"Critique wanted" tag for songs

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  • @torniojaws Mar 5

    @burrsettles @artnc
    I think it would be very nice to have a tag (not just a "genre" tag you can freely write) you could assign to songs where the FAWMer wants to receive constructive criticism on the song/production/lyrics. Since there's been a couple of discussions on what kind of comments (encouraging vs. constructive) people want to receive, this could make it more explicit and show up more prominently on the song page. Maybe have it also show up as a category under "Songs", like "Lyrics Only", "Zongs", etc?

  • @brrrse  Mar 5

    You can tag your songs anything you like. There is no limit or preset tags - (except for zongs or songs - and I believe there are several threads debating the comment content/critique wanted options in FAWM) Simply tag your songs critique_wanted then post here in the forum what you expect out of critique. People will see your post and come give you critiques. You may not get much traffic by tagging your songs now - as FAWM is over, and most FAWMers are gone for the year. Next year, however, tag your stuff that wy and start a thread. I'm sure you won't be alone 😀

  • @devin  Mar 5

    We can informally try this idea, same way we informally started the “fav” identifier.

    I started putting an asterix at the start of my (changeable) song title to denote a favourite, and after posting in the forums about it, it caught on.

    You can post the concept
    In the forums, and start the required titles with whatever you wish. The asterix is freed up again... or a double asterix... or CRIT, or FB?

    We could start right now, for those still hanging around and commenting.

    If it gains traction, then we can see if it can be formalized via a select button (which is faster and cleaner, but more work for the hosts... so let’s test drive it first?)

    I like the idea for a song or two, and I would use it on my own songs, and I would gladly jump in with my thoughts if other people wanted them on a few of their songs.

  • @devin  Mar 5

    OK, I just tried a bunch of things (on iThing).

    There a quite a few songs with an asterix in the title, so using one or even two asterii isn’t exclusive if doing a global song search.

    I ended up changing the title of one song (that is destined to live beyond FAWM) to start with *CRITIQUE*, and that is a unique way to search. Putting that in the title (vs the tags) is also much more visible than using the tag, as it is easier to see when I scan the song page.

    The word CRITIQUE can easily be shortened to CRIT for those in the know... if you want to save song title real estate.

    I then put this text in the liner notes:

    “ ** Critique & comments welcome on any aspect of the writing, composition, performance, or mixing. Thank you!”

    Would that work for now?

  • @brrrse  Mar 5

    I find people enjoy clear titles - I usually add tags in my song titles to give people more info about the song - so putting CRIT in the title would be an easy way to let people know you welcome it. Great idea, Devin.

  • @devin  Mar 5

    Thanks @brrrse !

    And I’m fairly certain you feel the same and i do on how to approach the subject: keep any feedback positive and helpful, not hurtful.

    The song I re-titled for the experiment has some timing issues with an instrument during the opening.

    The right way to provide feedback: “I feel there’s a pocket issue at the start, but it settles down, so maybe look into the timing there”.

    The wrong way: “OMG dude, it falls apart right off the mark. What do you think you’re doing?!? F*ck me that’s jarring... sheesh”

    I’m liking the idea of doing this sort of in-depth listening in March only. February is a bit rushed for the composer and the commenter... and I’ve found the consistency of the folks still hanging around is fairly good.

  • @brrrse  Mar 5

    Good luck with that and I do mean that seriously, not flippant 😀 - and I hope very much that this goes the way you want it to go - the unhelpful comments I've received in the past weren't rude or hurtful - but more people trying to be helpful without knowing what they were doing.

    In the above example, do you already know about the timing issues when you ask for critique - and if so, are you just checking that someone else hears it or are you looking for solutions on how to fix the timing issue - I'm not challenging you - it's more my maternal instincts coming out to say if you put the CRIT tag on a song, there's no editing comments when you get just that - well not you - just as a general thing - while everyone hopes everyone in FAWM will be kind and respectful in their communications, it's been proven quite a bit that is not the case sometimes.

    Again, not firing at anyone - but as the resident expert on hurt feelings, I feel I should offer my perspective 😀

  • @devin  Mar 5

    The gain on my hurt pre-amplifier is pretty low for songs I create/co-create here. I’m not that sensitive, usually, on the subjective parts of my art. All perspectives are valid, even if not eventually acted upon.

    I think it comes from writing and touring songs with geek references. If I mess up a detail (happens all the time when writing first draft), I *need* to know that as soon as possible. If I put something wrong on a CD, I’m doomed in that community... so better get that “Devin’s wrong” pain as early in the writing process as possible.

    It’s been a learned behaviour for me, and I’m still getting better at asking, evaluating, and acting on valid feedback.

    I treat feedback like a table of junk at a garage sale. I don’t care who put it there, I’m only going to pick up what seems valueable to me.

    The more stuff on the table, the better.

  • @brrrse  Mar 5

    That's a great way to look at it. again, not trying to be a negative ninny 😀 I think this is a good solution. Thanks for working so hard with it. 😀

  • @devin  Mar 5

    Sorry @brrrse of that came off as preachy!

    I guess I’ve gradually moved myself from caring more about my inner “songwriter”, and tried to focus on what is most important for “the song”.

    Because the song should go farther than me, if I’m really lucky!

  • @brrrse  Mar 5

    No, not preachy at all. I'm still forming my words here, because I know what I'm trying to say - and I will get there eventually and I think it's a good idea 😀

    My experience with allowing all feedback was that I received critiques that addressed things I wasn't seeking help with? Perhaps clarifying what type of critique one is seeking in the liner notes - everything - lyrics - mixing - that weird ringing noise when the bass hits - whatever - that may help people critique more clearly.
    Not guidelines as such, but ... thoughts on the lyrics? or thoughts on the mix? It's easier to help if you have some idea of the frame you're working in.

    I think I've got it..... 😀 😀 😀

  • @fuzzy  Mar 5

    I'm going to jump in here to say that this is a fascinating conversation.
    I am enjoying watching the creation of a new FAWM tradition in real time.
    Great points, @devin!

  • @bitshred  Mar 5

    Same here @fuzzy I'm watching as well. Really, I'd love to know who wants critiques. I'd love to critique someone's work! Thats sounds fun. But that does bring up, as mentioend, what kind of critique? Would it be on "the song", performance, production, or all of the above?... And by who? Anyone who want to give it a go? Would it be non-reciprocal? I'd like to critique someone else's work, but the last thing I want is someone critiqueing mine.

  • @devin  Mar 5

    @bitshred & @fuzzy ...

    If you do a song search on the word CRITIQUE, hopefully more than just my song shows up (once more get added).

    Feel free to give feedback on all aspects of my sacrificial song, because it will most likely be released in a year (ish)... both myself and the co-writer (the near-immortal @ericdistad ) have done several works for that audience.

    I put my critique requests right at the top of the liner notes.


    (Just, ah, be nicey-nice, Okie Dokie?)

  • @brrrse  Mar 5

    I feel obligated to say - be careful what you wish for - perhaps there are reasons people won't be as harsh and the comments won't be as condescending and patronizing for you- I truely hope so -

  • @wen  Mar 5

    Hmm, I might try that tag for next year. A lot of my songs are intentionaly "bad" because of a soud I have in mind.... but I also think I would benifit from knowing how other people felt about it?

  • @devin  Mar 5

    Sometimes feedback can confirm our earlier decisions, @wen!

    BTW, we’re just giving this a try now (in March). If you had a song this year you wanted to get this type of feedback on, now is the time 😀

  • @devin  Mar 5

    Props to @fuzzy for being the first participant to take the time to listen & provide honest thoughts on the test song!

    Once I finish crying, I’m going to go listen in exchange. BUT I’M NOT CRITIQUING UNLESS THE SONG IS MARKED AS SUCH.

    I hope I said that loud enough, LOL... I don’t want to get yelled at later for starting a chain reaction of scathing remarks.

    Critique when asked, FAWM-comment when in doubt!

  • @tcelliott  Mar 6

    I think this is a good idea if you want a good critique, but my warning is.. don't expect a lot. I specifically put a note in the liner notes of a song a couple of years ago to stop being gentle and give it to me rough. Fawmers, even the ones I know can give brutally honest feedback, just don't seem to be able to do that sort of thing on the Fawm site. It's a great problem to have.

    That doesn't mean I've taken something someone said and had my feelings hurt. But when I stop and look back I realize it was with good intentions and how can you be mad at someone who means well?

  • @brrrse  Mar 6

    It's nice that people can share their positive experiences with getting unwanted critique - It's great to believe that everyone here has the "best intentions" and is reasonable - but understand that only some get that treatment - That you haven't been mistreated doesn't mean it doesn't happen. And not all intentions are good - Some FAWMers seem to think they can talk to others however they choose - and they have an immunity - and when called on it - simply say "hey, it's a critique - grow some thicker skin". I shouldn't bear the burden of justifying or excusing someone's bad behavior -

    There are FAWMers who will not get treated the way I do - won't get talked to the way I do - (I'm not unique - I'm not the only FAWMer to get judged) Assumptions are made about my skill level and bank account when people are commenting on my songs.

    I believe you've stacked the deck with your "experiment" on critiques - because no one in their right mind is gonna pull anything when your collabateur is the IMP of the site. Who's gonna screw that up? No honesty there - just a power play.

    I was very offended at this:

    Once I finish crying, I’m going to go listen in exchange.

    ENOUGH of this SHIT=

    Rainbows and Unicorns
    once I stop crying
    grow some thicker skin
    quit taking everything so personally.

    Enough - Machismo has no place in FAWM- And I feel you and a few others have gone out of their way (perhaps in your carelessness) to make so many hurtful remarks and when you're called on them - you laugh them off - like it's my problem you're being a jerk.

    So knock off all the little sideways slams and derogatory remarks about those who you are perceiving as weak and stupid or those you think don't deserve their successes or those who threaten you and cause you fear.

  • @kevinemmrich  Mar 6

    I belonged to JPF for many a year as a contributor and moderator (still a member and check in frequently, but I don't have much to say these days). My experiences there is that "critiquing" is a slippery slope. Most folks don't want to hear anything negative about their songs -- and it causes many problems. Yes, some folks are able to critique positively -- but even then, their comments are often met with "Who are you to decide what is good and bad?"

    I just don't see myself getting involved with serious critiquing here at fawm (and maybe anywhere else). If you want to know if your songs are good, play them around town at open mics and see what kind of reactions you get. Or join taxi (or a music library) and submit stuff for commercial listings. No matter your intentions some folks will see "honest" opinions as attacks and at this point in my musical career, I don't see it as that beneficial.

    I just want to have fun...

  • @kevinemmrich  Mar 6

    Having said all that, I still believe that peer to peer critiquing is a powerful and potential great tool. But if you are easily offended or like to see conspiracies where none exist, it might be good to stay away from that kind of thing.

  • @fuzzy  Mar 6

    @brrrse; that doesn't sound like critiquing, that just sounds like people being assholes.

  • @devin  Mar 6

    @kevinemmrich Thanks for your thoughts... I totally see your perspective. I did Taxi for 3 years, and a bunch of other things too... “ear opening” process! I’m glad I did it, and I’m glad I backed off (I don’t seem to write enough of what they are asking for).

    @brrrse Your post seems pointed at me, seeing as you quoted my “crying” line regarding my first critique from a fellow FAWMer.

    I’m sorry you reacted to what I typed... but I won’t apologize for me being me.

    I was making a joke, based solely on my sense of humour. I have no idea where the following poem comes from in your post (I may have seen it before?). The truth is, I don’t recall. I don’t have the memory, the wit, or the time to weave a personal attack against you.

    Most significantly, I don’t have the motivation or anything to gain. You and I have exchanged a handful of appreciative comments after enjoying each other’s songs. I respect your craft.

    To undermine our interaction means I would los

  • @devin  Mar 6

    *silly character limit*


  • @brrrse  Mar 6

    @devin I'm completely lost on your alluding to but not quoting something I wrote somewhere that you might have seen? I'm not sure how to interpret that, let alone respond.

    I don't expect an apology or anything else. I merely point out where I see language that is insulting and offensive to me. How others respond to that is beyond my control.

  • @fuzzy  Mar 6

    @brrrse; just cos something offends you doesn't mean that it was meant to be offensive.

  • @johnstaples  Mar 6

    I like the idea of a tag but, as I've said before, critiquing is not well suited for FAWM.

    1) the songs are rough, often sketches so it seems the wrong time to critique

    2) most people don't know each other outside FAWM so they have no idea if they are critiquing a beginner or a Nashville recording artist. we don't know skill level or intent and how it compares to our own.

    3) there is barely enough time to write 14 (or 100?) songs and try to keep up with listening and commenting! dunno where one would find time to critique except on a rare occasion.

    With that said, using a tag would be a good start to see if you could get useful critiques. I don't prefer receiving them and would rarely ever consider giving them.

  • @brrrse  Mar 6

    @fuzzy understood - so I shouldn't speak up if I'm offended? That's a rhetorical question. When is it okay to speak up if one is offended? Another rhetorical question.

    Again. I have learned so much here. I will step out of the thread now, having taken my "spanking" and learned my lesson. I should just grow a thicker skin, I guess.

  • @kevinemmrich  Mar 6

    Ooo-ooo! I have an answer!

    " so I shouldn't speak up if I'm offended?" -- most of the time, no. Especially here at FAWM. I just don't see many folks making purposely offensive comments here. If you think something is offensive, it might be just your interpretation.

    "When is it okay to speak up if one is offended?" I think if someone is being offensive, others will notice it, too. I am really struggling here to find ".. little sideways slams and derogatory remarks".

    No one is attacking anyone here that I can tell. But sometimes when we are on edge, we can see slights where none were intended. I know I can get that way.

  • @devin  Mar 6

    Update, by the numbers:

    In the past 24 hours, 6 people have stopped by the test song, and have left 9 comments total (multiple discussion points in each post).

    Many strong points made, a few that I hadn’t considered yet, and a few people comment for and against the same element (just like we tend to do in all music?)

    I am totally delighted with the time and effort people donated. Awesome!

    To date, there is only the one song with the *CRITIQUE* tag in the title. Just 29 more until we start to get into statistically valid measurement territory 😀

  • @johnstaples  Mar 6

    @devin that's some damn fine comment fishin'! 😁

  • @quork  Mar 6

    Reeled me in.

  • @devin  Mar 6

    A cast of thousands! @johnstaples @quork

  • @quork  Mar 6

    It would be interesting to see the ratio of song listens to comments given. I figure I'm close to 1.5:1. If a song doesn't grab me in some way (which says more about me and what I like) I will move on without commenting. I would never say, "this song left me flat". Occasionally I'll leave, "hey, have you thought about this/to my ears xxx would sound cool" comments. But I always preface them with how much/why I like the song.

  • @mauramer Mar 7

    I wish there was some sort of second stage of FAWM where we could share our songs again once we've had a chance to spend some time editing and polishing them (April Album Recording Month? 😝). For me, FAWM is such a mad dash to produce that any constructive criticism I receive often misses the point - I already know that everything I post here has umpteen flaws and things that should be expanded upon and improved, so hearing that from other people can be more discouraging and alienating than it is helpful. I tend to assume other people feel the same way so I rarely offer any sort of critique unless someone asks a specific question in their liner notes. But I love the idea of getting feedback on songs once they're not so fresh and raw - I'm sure most of us want to know whether our music is succeeding in communicating what we want it to communicate. I know I am!

  • @tcelliott  Mar 7

    @mauramer There isn't enough commenting on the finished product, imo, but there is this: http://fawm.org/forums/topic/7659/

  • @bitshred  Mar 7

    @quork I used to be that way too. I listened WAY more than I commented. But I've drifted away from that, because I think people should know another person listened. Even if it is, just "enjoyed my listen", or "nice tambourine"..... On the other side of that, I used to really dislike it when someone commented on my song just because I commented on their song, or to "bust a zong". But I can't control that, and their intentions are good. so it's a good thing.
    Regarding critiques, in some ways the comments we get have criticism in disguise. For instance, If all 6 comments to a song are just "cool guitar riff" when there's lyrics and vocals. Well, that was a cool guitar riff, and the rest of the song stank. LOL. Which I probably already knew.
    Also I've heard the word "feedback" in place of criticism, and think that is more fitting. I think in the case of @devin and we mostly left feedback. We weren't trying to rip into anything. I've received bits of feedback in the past and just hel

  • @bitshred  Mar 7

    Um, the "character limit" showing at the bottom as I type is not accurate. I had not reached my limit on my last post and it cut off a lot of my post! And I'm not typing it again. Is this a browser issue? I am using Firefox. This is another reason critiques will not work, and I will not do another one. Actually I'm done on the forums now because of this.

  • @quork  Mar 7

    Darn, I enjoyed your post and was eagerly awaiting the sequel. I hear you about “critiques”. I get lots of comments that speak highly of anything but my vocals. Sometimes I worry about that when leaving my own comments. But I know that, take no affront, and appreciate that people make an effort to find something they like.

  • @tcelliott  Mar 7

    @bitshred It's a site issue. If you edit the post you can use the full 2k word limit. When I see it truncated, I page back in the browser, copy the last bit then go forward and paste in the rest of it using edit. It's a work around. They know about the bug, but with time being a factor for all the volunteer programmers, well, the two of them... it's not obviously not been fixed. Maybe @burrsettles could reduce the characters left to 1000 to more accurately reflect the limit?

    Sorry that you had this bad experience.

  • @bitshred  Mar 7

    @tcelliott Oh, and actually, that is now coming back to me. That bug. I'm sorry, in my old age I don't have the greatest of memory. I totally now remember this being discussed before. LOL. If you "edit", you get the 2K. Thanks man! for the reminder.

  • @mauramer Mar 7

    @tcelliott Oooh, thanks for the tip! Is this meant for people with like, actual production skills already, or just anyone? I am super interested in practicing building arrangements and whatnot but I'm only just starting to learn anything about production in the technical sense.

  • @tcelliott  Mar 7

    @mauramer - For everybody. Our motto is 'Do the best you can with what you have.' Okay, I just made that up, but seriously, that's what the idea is. I've said repeatedly that we should do the best we can, learn from the process and take what we learn and do it again. A lot like songwriting.

  • @devin  Mar 7

    @mauramer You can put the elements you want feedback on at the very top of the liner notes... and tell folks what to ignore.

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