Does it annoy you when an album is overproduced?
By overproduced I mean an album that sounds "too polished" or has an excessively digital sound or makes use of autotune or something similar.
For me, it certainly does.
I like an album to be clear and done right, but most of the time I don't like the digital sounds or autotune or anything that is not an instrument. Could you give me an example of an overproduced album?
The metal examples didn't bother me too much. At first I was only thinking about metal, but now that you mention it, I do think most pop songs are way overproduced and they sound horrible.
Well, both of those songs are listenable. However, both could have benefited from a rawer approach. Both of those bands had albums that were much heavier and dirtier from a production standpoint, and they all sounded a little better to me.
I think the trend of ridiculously overproduced albums started with digital recording techniques (as opposed to the analog tape and instruments previously used) in the early 1980s. The first major album I remember using digital recording was Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk" album. When I first listened to it very closely on headphones, I thought-- Wow! This technology is fantastic! The following year, Journey released their "Escape" album, and I immediately saw the downside of what the technology would lead to. None of the instruments sounded real. It was a kind of monsterous mannequin of an album, with unnatural reverb effects, clipped sustains, over-processed mixing, and phony digital keyboards. Ugh. Autotune and digital sampling overuse in the ensuing years just exaserbated the trend.
It depends. Some bands/styles lend themselves to a "slick" production job. Hair Metal, for example, should sound polished and slick. But if you gave that kind of sound to a thrash metal or punk rock band, it would seem ridiculous.
...though now that I've said that, I'm chuckling inwardly at the idea of what a Napalm Death album with a Mutt Lange/Def Leppard style production job would sound like...hahahaha
I can agree with you on hair metal, although that stuff is rough in production compared to what we get on the radio these days. Thrash is ridiculous sounding with a smooth production job.
Yes, Napalm Death would sound absolutely hilarious that way!
I wouldn't know... I don't listen to what's on the radio these days. Haha.
Let's just say that the production of modern pop makes Def Leppard style production look extremely heavy. I don't really listen to the radio either, but when there's a lot of hype about an artist I do tend to look up a couple of their songs.
It sure as hell does! In fact, it can make some artists' work unbearable. A major point of contention for me, however, is the "loudness wars," where the production maxes the volume to be... well, louder!
The couple songs I really enjoyed off Metallica's "Death Magnetic," for instance, were completely ruined by their shitty production. So I, like many fans, listen to the "fixed" versions on their Guitar Hero release.
Good call there on Death Magnetic and the loudness wars. There's an increasing number of new albums that follow this trend. In fact, the Eluveitie album (song) I posted in reply to Omnivium plays noticeably louder than 90% of the stuff on my iPod.
Yet in the 70's & early 80's when they actually produced albums with more than one good song on them? Many albums where all the songs were amazing (examples being Pink Floydd, Wings, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Cars, ... They were all overproduced... And they sold tons of them.
Now it's all driven by that one hit for 1$ mentality. Because if you can sell a couple of million singles? and make a couple of million $'s from it? Why bother with making 10 good songs?, when 1 good song will pad our accounts quite nicely.
Music has gotten lazy because of instant download fascinations.
Hopefully the single hit artists stop making albums soon, because they flood the charts on account of hit singles
Well, yes if the product is extremely good then overproduction cannot really ruin it. I just feel that there are great albums that could have benefited from a rawer production job. I agree with you about the lack of effort put into new pop.
When it comes to studio albums I am ok with it. When it comes to concert/live albums I want it to be as true to the live sound as possible.
The counter-example here would be Pink Floyd. I had the pleasure of seeing Roger Waters perform a 3 hour show including a straight run through the Dark Side of the Moon. I had no idea how much production would be a part of the show, from setting the ambience with background noise, pov settings on the stage screen of a child sitting in a classroom, being on the moon etc, the electronic elements from their studio albums, a cast of background singers and musicians... Yet Roger Waters was undoubtedly rocking the house, the star of the show, and demonstrating his excellent musicianship.
Does over-production falsely lead people to believe some musicians are excellent when they really are not? Yes.
The situation is kind of like when Einstein split the atom- he meant it for good, and it is used for good, but it is also used as a great evil.
It's just how the story goes with innovations, I guess.
There are definitely good things about smooth production, such as how audible the instruments can be with such control. But it can certainly be used to mask mistakes and, like you say, it can lead people to falsley belie some musicians are excellent
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