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Music

Critique: When The Night Hangs in the Balance

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For this month's critique I have chosen a song titled "When The Night Hangs in the Balance". Like always, I listened several times to get familiar with the song.


This is a critique of "When The Night Hangs in the Balance", by Tryggvasson. You'll find the original workshop here.

Track

Image via PhotoDune
Image via PhotoDune

I would like to have felt some peaks and valleys.

Though not my area of expertise, I wanted to briefly comment on the track of "When The Night Hangs in the Balance." For me, it is reminiscent of some of the Phil Collins hits a while back. The effect is lush and full but there isn't enough variance. I would like to have felt some peaks and valleys if that translates to the more technical side of things!

I also agree that the reverb is overdone, and overpowers the vocal. Other than that, really nice work with a very evocative feel that is dead on for the lyric.


Lyric

I felt no real advancement in the song's message from one section to another.

The title is too long for the commercial market in my opinion. Plus, the phrase isn't employed enough times to be the obvious choice. Without changing the lyric too radically, if it were my song, I would simply call it "When the Night Hangs" and reuse the phrase a third time in the third verse, with a third and different ending. It is not the greatest title, but without a major rewrite it is the most accessible.

I am not an opponent of poetic and even esoteric lyrics, but this one goes a little too far beyond what is conversational for my taste. I would rein it in a bit, and go for more gut and less glam. I like the evasiveness of the song's message, but a little more of a peek into the reality of the situation would give the song more earthy soul.

I like the first verse but would ditch a few syllables in the fourth line. I expected more clarification of the meaning to follow as the song went on. The second verse, however, begins to depart into too much imagery and continues vaguely till the end of the song. I felt no real advancement in the song's message from one section to another.

In the B section, the word "shadow" is used twice, and having just been used in the second verse, it felt like too much. This was underlined by its positioning at the end of the lines. Also and most importantly, the B section phrases much too similarly to the verses. There is no departure. I would try for something much less wordy and use some held out notes for contrast.


Melody

Image via PhotoDune
Image via PhotoDune

The melody of the song is not earth-shaking, but the drone feel of the verses created a pleasingly sullen mood and left lots of room for harmonies and layering. I would leave the first verse very sparse and move toward more complexity in the second verse. Again as with the lyric, the B section provided no relief from the verse. The chord structure, though not identical, just has a feeling of sameness. At the very least, use a different opening chord and create some tension rhythmically.


Commerciality

Conjure your inner Foo Fighter and experiment!

Though I likened this song to a Phil Collins hit, I would not consider it dated. Some very small changes would keep it cutting edge enough to potentially find a commercial home. Even moving away from all the relative major and minor chords and into some less predictable complex ones would breathe some freshness into the song.

Conjure your inner Foo Fighter and experiment! I would definitely find a way to reduce the smooth, even feeling of the song, and make it feel less tame overall.


Summation

This track was a pleasure to listen to, and has nice throb. I applaud the creative lyric and only criticize because quality work is worth bettering! I wish you much success with it!

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