New song under construction, critique wanted...Michael Blue - Secret Place

Several tracks of Spectrasonics Omnisphere, a track of EZDrummer and Cinematic Guitars, Live (Chapman) NS/Stick and scratch/demo vocals all recorded in PreSonus StudioOne Pro round out this very early development demo of my latest. Need to write a few more verses (they're just repeated now) and decide on a break or bridge and then a LOT of brushing up before this one is ready for prime time.

Lyrics, so far...

Lately it feels like I'm going under
Storms pressing in with rolling thunder
But with all my might, I remember You

Tossed by the waves, I'm going nowhere
Assailed by hate, I am laid bare
And in my need, I remember You

Wrapped in Your arms in our Secret Place
I fall on my knees and seek Your face
I hear Your voice tell me my place
Is right here in Your arms

Thanks and be blessed!

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I dig it bro! I like the way the chorus comes up. I might move to the chorus quicker so it doesn't stay dark too long...but that's just being picky. Great job!


I think the way you've arranged the melody line works well -  hard to realize from reading just the lyrics alone. But I personally wouldn't put in all the funky voice processing. The way you're singing in there is good by itself, adding all the effects tends to distract from what I though was a perfectly fine vocal track.

I was trying out a new vocal processor (TC-Helicon VoiceLive Rack) and the hard-tune in there probably was a bit much. I tend to hide behind a blend of chorus/delay/reverb anyways most of the time and probably need to find the right balance.

Hi, this will belong 'cause when I dig into critiquing a song, I go nuts.  Keep what you need and leave the rest...

Just looking at the lyric, what strikes me is that there's no transition from the place the singer is at in the verses into the place they are in in the chorus.  It seems like there needs to be some sort of "you rescue me and bring me to safety..." idea to connect the two.  Also, in v1, "remembering You" doesn't seem like something that one does with "all my might."  Actually, you might consider whether "remember You" really describes the relationship the singer has with God... it could work for the singer to be in trouble (going under) and then God remembers the singer, rescues him and brings him back to the secret place, but something feels wrong to say that the singer remembers God... and a pet peeve of mine, I guess, the lyric never does specifically state that "you" is God/Jesus (remember, somebody listening on the radio can't hear those uppercase Ys).  Yeah, the context gets you most of the way there, but I always like to start out with just a "Lord, lately it feels..." or something that establishes that context a little better... kudos, though, for making the lyric something that the congregational worshiper might "say" rather than making it either too personal or preachy.  In that sense, the tone of the lyric is right.

And while I'm all over the lyric, I'm wondering... the song is called "Secret Place," and that phrase does occur in the chorus, but there's nothing else in here that reflects that "Secret" idea... the singer has been taken to a "Safe" place, maybe, but I'm not seeing how this place being "secret" is relevant to what's going on...

Moving on to listening to the music... the introduction feels like the rhythm is a bit irregular, I don't really connect with the beat of the song until the drums kick in... if you re-record, maybe put some cymbal taps in that first part to help hold the rhythm together, that's part of the job of the intro to get the congregation / singers solidly into the beat.  There may also be some echo there that's out of sync with the music... like, if you're doing a song at 130 bpm, an echo of 230ms will hit right on the eighth notes; an echo of 250ms is going to fall behind the beat and make it sound clumsy...

Singing the word "Assailed" I heard "Sailed" (especially given the storms on the ocean context) but then that line was confusing...

Just a thought, but have you tried doing this (or maybe just the chorus part) in a major key rather than minor?

Musically, kudos for keeping the vocal range of the song manageable, so that a roomful of untrained singers could sing along.

Agree with somebody else's observation - get to the chorus sooner, repeating those first two "verse" sections seems to me like it goes on too long... hoping that you intend to write some additional lyrics instead of just repeating the first verse... and, personally, if I'm doing a first demo of a song, I try to keep it short enough to just go through the song once, "this is how it goes, and then you can stretch it out to five and a half minutes if the spirit moves you."  A 10 second intro, 40 seconds to get through the two verses and 30 seconds to get through the chorus once, maybe repeat that "Wrapped in your arms" line at the end of the chorus... under two minutes to show us how the song goes.  Of course, I realize that you're probably trying to record enough of an instrumental track for your finished product... but as a WL looking for songs, you kinda leave me wondering whether I have to listen to the whole five minutes in case there's something different at the end, and then when there isn't, I'm a little disappointed by that...

And like somebody else, I don't care for the pitch correction overkill, but then I don't like that anywhere...

So... if I was looking for songs to use with our church band, I would move on and look at something else - for me, that lack of transition between the verse ideas and the chorus idea is the real killer.  We're a guitar / bass / drums / singers group, so it would sound different anyway, and we'd probably kill the repeat of the verses (and there would need to be a second verse that is more about what it feels like to be in that place with God, having been rescued from the storms).


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