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July 11, 2019

Somebody Else's Skin - NSAI feedback

Somebody Else's Skin was an attempt at being silly and catchy and not particularly anything. I've just realised that I never posted it when I first wrote it - probably because I was never happy with it until I recorded it because ... fuck it, I needed one more.

Here's the version I submitted, as put onto YouTube by my distributor, CDBaby:

Here's the lyric I submitted, which had been critiqued by Alan Roy Scott at the Australian Songwriters Conference in 2016. He pointed out that the biggest problem with it was that the chorus didn't take off from the verse lyric and go somewhere new - it was at the same level. I think I have fixed that in this version but it still doesn't feel right to me. It's awkward somehow ... here's the lyric I submitted:

I wanna be like Barry Bourke
Be the sharpest man at work
He gets promoted all the time
It never seems to be a crime
So tell me why it is a sin
To wear somebody else's skin.

Please can I start my life again?
Jump in at 8 or 9 or 10
I'll work real hard to hit my prime
If that can't be, then that's a crime
For sure, I won't commit no sin
Just wear somebody else's skin.

Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho!
Something you should know.
Call me Mitch or Matt or Mike
Dress my soul how you like
Peel back the clothes and you will see
Ain't no-one else in here but me
Ain't no-one else in here but me.

I wanna sass like Sally Khoo
Ain't no-one tells her what to do.
She gets what she wants every time
It never seems to be a crime
So tell me why it is a sin
To wear somebody else's skin.

I'd like to find some her or he
And that someone would not be me
I'll just live their life all the time
But If I'm dead well, that's crime
So yeah, it might just be a sin
To wear somebody else's skin.


So I guess this hide ain't such a drag
A couple wrinkles, not much sag
I'm wrapped up in it, truth be told.
And what's inside is pure gold
Don't want nobody else's skin.
I kinda like the skin I'm in.
I kinda like the skin I'm in.
I really love the skin I'm in.

I put it in the "Americana/Folk" category and asked for feedback on the basis that I want it to be a commercial song. Not sure why ... perhaps because in my head it's catchy and raw at the same time.


Song Title - Somebody Else's Skin

Evaluators Comments -
EVALUATORS OPENING: Hello, it's Evaluator #XXXXX - thank you very much for
using NSAI's online evaluation service. I know you're excited to get down
to the song evaluation and, as we go through it, please remember that my
suggestions are purely my opinion. I will be focusing on the areas that need
attention and give you the absolute best advice and critique that I possibly
can. Also, it is important to remember that this evaluation service is
designed to be a process of your songwriting as a whole - these suggestions
will be for things to think about in ALL of your writing. I will be giving
thoughts and ideas that will make this particular song stronger but it still
might not get to a level ideal for publishers and the commercial market...and
that's completely okay. Remember, it's a process of overall writing and
not just a single song. So here we go - let's get started!


TITLE/HOOK: I can't decide if this is cool or creepy.

LYRIC: My concern immediately (besides the cool or creepy question) is I
don't know who Barry or Sally are, so I wondered if I should - or if they are
made up. Overall the whole thing seems a little disconnected to me because of
that, and the "sin/skin" line in the first verse that made me think of
Hannibal Lecter too soon. This is just a personal reaction, but it may be a
gauge for you to judge if this is the best way to write this hook.

MELODY/METER (IF APPLICABLE): A rather obvious Americana / songwriter
melody. Works for me, no fireworks but you have a lot of story to tell.

OVERALL THEME/IDEA: Overall, I'm just not certain this hook works the way you
want it to. The writing is good, and cohesive and the melody appropriate, it
just hit me the wrong way.


"I can't decide if this is cool or creepy" is probably the most perfect thing I have every been told. It perfectly explains why I've never quite felt right about this one, too. Still, it's encouraging and makes me feel like I want to get it right. Here's my thoughts point-by-point:

It's nice to know that this structure is OK. I've been agonising over whether the double verse thing works, and whether the repeated 12-bars are too much. I'll stick with this for now and try to make the rest work.

OK, the ambiguity around Barry and Sally has ocurred to me and I have some thoughts about how to make that clearer. The creepy factor is harder to deal with, because I really love the hook - but I hear what is being said here. It needs to be re-phrased into a more wholesome message, which is what it's trying to be.

The melody IS obvious, which I thought made the song more accessible. I'll try to add a "firework" or two for effect, but I really just want this to be accessible and focus on the message of self-confidence. Perhaps strip back the story a little??

In summary: Nice to know that "the writing is good and cohesive and the melody appropriate". I'm dong something right!! :-) I will try to re-work the hook and the identities reduce the creepy factor. THANK YOU NSAI!

What do you think? How would you feel about this feedback and what would you do about it?

Posted by Hughie at July 11, 2019 10:26 AM

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