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Examples of Overproduced Songs/Albums
Old 8th February 2007
  #31
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blink-182 - self titled !
Old 8th February 2007
  #32
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Anything by Modest Mouse, by virtue of the fact that is was produced at all.
Old 8th February 2007
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectacle View Post
But again, what about "underproducing"? Allen mentioned the distinction between your Pearl Jams and your Queens (both talented bands with good songwriting -- esp the early stuff for Pearl Jam). But what about the "underproduced for the sake of underproduction" side of things? What about the difference between Pearl Jam and, say, Bright Eyes or Pavement?

A friend of mine in grad school used to drive me nuts with his snobbery about "overproduced bands". His expensive thrift-store-chic clothes and super-conscious conforming to nonconformity made him difficult to take too seriously, but he literally thought that any band that used compression or EQ at some point in the chain on the record, played in tune, and whose singer didn't sing in some sort of totally effected way was "overproduced". And most of the bands he liked were, surprise, just not very talented musicians.

I suppose we could start an entirely separate thread about the "indie-rock/emo" vocal, but what about the production issue? It seems to me a bit like modern art. Some of it is fantastic, and it can be hard to put your finger on why, especially when you compare it technique-wise to a Rubens or Velázquez or something. But sometimes, well, you've just got to call a turd a turd.

And there are even finer distinctions within this group of consciously "underproduced" bands to be made. For example, although the Pavement and Bright Eyes records sound "underproduced", when you see them live (and I have seen both) you realize that there is a significant difference, and that the "underproduction" of the record may only be a sound that they went for, since the producer was clearly doing a whole lot of work to make them sound better than they can actually play live. Couldn't we call this "overproduced" in a certain sense?

(See also Fall Out Boy -- I really like the record, for what it is, but I see them live or on tv and, well, let's just say that it is, um, a BIT of a disappointment).

But then you take a group like the Flaming Lips -- just as odd, experimental, low-fi, whatever you want to say, as Pavement or Bright Eyes, etc. -- and they're absolutely brilliant live.

So it seems like there are at least a couple of different axes that go into this: the talented vs. not so much axis, the lots of "production" vs. not so much axis, and (directly related to both of these) the lots of production as part of the sound (both on the record and live) vs. a major difference between record and live axis.

Any thoughts?
Bright Eyes isn't strong live? I'm not doubting you--I've never seen him--I'm just surprised. The records I've heard have such a "live" feel I figured they were straight takes, voice and guitar played straight down...

Fallout boy too, huh?

I'd love to hear more about the shows you saw...
Old 8th February 2007
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fetishfrog View Post
Anything by Modest Mouse, by virtue of the fact that is was produced at all.
Very nice.

Actually, I'm not sure Modest Mouse has ever actually BEEN produced, have they? Unpack instruments, skip over the tuning step, go straight to press play on the portable tape recorder. Presto!

(I mean no disrespect if one of you reading this happened to be the one who pressed "play" -- if so, I'm sure you did more, but you achieved your/the artists' goal by making it sound like you didn't. Nice job.) heh
Old 8th February 2007
  #35
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Ok... I'll Bite.


Soundgarden: Superunknown
Stone Temple Pilots: 4
VH: Balance
Korn: Follow The Leader (Gawd....Dictionary definition of Overproduction)
Limp Bizkit: Significant Other (I'm embarrassed to be aware of this one as well.)
Every Rascal Flatts song I've ever heard, Jo Dee Messina too. Wow.

Sometimes I think massive amounts of production in a record is cool....Opeth's Ghost Reveries, or most Massive Attack being a good example. On occasion, it's just what an otherwise dijointed concept needs.........

But for the most part, it makes me sad when the appreciable art in the record is how polished it sounds, not how good the songs are.

I'll happily listen to a record with good songs and lousy production before an album with amazing production and no inspiration.
Old 8th February 2007
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittyboy View Post
Bright Eyes isn't strong live? I'm not doubting you--I've never seen him--I'm just surprised. The records I've heard have such a "live" feel I figured they were straight takes, voice and guitar played straight down...
Well, it definitely is that straightforward. But he uses a beat-up, crappy-sounding guitar, overdoes his whiny-voice, and basically pushes his sound beyond the nice balance he strikes in the studio.

Quote:
Fallout boy too, huh?

I'd love to hear more about the shows you saw...
Yeah, unfortunately. For example, just check the next time they re-run the performance on Saturday Night Live (which they'll likely do soon -- how many "live" shows does SNL do a year now, twelve? ), or I imagine you can find it on YouTube. That does a pretty good job of showcasing their problems. Drummer plays really fast, but has trouble staying in time with the rest of the band (his fault or theirs -- difficult to say). Singer significantly off key most of the time. Entire band seemingly more concerned about creating "energy" by jumping around wildly, frantically running in circles, etc. than actually playing well. It's great if you can pull it off without compromising your sound (a la Chili Peppers), but otherwise.... tutt

But hey, at least they don't just phone it in and lipsync, right?
Old 8th February 2007
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoopQuantum View Post
Ok... I'll Bite.


Soundgarden: Superunknown
Stone Temple Pilots: 4

Wow. two of my all time favorite albums. I love the songs, performances, sounds, mixes, everything. I guess as the saying goes, one persons pleasure is anothers poison.
Old 8th February 2007
  #38
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weezer's green album... i really liked there first two.
Old 8th February 2007
  #39
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Overproduced...

95% of everything I hear anymore. Over production does not bother me if that is what they are going for; i.e., Nickelback, Hinder, Justin Blink 182, Fallout Boy, Panic! at the disco, etc. (by the way, I can't stand any of those bands I just mentioned).

What really erks me is when a production tries to sound like it is sloppy and it is uber contrived. i.e., Jet, Ok Go, Franz Ferdinand, The Killers, etc.
Old 8th February 2007
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Herbert View Post
-Peter Gabriel: "UP".

David
If you'd said 'US' I'd have agreed with you. I think 'UP' is a move in the right direction. Having said that, Elbow's remix of 'More than this' is a stripped-down masterpiece.

US is full of great songs though - they were brilliant live too in their more minimalist form.

Regards

Stephen
Old 8th February 2007
  #41
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Modest Mouse (at least two or three albums) was produced by a very nice gentleman by the name of Brian Deck, who is, amusingly, one of the most modest, humble people ever. He's also very talented. But, I agree, the band is not my cup of tea. People buy the SH*T outta those albums in the record store, tho.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 84K View Post
Wow. two of my all time favorite albums. I love the songs, performances, sounds, mixes, everything. I guess as the saying goes, one persons pleasure is anothers poison.
Mine too. I definately don't think Superunknown is over-produced (I'm actually listening to it as we speak...strange coiincidence.)

I DO, however, contribute the "sound" of Stone Temple Pilots "Tiny Music" album to the downfall of modern music. Just listen to it. It has that "indie" sound that every chauncy-ass band is trying to emulate these days.
Old 8th February 2007
  #42
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for the record, I LOVE superunknown.......but compare it to Badmotorfinger....huge difference...it's a bit louder, and it obvious that the arrangements were significantly more "coached", or perhaps just better structured. That said, I still love it.

+1 on tiny Music... STP broke my heart with that record.
Old 8th February 2007
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexLakis View Post
Mine too. I definately don't think Superunknown is over-produced (I'm actually listening to it as we speak...strange coiincidence.)
Yes, I'm a big fan of that record, too. Funny to see it in the "overproduced" thread, as it is the CLEAR leader on a concurrent thread listing all-time greatest mastered rock albums, and it is from 1994, before the "noise wars" really hit their heyday.
Old 9th February 2007
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexLakis View Post
I DO, however, contribute the "sound" of Stone Temple Pilots "Tiny Music" album to the downfall of modern music. Just listen to it. It has that "indie" sound that every chauncy-ass band is trying to emulate these days.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoopQuantum View Post
+1 on tiny Music... STP broke my heart with that record.
If bands are trying to emulate that album, I'll quote Scott Weiland, when he said, "Go get a real habbit."

That album was the peak of Scott's heroin addiction. It is a document of the state of the band in that time. They tried to get Scott away from all the drugs. I hear he nodded out behind the mic a few times, ran away, etc. He was out of control. It sounds it. You can hear a lot of vocal edits. But is has soooo much vibe. A few really good songs too. I love it. It is so different from anything else they did. So, if bands want to sound like that.. that is the sound of heroin. tutt
Old 9th February 2007
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dapinkobo View Post
its all a matter of taste, i love heavily produced recordings. although i know a guy who thinks using 2 overheads and any overdubs is over producing.

in both our minds we're right? you cant judge it...
think the boundry between overproduction and what is considered " normal" or "good" is pretty broad, i mean define overproduction u will get various opinions,,BUT we all know when a good song is:, predictable, has lack of creativity although it is a good song ,everything fits in just a bit to neat , not having the urge to listen to it again, again, and again, cause u won't hear something new everytime u hear it, to me if its to obvious and flawless i put it in category "overproduction?" , more a matter of the emotion the song is emitting when u hear it, with the exception of downright boring songs
Old 9th February 2007
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 84K View Post
If bands are trying to emulate that album, I'll quote Scott Weiland, when he said, "Go get a real habbit."

That album was the peak of Scott's heroin addiction. It is a document of the state of the band in that time. They tried to get Scott away from all the drugs. I hear he nodded out behind the mic a few times, ran away, etc. He was out of control. It sounds it. You can hear a lot of vocal edits. But is has soooo much vibe. A few really good songs too. I love it. It is so different from anything else they did. So, if bands want to sound like that.. that is the sound of heroin. tutt
Indeed. It seems a lot of albums were "fueled by heroin" during that time.

I cannot speak for anybody but myself, but I personally like "Tiny Music" a lot, even tho I refused to get into it at the time it came out (similar move I pulled with Pearl Jam's "No Code.") I also think that Scott Weiland is one of the greatest rock vocalists of all time.

What I was referring to with my comment was a combination of the songwriting and the SOUND of the album (that is, production, engineering, mixing, etc.,) not the vocal performance persay. In retrospect, the album screams "indie rock" to me in terms of tone and arrangement. And although many bands nowadays probably don't even know who STP is, that's the sound they're going for (even if they don't realize it!)
Old 9th February 2007
  #47
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There is definitely such a thing as over-produced, and it is not the same as highly or slickly produced. The difference is does the production enhance or detract from the music. Peter Gabriel's "So" is about as "produced" as an album can be. But to me, and judging from the reaction to this month's guest moderator I think it's a majority opinion, the production very much serves the music. I love that album and can't imagine it not sounding like that.

My standard for over-produced is Paul Simon's "Graceland". The album should be about fantastic songs and great players laying down deep, slinky grooves, and the huge reverbs and trick delays are distracting. I would love to have the multis for one day and just do quick "throw up the faders" mixes.
Old 9th February 2007
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cojo View Post
I don't think "Use your Illusion" were overproduced, but they were probably very close to the line. I remember when it came out and I thought they got that sound exactly right!

I think ALL Michael Jacksons work after Bad is very overproduced. I agree that Perter Gabriels latest work being overproduced, so is Bowies latest records.

I think a pattern can be seen here! Looks like when good songwriters have written to many songs or lost their writing skills they rely on the producer or the production to make it good.

/Cojo
With UP, the production is just part of the music, plain in simple (in my humble opinion).

How about sunny day real estate's rising tide?
Old 9th February 2007
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittyboy View Post
Bright Eyes isn't strong live? I'm not doubting you--I've never seen him--I'm just surprised. The records I've heard have such a "live" feel I figured they were straight takes, voice and guitar played straight down...

Fallout boy too, huh?

I'd love to hear more about the shows you saw...
Holy crap, yes. Fallout boy is out of tune derivitive screeching fake emo dung without the production. My old band toured with them twice... unmistakably horrible (even though theyre're nice people). It's a true case of the Emperor with no clothes.

Bright eyes, not "overproduced" I would say, but as for many "emo" artists, the production masks the lack of live talent.

Last edited by astronmr20; 9th February 2007 at 03:06 AM.. Reason: I can't type for sh**
Old 9th February 2007
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astronmr20 View Post
Holy crap, yes. Fallout boy is out of tune derivitive screeching fake emo dung without the production. My old band toured with them twice... unmistakably horrible (even though theyre're nice people). It's a true case of the Emperor with no clothes.

Bright eyes, not "overproduced" I would say, but as for many "emo" artists, the production masks the lack of live talent.
Exactly on both counts.
Old 9th February 2007
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectacle View Post
Exactly on both counts.
i beleve digital ash in a digital urn was overproduced.
Old 9th February 2007
  #52
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All prog.
Kate Bush's 'Hounds of Love'/'The Ninth Wave' (it's two albums ffs), much as I like it/them.
Old 9th February 2007
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astronmr20 View Post
With UP, the production is just part of the music, plain in simple (in my humble opinion).

How about sunny day real estate's rising tide?
I never heard about them before but took a quick listen on amazon... Boring! Sounds very much like Peter Gabriels work but with lesser soul!
Old 9th February 2007
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 84K View Post
Overproduced...

95% of everything I hear anymore. Over production does not bother me if that is what they are going for; i.e., Nickelback, Hinder, Justin Blink 182, Fallout Boy, Panic! at the disco, etc. (by the way, I can't stand any of those bands I just mentioned).

What really erks me is when a production tries to sound like it is sloppy and it is uber contrived. i.e., Jet, Ok Go, Franz Ferdinand, The Killers, etc.
While I agree with the "overproduced is a lame term" thing, the original spirit of the thing was kinda "what records have had all the life beaten out of them by overzealous overblown production styles". I think the same thing with the loudness wars has entered pop music - if you can't be louder, be more dense, add more ear candy, make th guitars bigger, make the vocals stand out more... it all just sounds so PROCESSED.

Bands I used to love have put out new albums that are so devoid of life it makes me sick - Hopesfall, Funeral For a Friend, Mew (Frengers is untouchable, the new one so forgettable), a bunch of bands that used to balance melody with edge have been neutered, and bands I feel I should have liked - Bullet For My Valentine, Trivium, From Autumn to Ashes, 18 Visions, Dragonforce - just SUCK. Just put a sign on em saying "for Hot Topic customers and MySpace addicted High School girls only".

And the quirky indie production styles drive me f**king CRAZY. It's like sonic fashion, like fake $500 thrift store jeans, and it violates everything I hold sacred in music.

The mainstream is ALL fashion and fairy tales, bullsh*t fake emotions, dark hallmark, bad poetry, and constructed within an inch of it's life. There's no life because theres nowhere for the actual art to breathe, and you can see the puppeteers hand in everything - you see the Oz behind the curtain with a cynical eye, and it all just loses whatever real emotion it ever had.

Long live the Undergound, and the people in the trenches who still give a rats ass about music. Cheers!


(and for the record, I always though AIC's "Dirt" was the sound of heroin. Scott Weiland is a whiny little girl.)
Old 9th February 2007
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeathMonkey View Post
The mainstream is ALL fashion and fairy tales, bullsh*t fake emotions, dark hallmark, bad poetry, and constructed within an inch of it's life. There's no life because theres nowhere for the actual art to breathe, and you can see the puppeteers hand in everything - you see the Oz behind the curtain with a cynical eye, and it all just loses whatever real emotion it ever had.
Exactly!
And take all of that, then quantize it, autotune it, widen, excite, maximize and photoshop it so no-one sees the bad acting.

..and I heard the phraze 'diet punk' the first time in this thread. That's a part of my vocabulary now.
Old 9th February 2007
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kestral View Post
Anything by David Foster or Trevor Horn.
Hmmmm.... I wouldn't call the work they do "over produced". Both of these guys are excellent musicians and I feel that their perfectionism comes from a musicians frame of mind. Their productions set the song (remember those?) in its best possible light. And it's my opinion that both do it in a way that doesn't suck the soul out of the song. I think The Tubes' "Completion Backwards Principle", produced by Foster is one of the best pop/rock albums of the '80's. Another one of his, both written and produced by him, "After the Love is Gone", recorded by Earth, Wind and Fire is also one of my favorite tunes. Another way I can put it is that I don't HEAR the production.... I hear the great song.

And Trevor Horn... Seal's stuff? Very produced but, my god, what an artistic statement!!! The production enhances the already strong songs, taking us to a higher plain, some mystical place outside of our skin (A very subjective description of how good music effects me.)

Now, to me an overproduced song is one which takes a mediocre (or worse) song, freezes it, polishes it and makes it McMusic for the masses. (I know, mixed metaphors using an obscure reference to an old engineering joke...) Examples: "Barbie Girl" by Aqua, all of Brittany's Rear and the entire Pete Waterman catalogue (or at least 99%).

One final opinion: If it has even the SLIGHTEST hint of auto tune on it, it's overproduced. (Except that Cher thing where it was used as an effect...)
Old 9th February 2007
  #57
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Anything by Mars Volta
Old 9th February 2007
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sui_City View Post
Anything by Mars Volta
Hmm, seeing this brought up a question for me:

When is over-production a bad thing?

The Mars Volta is over-produced for sure, but I kinda like it. Not really a fan of the band, but Francis the Mute was pretty cool, and it sounded great. I think I would much rather prefer THAT kind of production to just hearing two pretentious pricks in a room, raw, with a few "honest" overdubs.
Old 9th February 2007
  #59
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There are great over produced albums, and there are great sloppy albums. That is part of the art. When the production matches the vibe and everything alligns, that is the magic. There is no right or wrong.
Old 9th February 2007
  #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 84K View Post
There are great over produced albums, and there are great sloppy albums. That is part of the art. When the production matches the vibe and everything alligns, that is the magic. There is no right or wrong.
Au contraire mon frere. There most certainly IS right and wrong. However, it is different depending on the artist. As I was saying before, in my humble opinion, for a talented artist a lot of production vs. a little can certainly be part of the sound, and, as you say, if it matches the vibe, it's great. But it DOES have to match that vibe, and the artist SHOULD be talented enough to pull off something reasonably similar live. Different axes: production level, talent, the connection between the two.

As for Sirocco's point about Bright Eyes's "Digital Ash in a Digital Urn", I totally agree. thumbsup thumbsup The two albums on the same day, one acoustic, one electronic-ized, release is a tricky thing. Here it just ends up highlighting how little musicianship and songwriting is going on on the "Digital Ash" record, and how much it totally relies on noises, effects, etc. in the studio. (we need an "emoticon" for someone vomiting. I mean, there's one of a squirrel taking a leak, for crying out loud)

BTW, Who produced that? If it wasn't a member of the band, I would argue for some sort of legal action to replace the name of the artist on the album cover with the name of the producer.

But judging from the unfortunate sound of the album, I would have to bet that it was Bright Eyes "themselves".
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