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