beats and other artifacts - or make it more perfect and hope it doesn't sound too robotic?

I've gone back and added a bit more imperfection to it, but I'm not sure that's the right solution.

Quote:
And in general in this piece, I like the vocal dueting when it’s straight harmony and not counterpoint. When it ascends to counterpoint, the absent humanity becomes more present.

And it's made even worse by trying to make the background vocal more bland and background.

There are some things that I just shrug and wonder if they'll be fixed in a future release. In the meantime, I try not to lose too much sleep.

Thanks for lending a critical ear! laugh


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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Originally Posted By: musician17
You know me - I don't particularly, usually, like these computerised voices. HOWEVER ... here, you have found something good. This voice sings naturally, and carries the song well.

Hi, James.

Yeah, that sort of surprised me, too. After working on the song for a while, I stopped thinking about it as a synthetic voice. I mean, it's still got faults, but there are places where the performance is fairly good.

Quote:
The song is beautiful! It tells the story well, and yes, I can feel the Carpenters influence, a little, on it - even if you say you turned away from it :-) Yes, there are a few harmony limitations because of the robot voices, but who cares about that.

Thanks! I'm pretty happy with how the song turned out. There are some places where I think the counter line gets in the way of the vocal, and I might go back and fix that. But Major7th chords are pretty, even when sung by robots! wink

Quote:
My only quibble is that the voice currently sounds a little like a boyband voice (Backstreet Boys, Westlife, that kind of thing, haha).

Yep, I noticed that, too. laugh

Quote:
If you could somehow make it a little darker in tone, perhaps, more "serious" or something, more earnest (if you like), it would sound even better, perhaps. But what do I know? I enjoyed the song - and yes, the explanations, too :-) - they helped me understand the process behind the song, and that's always a wonderful learning experience, for me.

I know what you're saying, but if it can be done, I haven't figured it how to do it yet. It's a sort of "what you get is what you get". When it works, great. If not... well, better try something different.

Thanks for the feedback! I'm glad you enjoyed the song and story behind it! cool


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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First and foremost a cracking song that's near genre perfect.
The synth vox - amazing work on the programmer's part and on your terrific use/manipulation.
The musical arrangement and mix are ace.
Harmony vocal blending - reverb can help smooth things as it gets wetter and the dry is pulled back but you know that already.
Well done.


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rayc
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I second everything rayc wrote, except the "cracking" thing. This is a lovely song and your creation of the factors that produced such result is absolutely amazing. I wonder how it would sound with a female, rather than male, second vocalist (nothing against Ryo ... just curious).

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Hi David,

I can agree with most of the posters here, Kevin did a good job! And how ís the 'she' in the back called? The harmony sounded very well.
It is a nice lovesong with a nice creativity in words for all the verses.

And speaking of them:
I can agree fully with what you wrote about making lyrics. Although I mostly don't start with the chorus. For instance, I need an image in my head, or some sort of story, to fantasize about. And mostly the (raw) words will follow. Then the process of editing and kneading them begins. There's a lot more to say about that process, but it basically goes like this. And I like to read how others make their lyrics.

Furthermore about the song: while Kevin did an almost humanly good job, I thought the song could have used some more instruments, like strings and even some drumfills to enforce the exitement of the song itself. Now it felt a bit too smooth (if you know what I mean). and of course, a lovestory that ends well is a smooth thing, but still...

But I'm -again- very impressed what you achieved with thes software-humans. Amazing!

Hans


Last edited by Birchwood; 03/08/22 02:49 AM.

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Hi dcuny,

Nice declaration of love and well done musical accompaniment. I apprecied.

Kindly regard
Derochette
alias JaniJackFlash


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Man, those synthesized vocals sound so GOOD. I like the contrapuntal melodies. What an accomplished job of flailing aimlessly for the lyrics, David. "It's easy
It's easy when there's two
You showed me that the missing part was you"
Very cool. Nice sales-pitch. Very good song!


Enjoy whatever happens!
marty

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David,

The introduction is Outstanding. Love the BAND! It's pure '70's Radio Pop Ballad.

This DOES have a real Paul Williams quality to it. (excellent inspiration choice).

A good write. The Chorus is excellent. Some nicely penned Love Song verse lines (that can be a tough nut).
(I've erased this next comment several times - but figured you MIGHT want to hear it - even if you say "that's not true"... There is a bit of a "pieced-together-ness" to the verses. A lot of good - even better than good - lines and phrases that somehow felt scattered (?? not quite the right word...). They did not naturally lead me to the chorus. It felt a little "bumpy". That might come off sounding "harsher" than it is intended - because it really is just a "bit of a feeling"..

GREAT melody!

Kevin is pretty amazing.

You (and you son) are doing some Wonderful work!!

fj

rayc #707997 03/08/22 09:03 AM
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dcuny Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: rayc
First and foremost a cracking song that's near genre perfect.

Thanks, Ray!

That's great to hear. laugh

Quote:
The synth vox - amazing work on the programmer's part and on your terrific use/manipulation.

I wasn't initially that fond of the Kevin voice, but it's growing on me. Now that I've used it in a couple voices, I think I'm getting a better feel for what the voice is good (and not good) for.

Quote:
The musical arrangement and mix are ace.

Thanks for that. This is actually one of the simpler arrangements I've done. I was tempted to add more to it, but thought I'd try keeping it simple and see how that turned out. So it's got a bit less "production" to it, which means the BiaB are doing more of the heavy lifting. wink

Quote:
Harmony vocal blending - reverb can help smooth things as it gets wetter and the dry is pulled back but you know that already.

I tend to put the harmonies too much in the front, and this time I was going to pull them to the back. But because there's less counterpoint here and more thickened lines, I think it works.

Except for those exposed lines that Mark was pointing out.

Quote:
Well done.

Thanks again for the kind words, and taking the time to stop and comment!


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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Originally Posted By: BLONG
I second everything rayc wrote, except the "cracking" thing. This is a lovely song and your creation of the factors that produced such result is absolutely amazing. I wonder how it would sound with a female, rather than male, second vocalist (nothing against Ryo ... just curious).

I usually use a female vocalist against a male, because it provides better separation of the parts - especially when there's a counter-line going on. Even with staggering, some of the background vocals are hard to make out, to the point where I'm considering eliminating them.

There's actually another instance of Kevin on one side, and Ryo on the other. Ryo has a touch of an accent, although there's a Strength option on the vowels that I need to explore.

I toyed with the idea of using female background vocalists, but figured it made more sense to use males. If I get some time, I might try replacing them.

Thanks for the positive feedback! smile


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

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Originally Posted By: Birchwood
I can agree with most of the posters here, Kevin did a good job! And how ís the 'she' in the back called? The harmony sounded very well.

Hi, Hans.

The background vocals are being done by male vocalists. There's another "Kevin", and a Japanese vocal called "Ryo". The "Pro" version of SynthV has a trans-lingual feature available for the AI voices, so they can sing in other languages despite not having been recorded in that language. It works quite well, and with much less of an accent than if the vocalist had actually been recorded singing in English.

Quote:
I can agree fully with what you wrote about making lyrics. Although I mostly don't start with the chorus. For instance, I need an image in my head, or some sort of story, to fantasize about. And mostly the (raw) words will follow. Then the process of editing and kneading them begins. There's a lot more to say about that process, but it basically goes like this. And I like to read how others make their lyrics.

Yes - coming up with a story or situation is key. Unfortunately, I've spent so much time being me that trying to put myself into someone else's shoes doesn't come easily.

Quote:
Furthermore about the song: while Kevin did an almost humanly good job, I thought the song could have used some more instruments, like strings and even some drumfills to enforce the exitement of the song itself. Now it felt a bit too smooth (if you know what I mean). and of course, a lovestory that ends well is a smooth thing, but still...

There are some points at the cadences where subtle fills on the drums would be good, and that would probably be worth doing. I'd considered adding strings, but figured for this I'd keep things simple.

But you're probably right about that!

Thanks for listening and commenting! smile


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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The newest RealBand 2024 Build 5 update is now available!

Download and install this to your RealBand 2024 for updated print options, streamlined loading and saving of .SGU & MGU (BB) files, and to add a number of program adjustments that address user-reported bugs and concerns.

This free update is available to all RealBand 2024 users. To learn more about this update and download it, head to www.pgmusic.com/support.realband.htm#20245

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