Seeking quality feedback on an electro-pop track – 'Learning to breathe’

Hi, all.
I’d really like to get some fresh(er) ears on this.
AKA SND – Learning to breathe (4:54)
It’s a moody, layered electro-pop song, and uses a standard song structure, with a short 4-bar intro.
Try to judge it as the instrumental version of an electro-pop song, not as a stand-alone track.
There will be lyrics and vocals later.

Structure, sounds, hooks, chords, levels, anything, everything. What’s working? What’s not? Something general or something detailed. Ideas about good production touches also welcome. imo, my stuff has musicality, but lacks production ‘flourishes’.

Don’t limit your comments to what can be achieved in Auxy. I’ll be moving it to Ableton Live for further development. :+1:

If you could manage a listen – or two – and have some thoughts, I’d really like to hear them. No rush, though.

Many, many thanks.

(I plan to do this again with another track soon. The next one is a little less moody. :wink:

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I actually really like it. It sounds pretty dark, is that what you were going for?

Wasn’t really aiming for anything in particular when I started it, but it just turned out quite moody. I’m not unhappy about the mood.

Would you say it’s too moody – and could benefit from a little lightening up? Or you think the mood is fine?

I’d like to develop it for release.

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I need a few more listens before I give any real feedback, but I think the mood is spot on.

I like the vibe, but I would shorten the sections and perhaps keep the energy rising with the drums. The first two parts dragged a little and I’ll be honest I didn’t make it thru. But the core idea is solid, just needs some spice to keep the ears from tuning out.

Thanks, I’ll take the comment on board, though I’ve purposefully left space for vocals, which will do some of the lifting.

I’m hoping y’all can listen to it as the music for a song, rather than a stand-alone track.

Ahh my bad. You’d didn’t specifically mention vocals but yeah, they can definitely handle some heavy lifting over this. Oops you did mention vocals. My brain must not be working today

It was in there, just buried in my never-short posts. :wink:

(I’ve also edited my original post, to make it more clear.)

Even so, I’ll consider ways that the music can support the energy lift too. So, thanks. :+1:

It depends what kind of lyrics you’ll use with it.

Lyrics, don’t know yet. I presumably had something in mind when I instinctively named the track. Possibly something about coming out of a smothering, unhealthy situation or relationship. (No, this is not me telling my story. :wink: It’s just an idea for a possible narrative.

Still, it’s not set in stone.

Vocally, I’m thinking female, possibly something a little delicate – to juxtapose against the heavier mood of the music, and lighten it a bit.

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You have a really nice basis for song here. Just a couple suggestions:

The pianos are really nice in the intro, just would change the piano to something a bit less bold. (lol that was actually a pun). As well, I think making the pianos a higher melody, regardless of what you do, may help the mood of the song a lot!

Maybe change the chords a bit up throughout the entire song. I’m probably wrong about the chords changing, but it gets a bit repetitive. As well, changing the chords up a bit would make it a bit easier for songwriters to write lyrics over. I don’t necessarily notice a bridge section, but I know many songs that have been amazing without a bridge section. I don’t really notice any changes from the verse section to the chorus.

Minor suggestion: maybe change the percussion in the intro to something a bit less high pitched to make it an easier listen. Also, the vocals you plan on adding might cover the frequencies you would miss if you removed it. Still it’s just a minor suggestion. :wink:

I wouldn’t fade out the pianos in the end, or the bass. If you want to make an impression on an audience, I might suggest making new chords as something chromatic, or just writing new chords in general. It would really make it an easier listen. Also for the outro, might I suggest bringing back the piano chords from the intro?

Hope this feedback helps!

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Cheers, NYC, for taking the time to listen and give that level of feedback. Appreciated. :+1:

I’ll have a think about all your points, and have a play around.

The Bridge is at 2:34, straight after Chorus 2.
I didn’t want to change the key or make a dramatic vibe change, but use it as a breathing space. So I drop out everything apart from a simplified bassline which uses an alternative root note, an alternative lead melody and some ‘barely there’ soft chord fills underneath. This leaves a lot of space for the vocal to help change the vibe and prepare the energy step into the transition. (I might tweak the lead melody sound during the bridge or even remove it, to create more separation between the bridge and how it’s used in the chorus.)

At 2:50, I transition from the bridge back into Chorus 3 using a small production ‘flourish’, where I drop out everything for the middle part of the bar, leaving space for a bass drum + sub hit, then snap everything back in.

I think you’re probably right that the chords could benefit from changing up somehow after the bridge, as it definitely feels like it could benefit from a subtle but noticeable energy lift there. (I’d like to keep it conceptually quite simple, but lush.)

I wouldn’t mind shortening the track. I know any cut would come after the bridge.
Problem is, with such a low bpm (62 bpm) and such long verses and choruses (2x8 bars for each), there are actually only three run-throughs of the Chorus after the Bridge – and I fundamentally like what each one is doing.

Chorus 3 (after the bridge) brings us back to the Chorus groove.
Chorus 4 steps up the energy/drama(?) by introducing the piano chords
Chorus 5/Outro is where we start stripping it back

I actually like the way that the outro empties out. The song has been a glimpse into a person’s emotional experience and thoughts. When the song is over, we (the listener) pull away, leaving the singer once again alone with their thoughts. The bassline that lingers is a reminder that, while we’re pulling away, she’s still living with it.

In terms of the piano intro, tbh, I feel it’s currently a bit dull, so I’d like to take another swipe at that, adding a simple, ‘pre-moody’ melody, and knock the chords back a bit.
Alternatively, I’m thinking about knocking the piano quite far back and layering in some soft, effected vocal chops.

Although it’s layered, I still wanted some sense of spareness. I feel it’s lacking a little mid-range audio, but some of that might be filled by the vocal and any vocal chops. I could add a simple, subtle, warm synth line underneath it.

I may take some top-end off of the brighter chords that appear in the 2nd half of each chorus as they potentially feel a little harsh and like white-noisey, like an uncomfortably bright light.

I don’t want to lose too much, as I kinda like that it scratches a little. It’s an uncomfortable, scratchy story we’re hearing.

Sound-wise, I’m aiming for layered, but still having a sense of being ‘bare’ – if such a balance is even achievable.

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