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OK Boomers what MODERN POP song(s) do you LOVE?
Old 21st September 2020
  #1
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OK Boomers what MODERN POP song(s) do you LOVE?

And what signal chains, would you use to fit within Modern Pop, if you were Producing/Engineering it?

Talking roughly, records from 2010 on...

Particularly curious about Boomers' perception on this (born '45 to '64), but Youngin's are welcome too.
Thanks, Chris
Old 21st September 2020
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
And what signal chains, would you use to fit within Modern Pop, if you were Producing/Engineering it?
The same we used back in the 70's,80's, 90's and 2000's.

The use/choice of mics, micing techniques, even the gear hasn't changed that much from what i can tell. Its basically whatever sounds the best on said singer or rapper that day and what sounds best in the track.

And lastly if you even have any time to try different mics/chains without the talent getting bored, uninspired or impatient. Sometimes working fast to capture the moment dictates the choice and sometimes you work with people who actually want to try different things to see if there is "something better" then the usual same ole same ole.
Old 21st September 2020
  #3
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
I think the song is brilliant and the performance is really good. I also think the record's too long and it could have gone somewhere, arrangement-wise. Still really good, though.

Old 21st September 2020
  #4
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Yes Brent. I've heard this song and it's solid. Also agree they could have cut it down, to around 3 minutes.

Thrill, IMHO excellent points on the last paragraph. I do feel differently, for example my limited understand leads me to believe...

Massive differences in Production approach on many fronts.
Since the (gasp!) 70's. I mean Holy Partridge Family Batman!

From David Cassidy to Cardi B.
What a long strange trip it's been.

Including (but now limited to ), the "in your face"/bright toned lead vocals/quantization/Pitch Correction (Autotune being "part" of the Sound today).
Less actual guitars/locking to the Grid.

Even the old switch-ola from Analog to Digital.
Etc. etc. etc.

I could go on.
And that's why we have Rick Beato.

But I came here to praise the best Modern Pop songs, not to bury them.

Hail fellow GS members, what then sayeth of names! (of some other songs)
Chris

P.S. I guess "Blinding Lights" (The Weeknd) is a good 80's-ish
Gateway Drug into Modern Pop, for a lot of us. Those reassuring Synths!
Old 21st September 2020
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
Yes Brent. I've heard this song and it's solid. Also agree they could have cut it down, to around 3 minutes.

Thrill, IMHO excellent points on the last paragraph. I do feel differently, for example my limited understand leads me to believe...

Massive differences in Production approach on many fronts.
Since the (gasp!) 70's. I mean Holy Partridge Family Batman!

From David Cassidy to Cardi B.
What a long strange trip it's been.

Including (but now limited to ), the "in your face"/bright toned lead vocals/quantization/Pitch Correction (Autotune being "part" of the Sound today).
Less actual guitars/locking to the Grid.

Even the old switch-ola from Analog to Digital.
Etc. etc. etc.

I could go on.
And that's why we have Rick Beato.

But I came here to praise the best Modern Pop songs, not to bury them.

Hail fellow GS members, what then sayeth of names! (of some other songs)
Chris

P.S. I guess "Blinding Lights" (The Weeknd) is a good 80's-ish
Gateway Drug into Modern Pop, for a lot of us. Those reassuring Synths!
Actually this isn't totally true.

I started working in "pop" in the mid 80's and even by then the sound producers/artist were after was clarity in all the popular genres especially in their vocals. A lot of the producers/artist hated the change or "surprise" you would get off tape and on certain consoles . They hated spending hours and hours in the studio and then going home to listen of a cassette tape and how less clear and punchy the recording was. They wanted the attacks to get through, the clarity and high end of what they were hearing in the studio. This is one of the reasons the popular genres were more willing and accepting of the new technology first.

To me this goes back to the influence of 2 production teams in the 70's, namely the work George Massenburg was doing with Earth, Wind and Fire and the work Quincy Jones and Bruce Swedien were doing for Michael Jackson. Those 2 camps influenced a lot the sound of popular music afterwards because of the clarity, wide bandwith and attacks they were able to get off the current analog format.
And the fact they sold so many records didn't hurt.

And this went on and on through out the decades. I remember when the Sony C800G was first introduced and people had no idea how to get the best sound out of it since they had became so accustomed to using and the sound of Neumann and AKG mics over and over. That at first the mic got pushed to the side and it was again the engineers and popular genres that adopted the "clarity" thing as their sound(namely R&B) that adopted the mic as the clear choice for getting vocals to sound on tape just like the singer heard them in their heads.
Old 21st September 2020
  #6
Deleted 2848499
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I’m not a boomer, but I’d say I’ve been influenced with boomer tendencies, due to taste and mentors so I’ll give it a shot. Hope you guys don't mind that I may have been born in the wrong era.

Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour (Highlight Song: Butterflies)
The last (popular) concept style album with semi-classic production methods that I really enjoyed.

Jason Mraz - Yes! (Highlight song: Everywhere)
Another incredible album recorded mostly live with an excellent all female band. This one is a real sleeper album with some unique arrangements.

Daft Punk - Random Access Memories (Highlight Song: Get Lucky)
One of best sounding pop albums in the past decade.

SZA - Ctrl (Highlight song: Prom)
Love the way this sounds.

Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia (Highlight Song: Don't Start Now)
Favorite sound this year.


Signal Chains for Pop->

Mics: u87/67/CM7/Manley Ref
Pres: RND Shelford/TreeBranch/API512/1073orMA5
Comps: CL1B/14B/176/1176

CM7 Suprema -> The Shelford -> CL1B would be my desert island chain for modern style music.

Last edited by Deleted 2848499; 21st September 2020 at 06:56 PM..
Old 21st September 2020
  #7
More or less serious genre question: Can a track be considered 'modern pop' (in the contemporary sense), if it does not have noticeably tuned vocals?

Because, that is the tear point for me. I was much involved in electronica, dub, and hip hop influenced music up until the first few years of the new century -- basically when tuning started dominating so many folks' efforts.

Since then... well... I try to keep my ears open for stuff that sounds interesting/novel but is accompanied by vocals that sound like they were sung by humans. That seems, largely, to put me in the class of 'retro-R&B fan.' So... not so modern, I guess. (For instance, I don't have to plug my ears to listen to this Lianne La Havas track... "They Could Be Wrong.")

Last edited by theblue1; 21st September 2020 at 07:04 PM..
Old 21st September 2020
  #8
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As you may know, sometimes there's been deliberate "detuning", to humanize a song...
Chris
Old 21st September 2020
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
As you may know, sometimes there's been deliberate "detuning", to humanize a song...
Chris



As a few may remember, I'm someone at least mildly obsessed with what I perceive as the benefits of singers who veer toward (so-called) Just intonation (when the musical context is not too dominated by equal temperament instruments in the vocal range, anyhow). I seem to recall hearing there are even some tuning grid options for 'auto' Just intonation. (All that said, I can barely hit ANY note, so... it is a bit academic. )
Old 21st September 2020
  #10
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
As you may know, sometimes there's been deliberate "detuning", to humanize a song...
Chris
Personally, I've never encountered anyone who sang so precisely that it needed to be undone. But I will do "global detunes" to make doubles, triples and stacks distinctly audible. If you don't, you lose the texture and it ends up sounding like one person with flammy consonants.
Old 21st September 2020
  #11
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boombapdame's Avatar
 

I'm @ chessparov2.0 a youngin' and I dig

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByEBWmjBPTg

anybody know some modern pop that ain't drenched in Auto-Tune or indie girl/indie guy voice w/whispered vowels, consonants, etc.?
Old 21st September 2020
  #12
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monkeyxx's Avatar
I'm not a boomer but I'm not a zoomer, here's one that recently got me going:

Old 21st September 2020
  #13
Deleted 2848499
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
I'm not a boomer but I'm not a zoomer, here's one that recently got me going:

These girls are killing the TickyTocky game with the video choreography.

There's always Lauv if youre into the whole indy pop vibe. Kind of a modern Paul Simon demographic.

Old 21st September 2020
  #14
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
i have come across a few good pop tracks lately, and yes, i still listen to modern pop.

Finally/Beautiful Stranger, from Halsey sounds good to me.

its not a POP track but as she has a Billion plus general views, it can be considered as such.
also some of her genuine pop stuff is pretty good. ( Without Me )

Cold Blooded, by a Kiwi girl named Paige. nice groove.

Promises, from Sam Smith. good programming and arrangements. great vocal sound.

Dua Lipa, is a reference point for Pop. One Kiss. stuff like that.

Feel it Still, by Portugal the Man, is something i instantly liked for Pop sensibilities.

regarding vocal chains, i see bright Microphones seem to rule, and i would choose an old 414 for most of it, but the Paige track sounds more like a Neumann.

i still like a 9098 for vocals. use it a lot.

Buddha
Old 21st September 2020
  #15
Deleted 2848499
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG BUDDHA View Post
i have come across a few good pop tracks lately, and yes, i still listen to modern pop.

Finally/Beautiful Stranger, from Halsey sounds good to me.

its not a POP track but as she has a Billion plus general views, it can be considered as such.
also some of her genuine pop stuff is pretty good. ( Without Me )

Cold Blooded, by a Kiwi girl named Paige. nice groove.

Promises, from Sam Smith. good programming and arrangements. great vocal sound.

Dua Lipa, is a reference point for Pop. One Kiss. stuff like that.

Feel it Still, by Portugal the Man, is something i instantly liked for Pop sensibilities.

regarding vocal chains, i see bright Microphones seem to rule, and i would choose an old 414 for most of it, but the Paige track sounds more like a Neumann.

i still like a 9098 for vocals. use it a lot.

Buddha
Bruno Mars used a 414 BULS (I think) on the Unorthodox Jukebox album. Another recent album that to me, sounds amazing. Same with Uptown Funk.


Last edited by Deleted 2848499; 22nd September 2020 at 03:08 AM.. Reason: added the reciept (video)
Old 21st September 2020
  #16
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Funny Cat's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
I'm not a boomer but I'm not a zoomer, here's one that recently got me going:


Dang them girlz can dance! I only spotted 2 or 3 cuts in that entire video! All I could think about is how many hours a day for how many weeks they practiced to shoot that video. And the production was top notch too. AND...I didn’t feel like a dirty old geezer watching it either. Bonus! 😆
Old 22nd September 2020
  #17
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monkeyxx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Funny Cat View Post
Dang them girlz can dance! I only spotted 2 or 3 cuts in that entire video! All I could think about is how many hours a day for how many weeks they practiced to shoot that video. And the production was top notch too. AND...I didn’t feel like a dirty old geezer watching it either. Bonus! 😆
I know exactly what you mean, LOL!

And the song, somehow, moves me emotionally, even though it's made up of smaller components of sounds that don't often do it for me.

Here's another one:

Groovy bass programming

Old 22nd September 2020
  #18
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Funny Cat's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
I know exactly what you mean, LOL!

And the song, somehow, moves me emotionally, even though it's made up of smaller components of sounds that don't often do it for me.

Here's another one:

Groovy bass programming


For sure. Don’t Start is one of the very very few modern Pop tunes I can listen to from start to finish. It’s a master class in production (Hell yeah that bass part is groovy) and the mix is one of the best I’ve heard in ages. Serban really outdid himself! Just listen to all the little ping pong delays in the bridges and choruses tucked in nice and tight. Amazing production.
Old 22nd September 2020
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Funny Cat View Post
For sure. Don’t Start is one of the very very few modern Pop tunes I can listen to from start to finish. It’s a master class in production (Hell yeah that bass part is groovy) and the mix is one of the best I’ve heard in ages. Serban outdid himself on that mix. Just listen to all the little ping pong delays in the bridges and choruses tucked in nice and tight. Amazing production.
This wasn't mixed by Serban I think and i am pretty sure the vocal effects were there already in the rough. Actually the rough isn't that far from the finish mix.
Old 22nd September 2020
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
This wasn't mixed by Serban I think and i am pretty sure the vocal effects were there already in the rough. Actually the rough isn't that far from the finish mix.

Wow! Really!?!? Who mixed it? Kudos to the production team. I thought I remembered reading he mixed it somewhere? If it’s not him I’ll take a stab and guess it’s Either Josh Gudwin or Jaycen Joshua? Either way it’s one of the best pop mixes I’ve heard in ages!
Old 22nd September 2020
  #21
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razorboy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
They hated spending hours and hours in the studio and then going home to listen of a cassette tape and how less clear and punchy the recording was. They wanted the attacks to get through, the clarity and high end of what they were hearing in the studio. This is one of the reasons the popular genres were more willing and accepting of the new technology first.
I think it much more likely that "the popular genres were more willing and accepting of the new technology first" because as people became much less willing to pay for music when it could be safely stolen online, the cost structure of analogue recording collapsed. With digital recording, one could set up a working studio for a few thousand dollars [or less] in the basement of a house. Analogue gear might have had the same cost as the house.
Old 22nd September 2020
  #22
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Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Personally, I've never encountered anyone who sang so precisely that it needed to be undone. But I will do "global detunes" to make doubles, triples and stacks distinctly audible. If you don't, you lose the texture and it ends up sounding like one person with flammy consonants.
That is something l could use that I never would have thought of.
“Gearslutz, where audio thieves find new stuff.”
Old 22nd September 2020
  #23












I always lean more on the R&B/ soul/ british or anything that merges live and electronic ideas.
Old 22nd September 2020
  #24
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sleepingtiger's Avatar
 

I'm barely a Boomer, but a Boomer nonetheless and I love this track.



To me it sounds like it was created 10 years from now. Tons of imagination, nuance and freedom.

I love recording bands with nice gear and have a huge appreciation for what it takes to get great live performances in a studio but I also love that someone brilliant with a decent mic/ pre and a laptop can make something like this in a little room somewhere.
Old 22nd September 2020
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by razorboy View Post
I think it much more likely that "the popular genres were more willing and accepting of the new technology first" because as people became much less willing to pay for music when it could be safely stolen online, the cost structure of analogue recording collapsed. With digital recording, one could set up a working studio for a few thousand dollars [or less] in the basement of a house. Analogue gear might have had the same cost as the house.
Nope.
Remember i said the 80's and labels were giving huge and i mean huge budgets to make records...heck even demos.

I got started in the era and in the city(New York) where midi, synthesizers and drum machines were the norm for producing what became popular genres. They were all influenced by what was in the clubs and in the streets. And those became the tools because the young artists and producers of that era wanted their own signature, their own sound that represented them and not what the older generation was about. Actually this has happened over and over in the new waves of pop music over the years. And back then the home studios were nothing like what you have now. Midi keyboards and drum machines were incredibly expensive and forget about even thinking of owning a real sampler. It was a different era and a lot of sounds and ideas were created in the studio back then and that kept the studio owners happy.

Fast forward to now and its an absolute completely different environment and the music that is popular reflects it.
Old 22nd September 2020
  #26
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razorboy's Avatar
 

I'm with Frank Zappa and Friedrich Nietzsche on this.
Old 22nd September 2020
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Funny Cat View Post
Wow! Really!?!? Who mixed it? Kudos to the production team. I thought I remembered reading he mixed it somewhere? If it’s not him I’ll take a stab and guess it’s Either Josh Gudwin or Jaycen Joshua? Either way it’s one of the best pop mixes I’ve heard in ages!
It was Josh Godwin and i guess I am in the minority in the quality of the mixes on this record. It sounds small to me and static. I think the reason people like "Don't start now" has more to do with the production and song and less to do with the mix.
But lets face it its almost impossible to separate the two. You can do a great mix on a song, but if people aren't feeling the production/song they will never get past that.

Lastly I think Ian Kirkpatrick played the rough mix somewhere on an interview and its pretty close to the final.But that goes for a lot of pop songs these days as the mixers are pretty much working with stems( the producers don't want too many changes from their creations). The final sound of records aren't shaped in the mix anymore as in the past. First it started with the mixers handcuffing the mastering engineers and now its the the producers turn to handcuff the mixers.

That's why the "mixing gods" of yesteyear are almost non relevant now as more of a "sonic manager" is needed. You know a quality control/hand holder type.
Old 22nd September 2020
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by razorboy View Post
I think it much more likely that "the popular genres were more willing and accepting of the new technology first" because as people became much less willing to pay for music when it could be safely stolen online, the cost structure of analogue recording collapsed. With digital recording, one could set up a working studio for a few thousand dollars [or less] in the basement of a house. Analogue gear might have had the same cost as the house.
I would say the the collapse of the recording budget and Napster are related, but the rise of full digital production (recording to mastering) completely at home came after and is maybe akin but not related...

First #1 ITB mix is considered to be Livin La Vida Loca. 1999 so it seems like its safe to say its related to Napster, but most top mixers weren't even considering mixing ITB in Pro Tools.

Prior to Charles Dye's check mate, Pro Tools and digital recording wasn't often considered a full tracking to mixing solution, or even viewed as capable of doing that on a top tier professional (Music Industry) level. It was just way easier for editing and overdubs or using as a digital tape machine while tracking & mixing on a console. At least in the big studios that's how it was treated. It was often used as a full solution in other professional broadcast scenarios, but in the music biz things were still very much analog. Although ADAT had been a mainstay also since Jagged Little Pill era. But full ITB mixing happened very much after napster came into the equation. Full tracking to mastering home recording was more driven by the rise of CPU power / good plugin coding than napster.

2000-2008 was the era of mixers still having the budget to mix the vocals on the 8078, then turn around and do the rest on the 9000J, maybe even hit some tape. The thick of my assisting was during this time. AIT backups and Stem prints back into pro tools in real-time. Oh the joy Not fun era for assisting, but it was a hay day for mixers compared to now.

Last edited by Deleted 2848499; 22nd September 2020 at 02:20 AM..
Old 22nd September 2020
  #29
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
That is something l could use that I never would have thought of.
“Gearslutz, where audio thieves find new stuff.”
Just leave the keys under the mat when you're done.
Old 22nd September 2020
  #30
Deleted 2848499
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Just leave the keys under the mat when you're done.
Very good trick indeed. I sometimes use an alternative, called Vocalign, or meldoyne (flextime/flex pitch in logic is pretty much equivalent) which takes a guide lead and snaps a stack to it. If you want to stack, but you're not looking for the de-tune effect, this is another way to do it without the double track phase.
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