'Sure Thing' feedback
00:00 - The intro really establishes an interesting mood and sets us up to hear something new. I wonder how it would sound to add some ambience made from a later part of the track. Maybe run your voice through paulstretch or take the kind of Blade Runner-esque synth and warp it 4x with texture mode, then copious reverb. If you try this, make sure you put it super low in the mix — perhaps even subaudible! The idea is to create a mist or fog that sets more context and suggests what's to come. It should feel a part of the percussion's reverb, if that makes any sense.
00:15 - Love how the vox come in and how they sound throughout. The only thing I'd play around with is adding some ambience to the stressed words. So at the beginning, "cash", "match", "muse", etc. could use a return track reverb. These would also be heavily processed and low in the mix, but should act as a kind of backing vocal. I think that might be one more way you could potentially add even more dynamics to the performance and poetry. Here's an example of what I'm talking about:
If I were the producer on this track, I'd make sure every word you accent in the performance gets an extra reverb bus similar to that so it bleeds over a little bit. I had to work from the master obviously, but I even like the idea of the percussion getting an extra bit of ambience on those words as well.
00:26 - Actual backing vocals sound super slick.
00:30 - Overall you've used the patches drum loop very well and it adds a lot to the song, but on most listening systems I find them to be a bit clicky. I would use a multiband compressor or multiband transient shaper to dip a little out around 3.5kHz and 8.4kHz. I'm finding those frequencies to be a distracting when I want to hear everything as super smooth as those vox.
00:42 - This is sort of what we were talking about on the phone. I don't think you really need that percussion here. Try taking it out all the way to even 01:10! Leave the big bass-y timpani kind of thing on the downbeat for gravitas, leave the bass hits to give it a harmonic floor, but for the most part let those vocal harmonies shine through!
01:10 - Dig the blade runner synth haha! You might find the fast arpeggios aren't as appropriate following the barer section of vocals. The return of the drums might be enough here, but use your best judgment.
01:25 - This could be the case of you having heard the song too many times, but I for one as a listener am not really bored of the original feeling in the first verse and the fast paced synth doesn't feel super warranted. It leads in nicely do the more energetic second half, but try half-timing it or removing it entirely and I think the song will still work very well, just with more consistency!
01:42 - Especially want to hear those selected reverb shots on "sinner" and "winner".
01:58 - New feel is sick.
02:24 - One thing I tried that felt really right to me is slowing the tempo down in this last bit. All the ambience seems to flood in more naturally, the vocal harmonies are more interesting, the vox seem more resolved, careful, and tender. Have a listen:
That may not suit your taste or what you were going for, but I think that's a fantastic conclusion that elevates all the material there. If you choose to go this route, I would leave out the return of the hook. When the big synth swells at the end, let the timpani ring out and the notes all resolve but cut the track there. The slowed down hook might make the whole thing sound cliche and cheesy. I'd also kill the drums except for the sporadic low passed fills like at 02:28 that just add some texture and feeling, no needs for the full part to come back imo.
And btw, now that I've heard the slow ending, I can't listen to that part at full time anymore haha, it seems really rushed now. Let me know if you feel the same!
There isn't much I'd change about the mix besides the things I mentioned above, especially the clicky-ness of the drums. I think once those feel more compressed they'll sit in a really good place. You've taken out a lot of the unnecessary high freqs in the synths to leave room for the vocals which a lot of people miss. Overall, it sounds about perfect!