Walrus An Audiophile’s Walrus (back from winter break!)

Welcome to my walrus!

I will update once every two days, and will not have any signups. Come in or out as you please. Categories will be revealed after the previous one is judged. I really look forward to hearing the music you recommend for me!

I’m a true audiophile. I spend maybe 4-5 hours a day plugged in. I very recently upgraded my rig (Oppo pm-3, you will be missed). The cans I’ll be listening to your songs to on are the Mrspeakers Aeon Flow closed back, paired with the Micro iDSD.

The Aeon Flow is a very neutral headphone. The Micro iDSD has, after a few days of listening, a slightly warm signature and additionally comes with an bass boost option which I will use only if you ask me to (I’m not that big of a bass-head so I usually have it off). It also has a a 3D imaging option which I’ll activate if you ask me to. The Aeon Flow already has great soundstaging though, so be aware.

When you submit songs, I’ll try to find a lossless way to stream it through TIDAL if it exists for highest quality.

I enjoy all kinds of music, and will not share any of my tastes to encourage the widest variety of submissions. I am not a fan of heavy metal, but that’s more a function of not having listened to it at all before.

Where scoring is concerned, I’ll be assigning songs one of three grades: Dislike, Like, and Added, where songs in the last category get put in my playlist. You get 2 points for each song I like, 4 for showing me something I love, and 1 for just submitting anything at all.

For the first category, I’d like you to send me a song that shows exemplary male vocals!

I’ll try to do a reveal Monday afternoon so please send in this weekend.

Thanks so much for sharing some of your music with me.


IFML: 8 pts
Thinkin Bout You - Frank Ocean
Toxic - Britney Spears

AJ: 8 pts
Take On Me - a-ha
Stayin Alive - Bee Gees

oddish: 8 pts
Somebody to Love - Queen
Yeah! - Usher

Jalmont: 8 pts
Reckoner - Radiohead
Nonsense - Madeon

nuxl: 6 pts
Hello - J. Cole
American Boy - Estelle, Kanye West

DLE: 5 pts
Sugah Daddy - D'Angelo
Dsco - Sweet Trip

Energy: 5 pts
Bring me Love - John Legend
I Want You Back - Jackson 5

amph: 4 pts
Wait For The Moment - Vulfpeck

rssp1: 4 pts
Seventeen Years - Ratatat
Reptilia - The Strokes

Texas: 4 pts
Home Free - Ring of Fire
Flesh Without Blood - Grimes

Lectrys: 4 pts
You Will Recall Us - Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Viper: 4 pts
It Gets Better - Griz

Steven Snype: 4 pts
Handlebars - FLOBOTS

slimshadow: 2 pts
Black is the Color of My True Love - Petter Hollens
Amber - 311

Hannah: 3 pts
Sincerely Me - Dear Evan Hanson musical
Dead Girl Walking - Heathers musical

VuvuzelaBzz: 2 pts
Downhill - Rishloo
Derrick is a Strange Machine - Ashbury Heights

duskfall: 2 pts
Great Fairy Fountain - Smooth McGroove
Bounce - Calvin Harris

knightsofcydonia: 1 pts
The Final Countdown (Cover) - Caleb Hyles
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1:57 PM]hal:
please participate in my walrus

[1:57 PM]rssp1:
ill send seventeen years

[1:57 PM]rssp1:
it starts with a dude talking

[1:57 PM]rssp1:
thats the male vocals

[1:58 PM]hal:

[1:58 PM]hal:
you serious

[1:59 PM]rssp1:
Cutting off submissions here because I otherwise would not have enough time to listen to everyone. Reveal starts tomorrow morning, I have most things reviewed already.
Actually, I'll do a round of releases now, all the songs are judged I just need to do writeups for three more songs.

I've listened to all 15 submissions, spending about 10-15 minutes on each song regardless of their final placing. Thanks so much for your submissions. I'll reveal all songs that landed in the middle category first. These are ordered by submission time.


Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair - Peter Hollens (Reviewed on Youtube)
Submitted by Nait

Since this is the third acapella song I’ve gotten, I guess I’ll come out and say it. A Capella is not a genre I like listening to generally. I was dragged to a Pentatonix concert and that was all right I guess, which is pretty much as high as my evaluation for acapella can go. I enjoy instruments, I enjoy guitars and strings and piano and a song composed of only voices kind of bores me unless there's some really special quality about the voice or has some context that lends emotion.

This song did not bore me, despite its genre and its pace. This guy can sound like a fucking Didjeridoo. Peter Hollens has a very interesting, well polished voice. I think the song is held back by a lack of movement and of real range / variation on the theme. Great singing, not as big a fan of the arrangement.

I will say that the song probably could’ve been condensed by about half, this is quite a long song where not that much happens.

Thanks for submitting! I enjoyed listening.

Sincerely Me - Dear Evan Hanson musical (Reviewed on Spotify)
Submitted by Hannahh

I have not heard this musical, but I do enjoy musicals generally. I’ve seen Hamilton, Cats, Miss Saigon, Wicked, Les Mis (off-broadway) live and watched countless others.

I think reviewing songs from musicals are difficult. The genre is powerful because of the storytelling nature of the numbers. I like “At the End of the Day” because it’s an anthem that serves as a call to arms, I like “I’ll Cover You (Reprise)” because it’s an emotional farewell to a beloved character. It’s hard for me to review a song without watching the musical up to that point.

The song was a fun listen. I’m a fan of most songs with piano/drums backing. I got a lot of Buble vibes at 1:25, but I think the songwriting was in general quick unremarkable. The main delivery of the song is through humorous lyrics, but I found the interjections at 2:28/2:56 distracting. The electric guitar at 1:48 was surprising but I thought it complemented the voices of the singers well. The voices are fine, I’d prefer if the song wasn’t sung all in staccato, and I thought the line at 0:55 was not as well done as I would’ve liked.

It’s a fun song, but it’s neither pop enough or emotional enough or chill enough to be something I add to my library. Thanks for submitting! I enjoyed listening.

Ring of Fire - Home Free ft Avi Kaplan (Reviewed on TIDAL)
Submitted by Texas Cloverleaf

I ALWAYS THOUGHT THIS SONG WOULD SOUND BETTER AT HALF SPEED. I never liked the original because I thought it sounded silly and tropical. The treatment at 0:50 is what I never knew I was missing for this song. I generally don’t like beatboxing but this one was unintrusive and complemented the melody well. Starts off very strong with a strong showcasing of range (0:00). I find myself wishing that this song had more of a punch to it, but that really is the fault of the original and not of the treatment. The alternative to that was to do the song entirely at a slower speed. Great voices, great band, didn’t add it because I felt like the song missed a mark on my personal scale.

Thanks for submitting! I enjoyed listening.

Hello - J Cole (Reviewed on TIDAL)
Submitted by Nuxl

Getting real unlucky with random shit being added in post this round. I love the voice and the melody and the beat, why on earth is there some kind of barely audible double tempo snare sound in the background starting at 0:10? It gets really distracting as the verse starts at 0:27.

I’m a sucker for string accompaniment on good rap. As for the songwriting, there’s a hint of pain but it feels reserved in a very natural way. The voice is good, I wish the track pushed the artist to do more with it. The rap verse at 2:00 is powerful. The song gets better the more I listened to the lyrics, which is something I generally don’t do for most things I listen to, but hey it’s rap.

I listened to this song maybe four times, on the first time I thought this was something I’d add to my library for sure, but on reconsideration this barely misses the mark for me. The song is good, but I wish there was just more going on. There’s a scarcity of technique in this track that’s masked at least in part by the strings. It’s a song I’d listen to on the radio if it came on, and I think there are songs by this artist that I might like, but this isn’t it.

Also the random background shit actually tilts me so much.

That being said, I like this song more than any other song that didn't make it to the "Added" group.

Thanks for submitting! I enjoyed listening.
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Honorary addition to the 2 points club:

Seventeen Years - Ratatat (Reviewed on TIDAL)
Submitted by rssp1

This is a really good song and the hifi version really makes the instrument separation on the Aeons stand out. The bass is thumping but tasteful as the synth dances along in a catchy yet varied melody. The variations on the main melody (1:03, 1:23) are creative and unpredictable. The buildup starting at 1:38 reminded me of the album version of “I will possess your heart”. It’s slow, deliberate, and doesn’t overstay its welcome even though it lasts well over a minute. I appreciate that this sequence doesn’t end in a EDM drop, but rather in a baroque style synth fugue (2:43). I thought that maybe the introduction of actual violins here might have been an awesome addition (I’m a sucker for orchestral samples in my tracks). The setup makes me think of a 3-movement classical Sonata, but with the second and third movements switched. I enjoyed this track immensely.

I added this song to my spotify and award it four points. There are no vocals in this track and therefore I subtract two points from rssp for submitting something he knew I would like but clearly did not fit the category.

Thanks for submitting! I enjoyed listening.
The Final Countdown (Cover) - Caleb Hyles and Jonathan Young (Reviewed on Youtube)
Submitted by KnightsofCydonia

The problem with a heavy metal cover of Europe (or really, any other Van Halen-era band) is the injustice it does to the dynamics of the song. These kinds of songs normally either project a V-shape with the instrumentals and are centered by the voice of the artists. It was quite clear to me halfway through that this track would be centered very heavily in the bass/sub-bass/mids and that the track lacks a punch in the treble. The sequence from 2:25-2:37 showcases an impressive range, but I find the falsetto unconvincing. I think the voice of the singers might be better suited to pop than this style of rock. I'd like to hear a song they do that makes use of this wonderful voice in the deep ranges. The line at 4:45 sounds especially thin, and is not a product of fade-out (I think).

No marks taken against the song, but I do miss the soundstaging and depth that came with the original recording (I did a quick comparison on TIDAL after I finished listening to make sure that this was the case).

The guitar solo at 3:20 is great, but I find the rhythm guitar overwhelming.

Thanks for submitting! I enjoyed listening.

Great Fairy Fountain Acapella - Smooth McGroove (Reviewed on Youtube)
Submitted by Duskfall98

I had to think for a bit on how to review this piece. This is not a song I’d add to my playlist because it wasn't written for that intention, more of a showcase of “hey look at how I’m able to arrange this classic video game music”. I guess if I had played Zelda as a kid then I’d be more of a fan if only for the nostalgia level. It’s hard for me to judge the musicality of a cover of an 8-bit song because there’s so little in the way of dynamics and melody and because the songwriting is so constrained by technical limitations. But I guess also, at the end of the day, it’s not something that I’d find myself wanting to listen to because it sounds good.

I didn’t realize until I read the youtube comments that what I assumed was some processed flute was actually whistling, holy shit that’s mad skills.

Thanks for submitting! I enjoyed listening.

Bring Me Love - John Legend (Reviewed on TIDAL)
Submitted by Energy

John Legend has a great voice, but this song doesn’t do it for me. Christmas songs are manufactured to be poppy without being punchy, repetitive, and honestly I found this song a difficult fit for sustained listening. There’s nothing wrong with it, but I find there’s lack of character in John’s voice on this track, and the melody isn’t fun enough to keep me involved. The track was really held back by what I see as a lack of imagination in songwriting.

On the bright side, after listening to this song twice I switched to “So High” and am listening to that as I do my writeup. Great artist, I guess I just wish that I got to listen to a more creative and representative piece of work.

Thanks for submitting! I enjoyed listening.

Downhill - Rishloo (Reviewed on TIDAL)
Submitted by VuvuzelaBzz

This toes the line really hard between the like and dislike categories. Points for songwriting and musicality, but I cannot get over the fact that for the first half of the song (which lasts the length of most other songs) the singer just sounds…really lazy? Especially obvious at 2:20, and I’m not sure that a casual approach to the lyrics “It’s all downhill from here” is appropriate.

Song definitely picks up at 4:50, I wish the song started like this. I’m not sure what the point of the “intro” was. The breakdown at 5:35 into the guitar sounds wicked.

Overall, there’s one minute that I really really liked between 4:50-5:mething, and I wish the entire song sounded like that. But the first four minutes is really just hard for me to get over. I like long songs and slow buildups as much as anybody else but I guess I just don’t get what they were going for. I’ll say again though, the one minute that I enjoyed of this song was good and I’d be down to listen to more works from this band.

I listened to this song three times like most other songs so this took like 25 minutes lmao.

Thanks for submitting! I enjoyed listening.

This week, two submissions really stood out to me and I've separated them from the rest of the pack so that you can give them a listen.

Reckoner - Radiohead (Reviewed on TIDAL)
Submitted by JALMONT

So, not going to lie, Jalmont didn't submit this song. He submitted a studio session recording which I spent 10 minutes on and ended up being very frustrated with. I did not like this recording because there I was missing a consistency or energy or something specific to the recording itself. It sounded like a song I SHOULD have liked but instead didn’t care much for. For a quick comparison I hopped onto TIDAL and found the album version.

God, this song is good.

The energy of drums starts out much stronger in the album version which is what I was missing, balancing out the airy croon of the Thom Yorke’s voice. When the cymbals phase out at 1:20-1:30, the song takes on a completely different, very emotional signature. 2:10 harmonizing sounds great. The ‘drop’ at 2:23, followed by the introduction of strings gave me shivers. I keep trying to write down what happens in this song, but really it’s the combination of parts into the whole that creates a beautiful journey, every time I finish listening to the song I feel stronger and happier having listened to it.

I think this song in particular benefits from the neatness that a studio recording can provides. The studio version of this song is right up my alley. Instant add.

Thanks for submitting! I enjoyed listening.

Somebody to Love - Queen (Reviewed on TIDAL)
Submitted by Oddish.

This is my favorite Queen song and I sometimes use the first minute to test headphones. The song starts like a musical, then dances through three melodies: Freddie Mercury, the chorus, and the lead guitar (1:38). Queen is so good at making sure the listener doesn’t get lost between the layers.

There’s not much to say about the vocals. Freddie Mercury demonstrates a prowess over every note in his range, which seems to be every note in existence. He does soft (2:40), raspy anger (1:40), chorister (3:10), and whatever magic 3:48 is. He has that rare talent mostly associated with a country singer where his voice is closer to an actor than it is to a rock star. The gift of his voice is not its strength or its sound: it’s his ability to really convey the emotion of the story that he’s singing.

Thanks for submitting! I enjoyed listening.

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