Step By Step by Steve Ison

Steve Ison
Current Round: 1  

Steve Ison...All music/production/Vocals
Steve April...Lyrics
Vicky Burton...Cellos..

Featured Review

A song with such a sweet and charming flavour that it's easy to cast oneself, aged around twenty-four, before the cynicism had really taken hold, in one of its significant roles.
On being introduced, one might at first find the low slung bass in troubling opposition to the delicacy of the harp-violin-type thing as they compete across the ear'oles, but the juxtapositional harmony gives such pleasure. Such a plucky little harp- violin-type-thing.
You could even begin to believe its partner to be a double bass if it weren't for the buzz and the twang.
I completely understand this narrowness and sparseness of verse, very deliberately intended to contrast with the sudden expansion of chorus. it's a popular and necessary device, and rightly so.
Yet the element of surprise kind of backfires the first time because the drop (by drop) is more akin to the kind you take off a cliff.
And not the dripping tap it describes. Then again, maybe that's intentional; maybe that's the punchline.
If so, this lad's real intention, rather than working patiently, perhaps over many months, on the girl's affections with soggy carnations and song, is to set up the closed door to the darkened room containing all the giggling, bright-eyed people who are going to shout "Surprise!!!"
I'm delighted by all the melodic twists in this song, many of which are quite unexpected. "When we kiss I'm drowning" is a good example, (though it seems like someone's rather embarrassed to be singing "bayyy...bee" like one of those dreadful seppos.)
The entire bridge is very well constructed, with a rising heart and stretch of spirit, but the problem is that when we get to the really important bit lyrically the backing vocals overpower the lead and I'm frustrated to miss the crux, maybe the end, or the ironic twist of the story.
Oh my god - what did he say?!
Of course those lovely, girly, ever-so-slightly hysterical backing vocals, once in, are so integral that you can''t imagine how you ever did without them. But they joined the party then hogged the limelight too long.
Almost as if the producer was so grateful and pleased with them it became essential to wring out every drop.
But they are nicely done.
At any rate, that "Dirty and proud" hiss and noise which comes in first and goes out last says that substance and not shine is a priority. Correspondingly, were some avaricious clinician to get his digi-scrubbed little paws on it, it's a hit.
Trebles all round!


Featured Review

interesting lofi sound for sure .... well - not exactly lofi - sorta forced lofi ... fact is it's more of an attempt at recreating a bit of a lofi sound I think ... a little successful and a little bit not. I think the mix is overall pretty good - it just falters a bit on the chorus cus there's little to no stereo separation involved in the mix so the instruments just sorta morph into one big mass of various sounds making a single statement. which was a mistake. it's possible that it was an attempt to hide the electric guitar sound - like you couldn't get your hands on an amp and used some distortion pedal or something ...

anyway, on the sound, and production - there's no reason to NOT clean up the white - or maybe it's pink, noise. it wouldn't have taken away from the attempt to make it a old tube/tape production - it probably could have accentuated it a bit cus the warmth of the song sonics exist partially in the bass and in the vocals. that and the acoustic guitar and live fingersnaps. but all in all, it's a very decent attempt to create maybe a bit of a 50's rock and roll vibe. I do like it ... just wish you'd done a lot more eq work on the electric git ... and maybe added just a tiny smidge of verb to a few parts - and also -- used some hard panning on a few things.

but on the performances - to be sure, I was digging the song from the start and now after a few listens and a little deeper listen into various parts, I'm no less enamored with things. love the dual bass, acoustic picking semi-riffing attempt at atmospheric songmaking. it works ... put that intimate vocal melody line over it and it makes for a great simplistic verse that makes me feel like I'm right in the room with you, doing the fingersnaps ... and a really nice lift on the chorus - a slight change in vocal melody and attitude and a bigger sound (as mentioned)

the only thing that I might suggest changing up about that is to use maybe percussion (congas, wood block, cowbell!, tambourine) on the first chorus go around and maybe add some conventional drums on the second and for the final - a large final finish using all the percussion and the full kit.

pretty sure - once I got by the limited loathing of the electric guitar sound, I do like the actual part and how the sound of the dirt hardens the mood and makes it just a little bit more rock for just a few seconds before returning to the stripped and bare bones insider feel of the verse. - it doesn't really seem to echo the acoustic at all - more explores the overall potential chordal expression fully. which is great at that point when I feel like I need that rise and fall dynamically to keep me interested in the song lyrically and melodically.

the additions of the occasional sound - like the little violin grace just before the chorus - all good.

love the backing ohhhs in the second verse - quite like a humble little string section created humanly and in a way oddly. a real positive touch ....

the bridge started out being something that seemed like it'd be redundant but the odd chord change that you stuck with and then easily morphed back to that final set of chorus parts was sweet shit. didn't expect that chord and therefore was quite surprised and pleasantly dragged into a slightly different moment there ... the surprise was on the first listen - engaging yet edgy. subsequent listens made me think it couldn't have gone any other way. it actually gave me the feeling of a subtle key change - but doubt it was anything besides a half step (or something) moment of "I dare you to do this" ... like it was a single moment in time where the basic interval structure was disturbed. at any rate - it worked. largely.

lyrically, I find it to be a flowing parade of what is probably the same ol' story replayed with with the writers own thoughts about the familiar emotional territory. which ain't bad. step by step - drop by drop - all those lines - dangerously close to cliche but never really walking straight into the belly of the lame beast. making the words accessible and acceptably simple.

I really got off on the song ... thought it was just the right length for the style and loved the way it was arranged and crafted. the few minor details I mentioned could have made it better but all in all, a really strong pop song. using some tried and true formulas but also stepping outside the box far enough to make it a bit unique.

good show.



You're protected well, alarms around your door
sisters don't like my inventions, i got so many more.
trade you a rainbow girl for your golden smile,
let's talk awhile.

1st Chorus

Drop by drop, step by step, gonna win your love, win it yet.
gonna bring you flowers on a rainy day, love ya my way
drop by drop, step by step.

2. lay up your treasures but it's like a tomb.
lady at your leisure show me to your room.
trade you a love song girl... for a gentle smile
let's share awhile.

2nd chorus

Drop by drop, step by step, gonna win your love, win it yet.
gonna bring you flowers on a rainy day, love ya my way
drop by drop, step by step.


when we touch you steal my heart away from me,
oh when we kiss I'm drownin', save me baby.

3. your daddy scoffs at a minstrel boy
wonders what trade will employ.
i say, 'i'll do the best i can.'
he says, 'you're a boy not a man.'

3rd chorus

Drop by drop, step by step, gonna win your love, win it yet.
bring you flowers on a rainy day, love ya my way
drop by drop, step by step