For this month's critique, I have chosen a very hip song by Daniel Tyson entitled, "Wolves." After listening to the song five times, I have to admit I find myself wanting to hear it again which is a very good sign indeed! It is entirely contagious and has that indefinable quality that simply grabs your ear in a very refreshing way.
It obviously means something to the composer.
I was thrown off by the title—and still don't really make the connection—but this is certainly not the first song to leave the listener wondering in that regard. It obviously means something to the composer. The only issue that might occur is one where someone is trying to request or locate the song, and based on the recording alone, would have no earthly guess as to what the title might be!
The lyric has just the right amount of tension and elusiveness, giving the listener a clue as to the nature of the woman in question and her own elusiveness. We sense that there is trouble in the relationship, which is confirmed with the line, "flash of light that blinds my honest side." The chorus goes on to further explain that the singer found out too late that this woman could not be tamed.
As the song unwinds, the language remains a bit confusing to decipher, but in a good and intriguing way. Regardless of whether or not I knew exactly what the writer meant, I got the gist of the meaning of the lyric and found his use of language to be poetic, dark, and surreal.
Too much clarity would no doubt have detracted from the song's essence. The emotion that inspired the song was confusing so it makes perfect sense to me that the lyric should portray that.
I especially like the phrasing change in the B section of the second verse where the stacatto quality of the vocal turns up the attitude and the bitter anger that goes with it. It created a nice break from the deliberate monotony of the chorus.
Melody and Track
It is all so very fresh and creative.
I tend to stay away from track comments and focus more on the song itself because I am by no stretch of the imagination an audiophile! However, the track is such a big part of this song that I at least want to render the reaction of this layman.
The spare guitar intro was awesomely crisp and reminded me of some of John Maher's folkier meanderings. I am a large fan of the gentleman, so this is a large compliment!
The finger-picking feeling is soon eclipsed by rich layers and the highly effective doubling of vocals. I feel that the first heavy layering of vocals and harmony came in too big too soon, though. The song's unusually late break threw us another curve, but again, given the nature of the song, I thought it worked really well. It is all so very fresh and creative.
The fifth scale tone of the minor key is the basic starting point of both the verses and chorus, which I would usually not care for. Once again, I like it in this song. The frequent repetition of this note in the chorus lends a drone-like monotony that is very hypnotic, and dazzles me in the same way that "You Can Do Magic" by the band, America, did so long ago.
There is a lot of melody and phrasing deviation between one verse and the next, which takes away from the song's memorability, but creates a stream-of-consciousness feeling. Once the chorus rolls around, it is easy to sing along.
It just works. What can I say?
Who needs a pesky lawsuit?
Overall, this song is unique and fresh. The form, which I did not choose to over-explore, deviates from the norm and surprises the listener a few times.
The one spot I would take another look at is the melody and phrasing at the top of the chorus. No matter how I tried to dismiss it from my mind, I kept feeling a connection to Ricky Martin's, "Livin' La Vida Loca." The two songs have entirely different vibes, but the resemblance dawned on me and no doubt will to someone else.
Just be careful. Who needs a pesky lawsuit?
I can totally see this song having a future. In the genre it most fits in, it would be easier to expose it to the world with a band or solo artist as its vehicle. Shopping the song itself to various artists would be much more difficult, simply because it is the kind of song usually written by its performers.
I can imagine it having film uses as well. The vagueness of the lyric makes it applicable to a lot of situations and the brooding mood is undeniable. You might try to submit it to one of the music-for-film houses. The track, of course, would need to be mastered and polished as much as possible. This will be the subject of one of my future articles in the not-too-distant future.
This is a rather short critique, but so much is right about this song that I don't have too many suggestions or criticisms. I wish the writer large success with it and hope to stumble upon it on the airwaves one day.
Good luck, Daniel! What a pleasure it was to listen to "Wolves." Gotto go! Wanna listen again.