A.J. Gundell

A.J. Gundell

Title: Songwriter, Composer, Music Supervisor, Producer
Genres: Rock, Pop, Singer-Songwriter, Country, All Contemporary/Hot 100 Music Library Genres
Status: Taking submissions
Song limit per member: 5
Bio: Andy "A.J." Gundell is a 13-time Emmy award-winning songwriter, composer, music supervisor and producer... and currently the… read more

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song: Changed My Life
artist: Tom Reardon

genre: Pop - Rock
stats: playlists: 7 | song plays: 142
General Overview
What Genre is most appropriate for this song?
Pop

What is an appropriate title for this song?
Changed My Life

What artist does this song most remind you of?
Sheryl Crow

What best describes the subject matter of this song?
Love & Relationships - Searching for Love

What era does this song fall under?
2000 and later

What best describes the mood of this song?
Agitated - Worried

Song Analysis
Quality of Lyrics
4/5

Quality of the Hook
5/5

Quality of the Verses
4/5

Quality of the Chorus
5/5

Quality of Instrumentation
5/5

Quality of Arrangement
3/5

Quality of the Melody
5/5

Quality of the Chord Progression
5/5

Quality of the Instrumental Hooks
4/5

Marriage Between Chorus and Verse
5/5

Marriage Between Music and Lyrics
5/5

Instrumentation
Quality of the Instrument/Sound Selection
5/5

Quality of the Lead Performances
5/5

Quality of the Meter
5/5

Quality of Keyboards
5/5

Quality of Guitar
5/5

Quality of Bass
5/5

Quality of Percussion
3/5

Quality of Strings
5/5

Quality of Other Instruments
5/5

Quality of Intro/Opening Line
4/5

Vocals
Quality of the Vocal Pitch
5/5

Quality of Vocal Phrasing and Performance
5/5

Quality of the Backup Vocals
5/5

Quality of Vocal
5/5

Production
Quality of Recording (Techniques)
5/5

Quality of Mix
5/5

Originality of Song
4/5

Overall Rating
4/5

Quality of the Title
5/5

General Comments

There's so much to like about Tom Reardon's song and recording of "Changed My Life" that there's very little to find fault with. Melodically strong, distinctive storytelling; memorable vocals; professional performances, arrangement, engineering and production quality all come together beautifully. Seriously nice job in nailing the key elements of what makes the whole package creative and marketable, what I like to refer to as "the holy trinity" of song, singer, and record.

First, from the song standpoint, Tom has effectively answered the simple but essential question in "Changed My Life" that eludes many other songwriters: "What is this song about?" We know early on that the singer is a veteran at building walls around her heart and protecting her emotional vulnerability--she's "perfected the art." And so she's doing all she can to get the same funky romantic result from this relationship that she's become accustomed to expect--"waiting for a runaway, waiting for the rainy days." But, alas, life and love surprises her--the usual dirt bag does not show up... and as a result, he not only changes her mind, he's "Changed My Life." Bingo. The other nice surprise is how Tom expands the chorus tag, so that after "You changed my life," we go to a "aa--ahhh" vocal set up with harmonies that comes back to a lyric "until you changed my life." That's a killer hooky, and super-contemporary way to drive home the hook/title/main idea.

The singer's work is flawless--beautiful, heartfelt, dynamic storytelling in a performance that is pitch-perfect both technically and emotionally, both in the lead vocals and the harmonies.

And the recording is for the most part a first-class master quality demo. The arrangement, engineering, and production are artfully done. Sonically everything is perfect; layering and building in the arrangement is also really good.


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Artist's Submitted Question:

Hi A.J., I'm just a novice in the song writing world, but am really proud of this song. I'd like to know if you think it has any potential to be picked up by an artist or could be possibly be used for TV or movies. Your critique and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Pro's Answer/Comments:

You don't sound like a novice, Tom, you should be proud and I think the song has a ton of potential.

The one place that the record falls down for me is maybe the one place, to the submitted question, that's preventing a breakthrough here: the drum program. It's well-recorded, nice groove. But it never changes; the loop continues from start to finish, basically without variation or accents. I would strongly consider getting back in the studio to relay a more dynamic drum track throughout--the goal of which should be to make this program feel a little more like a real, live kit and what a drummer would play. The verse could take a half-time snare on four and syncopated/anticipated kick on the three; anything to change it up--and then lead to the current loop in the chorus, which works full-out there on the one-three kick downbeats and two and four snares. But continuing the basic program throughout the song, with only an occasional accent crashes, doesn't reach the overall level of the rest of the 'trinity'--and I think is keeping the record from selling the song as effectively as it could.

Since this entire package is so close, let me suggest one more thing: a bridge. It's not often that 3:37 feels short, but fading on the second chorus feels unsatisfying to me. And a quick middle eight--just summarize for us; HOW did you change my life, by tearing down my walls for me--will button this up. Come back to a quick chorus after that, and out. Nobody will mind 4:30... in a hit song :)


Quote From Pro:

There's so much to like about Tom Reardon's song and recording of "Changed My Life" that there's very little to find fault with.

Melodically strong, distinctive storytelling; memorable vocals; professional performances, arrangement, engineering and production quality all come together beautifully.

Seriously nice job in nailing the key elements of what makes the whole package creative and marketable, what I like to refer to as "the holy trinity" of song, singer, and record.


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