Riff Rocker "Anything Less (Than the Best)" - New Song Demo

Hi all, this is a very rough mix of a new track…It’s a demo of the second-last track I’ve written for my next album.

The mix is pretty rough and ready - a lot of the parts recorded as they were written, which will probably be replaced for the final mix. I’m just after some initial feedback on the song, arrangement etc.

Thanks in advance for giving it a listen!


Good rock vibes. I am finding there is not enough movement overall. I am especially feeling like the chorus needs more impact. I think that cutting some instrumentation going into the choruses. Just got to the bridge/breakdown that is good. I am just finding the chorus is lacking for me. Very well sung by the way. Thanks for sharing.

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Hey Andrew. Kinda fun goin back to some of one’s old stuff isn’t it? That great opening riff had a touch of walk this way maybe. good stuff. Ok, so just a couple things from the peanut gallery. I have my media player set for 30 on my stuff and yours at 20. Not sure how you do that without clipping. Not important. I thought the bass was a little low. Thought you needed a little guitar break at 1:12 because of the prior in your face vox….ha ha. Really like 1:34 to 1:48 vibe and singing. I know you can sing very well the high notes, but I am really a fan of the lower stuff better. Just a taste thing I guess. I might almost use the base track and maybe make an instrumental of this as well. Great guitar work bud

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Really nice chunky rhythm guitar sounds. They could come up a touch in the mix to me, but that’s personal preference. Well played and sung throughout.
I’ve only listened once, but my first impression is there are lots of different ideas going on through the song. It might be a matter of making more distinct transitions, or me simply listening more to hear where you are taking me.

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Thanks Eric. At present, the presentation is very bare bones - mainly just 2 guitars/bass/drums. I will work on the arrangement some more.

Thanks Paul. Always great to get your input.

I don’t consider myself a singer at all - I just do the best I can and try to get out what’s in my head. I figure if I can tolerate listening back to it, then most people probably can too. :sweat_smile:

It’s not at all difficult to get a mix like this at a healthy level without clipping. The only really dynamic sources here are the drums and the vocals. Compression takes care of them, so by the time I hit the master buss, it’s just a bit of gentle limiting (2-3dB max) that is needed to get the level up. However, even by today’s “loudness normalised” standards, this is not really a loud mix. It’s running at around -10LUFs, whereas most stuff coming out right now is around about -9 to -8LUFs.

Thanks Bob - Great to hear from you!

The song started with the very simple riff that first appears at 15 secs in, and it all kind of grew from there - just crafting little parts to try and create a story and maintain interest. As everyone has noted, it definitely needs more work to ebb and flow a little more, but hopefully the basic building blocks are in place.

I’m tending to dig going in a slightly more adventurous direction with the arrangements on this album compared to the last - straying a little more from the fairly strict verse/chorus/bridge/pop/rock format I had going for the most part on Meandersaur. I want to try and push the limits of attention spans - be a little less overtly repetitive and introduce a few extra and different ideas - but still retain strong hooks, melodies and rhythms… just a little weirder, maybe!

If anything else comes to mind in the way of suggestions, don’t hesitate to let us know!


Good writing, playing, singing and sound overall as always. Needs more to hold my attention, texture changes, modulations, instrumentation maybe?

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I noticed a distinct Joe Perry/Aerosmith flavor on the guitar work! Nice vocal dynamics (head voice, etc) and harmonies. Something about the snare is bugging me, kind of a “plak” or “splat” character to the sound, and it seems to be clashing in the upper mids with the guitars. Maybe a little more body and less top end on it? Just a suggestion since you said you may change some things.

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I like the groove to this song. I sort of hear what Stan is saying about the guitars sounding a bit like Aerosmith. It’s probably because you’ve got those boogie sounding licks. Gun’s N Roses have some similar types of riffs/ licks.

Someone has mentioned that they feel that this song doesn’t have enough movement. I might be misinterpreting their comment because I felt there was quite a bit of movement between the individual instruments. Maybe he meant there should be more distinction between the different sections of the song (ie, verse, chorus, bridge, solo, etc)? I liked the instrumentation between the guitar, bass, and drums. I think that the note selection and phrasing between the instruments works really well. They compliment each other. That’s something you do very well in every song that I’ve heard of yours. That’s an art in and of itself.

I’m listening through my AKG K77 headphones, through my laptop. The production seems to be pretty 3 dimensional, the bass sounds meaty , the kick sounds thick, the guitars sounds good and clear. The balance between instruments is good. I like the harmonies and guitar solo too.

The one thing I would be very careful about with this song is…The repition with the chorus part, “Anything less than the best”. I would consider altering that line with a different lyric, or/and a small change to the vocal melody, at least occasionally, or just repeat that line less.

I always enjoy your work! This is fun listening stuff.

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Big fan of the overall sound here, and for me the Aerosmith flavor is a nice touch, definitely reminiscent but in a good way.

My main comment is that what you need most is editing… addition by subtraction. The theme of the main tune and that in the bridge/breakdown just don’t seem to fit together that well to me, they feel mashed together. And at almost five minutes, I think this needs pruning. I’d like to see it clock in a little over three…

Of course, I don’t have a good sense of what to cut after just the first listen… I shall think on it. :slight_smile:

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Hi Ingo…yeah agreed, it definitely needs refinement in those aspects

Hi Stan, yes I’ve always loved those blues based riff sounds. The drums will be replace with real drums, ultimately, so hopefully we’ll end up with a better snare sound.

Hey W, great to hear from you. Thank you for the thoughtful listen and the feedback - much appreciated. Will absorb and distill! :grinning:

Thanks Dave, always appreciate you taking the time to listen and comment…

…So I’m basically getting comments in two (kind of) opposing camps here. Some are saying it’s too disjointed, while others mention it needing more variation/demarcation between sections…


It is in the spirit of Aerosmith, Andrew, you achieve a big loud driving sound, and even though there’s a goodly amount of repetition on the chorus lyrics, there’s really a lot of variety overall in the arrangement. I thought the change around 3:00 was effective as the basic melody is not that dynamically new, although not bad at all.

It will play well on an album, a great tour de force, but it doesn’t have the emotional range of the hit track.

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Maybe so. I know the lyrics certainly have emotional range… I guess I’ve always preferred presenting something that appears to be one thing on the surface, but hopefully rewards further investigation with more depth.

Thanks for listening and commenting - much appreciated!

I think it probably has more emotional range than I commented on after a single listen, Andrew. One thing about a lot of hit songs is they are superficially extra catchy in some aspect so that something about it burns in the brain fast. Like the song Wild Thing by the Troggs. Certainly not sophisticated on any level, but damned if everybody doesn’t know it! And like it!

So I’m not saying the hit song on the album will be the best song, and in fact it might be the silliest one. It might be the one that makes this one stand out as the meat and potatoes cut diehard fans play the most. Like you say, rewards further investigation.

One of these days you’ll have that album ready, and I for one will be excited to hear it beginning to end!

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Agreed. Often a band’s “throwaway” song (much to their chagrin) becomes their biggest hit.

Yep, I take my time, and I make no apologies. Under normal circumstances, I have very little time to spend on music (I may have a little more time now)… and for me, there is no rush - I won’t release stuff until I’m completely satisfied with it.

BTW, I already have a completed album out. I have links to it everywhere around here, but in case you weren’t aware, you can check it out here (lyrics are available with every song by clicking on it):