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Keith Wilby

Says Johnny

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This is another song from my 90s archive. Recorded direct to stereo tape using a backing created on a Yamaha SQ-16 keyboard/sequencer. Mastered using Bandlab.

I'd be interested in opinions on this because it tackles the very delicate subject of mental well-being. The lyrics were written by a friend of mine in the 1980s as a result of watching "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", so I guess "Johnny" is based on Patrick McMurphy.

Listening to it now through my 60 year old ears, some of the sound effects are a bit corny and probably patronising, but I'm considering re-recording it a bit more sympathetically, since I have had my mental well-being moments, though nothing too serious, but in a twist of supreme irony, my friend who wrote the lyrics ended up committing suicide about 5 years ago because her own mental health had deteriorated so much (long story).

Anyway, that's not a sob story, just a bit of background, so opinions welcome as always.

https://www.bandlab.com/wilbyforce/saysjohnny-c1aa1432?revId=d96f3b74-0445-ea11-a601-2818789a1e8a

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It does call up the institution. Very well sung and it certainly draws you in. The chorus is very inventive.

You obviously aren't going for a pop mix! But I'd vote for vocals up, and your only bass element really is that lower tabla or kick drum,

( bum - - bum bum) and I think if you update this, that lower element could be a lot stronger. The heartbeat needs a bit more ooompf methinks.

It's creepy and precarious in the vibe, and the vocal treatment fits that perfectly well.

good one!

-Tom

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Sorry to hear about your friend,  whenever somebody I know commits suicide, and there has been one less than a handful,  I always wonder if there was something I could have done.

Great tune, very sad, I'm going to go watch some cartoons now.

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Another "snapshot" of where you were creatively and technically in the 90's.
Would I, should you, approach the mix differently in the 2020's? Your song, your production.
Well done, I think  you and your collaborator nailed it. Sorry to hear about her untimely passing.

t

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The lyrics definitely address the problem of mental illness today.  I very much like the hollow Fx that you have on the vocal.  This effect seems to echo the message of the lyrics.  I believe that the arrangement and instrumentation effectively convey a mood that also matches the lyrics.  Ya, this might not be of a pop genre but it certainly is an effective piece.  Well done.

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