The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
avoiding second verse boredom Dynamics Plugins
Old 4th February 2009
  #31
Lives for gear
 
FireMoon's Avatar
It strikes me that the OP was talking about songs as if the backing simply doesn't exist... and there lies a huge problem in the minds of the people who think they know....

Try this now..... The Cult.......... Sanctuary......

What did you just hear.... the flanged riff followed by that snare slam.... and i bet those acoustic chops that accentuate the end of each line.....plus as someone else said.... that pumping bass that drives the song....

Boys of Summer ..Don Henly......


Bet it was that opening guitar motif wasn't it?

Hurt ..Jonnhy Cash....


My empire of dirt... and that piano tolling like a death knell...


How many people can sing more than one line of Layla .. that isn't..... "I'm begging of you please don't"..... and then how many people can sing you the guitar riff to Layla?


And the point of this? Well sorry to sound harsh but in my eyes. Anyone who thinks a song is a verse and chorus and that is it... is part of the malaise that runs so deep in this business right now... Part of a malaise that sees huge budget albums with a backing you could have done using the presets on a Korg Trinity/Roland JV series and an Akai sampler...

That's not me being an old codger either..There were always records that were like that backing wise...But today, they are performed by *artists* who freaking demand respect for it as well... now that is extracting the urine on a huge level...
Old 4th February 2009
  #32
Lives for gear
 
andychamp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by FireMoon View Post
It strikes me that the OP was talking about songs as if the backing simply doesn't exist...
No, I wasn't.
It was (and to me still is) about "how to keep a song's evolution interresting throughout its whole length at the mix stage". And I got some pretty inspired and inspiring answers to that.
Old 4th February 2009
  #33
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
Rule #1 for musicians: It's more important to be interesting than good.
Corollary #1a: Don't bore the audience.

Cut the second verse short to get to the chorus. Possibly the first one, too, so it hasn't worn out it's welcome. Also, don't bore them on the first chorus. Instead of having four phrases in the refrain/chorus, try using three instead so there's some anticipation of it coming around again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by andychamp View Post
But my original question relates more to mixing someone else's stuff, when changing the given structure isn't an option.
Yeah, I know, but, well, maybe since we're talking about cutting, you might still have an opportunity to show the band how it can help.
Old 4th February 2009
  #34
Lives for gear
 
RKrizman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by andychamp View Post

And then there's the dreaded 2nd verse.
"Second verse, same as the first"

-R
Old 4th February 2009
  #35
Gear Addict
 
dnaflr2's Avatar
 

How's about no chorus at all, or just 1? How about transposing the 2nd chorus?
Old 4th February 2009
  #36
Gear Addict
 
dnaflr2's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crossbow View Post
never mind, didn't see that.
Didn't see it either!!!!

If mixing- definitely follow Jules advice--- creative muting is your friend!
Old 4th February 2009
  #37
Lives for gear
 
FireMoon's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by andychamp View Post
No, I wasn't.
It was (and to me still is) about "how to keep a song's evolution interresting throughout its whole length at the mix stage". And I got some pretty inspired and inspiring answers to that.
read back your original post and you will see what i am getting at... you speak as if there is a formula for wrting songs that if you learn said formula it will somehow make a boring song interesting... If you were actually working on songs which were that good in the first place, surely, you really wouldn't be asking that particular question?. The reason i say that is that..in the pop idiom... a good song is a good song, even if its just someone banging away on a piano or guitar behind the melody...

Whats the intro to Blondie's "Hanging on the Telephone"?..it doesn't have one...

I say again.. Whiskey in the Jar... Starts off with the big haymaker.. the hook..that guitar motif... and then dumps it back into the song to drive it home throughout...

To an extent thats the point.. if a song is boring after the first chorus.... it's a boring song/ a terrible arrangement ...or the person performing it is simply not a natural performer of songs...

You know.. in a couple of years of listening to umpteen bands on my Space... there is one lass from Sweden called Sofia Deville who, consistently writes songs that i hear and just know that, with someone like Steve Albini producing, would have people drooling over how good she is... and her stuff consists, usually, of her singing , some vocal overdubs and maybe a couple of guitars...

The thing is, i go back to listen to her songs, despite the seriously lo fi recordings because they are freaking good songs and she knows how to sing them to perfection.... end of.... She is a criminally ignored talent in a sea of overproduced, every trick in the book, polished turds

And that's another point.... any good song will immediately suggest to any decent arranger, a series of sympathetic arrangements... again look to "Hurt"... it makes a brilliant country styled ballad as well as a damn good sleaze industrial record....

The one thing this business lacks is honesty and the guts to admit to oneself... actually that song just doesn't cut it...

You work in the any number of sub genre's that often isn;t that much of an issue, in that the form itself dictates, to some extent, the form of the material.... However, in pop that simply ain't so....

I say again, if you work in pop and a song is boring you by the moment you reach the second verse.. it just ain't a very good song....
Old 4th February 2009
  #38
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

I'm trying to shorten my songs and keep to the point and hold it together with
a strong bridge and more chorus.

Sometimes a sub-chorus, chorus works better than a new verse.

I hate rules!
Old 5th February 2009
  #39
Lives for gear
 
Kadden Heart's Avatar
 

depending on the mood of the song different things might be possible.

perhaps layering the kick with a sub-kick, kind of a programmed sound.
electronic pads or maybe an arpegiator somewhere.

maybe dropping out some of your doubles/layers to make a really sparse sound.
bring up some verbs and open that verse up by stripping it down.

cool vox effects?
melody that allows for a super long delay here and there.

introduce a new element to the song,...like a shaker, woodblock, tambo, etc,... can that element carry on through the next chorus? shakers and tambo usually can.

i usually do ten thousand layers with different sounds then during mixing i can pick and choose certain "pointless" kind of layers that help add or subtract from the song as necessary.

you can only do so much depending on what the artist gives you though.
Old 5th February 2009
  #40
Lives for gear
 
Saudade's Avatar
 

Well if you're asking (which I think you are) about how to "un-boringfy" the 2nd verse via arrangement/production techniques, the answers are all there in the replies so far. But let me just give the (slightly redundant in this context) songwriting angle to this question, for those who have not yet finish writing the song.

We all know the verse (or followed by the pre-chorus) is supposed to be designed to build up to/ anticipate/lead into the chorus. But I noticed very few songwriters have an awareness when writing, that the chorus should lead back to the verse as well. It should end in the way that makes you yearn for the verse melody again. Occasionally you will end up with type of chorus melody that doesn't resolve back to the verse no matter what you do (but still sounds right for the song), that's where I insert a separate interlude/solo/scat-improvisation part of sorts ("C" section), with a different set of chords that bridges it back to the verse.

Think of melodic development as a rollercoaster, it can't go up all the time. Think of the verse as a sweet confectionary. The chorus/"B" section as a cup of bitter green tea. The listener takes a bite on the cake, then sips a mouthful of green tea. Then he/she yearns for the cake again. And so on. Tease and play with their palate heh Another analogy perhaps: missionary-doggy-missionary

That's why I sit up when I hear songs which have this "non-linear" quality. One good example is France Gall's "Quand on est Ensemble" :

YouTube - France Gall - Quand on est ensemble (1966) Stéréo HQ

Changes key going into the B section, moves stealthily through another 2 different keys there, then drops you to a harmonic cliffhanger, and when you hear the verse melody again you go "Ahhhhh..." you get the whole idea of the song. Seamless brilliance!

When the song is constructed ground-up to have this quality, there is no need to un-boringfy the 2nd verse.

Last edited by Saudade; 5th February 2009 at 06:25 AM.. Reason: grammar
Old 5th February 2009
  #41
js1
Lives for gear
 

Well, one of the problems is that verses are often much longer than they used to be, so the repetition that you used to get in two verses are handily contained in one. That, combined with weak melodies that wear out their welcome. As an interesting contrast to today, the second verse of the Beatles "Nowhere Man" starts 16 seconds into the song. Compare that to the typical minute that it takes to get to the first chorus today.

Common arrangement tricks included introducing other instrument(s) playing stabs, call/response, or some such thing. Stick in a background arpeggiated part. Drop a phrase. Add percussion. Add oooohs. In fact, any kind of pad. Keep the first verse bare, and introduce the full band on the second. Different chord inversions. Double certain words on the second verse vocal. Open up the high hats a bit. Sing the first verse down an octave, raise it in the second. Etc., etc.,

Look, you have the entire history of recorded music to learn from. I'm always picking apart arrangements to see why they work.

But... (and this is an important but...) if the melody is strong and the singer is good (I mean at conveying emotion and telling a story, not vocal gymnastics) the singer alone will vary things enough to keep things interesting.

js
Old 5th February 2009
  #42
If the 2nd verse isn't interesting, leave it out and go straight to the 3rd.
Old 5th February 2009
  #43
Gear Nut
 

+1 to Jules
do you have a shaker? ..
if your rhythm is decent, you can add all sorts of textures
(eg hitting the wall, clap, snap, gargle)

assuming everything prior to the 2nd verse is up to spit, the the 16th note idea will sit your @ss deeper into the listening chair
a lot of pop will use the rhythmic change + some strings (at some point b4 the 2nd chrous)
they kinda use strings like lube.. never enough.. right?
Old 5th February 2009
  #44
Lives for gear
 
nightchef's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by js1 View Post
As an interesting contrast to today, the second verse of the Beatles "Nowhere Man" starts 16 seconds into the song. Compare that to the typical minute that it takes to get to the first chorus today.
Right, but that's because "Nowhere Man" really doesn't have a chorus. (Or, depending on how you look at it, doesn't have a verse.)

I think people do sometimes get too locked into the idea that a song must have a Verse and a Chorus and a Bridge. Let the material dictate the structure, and sometimes that will not be a typical structure. And maybe that goes for mixing as well. Just because a bit of the song is a verse or a chorus or whatever doesn't mean it has to be mixed the way you would expect.
Old 5th February 2009
  #45
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundsundergroun View Post
A common technique is to take the 1st half of the second verse, lo fi the vox, lo fi the drums or make the drums roomy and kill off some of the arrangements and/or add other instruments
Way too common, I should say.
Old 5th February 2009
  #46
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

is the singer saying something worth hearing in the second verse? more importantly, is s/he saying it in a way that mandates i stay in the moment, not let go after the chorus does its thing?

it starts and ends with the vocal, with all the elements serving the same, and it helps when things are in contrast with the space it just came from. if the first chorus got really big, the second verse may want to get really small. if the first chorus built slightly, then the second verse might drop slightly, or continue building where the chorus left off.

whatever way you achieve it, think of it less as maintaining 'interest' and more as maintaining 'motion'; this is why god invented dynamics. what has to move, and how much it moves, takes root in the arrangement, finds purchase in the performances, and manifests in the mix.

addressing the last of those angles without securing the first two is a fool's errand. it can be done, but the results are a shill, the illusion of substance and paydirt without the actual goods. ironically, with the first two in place, the third tends to take care of itself.

if all else fails, your power to affect the arrangement lays in the mute and solo buttons.

anyone remember when popular music often went to instrumental sections after the first chorus, and took its sweet time settling in to the second verse? remember extended instrumental intros?

<sigh>


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 5th February 2009
  #47
Try to leave the instruments the same as the first verse, but completely change the vocal dynamic. Different melody and rhythm. I've found that this really makes the second verse kill. I usually like the second to be a little more busy than the first as well. Just make sure both have an existent but less obvious hook than the chorus.

If there's a pre-chorus, skip it the second time.

Try skipping the second chorus, extend the second verse/pre-chorus by a bar or two with some sort of vocal trail off. This dynamic works well for me with my first idea above.

Make the first or last line more empassioned, i.e. scream, higher register, spoken, etc.
Old 5th February 2009
  #48
Lives for gear
 
DeathMonkey's Avatar
 

When all else fails, GUITAR SOLO!!!!!!


But seriously, I'm with ubk on this - the song itself has to shoulder the burden, and IMHO the production has to follow the vocals.

Here's my little checklist:

1. What are the lyrics saying?
2. Is the vocal emotion following the lyrics?
3. Is the arrangement then supporting that vocal emotion?

So what do the vocals do? Are they singing softer? Then mixing-wise, follow that, drop down to a more intimate "scene". Are they getting more intense? Then as Jules said, add some percussion for a bit of propulsion. Move the bassline from quarters to eights. Is it getting more dramatic? Add some strings or pads to add some space, or add some 'verb. Is it getting quirky? Add some fun backup vocals.

All depends on what the song is trying to accomplish. I think of Eskimo artists, who would stare into their media - whale tooth, walrus tusk, whatever - and try to grok the shape that was already in there, and then they would carve to reveal it. I try to take the emotional truth of the song and do what I can to reveal it. Again, IMHO, if you follow that, you can't go that wrong.

As for specifics, there's some great ideas in this thread :D
Old 5th February 2009
  #49
Lives for gear
 
steelyfan's Avatar
 

my only secrets to share.

I try so stay away from repeating much, even at the cost of un-eveness.
But as for as a boring 2nd verse, I usually replace that with an instrumental bridge........ to nowhere, something to distract them from what they've
already just heard, so if you must repeat something, you can bridge out and into it again with a new attention span, and maybe a welcoming return to familiarity. Most of my music that has any type of "hook" , usually comes around ONCE, so when my 2 1/2 minute masterpiece is over, you have to listen to it again for your favorite part. take out 3 extra verses and 2 extra chrous = 5 extra listens.

If you want to make a living at this, do not follow this advice!!
Old 6th February 2009
  #50
Lives for gear
 
Kadden Heart's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aclarson View Post
Try to leave the instruments the same as the first verse, but completely change the vocal dynamic. Different melody and rhythm. I've found that this really makes the second verse kill. I usually like the second to be a little more busy than the first as well. Just make sure both have an existent but less obvious hook than the chorus.

If there's a pre-chorus, skip it the second time.

Try skipping the second chorus, extend the second verse/pre-chorus by a bar or two with some sort of vocal trail off. This dynamic works well for me with my first idea above.

Make the first or last line more empassioned, i.e. scream, higher register, spoken, etc.
a good one thumbsup

being in pop-rock and such i find putting either the drums or vox in double time for the second verse works well.
like he said.
Old 15th March 2009
  #51
Lives for gear
 
voicegenius's Avatar
 

There is no "right" way to write a song... Some songs repeat the same ****e over and over again and are great! John Mayer is perfect example of this... Sometimes he'll go from verse to bridge to chorus to bridge, back to a verse... Check this video out:

Behind The Scenes Of John Mayer’s Songwriting Process | popdirt.com heh
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
Reptil / Electronic Music Instruments and Electronic Music Production
10
AndrewsLaneRec. / Work In Progress / Advice Requested / Show and Tell / Artist Showcase / Mix-Offs
3
no ssl yet / Rap + Hip Hop Engineering and Production
46
juicylime / Electronic Music Instruments and Electronic Music Production
20
moeses / Rap + Hip Hop Engineering and Production
6

Forum Jump
Forum Jump