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July 15, 2019

Red Hot - NSAI feedback

I co-wrote Red Hot with Shanon Watkins. He came over one afternoon and we explored a guitar riff that I had in my head. He came up with a melody and some placeholder lyrics. He left it with me to finish. I added the a capella intro much later, after I had come up with the hook. As a point of personal ethics, the copyright is registered 50/50 even though I did most of the writing - because that's what we agreed on at the start of the process.

Here's the version I submitted, as uploaded to YouTube by CDBaby:

I entered it in the "Americana/Folk" category and asked for feedback on the basis that I wanted it to be a commercial song. Here's the evaluator's feedback:

Song Title - Red Hot

Evaluators Comments -
EVALUATORS OPENING: Welcome to the NSAI Evaluation Service. I am Evaluator
XXXXX. My goal is to help guide you in the process of songwriting, with the
hopes of helping you become the best songwriter you can be. Please keep in
mind that this evaluation is only my professional opinion, and these opinions
are given to you to help reach your goals for each submitted song. I hope
this service will be a beneficial tool for your craft, and wish you the best
in all you do.

FORM/STRUCTURE: You have a unique structure here that can use some tweaks to
allow the structure to present a smoother flow. I recommend using the opening
with just the first two lines then going to a verse section. Because it has
the same feel other parts of the song consider using a a change to the line
length and syllable count such as the "crazy from the heat" section feel for
a verse section, then going with the opening full section as the chorus feel
to follow verse 1, followed by either another verse or a bridge section that
presents a complete departure form the other feels followed by chorus, lead,
chorus out.

TITLE/HOOK: Your title is really ok, but the thought of a "Red Hot Glow"
could be a more relatable title to the listener. If going with "Red Hot Glow"
you can then build around the idea to support this thought throughout the
song to allow the hook to leave the most solid message to the listener.

LYRIC: As mentioned above, the title change to the suggestion above will be a
more relatable thought to the listener. Consider using this title change and
re-wrokingthe lyric to present thoughts of a "red hot glow". Using verse
sections to paint the picture of how the night and everything that represents
this night looks and feels hot, such as the lights, the girls, the whiskey
etc. will allow the lyric to support the thought throughout.

OVERALL THEME/IDEA: Idea is unique but a bit confusing right now due to the
lack of lyrical support to the idea. Using the above suggestions will allow
the lyric to paint a stronger picture of a "red hot glow" and will allow the
song to be themed well form start to finish.

MELODY/METER (IF APPLICABLE): You have a feel here that is more geared
towards the 80's rock market which is really ok, but this can feel a little
dated for todays commercial radio. Studying the current top 40 for the
intended market will help to inspire ideas that will help to gear the song
more towards your final goal.

CLOSING COMMENTS: Consider re-writing with the above ideas and suggestions
to see where they can take the song. I hope this evaluation has helped you
gain some new ideas for the song. Keep up the writing as each write and
re-write will continue to develop your commercial writing skills, and thank
you again for your submission.
"Geared towards the 80s rock market", huh? Well I'm an 80s rock child (musically) and proud of it, so I guess that's pretty positive - I'll take it! The rest looks pretty familar, really. Point-by-point:

Thanks for the restructure suggestion - I'm gonna have to play with all of that before I have a clue what it might be like. Open to the suggestions, though, and very willing to try this re-structure out.

<sigh> The title of this was originally "Red Hot Blow", which I shortened so that it could accommodate all of the red hot things in the song. I'm learning that those variations, which are a habit of mine, are not ideal and that I should go the other way and simplify the song to match the hook. "The lyric doesn't support the hook" ... again, huh? Once again, unique idea, not quite working. Familiar stuff ...

Hmmmmm ... I'll have to see how this feels after the re-structure, but I hear the point about the dated feel. In my head this seems like a production decision rather than a songwriting one - but I'm learning that the two are very closely related. The next version of this will have more instrumentation and in the Tetrafasi Project I will do a rock band version and something more extravagant, so I will definitely play with these thoughts. I'm actually inspired to do this one with a bit more Prince funk now that I've read that feedback - but it would still have to be very modern Prince. Got some research to do.

In summary: More of the same feedback, with some specific suggestions for changing this one up. More encouragement, but a re-write and a different arrangement coming up. 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 15, 2019 3:23 PM

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