What Happens Next, another coronavirus song

What Happens Next, another coronavirus song
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This I have to share as it is so much about the current state of the world. I suppose this is more serious than Congratulations, It’s the Flu, and I think a more traditionally structured baroque pop rock song (all the strings).

Like everyone of us, I wish I knew how this all pans out. It is nerve wracking. And that was the concept I wanted to describe. I hope I’ve gotten this out of my system, but I am easily susceptible to documenting the times in song.

Like the other, it is all midi, and I use Boz Digital effects on the vocal. All comments and criticisms welcome!

What Happens Next by Steve Bancroft

We watch the past unfold
Its stories nightly told
Each day a step along the way
No matter how we hope and pray

Flattening the curve
The plan is we’ll conserve
Our contact with each other
No matter what the bother

It touches every nerve
No matter how we swerve
We’re pretty sure we’ll hit the wall
Some will stand, some will fall

So we stay safe inside
Within our homes we will hide
Happy we have toilet paper
Until our stock begins to taper

The old infected by the young
The weak infected by the strong
We don’t know, we only guess
What is to come, what happens next

And truth be told we live with fear
Far worse than politics this year
So unforeseen, I must confess
Now what’s to come, what happens next

Perhaps the movie in our mind is
Not as grim as what we fear
Perhaps the worst is now behind us
And we won’t shed too many a tear

Perhaps the lessons learned in crisis
Teach us, help us find our way
Perhaps forever they’ll remind us
To do tomorrow what we do today

For wishful thinking is not a crime
And yet my call for optimism
May not survive this stressful time
And lose the war with pessimism

We know that it will end
But what will then begin
How will our lives be changed
Our society rearranged

Maybe it will one day seem
As if we woke up from a dream
We don’t know, we can only guess
What is to come, what happens next

But isn’t that the way of life
For even love will come with strife
We don’t know, we can only guess
What is to come, what happens next
What is to come, what happens next
What is to come, what happens next

Good stuff. I believe this is the brilliance of music creation, it is an outlet for both the creator and the listener. In your mix i am finding that you could bring the volume of the vocals back a touch, they are sitting out in front of the music. there are a few timing and pitch issues but that depends on what you are going for. Thanks for sharing.

You have certainly tapped into the feelings of our current state here which is very effective. Your lyrics are always good, intelligent and musical too although lyrics are obviously your priority. It is nice to see that you are making a better blend of your music with the lyrics which makes your songs much more listenable IMHO. I know this is because of your savvy use of the available technology and there is an important lesson for all of us here, this is the direction that sets the standard.

As @redworks says you still have some vocal pitch and timing issues but you have improved here in that regard. To my ear the mix is a bit muddy and lacks low end. Is there a bass? I can’t tell. Good work though!

Glad you are getting some inspiration!

Indeed, the vox needs to be waaaaay quieter, at least 5 dB. And I would agree that you need a good thick bass presence to underpin this whole thing.

Good start, looking forward to what comes next!

There definitely are, Eric. I always wonder if I have the vocals at a good level, but this may either be too loud or allowing leeway for more instruments.

I am going to make a Youtube video for this song, so hopefully I can share it more broadly. I will hopefully be able to improve the mix in the process. There is a bass, Ingo, so I need to see about bringing it out. Maybe that will take care of the too loud vocals. I am heavy handed on the track separation and levels, so I appreciate everyone’s ears.

I probably do use what I call virtual instruments, which are essentially smart midi driven samples, a lot more than most of you. It is sometimes good, many times too derivative. I usually find out by stumbling on what sounds appealing.

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I think it’s good. It’s easy to be derivative with any sound source, that’s where our ears, experience and willingness to push the boundaries come in to play. And you have always been willing to push the boundaries! :+1:

Thanks, Ingo!

And here’s the link to the video! It even includes me in a windows reflection at Papa John’s and a shot of the empty paper products aisle at Brookshire Brothers, plus Cocoa Beach and Harry Potter World. It’s mighty depressing and scary.

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Hi Steve,

TBH, I always have difficulty thinking what to say about your productions… I guess, it is probably because you tend to have a particularly singular style that I find (in most cases) hard to relate to.

I think the thing I find goes against my own personal aesthetic is the wordiness of the songs. Personally, I think about songs visually. The combination and balance of the lyrics, melody, rhythm and hooks paint a mind picture that takes me somewhere. If that combination seems out of balance in some respect, I tend to lose interest.

You put a lot of emphasis on lyrics. The fact that you really want the lyrics to be heard seems evident by the very high level you have the vocal at. I get that - I just find that for a song to work on that level for me, the lyrics have to transcend mere narrative to either technicolor description, or supremely clever wordplay to engage me.

For example: Sting can be a wordy lyricist, but a song like Synchronicity II is just an incredibly emotive and vivid word picture that captures so much more than just a narrative. As well as wordplay, there are numerous literary devices at work (alliteration etc), but most captivating for me, is the use of allusion. I always find “the things left unsaid” more compelling than that which is explicitly stated.

I think the other thing that I’ve found difficult to grasp in your songs is the (apparent, to me) lack of memorable musical hooks. For example, in the track before this, Congratulations, It's the Flu! , I found myself listening to your melodies and thinking “Oh, I really love the contour of that melody!” only to have it quickly disappear, never to be repeated again! Don’t get me wrong - Overall I think it is a perfectly ironic little tale, it’s just the musical framework and presentation lost me.

All that said, I think this particular track “What Happens Next” is a nice step up. There are very nice melodies, a well-formed chord progression.

It is without doubt, the best I have heard you sing. Your voice actually has a very pleasant tone when you sing up high - it reminds me a little of Jack Bruce.

You also have a hook line in this song: “What happens next”. I think you could capitalize on that much more effectively, if you gave “the song” more priority than “the words”. I think there is a real skill to not only writing clever lyrics, but having them roll of the tongue in a way that locks into the groove of the music.

You obviously have a creative way of putting together words as a story… And your stories have substance.

Unfortunately the popular musical song form has always been one of style over substance. So the real battle is to present lyrics of substance with enough style so that hopefully, once listeners get past the surface, they start to notice the substance beneath.

My suggestion would be to keep working on your song-craft to really hone the specific words, phrases, rhythms and melodies (as much as possible) into a singular musical juggernaut.

Nice work!

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Thanks for such criticism, Andrew. I personally feel Congratulations, It’s the Flu!, although a good story, as a song meandered a lot. I don’t think the music always fits the vocal very well, and largely because the vocal melody is not as solid as it should be. I think that is why you can’t find the hook/s, because this is too disconnected, partly because it is so fresh. I could probably correct that, but it might just end up being one of the imperfect many.

I agree, this song has much more structure, and very standard structure at that, verse/chorus/bridge, and melodically it is pretty accessible, even has a hook or two and the last line is the title! It was much easier to sing for me because of all that, and my own personal criticism is some of the words, although they fit well, feel too contrived, which to me waters down the stronger lines.

This is sound advice for everyone. We should all reflect on the reality that even Sting, as gifted as he is, and I love Synchronicity especially, cannot deliver that ideal song most of the time either. Nor the Grateful Dead, nor ZZ Top. Pink Floyd. Paul McCartney. Etc Etc. And we know they all try, but in my opinion we rarely stumble on the words and melody and arrangement of the magical few. But what I like about what I get to hear here is the unknown to the world aspirations of so many talented musicians. Some can play and sing like the best, and every last one puts forward the best they can, even though all of us know we can’t actually do everything as best as we would wish for.

But this isn’t slowing any of us down! We enjoy trying, can’t really stop, and hopefully we do get better and more inspired in the process.

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