View Full Version : So, I had forgotten how picky I am about production on an album until today.

04-09-2013, 07:30 PM
I haven't owned a decent set of headphones in nearly four years, because my husband goes through them like McDonald's goes through fry oil. I also don't ever play music out loud, except in the car. My volvo had a shitty stereo, my mustang had none at all, and our Jetta's didn't work (bad wiring). In March, our Jetta was totaled and we decided to bite the bullet and take out a loan to get a half decent car. The stereo sounds AWESOME.Today, Wil was being the DJ on our travels and he put in the original Scary Kids Scaring Kids album and I immediately remembered why it was that I didn't like these guys the first time he played the cd four years ago (before my nice headphones were destroyed).

Its not that the music is bad, because I actually like most of it. Its the sound of the vocal tracks. I kind of imagine that the vocal tracks were edited to mimic the sound of the singer's voice, when he hears it inside his head, with his ears covered up. You all know the sound that I'm talking about. Then, about halfway through the cd, he swaps it for one of their later ones (presumably because he got tired of me complaining about the sound). You could tell it was the same band, only it sounded nothing at all like the same band. The singer still isn't fantastic, but his voice has character and sounds human.

One thing I always liked about The Used is the way the final product sounds like something that could feasibly be reproduced IRL. I'd hate to have been a fan of Scary Kids Scaring Kids, when their first album came out, because if you went to see them live, you'd be so confused about how the dude sounds nothing at all like he does on the album.

As we go through more and more of the discs I haven't heard in years, I'm finding lots of albums where it turns out I don't like them as much as I thought, because with good speakers, they ultimately end up sounding worse.

04-09-2013, 08:18 PM
This doesn't sound to me like you're talking about preferring good production over bad production, which anyone else should prefer as well if they've got a decent set of ears. It sounds more like you're just not a fan of overproduction. Isn't the effort to make the guy's voice sound better deliberate? Some might consider that to be good production, because at least it's accomplishing its intended goal.

Anyway, I don't think I'm quite the same as you are. Like, I can listen to a Chili Peppers ballad and there's a part of me that knows Anthony Kiedis's voice isn't actually as good as it sounds. But, I can just kind of tune out that thought and enjoy the record. I guess live music isn't all that centric to my life, so I view the ability to make a good-sounding album, even if that involves some trickery, as a huge part of being a recording artist today. It's probably why it was fairly easy for me to transition into appreciating more electronic music in my late teens, after listening only to rock early on.

Though I do see your point. I have been to concerts of bands that I thought would be more talented and been like "dude wtf, this sucks." And about the guy's voice changing halfway, yes. That drives me crazy too. The main reason I could never get too into STP is that Scott Weiland sounds like about 3 completely different people at different times. It's like he has a grunge alter-ego, a butt-rock alter-ego, and a sensitive alt-rock alter-ego. And even though I'm pretty sure he's actually singing like that, unlike the Scary Kids guy, it annoys me because they sound more like imitations than anything organic.

04-10-2013, 03:40 AM
Well, thats the thing though... I don't know what they were doing to his voice. They may have been trying to make it sound better, but it doesn't sound like they were trying to make it better. It doesn't sound nearly as bad on my computer speakers, but its like he has a bag over his head, or q-tips in his ears.
vs. their second album
It clearly sound like the same person, but the notes are cleaner and he doesn't sound like a humanoid here to make friends with the inhabitants of planet Earth.

04-10-2013, 06:29 AM
I suppose I always found it disappointing if a band sounded different live than they did on the albums. (Or well the reverse actually.) As though the albums were a deception. Blink182 and 3DoorsDown being the shocking disappoints I remember early on. I mean they aren't the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz, what's with all the smoke and mirrors?

04-10-2013, 07:31 AM
Blink 182 was absolutely horrible when I saw them like 3 years ago. I was glad I had only bought the cheap seats and not spent more.

04-10-2013, 12:42 PM
I totally agree with Lost and WCM. A live show is 100% what decides my interest in a musician. On one hand, there are bands like the Offspring, of which I was a HUGE fan before I saw them live. The Offspring does not sound nearly as good live as on record, and that bothers me. It's fake and deceptive. I haven't seen Blink live, but from what I've seen on Youtube, they're far, far worse than the Offspring. RHCP is one band that I love on record, but have no wishes to see live because I am certain their live performance would kill them for me.

On the other hand, there are bands like Dubioza Kolektiv and Something Corporate/Jack's Mannequin, whom I find disappointing on record because it just doesn't live up to their live performances. I have a lot of respect for these musicians - they're great musicians who just don't translate well in production and all that.

My favorite musicians tend to be those who are amazing live, as well as very enjoyable on record. Being able to perform at a very high level AND make enjoyable recordings gains the highest amount of respect from me.

cool 2 hate 681
04-10-2013, 02:11 PM
I saw Blink 182 at a 91x Christmas show in San Diego in 2011 and I though they were really good which surprised me because I was expecting them to be awful

04-10-2013, 08:33 PM
I honestly can't think of that many bands or groups that sounded waay different on record than live. Blink is the only one that really comes to mind and that's really only Tom. Mark sounds the same, the music sounds the same, it's just Tom that sounds different.

04-11-2013, 12:54 PM
When I saw them live, the first three songs were literally unrecognizable.

04-12-2013, 02:11 AM
The latest Metallica album (and Justice For All, too) pretty much says all that needs to be said about this. Really, really solid (even semi-great) material, I just can't fucking listen to it.