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ebulb 29th May 2011 03:53 PM

fakery in todays music
 
I was just watching Lady Gaga on some TV show and it started to make me ponder just how much fakery exists in music and its presentation nowdays.. This hasnt just struck me, It has obviously been in music for a long time but the degree to which it exists at every step of the way is really quite sad..

Im looking at her "perform" and im thinking this is 99% played and recorded by other people, arranged and produced by others, her vocals are autotuned and the music is cut and paste and quantized and sampled at every inch of the way.. Then when she is on TV its all mimed, then there is the fake hair extensions and eye lashes body tans and all the rest.. Then of course the band is just a bunch of session players with no input or actual identity in the sound, you could put a few stiffs on a piece of elastic up there and achieve the same effect.. Then at the end of it all the host talks about how she is so successful like its a reflection upon her personal talent and everyone appluades. Id say all of about 2% of her is honestly represented in what they just saw..

It made me wonder what the next lady gaga album would sound like if all she had was a person putting half a dozen mics up in a room and told her to go from there with no other help.. Would anyone give a stuff ? Something tells me no they wouldnt but thats the real reflection of the person, not how many layers of fakery you can add.. This isnt meant to sound like a personal dig at her because there's loads of examples that all do it exactly the same..

You watch bands in the 60s/70s perform on TV and it was the band and guitars and thats it, one mic over their heads and they sounded brilliant.. Its such a sad state of affairs nowdays.. People (in the pop world) either cant really sing and play or are nearly all too gutless to try for fear of not pulling it off.. The general public has also become too accepting that just jumping around in a costume qualifies as performance. Well i guess they can be thankful they arent relying on people like me to make their money.

takman 29th May 2011 04:04 PM


MikeRL 29th May 2011 04:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ebulb (Post 6693149)

You watch bands in the 60s/70s perform on TV and it was the band and guitars and thats it, one mic over their heads and they sounded brilliant...


not that i disagree with you on some points, mainly the one about not liking lady gaga. (altho if you take 2 minutes and search on youtube, you'll find plenty of footage of her playing in damned piano bars and KILLING it.. just cause you don't like her, doesn't mean she's not talented)

BUT at risk of being the bearer of bad news.. there were A LOT of groups playing to tracks in the 60' and 70's

evangelista 29th May 2011 04:11 PM

I'm sure the first person who clapped his hands in rhythm got flack for not using his voice.

And then the guy who beat a tree with a stick got **** for not using his body.

Etc.

spice house 29th May 2011 04:18 PM

the worst is when the musicians that are actually miced up aren't on stage...

bad choice with lady gaga, shes actually very talented but just chooses to make ****ty sounding synth pop music

Pyro Z 29th May 2011 04:24 PM

I'm with you ebulb! It's like people have been programmed to accept it. I don't even have so much of an issue with any of those things individually...it's that every song on the radio uses every damned trick in the book all together. That's when they stop being tools and start being a charade.

As a producer & engineer it's sort of my job to make things "fake"...but i always make sure with every project that the artist can do a good performance of it on their own. Whether that means some kind of "unplugged" thing or what have you. As long as their talent is a part of it.

psycho_monkey 29th May 2011 04:32 PM

I'd guarantee that mr ebulb wasn't around in the 60s or 70s. Rose tinted vision - there was plenty of cack from back then, it's just not lasted.

Same way there's plenty of good stuff around now that will last, whereas the cack will be here and gone. You think people will listen to Cheryl Cole in 5 years? nope...though we still hear the best pop from 5-10 years ago regularly played on radio, adverts etc.

Old as the hills moan, old as the hills misconception.

gogar 29th May 2011 05:59 PM

You're watching 'performance' and 'entertainment', and trying to interpret it as only music. Don't do that.

Music is one part of the stuff that's going on there, and it takes a high level of skill and knowledge to make all that stuff happen. Music is only a component of that overall package.

I don't really enjoy the "overall package", but I do appreciate the skill involved, whatever it may be.

henge 29th May 2011 06:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ebulb (Post 6693149)
You watch bands in the 60s/70s perform on TV and it was the band and guitars and thats it, one mic over their heads and they sounded brilliant.. .



Actually by todays standards most of them sounded like crap!
Compare the sound from the Ed Sullivan show or even Johnny Carson to Saturday Night Live.The sonics are way different. The PERFORMANCES were better but the sound was mostly crap. Might just be me though...

ears2thesky 29th May 2011 06:29 PM

Fakery shmakery.
It's all fake in one way or another.
When you overdub: that's fake.
When you change the dynamics or EQ: that's fake.
When you add some reverb or delay: that's fake.
When you close mic everything: that's fake.
When you replace real sounds with samples: that's fake.
Disco was fake.
Techno is fake.
Hip hop is fake.
Frank Zappa edited live performances with studio overdubs all the time: fakery.
When hasn't top 40 pop NOT been fake? Remember Milli Vanilli?
I couldn't care less how an album is produced as long as it sounds good.

If you can't reproduce the album live: that's sad. I think fake musicianship is my biggest pet peeve. I got the first Mr. Bungle album right when it came out and was impressed by the music and production. I saw them live a couple of months later, and to my amazement they nailed every note and even took things beyond the recording. Blew my mind. Nothing fake about that musicianship.

TimOBrienFlorida 29th May 2011 06:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ebulb (Post 6693149)
You watch bands in the 60s/70s perform on TV and it was the band and guitars and thats it, one mic over their heads and they sounded brilliant.. Its such a sad state of affairs nowdays..


Sorry, but it's been going on forever.

The Monkees and Fabian and tons of others 'faked it' while others played.

Heck the whole storyline of the 1952 Gene Kelly movie "Singing in the Rain" is about a high-end starlet having someone overdub her voice on screen and live concerts 'cause she couldn't sing.

Leena Horne sang offstage for Ava Gardner in the '40s because they didnt want a black woman to have the lead in a big Hollywood movie at the time.

Nothin' new.....

theblue1 29th May 2011 06:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ebulb (Post 6693149)
I was just watching Lady Gaga on some TV show and it started to make me ponder just how much fakery exists in music and its presentation nowdays.. This hasnt just struck me, It has obviously been in music for a long time but the degree to which it exists at every step of the way is really quite sad..

Im looking at her "perform" and im thinking this is 99% played and recorded by other people, arranged and produced by others, her vocals are autotuned and the music is cut and paste and quantized and sampled at every inch of the way.. Then when she is on TV its all mimed, then there is the fake hair extensions and eye lashes body tans and all the rest.. Then of course the band is just a bunch of session players with no input or actual identity in the sound, you could put a few stiffs on a piece of elastic up there and achieve the same effect.. Then at the end of it all the host talks about how she is so successful like its a reflection upon her personal talent and everyone appluades. Id say all of about 2% of her is honestly represented in what they just saw..

It made me wonder what the next lady gaga album would sound like if all she had was a person putting half a dozen mics up in a room and told her to go from there with no other help.. Would anyone give a stuff ? Something tells me no they wouldnt but thats the real reflection of the person, not how many layers of fakery you can add.. This isnt meant to sound like a personal dig at her because there's loads of examples that all do it exactly the same..

You watch bands in the 60s/70s perform on TV and it was the band and guitars and thats it, one mic over their heads and they sounded brilliant.. Its such a sad state of affairs nowdays.. People (in the pop world) either cant really sing and play or are nearly all too gutless to try for fear of not pulling it off.. The general public has also become too accepting that just jumping around in a costume qualifies as performance. Well i guess they can be thankful they arent relying on people like me to make their money.

[bold added]

Now, there were a handful of shows in the 60s that featured actual live performances by bands -- and those, for obvious reasons, have been revered and passed down.

But most of the time you saw bands and stand up teen pop singers perform in the 50s and 60s on TV, it was lip synched. That was the standard approach. Only in the late 60s were some big rock bands able to demand going on live -- and then it was a crap shoot because the studio staff often didn't know how to deal with their set ups in terms of capture. In the 70s that started changing (although many variety show appearances were still synched), although it was mostly the shows where bands were shot live in performance venues that had actually playing. And even some of those peformances were faked -- and often augmented after the fact.

Fakery and pop music has been going on since I was a kid in the 50s. And since various forms of lip-synching was a not-infrequent theme in 30s and 40s movies (ghost-singing was a well-known phenom in the movies, then as now), it's safe to say that not only was there plenty of it then, but that the audience was aware enough of it that it could be joked about knowingly.


PS... one of my favorite lip-sync jobs is this American Banstand 'performance' from the Seeds. Lead singer Sky Saxon seems clearly to be bored (or something heh ) beyond belief and just stops bothering to lip sync part way through. It's hilarious.


Just as lip synched, but droll in somewhat different ways, this appearance by the Seeds in an apartment living room in forgotten 60s sit-com, The Mother-in-Laws, seems recently uncovered:

sameal 29th May 2011 06:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by takman (Post 6693174)


WOW. WHAT THE HELL? how'd it get so....... ah **** it i don't want to know.

sameal 29th May 2011 06:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by theblue1 (Post 6693544)
[bold added]

PS... one of my favorite lip-sync jobs is this American Banstand 'performance' from the Seeds. Lead singer Sky Saxon seems clearly to be bored (or something heh ) beyond belief and just stops bothering to lip sync part way through. It's hilarious.






**** yeah the seeds baby!

Jim Williams 29th May 2011 06:59 PM

It's pop music. What do you expect? As soon as I see dancers on stage, I know I'm in trouble. What's THAT all about? Musicians used to be entertaining without them.

You want real?

Try traditional jazz or classical music, it's still hot after 200+ years!

theblue1 29th May 2011 07:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim Williams (Post 6693617)
[...]

You want real?

Try traditional jazz or classical music, it's still hot after 200+ years!

Damn straight!

Hell... baroque's been hot for 400 years. kfhkh

Here jazz and baroque twist together through time and space...



This one stays with the languid pace of the original but is breathtaking in other ways, I think...


Ghosty Dog 29th May 2011 07:36 PM

http://i385.photobucket.com/albums/o...FakeisReal.jpg

theblue1 29th May 2011 08:31 PM






<-- As a bit of a cartoon character, myself, I can relate...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ghosty Dog (Post 6693727)


zapsmith9 29th May 2011 08:36 PM

obviously there is more of a technological opportunity to fake it nowadays. someone could be totally tone deaf but wave the magic autotune wand and they're suddenly singing in tune ! i also think there are far worse examples than gaga (like kesha & britney) though. ......... but it's quite funny to see the pop music apologists rush in to deny any and all criticisms directed at todays current poptarts. yep, they gotta defend the lamers, posers and no-talent twits. lacking songwriting skill, vocal skill or instrumental skill is now seen as a POSITIVE on the pop music resume (as long as one is marketable, full of attitude, attractive and follows the gatekeeper's orders). and no, it hasn't always been that way. it (fakery) used to be the exception, and now it's the RULE. the top artists of pop music in the past (brian wilson, the beatles, MJ, prince, bowie, hendrix, queen, pink floyd, supertramp, etc.) used to dominate via their 3-pillar SKILLS. now, top pop artists dominate via the ABSENCE of said skills.

theblue1 29th May 2011 08:51 PM

I don't have much use for Britney or Ke$ha but at least they're not trying to fool anyone (at least I hope not! heh )

What bugs holy heck out of me are artists who manifestly can't sing in tune and use vocal retuning to try to whack their voices onto the grid -- but whose production staffs are so slipshod and clumsy that they leave tuning wrenchmarks all over their supposedly straight singing. One of these minimally talented singers even won the Grammy for best country vocalist a year or so ago. :facepalm:

gogar 29th May 2011 08:52 PM

Oh, theblue1, you're just mad because you're a bad dancer! heh

PdotDdot 29th May 2011 08:56 PM

MTV!!!

While it is true there has always been some fakery going on, MTV and the Suits have turned the music industry into a formula that makes sense on paper and one that they can control. This homogenized blather is fed to the public. Sadly, the public spends their money on this crap and thereby encourages the cycle.

The younger generation these days have nothing to compare to so they know not to complain - not that they would anyway.

I think Lady GaGa is indeed talented. She is a classically trained pianist and she does have a decent voice. The outrageous outfits and behavior bore me but hey, she's just trying to out trump Madonna who has no talent. I guess this is what we've come to.

In my time, there were a few shlock acts like Bobby Sherman, Sonny & Cher, and the Monkeys. Most of the music I grew up on was the real deal though. The Beatles, Clapton, Tull, The Stones before Ronnie, The Allmans with Duane, Dylan, Joni Mitchell - and a host more.

Now, most of the music is shlock and formulaic. Britney, Bieber, American Idol, Taylor Swift and adnauseum....

And it's not just the music industry. Movies are crap - just vehicles for special effects. TV is just poor rewrites of once good stuff or reality - which is essentially a way of watching dysfunctional idiots behaving badly.

Obviously there is a market for this stuff as it sells but I go back to the fact that kids these days have nothing of substance to compare to so it does make sense that they accept the horse pucky they get dished out.

I was lucky. I grew up during the greatest musical creative era that we have seen. I got to listen to things recorded on analog devices and I got to see and hear concerts at the Fillmore East - not in huge basketball and hockey venues.

I seldom go to concerts anymore. I do not attend movies for the most part. I ignore all sporting events. I do not watch reality shows on the telly. These are choices I make for my own sanity and also because I do not want to support the current state that is Show Biz which includes in no particular order: TV, Movies, Recorded Music, Performed Music, Sports, Politics, Therapy, and the list goes on.

While I wish there were products being created for people of my ilk, they are not - well except depends and preparation H. As a result, I have had to find other outlets to stay amused, enlightened and to find enjoyment.

Rant or whatever this is - over.

theblue1 29th May 2011 09:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gogar (Post 6693929)
Oh, theblue1, you're just mad because you're a bad dancer! heh

I'm baaaaaad. Baby.

In so many ways.

I think I developed my dancing style as a defense against GF's who were always trying to drag me out on the floor... after I really got my style down, I noticed a lot less pressure to hit the floor.

Ghosty Dog 29th May 2011 09:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by theblue1 (Post 6693695)
Damn straight!

Hell... baroque's been hot for 400 years. kfhkh

This one stays with the languid pace of the original but is breathtaking in other ways, I think...


Well executed, but spoiled for the (two) lead girls mic techniques. Their sound is too loud, and out of balance with the others. Someone should tell them all to practice with the mic's at least a foot away, and angled to their chin, like the woman on (our) the left is doing.
I don't like seeing mics stuffed in singers mouths at the best of times. Even three stand mics would be better - singers side/front/side singing into each (so you can see their mouths) and it gives the performance a better look.
Two and a Half Men style.

carlheinz 29th May 2011 09:17 PM

Music alone does not sell tickets and t-shirts unless you are established as a no frills artist..People need a show or something to see.A new artist is expected to cater to the demands of the visual generation if they are global and huge.Show/biz!!!...One is expected to be an entertainer.

TRJanuary 29th May 2011 09:22 PM

Important Milestones in Faking
 
Yes, in the early days of TV/Film, there was lots of miming/lip synching as we struggled with ways to make pop music "visual"

BUT even the Monkees, Jan& Dean, and American Bandstand had some redeeming qualities.

Here are 2 important benchmarks from my lifetime, from which we have not recovered:

1. MADONNA was NOT the first to fake her concert vocals, BUT SHE WAS THE FIRST to make it acceptable, by openly admitting it, and it was because of her that it became not only commonplace, but accepted industry practice. At the time she said something like, "I am doing so many fancy dance moves that I can't possibly sing all those parts, so my vocals are pre-recorded, BUT my fans don't care, they just want to see my spectacle" Unfortunately, she was right, and the Britney fans of today are no different.

2. WHITNEY was the first to fake OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM. Not only did people accept it, but that pre-recorded version became A HIT SINGLE.

theblue1 29th May 2011 09:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ghosty Dog (Post 6694027)
Well executed, but spoiled for the (two) lead girls mic techniques. Their sound is too loud, and out of balance with the others. Someone should tell them all to practice with the mic's at least a foot away, and angled to their chin, like the woman on (our) the left is doing.
I don't like seeing mics stuffed in singers mouths at the best of times. Even three stand mics would be better - singers side/front/side singing into each (so you can see their mouths) and it gives the performance a better look.
Two and a Half Men style.

You're right.

They should have lip-synched it. heh


PS... I have no idea what Two and a Half Men style is. That's the show with (formerly with?) the really obnoxious member of the Sheen/Estevez show biz clan, though, right? Ask me about Glee, though, I used to watch that. (And may very well, again. I think I just got overdosed on amateur dancing and clumsy vocal correction -- on those rare occasions when the Auto-Tune wasn't just set to kill all listeners. But I still love backstage musicals. Heaven help me. heh )

ears2thesky 29th May 2011 09:38 PM

I get it.
This is a fake thread.
That's OK because I would never play a jazz gig without my fake book.

theblue1 29th May 2011 09:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ears2thesky (Post 6694090)
I get it.
This is a fake thread.
That's OK because I would never play a jazz gig without my fake book.

This is 2011. You need a virtual fake book.

Enlightened Hand 29th May 2011 10:19 PM

Since when has selling popular music been about authentic performances? Last time I checked it was about selling hit songs.

It's nice and all for performers to be the real thing. I respect and appreciate it. But I don't think for a moment that it's necessary to be the real thing in order to be a star. That's about hits. Hits and authentic performing ability are two very different topics altogether. There is no requirement that a person be both the real thing and a hit maker in order to be rewarded as a star or sell records.

I doubt that most people get into the music business because they want to be respected as true artists. Usually it's money and fame that attracts them, regardless as to whatever they might like for others to believe. That being the case, what should a rational person expect knowing that the game is about selling hits and the players are about making money and getting famous?