Song Critiques for Summer 2015 Lyric Contest

DSAlogoHere are the Lyric Contest Critiques for the Summer 2015 Contest. My apologies for the delay.

First Place – Trains by Nancy Line and Candy Kattenburg

Trains is a cute, sentimental song. I would like to hear the music. With that said, it could be a really good song. It begins with a parenthetical “Sound of clickety-clack” – presumably a sound effect entry to the song.

When I hear the sound of clickety-clack
It reminds me of those days with Daddy
Yeah, it takes me back
To the time we spent together at the station watchin
the trains, roarin down the tracks.

To begin with, “sound of clickety-clack,” – in both cases – is redundant. Clickety-clack alone suffices. Perhaps “when I hear the train’s clickety-clack.” The third line should be omitted – it is only to force the rhyme. And it is the only verse with five lines. For the second line, try “thinking of Daddy it takes me back.” In the fourth line (which would be the third line), try “we sat together at the station watchin’.” “To the time” is unnecessary – we already know we’re going back.

The smell of the sweet engine oil, the thrust of the brakes,
The way the earth beneath my feet would shake.
The rush of the wind in my face,
As another locomotive moved on its way.

I would omit this second verse altogether. It doesn’t add to the story and three verses with a bridge is too long. I would make the bridge the third verse. It is more like a verse than a bridge.

Chorus: Something about trains I can’t explain
I could get on board one every day
When I hear the whistle blow, it soothes
my soul, like a cool summer rain.
There’s just something about a train.

I would drop the second line. It’s pretty much understood.

One day Daddy took me to watch the trains
He said, “son close your eyes, today I have a surprise”
as he placed the ticket in my hand,
He said today we won’t just watch we’ll ride.

What is not in bold I would omit.

Chorus: Something about trains I can’t explain
I could get on board one every day
When I hear the whistle blow, it soothes
my soul, like a cool summer rain.
There’s just something about a train.

Again, I would drop the second line.

That was twenty years ago when we took that first ride
We gazed out the window watching life pass by.
The magic of that day will never die
When Daddy made brought my dreams come to life.

I would omit what’s not in bold. It’s a nice story as I stated. I made a lot of suggestions, but they do not change your original song, they just tighten the structure. The only other suggestion is, in the future, pay attention to the rhyme scheme. In this song it changes quite a bit. But to correct the rhyme scheme at this point would drastically alter the song. Keep writing.

Second Place – Ducky, If You’re Listenin’ by Brenda Peak, Council Bluffs. IA

The T.V. man weatherman said stay at home
That there’s a storm outside
When I looked in Momma’s eyes and saw
Her the fear she tried to hide
See, Daddy is a trucker
He had With one more run to go
He told me said his 18 wheels
Could make it through the snow.

What is not bold I would omit.

Momma was watchin’ at the door
As the other kids just played
When she looked at them she smiled
But when she turned away I said
I know she is talking Lord
to you this Christmas night
asking you, bring Daddy home
he needs your guiding light
I need my Daddy here.

I would omit the last line – it’s understood. The first verse is eight lines.

Ch.) Momma’s on the CB now
Hey big Duck, you there?
Merry Christmas, you be safe
your Ducky and ducklings care

From the radio came
There’s a pile-up, I-35
And it’d be a miracle
If anyone was alive
Lord, I’ll give up all my toys
and I’ll be good next year
If you bring my Daddy home.

I would omit these three lines. It should be four lines to match the first verse and the lines are weak. I would make the break the last half of this verse, eliminating the problem of having three verses and a break.

(Br) Momma’s always been so strong
I’ve never seen a tear
but that night I saw her cry
as Daddy’s voice came clear,

Ch Ducky if you’re listening
It’s your big Duck here
me and few guys sure had
a mess out here to clear.

Ch Somehow, everyone is safe, but shaken
Injuries are few
Ducky, tell our Ducklings,
Merry Christmas, I love you.

Tag Ducky, if you’re listening
Merry Christmas, I love you.

I would eliminate the tag. You already have an extra chorus.

Third Place – October Sky by Kerry Kean, Kent, Ohio

I like this song, but a changing of the seasons song is really difficult to pull off since it’s so over done, but I like the spin you put on it.

Honorable Mention

If I Hold You Tenderly by Michael Roth – this is a nice song, but it is too vague and doesn’t have a unique focue.

What’s Your Plan? by David DelBianco, Wrightstown, PA – I really like where you’re going with the song, but it is way, way, too long. You’re first chorus is fourteen lines. Tighten it up paying attention to song structure and you will have a very good song.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.