Acoustic Guitar & Cello at the Laundromat

Yes, I entered...No, I didnt win. I'm not bitter...(cough...cough!)

Six-Thousand entries this year... and they picked the most banal, vanilla entry on the planet... I will not provide a link. If you really need that dose of saccharin, just google it.

Actually, the winning song really isnt bad...It's actually well done... and the artists do show promise. But in terms of soul moving, visionary material; it was just too uninspiring and pedestrian, even for a folk-pop geizer, like me . The selection seemed to contradict everything I thought Tiny Desk was supposed to represent about rich art... As a patron, I wound up, (dare I say) , steeped in gallons of High Fructose, Corn- Liberal syrup.


I'm pretty sure that the Judges' panel was comprised of NPR radio disc jockeys, admins, producers, engineers, and interns who may have dabbled in the song-writing craft; but, who probably have never persued song-writing seriously; Never written a viable, professional song. (If they did, then shame on the friends and family, who lied to them during their critical moments of feedback. ) My suspician of this is backed by my observation of how impressed the judges claimed to be at ALL SIX THOUSAND ENTRIES. (ATTN:.. "Keepin' it honest ' ALERT:) 'Most' of the songs which I sampled, actually ... sucked (IMHO) ... 'Some' were quite amazing...'Many' others were somewhere in between. I can only presume that the 'standards of evaluation', which the judges used , were mind-numbingly poor, inexperienced or unqualified.

At just over 2000 calories , I could still be wrong...

Causing Treble here


There was a glaring contradicton within the Tiny Desk's contest rules and tips. The instructions did emphasize that a less-than-stellar 'production value' of a song entry had no bearing on judges' decisions about the song itself.. (They failed to mention that greater than stellar 'production value' would in fact, have a bearing.) The winning entry (and all of the Top 6 picks in the weekly newsletters) had significantly superior production value, (However, 'better songs', which had no production value to speak of, seemed to get passed over quite frequently) To rub salt in that wound; after Tiny Desk announced the winner, they qualified their choice by stating that the winning entry was: "...the perfect Tiny Desk entry". Ahh to think what I could have done, had I previously known what the perfect entry looks like. Feeling bloated here, after 4000 calories. But, I still could be wrong about all of this...


Filtering of entries continued via a series of weekly Thursday newsletters to NPR Tiny Desk fans, Unbeknownst to the contestants, I really suspect that the Top 6 Picks of the Week newsletters did set the stage for an elimination process. Judges (so called experts) raved over these selections, praising, applauding, etc . Each week, 6 more top picks were brought forth, with praise and those ever familiar cumbaye interviews, where nobody asks questions outside of the typical open-ended, "Tell us how you feel, being noticed by NPR for all of your emotional premise behind your songs?' After the second round of weekly newsletters had passed, I felt an uncomfortable realization. If an entry wasnt brought forth in any of the Top 6 picks (with respect to their genre classification) , would it be safe to assume that the said entry had likely been eliminated, already?

Ok, not a big deal, until you inquire directly about it and then you are told (by Tiny Desk) that the weekly picks don't mean or imply anything about eliminations. But...much to my chagrin, that "Perfect Tiny Desk entry" had already been featured in the first newsletter. So I guess the TIny Desk response to my question really meant, that weekly picks dont mean or imply elimination of the other weekly picks (...Nothing disingenuous to see here, folks...! Moving along, now...!)

Bass that fell off the clef


Even after 6000 calories... My assertions about the Tiny Desk Contest still may or may not be true. So, what is my nagging problem? It's that Tiny Desk selections lend to the appearance of inefficiency and inconsistancy. ....Its NPR for cryin out loudest! Its 6000 people, none of whom are necessarily slated for greatness anytime soon. Under the auspices of a contest, Its an audition , from which 5999 people will not be called back.

Nevertheless, contests are traditionally pretty fun, as long as they arent taken too seriously. So to promote transparency, diminish false hopes, I have two recommendations for Tiny Desk.

Establish clear information about 'how' and 'what' you intend to evaluate within a song entry: What exactly comprises a "Perfect Tiny Desk Song"? Songs have tacit elements, (structure and shape, meter, timing, Lyric. vocal). Good songs exploit these elements creatively, Bad songs dont. What is the benchmark? Seriously, 'production value' means everything and its gonna suck for the people who cant afford recordings like that. Tiny Desk, you have an obligation to state and disclose that bar that in your rules & tips

Make transparent, the related criterion for elimination.

Avoid leaving the bulk of your entrants hanging when you know for a fact they have been already been eliminated. Maybe a 'courtesy reach-around' ? Artists deserve at least that last email:.

"Dear contestant, blah blah blah .... After a close evaluation of your entry and of others', who ranked in your genre /style category, we have decided to advance forward with other contestants... Please understand.. It was a diffciult decision. Your entry did indeed show much potential,,,,We looked for/ recocognized ...blah blah blah... As such, we strongly encourage you to enter another song again in next year's competition... blah blah blah..."

Do pipe up; Defend, or support; Add to, disabuse this discussion... What is your take on the Tiny Desk or other song competitions... ? Keep it respectable though!

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